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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

A fine dilemma

Increased citations often hinder homeless youth from finding better life

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Police have heavily increased sweeps of homeless campers in Golden Gate and Buena Vista parks since January as city officials discuss the next 10-year homeless plan, targeting a specific population of the city's homeless: youth 25 years old and under, kids who often make those parks their homes.Read more »

San Francisco's untouchables

Is San Francisco trying to help the homeless -- or drive them away?

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Rebecca@sfbg.com

In one sense, San Francisco's homeless residents have never been more visible than they are in this moment in the city's history, marked by rapid construction, accelerated gentrification, and rising income inequality. But being seen doesn't mean they're getting the help they need.

Not long ago, Lydia Bransten, who heads security at the St. Anthony's Foundation on 150 Golden Gate, happened upon a group of teenagers clustered on the street near the entrance of her soup kitchen. They had video cameras, and were filming a homeless man lying on the sidewalk.Read more »

Draining the tank

Students push UC system to divest from fossil fuels, joining an international movement gathering soon in San Francisco

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rebecca@sfbg.com

When University of California Berkeley students Ophir Bruck and Victoria Fernandez first made contact with the University of California Board of Regents, it was a far cry from the genial hobnobbing they engaged in over lunch at the March 19 Regents meeting in San Francisco, as special guests called Student Advocates to the Regents.

About a year ago, they were outside a Regents meeting in Sacramento and, joined by about 60 other students, symbolically locked to a pair of handmade, 10-foot-tall models of oil rigs they'd set up outside the conference center.Read more »

Bicycling and equity: Heed the call, expand the movement

Street Fight covers the National Bike Summit and its outreach to women and minorities

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STREET FIGHT In the face of increased gasoline prices and congestion, more public awareness of the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and driving, and interest in physical activity, bicycling has experienced a mini-boom throughout the US. Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle, Washington, DC, and many smaller university cities, such as Boulder and Madison, have seen impressive increases in utilitarian bicycling.Read more »

On the Rise: Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony

"Freddie Mercury and Tom Waits in a cliff-diving competition"

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Surefire way to stand out in the musical landscape right now: Have an obviously playful, self-aware, lyrical sense of humor about your music, and also be exceedingly good musicians, songwriters and entertaining live performers -- i.e., take it seriously without taking it too seriously. It's not easy to do, but man, do Major Powers & the Lo-Fi Symphony make it look fun.Read more »

Uber adjusts insurance policy in wake of fatal collision

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Transportation Network Companies, more commonly known as "rideshares," have operated in legal limbo regarding their insurance since their creation. This came to a head on New Year's Eve with the death of six-year-old Sofia Liu, who was killed in a collision with an Uber car driven by a man named Syed Muzzafar. Uber claimed in a blog post that because Muzzafar was not ferrying a passenger at the time, and only using the app to search for fares, that he was not officially covered by their insurance.Read more »

Cops on campus

Agreement between SFUSD and SFPD sets guidelines for officers in schools, but without the binding language that reformers sought

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Historic new protections are now in place for children facing police action in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Reforms include having a parent present when police question a child, tracking police presence in schools, and using a more lenient approach than simply dragging kids off to the police station or juvenile hall. All of these may be strengthened by a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the SFUSD and SFPD.Read more »

Cleaning up poor people

Secretive agenda behind Clean Up The Plaza threatens one of San Francisco's last low-income neighborhoods

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steve@sfbg.com

San Francisco has a long history of campaigns to "clean up" its poor neighborhoods, which is often code for displacing low-income residents of color and replacing them with gentrified housing and businesses. It happened in Western Addition and Yerba Buena starting about 50 years ago, and it's happening now in the mid-Market Street corridor and in the heart of the Mission District.Read more »

Democracy for none

Student protesters clash with police at City College as administrators make decisions behind closed doors

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Democracy is dead at City College of San Francisco. At least, that's what student protesters allege.

At a rally on March 13, over 200 student and faculty protesters marched at City College's main campus to call for the resignation of state-appointed Special Trustee Robert Agrella. When City College was told it would soon close, the city-elected Board of Trustees was removed from power, and the state gave Agrella the power to make decisions unilaterally.Read more »

SF bans water bottles

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San Francisco continues to lead the way in the nation's environmental policy, with the Board of Supervisors on March 4 voting unanimously to bar the city from buying plastic water bottles and to ban distribution of plastic water bottles smaller than 21 ounces on city property starting Oct. 1. The ban excludes city marathons and other sporting events. Read more »