Bruce Brugmann

No more San Brunos!


For decades, the Guardian has done story after story on PG&E's deteriorating service, terrible maintenance record, continuous stonewalling and coverups, emphasis -- not on safety -- but on jacking up executive salaries and putting tens of millions into fighting community choice aggregation in San Francisco and Marin, and on the granddaddy of monopoly moves (last year's Prop 16). The San Francisco Chronicle, to its immense credit, has come through with a series of stories laying out PG&E's virtually criminal behavior in the San Bruno pipeline explosion.

Now TURN, the consumer watchdog over utilities, is putting forth an excellent way to fight back with a  tough petition and spreading the word. TURN says, "PG&E charged its customers $5 million to fix a gas pipeline under San Bruno in 2009, but delayed the work citing other priorities. The company then spent $5 million on executive bonuses."

Take action to demand PG&E make customer safety its top priority, and pay for the costs of this tragedy with its own profits, not our pockets. Read more »

Editorial: New Mayor Ed Lee should stop the recycling eviction


Mayor Ed Lee needs to demonstrate, as we noted in last week's editorial, that he's making a clean break from the politics and policies of the Newsom administration and there are things he can do immediately to reassure San Franciscans that he's going to offer more than another 11 months of a failed administration.

He can start by calling off the eviction of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Recycling Center.

The move by Newsom to evict the recycling center, on the edge of Golden Gate Park, was part of his administration's war on the poor. It made no sense from a financial or environmental perspective. The center, which pays rent to the city, would be replaced by a community garden, which would pay nothing. The center creates green jobs that pay a living wage; all the workers would be laid off under Newsom's plan. The center also operates a native plant nursery and provides a drop-off recycling site for local businesses. Read more »

Elsbernd defends Lee (but ducks the Tapas)


Well, Sean didn't stop by for tapas at Que Syrah last night, but he did take the time to send me a long letter answering my questions about why he “mysteriously”  nominated CAO Ed Lee for interim mayor in Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

I appreciate the letter and it's to Sean's credit that this is his modus operandi with the Guardian (and others) in answering questions, even pesky ones.Read more »

Tapas with Sean: Some modest questions for a West Portal supervisor


Ever since the Brugmann family moved into the West Portal area in 1964 (with the help of local realtor John Barbagelata), I have been annoyed with the fact that many of our West of Twin Peaks supervisors prance around in their neighborhoods as “neighborhood supervisors,” then go to City Hall and vote to protect PG&E and vote the downtown/bigdeveloper/real estate line without blushing.Read more »

Fear the Beard in 2011


Have a lively New Year's Eve, a good weekend, and a great next year celebrating San Francisco values. And remember to fear the beard.

Meanwhile, Jean and I will be making our 25th annual New Year's Eve pilgrimage to Pompei's Grotto on Fisherman's Wharf. Pompei's is a gem of a family-owned Italian fish restaurant with Old World ambiance, red checkered table cloths, table lamps, splendid martinis and fresh-cracked dungeness crab. It's our favorite spot to start New Year's Eve. B3

EDITORIAL: Get out of the way, Mr. Mayor


 Let us begin with the obvious: Mayor Gavin Newsom has absolutely no business deciding who should replace him. His petulant statements suggesting that he will delay taking office as lieutenant governor until the supervisors pick a candidate he likes are an embarrassment to the city. If he actually refuses to take the oath of office Jan. 3, when his term in Sacramento begins, it will damage his reputation and political career.

Newsom knew when he decided to seek higher office that he'd be leaving the city early if he won. He knew that under the City Charter, the Board of Supervisors would choose a new mayor. He knew that a progressive majority on the board was likely to elect someone whose political views differ from his. If he didn't want that to happen, he should have stayed in town and finished his term. Read more »

Questions for the next mayor


 The progressives on the Board of Supervisors are a long way from united on a possible mayoral candidate, and if they can't come together, the person who finishes Gavin Newsom's term will be a compromise candidate, either a short-term caretaker (not the greatest option) or someone who's more in the moderate camp but a candidate the left can work with for 2011 and possibly four years after that.

We're glad to see the proposal by Sup. John Avalos to begin the mayoral selection process early. Picking a mayor in a mad scramble on the day Newsom steps down is a recipe for chaos and potentially a bad outcome. And as the process begins, the last thing the city needs is a mayor chosen through a backroom deal.

But it's entirely appropriate for progressive board members to set some standards and to ask the people who are angling for the job to make clear exactly what their positions would be on key policy issues.

In other words, anyone who wants to be the interim mayor and possibly mayor for the next five years or longer should have to answer, directly and without hedging, question like these: Read more »

Guardian: Endorsements for small business in San Francisco


Alas, this year some of the small business groups and leaders in San Francisco, such as the Small Business Advocates and Scott Hauge at Small Business California, once again came out with endorsements that were virtually identical with those of the downtown/Chamber of Commerce/PG&E/landlord/real estate gang. (See Guardian blogs.) Their candidates were, and the big downtown money went to, Steve Moss in District l0, Theresa Sparks in District 6, and Scott Wiener in District 8 and they all backed the Sit-Lie Ordinance and took identical positions on all the other local props. Read more »

Halloween 1951: Fast times in Rock Rapids, Iowa


The tale of what really happened on Halloween Eve in 1951 in Rock Rapids, Iowa

Steve Moss: The big duck goes on and on and on


And so you will remember, from my earlier blog (STEVE MOSS: THE BIG DUCK) that I asked Steve Moss some questions in the critical District 10 race. He answered but ducked the questions, so I put forth the relevant follow up questions. No answer at all. But the blog comments provide some interesting back and forth with Moss supporters and others in the district.  (Yes, I don't like anonymous comments and I always sign my comments as Bruce and B3.)

Moss told us in the Guardian endorsement interview that he fully supports more sunshine and accountability in non profits. So let's take him at his word on this one and raise again the questions he has been ducking. PG&E has invested millions of dollars over the past 10 years into Moss, his non profit (and by extension his for profit firm and the Potrero View, which he now owns and uses for his personal and political agenda.) Read more »