Bruce Brugmann

The dramatic video: UC-Davis Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi and her walk in shame



My granddaughter Madeline, a senior at the University of California-Davis, has been camping out with the Occupy movement at Davis.  And so I have been watching the demonstrations with outrage and awe.  Outrage at the pepper-spraying campus cops and the cowering Davis president Linda P.B. Katehi in her bunker. And with awe and admiration for the inspired and inspiring reaction of the Davis students. Let me summarize.Read more »

Potrero Hill History Night: a special occasion for a special neighborhood


Scroll down for Potrero Hill History Night photos

And so Country Joe McDonald ambled on to the stage Saturday night at the International Studies Academy on Potrero Hill and told an full auditorium full of history night groupies  that since he was playing in a school he would open with a spelling lesson.

“Give me an F,” he roared,  and the audience roared back with an F.Read more »

Keith Olberman is back -- and he's mad as hell about four hypocrisies in Washington


It's good to see Keith Olberman is back and in time to cover the end of the debt limit crisis. He's on Current TV (Al Gore is chairman and Keith interviewed him Monday night) at 8 p.m. five days a week on Channel 170 in San Francisco.  Here's his summing up of the crisis on his Monday night show.


The crucial question: why didn't Obama invoke the 14th amendment and seize the day?


For me, the crucial question for President Obama is why he didn't take the advice of former President Bill Clinton, Rep. John Garamendi, and others who urged him to invoke  the 14th Amendment and its “validity of the public debt” point and then unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.

The Tea Party Republicans had manufactured a phony crisis with the debt ceiling, linked it to their wrongway issue of tax reduction, and then held the nation hostage to their  maniacal demands for trillions of  cuts to domestic programs.
Armageddon was nigh. Read more »

Will Esbernd support Lee?


As the tom toms grew louder at the Chronicle and in the Willie Brown/Rose Pak community for Interim Mayor Ed Lee to run for the full term as mayor, I emailed two impertinent questions to my district supervisor Sean Elsbernd:

1. Would you have nominated Ed Lee for interim mayor had you known he would consider running for the job?

2. Will you endorse him if he does decide to run for mayor?Read more »

Memorial Day in Rock Rapids, Iowa, circa 1940s-50s



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 »

Pete Petrakis, PG&E fighter, dies at 82

Guardian muckraker leaves San Francisco with a helluva story


Peter L. "Pete" Petrakis, the Guardian investigative reporter who developed the stories in the mid 1970s that became known to Guardian readers as the PG&E/Raker Act scandal, died Feb. 28 in Everett, Wash.

In story after story, Pete laid out the scandal that the local media had buried for generations: how Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had in effect stolen San Francisco's electrical power supply from the Hetch Hetchy dam in violation of the public power mandate of the federal Raker Act of 1913.Read more »

Remembering Peter L. Petrakis, the pioneering Guardian investigative reporter who exposed the biggest urban scandal in U.S. history


Peter L. “Pete” Petrakis was the Guardian investigative reporter who developed the stories in the mid-1970s that became known to Guardian readers as the PG&E/Raker Act scandal.

Pete died Feb. 28 in Everett, Washington.

In story after story, Pete laid out the scandal that the local media had buried for generations: how PG&E had in effect stolen San Francisco’s electrical power supply from the Hetch Hetchy dam in violation of the public power mandates of the federal Raker Act of 1913. The act allowed the city an unprecedented concession, to build a dam in a national park (Yosemite), on condition that the city have a public water and public power system. Pete detailed how PG&E used its corporate and political muscle to keep the cheap, green, hydro power from city residents and businesses and instead forced them to buy PG&E’s expensive private power, at a cost through the years of billions of dollars. Read more »

Gascon's conflict

The police chief is, in effect, investigating his own operation


EDITORIAL There's a good reason that not too many police chiefs become district attorneys. Obviously, not a lot of cops have law degrees, but it goes beyond that. The district attorney is supposed to monitor the police, to investigate criminal behavior by cops, to make sure the people out on the streets aren't doing anything that will screw up cases in court.Read more »

Malasadas: Today at Goat Hill pizza


Phil Andrade, proprietor of Goat Hill Pizza on Potrero Hill, popped up this morning at the monthly meeting of the Potrero Hill Merchants Association with a special  treat for the august assembly: a plate of wondrous malasadas. He is offering the malasadas as a Goat Hill special at two for $l all day today (Tuesday, March 8) or until the supply runs out.  I had two this morning, hot and smothered with powdered sugar and Phil's Portuguese blarney. They were wonderful and I am heading back for more.

When I arrived at Goat Hill, Phil was in his white chef's outfit,  breaking eggs and ladling them into a big bowl as a crucial first step.He explained the marsalada came from a recipe of his mother, who waa Portugese and  came from the province that originated theconfection. The marsalada  was produced on the Tuesday before Lent, which is why the day is called Fat Tuesday.  After Tuesday and a fill of marsaladas, the idea was to fast during Lent, Phil said.

My recommendation: let's lobby Phil to make the marsalada on a regular basis all the year round.  And thus contribute to the real "taste of Potrero Hill."

Goat Hill Pizza, 300 Connecticut St, halfway up Potrero Hill.  Read more »