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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

The last Republican

BART Director James Fang faces a well-funded challenge for reelection

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steve@sfbg.com

BART Director James Fang is San Francisco's only elected official who is a registered Republican, yet over the last 24 years, he has somehow managed to easily win election after election in a city dominated by the Democratic Party, often with the endorsements of top Democrats.Read more »

Mayoral meltdown

Mayor Ed Lee pushes back against ballot measures for affordable housing, transportation funding

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joe@sfbg.com

When he launched an unexpected mayoral bid in 2011, Mayor Ed Lee campaigned on a platform of changing the tone of San Francisco politics. The appointed mustachioed mayor claimed he put the civility back in City Hall, marking a sharp departure from the divisive tone of city politics as progressives battled former Mayor Willie Brown, followed by Mayor Gavin Newsom.Read more »

Everyone's hospital

SF General — a top trauma center, important safety net, and major city commitment to public health — moves into an uncertain transition period

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rebecca@sfbg.com

"I am a survivor of the AIDS epidemic," Daniel volunteered, beginning to tell us his very San Francisco story.

He was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s. Working in fine dining rooms of San Francisco hotels at the time, he had health insurance, and had gone to Kaiser for an unrelated procedure. That led to a blood test — and then wham.

"They just bluntly, without any compassion, just told me: You have it," Daniel said. "Like telling you that you have a pimple on your nose or something."Read more »

Homeless in transit

A night at Powell Station shows how BART rousts the homeless in enforcing its new ban on sitting and lying

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joe@sfbg.com

For most people, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system's stations are just that: transitory. Walk into Powell Station, zip down the escalator and glide out on a train, destination somewhere. But for homeless people drawn to BART stations, the agency is a place to be stationary, a home and safe haven from the elements, muggings, and other hazards of sleeping on streets.

But now, BART intends to reclaim the T in its name. It wants the homeless to be transitory and get out of the stations.Read more »

Big Soda's big money

Pepsi and Coke may spend millions to defeat SF's sugary beverage tax

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joe@sfbg.com

Big soda industry players including Pepsico and Coca Cola spent at least $2.5 million two years ago to defeat Richmond's sugary beverage tax initiative, which lost in a landslide. Richmond's ballot measure to tax sodas and curb obesity drowned in a sweet, carbonated tide of money.Read more »

Photo Gallery: Skaters love new SoMa West park

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Chances are, you'll find Jonathan Dean at the SoMa West skatepark. Dean, 23, is a San Francisco native who spends the majority of his free time at the newly opened skatepark located on Duboce Avenue between Valencia and Otis.

"I've been here every single day, except the first day the park opened," Dean told the Guardian. "Everybody here loves this park. It feels like you're skating on a street."Read more »

Refugee crisis hits home

Waves of child immigrants await court dates in San Francisco, facing deportation back to their violent home countries without legal representation

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joe@sfbg.com

In the small, colorful Precita Valley Community Center, a woman clutches a black ceramic goblet, circling a teenage girl with wisps of incense, and repeats the act with the 60 or so attendees. The spiritual cleansing ritual is much needed. Afterward, the San Franciscans will set their minds to saving the lives of children.Read more »

King of the commons

Departing director of Sunday Streets made community organizing the key to opening up public space

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steve@sfbg.com

When Susan King attends the Aug. 24 Sunday Streets in the Mission District — the 50th incarnation of this car-free community gathering, coming the week before her 50th birthday — it will be her last as director of an event she started in 2008.

That successful run was made possible by King's history as a progressive community organizer who also knew how to do fundraising, a rare combination that has made Sunday Streets more than just a bicycle event, a street faire, or a closure of streets to cars that the city imposes on its neighborhoods on a rotating basis.Read more »

Last chapters?

The threat to San Francisco bookstores goes beyond Amazon and ebooks to rising rents and demand for commercial space

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news@sfbg.com

The tale of the threatened independent bookstore, quivering under the might of Amazon, is nothing new.

It's only been two months since Marcus Books was evicted from its Fillmore District location. Both Adobe and Forest bookstores fled the Mission's 16thh Street last year. But ebook sales growth is shrinking, and sales for many of San Francisco bookstores are up.Read more »

The age of the brogrammer

Solving tech's diversity problem may be a key to saving San Francisco

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"Die techie scum." Those words are sprayed ominously on sidewalks throughout San Francisco. They're plastered on stickers stamped on lampposts. They're even scrawled in the bathrooms of punk bars, the very establishments now populated by Google-Glass-wearing tech aficionados.Read more »