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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Battle of the Bulb

Eviction day nears for the homeless inhabitants of a colorful stretch of shoreline in Albany that nature lovers want cleared

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news@sfbg.com

On a sunny September afternoon, Osha Neumann slowly walks onto the dirt path leading to the Albany Bulb, using a walking stick for balance against the pebbles. With a white beard and lanky frame, the 74-year-old artist and attorney is no stranger to this landfill turned art space turned homeless encampment that juts out of the East Bay shoreline near the Berkeley Marina and the Golden Gate Fields racetrack.Read more »

Corporate welfare booming

San Francisco's business tax breaks reach $14.2 million for 2012, up from $4.2 million in 2011

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rebecca@sfbg.com

Business tax breaks instituted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other corporate-friendly local politicians to stimulate growth in tech, biotech, and cleantech, diverted roughly $14.2 million from city coffers in 2012, records show. That's a staggering increase from 2011, when the city's corporate welfare programs amounted to roughly $4.2 million.Read more »

BART resists safety reforms in labor negotiations

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BART maintenance workers training under safety instructor Saul Almanza are taught this most important lesson: the objective when you go to work is to come home afterward.

He remembers two BART engineers who were hit and killed by the trains they were charged with repairing: Robert Rhodes in 2001, and James Strickland in 2008. Almanza imagines the dark tunnels where the safe places to stand are small and the lighting is scarce. He says he thinks of Rhodes and Strickland every day.Read more »

Domestic workers may get labor rights

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The California Legislature gave final approval to the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights on Sept. 12, legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-SF) to finally extend some labor rights to this largely female and immigrant workforce. Advocates are hopeful that Gov. Jerry Brown will sign it this time.Read more »

Bay Bridge turns Brown

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The California Senate gave its blessing to the rename the western span of the Bay Bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on Sept. 12, blatantly disregarding its own rules and strong local opposition to the proposal.

Since ACR 65 is a nonbinding resolution, Gov. Jerry Brown cannot veto it even though he went on record earlier this week saying the 77-year-old bridge should keep the same name it's always had.

San Francisco Sens. Mark Leno and Leland Yee both voted in favor of the resolution.Read more »

Fighting foreclosures

Richmond wins the first battles in its war against big banks on behalf of underwater homeowners

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joe@sfbg.com

It will be a long war, but for now, Richmond is winning.

Two battles in the start of the city of Richmond's war on foreclosures were fought and won in the past week. A US District Court of Appeals judge dismissed Wells Fargo's lawsuit against Richmond's controversial plan to use eminent domain to save residents with underwater mortgages (see "Not for sale," Sept. 3). And Mayor Gayle McLaughlin successfully fought off legislation at the Richmond City Council to torpedo the plan before it started.Read more »

Legal foes invited to weigh in on healthcare policy

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A few years ago, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association lost a legal battle it waged over the employer mandates in the city's landmark Health Care Security Ordinance, a universal healthcare program that has provided safety-net services for the city's uninsured since its passage in 2006, partially through the Healthy San Francisco program.Read more »

Power struggle

Mayor Lee misrepresents CleanPowerSF in defending his appointees' effort to kill it

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steve@sfbg.com

Jason Fried could barely believe what was coming out of the squawk box in his office at the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission on Sept. 10, as he listened to Mayor Ed Lee describe the CleanPowerSF program Fried had spent years helping to develop.Read more »

Alerts

Important happenings for the week of Sept. 11-17
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ALERTS

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Shit happened

A wrap-up of important local news from the week that was

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Exploratorium layoffs raise questions

A round of recent layoffs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco has taken the museum staff by surprise and sparked questions about the institution's focus, an unexpected turn of events on the heels of the institution's splashy reopening at its refurbished 330,000 square foot facility along The Embarcadero.Read more »