Bruce Blog

Dick Meister: Two big tests for labor


By Dick Meister

 Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Helping get President Obama re-elected tops organized labor's political agenda. But for now, unions are rightly focusing on special elections this month in Wisconsin and Arizona, where other labor-friendly Democrats are being challenged by labor foes.

Coming up first, on June 5, is the Wisconsin election to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who's been labor's public enemy No. 1 for his blatant anti-union policies. He's been acclaimed by anti-labor forces nationwide and as widely attacked by labor.

Both sides see the election as highly symbolic, a possible guide for those seeking to limit the union rights of public employees and other workers or, conversely, for those attempting to halt the spread of Walker-like attacks on collective bargaining in private and public employment alike. Read more »

Dick Meister: Make it a truly happy graduation day


By Dick Meister


Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website,, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

It's that grand time of the year for high school and college seniors. Time for graduation. Time for them to enter the world of full-time work.  Conventional wisdom insists their education will enable them to find good job opportunities and financial rewards.

 A new report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows, however, that recent graduates are generally having far more problems with the job market than conventional wisdom would  suggest.

 The basic economic facts make that all too clear. Consider these EPI findings : Read more »

Sup. Cohen answers some Impertinent Questions on sunshine


b3 Note:  I sent some Impertinent Questions to the supervisors who voted against Bruce Wolfe, an excellent task force member,  and for Todd David (See other sunshine blogs.) To their credit, Sups.Elsbernd and Malia Cohen responded, Sup. David Chiu said he could not make the deadline but would reply with a new deadline.  Sups.Wiener and Farrell and Carmen Chiu have not responded.

Dear Bruce -
It was nice to see you the other night at the Potrero Hill Boosters dinner. I believe very strongly in the Sunshine Ordinance, transparency and efficiency in government. I also believe that the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force is an essential component of ensuring that our City departments are open with members of the public. As I mentioned in my comments on Tuesday, I have significant concerns with opinions of some of the Task Force's members that the City Charter does not apply to them in the same manner as it applies to all other elected and appointed bodies in the City. Read more »

Stop the presses: Sup. Elsbernd blasts B3 for Impertinent Questions on sunshine


Elsbern answers Impertinent Questions from B3 and  James Chaffee (Scroll down)

        First off,  to your reference about still looking for me at Que
Syrah, or one of the other great West Portal establishments, you have been
saying this to me repeatedly for a long time now.  Initially, it was a bit
funny, a nice little inside joke (although since you post on your blog our
e-mail exchanges, not so "inside") between a couple of people who really do
not see eye to eye on many issues.Read more »

City attorney responds on sunshine task force attacks


B3 note: Here are responses from City Attorney Dennis Herrera to Impertinent Questions from B3 on why the city attorney helped facilitate the supervisorial attack on the sunshine ordinance and task force (See previous B3 sunshine blogs).

Regarding recommended SOTF candidates

Section 67.30 (a) of the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance provides that the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force's eleven voting members be "appointed by the Board of Supervisors."  That same section designates that a total of four members be appointed by the Board from names submitted for consideration by: the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists; the League of Women Voters; and New California Media.  I'm informed that when the Board's Rules Committee conducted its hearing and interviewed SOTF applicants, only one person was recommended for each seat by these entities.  The Rules Committee then continued action on those seats until the entities submitted additional names.  Legally, there is nothing problematic about such a continuance.

Regarding designated seats

Section 67.30 (a) includes specific designations for each of the seats on the SOTF.  It additionally provides that one of those seats be a person with a disability, although it does not prescribe which of the 11 seats be designated to a person with a disability.  I'll be honest here: I'm not aware of whether Mr. Todd has a disability or not.  But given that the Board still has to fill four remaining vacant SOTF seats, it will comply with the Sunshine Ordinance so long as one of the SOTF seats is timely filled by "a member of the public who is physically handicapped and who has demonstrated interest in citizen access and participation in local government." Read more »

Sunshine eclipse: Supervisors ramp up their war on sunshine


And so the San Francisco supervisors ramped up their war on sunshine on Tuesday (May 22) when they rejected five qualified candidates for the sunshine task force and substituted five in experienced in candidates with no experience or visible qualifications.

Read more »

Dan Rather exclusive: The health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "dire"


In his  familiar "this reporter has been told" style on CBS television, former CBS anchor Dan Rather sends out an "exclusive" report from his home state of Texas.  I can hear his gravely Texas voice from his old anchor chair. The good thing about Rather was that he was a real reporter and editor and that  shows  regularly in his Dan Rather Reports, an excellent one man news operation. I said at the time and I say now that he got a raw deal from CBS. More: that CBS handled Walter Cronkite badly (forcing him to retire at 65) and they handled Rather badly by firing him over a story on President Bush's MIA days as a Vietnam era reservist. Whether he was right or  wrong on the details of this  particular story, he had a distinguished record for years of breaking and covering major stories for CBS and 60 Minutes television shows.  Scroll down for information on how to sign up for Dan Rather Reports.   b3

DALLAS (May 30, 2012)

“DAN RATHER REPORTS” EXCLUSIVE:  THE HEALTH OF VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ IS “DIRE”                                                     
HDNet's Dan Rather (Anchor and Managing Editor of “Dan Rather Reports”) has filed this exclusive, in his own words:

“This reporter has been told that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that has ‘entered the end stage.’  The information and the quote come from a highly respected source close to Chavez and who is in a position to know his medical condition and history. This source says the prognosis is dire and that Chavez is now not expected to live ‘more than a couple of months at most.’  Chavez is running for re-election in Venezuela but several sources--including the one who revealed the exact kind of cancer-- have told me that they believe it is doubtful the dictator will live to see the results. Read more »

Memorial Day in Rock Rapids, Iowa, circa 1940s to 1950s



(Reprinted by popular demand)

When I was growing up in my hometown of Rock Rapids, Iowa, a farming community of 2,800 in the northwest corner of the state, Memorial Day was the official start of summer.

We headed off to YMCA camp at Camp Foster on West Okiboji Lake and Boy Scout camp at Lake Shetek in southwestern Minnesota. The less fortunate were trundled off to Bible School at the Methodist Church.

As I remember it, Memorial Day always seemed to be a glorious sunny day and full of action for Rock Rapids. The high school band in black and white uniform would march down Main Street under the baton of the local high school band teacher (in my day, Jim White.) A parade would feature floats carrying our town’s veterans of the First and Second World wars, young men I knew who suddenly were wearing their old uniforms. And there was for many years a veteran of the Spanish American War named Jess Callahan prominently displayed in a convertible. Lots of flags would be flying and the Rex Strait American Legion Post and Veterans of Foreign Wars would be out in force. We never really knew who Rex Strait was, except that he was said to be the first Rock Rapids boy to die in World War I and the post was named after him. Read more »

Julian Davis announces for supervisor in the key battleground district for progressives (5)


Julian Davis, a widely known progressive activist and organizer in San Francisco since 2002, declared Tuesday  his intention to run for supervisor in District 5, the city's most liberal district and a battleground district for progressives seeking to regain control of the Board of Supervisors.Read more »

Editorial: The war on sunshine


EDITORIAL The Rules Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors joined the war on sunshine May 17 when it rejected four qualified candidates from three organizations who are mandated by the ordinance to choose representatives for the task force because of the organizations' special open government credentials.

The representatives served as experienced, knowledgeable members who were independent counters to the nominees of supervisors who were often promoting an anti-sunshine agenda. The committee asked the organizations to come up with more names.

That was a nasty slap at members and organizations that have served the task force well for years. And this arbitrary demand will make it virtually impossible for these organizations to come up with a "list of candidates" to run the supervisorial gauntlet. Who wants to go before the supervisors on a list for a bout of public character assassination? Read more »