Opinion

What union democracy means

Nobody has more at stake in SEIU than the members who pay the bills and whose wages, benefits, and working conditions are being negotiated
|
()

OPINION The troubles in the Service Employees International Union, and within SEIU Local 1021 in San Francisco, share a similar theme. How much do individual locals direct their work in the face of the international's set agenda? And more important, how do union members themselves direct the vision, use of resources, and work of both their local and international union? What is union democracy and how is it made real?Read more »

Play, don't spray

LBAM aerial spraying is expensive, outdated, unsustainable, and -- ultimately -- likely to be unsuccessful.
|
()

OPINION On Aug. 1, 2008, the California Department of Food and Agriculture plans to spray the San Francisco Bay Area from the air with a time-released pesticide in an effort to wipe out the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM). There will be continuous spraying every 30 to 90 days for the next two to 10 years. We can't leave town for the weekend and come back when it's clear; there will be no "all-clear" to come home to. Read more »

Chop from the top

You might expect that when the mayor proposes an "across the board" budget cut from city departments, almost any position in city government would be on the table.
|
()

OPINION San Francisco officials released two very different documents last week. The first was a list of the 596 city employees making $150,000 a year or more in base salary. Read more »

My grandson looks like Barack Obama

We're a multiracial society and should stop listening to reactionary voices
|
()

OPINION He really does. I was sitting and reading (that's what I do most of the time) and I came across a picture supplied by Obama's half-sister (who is half-Indonesian) of their mom and Barack at around two years of age. I was struck by the similarities between young Barack (taken some 44 years ago) and my grandson, Wesley, who is two and multi-racial — the new zeitgeist.

Kamala Harris is multiracial. Elaine Santore is multiracial. So is my granddaughter, Tandiwe. And Tiger Woods. And Derek Jeter. Read more »

A deadly Clinton legacy

It's hard to believe that Clinton was unaware of the humanitarian crisis when she voted to continue the use of cluster bombs
|
()

OPINION In her autobiography Living History (Simon and Schuster, 2003), Sen. Hillary Clinton portrays herself as an advocate for children, a defender of women and human rights. In fact, the Clintons have a long history of sacrificing the rights — and even the lives — of children for political expediency. It is time to set the record straight.

On Sept. 6, 2006, a Senate bill — a simple amendment to ban the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas — presented Sen. Read more »

Love and hate and the black cripple

Poetry from POOR Magazine contest winners
|
()

OPINION Editors note: I don't usually run poetry here, but we cosponsored the Valentine's Day "Battle of (All) the Sexes" poetry fundraiser for POOR Magazine, one of my favorite institutions — and tiny, who runs POOR, convinced me to publish the winning poems. You can get more info at www.poormagazine.org. Read more »

Health care paradoxes

As public health nurses, we implore our elected officials to protect the most vulnerable while making difficult decisions
|
()

OPINION What does homicide in the Western Addition have to do with the closure of the worker's compensation clinic at San Francisco General Hospital? How does a mobile methadone-treatment van affect the broader public health of San Francisco?

These are just two of the questions that University of San Francisco nursing students are asking while San Francisco residents face a public health and safety crisis.

Public health and safety are both affected by economic conditions. Read more »

Prince Harry and the Bush twins

There is a certain moral authority to governing that escapes both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
|
()

The breaking news about 23-year-old Prince Harry secretly being deployed in Afghanistan as a battlefield air controller created a public sensation in Britain. It also resulted in the quick return home of the prince - third in line to the British throne - for security reasons.

The episode pointed to the British tradition of expecting the sons of British kings and queens to enter military service when their country is at war. Read more »

Newsom's woman problem

We can't afford to lose more good women in power, or let the few that remain be silenced into inaction
|
()

OPINION Be nice, wait your turn, pay your dues, your time will come.

This is the "guidance" given to women in politics, and many of us have bided our time and paid our share of dues. But what happens when our time comes, and we speak out for what we believe in? We are called pushy, mean, controlling, or cold. And worse — we are stripped of our positions.

In the last month, four of the most respected women in city government have been removed from their posts:Read more »

Milked

Some gay people are so anxious to participate in their own cultural erasure
|
()

OPINION It seems that everyone, from current politicians to former friends and lovers of Harvey Milk, is scrambling to serve as a spokesperson for the new Hollywood movie about the life of Milk, the first openly gay elected official in a major United States city.

Milk joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, only to be assassinated (along with then-mayor George Moscone) one year later by Dan White, another member of the board.

Cleve Jones, who worked as a student intern in Milk's City Hall office (and later started the AIDS Memorial Quilt), is now serving as a con Read more »