Steven T. Jones

Lucifer is such a drag

'The Weirdness' is Faust in the Information Age, with a strong dose of ironic detachment

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steve@sfbg.com

LIT In this workaday world we live in, it's good to inject a little weirdness. Mix in moments of the metaphysical and dabs of the divine into our banal, everyday existence. And you can start by grabbing a copy of The Weirdness (Melville House, 288 pp., $16.95) and letting novelist Jeremy P. Bushnell do it for you.Read more »

Save the world, work less

With climate change threatening life as we know it, perhaps it's time to revive the forgotten goal of spending less time on our jobs

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steve@sfbg.com

Save the world, work less. That dual proposition should have universal appeal in any sane society. And those two ideas are inextricably linked by the realities of global climate change because there is a direct connection between economic activity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Simply put, every hour of work we do cooks the planet and its sensitive ecosystems a little bit more, and going home to relax and enjoy some leisure time is like taking this boiling pot of water off the burner.Read more »

Chiu introduces legislation to regulate Airbnb and short-term housing rentals UPDATED

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After more than a year in development, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is introducting legislation today to legalize and regulate the short-term housing rentals facilitated by Airbnb and other online companies. But the legislation won’t address all the concerns of Airbnb’s critics — from landlords to tenants to labor to neighborhood associations — and it’s unclear why it took so long to develop.Read more »

Airbnb comes clean with San Francisco

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Airbnb came clean this evening, sending out new terms of service drafted April 7 that customers must agree to before conducting further business starting April 30. Read more »

Leno's Ellis Act reform bill clears first legislative hurdle

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Sen. Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 — which would protect rent-controlled housing in San Francisco by amending the Ellis Act, including making property owners wait at least five years after buying a property to evict tenants under the act — cleared its first legislative hurdle today.

The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed the measure on a 6-4 vote, and it heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The bill has strong support in San Francisco, from progressive constituencies through Mayor Ed Lee to support by leaders in the business community and tech world.Read more »

Yee and others indicted by federal grand jury, reinforcing criminal complaint

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A federal grand jury has indicted Sen. Leland Yee and 28 others on charges similar to those issued in the bombshell criminal complaint by the FBI last week, the Sacramento Bee is reporting. The indictment named three additional defendants who weren’t in the original complaint: Barry Blackwell House (aka Barry Black), Zhanghao Wu, and Ton Zao Zhang.Read more »

Federal criminal indictment of PG&E doesn't go far enough

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  A federal grand jury in San Francisco yesterday issued a criminal indictment against Pacific Gas & Electric for negligence in the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed an entire neighborhood. That’s significant and serious, but it also falls far short of what this rapacious company and its conniving executives -- none of whom face personal criminal charges -- should be facing.Read more »

Will Airbnb pay its accumulated tax debt to SF?

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So now that Airbnb has agreed to start collecting and paying the transient occupany tax in San Francisco sometime this summer — finally acknowledging that’s the only workable way to meet the tax obligation it shares with its hosts — that leaves open the question of whether this $10 billion corporation intends to pay the tax debt it has accumulated for years while trying to duck its respon Read more »

Crime and politics

How an FBI probe of organized crime in Chinatown took down a senator and well-connected political consultant

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steve@sfbg.com

San Franciscans awoke March 26 to the surprising news that state Sen. Leland Yee (D-SF) had been arrested on federal corruption charges as part of early morning police raids targeting an organized crime syndicate based in Chinatown, along with reputed gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and two dozen others.Read more »

Airbnb finally agrees to pay its taxes in SF

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Airbnb has apparently finally agreed to pay its taxes in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the company, long called out by Guardian articles and editorials as a tax scofflaw blatantly defying a city ruling, will start collecting and remitting the 15 percent transient occupancy tax by this summer. Read more »