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Dog Bites 

Wednesday, Sep 24 1997
Merge This
For months, opponents of the merger of the UCSF and Stanford medical centers -- notably, the unions representing workers at UCSF -- made only halting and ineffective attempts to publicize their arguments against the move. But when UC and Stanford finalized the merger, which shifts $380 million of UCSF assets to the private sector, one union went for the throat.

Citing revelations made by SF Weekly staff writer Lisa Davis, the California Nurses Association announced last week that it would call for a criminal investigation of the merger. CNA spokesman Carl Bloice said Monday that union representatives had spoken to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and would formally ask the DA to open a grand jury investigation later in the week. A union press release said the seeming unconstitutionality of the merger and apparent conflicts of interest afflicting several UC regents warranted the criminal probe.

In the wake of the merger approvals, the CNA, two other unions representing UCSF employees, and San Francisco Tomorrow, a nonprofit public interest group, also amended a lawsuit on the merger. The amended suit alleges that the merger constitutes an unconstitutional gift of public assets to the private sector, and that it was the product of "special and improper influence exercised by university officials and private persons who collusively seek direct and indirect private benefit." The suit seeks an injunction to halt the merger.

-- J.M.

Another Kind of UPS Strike
Popping up lately on light poles and street signs in SOMA is a species of sticker art that shows its maker(s) has (have) an eye for stylized industrial design and raunchy humor.

The sticker consists of a generic UPS second-day air label, which has been altered very subtly to read: "spend the night with emuse one, media whore! public slut." What looks like a New York City phone number actually belongs to an unrelated business. Dog Bites couldn't find any other identifiers. So, emuse one, whoever and wherever you are, thanks for providing something amid the street clutter to ... amuse one.

-- P.O.

Shrieks Along the Embarcadero
Gainful public employment is stepping up once again at Dog Bites' favorite public works project, the Embarcadero Muni extension, which Muni's wordsmiths have dubbed MMX (for Muni Metro Extension). In recent weeks, construction crews have been busily digging up parts of the pristine, still-unused Muni right-of-way that runs along the Embarcadero from about Market south to about Fourth Street. Complete with instant full-grown palm trees, rustic cobblestone sidewalks, and "Walk"-"Don't Walk" signals for the ghostly riders of the yet-to-run Muni streetcars, the landscape is about as immaculate and peaceful a one as can be found.

But all that is about to change. Come January, a Muni spokesman says, Muni streetcars will start running on the rusting rails. Muni being Muni, the cars won't make direct connections to the streetcar tunnel that ties the underground line on Market to the surface line on the Embarcadero. According to a Muni spokesman, Muni's new "advanced train control system" still has some bugs in it, so trains can't run through the new tunnel often enough to connect with the rest of the system.

At first, the Embarcadero line will be a simple shuttle, starting roughly at Folsom and the Embarcadero and running roughly to Fourth. The route's set to get the new Italian Breda cars, known for the shrieking, high-pitched sounds that Muni, being Muni, likes to think of as low moans.

-- P.O.

Charlie's Back
The Billboard Liberation Front, the San Francisco group that's been sabotaging billboards and other advertising messages since 1977, has claimed a major coup -- the alteration of the huge Levi Strauss billboard at the intersection of U.S. 101 and I-80.

In place of a red Levi's label at the center of the sign, the BLF inserted a head shot of mass murderer Charles Manson. Individual members of the BLF are keeping typically low profiles, but according to a Sept. 1 "press communique," the BLF said the change was made to reflect a "historic collaboration between two of the most potent iconic forces of the 1960's," Levi's jeans and Manson, whose 1969 crimes were the subject of the book Helter Skelter.

Manson's mug was pasted up in the pre-dawn hours of Labor Day, according to photographer Nicole Rosenthal, who was hired to shoot the altered face, but who claims to have no knowledge of who actually did the deed. It stayed up a couple of days, long enough for her to snap a photo.

BLF members bill themselves as "a cabal of eccentric advertising professionals." Sean Robertson, creative director of Outdoor Systems, which owns the billboard, says the BLF usually leaves instructions on how to undo its sabotage, or uses materials that are easily removed. This time, though, the crews had a harder time setting things right.

"They got us bad," Robertson says.

About The Authors

J. M


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