Top Stories

Top Stories

Discovering the formula

Is San Francisco's local charm really safe?
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amanda@sfbg.com
San Francisco has a thing for local businesses. From Chinatown to Hayes Valley, the dozens of distinctive neighborhoods that constitute this city have for the most part maintained their individuality with one-of-a-kind, locally owned places to shop, snack, and seek services.
While many cities and small towns across the country have succumbed to the sprawl and homogeneity of chain stores, some have resisted, even in the face of lawsuits and wily campaigning from megaretailers. Read more »

Redefining radicalism

Ella Baker Center director Van Jones preaches hope on the group's 10th anniversary
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news@sfbg.com The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has a 10-year history — which it marked Sept. 14 with an anniversary gala in Oakland — of aggressive opposition to police abuse, racism, economic injustice, and the get-tough policies that have created record-high incarceration rates. Those problems have only gotten worse over the last decade, despite some significant successes by the group in both Oakland and San Francisco. But these days, founder and director Van Jones sounds more like a hopeful optimist than an angry radical. Read more »

Notes from the underground

Where's the party — after 2 a.m.? Welcome to the scene unseen
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kimberly@sfbg.com
Looking for hints of San Francisco's renowned underground nightlife? It pays to keep your eyes and nose to the ground — and to be textable. That's one of the few subtle signs that the hottest underground party in town is happening right here on an early Sunday summer morning: reedy, peg-legged hipsters standing out by the curb on this barren, bulldozed Hunters Point artery, busily texting and talking up fidgety, insomniac friends about their next landing strip. Read more »

Gourmet GPS

FEAST 2006! Our annual guide to the best food and drink in the Bay
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marke@sfbg.com
The first thing they should hand you when you land in the Bay Area is a fork. (Well, that and maybe a condom.) The Bay is brimming with deliciousness, and one of the best things about living in such a genteel environment is the copious amount of wanton gourmandizing to be had. International specialty stores, world-famous organic eateries, precious little bistros, tasty pastries, cuisines you've never heard of ... Read more »

Larry Bain's top five ways to put your money where your mouth is

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BUY FOOD WITH A FACE
Know the person behind your potato, the woman behind your wasabi. Know who grew what. That's better than all the certification in the world. Read more »

Welcome to the nightmare

Can the man who stole the election actually govern Mexico?
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MEXICO CITY (Sept. 14th) - In an epiphany of how he might have to govern Mexico if, in fact, an aggrieved left opposition allows him to assume the presidency December 1st, right-winger Felipe Calderon had to be helicoptered to the bunker in the deep south of this conflictive capital, where the nation's top electoral tribunal doing business as the TRIFE was to hand him the certificate attesting that he had, in the judges' less-than-august opinions, won the hotly-contested July 2nd election from leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO.). Read more »

An explosive issue

The city considers requiring valves that would shut off the gas after an earthquake, but who should pay for it?
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amanda@sfbg.com
Do you know where your natural gas shutoff valve is? Are you going to need a wrench to turn it off? If the ground starts shaking and the ceiling is coming down on your head, are you going to be thinking about your pipes cracking and spewing high-pressure, flammable natural gas into your home?
Probably not, which is why automatic shutoff valves were developed. Read more »

Terrorizing the peace marches

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gwschulz@sfbg.com
If any questions remain today as to how the law enforcement establishment views antiwar activists in the post–Sept. 11 world, just follow the money for answers.
The San Francisco Police Department was paid $3.3 million from the US Department of Homeland Security to cover overtime costs for officers who patrolled the major antiwar demonstrations of early 2003.
After months of haggling, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security finally turned key records over to the Guardian. Read more »

Bad cops walk into the shadows

A state Supreme Court ruling keeps the public from accessing records of police misconduct
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gwschulz@sfbg.com
In late June, two San Francisco police officers were accused of giving beer and vodka to three teenage girls and making sexual advances toward them. One of the young women was just 16 years old, and the two others were 17. The alleged conduct of the officers occurred both in and out of uniform, and they even reportedly offered the girls confiscated fireworks from the trunk of their patrol car.
In February, an off-duty San Francisco Police Department officer was arrested for threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and their 5-year-old daughter during a domestic quarrel. Read more »

Eat your politics

Local culinary sage Larry Bain's Nextcourse bridges the food divide and brings good eats to the masses
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culture@sfbg.com
A lot has happened since Californians first rebelled against the canned food and Jell-O molds of the postwar industrialization era. The American food politics revolution is very much alive and well and thriving in the Bay Area, where the movement started. And California is still the food basket of the United States — it's been the top grower in the country for more than half a century. Read more »