Opinion

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 »

Is inequality making us sick?

Health care doesn't affect what makes us ill in the first place
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OPINION The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class gets squeezed. It's gone on so long, we hardly get angry anymore. But we do get sick.

Several recent studies indicate that the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived Americans has widened since the early 1980s, paralleling the growing economic inequality during the same period. And, if the past is an accurate gauge, today's economic crisis will only make things worse.

The wealth-health gradient is evident everywhere, even here in San Francisco. Read more »

The future of a giant landlord

In the past few years, tenant organizing has brought attention to CitiApartments' aggressive tactics and put a kink in the company's plans.
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OPINION The business model of CitiApartments is in crisis. The local landlord giant faces an avalanche of foreclosures, with almost 20 percent of its units being returned to lenders and dozens more properties in danger. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal blamed the credit market for the losses — but tenants standing up for their rights were a factor, too.

San Francisco renters have complained for years about the company's practice of buying rent-controlled buildings then driving out tenants in order to re-rent their units at higher rates. Read more »

Save the Rainy Day Fund

It is important to understand that the city's fiscal woes are a combination of cyclical and structural problems
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The scope of the economic challenges facing the country is overwhelming. We all hope that the new stimulus package proposed by the Obama administration, coupled with the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector, will revive our economy. Read more »

Where federal banking money should go

If the treasury can pour $700 billion into corporations, surely it can and should inject $5 billion or $10 billion into CDFIs
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OPINION The federal government is shelling out hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up failing financial institutions, with no end in sight. Taxpayer money is going to commercial banks and insurance companies that took outsized risks and participated in extraordinarily complex financial transactions, motivated by no purpose beyond the hunger for profits. They were allowed to engage in this destructive behavior despite being among the most heavily regulated companies on earth. Read more »

Housing is economic stimulus

We need calls demanding that a share of economic recovery funding be given directly to local organizations to develop desperately needed housing and community spaces
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By Paul Boden

EDITORIAL Change is certainly in the air these days. A president who understands that the phrase "economic recovery" is more then just a buzzword for tax cuts and bailouts for corporations and wealthy people represents perhaps the biggest, and some would argue the most important change — and it offers an opportunity for struggling communities.

President-elect Barack Obama has promised to create the largest public works construction project since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s. Read more »

The decimation of public health

This month, the Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to protect the health and, in some cases, the lives of thousands
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OPINION Crisis seems omnipresent these days.: it's hard to find a newspaper that doesn't carry the word in a headline at the top of the business section, or even on page 1. Read more »