I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the opening night performance of the (fabulous) new musical “Tales of the City,” based on two books by Armistead Maupin and performed at our very own American Conservatory Theater. During intermission, I spotted Mayor Ed Lee and his wife, Anita, looking dapper and unassuming as ever. Read More
It seems fitting that backers of a circumcision ban coming to San Francisco voters this year would resort to using cartoon images since it’s a campaign bordering on comical.I try to avoid giving voice to the more outlandish eruptions in local politics, which is why I took a pass on the silly venture to name a sewage plant after President George W. Bush some years back. But supporters of the measure to ban a practice dating back thousands of years have unveiled some images that could easily be taken as anti-Semitic, which is why the joke stops here. Read More
Now that pension reform has become the most popular bandwagon since the 2010 Giants, the question is how many people will jump on.
Will it be too many or not enough?
With two measures speeding toward a collision course on the November ballot, a recent notion has emerged that since everyone agrees pension reform is a swell idea, why not just pass them both and let the chips fall where they may. Read More
Did you know it only takes signatures of four supervisors to put an ordinance on the ballot? It’s true! There doesn’t even have to be a public hearing on the subject. (The class of 2000 especially loved this little trick, putting some 21 initiatives on the ballot between November 2002 and November 2006, more than the total from the prior decade.) And any little pet piece of legislation that is approved by the voters cannot be changed without going back to the voters. Read More
As a general rule, it’s not a good sign when your new employer won’t tell you if you’ll keep your job and then you see a posting for it on Craigslist.
And the odds aren’t in your favor when your business is in decline and a group flush with money is in private meetings with higher-ups and soon after seen measuring the office space.
In some ways this is a typical merger, in which one company holds all the leverage. Except in this case, the companies happen to be schools — one full of history and culture and the other rich and desperate to cash in on a new home. Read More
San Francisco may no longer live up to its claim as The City that knows how, but it’s a city that still knows how to party.
Just ask the 5,000-plus visitors from around the globe who descended on our shores this week for the travel industry’s biggest international gathering. They leave today definitely wearier and slightly poorer, while The City is flush with the expectation that it will reap some $350 million in tourism revenue in the coming years for its show of hospitality as host of the frenetic event known as Pow Wow. Read More
From time to time, our shiny little City Hall receives very large chunks of money from investors. Those investors trust that we will pay the money back because if we don’t, they can come take whatever public doodad was used to secure the loan. This is the essence of a municipal bond: a big fat public mortgage, if you will. Voters usually get a say in whether The City will issue municipal bonds because the promise of property tax revenue (increased as necessary) is often the revenue stream that investors are relying on to repay the loan. Read More
Besides a desire to reshape The City’s crazy, spiraling pension reform system and residence in San Francisco, there are only a few things I share with Michael Moritz.
One is a passion for problem-solving and the pursuit of a good story. The other was office space at Time magazine here in the early ’80s, where Moritz was a staff writer and I was a fledgling freelancer.
I stayed the course, landing one marvelous journalism job after another. Moritz decided to pursue his interest in technology. We were both rewarded, though only one of us extremely generously. Read More
If pension reform were running for mayor this year, it would be the only candidate in a crowded field that could gain more than 50 percent of the vote.
That’s why all eyes will be focused on it next week when the Board of Supervisors receives a long-awaited version of a negotiated retirement plan for The City’s public employees.
And when it’s served up Tuesday, the politics around pension reform will slide front and center, instead of merely serving as a backdrop for the November election. Read More
At last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor John Avalos (who is running for mayor) announced he is requesting that the city attorney draft a housing bond measure that would fund “affordable housing development,” “transit-oriented development” and “upgrades to single-family homes including seismic safety retrofits, green energy production and energy efficiency measures, and bringing buildings up to code.” In addition, the bond would provide down-payment assistance for first-time homebuyers and “silent loans for homeowners at-risk of default and foreclosure.” Read More