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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Staying power

San Francisco tenants' movement rises up and sets the agenda

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rebecca@sfbg.com

Despite the rain on Feb. 8, organizers of a citywide tenants' convention at San Francisco's Tenderloin Elementary School wound up having to turn people away at the door. The meeting was filled to capacity, even though it had been moved at the last minute to accommodate a larger crowd than initially anticipated.

"Oh. My. God. Look at how many of you there are!" organizer Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee, called out as she greeted the hundreds in attendance. "Tenants in San Francisco, presente!"Read more »

Sugar fix

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A resolution to place a sugary beverage tax on the November ballot was introduced at the Feb. 4 Board of Supervisors meeting.

The two-cents-per-ounce tax would be levied at the point of distribution, with the ultimate goal of reducing the consumption of sodas and other sugary drinks to combat obesity in San Francisco. The tax, sponsored by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen, John Avalos, and David Chiu, is similar to a resolution made two years ago in Richmond.

But Richmond voters ultimately voted it down by 66 percent, so how's San Francisco any different?Read more »

Students suffer from 'invisible suspensions'

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At the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 4, students rallied against suspensions they see as unfair. Advocates negotiated rule changes. San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education commissioners shook their fists at injustice.

The uproar concerned "willful defiance" suspensions, cited nationwide as problematic because of their subjective nature. Wearing a backwards cap, having a bad day, talking back, all fall under the umbrella of willful defiance.

The suspension ban is monumental, SFUSD Superintendent Richard Carranza told the board.Read more »

Fight for higher minimum wage resumes

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An event at the San Francisco Women's Building on Feb. 6 marked the 10-year anniversary of San Francisco's minimum wage ordinance, passed by voters in 2003 with Proposition L. The landmark initiative not only raised the minimum wage in San Francisco to $8.50 per hour, but stipulated that the amount would rise every year to reflect inflation. Thanks to Prop. L, San Francisco now boasts the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $10.74.

But in pricey San Francisco, it still isn't enough.Read more »

Granny slap

San Francisco landlords targeted for elder abuse

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Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka "Tiny," led a press conference outside the San Francisco Hall of Justice on Feb. 5 to announce that she and fellow activists were filing elder abuse charges against San Francisco landlords.

Flanked by activists and senior citizens who were facing eviction or had lost housing in San Francisco, the Poor News Network founder condemned landlords who've invoked the Ellis Act as "dangerous criminals."Read more »

Farewell to an ally and union brother

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Pete Seeger played a critical role for labor and all working people. As a labor troubadour, he traveled the world singing out for labor. That is why he came to ILWU [International Longshore and Warehouse Union] Local 10 in the Bay Area in 1941. The US government had tried four times to deport Harry Bridges, the Australian-born leader of the ILWU, in an effort to destroy the union. Together, Seeger and Woody Guthrie sang out to the union's rank and file strike committee a song called a "Ballad To Harry Bridges."Read more »

No parking

Park Closure Law sparks fear among homeless groups, but no big crackdown yet

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joe@sfbg.com

An ordinance to close all San Francisco city parks at night drew fire from homeless advocates, who called out sponsoring Sup. Scott Wiener and the Recreation and Park Department for targeting the homeless, charges they denied, claiming it was really about preventing vandalism in parks.

At this point, with enforcement slow to begin, the jury is still out. The ordinance passed on Nov. 5, on a 6-5 vote. Wiener denied allegations that it would criminalize poverty or homelessness.Read more »

Airbnb under fire in New York

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joe@sfbg.com

Airbnb, a mainstay of the "sharing economy" that connects hosts with guests for short-term apartment rentals, allegedly flouts city and state regulations across the United States, not just in San Francisco. Unlike our foggy city and sunny state, however, the state of New York has aggressively pursued the tech firm in what can almost be seen as a "tale of two Airbnbs."Read more »

Fresh out

Not all neighborhoods are equal when it comes to healthy food access

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Rebecca@sfbg.com

Food stirs strong passions in San Francisco. Protests have been mounted against foie gras and live chicken sales, and epic battles have been fought over chain grocery stores' proposals to open up shop in certain neighborhoods.Read more »

Did Feinstein see a drone?

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For years now, Bay Area organizers with the antiwar group Code Pink have been staging protests outside the Pacific Heights residence of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Code Pink director Medea Benjamin has led delegations to Pakistan and Yemen in the past to protest US drone strikes, and San Francisco activists have frequently appeared outside the senator's home to sound off against the US military's use of drones.Read more »