Opinion

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 »

A cab driver's lament

Regulatory framework is to blame for a crappy cab system -- and companies that dodge safety guidelines aren't helping

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OPINION I'm a San Francisco taxi driver. The reality on the streets is terrible.

Cab drivers are being squeezed from all sides. The Municipal Transportation Agency is part of the problem, because for the past year or so it has been energetically focused on enhancing the city's revenues by selling taxi medallions (for $200,000) and putting hundreds of new cabs in service, at the expense of drivers.Read more »

Vote yes on fresh school meals

When we deny kids nutrition, we deny them a future

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OPINION My young friend ate school meals in San Francisco for 12 years. With food in short supply at home, he had little choice but to eat cafeteria offerings, but he was disheartened by the rubbery meat patties and limp vegetables that characterize frozen reheated school lunches. That's why he was thrilled to hear that SFUSD wants to replace frozen meals with freshly prepared entrees. Although his school lunch days are over, his younger siblings still rely on the cafeterias. Read more »

A crisis of will

Brutality in Gaza could be minimized with a simple budget equation

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OPINION In 2009, I was working in Congress when the eminent South African judge Richard Goldstone came to the House of Representatives to defend the UN report he authored on war crimes committed by both Israelis and Palestinians during that year's war.Read more »

Protest -- and run for office

The Occupy movement is a much-needed counterpoint to today's elected "progressives"

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OPINION Millions of Americans are eager, even desperate, for a political movement that truly challenges the power of Wall Street and the Pentagon. But accommodation has been habit-forming for many left-leaning organizations, which are increasingly taking their cues from the party establishment: deferring to top Democrats in Washington, staying away from robust progressive populism, and making excuses for the Democratic embrace of corporate power and perpetual war.Read more »

The practice of politics

It isn't just about issues and ideology; it's about the way we fight

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steve@sfbg.com

ESSAY San Francisco's progressive movement needs restoration and renewal. Our focus on immediate fights and indignities has blurred our perspective on the larger, longer struggle for a more just, sustainable, and inclusive society. It's time to regain that vision by taking a new path and practicing a different kind of politics.Read more »

KCSM and the future of community TV

Buyers rejected for KCSM TV -- who will pick up public television for 60 NorCal cable systems?

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OPINION On October 24th, the San Mateo Community College District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reject the final two bidders (of an original six) for the broadcast license for KCSM television, bringing to an end an 18-month process by the district to try to sell the television broadcast license housed at the College of San Mateo since 1964. KCSM television reaches 10 Bay Area counties and is broadcast on 60 municipal cable systems in Northern California.Read more »