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The week of June 22, 2005

Exit Singing


By Betsey Culp


I got the message: Basta! Dayenu! Enough!


The week of May 9, 2005

Pollution Kills - Bayview-Hunters Point Meets Harvard

By Betsey Culp

Few observers will deny that environmental problems are making people in Bayview-Hunters Point sick. But in the hard-headed world of modern government, where the bottom line counts big, that argument apparently doesn’t add up to much.

Farewell to Marla Ruzicka

By Kim Knox

Mirkarimi talked about a long ride with Marla to her home in Lake County and how she filled and scrambled his brain with all of her ideas and energy.

For the Historical Record: Concession Speech - San Francisco Mayor’s Race

By Matt Gonzalez

Where were you on December 9, 2003?

5/17 Neighborhood Schools hearing location announced... B Rock responds

When he got there and he said he had a school that everyone could share, they didn't WANT to share — they wanted to take that school for their own...

Handbook for the School Board Meetings

By Kim Knox

If you are looking for the phone number that allows you to exercise your First Amendment right to speak to the board, you will not find it on SFUSD's website.

The week of May 2, 2005

Rumors Running Rampant - Haaland to Murphy to Brown to Haaland

By Betsey Culp

A probably-very-boring disquisition on recent online press brouhahas.

Pat Murphy Responds

If it turns my editorial was baseless, then of course I will apologize publicly and profusely.

Robert Haaland Responds

I explained in my blog that it was an allegation and that no one wanted to be quoted about it.

Lesson from Duke Ellington

By Kim Knox

Bolton is an example of a politician who doesn't allow the spotlight on anyone but himself.

Inadvertent Errors - Reply to My California Public Document Request

By Kim Knox

In some cases, it appears you incorrectly read figures from the adopted budget. In others, FTE's were inadvertently understated in the budget document.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT: Jeff Bond — UC's Designated Flak Catcher

By Rob Anderson

At the meeting on UC's proposal for the old Extension site, I almost felt sorry for Jeff Bond, a senior planner for UC, the designated flak catcher for the night.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT: Queer Notes - Badlands is Bad and Spawn of Satan

By Robert Haaland

I was astounded to see the attorneys of Les Natali at the rally handing out flyers denouncing the ruling.

PRESS RELEASE: Ballot Initiative to Establish Laguna Honda Hospital Special Use District

From San Franciscans for Laguna Honda

This initiative will remove the politics surrounding the rebuilding of Laguna Honda, once and for all.

The week of April 25, 2005

Letter to the Editor of the San Francisco Sentinel

From Whitney Leigh

This was a smear attack, a truly false one, Pat. Although you were used to disseminate this falsehood, I still hold out the possibility that you were not knowingly so used.

Letter to the Editor of the San Francisco Sentinel

From Matt Gonzalez

Let me say clearly that I did not make any phone calls to former colleagues on the Board regarding this matter. None whatsoever.

Budget for Schools

By Kim Knox

If pre-school is the best time to "early identify" behavior and learning challenges, who are the people most likely to identify these problems and figure out creative ways to tackle them? That's right — the social workers in the pre-schools!!

But all four social workers who currently work with SFUSD's pre-schoolers will be gone next year.

PRESS RELEASE: Western Addition Social Security Office - Threatened Staffing Cuts

By Howard Egerman

Employees learned on April 22, 2005 that the number of people remaining to service the office will be reduced from 12 to 5.

Letter from Santa Clara - Give It Up, Hanoi-Jane

By Bill Costley

Jane, given the chance then, I would have gladly done what you did, myself, much as still furiously neo-hated John Kerry did. So my long-considered advice is: “Give it up, Hanoi-Jane.” Once they’d branded you “Hanoi-Jane,” they'd filled their perennially inflamed brains with what they'd actually wanted.

Uncle Sam Drives an SUV - Yet Another Modest Proposal

By Cliff Hawkins

The proposal to increase taxes on drivers of hybrid cars is flawed only in that it does not go far enough. We should heavily tax pedestrians.

ANNOUNCEMENT: U.S. Premiere of the Film Helen’s War: Portrait of a Dissident

From Ross Mirkirami, Board of Supervisors, District 5

Set against the explosive backdrop of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Helen's War asks whether dissidents have a place in post-9/11 America.

The week of April 18, 2005

Request for Information from the SFUSD

By Kim Knox

High Schools Dept. 402 Resource 70450, page 143, shows a person at .850 FTE (approx. 35 hours per week) making $414,953 with benefits at $61,875. What is the title of this position? What is the job description of this position?

SFUSD: From Shortage to Surplus - Superintendent, Board Come Together to Solve Budget Crisis

By B Rock

Acting together, in a spirit of collegiality and togetherness, the seven San Francisco Board of Education commissioners, the two student delegates, and the superintendent have just concluded an astonishingly successful weekend in which a projected budget deficit of $16 million has been turned into a surplus of over $50 million.

Members of the SF Gray Panther War and Peace Committee have been investigating global economic and military issues. They have written two articles:

The Almighty Dollar: Is It Still Mighty?

In 2000, Iraq decided to sell oil in euros. Two years later the U.S. invaded, and the oil currency was quickly shifted back to dollars.

Gunboat Democracy

Since 1990, each large-scale U.S. intervention has left behind a string of new U.S. military bases in a region where the U.S. had never before had a foothold.

Battle royal brewing over redistricting in California

By Steven Hill

When most nonpartisan experts in California are asked what impact a redistricting commission will have on state politics, the near-unanimous response is: not much.

PRESS RELEASE: Remembering a friend killed in Iraq — Marla Ruzicka

From Kevin Danaher and Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange

A case in point, taken from Marla's own journal:

CIVIC staff member Faiz Al Salaam monitors the girls' condition each day. Nobody in the military or the U.S. Army has visited them, nor has anyone offered to help this very poor family.

PRESS RELEASE: Victoria Manalo Draves Park Initiative

By Roy Recio

Victoria Manalo was the daughter of a Filipino father and an English mother during a time when it wasn't cool to be of mixed race. She wasn't allowed to swim in some of the city's most prestigious sports clubs because of her heritage.

The week of April 11, 2005

Fooling Some of the People - SFSOS’s School Fantasy

By Betsey Culp

There’s a petition going around, sponsored by SFSOS, that urges “the San Francisco Board of Education to support neighborhood schooling and incorporate neighborhood schools into the SFUSD 2006 student assignment process.”

Pope John Paul II - Opening Windows in a Cornfield

By Kim Knox

Even in papal politics, the old saying still applies: "It's all in who you know."

UPDATE: Why Is the City Attorney Defending the Privatization of Golden Gate Park?

By Bob Damron, Billy Webb, Janice Rothstein, and Stephen Willis (Save Golden Gate Park!)

Prop J was about the abuse of the voter initiative process to undermine the Park Master Plan, and quietly privatize the park by wrapping it in the mystique of  "free" park revitalization....and promises like "not one cent of public funding."

UPDATE: Rec & Park Uncollected Fees

By Martin MacIntyre

One promoter was paying only a small portion of the fee and even that was late. Despite this, RPD kept renewing the permits without bringing the problem to the attention of the Commission.

PRESS RELEASE: Minister Faces 4 Life Sentences For Religious Beliefs

By Craig Lemire 

It has been 48 days in jail for Rev. Charles Eddy Lepp since the February 16th raid on his ministry and medicinal marijuana farm.

The week of April 4, 2005

Western Addition Social Security Office Wrap-up

PRESS RELEASE: Social Security Office Saved

By Howard Egerman

When employees of the Social Security Administration's Western Addition facility were notified in February that their office would be closed, with employees and the public being forced to go to downtown San Francisco, American Federation of Government Employees Local 3172 sprang into action.

Bedtime for Bonzo, and for You and for Me - A Fable for Today

By Betsey Culp

“You know, Dufty’s General Store is having a sale this week. You could probably trade all your old beds in for new ones, at very little cost to you.”

What Should We Feed?

By Kim Knox

The computer that I was finally convinced to buy came with lots of memory and a reduced price because it was the last in a series of computers introduced in 2004. The last gal at the computer ball.

Western Addition Social Security Update

PRESS RELEASE: Feinstein Joins Fight to Save Social Security Office

By Howard Egerman

The senator pointed out that 5 years ago the Social Security Administration closed the Bay View Hunter's Point office, which made it "difficult for underserved residents to receive appropriate attention and assistance."

The week of March 28, 2005

How our beneficent, benevolent Bush reich is making us all safer -- An April Fools’ Day reflection

By Gino Rembetes

Do you know where your husband is? Chances are he’s tucked away in a safe, secure environment somewhere in the Middle East, being ever so gently and politely queried about some suspected terrorists, people suspected of having ties to people suspected of having ties to people who, despite lack of evidence, might be terrorists.

Take the Bait

By Marc Salomon

Today charges of baiting are used by leftists in order to shield their faulty ideology from critical analysis.

PRESS RELEASE: Bay Area Consultants to Become Extremely Minor Celebrities - MTV taps communications firm to star in 16th year of hit reality show

“We’re giving these city slickers one bed, an intermittently functioning sink, and a variety of ‘colorful’ drop-in guests from the neighborhood,” said Real World producer Mary-Alice Bunim. “Longevity bets at MTV have the over-under for the entire house at about four days – and I’m giving good odds that Clemens will be out in only two.”

ADVICE, PLEASE: A reader suggests that the SF Call should not have run Marc Salomon's response to Kim Knox because it's "a red-baiting, anti-communist diatribe." Do you think it is? Should it have run? Email bculp@sfcall.com. I'll post some of your responses (no names - you can speak freely & anonymously).

It Still Isn't Nice - Martin Luther King, Forty Years Later

By Betsey Culp

We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."

Of Schools and Socialists - Two for the Price of One

By Kim Knox

School Closure Meeting on April 5

This decision follows a meeting scheduled by the San Francisco Unified School District for 11 p.m. — yes, 11 p.m. — on Tuesday, March 22 to talk about what criteria should be used to select the final list of schools to be closed.

They're Socialists, Marc, Not Communists

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles." Because of this speech, Debs was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison for "war-time espionage."

The week of March 21, 2005

My Return to the Land of the Homeless

A Modest Proposal

By Betsey Culp

There would be a roller coaster where the steepest descent hurtles riders past dioramas depicting financial disaster; at the end, the track bottoms out and travels through a trash-lined street, where hairy unkempt figures leer menacingly on both sides.

Respecting the Right to Disagree

By Kim Knox

The people who were disenfranchised from voting at SF Green Party meetings were active in the Frontlines newspaper.

Removing Barriers to Participation in the Green Party

A Response to Kim Knox

By Marc Salomon

The disconnect between a party with key values of feminism, nonviolence, and respect for diversity and one that is ruthless and uncompromising in pursuit of their chosen agenda is the main reason why members of the patriarchal Frontlines cadre were denied active membership for the 2005 calendar year.

ADVICE, PLEASE: A reader suggests that the SF Call should not have run Marc Salomon's response to Kim Knox because it's "a red-baiting, anti-communist diatribe." Do you think it is? Should it have run? Email bculp@sfcall.com.

PRESS RELEASE: Camping Citations Up

Homeless People Up in Arms

From LS Wilson and Elisa Dela-Piano, Coalition on Homelessness

If there are fewer homeless people in San Francisco and the City is focusing its limited resources on "Housing First," why has the number of citations issued for camping in the city's parks nearly tripled over the past year?

Dangers to Long Term Care in SF

By Michael Lyon

On March 15, the SF Health Commission heard that 1999’s $299 million Prop A bond issue to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital at its current 1,200 beds will build only 360 beds.

How To Have Clean and Complete Voter Rolls

By Rob Richie and Steven Hill

Our voter rolls are not clean and lead to uncertainty about voter fraud, such as people voting in two states and some places like Alaska having more registered voters than adults.

An update on the proposed closing of the Social Security office in the Western Addition.

PRESS RELEASE: House Minority Leader Opposes Social Security Office Closure

By Howard Egerman, AFGE 

Pelosi noted that her office has received more than 200 calls from elderly and disabled beneficiaries, their caregivers, and family members who are currently served by the Western Addition office and who "will experience enormous hardship by its closure."

The week of February 28, 2005

Common Sense

Are We Still in This Together?

By Betsey Culp

Assessment districts are the equivalent of suburban gated communities where the residents tax themselves to pay for services. It’s a good old-fashioned concept: Pay the piper; call the tune. You get what you pay for.

Notes from the Science Fair Circuit

By Kim Knox

One of them, a kindergartner, is intently talking about his science experiment, which consists of three wooden pencils in a wooden pencil holder.

Bona Fides for the Fourth Estate

The Supes Hold a Press Pass Hearing

By Sue Cauthen

In police-speak, "legit" or "bona fide" journalist means "the agencies we deal with on a daily basis," Gittens said. Heading the SFPD list is the Chronicle (122 of the 700 current press passes), the Examiner ("extensive but a lot less"), and the major TV and radio stations.

Press Release: American Federation of Government Employees Objects to Another SSA Office Closure

Western Addition Office Battle

By Howard Egerman, Union Rep, AFGE Local 3172

It is clear that the elderly and disabled individuals in inner cities and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods have limited or no access to the service delivery systems that the agency envisions in the near future.

Press Release: International Humor Association Picks President

Author Allen Klein of San Francisco to head Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, sets goal to “Humor-Eyes the World” in 2005

Its logo is a pair of Groucho glasses perched on a nose, with bushy brows above and an equally bushy moustache below.

Scott’s Book Club

By Scott Harrison

Imagine a book with hundreds of people releasing their inner stories openly and naturally and not like bugs pinned to the Styrofoam of some egomaniac.

The week of February 21, 2005

Whose Security? - A Voice from the Past

By Betsey Culp

In California, Governor Warren back in the early 1940s proposed a program of health insurance for the residents of California. The California Medical Association staged a campaign in opposition.

Jazz, Senate, and Working Together

By Kim Knox

Then in 1996, the Republicans took control of Congress, and tension was high both in the House and the Senate. Mikulski decided to make the first move.

Good for SOMA! - Cutting Ribbons & Opening Doors

By Betsey Culp

On Monday, the City of Refuge United Church threw a bash that rivaled the city’s toniest art openings. Channeling Pat Steger, the SF Call attended.

A Jewelle for the City - Newsom’s Commission Appointments

By Sue Cauthen

The 10 new commissioners say as much about Newsom as about the kind of people who get his attention.

Schwarzenegger vs. Gerrymander

By Steven Hill

The problem is not who draws the legislative lines — it's where people live.

Two on the Golden Gate Park Entrance Controversy:

Press Release: Golden Gate Park Supporters Win Approval of Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods

The proposed MLK widening was the central issue at Tuesday's Coalition for SF Neighborhoods meeting.

Press Release: Park Defenders Present — What's at Stake in Golden Gate Park

Save Golden Gate Park! presents a close-up view of our campaign to stop the widening of MLK Drive and eliminate an illegal second entrance to the deYoung Museum garage.

Fear & Loathing: In the Heart of the American Dream - Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)

By Sue Cauthen

"Are you guys really Nazis?" asked a local. "I'm Kiwanis," he replied.

Me: Songwriter - Musicmaker - Storyteller - Freak

By Ani DiFranco

So here I am, publicly morphing into some kinda Fortune 500-young-entrepreneur-from-hell, and all along I thought I was just a folksinger!

Letter from Tokyo

By Scott Harrison

The action conjures in my own mind (because I am at the place where it happened) untold thousands of children running, screaming…burning to death.

The week of February 14, 2005

2.16.05. We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This - A Week Without TV

By Betsey Culp

The blackout means that last week, meeting junkies were left sucking sadly on their lollipops. For the rest of us, the week probably progressed pretty much as usual.

(Continued at 2.18.05. When Prices Are High and Talk Is Cheap)

2.18.05. When Prices Are High and Talk Is Cheap - Decision-Making at the San Francisco School Board

By Anne-Marie Arnaqueuse

It is a truism that we French are a logical people, but the first thing that one notices about any American city is the chaotic nature of its public institutions. San Francisco is no exception.

Lighting a Candle

By Kim Knox

We were standing in front of John McLaren School in Sunnyvale, protesting the deaths of 87 young adults from all parts of San Francisco who died in violence in 2004.

The R word - Sound the alarm now… or it’ll soon be a reality

By Gino Rembetes

Unless our socio-economic direction is reversed, revolution will come within 20 years.

Making Book on the Library - San Francisco’s New City Librarian

By Sue Cauthen

"Books are important" Herrera said. In Pasadena, he worked hard to balance literature with technology, a high-wire act for every 21st-century library.

Fees Are Fees and Donations Are Donations and a Spade Is a Spade… Or Is It?

By Martin L. Macintyre

According to the city's Park Code 12.22 fee schedule, the commercial FEE should have been at least $375,000 plus the cost of security, cleanup etc., and not the paltry $5,000 they asked for or even the additional $95,000 they actually said they got as a DONATION.

Outrageous Undercount of Homeless People in San Francisco

Press Release: Coalition on Homelessness

The Mayor’s office released a count of homeless people today, claiming a 42% decrease in the street count, and the overall number of homeless people in the City dropping from 8,640 to 5,642. Homeless advocates are up in arms, as this number is impossibly low. 

Care Not Cash Fact Sheet

Brought to you by the Coalition on Homelessness

We have been monitoring the implementation of Care Not Cash through data gathering, surveys of homeless people, and interviews with service providers.

Letter from Santa Clara - “Don’t cry for me, Silicon Valley…I never really loved you.” (Part I)

By Bill Costley

You’ll see Santa Clara's in Silicon Valley, over which only one Carly has floated like a thinning Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon for the past 6 yrs.

Letter from Bangkok - Marketplace

By Scott Harrison

I thought he was trying to fool me into going to some gem store to see colored glass priced for the naïve, but I looked over and saw what appeared to be an outdoor flea market a couple of blocks long.

The week of February 7, 2005

This & That

By Betsey Culp

San Francisco sunshine is a little dimmer these days. Mayor Gavin Newsom has canceled Channel 26’s coverage of the Planning Commission and the Police Commission.

A Cautionary Tale

By Kim Knox

 If I, a Green, knew about Shelley's behavior, then many others did as well? Yet we still elected him to be our representative.

Letter from Bangkok - Drowning in the Fountain of Youth

By Scott Harrison

Literally tens of thousands of troops who had spent the weeks bombing the hell out of neighboring Asian countries came to Thailand to get drunk and pay the local poor girls to put out the last thing most had to sell. Yes, what I'm saying is that the invaders invented it.

The week of January 31, 2005

Save the Monsters for Halloween

By Betsey Culp

So… what about all those Nazi “monsters”? The word choice is unfortunate, but it’s not really the fault of Newsweek or the Chronicle.

Marshall Plan II

By Kim Knox

In this fiscal year, the City and County of San Francisco has been forced to spend $120 million dollars because of indirect costs from the war effort.

Allen White Comments on SanFranciscoSentinel.Com

Today the SanFranciscoSentinel.com website says, "The Sentinel has ceased publication."

Letter from Santa Clara - Nanu Trips the FBI’s e-Wire

By Bill Costley

Once I was back home, I went back into my saved e-mails from Nanu to see if I could find what had tripped the FBI’s e-wire.

Letter From Bangkok - Same, Same

By Scott Harrison

I asked a woman at a shop, "Where do you go on your day off?"

"Stay at home," she answered.

The week of January 24, 2005

Organization Men (and Women) - Starring Gavin Newsom, Ross Mirkarimi, Martin Luther King, the Gray Panthers, and a Cast of Thousands

By Betsey Culp

While the national Democrats sit around howling discordantly, trying to get their act together, San Francisco progressives are making some very pretty music.

Matchmaking on a Personal Level and a Citywide Level

By Kim Knox

I've gotten responses from men whose main hobby is exploring expensive but unknown wines and men who like country/western bars in Boise, Idaho.

It’s No Urban Legend: There’s a Hidden Cost to Wal-Mart’s “Always Low Prices” - SEIU’s PurpleOcean.Org to Get Out the Real Facts about Wal-Mart and Working Families in America

Press Release: SEIU

Through the PurpleOcean.org “fact-checker,” consumers will be able draw their own conclusions about Wal-Mart’s claims that it offers competitive wages that are good for workers, the country, and the economy.

Letter from Phuket, Thailand - A Tsunami Meditation

By Scott Harrison

When I first arrived in Phuket three days ago, the most striking thing was that there was no particular evidence at all that anything was wrong.

The week of January 17, 2005

Breaking News: SFPD Takes Away SF Call Press Pass

By Betsey Culp

January 18, 2005. Today the Public Affairs Office of the San Francisco Police Department denied this reporter’s request for a press pass on the grounds that the San Francisco Call does not cover breaking news.

Second-Day News: Making a Ruckus - Ross Mirkarimi, Martin Luther King, the Gray Panthers, and a Cast of Thousands

By Betsey Culp

The really important story that was shunted aside by breaking news. To come, later in the week.

Beware Those Devilish Details

By Kim Knox

I went back and disinvited all of the non Green-endorsed candidates as gently as possible.

Letter from Santa Clara - Tsun@mis rise; tsun@mis fall

By Bill Costley

Someone said that a client of hers, seeing the 24/7 TV coverage of the recent South Asian tsunami, was pressing her to get some TV coverage for his company & its products.

The week of January 10, 2005

“Dissent, Rebellion, and All-Around Hell-Raising” - Swearing In the Supes

By Betsey Culp

The supervisors know well that district elections are under attack from the right. But they also know that their successful re-election vindicated district elections.

Unintended Consequences

By Kim Knox

My father was the only one of two people to vote for Shirley Chisholm in our county.

Gonzalez’s Final Exam - Scott Harrison interviews Supervisor Matt Gonzalez on his last night in office

SH: Did Barry Bonds bury himself?

MG: I haven’t followed it too closely. But I’d say that a defense that someone gave you steroids unknowingly would be accompanied by a desire to prosecute that person for harming you that way.

Success for Instant Runoff Voting in San Francisco

By Steven Hill and Rob Richie

Ballot measures supporting IRV passed by margins of two-to-one in all three cities where it was on the ballot in 2004: Berkeley (CA), Burlington (VT), and Ferndale (MI).

Legend Emerges as Reality - Sutro, Gonzalez, and the Pursuit of Tidal Energy

By Christine Miller

A European tourist asked me if San Francisco had any new tidal energy projects. About a month later, another tourist asked me the same question. So it was obvious that there was something going on in the world with tidal energy, but why were they asking me?

If people were made of paper, this just might work - Textbook lessons (Part 2)

By Scott Harrison

Swinging above the trash container and her laundry cart, she smashed a big hole in the window, then went up close and shouted out of the broken window, “HELP! HELP SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE!!! HELP!!”

The week of January 3, 2005

Ship of Shame - Filipino Crew Stranded in Long Beach

By Sue Cauthen

The steel carrier Katerina was halted in Long Beach last September for oil dumping and more than 20 other violations. Its Filipino crew members had not been paid for several months. Fears of harassment, retaliation, and loss of future maritime employment plagued them as the rogue officers had warned them not to cooperate with government investigators.

Happy New Year 2005!

By Kim Knox

Five thank you's & four resolutions.

Cries for Electoral Standards Mount

By Steven Hill and Rob Richie

In an unusually serious interview with David Letterman, Brokaw said point blank, "We've gotta fix the election system in this country."

If people were made of paper, this just might work - Textbook lessons (Part 1)

By Scott Harrison

Three years ago, Scott Harrison was arrested after his wife called the police and accused him of acts of domestic violence. Since then, the account of his ongoing struggle to clear his name has appeared in the SF Call. This letter is an update, written on the day that Harrison's probation ended.

Note to Phil - “San Francisco Chronicle — Northern California’s Largest Newspaper”

By Casey Stangl

It is common knowledge how award winning and thorough is the Chronicle’s admired, mountainous reporting because Mr. Bronstein thrice or more weekly tells us so.

Letter from Santa Clara - Dumpster-Santa Splits City By The Bay

By Bill Costley

Like most San Franciscans', my sightseeing's utilitarian. The city will (maybe) always be there, we imagine (forgetting 1906, etc.).