I spend a fair amount of time digging through reports to find interesting stories to share with you dear readers. Like the IRS, I have learned which phrases are likely to yield actionable content. For example, The 2012 Annual Report from the Office of Citizen Complaints contains the words “citizen” and “complaint,” so you know there’s some gold in them thar pages. Read More
On Aug. 24, 2011, I moderated a debate among mayoral hopefuls at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. The event was sponsored by the Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club and I wasted no time asking candidate John Avalos to address his 2010 resolution “condemning the Israeli Defense Forces’ military attack on the Freedom Flotilla on May 31, 2010.” Israel’s position was that the flotilla violated a legal blockade. The resolution never passed, but in an auditorium full of Jewish people, he apologized and was suddenly philosophical. Read More
Recently President Barack Obama admitted that he thinks of “going ‘Bulworth’” from time to time. Because, like baseball fans, political junkies will watch any movie about politics — even bad ones — Economist subscribers and Halle Berry fans recognized the reference to the movie “Bulworth.”
In the 1998 movie, Warren Beatty is a U.S. senator representing California who decides to end his life. Read More
When the news broke last week that the Internal Revenue Service had inappropriately reviewed the tax-exempt status of various far-right groups, an immediate cry went out for heads to roll — and they did, as acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller was ousted Wednesday. It was a natural and rational response to a profound breach of public trust. Read More
In Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors debate over the personal use of furniture, some supervisors took up hours for their own personal use. Read More
According to California Watch, an affiliate of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the California Teachers Association was the state’s most generous political contributor between 2001 and 2011. The total amount calculated by California Watch doesn’t even include the $75 million that the group un-ironically spent last fall to defeat a ballot measure that would prohibit public employee unions from contributing to political campaigns. Read More
Dear Supervisor John Avalos,
I watched your performance at the May 2 hearing of the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee with amusement. I use the word “performance” because your eye-rolling, peacocking, disrespectful demeanor toward Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Bill Siffermann and Assistant Chief Allen Nance was not your usual style. Luckily, they are used to dealing with juveniles. Read More
I’m definitely in favor of abortion rights, but I understand that abortion is a complicated subject over which reasonable minds can differ. However, there were few, if any, reasonable minds at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting commenting on a recent abortion-related law.
The law at issue would expand the size of the “bubble zone” around the entrances of reproductive health care facilities from 8 feet to 25 feet. People are not permitted to demonstrate, picket or distribute literature inside that bubble zone. Read More
Each year, 164,000 Californians serve on a jury out of 10 million who are summoned, according to the California Judicial Council. With a dramatic set of filters to get down to the final number, a larger pool of potential jurors sounds like a good thing. While the council wasn’t consulted about the proposal, on this past Wednesday, the California Assembly passed a bill to allow “lawfully present immigrants” to serve on juries. The vote was 45-25 along party lines with Democrats supporting the measure. Read More
April 15 wasn’t just Tax Day, it was the deadline for public officials to file their statement of economic interests. State law requires anyone serving in elected office or appointed to a commission to announce any gifts, property or income other than what he or she earns as a public servant. The files are all publicly available on the Ethics Commission website, and here are a few insights from the finances of our leaders in 2012. Read More
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Supervisors, board President David Chiu told Mayor Ed Lee about his recent experience with community budgeting, whereby citizens get to decide how to spend a certain amount of money from city coffers.
Recently, after years in office, members of the Board of Supervisors have taken a shine to divestment of The City’s public-pension money as a way to punish certain industries. For instance, the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System has about $15 billion in assets, and the supervisors don’t want that money going to gun and bullet manufacturers or fossil fuel companies.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposal to regulate assault weapons was considered Wednesday in the U.S. Senate, where it failed, as did proposals to expand background checks. During the debate over the assault weapons ban, Feinstein made the case for a single federal standard. Read More
After I finished the Bay to Breakers 12-kilometer run last year, I felt qualified to be a Navy SEAL. Granted, I was soundly beaten by a number of children under 10 years old, and passed by a man walking backwards on stilts, but it was the longest distance I had ever run at once. Read More
This week, Gov. Jerry Brown practically declared defeat in his effort to reform the California Environmental Quality Act this year. With the continued struggle for CEQA reform in San Francisco, it seems that increasingly, politics in our fair city is in lockstep with the state.