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Party people, watch out: undercover cop Larry Bertrand has declared war on San Francisco nightlife

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The War on Fun, sit-lie street view, chillwave, Hood Internet, Jack Cardiff, "Truce," more

From the Blogs

Noise Pop 2010: Yoko Ono and Deerhoof at the Fox

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Noise Pop -- the quality sounds and sonic surprises always amaze, no matter how few or many shows you catch.

I didn’t get to gawk at as much as I’d like, considering I was suffering from a bad case of the sniffles. Still, Yoko Ono, live with the Plastic Ono Band on Feb. 23 at Fox Theater, was nothing to sniff at.

Deerhoof opened with a softer, more subdued set than usual. The Bay Area faves seemed a mite overwhelmed by the big room and opulent surroundings: drummer-founder Greg Saunier said as much as he pondered how “pretty” the venue is. Nevertheless the combo quickly gained steam and confidence, as Satomi Matsuzaki twirled, danced, and gestured on the side of the stage and the entire group switched instruments and uncharacteristically tackled a few covers (the Ramones’ “Pinhead” and Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country,” the latter dovetailing perfectly with Saunier’s ethereal falsetto). I like my Deerhoof louder, in a more intimate venue, but the band was the perfect choice to prep the audience for Ono. Read more »

Live Shots: Zee Avi, Rickshaw Stop, 2/25/10

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For the 3rd night of the SF Noise Pop festival, three bands shared the stage with Zee Avi at Rickshaw Stop. Noise Pop is such a marathon of music, with each band rushing on stage, setting up their equipment, rocking out for about eight songs and moving aside to make room for the subsequent performers. Luckily through all this movement and music, each group really held their own and the audience kept begging for encores that were never possible. Read more »

Bill Bennett, the only public official in California to take on PG&E

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William Morgan Bennett, 1918-2010

On the front page of the Guardian of Oct. 19, 1988, we ran a big picture of Bill Bennett with a caption that read: "Bill Bennett, the only public official in California to take on PG&E."

The reason we featured Bennett was because the California Public Utilities Commission was poised to make yet another multi-billion giveaway to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

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Chatting with "The Yellow Handkerchief" star Eddie Redmayne

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English actor and model Eddie Redmayne isn’t yet a household name, but he’s achieved rising star status with a string of much lauded roles in indie and mainstream films. After playing Edward Wilson, Jr. in The Good Shepherd (2006) and murderous son Tony in Savage Grace (2007), he returns to American film as colorful outcast Gordy in The Yellow Handkerchief. I spoke to Redmayne about getting a handle on his strange character, which meant doing road trip research and adopting a Southern drawl.

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It's so easy to go after public employees

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The always-insightful Robert Cruickshank has a fascinating piece on Calitics today talking about the investigative reports showing that some state employees save up all their vacation time and get big payouts when they retire. It's true that some state workers walk away with upwards of $100,000, and it's true that it pisses people off, and it's true that there probably ought to be some reforms that limit the amount of vacation time you can save and cash in.Read more »

SEIU members oust the old guard

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In a stunning repudiation of the union leadership installed by Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern – whose autocratic style, aggressive expansion, and friendly relationships with big employers has caused a rift in the national labor movement – members of SEIU Local 1021 have voted overwhelmingly for a reform slate of new leaders.Read more »

Bombers kick off derby days with home opener

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Perhaps the snarling theatrics of Whip It have rubbed off on yours truly, but I think it’s no stretch to say that the upcoming bout between the Bay Bombers and the Brooklyn Red Devils (Sat/6, Kezar Stadium) will not only be a showdown between east and west, but also a fight between good and evil. This is co-ed roller derby at its most epic. Why? Your ignorance is regrettable, but forgiven. Let me brief you on the history that has lead up to this momentous event.

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The Chronicle's dishonest hit on district elections

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The move to get rid of district elections – which is based entirely on the fact that big business and more conservative voices (including the Chron) don’t like the progressive policy positions of the current board – is now well under way. The Chron devoted its Insight section to the issue Feb. Read more »

Marching on Sacramento

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Angry parents, hundreds of them, met in Marina Middle School to demand an end to cuts in education.

Angry Muni riders, hundreds of them, jammed City Hall to oppose Muni fare hikes and service cuts.

Angry students from the University of California -- thousands of them -- will hold a huge event March 4th to push for better education funding and lower fees.

There’s something going on here -- because in every case, grassroots activists in huge numbers (numbers that dwarf the so-called Tea Party events) want to force the state of California to change its budget priorities. And they are starting to talk seriously about taxes.

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PG&E’s laughable Prop 16: Who needs friends when you’ve got $35 million?

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Last month, when the Guardian sent an intern to cover a debate between Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesperson David Townsend and California Sen. Mark Leno, the reporter was ejected from the event at Townsend’s request.

I figured I’d be immune from such nonsense when I ventured to the state capitol yesterday for a joint informational hearing about Proposition 16, the ballot initiative that PG&E has bankrolled for the June ballot for the purpose of extinguishing competition in its service territory. The initiative would establish a two-thirds majority vote before any municipal electricity program could get up and running, and its sole sponsor is PG&E.

But just after I snapped a photo of Sen. Mark Leno and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano chuckling sardonically at a PG&E executive who had mistakenly referred to the ballot initiative as “Prop 13,” a guard swooped in and ordered me to stop photographing and turn off my voice recorder. Read more »

Concerns raised about City College-Foundation pact

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By Jobert Poblete

At its meeting yesterday, the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees discussed a new draft agreement with its fundraising arm, the Foundation of City College of San Francisco. As reported in this week’s Guardian, the foundation is seeking greater autonomy from the college. The CCSF trustees limited their discussion to proposed changes to the draft agreement, but a final decision may be reached as early as next month in advance of the foundation board's March 16 meeting.Read more »

Who cares about SF's (black and brown) prisoners? Part 2

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Eileen Hirst of the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office just sent me statistics that prove that the majority of folks sitting in our county jails are black men awaiting trial -- statistics that underscore the extent to which the “let’s not rebuild the prison” debate really is racially tinged:

“On any given day, we have about 2000 to 2100 people in custody,” Hirst said, noting that the two jails at the center of the debate only house male prisoners. Read more »

Lucky 7: Listening in on the Strange Boys

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The Strange Boys (playing at the Elbo Room on Sat/27) are as brave and cocky as their music would suggest, an obvious product of the southern state they call home. Hailing from Austin, Texas, their “don’t mess” attitude harmonizes perfectly with wailing garage rock and humid twang. Ryan Sambol’s nasally vocals remind me of a young Bob Dylan and complement the band’s '60s sound. 

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Let's all read Sand Paper

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Charmingly disheveled Adobe Books, strung as it is on the alcoholic's crucifix known as the cross-section of 16th and Valencia, has become a beloved sanctuary for readers, drunkards, and occasionally homeless individuals alike. I always look forward to Adobe Books' events because you can never predict who among the circus just outside will enter and join the fun. Not many bookstores on this dry earth permit customers to imbibe openly from brown bags of Colt 45 during poetry readings. Adobe Books' Dickensian squalor places it fondly in my heart even as its floorboards sink beneath the weight of dusty overladen bookshelves -- and when the smell of stale beer and, somehow, cats, forces me to breathe through my mouth while I peruse.

On Monday, March 1, Adobe Books will host the San Francisco launch party of three new books from Sand Paper Press. It'll be worth holding my nose to dive in.

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Transit activists swarm City Hall

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Hundreds of transit supporters, angrily opposed to the package of Muni fare hikes and service cuts proposed to close a $16.9 million mid-year budget deficit, are now packed into City Hall demanding equity and justice.

"I've never seen anything like this," Judson True, spokesperson for the SF Municipal Transportation Agency, told me as he surveyed the huge overflow crowd packed into South Light Court, watching the upstairs budget meeting on closed circuit television. "We should all get on buses and go to Sacramento. It's clear that grassroots organizing is alive and well in San Francisco."

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