Opinion

State of the art displacement

California Pacific Medical Center is proposing to build a hospital that isn't really needed, in a community it isn't really geared toward
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OPINION What does the loss of 11 residences and a few jobs matter if it means a state-of-the-art hospital will be built?

That's the question Examiner columnist Ken Garcia asked Oct. 20. Read more »

Am I illegal mama?

We are people who believe that not only is no human being illegal, but that all these borders are false constructs
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OPINION "Am I illegal mama?" My mixed-race, Mexican, Chinese, Puerto Rican, and Irish six-year-old son gazed up at me with the largest of puppy eyes after we watched a corporate media television report on Mayor Gavin Newsom's rejection of the legislation by David Campos that would give due process to migrant youth caught up in the criminal in-justice system.

After recovering from my sorrow at my son's logical interpretation of our criminalizing, dehumanizing society, I went on to explain that as far as I was concerned no human is illegal — or an alien, for that matt Read more »

The case against Prop. D

If you really want to clean up Market Street, it will require community input, a comprehensive revitalization plan, and real solutions for homelessness
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OPINION Proposition D is a classic developer's scam. It was written by a mid-Market Street property owner who is spending more than $250,000 million to push hollow propaganda pieces preaching the wonders of his bill. When you strip away the glossy photos and misleading language, Prop. D is an attempt by private real estate owners to put up huge, flashing billboards and keep virtually all the money for themselves.

There is all kinds of misleading information in this thing. Read more »

The plight of the insured

Congress and the Obama administration remain too timid to propose the most comprehensive reform — single payer
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OPINION How many horror stories will it take before Congress decides to act on the most ignored problem in the present healthcare debate, denials for people with insurance?

In September, San Francisco's KPIX-TV reported the story of Rosalinda Miran-Ramirez of Daly City, who woke up one April morning with her left breast bleeding and her shirt soaked in blood.

She was rushed by her husband to the emergency room at nearby Seton Medical Center, where doctors found a tumor. Fortunately the biopsy was benign. Read more »

A new California tax revolt

The state and global financial crises have pushed the UC system into intense contraction, compounding years of rising student costs
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OPINION Don't miss the struggle underway over the future of the University of California.

Some see it as just another chapter in the unfolding story of the state's economic decline. That's partly true. But what's really interesting is what it could become.

If it's played right, the showdown over university fees and salaries could inspire a revival of sorts of the California tax revolt. Except this time, the rebels wouldn't be tax-haters, like we saw in 1978 with Prop. 13. Read more »

Where would we be without rent control?

The 30th anniversary of rent control in San Francisco
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OPINION This year marks the 30th anniversary of rent control in San Francisco. On June 13, 1979, the Board of Supervisors passed a law that was seen by tenant activists as a fairly weak version of rent control. The supervisors were acting under pressure from landlords, who were lobbying them to hurry up and pass a law before the November election, when landlords feared San Francisco voters would enact a stricter version.

So the supervisors went with a middle-of-the-road measure, but its passage was still a milestone. Read more »

Too vital to fail

Bailouts are for businesses -- but what about essential services?
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OPINION The "too big to fail" rationale is a mystery to citizens forced to fund these billion-dollar ventures.

Suppose an entity is not too big but "too vital to fail"? Which power broker bestows standing to even ask for a bailout? I started thinking about "too vital to fail" when two seemingly unrelated incidents intersected in my consciousness, one a tragedy, the other simply heart-breaking.

The first incident happened in Oakland, eight blocks from where I teach journalism. A local editor was gunned down in a brazen daytime assassination. Read more »

LSD as gateway drug

When I told my mother about taking LSD, she was quite concerned
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OPINION I took my first acid trip in 1965 at Tim Leary's LSD research center in Millbrook, N.Y. He was supposed to be my guide, but he had gone off to India. Ram Dass (then Richard Alpert) was supposed to take his place, but he was involved in preparing to open at the Village Vanguard as a psychedelic comedian-philosopher. Read more »

Let's close the Prop. 13 loophole

Between 1975 and today, commercial property contributions to the tax roll have decreased from 47 percent to 30 percent
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OPINION When it passed in 1978, Proposition 13 was advertised as a law to protect fixed-income seniors from losing their homes. In reality, Prop. 13 was a guise to shrink the size of government and cut vital public services like education, health care, transportation, public safety, and recreation. Now, 30 years later, it is one of the principle reasons so many seniors, children, homeless, and other vulnerable California residents are losing their vital safety net.

Using scare tactics showing seniors on the street, supporters of Prop. Read more »

How to help Iran without meddling

The U.S. government has no moral or political authority to tell Iranians what they should do. Iranians are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves
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OPINION Two of us, Penn and Erlich, traveled to Iran in 2005 and interviewed numerous ordinary Iranians. People were very friendly toward us as Americans but very hostile to U.S. policy against their country. We visited Friday prayers where 10,000 people chanted, "Death to America." Afterward those same people invited us home for lunch.

That contradiction continues today as Iran goes through its most significant upheaval since the 1979 revolution. Iranians are rising up against an authoritarian system, but they don't want U.S. Read more »