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Friday, July 22, 2016

SF, Oakland, SJ Police Upset Over Mario Woods Day

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Students protesting outside City Hall on Dec. 11, 2015. - MIKE KOOZMIN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Students protesting outside City Hall on Dec. 11, 2015.
It stands to reason that San Francisco police are on the defensive right now, perhaps even a little more on edge than is normal for law enforcement.

Twice this week the department has received death threats - the first, for which a suspect was arrested, was against interim Chief Toney Chaplin and made on Twitter, and the second was an anonymous caller saying he would pay for the killing of an officer. There’s nothing OK about either incident, even if they never come to fruition.

However, it’s going to be hard to win sympathy and understanding from the people you’re employed to protect when your union, along with the ones representing Oakland and San Jose police, takes out a full-page ad in the Chronicle that’s basically a giant middle finger.

On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with the ad - especially if you’re unfamiliar with recent San Francisco history. It asks that people acknowledge the difficult and dangerous job public safety workers do every day. But if you look closer, there’s a serious hidden message: honor us, not the people we kill.

Today, July 22, 2016, is supposed to be the first ever Mario Woods Day, which was so decreed by the Board of Supervisors in January. Woods is the man who was supposedly using a knife to threaten a bunch of cops surrounding him with their guns drawn in the Bayview District in December before he was fatally shot by said cops. It stirred a lot of debates about a lot of different things, and those debates - along with an investigation into the incident - are ongoing.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association was mad about the board’s move back in February, and apparently it still is.

Police have every right to stand up for themselves and their peers, just as Woods’ family and supporters have every right to hold a day of remembrance. It’s too bad they can’t be mutually exclusive, as this action from the police unions will only serve to further polarize police-community relations in parts of San Francisco. It’s likely police would say the same thing about Mario Woods Day, so that just leaves everyone angry and on opposite sides.

It’s also a shame that stories like the Wichita barbecue between police and Black Lives Matter are the exception. And it’s too bad that when Oakland police tried to do something similar, the idea was rejected
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Monday, May 16, 2016

SF Chronicle Promises Solutions to Homelessness; Award Bait or Altruism?

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2016 at 12:20 PM

Hi, I'm with the media. I'm here to help. - THE WIRE
  • The Wire
  • Hi, I'm with the media. I'm here to help.
In its purest form, journalism is about collecting information and presenting it to the public in an objective manner. The general thinking goes that if journalists stray from this path — if they appear to favor one side over the other — all credibility is lost.

This brings us to the latest innovation in 21st century media: a one-day, all-hands-on-deck project to highlight and offer solutions to San Francisco’s long-standing struggle with homelessness. Under a plan formulated and organized by San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper — who came up with the idea after she and her six-month-old child were scandalized by witnessing two homeless people copulate in a tent three years ago — at least 30 Bay Area media outlets will cover homelessness like never before for one day only, on June 29.

But there’s a catch, at least on the Chronicle’s side: The coverage will not only highlight the problem, it will offer solutions, and hopefully new ones. 

It’s a bold stance by the Chronicle, and a bit of a minefield. What could go wrong? So many things. 

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How Many OC Workers Does It Take To Deliver $100K To SF Homeless Hero?

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer delivering $100,000 reward to homeless San Franciscan Matthew Hays-Chapman. - TODD SPITZER'S NEWSLETTER
  • Todd Spitzer's newsletter
  • Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer delivering $100,000 reward to homeless San Franciscan Matthew Hays-Chapman.

It was the kind of feel-good story all too often lacking in the daily headlines: In March, homeless resident Matthew Hay-Chapman was promised $100,000 in reward money for helping San Francisco police arrest two of three Orange County escaped jail inmates at the McDonald’s in the Haight-Ashbury.

Thanks to his vigilance, Hay-Chapman would have the chance to start anew, maybe get off the street. Orange County was happy to dole out the award, since the jailbreak was such an embarrassment — no one wants escaped criminals roaming around.

In fact, the county was so keen on giving a check to Hay-Chapman in person in San Francisco that four employees made the journey north to do the honors.

However, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished: Now one Orange County supervisor is calling the trip “extreme overkill.”

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Frisco 5 End Hunger Strike; Supporters Turn City Hall into a Fortress Again

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 9:09 AM

  • Jessica Christian/SF Examiner
  • The Frisco 5 last week.

After making worldwide news, the "Frisco 5" hunger strike ended on Saturday after 17 days without solid food for five people, who had hoped to force Mayor Ed Lee into meeting demands — including the removal of police Chief Greg Suhr — with the longest hunger strike in recent San Francisco history (possibly, ever).

Lee stood fast, and the strike ended on Saturday, the day after 33 supporters were arrested at City Hall following a rally and an occupation of the corridor outside Lee's office. (Video of sheriff's deputies tackling protesters, dragging some away, and shoving journalists has been making the international rounds.)

As the strikers — Sellassie Blackwell, Maria Gutierrez, Edwin Lindo, Ike Pinkston, and Ilyich Sato — recover at an area hospital, the "Frisco 500" — the hashtag given to their supporters — are back at it again this morning, demonstrating in front of City Hall, and calling for a "general strike."  

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Frisco 5: Longest Hunger Strike in Memory; Stalemate in Standoff with Mayor

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 1:30 PM

  • Jessica Christian/SF Examiner

It's been sixteen days now without solid food now for the "Frisco 5," the activists camped outside Mission Police station on a hunger strike, refusing to budge or to eat until San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr is fired by Mayor Ed Lee, or resigns voluntarily.

(In context: hunger striking California state prison inmates made it over 50 days without food; members of the Irish Republican Army famously starved themselves to death in prison in 1981 after about two months.)

This week, after snubbing a surprise visit from the mayor on Monday and marching to City Hall on Tuesday, when the mayor was at a meeting in Bayview, the strikers — Ike Pinkston, Edwin Lindo, Maria Gutierrez, Sellassie Blackwell, and de-facto leader, preschool teacher and rapper Ilyich "Equipto" Sato, who has been publicly haranguing Mayor Ed Lee since a chance run-in at a restaurant in October — eventually heard directly from the mayor via a phone call. 

They were told the mayor stands with the chief, and that Lee and Suhr are addressing public concerns over use of force with the police reforms already underway: bias and sensitivity training; the equipping of all cops with three-foot-long batons; other reforms as may be recommended by a U.S. Justice Department advisory review.

Which means the hunger strikers are still refusing to eat, taking in calories via coconut water, tea, and the occasional cup of broth. Which also means the longest hunger strike in recent memory continues.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Tony Robbins is the Bay Area's Super Angel

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 12:06 PM

  • Brian Solis/Flickr

In tech, angels are people with deep pockets who fund startups. In the real world, people who do actual good with their money often receive the same heavenly moniker.

With nothing more than a checkbook and a good heart, motivational speaker Tony Robbins — who made a name for himself, along with tens of millions of dollars, trying to help people better themselves — came to the aid last week of another Bay Area resident facing eviction.

This time it was Georgia Rothrock, an 85-year-old Burlingame resident. Last month it was two French nuns who run a soup kitchen to feed homeless people.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

VIDEO: At SFSU, Black Student Confronts White Guy Over Dreadlocks

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 1:08 PM

That's disrespectful of me, yo. - SCREENGRAB/YOUTUBE
  • Screengrab/YouTube
  • That's disrespectful of me, yo.
Many people are coming to the defense of a white male student who appears to be accosted by a black female student at San Francisco State University over his white dreadlocks in a video posted to YouTube on Monday.

The video purports to show Bonita Tindle, who’s been identified as an SFSU student employee, accost white dreads-haver Cory Goldstein over his hairdo. During the 46 second clip, another male student, who is black, stands alongside Tindle defending her actions. It’s unclear if the person recording the interaction knew any of the parties involved, but he stops the video when Tindle questions his actions.

One might be inclined to think this was all staged. But as the video continues, it becomes obvious this was embarrassingly real for everyone involved.

It all began with Tindle asking the black male student if he has a pair of scissors (to which he replied no). Then the argument begins:

“You’re saying I can’t have a hair style because of your culture. Why?” asks Goldstein.

“Because it’s my culture,” Tindle replies.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

The Day After Killing in Front of Police Station, Mayor, Chief Announce Police Reforms

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:40 PM


On Monday morning, a somber and slightly ashen-faced Mayor Ed Lee appeared at a press conference — an act rarer and rarer for the mayor in  the nearly three months since the fatal police shooting of Mario Woods on Dec. 2. Flanked at his City Hall office by police Chief Greg Suhr, Police Commission president Suzy Loftus, and the faith  and community leaders on the police department's African-American advisory board, Lee announced "comprehensive" reforms to the city's police department.

There will be changes in the ways cops do their jobs, changes in when they can use a firearm and how, and a renewed push to give cops Tasers — and there will also be more cops — but the goal behind all the new polices, new offices, and other tweaks is trust, officials said: trust that police will do their jobs, do them without racial bias, and do them without putting the public, whose help is needed to solve crimes, at risk. "Everyone," Loftus said, "deserves the trust of police."

That all sounds nice, and it earned some praise from past critics of the mayor and the chief (who appear to have been shaken into action by Woods's death). But this won't be easy. The size of the challenge was made clear less than 24 hours earlier, when a man — young and black, of course — was shot and killed Sunday afternoon on a busy street in the Fillmore District, just across the street from a police station.

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Yelp Employee, Fired Over Housing Concerns, Worked For "Housing Activist" Tech CEO

Posted By on Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:44 AM

Jeremy Stoppelman, tech CEO, erstwhile employer of poor people. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia commons
  • Jeremy Stoppelman, tech CEO, erstwhile employer of poor people.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman was in the news all weekend, for all the wrong reasons.

His company and his erstwhile employee, Talia Jane — the 25-year-old "mysteriously" fired from her entry-level job at Yelp after noting in a Medium post that, in the Bay Area's absurd housing market, she skipped groceries and heat so she could pay her rent — are now talking points nationwide.

For liberals, Yelp is a poster child of the abuses of today's money-first, people-last America; for conservatives, Jane is the embodiment of the entitled millennial (how DARE our children ask for competitive wages!?). 

Lost in this is the direct nexus between Stoppelman's own politics and Jane's situation. Stoppelman, you see, is pro-development and a financial supporter of San Francisco's "housing activists." That might earn him a pass — but it doesn't.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Black Lives Matters' Alicia Garza: Beyonce, the Patriarchy, and (Why She Isn't Voting For) Hillary Clinton

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 5:57 PM

The world was introduced to the phrase "Black Lives Matter" in August 2014 via a hashtag attached to the scenes of unrest and protest in Ferguson, Mo. Since then, the phrase, co-coined by Bay Area native Alicia Garza, has permanently entered the lexicon (and has been remixed, altered, and appropriated).

The movement has had immense success — without it, it's not likely that Beyonce and her dancers would have appeared as Black Panthers on the Super Bowl 50 halftime show — but sometimes lost in the efforts to undo racial disparity is the need to undo gender disparity.

"We need the experiences of women and girls to lead and shape movements for social change," says Garza, who will be spending a rare few days in the Bay Area this weekend to give the keynote address at Bay Area Rising's annual Valentine Day's event. "Violence against women and girls is connected to the Black Lives Matter movement... we need to make women and girls more visible."
Garza will spend most of Black History Month criss-crossing the country, speaking and organizing, but checked in with SF Weekly on Friday about the success, the work ahead, and who she wants to support for president. (Hint: it's not Hillary Clinton.)

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