California

ACORN did not commit voter registration violations

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One of the craziest aspects of the whole ACORN saga has been how rightwing lies about the organization have been repeated so often that they have come to replace the truth in most people's minds.

For instance, according to the Office of California Attorney General Jerry Brown, there are no reports of votes that were cast fraudulently, thanks to anything ACORN did. Read more »

The pot initiative's going to win

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It seems pretty clear to me that, with polls showing widespread support and money pouring in for the campaign, the initiative to legalize pot in California is going to pass. Read more »

Lawsuit could expose SFPD-ABC collaboration

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Imminent legal actions against San Francisco, its Police Department, and the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control could reveal whether a pair of undercover agents went rogue in harassing nightclubs and aggressively busting parties or whether they were acting at the direction of top officials.

Attorney Mark Webb – whose work on a racketeering lawsuit against the policing agencies was the subject of cover stories in the Guardian and the SF Weekly – told us that on Monday, he plans to file that racketeering claim against the city (which will then become a lawsuit if the city rejects it, as it routinely does) and a related lawsuit in Superior Court involving the rough, unnecessary arrest of bartender Javier Magallon and harassment of Mike Quan, owner of The Room, Playbar, and Mist. Narrated surveillance video associated with the case was posted on YouTube yesterday. Read more »

Hank Plante's exit interview

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Hank Plante ends a three-decade run as a political journalist with tonight’s (March 24) broadcast of the CBS 5 Eyewitness News, where he has worked since 1986 after starting his career with newspapers in Washington DC. So we took the occasion to talk politics with him, learning that his loyalties lie downtown.Read more »

In the wake of March 4, education battles continue

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Two weeks after protests against cuts to education filled Bay Area streets (and one freeway) on March 4, employees in the public-education sector are still engaged in a fight against budgetary rollbacks. But it’s an uphill battle, as was made clear at a briefing organized by United Educators of San Francisco at City College of San Francisco March 18.

At El Dorado Elementary School in the Bayview, 11 of 15 teachers were issued pink slips, according to elementary school teacher Megan Caluza (featured in the video above). While this doesn’t mean all 11 teachers are on their way out the door, it does mean that none of them knows for sure whether there’s a guaranteed job in the school district in the coming year. Since the budget cuts hit, Caluza says she’s been spending just as much time “fighting to teach” as she has in the actual classroom. Read more »

Prop 17 discourages going car-free

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Efforts to encourage car-sharing and ways of getting around that don’t involve owning a car would be undermined by Proposition 17, a June ballot measure that I wrote about in this week’s cover story. While I didn’t mention that impact in the story, it is of real concern to people like me who don’t own cars and encourage others to try the car-free lifestyle on for size.Read more »

Willie Brown to speak in favor of Prop 16 tomorrow

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A public forum will be held tomorrow at the California Public Utilities Commission to discuss Proposition 16, the ballot initiative that PG&E is bankrolling in order to require a two-thirds majority vote before any municipality can become an electricity provider.

The Guardian has received word that former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown will be speaking in support of Prop. 16. We initially heard that he would be speaking on behalf of the California Chamber of Commerce, so we placed a call with the COC to verify whether that was the case. That prompted Robin Swanson, spokesperson for the Yes on 16 Campaign, to call and clarify that Brown is speaking on his own behalf. “He’s just speaking in support of Prop 16,” she said, speculating that maybe he was interested in the issue due to his own experience in local government.

Willie Brown formerly worked for PG&E providing “consulting services,” according to a 2007 annual report. Read more »

Steve Poizner is scary!

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I knew that Republicans have gotten pretty loony these days, but gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner was downright scary in his debate with Meg Whitman yesterday, threatening to create racial unrest and bankrupt the state in the name of being more conservative-than-thou.Read more »

Homeowners for Prop. 13 reform

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The Chron’s headline says “most want cuts, not taxes, to fix state budget.” The story cites a new Field poll, and the Chron’s not the only paper to spin it that way. The Sacramento Bee also claims that the poll shows widespread support for cuts instead of taxes.Read more »

Jerry Brown and the Rose Bird factor

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Jerry Brown hadn’t even formally announced that he was running for governor when the San Francisco Chronicle brought up the name of Rose Bird.

It’s fine to talk about where Brown is vulnerable, and there’s no shortage of material. The guy has a long public record; anyone who served two terms as governor in the 1970s and early 1980s, and two terms as mayor of Oakland, and one term as chair of the state Democratic Party, and did a couple of years as a KPFA talk show host, is going to have baggage. He’s also got a wealth of experience.

But the Rose Bird stuff is a cheap shot.

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