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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Friends in the shadows

How developers, corporations, and city contractors buy influence in San Francisco City Hall -- a 47th anniversary Guardian special investigation

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rebecca@sfbg.com, joe@sfbg.com

It's a simple fact of life: Money buys influence. But in San Francisco, despite strict sunshine laws to illuminate donations to city agencies and gifts to the regulators from the regulated, money still circulates in the shadows when it flows through the coffers of "Friends" in high places.Read more »

Whales protected from ships in SF Bay

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Whales and marine mammals in the San Francisco Bay and along the California coast are being protected by new policies that will help prevent them from being struck by ships, including new shipping policies and a whale tracker application.

An increasing number of deadly interactions between whales and ships drew attention in 2010 when at least five whales that had been struck by ships beached themselves and died. But that is thought to be only a small indicator of a much larger problem.Read more »

Industrial hemp legalized in California

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After being stuck in legislative limbo for 14 years, industrial hemp will soon be a legally sanctioned agricultural crop in the state of California.

The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act (SB 566) was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 25, ending years of deliberation dating back to 1999, a process that included multiple gubernatorial vetoes. The freshly signed law will allow approved California residents to grow hemp for industrial purposes by reclassifying the once-felonious plant as a "fiber or oilseed crop."Read more »

Rights and wrongs

Police and prosecutors use bureaucratic confusion to keep assets they seize from the innocent

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news@sfbg.com

On a February evening in 2011, Derrick Walls ran into a friend at a bus stop near Third Street and Palou Avenue in the Bayview. Walls was headed to view a used car he thought he might be interested in buying. The men chatted briefly and, as the 44 bus rolled into sight, Walls shook his friend's hand to say goodbye.

Seconds after they parted ways, a police cruiser passing on the other side of the street pulled a U-turn, screeched to a halt, and discharged police officers who quickly apprehended both men.Read more »

Project Censored

Annual media watchdog list critiques coverage of whistleblowers and wealth gaps -- and the notion of journalistic objectivity

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joe@sfbg.com

This year's annual Project Censored list of the most underreported news stories includes the widening wealth gap, the trial of Pfc. Bradley Manning for leaking classified documents, and President Obama's war on whistleblowers — all stories that actually received considerable news coverage.

So how exactly were they "censored" and what does that say of this venerable media watchdog project?Read more »

Tim's San Francisco

Former Guardian editor launches nonprofit media venture, promising progressive reporting delivered daily online

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steve@sfbg.com

Longtime Bay Guardian editor Tim Redmond, who left the paper in June, is launching a new media project, continuing more than 30 years of work as one of San Francisco's premier progressive voices by starting an online publication under a new nonprofit organization.

The San Francisco Progressive Media Center promises to deliver original news, arts, and cultural reporting on a daily basis, differentiating itself from local blogs that serve mostly to aggregate stories written by other media outlets and offer commentary on that reporting.Read more »

Immigration detainer limits watered down

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Sup. John Avalos' Due Process for All ordinance, legislation barring San Francisco law enforcement agencies from honoring detainer requests issued by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the federal Secure Communities (S-Comm) program, faced obstacles at the Sept. 17 Board of Supervisors meeting.

But an amended version returned to the board on Sept. 24, where it was expected to be approved (after Guardian press time for this issue, so check out the SFBG.com Politics blog to see what happened).Read more »

Breed drops Twitter after clash with cyclists

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Sup. London Breed abruptly deleted her Twitter account on Sept. 19 after engaging in a clash of tweets with some local activists online. Breed had tweeted comments that were derogatory toward bicyclists and others, after earlier attempting to distinguish between her "private" comments and public role, but now she's given up entirely.Read more »

SFSU police get Tasers

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Just because the San Francisco Police Department can't get Tasers doesn't mean all the cops in San Francisco are missing out.

The San Francisco State University Police Department will soon arm its officers with conducted electrical weapons, known by the brand name Taser, following a statewide push from the California State University Chancellor's Office to arm all of its campus police statewide with the weapons.Read more »

Blow your mind

Soon you can get a Ph.D. in human sexuality in San Francisco

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rebecca@sfbg.com

SEX Examples of Americans' obsession with sex abound. It seemed the mainstream media would never get over Miley Cyrus' ostentatious twerking at the Video Music Awards. Politician Anthony Weiner managed to live down his sexting scandal, only to mar his comeback with still more sexting. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" broke records for its searing popularity, but its rape-y message inspired a feminist parody, substituting the lyrics "you're a good girl" with "you're a douchebag."Read more »