Opinion

The return of the ugly laws

Berkeley's proposed sit-lie law smacks of the old attempts to remove "undesirables" from our line of vision

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OPINION In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, municipalities across the country passed what have become known as "ugly laws," often modeling their ordinances word for word on San Francisco's. Read more »

The Aoki files

An author sticks up for his outing of a community activist as a FBI informant

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Editors note: Steve Woo and Alex T. Tom argued in a Guardian oped last week that a new book unfairly paints Richard Aoki as an FBI snitch. The book's author asked for space to respond.

OPINION I write to correct serious misstatements about my new book — and particularly about my revelation that the late radical leader Richard Aoki was an FBI informant — in the editorial by Steve Woo and Alex T. Tom.Read more »

Torture, for real

Giants fans, watching a close game ≠ the awful things that prisoners go through here in the United States

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OPINION Last week I walked into my favorite café in SoMa and noticed the barista wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the black and orange word "torture."

I froze. I knew I was holding up the line but I didn't care. I had to ask about that shirt.

"Oh, it's to promote the San Francisco Giants," he said. He continued speaking, not noticing my umbrage. "So do you want your coffee hot or cold today?"

I wanted to keep talking about that shirt, but I didn't know what to say. "I will have my coffee cold please," I told him.Read more »

CEQA: We Need It

The right of average citizens to protect their environment may be at stake

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OPINION Big business interests in California are waging a full-scale assault on the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA, which has been loudly blamed for the slowdown in new construction in recent years.

But sluggish construction has been problematic nationwide and is far beyond CEQA's reach. The exaggerated attacks on CEQA parallel extreme Tea Party politics, where facts don't seem to matter and well-funded voices drown out reason. Attackers unfairly scapegoat a law that instead deserves great credit for far-reaching good.Read more »

Defending Richard Aoki -- and the movement

A community activist gets labeled as an informant, but where's the evidence?

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OPINION In a new book, Bay Area journalist Seth Rosenfeld publicly names longtime Asian American leftist Richard Aoki as an FBI informant during his time as a leader of the Third World Liberation Front movement and as a founding member of the Black Panther Party. As Asian American activists in the movement today, we denounce these claims as baseless and false and are shocked at the way Rosenfeld makes such unsubstantiated claims while promoting his book release. His allegations damage the movement and reinforce trite "yellow peril" stereotypes of Asian Americans.Read more »

Defending Richard Aoki — and the movement

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By Steve Woo and Alex T. TomRead more »

Democrats and sex workers

The Proposition 35 endorsement puts sex workers and their families at risk

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OPINION The California State Democratic Party and Senator Barbara Boxer have let the sex workers of California down. They need to be taken to task for endorsing Proposition 35 without ever hearing the opposition. No more bragging rights to that big-tent democracy.Read more »

The cost of the death penalty

A former police officer speaks out against draconian penal code

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OPINION As a retired police officer, I believe deeply in safety and justice. As a father and a person who has devoted more than 30 years to working with young people, I know what our kids need to become positive members of our communities. I've seen the positive changes that come from resources, attention and education. I've seen it as a precinct service officer in East Harlem, New York, as a police officer and lieutenant in the Oakland Unified School District.Read more »

When the people lead

A unique citizen push to save our waterfront

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By Jon Golinger

OPINION Thursday, July 19, 2012 was an especially gorgeous day in San Francisco. On that warm and sunny summer afternoon, a colorful collection of more than 100 citizens from every corner of the city gathered together on the steps of City Hall to announce they had done something political insiders and powerbrokers had just weeks earlier dismissed as "impossible."Read more »

The City College mission

CCSF is going to pull through -- there's no other option for San Francisco 

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By Alisa Messer

OPINION City College is a beacon for all San Franciscans, from immigrants and displaced workers to cash-strapped families seeking educational opportunities for their children. The largest community and junior college in America with more than 90,000 students, City College touches everyone in San Francisco. Read more »