Opinion

The cold case of Brad Will

An independent voice, silenced
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OPINION Oct. 27 marks the first anniversary of the assassination of New York Indymedia photojournalist Brad Will by police in Oaxaca, Mexico, under the thumb of a corrupt and tyrannical governor.

Will was gunned down just outside Oaxaca City while filming a pitched battle between supporters of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and members of the Oaxaca Peoples Popular Assembly (APPO). Will, 36 at the time of the killing, was the only American among 26 victims shot by Ruiz's police and paramilitary operatives during protests in that state in 2006. Read more »

Election security that works

California should become its own vendor
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OPINION These are anxious times for election security and voting equipment. The system is truly broken, starting at the federal level with a lack of national standards, a chaotic testing regimen, untrustworthy vendors, a revolving door between the industry and government regulators, and a decentralized hodgepodge of election administration from coast to coast.

Into that abyss has stepped Debra Bowen, California's secretary of state. Many of us have supported her call to make elections more secure, and Bowen came into office with the best of intentions. Read more »

Will the US bomb Iran?

Iran has no nuclear weapons and couldn't have them for years
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OPINION Half the warships in the US Navy are sitting within striking distance of Iran. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have stepped up their rhetoric, accusing Iran of killing Americans in Iraq and of threatening to start a nuclear holocaust. The British media is predicting that the Bush administration will bomb Iran in the near future.

The White House is using the same propaganda techniques to whip up popular opinion against Iran that it used four years ago against Iraq. Read more »

Forget the neighbors: build away!

Do we still care about Prop. M?
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OPINION Having considered San Francisco something of a utopian American city (certainly compared with others), I assumed the only reason city officials were on the verge of allowing perfect little Valencia Street to be turned into Emeryville West was that they were simply unaware of what a handful of developers and a few folks in the Planning Department were cooking up.

All they needed was to hear from the neighbors, some responsible concerned adults, to call their attention to this under-the-radar remaking of our beloved Mission. Read more »

Do wi-fi right -- ourselves

Wi-fi is almost certainly not the technology on which to base a citywide network.
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OPINION Although it's only a "declaration of policy," Proposition J (the mayor's wi-fi initiative) is garnering a lot of opposition. Taken at face value, the initiative seems like a no-brainer: of course we should have free, high-speed wi-fi for everyone, with adequate privacy and no public money, right now. The initiative makes it sound like all we have to do is bend over and pick up the golden wi-fi network lying in the street. Like other stories about precious paving, though, the reality is considerably less shiny.

Since Mayor Gavin Newsom filed Prop. Read more »

Where is the love?

How can we criminalize people for the sole act of living without a home and occupying public space?
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OPINION Distant dreams of flowing colored scarves, glowing tie-dyed shirts, and rainbow dashikis commingling with mounds of facial hair and peace signs filled my mind as I walked through a deep recess of quiet green on a hidden trail in Golden Gate Park. It was 7 a.m. Read more »

Too many golf courses

Golfers get 700 subsidized acres, while soccer moms and dads get 25?

OPINION The future of San Francisco's public golf courses affects you even if you don't play golf.

San Francisco's seven public golf courses cover more than 700 acres of parkland, or 20 percent of our public open space. That's three times the acreage in Chicago, a city five times larger with four times the population. Furthermore, San Francisco's golf courses lose more than $1 million annually.

In a 2004 city-funded survey, San Franciscans preferred more hiking trails, community gardens, skate parks, playgrounds, off-leash dog areas, bike trails, and baseball diamonds. Read more »

Save the golf courses

Improved public recreation cannot come by tearing down one sport to benefit another
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OPINION Public golf is a historically vital part of San Francisco life. Imported to the city by immigrants from Scotland around 1900, golf here has retained its Scottish character as recreation for all types and ages. Read more »

The poison in your sofa

California's standard is poisoning the whole nation, one sofa at a time.
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OPINION If your sofa was purchased in California after 1975, chances are its interior foam and cushions contain either brominated or chlorinated fire retardants. These toxic chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, reproductive problems, learning disabilities, and thyroid disease in laboratory animals and house cats. Read more »

Harm reduction in the park

Suggestions for appropriate technology disposal solutions
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OPINION Mayor Gavin Newsom's moves to sweep homeless people out of Golden Gate Park have generated a lot of controversy — and a lot of people are missing the point.

I'm not so concerned about people sleeping in the park, just as I'm not so concerned about people sleeping on the sidewalks or the streets if there is no other place available, so long as they are just sleeping.

If folks just slept in the park, cleaned up after themselves, and moved on during the day, most of us would probably not notice. Read more »