Opinion

Divorcing Columbus

The Italian-American dilemma
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OPINION This year may go down in history as the one new immigrants reignited a civil rights mobilization in the United States. Their efforts, like those of the black liberation movement of the ’60s, will certainly become a catalyst for progressive action from many communities. As southern Italian Americans, this Columbus Day we have to ask our community the age-old question — which side are we on? Unfortunately, many of us have chosen exactly which side we are on: supporting racist immigrant bashers, whether they are legislators in the halls of Congress or vigilante Minutemen. Read more »

The people's program

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OPINION San Francisco progressives have spent years getting on the political power map. We have achieved amazing victories, such as the 2000 sweep that defeated the Brown machine and ushered in an independent Board of Supervisors. At times we've gotten mired in sectarian clashes that have prevented unity around a common vision. However, such obstacles and stumbles have taught us valuable lessons that can be the building blocks for a vibrant people's movement. To be successful, we progressives need to have a clear vision and to keep asking ourselves questions. Read more »

The terror of Prop. 90

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OPINION San Francisco could see an end to rent control — and minimum-wage requirements and a lot of zoning regulation and environmental protection laws and much more — if Proposition 90 passes this November. We could see an end to limits on condo conversions and an end to requirements that developers build affordable housing units and even an end to limits on the height and density of new developments. That's because Prop. 90 is a clever trap that purports to restrict the use of eminent domain but in reality eliminates all government regulation of land use.
Prop. Read more »

The age of 9/11

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OPINION We all remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. The event rocked the world as the last remaining superpower was attacked in full view of its citizens. The images entered our collective consciousness, and we began a new era of global unrest. The gloves came off, diplomacy was mocked, and the United States blasted onto the world stage, weapons drawn.
Let's not relive the events of Sept. 11. We have been reminded of that morning over and over as it has become the sole source of George W. Bush's foreign policy. Read more »

Saving women from themselves

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OPINION In the name of protecting sex workers, a few San Francisco activists have adopted the rhetoric of antiprostitution advocates and taken their case to the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women (COSW). Read more »

The attack on public housing

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OPINION If the Bush administration has its way, conditions for San Francisco's public housing residents are about to get much worse.
The San Francisco Housing Authority, which operates 6,000 units of public housing, is facing a $7 million shortfall this year due to Republican-led cuts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) budget. Congress has already cut the public housing budget by $1 billion since 2001 and has now created a $300 million shortfall in operating funds for already cash-strapped public housing agencies. Read more »

A sister fears Halloween in the Castro

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OPINION Any attempt to organize an official Halloween in the Castro is a terrible idea, maybe even a deadly one. But before I rant, let me give a little history. In the wake of the Oct. 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake, a BBC story reported that "a massive rescue effort is now underway in what experts believe is the second biggest earthquake ever to hit the United States."
More than 3,500 people were injured and 100,000 buildings damaged. Read more »

It's criminal what Congress has done to the working poor

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OPINION Congress's Republican leaders belong in prison. They have openly violated one of our most basic laws, the 68-year-old Fair Labor Standards Act. It requires Congress to set the minimum wage high enough to guarantee a standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being.
The current rate of $5.15 an hour comes nowhere near to doing that. Even those who manage to work full-time make only $10,700 a year - $206 a week or about $900 a month, minus taxes and other deductions. Read more »

The case against the JROTC

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OPINION Make no bones about it: the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a program of the US Department of Defense. Its purpose is clear: to recruit high school students into the military. Two years ago, 59 percent of San Franciscans demonstrated their disapproval of that sort of recruiting by supporting Proposition I. It's time for the Board of Education to follow the wishes of those voters and phase out the JROTC in favor of a nonmilitary program.
On Aug. 22, it's very likely that the San Francisco school board will do just that. Read more »

Thinking outside the pipe

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OPINION Although it's named the SF Sewer System Master Plan Project, San Francisco's long-term wastewater program deals with a lot more than sewage. It addresses stormwater runoff as well as the used water that drains out of our residential and commercial sinks, toilets, showers, and washing machines. Read more »