Opinion

Prop. D's misinformation campaign

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OPINION Why are Joe O'Donoghue and the Residential Builders Association funding Proposition D on the San Francisco ballot? Could it have anything to do with the RBA's rapacious hunt for profits?

You bet, because Prop. D would change the city's zoning laws to potentially allow private development on 1,600 city parcels that are now protected for public use purposes only.Read more »

From ANWR to SF

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OPINION For more than a decade, the oil industry and environmentalists have fought over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska.

At the same time, polarizing debate has raged in San Francisco over automobiles in Golden Gate Park, with the proposed car-free Saturday on JFK Drive as the latest iteration.Read more »

Cruel and unusual punishment

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OPINION Homelessness was recently put on trial in California. It was found not guilty.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared April 14 that the city of Los Angeles can't arrest those who have no choice but to sleep on its streets. It's a victory for those of us who believe that homelessness is not a crime, but a symptom of an unjust economic system.Read more »

A few questions for the publishers

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OPINION The MediaNews Group, which proposes to buy the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Monterey Herald, and 30 Bay Area weekly newspapers, is paying a 20 percent premium over the price McClatchy paid Knight-Ridder for those same publications less than two months ago. Antitrust regulators in the US Justice Department, who must decide whether to go to court to try to block the transaction, will want to know why.

There are two possible explanations. Read more »

No more bogus school budgets

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OPINION Spring means budget season at the San Francisco Unified School District.

Under the state Education Code, the SFUSD is required to present its proposed budget to the public. But each year the published budget leaves out the actual amounts of money that the district spent on each item in the previous year. It doesn't even include the past year's budgeted amount.

The public only receives a wish list of the district's proposed requested amounts for each budget item.Read more »

Save John Swett!

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OPINION In seeking to close the John Swett Alternative Elementary School in San Francisco's Western Addition, the San Francisco Unified School District is making a gargantuan mistake.

We knew from the start of the evaluation process that John Swett didn't come close to qualifying for closure or merger. By the board's own criteria, Swett shouldn't have been a candidate. Yet it remained, inexplicably, on the closure list.Read more »

In SF, health care for all

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OPINION The question before us as San Francisco voters, health care providers, activists, legislators, and consumers is: "Can our community provide access to health care for people who work?"

In a surprising, welcome, and wise political partnership, Sup. Tom Ammiano and Mayor Gavin Newsom have joined their hearts and minds in a two-pronged approach to improve health access. The scope of the problem is simple.Read more »

Real tolerance

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OPINION On March 24, 2006, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass a resolution opposing the message that a group called Battle Cry for a Generation was set to deliver the following Friday on the front steps of City Hall. The appearance of Ron Luce's teen program at the site had nothing to do with the group's apparent reason for being in the city, which was to promote Christianity amid smoke machines and rock bands at SBC Park. Read more »

The lessons of East Timor

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Chega, the 2,500-page, recently completed final report of East Timor's Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation, will probably attract little notice in the United States, and it's not clear whether it's the Timorese or the Americans who will be the worse off for that.

If Americans were to take the document seriously, the benefit for East Timor would be obvious: The tiny, half-island nation off the north coast of Australia might hope to receive justice for what it has suffered, rather than just the charity of wealthier nations on which it now depends. Read more »

Bolivia's ballot-box revolution

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 The timid rays of the sun receded from the Bolivian tropical savannas, bathing the valleys and disappearing behind the Andean mountains, on the afternoon of Dec. 18. They seemed to foretell that the Bolivian schizophrenic "political culture" was dying. And it happened.

On that day, indigenous Bolivia came out of political anonymity. In a move unprecedented in Bolivian and Latin American democratic history, the great indigenous majority, previously excluded and subordinated, elected one of our own, using the power of responsible and conscientious votes. Read more »