Opinion

What Obama said -- and what he meant

Decoding State of the Union double-speak

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OPINION The words in President Obama's State of the Union speech were often lofty, spinning through the air with the greatest of ease. But let's decode the president's smooth oratory in the realms of climate change, war and civil liberties.

"For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change."

We've done so little to combat climate change — we must do more.

"I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change..."Read more »

Time out by the Bay

The city should huddle to better examine the full-court press to land a mega-entertainment complex on the waterfront

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OPINION Pretend that you and your best friends are entrusted — temporarily — with responsibility to run a big city. The energy of its people, the diversity of its residential neighborhoods, and its natural beauty have made this a successful city. The centerpiece of its natural beauty is its front yard, a body of sparking water called "The Bay." You are entrusted with keeping the Bay accessible and visible to the people — all of whom own it.Read more »

Milk's real legacy

Forty years later, people are still telling Harvey he's too "divisive."

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OPINION Ever since Supervisor David Campos announced his proposal to add Harvey Milk's name to SFO, there's been an unending string of criticism — mostly from one source — that has an eerily familiar ring to it.

We heard it years ago when we tried to change the name of Douglas School in the Castro to Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy. Believe it or not, it took seven years before the School Board finally voted for the name change — and there was still bitterness. This was a school in Harvey's neighborhood that Harvey personally helped when he was alive.Read more »

Housing stability for all

Think of the TIC owners, says Supervisor Wiener

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OPINION San Francisco is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis. It's way too expensive to live here, and for those fortunate enough to have housing they can afford, we need to provide stability. This need for housing stability applies to renters as well as homeowners. If we've learned anything from the foreclosure crisis, homeowners are not all rich, and they are not all stable in their housing.Read more »

TIC legislation is a rent control issue

We're in the most expensive city in the country, and we can't afford another 2,000 condo conversions

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OPINION If legislation introduced by Supervisors Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell passes the Board of Supervisors next month, up to 2,000 tenancies in common will be allowed to bypass the lottery process and convert to condominiums.Read more »

No Oscar for the guv's budget

Liked Les Miz? There's another good cry to be had looking at Jerry Brown's numbers

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OPINION Given that Gov. Jerry Brown put out his proposed budget the same day that Oscar nominations came out, it's tempting to make some comparisons.

Brown's budget, like the nominated musical "Les Misérables," has plenty of numbers, and will make some people cry.

But I take the new budget seriously, the same as every budget I've seen since I got to Sacramento. Unlike most of the recent budgets, this one doesn't feature a big deficit. Give the Governor some credit for that, but let's look at how he's done it. Not all of it is pretty.Read more »

Hacking the US debt

Johnny Venom wants us to consider the $1 trillion coin

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OPINION The so-called Fiscal Cliff has been averted. But the country actually has a much bigger issue — the debt ceiling.

For the uninitiated, the debt ceiling is exactly what it sounds like, an artificial limit imposed by Congress the keep the president from borrowing money. The ceiling was originally passed back in 1917 to prevent the government from excess spending during the First World War. Besides its constitutionality being questionable, it's also useless and dangerous.Read more »

More school security? Maybe not.

"The message that we're sending to our children is that the world is a place to be feared, a place where calculus won't do you any good -- but where a gun will"

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OPINION I pretty much live in schools. Almost every morning, I get my three-year-old ready for pre-school, my seven-year-old ready for first grade, and myself ready for high school, where I teach English. Almost everyday, I'm in at least three schools. But never before had I thought so thoroughly about school security until Monday, Dec. 17, when I drove my daughters, and then myself, to school for the first time after the shootings in Newtown.Read more »

Putting transit first

We are finally facing up to the reality that our declining transportation system hurts us all

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By Stuart Cohen, Leah Shahum, Rob Boden, and Elizabeth Stampe

OPINION Every day, San Franciscans pay the price of an underfunded transportation system. We have all experienced painfully overcrowded bus rides ... or, worse yet, the bus that never shows up. Now, Muni is reducing service during Christmas week, as it is faced with a $7 million deficit this fiscal year.Read more »

The Muni vs. housing clash

Two recent meetings illustrate the difference between legislating based on people's needs and agency politics

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OPINION Two votes at the Board of Supervisors and the Municipal Transportation Agency Dec. 4 laid out a stark contrast between two different approaches to transportation advocacy — one based on a sense of justice and the idea that public transit is an issue of equity, and another based on the self interest and transactional politics of a cash-strapped transportation agency and its dedicated allies.Read more »