Opinion

What do you get for your tax dollars?

To receive the same level of benefits as Europeans, most Americans fork out a ton of money in out-of-pocket payments, in addition to our taxes
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By Steven Hill

OPINION Most Americans seem to regard April 15 — the day income tax returns are due — as a recurring tragedy akin to a biblical plague. Europe frequently plays the punching bag role during these moments because there is a perception that the poor Europeans are overtaxed serfs.

But a closer look reveals that this is a myth that prevents Americans from understanding the vast shortcomings of our own system. Read more »

Marin County's water grab

Marin Municipal Water District is already the largest energy user in Marin. A desalination plant would increase its energy use from 40 percent to as high as 300 percent
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By Joan Bennett

OPINION In August 2009, the Marin Municipal Water District's elected board of directors conducted a public hearing to hear and discuss comments on a proposed $432.8 million desalination plant that would be built near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Despite overwhelming public opposition, the board unanimously approved the proposal. The stated reason: the dire need for a reliable water supply.

There is no truth to MMWD's rationale.

This is not just a Marin County issue. The plant would have major impacts on the bay. Read more »

Revenue for all

It's time for an unapologetic progressive taxation movement for this November's ballot and beyond, to make the city's great wealth - individual and corporate, often badly undertaxed - work for all San Franciscans
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OPINION Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut: this is the sound of your government — parks, schools, playgrounds, hospitals, clinics, public transportation, programs for youth and seniors, arts, social services, the whole fabric that makes San Francisco what it is — fading away as state and local politicians refuse to raise revenue to revitalize our economy. Read more »

Our Endorsements: For DCCC

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The Democratic County Central Committee isn't the most high-profile elected agency in San Francisco, but it's really important. The committee sets policy for the local Democratic Party — and that includes endorsements. The people who control the committee control a slate card that goes out to every registered Democrat in the city, and that's a vast majority of the voters. DCCC endorsements, carrying the imprimatur of the party, have a significant impact on local elections, particularly in district supervisor races.Read more »

Radio: It's about local, dammit

What's really wrong with talk radio isn't the imbalance between right and left - it's local vs. national, live vs. syndicated
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By Johnny Angel Wendell

arts@sfbg.com Read more »

The commons and commoners

Perhaps the most un-San Franciscan of all Chief Gascon's initiatives is his demand for an ordinance that would literally criminalize the very act of sitting or lying on certain public sidewalks at certain times
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By Ben Rosenfeld

OPINION This is a call out to creative, fun-loving San Franciscans: the mayor, the police chief, and their downtown cronies have declared war on our grassroots arts culture, and they are coming for your actual and conceptual space next. The future they promise is manifest in their many recent attacks on public and private gatherings, and their efforts to wrest the commons from the commoners. Read more »

Why Muni is in such trouble

The Municipal Transportation Agency has not had a management and performance audit since 1996. How is it that an $800 million operation can go for 14 years without that type of evaluation?
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OPINION The Municipal Transportation Agency's Web site states a goal of providing a "convenient, reliable, accessible, and safe transit system that meets the needs of all transit users" in San Francisco. I have a feeling that if you ask most Muni riders, few would use those words ("convenient," "reliable," "safe," "meeting the needs of all transit users") to describe Muni today. Read more »

A very different approach to the sit-lie law

Most experts recognize that the criminal justice system for youths has failed, and putting people in jail for a nonviolent crime doesn't make a lot of sense.

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By Gabriel Haaland

OPINION Last week, Mayor Gavin Newsom introduced legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to sit or lie on the sidewalk in San Francisco's commercial corridors. The move came after an intense media campaign by the San Francisco Chronicle, which once again created a "crisis" between young street people and other residents of the Haight, much as the paper did with immigrant youth.Read more »

A progressive primary for District 6

Heading into the first open-seat race in District 6 in 10 years, we have to take care to not become victims of our own success
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By Supervisor Chris Daly

OPINION Ten years ago, the newly drawn District 6 (which includes the Tenderloin, South of Market, and North Mission) was thought to be politically up for grabs. With an aggressive grassroots campaign and a progressive sweep across the city, we won the seat. Despite small demographic shifts to the right over the years, we've built a clear progressive identity for our district. Community stakeholders and all of progressive San Francisco should be proud of this accomplishment. Read more »

An open letter to the Transit Workers Union

If the Transit Workers Union is willing to give on just the overtime and part-time driver rules, SFMTA would save $12.4 million in next year's budget
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