Opinion

SF's foreclosure crisis

Kicking people out of their homes is costing the city $42 million 

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OPINION Foreclosures are still ravaging San Francisco neighborhoods.

As steward of the city's property roll and head of the department that appraises every home in San Francisco, I see every day the toll the mortgage crisis is having on real estate values and the city budget.

Thousands of Notices of Default have been filed with my office in the last few years, and every Monday there's a vivid reminder San Francisco is far from out of the woods on foreclosures as homes are auctioned off on the steps of City Hall.Read more »

Standing up for Troy Davis

Sometimes the best way to take action is to just open your mouth 

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news@sfbg.com

OPINION We were all standing there in different states of hegemony — some of us bought in to the lie of security and police, believing we had done wrong or fucked up and some of us not. It was Wednesday, September 21, the day of the state-sponsored legal lynching of Troy Anthony Davis, and there were easily 210 of us standing in a line snaking out of the building. We were in the Cop Store the Police Bank, the building known simply as the Hall of (In)Justice, 850 Bryant.Read more »

A case for Avalos, Yee and Dufty

An SEIU 1021 political organizer explains his union's ranked choices

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OPINION Like all of us, SEIU 1021 can take three dates to the prom when it comes to voting for mayor, but narrowing it down in a field of so many candidates was still challenging. After a month-long process, we arrived at a dual endorsement of Supervisor John Avalos and State Senator Leland Yee for first and second choice, and Supervisor Bevan Dufty for our third choice.

It's a diverse slate, and the choices are representative of the constituencies, perspectives and priorities in our membership.Read more »

Central Subway: justice and jobs

The core costs for the Central Subway have not changed since 2008, when it was approved with broad support

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OPINION The Central Subway is a result of years of grassroots environmental transit justice organizing that San Francisco should be proud of. But in recent weeks, politicos and the media have stirred up a string of unfounded criticisms of the Central Subway — an essential project that will upgrade transit for the long term, create thousands of jobs in the midst of a recession, and expand opportunity for tens of thousands of San Franciscans who need to get to work everyday. Read more »

Fresh and Easy displacement

Bayview's new grocery store has little to offer working class families

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OPINION You could cut the hate with a knife. All eyes were on my fumbling fingers, unable to sign my WIC coupons fast enough with one hand while holding my 13-month-old son with the other. "Somebody's using welfare checks to pay for their food," A 20 something man in a polo shirt shouted into his phone next to me.Read more »

The mess at Lake Merced

The ongoing litany of mismanagement and fiscal imprudence is unacceptable
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By Jerry Cadagan

OPINION Lake Merced is a San Francisco jewel that for years has suffered from the benign neglect of the city. Here are some facts:

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is the owner of the lake and surrounding land. In 1950, the SFPUC made a major mistake in delegating to the Recreation and Park Department vague authority for recreation at the lake. Under the City Charter, Lake Merced is not a park that would ordinarily be handled by RPD.Read more »

Hetch Hetchy: Two visions

Public power versus the environment? The debate continues over last week's cover story

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Editors note: We received two interesting commentaries on our Hetch Hetchy cover story ("Damn the Dam," 8/10/2011). They appear below, offering very different perspectives on the issue.


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You can't trust Ethics

Prop. F has some serious problems, incvluding allowing the Ethics Comnission to change law at will

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By Larry Bush

OPINION Proposition F, a measure on the November ballot, is supposed to clean up some provisions of the law that requires political consultants to register and make disclosures about their clients and their work. It was approved by all 11 supervisors.

But Prop. F has some serious problems. For starters, it grants authority to the Ethics Commission to make any other changes it wants in the law.

As the Voter Handbook says:Read more »

View from the middle

One San Franciscan's letter to Ed Lee

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OPINION Editor's Note: Between the well-funded, politically connected campaign pushing Ed Lee to run for mayor and the high-profile critics who say he should keep his word and step down, it's hard to tell how the average city resident feels. So to reflect that perspective, we're reprinting a letter that was sent to Lee on July 29.

Dear Mayor Lee,Read more »

is Rec-Park really broke?

Nobody seems to be checking the figures on the department's sad-sweet story

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By David Looman

OPINION The senior staffers at the Recreation and Park Department routinely cry that the department is poor and going broke. Is it possible they are lying?

Conspicuously lacking in discussions of Rec-Park funding is any kind of hard data about how well or poorly San Francisco Rec-Park is really funded. Whether it's the mainstream media, the alternative press, or our elected representatives on the Board of Supervisors, nobody seems to know how our park system compares with other park systems in California or the U.S.Read more »