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Candidates running in District 10 debate the myriad problems facing southeast San Francisco

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weekcoverPOT OLYMPICS: Weed-smoking pro athletes blow smoke at lazy pothead streotypes. Plus: Supervisor candidates tackle gun violence in the Bayview, Mezcal becomes a victim of its own popularity, and our Best of the Bay Readers Poll is here. Articles Online | Digital Edition | VOTE FOR BEST OF THE BAY

From the Blogs

Government shutdown puts thousands of SF veterans' benefits at risk

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More than 7,000 employees in Veterans Benefits Administration offices nationwide were furloughed today (Tues/8), the newest casualty of the federal government shutdown.

As the Republicans in Washington hold the nation hostage over President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, federal employees are leaving their offices in droves. Now the veterans who rely on the federal government for healthcare and education checks have nothing to do but wait on word of their uncertain futures. 

The furlough of veterans benefits workers comes at an especially awful time as they struggle to meet an enormous backlog of health benefit claims, revealed this year by the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting.

“VA’s ability to make significant progress reducing the disability claims backlog is hampered without the increased productivity gained from overtime for claims processors,” the Veterans Benefits Administration said in a statement released today. The agency has reduced the disability claims backlog by more than 190,000 claims over the last six months, it wrote.  

But even worse, it said that if the government shutdown persists into late October there would be no funding available to supply veterans with their November support checks -- money many rely on for rent and food.

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Cyclists testify to SFPD bias as supervisors call for reforms

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The cyclists of San Francisco were angry. Sup. Jane Kim was skeptical. Sup. Scott Wiener was unconvinced. Sup. Eric Mar said bikers were "pissed." Deputy Chief of Police Mike Biel said he was too, but his anger could have just as easily been attributed to the 35 minutes he spent at the stand, acting as a whipping post for frustrations with the SFPD, as it could be to the department's mistreatment of San Francisco cyclists.

Either way, the cyclists ruled the day.

During Thursday's (10/3) Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee, Sup. David Campos called for a joint Board of Supervisors-Police Commission hearing regarding SFPD investigation protocol for bike accidents, but no immediate timetable has been set for the matter.

Without Police Chief Greg Suhr in attendance — his chiefly presence was required "reading to the children," as Biel noted multiple times — Biel was left to stand solo in front of both frustrated supervisors and an incensed public.

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BART negotiations continue as unions withhold strike threat UPDATED

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With the 60-day cooling off period ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown coming to an end on Thursday, raising the specter of another Bay Area Rapid Transit shutdown, BART’s two main unions announced yesterday that they were holding off on calling a strike for now. [UPDATE 10/11: BART unions today issued a 72-hour strike notice, meaning they could strike on Monday].Read more »

The Performant: Up, up and away

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It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman flies again.
 
It’s been 75 years since Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster began developing their most enduring creation, Superman, a character who would go on to change the shape of pop culture forever. The first bona-fide comic book superhero, the spandex-clad refugee from outer space inspired whole universes of imitators, each more improbable and yet strangely influential than the next, and our collective fascination for the modern pantheons of nigh-invincible beings remains virtually unabated, as one glance at a list of blockbuster movies starring caped crusaders and misunderstood mutants can attest.

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Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week

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Have you recovered from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass/the Castro Street Fair yet? Can you believe how hot and sticky San Francisco was last weekend? Do you need more salted caramel liquid nitrogen ice cream? These are all rhetorical questions. It’s time to move on, because this week Fuck Buttons are in town, as are the Babies, King Khan and the Shrines, rapper Le1f (at a arcade themed dance party, no less), and Andrew W.K. singing classic Ramones songs with drummer Marky Ramone.  Read more »

Ain't nobody who can sing -- or bring the progressive fire -- like Billy Bragg

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During his set yesterday at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, iconic British singer/songwriter Billy Bragg said he doesn’t understand why he was booked for an event devoted to Americana, although he did note that it was Brits like the Beatles and Rolling Stones that first popularized African American roots music for white Americans.Read more »

Chess-in defies SFPD crackdown

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By Christina Aanestad

More than 50 people crowded Market Street with tables, chairs, chess and other board games Sunday for a "Chess-in," a response to the San Francisco Police Department's closure of a decades-long San Francisco tradition of sidewalk chess.

"We had no say in the decision,” said Marvin Boykins, a 35 year veteran chess player.Read more »

555 Fulton project moves forward with exemption to formula retail ban

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The San Francisco Planning Commission yesterday approved a plan to build a mixed-use five-story building on the hotly debated 555 Fulton St. property. The plan includes a grocery store measuring 32,400 square feet in addition to 139 apartments and townhouses that would be built above and around the designated shopping area.Read more »

Airbnb makes small admission on tax issue, saying its hosts should pay

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Under pressure in San Francisco and New York City for violating local tenant and land use laws and refusing to pay local taxes, Airbnb has finally acknowledged that transient occupany taxes apply to the room rentals it facilitates. But the company still hasn’t taken any public steps to collect the tax, nor has it admitted that it shares this tax debt with its hosts.Read more »

'Gravity,' Mill Valley, and everything else: new movies

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The 36th Mill Valley Film Festival opened last night and runs through Oct. 13, filling the North Bay's travel-worthy venues (the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center is the main one) with must-see films. Check out our recs here, and read on for short takes on Hollywood's offerings, including the season's must-see sci-fi film. Read more »

Party Radar: Tiara Sensation Pageant, Body and Soul, Peter Kruder, Castro Street Fair, Octo Octa, more

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According to recent findings, it would take 4.85×10(15) years to teleport a complete human at 30GHz. That's 350,000 times longer than the universe has existed. And almost as long as the clothes check line at the Powerhouse. 

How will I ever get to all these parties???

Darn you, science. I'm guessing I'll still at least have one or two out of body experiences at the following, howevs.

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TIFF diary #9: this is 'The End'

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Every time I told people that Lav Diaz's Norte, the End of History (Philippines) was my favorite film of this year's Toronto International Film Festival, I would watch their eyes glaze over and their body start shifting as if to say, "Yes ... but what else?" Read more »

Chain store ban and affordable groceries at issue in 555 Fulton debate UPDATED

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UPDATED San Francisco's resistance to formula retail stores will be put to the test tomorrow (Thu/3), when the San Francisco Planning Commission will vote on the 555 Fulton St. project.

The project — a five-story, 136-unit residential building with a ground-floor supermarket, complete with up to 275 total parking spaces— has been bobbing in purgatory since 2010, when developers were stalled by the withering economy.Read more »

Alleged Silk Road owner busted in San Francisco

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The government may have shut down, but that didn’t stop the feds from arresting Ross William Ulbricht, allegedly the owner of the Silk Road, an underground website that allows users to buy and sell drugs and other illicit items anonymously. The FBI also seized the equivalent of more than $3 million in Bitcoin, the cryptographic alternate currency used to make Silk Road transactions.Read more »

The Performant: I’m With the Banned

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Since practically every single calendar day of the year has been appropriated by some cause or another (in this month alone we celebrated Labor Day, Patriot Day, National IPA Day, National Seat Check Day, World Rabies Day, and National Grandparents Day, to say nothing of Suicide Prevention Week, Constitution Week, and National Emergency Preparedness Week), it can be hard to keep them all straight. But one week that stands out, at least for myself is Banned Books Week (Sept 22-28), a 30 year-old tradition spearheaded by the American Library Association.

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