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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Revising SFPD Use of Force Policy Harder and Weirder Than it Sounds

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 10:59 AM

SFSU protest, 2013. - STEVE RHODES/FLICKR
  • Steve Rhodes/Flickr
  • SFSU protest, 2013.
Last night’s community meeting about the San Francisco Police Department’s use of force policy, held at the Bayview YMCA, featured no arrests, no demonstrations, no “Fire Chief Suhr” chants, and not even any raised voices.

Whether there were any great insights into the future of policing in San Francisco remains to be seen, but just the sight of cops and community members sitting down and talking their problems out for an hour probably qualifies as a small beachhead in itself.

Still, it was an odd affair.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SF Business Groups Come Out Swinging in Support of the Super Bowl

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 12:56 PM

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The Board of Supervisors — or at least Jane Kim, Aaron Peskin, and John Avalos — have been on a week-long counteroffensive against Super Bowl 50, including a proposed resolution (set for an initial vote today) that the city kick, scream, and scratch to get reimbursed for the estimated $5.3 million in expenses we’ll rack up between now and game day.

Well, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and some aligned business groups decided that two can play at that game. They called a press conference this morning with the dramatic promise of a “smoking gun” to “prove” that the supes are full of it.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

San Francisco Dangerously Behind the Times on Police Oversight

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 3:36 PM

D.C.ATTY/FLICKR
  • D.C.Atty/Flickr
After many dramatic public vows to reform the San Francisco Police Department’s culture and use of force policies following the Mario Woods shooting, this morning’s City Hall hearing was the first step toward deciding what exactly will be done. 

The tentative verdict is that San Francisco is so far behind the times on police oversight that now we even have to start taking lessons from Oakland.

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A Show of Support for the Officers Involved in the Mario Woods Shooting Didn't Go Well

Posted By on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 10:16 AM

EKEVARA KITPOWSONG/SPECIAL TO S.F. EXAMINER
  • Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner
Last night’s Police Commission meeting didn’t go well for the dozens of off-duty officers who turned out in support of their five colleagues involved in the Dec. 2 shooting death of Mario Woods. Per the Chronicle, the officers were drowned out by a crowd of activists before finally exiting the meeting en masse.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Big-Money Condo Tower Presents Itself as a Champion of Working-Class San Franciscans

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM

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NIMBYs will want to re-up on their blood pressure meds, because San Francisco’s ever-growing skyline may be about to grow a little more.

Tishman Speyer, the developers behind the Studio Gang-designed condo tower planned for Folsom Street — you know, the one that looks like a twisted accordion — are asking the city for an extra 10 stories. The building was designed at 400 feet, but the lots are presently zoned for only 300.

In exchange for the exemption, the developers say they’ll throw in an additional 44 below market-rate units, upping the total to 40 percent of the project. And rather than pile them all into the bottom floors, as planned, they’ll spread them through levels 1-26 of the tower. They’ll even chip in some of the homeowner’s association fees for the BMR tenants.

(For the purposes of this development, an affordable unit costs between $217,000-$384,000.)

But before any of that happens, they’ve got to get the golden ticket from the city, starting with yesterday’s pitch to the Office of Community Infrastructure and Investment (the successor to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency that originally cooked up the Transbay plan).

Going to bat for the developer, OCII project manager Jose Campos pointed out that the 10-year-old zoning plan is out of date. “We didn’t understand the growth the city would witness” back when the original zoning was put in place, Campos said.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Public Housing Workers Protest in City Hall: We Haven’t Had a Cost of Living Wage Increase in Six Years

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 1:10 PM

PHOTO BY ADAM BRINKLOW
  • Photo by Adam Brinklow
City Hall was just winding down for the evening last Thursday when dozens of workers from San Francisco’s public housing projects descended on the mayor’s office. They surrounded the door and said they wouldn’t leave until the mayor or his representative accepted their (oversized) petition.

The demonstrators were incensed about their contract negotiations with the San Francisco Housing Authority and wanted the mayor to intervene on their behalf. Or maybe they just wanted to yell at him for a bit —  it was honestly hard to tell. While they waited, they posed for photos outside of the mayor’s office and decorated the nearby busts of previous mayors with pro-labor leaflets.

(One man placed his hat atop the bust of Willie Brown and declared, “At least he would have talked to us.”)

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Bayview Pastor Evicted and Arrested During Latest Standoff With Sheriff's Department [Updated]

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:56 AM

Pastor Yul Dorn - GABRIELLE LURIE
  • Gabrielle Lurie
  • Pastor Yul Dorn
Pastor Yul Dorn, a Bayview resident who stubbornly resisted the foreclosure of his house for almost seven years, was finally and ultimately evicted yesterday morning. On top of that, Dorn was also arrested after he refused to vacate his home, along with three supporters who tried to hinder the eviction when sheriff’s deputies arrived at about 8:30 a.m.

Sheriff’s Department Chief of Staff Eileen Hurts says Dorn was charged with three misdemeanors, including failure to obey a court order and trespass. The activists were also charged with trespass and failure to disperse.

“They were sitting in the property and refusing to leave,” she explains. “It was very passive, and non-violent.”

Dorn was released after about eight hours. He and his family, including his adult daughter and her 8-month-old son, are holed up at a hotel right now. All of their possessions are still back at the house on Las Villas Court (“I didn’t even have time to grab a toothbrush,” Dorn says), but the locks have been changed.

The 58-year-old pastor (Dorn is actually the sheriff’s department chaplain) and social worker sounded like he was in a mild state of shock when reached by phone this morning. Although the house — Dorn’s home for 20 years — was sold on the open market six months ago, he’d remained confident that he would somehow find a way to stay.

“We were supposed to be negotiating to buy it back,” he says. “We knew this could happen any day, but it was still a surprise.”

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Hearing About Haight Gas Leaks Turns Into Game of Hot Potato: Who’s to Blame?

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:24 AM

SARAHELIZAMOODY/FLICKR
  • sarahelizamoody/Flickr
A long train of stupid events pulled into its final station last night with an official postmortem on that infamous Haight Street public works project — the one whose five gas leaks stopped just short of destroying the historic corridor.

Board of Supervisors President London Breed and a few of her board colleagues called representatives from the various relevant parties to City Hall, partly to discuss how to avoid another Three Stooges routine in future infrastructure projects but also, seemingly, just to have everybody in one place for a good drubbing.

“I won‘t allow this to continue,” Breed said, reviewing the charges: five gas leaks and at least two sinkholes (Haight neighbors contend it was three), triggered by contractors who were supposed to replace aging water and sewer lines. The $13.7 million project kicked off last April and was planned to take a few weeks. It’s still unfinished.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

For the Second Time in Two Weeks, Bayview Rallies to Block Eviction of Beloved Pastor

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Pastor Yul Dorn - GABRIELLE LURIE
  • Gabrielle Lurie
  • Pastor Yul Dorn
Yul Dorn, a pastor, social worker, and lifelong Bayview resident, was supposed to be evicted this morning. About 50 activists, union members, and church members gathered to blockade his home on Las Villas Court and prevent sheriff’s deputies — bodily, though not violently — from removing Dorn and his family.

“They usually just leave if there are a lot of us here,” said Grace Martinez, an organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, described as “a union for neighborhoods.” ACCE fancies Dorn a cause célèbre in a “one house at a time” fight against eviction in the Bayview, where black families make up 21 percent of the population but 40 percent of evictions.

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City Fires Company Responsible For Repeated Gas Leaks in the Haight

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 10:19 AM

SARAHELIZAMOODY/FLICKR
  • sarahelizamoody/Flickr
Over the past nine months, residents in the Haight have complained about repeated gas line breaks — five in all — that disrupted the neighborhood, opened sinkholes, and delayed a major infrastructure project.

As KQED reports, the city has finally fired Synergy Project Management, the subcontractor responsible for the mishaps, alleging both incompetence and public safety breaches. This follows Synergy's appeal of the city's decision halt the $13.7 million project

The city rarely fires companies involved in public works projects, according to Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon, but in this case it’s easy to see why Synergy raised concerns.

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