Opinion

Cleaning up FERC's mess

It is time for the Supreme Court to protect customers by enforcing the Federal Power Act as it was written by Congress
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OPINION In the late 1980s, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Charles Trabant warned that "the only thing that we have to fear is FERC itself." He was speaking about his agency's aggressive policy of preempting state regulatory powers — and undermining the rights of consumers — to encourage utility competition. Read more »

The governor's spending addiction

We need to finally have an honest conversation with the voters of California
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OPINION Just five months after boasting that California's "budget deficit is zero," Gov. Read more »

The way to honor Matthew Shepard

Our school system is structured with the implication of heterosexuality
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OPINION Nearly 10 years ago Matthew Shepard was crucified on a fence in Wyoming because he was gay. Recently a bill bearing his name failed to pass the United States Senate.

S 1105, the Matthew Shepard Act, would "provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes." Its supporters are still pushing for its passage, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants to see it approved early this year. Read more »

How to save the Housing Authority

City agencies that serve public housing residents are often unaware of the major issues at public housing developments
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OPINION After repeated media attention to the myriad problems at the San Francisco Housing Authority, Mayor Gavin Newsom asked the agency's director, Gregg Fortner, to resign. An interim director, Mirian Saez, was appointed to fill his shoes until a national search is conducted to find a permanent replacement. Read more »

Imagine San Francisco without rent control

If we lose rent control, we'll lose not just our homes but also our city
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OPINION If you think the mortgage foreclosure crisis is big, imagine what would happen to San Francisco if rent control were repealed.

With 180,000 rent-controlled apartments currently housing more than 350,000 San Franciscans, the end of rent control would be disastrous. Literally hundreds of thousands would be forced from their homes and forced to leave the city.

The pain and suffering people would face as they lost their homes would be immense, making the foreclosure problem seem insignificant by comparison. Read more »

Shut down the zoo

The Zoo should be closed, its animals sent to facilities capable of caring for them, and the land used for affordable housing
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OPINION In San Francisco's June 1997 special election, the swells convinced the voters to float $48 million in bonds to build a "world-class" zoo, which would entail largely privatizing a public institution, leaving the city on the hook for liabilities while giving a private nonprofit the benefits.

The initiative passed — you can't get warmer or fuzzier than a tiger or a koala — and the San Francisco Zoo, relinquished to the tutelage of corporate fixer Jim Lazarus, was largely gifted as another privatized party space for the rich.

The case might be made that Read more »

Cindy Sheehan's SF values

Opinion: If you want San Francisco values represented in Congress, vote for me in November
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OPINION A major difference between Rep. Nancy Pelosi's values and my values surfaced last month.

On Friday, Dec. 14, I learned that since 2002, Pelosi has been a silent partner in the George W. Bush regime's torture policy. As a Bay Area resident for the past 15 years, I can say with confidence that the use of torture is not a San Francisco value.

According to a Dec. 9 Washington Post article, Pelosi was one of four members of Congress to witness a "virtual tour" of secret CIA detention sites. Read more »

A lousy casino deal

The expansion of tribal gaming has seen an increase in the number of human and civil rights violations
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OPINION After spending millions in campaign contributions, four of the state's wealthiest and most powerful tribes — Pechanga, Morongo, Agua Caliente, and Sycuan — have cut themselves sweetheart deals for one of the largest expansions of casino gambling in United States history.

As a California Indian and vice-chairman of the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization, an organization working to protect the civil rights of Native Americans, I am deeply concerned that the deals on the February ballot — Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97 — benefit four tribes Read more »

The case for Kucinich

If you don't vote in February for what you believe in, you won't get to vote for it in November
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OPINION At a recent Potrero Hill Democratic Club presidential forum, when the representatives of Hilary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama spoke more about how the candidates made them feel than about their positions on the issues, it first struck me as strange. Read more »

Attacking the nurses -- again

Dissonant realities in an underresourced setting
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OPINION On Nov. 29, Department of Public Health nurses once again found ourselves in the San Francisco Chronicle. Forecasting a budget deficit that prompted the mayor to implement a hiring freeze, the article alleged the shortfall "stems in part from a jump in the number of police officers and nurses on the city payroll and hefty pay raises doled out to those professions." "It's our fault again," a nurse colleague uttered with a sigh.

Her remark needs to be placed in the context of the dissonant realities in which health department nurses work. Read more »