Opinion

Pitting poor against poor

For whatever short-term savings Prop. 1E might provide, the long-term consequences are disastrous
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OPINION In 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), to fund the expansion of community-based mental health services. MHSA is funded through a 1 percent tax on the portion of a taxpayer's income in excess of $1 million. It was a form of uniquely appropriate progressive taxation, making the rich pay for all the ways they test our sanity, made especially acute today in the wake of foreclosures and job losses.

Today, Gov. Schwarzenegger is leading a bipartisan assault on Prop. Read more »

Do the right thing, Dianne

With EFCA finally within reach, Sen. Feinstein has announced that she is looking for a "less divisive" option
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OPINION At the end of World War II, approximately 36 percent of American workers belonged to a union. Today that number has shrunk to about 12 percent, lagging behind the world's other industrial democracies. But now, with a Democratic president in office, we have a realistic chance of enacting the most significant piece of labor legislation in decades, the Employee Free Choice Act, which would protect the right of workers to organize into a union.Read more »

No balance in two-year budget

A two-year budget would make the Mayor's Office even more insulated from the public and members of the board on the decisions that affect us the most.
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OPINION There's no more important decision made by the Board of Supervisors than that of the city's annual budget. Every year the board sets the city's priorities by appropriating more than $6 billion. In good economic times, the board uses the budget process to set new policy directions for San Francisco. In bad times, the annual budget is the board's only real chance to save vital services by making targeted appropriations while strategically reducing other parts of the budget.

That's why a charter amendment to have only biannual budgeting is a bad idea.Read more »

Reject the Fisher Museum

We cannot bear the thought of the series of traffic signals inside the park, near the Spanish El Presidio and the 160- year-old U.S. Army Post
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OPINION The Presidio Trust Board and the National Park Service in December rejected Gap Inc. founder Don Fisher's proposed art museum in the Presidio. They complete their review of his second offer next month. They should reject the second offer as well, and the game will be over.

Fisher and his family should stop trying to convince the Park Service to bend its rules. They should set aside their pride and their own preferences in deference to those of the Park Service and the city of San Francisco. Read more »

The JROTC horror show

The Board of Education has to look beyond the TV sound bites that grossly distort the facts
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OPINION I wish that the adults who want to keep the JROTC program in San Francisco public schools would stop throwing the JROTC students under the bus and blaming the bus driver.

In particular, I'm referring to the March 24 Board of Education meeting, where a resolution about JROTC by commissioners Jill Wynns and Rachel Norton was presented as a first-reading agenda item, which, under our rules, denotes that it should be referred to committee for further discussion. Read more »

Pricing women out of health care

In some cases, women were charged more than 50 percent more — and as much as 140 percent more - for identical health plans.
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OPINION While California faces some of the most challenging economic times in recent history, many residents are losing their jobs — and as a result, their health insurance. And businesses of all sizes are struggling to make ends meet, which often means slicing employee benefits.

As more people are forced to turn to the individual market for their health insurance, women in California are at a distinct disadvantage. Under a practice known as gender rating, health insurers are allowed to charge higher premiums based on a person's gender. Read more »

Real set-aside reform

Amend the charter to create a new class of ordinance, one that would allow for multiyear budgeting
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Whenever conservative elements within San Francisco's political mix put forth measures that carry the moniker "good government," liberals, progressives, and those of us concerned that good government serve the people rather than the corporations should take notice.

Last year, one so-called good government measure usurped the right of four members of the Board of Supervisors to check a mayoral veto by putting a measure on the ballot at the last minute. Read more »

The livin' on concrete

Winner of the Second Annual Poetry Luchador Battle of ALL of the Sexes
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Editor's note: The Second Annual Poetry Luchador Battle of ALL of the Sexes on Valentines Day was a multi-generational, multi-lingual, multicultural ash-up of art, gender, poetry, wrestling, language, and theatre brought to you by the favorite revolutionary poets, media-makers, poverty scholars and cultural workers at POOR Magazine. As cosponsors of the event, we're proud to run the winning poem. Read more »

It's a depression. Let's get cracking

Its not about the budget, folks, it's about the economy
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By Calvin Welch

OPINION It's time we called it what it is: this is a depression. And we need to figure out the politics of the new age we are entering, especially in cities, which will be the ground zero for economic hardship.

While President Obama and the media continue to use euphemisms (the "subprime mortgage collapse," "the recession," "the credit crunch") for fear of causing a panic. Read more »

It's a rainy day - today

Many core health service programs are wrestling with the reality of closing their doors entirely when the next round of cuts arrives in June.
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OPINION As San Francisco's health and human services face unprecedented loss of funding under Mayor Gavin Newsom's glaringly disproportionate budget cuts, forcing layoffs of city and nonprofit health care workers who work on the frontlines of a strained system, now is the time when the moral implications of budget decisions mean the most.

The midyear cuts alone have eliminated HIV/AIDS services for an estimated 2,660 San Franciscans. Many core health service programs are wrestling with the reality of closing their doors entirely when the next round of cuts arrives in June. Read more »