Opinion

Forget the neighbors: build away!

Do we still care about Prop. M?
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OPINION Having considered San Francisco something of a utopian American city (certainly compared with others), I assumed the only reason city officials were on the verge of allowing perfect little Valencia Street to be turned into Emeryville West was that they were simply unaware of what a handful of developers and a few folks in the Planning Department were cooking up.

All they needed was to hear from the neighbors, some responsible concerned adults, to call their attention to this under-the-radar remaking of our beloved Mission. Read more »

Do wi-fi right -- ourselves

Wi-fi is almost certainly not the technology on which to base a citywide network.
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OPINION Although it's only a "declaration of policy," Proposition J (the mayor's wi-fi initiative) is garnering a lot of opposition. Taken at face value, the initiative seems like a no-brainer: of course we should have free, high-speed wi-fi for everyone, with adequate privacy and no public money, right now. The initiative makes it sound like all we have to do is bend over and pick up the golden wi-fi network lying in the street. Like other stories about precious paving, though, the reality is considerably less shiny.

Since Mayor Gavin Newsom filed Prop. Read more »

Where is the love?

How can we criminalize people for the sole act of living without a home and occupying public space?
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OPINION Distant dreams of flowing colored scarves, glowing tie-dyed shirts, and rainbow dashikis commingling with mounds of facial hair and peace signs filled my mind as I walked through a deep recess of quiet green on a hidden trail in Golden Gate Park. It was 7 a.m. Read more »

Too many golf courses

Golfers get 700 subsidized acres, while soccer moms and dads get 25?

OPINION The future of San Francisco's public golf courses affects you even if you don't play golf.

San Francisco's seven public golf courses cover more than 700 acres of parkland, or 20 percent of our public open space. That's three times the acreage in Chicago, a city five times larger with four times the population. Furthermore, San Francisco's golf courses lose more than $1 million annually.

In a 2004 city-funded survey, San Franciscans preferred more hiking trails, community gardens, skate parks, playgrounds, off-leash dog areas, bike trails, and baseball diamonds. Read more »

Save the golf courses

Improved public recreation cannot come by tearing down one sport to benefit another
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OPINION Public golf is a historically vital part of San Francisco life. Imported to the city by immigrants from Scotland around 1900, golf here has retained its Scottish character as recreation for all types and ages. Read more »

The poison in your sofa

California's standard is poisoning the whole nation, one sofa at a time.
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OPINION If your sofa was purchased in California after 1975, chances are its interior foam and cushions contain either brominated or chlorinated fire retardants. These toxic chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, reproductive problems, learning disabilities, and thyroid disease in laboratory animals and house cats. Read more »

Harm reduction in the park

Suggestions for appropriate technology disposal solutions
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OPINION Mayor Gavin Newsom's moves to sweep homeless people out of Golden Gate Park have generated a lot of controversy — and a lot of people are missing the point.

I'm not so concerned about people sleeping in the park, just as I'm not so concerned about people sleeping on the sidewalks or the streets if there is no other place available, so long as they are just sleeping.

If folks just slept in the park, cleaned up after themselves, and moved on during the day, most of us would probably not notice. Read more »

You can't trust the voting machines

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OPINION California's secretary of state, Debra Bowen, has released a landmark report showing what all honest brokers admitted long ago: electronic voting systems are completely vulnerable to hackers. Read more »

The generals should end the war

A statement from Veterans for Peace (Chapter 69, San Francisco) and Asian Pacific Islanders Resist
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OPINION All American military officers and commanders take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Their oath is a solemn obligation to the American people, and especially to their own troops, to abide by the law. Our men and women in uniform place great trust in their superiors. They risk their lives in the belief that they will not be used falsely or illegally or for ill gain.

There is no group of Americans with greater interest in the enforcement of international law than American troops themselves. Read more »

Gavin Newsom's wireless Edsel

Google and EarthLink get to snoop on you, your traffic, and your preferences
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OPINION What would you think if somebody tried really hard to sell you an Edsel when you could clearly see a Lexus on the lot for the same price?

That's what Mayor Gavin Newsom is doing with his "wi-fi everywhere" franchise deal.

The mayor put out a bid to get everyone in the city connected wirelessly at high speeds with a decent free service. Read more »