Tom Ammiano

Soda tax is social justice issue

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Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org, John.Avalos@sfgov.orgtom@tomammiano.com

OPINION

We are fighting for a soda tax because public health leaders have sounded the alarm that sugary drinks are a serious threat to our public health. Now is the time to get the word out about the latest facts that tell the story.Read more »

Milk's real legacy

Forty years later, people are still telling Harvey he's too "divisive."

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OPINION Ever since Supervisor David Campos announced his proposal to add Harvey Milk's name to SFO, there's been an unending string of criticism — mostly from one source — that has an eerily familiar ring to it.

We heard it years ago when we tried to change the name of Douglas School in the Castro to Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy. Believe it or not, it took seven years before the School Board finally voted for the name change — and there was still bitterness. This was a school in Harvey's neighborhood that Harvey personally helped when he was alive.Read more »

No Oscar for the guv's budget

Liked Les Miz? There's another good cry to be had looking at Jerry Brown's numbers

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OPINION Given that Gov. Jerry Brown put out his proposed budget the same day that Oscar nominations came out, it's tempting to make some comparisons.

Brown's budget, like the nominated musical "Les Misérables," has plenty of numbers, and will make some people cry.

But I take the new budget seriously, the same as every budget I've seen since I got to Sacramento. Unlike most of the recent budgets, this one doesn't feature a big deficit. Give the Governor some credit for that, but let's look at how he's done it. Not all of it is pretty.Read more »

End the health-care scam

Businesses charge a health-care surcharge then keep the money for profit.

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OPINION Last year, after receiving data from San Francisco, the Wall Street Journal reported on an investigation into the use of health reimbursement accounts by several local restaurants. It showed a group of employers evading the city's health care law while charging their customers a "Healthy San Francisco" surcharge that is never actually spent on employees' health care.

Rather than providing health coverage to their workers, as customers are led to believe, the restaurants are allocating funds for HRAs — and taking back the funds before they can be used.Read more »

End the healthcare scam

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OPINION Last year, after receiving data from San Francisco, the Wall Street Journal reported on an investigation into the use of health reimbursement accounts by several local restaurants. It showed a group of employers evading the city's health care law while charging their customers a "Healthy San Francisco" surcharge that is never actually spent on employees' health care.

Rather than providing health coverage to their workers, as customers are led to believe, the restaurants are allocating funds for HRAs — and taking back the funds before they can be used.Read more »

Stop downtown's attack on RCV

 

Voters in the runoffs were overwhelmingly whiter, older and more conservative than the city as a whole

 

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OPINION The long-time foes of political reform at the Chamber of Commerce and San Francisco Chronicle have launched an effort to repeal ranked choice voting (RCV) and public financing of campaigns. Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell have introduced a June 2012 charter amendment to repeal RCV, with public financing also in their crosshairs.Read more »

Let's get budget priorities straight

It's time for our representatives in Washington to put an end to this disastrous war
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OPINION Who will pay for California's budget woes? For the last three years, Californians have put up with cuts to programs that are critical to our state's future and our social safety net. Public education, HIV and AIDS programs, state universities, and CalWORKs have all come under the knife. The elephant in the room, as state and federal governments try to balance budgets on the backs of the working and middle class, is the billions of dollars we are wasting on a misguided war in Afghanistan.Read more »

Prop. B is bad medicine

You wouldn't know Prop. B has anything to do with children's health care — because proponents don't want you to know the true costs
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OPINION Proposition B on the November ballot would eviscerate health care for tens of thousands of public workers and their families. It would double the cost of children's health care for more than 30,000 public employees including teachers, nurses, firefighters, custodians, and gardeners — regardless of their ability to pay. Read more »

Save the Rainy Day Fund

It is important to understand that the city's fiscal woes are a combination of cyclical and structural problems
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The scope of the economic challenges facing the country is overwhelming. We all hope that the new stimulus package proposed by the Obama administration, coupled with the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector, will revive our economy. Read more »

The truth about shelters

San Francisco needs to become the leader in inventive, forward-thinking homeless policy
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OPINION The San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius wrote an opinion column Oct. 18, titled "City's Homeless Shelters Clean, Safe but Shunned When It's Dry," implying that the conditions throughout the San Francisco shelter system are uniformly in perfect order and that individuals experiencing homelessness are living on the street by choice. The facts, however, tell of a much different reality and of a shelter system that lacks a basic standard of care.Read more »