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Ken White

House Finch Hope & Love Spring Eternal

Ken White | May 3, 2016 | San Francisco
I've written before of the birds in my suburban yard. We've spotted dozens of species on our postage stamp size property, from diminutive Anna's Hummingbird to the impressive Cooper's Hawk who lands frequently on our fence.
Fiona Ma

Bison Honored Nationwide and Treasured in San Francisco

Fiona Ma | May 3, 2016 | San Francisco
Very shortly, we will all owe a big thank you to President Obama and Congress for honoring the North American Bison as our National Animal, joining the Bald Eagle, as an emblem of America.
Carla Escoda

The Agony and the Ecstasy: 'Onegin' at San Francisco Ballet

Carla Escoda | May 2, 2016 | Arts
On Sunday afternoon, at the close of the tragedy of Onegin, when Tatiana, wife to the noble Prince Gremin, ripped up the bounder Eugene Onegin's pitiful love letter and ordered him out of her boudoir, San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House erupted in cheers.
Christopher Caen

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Donald

Christopher Caen | May 2, 2016 | San Francisco
The dark reality is that Donald Trump has a very good chance of getting the necessary number of delegates before Cleveland, rendering the whole strategy of crawling into Cleveland moot. And down ticket candidates are now starting to decide how to deal with this new reality.
William Bradley

Will the California Primary Matter?

William Bradley | May 2, 2016 | Politics
There's been a lot of chatter that the California primary may at last matter in the presidential race. Sorry to say that this dyed-in-the-wool California enthusiast doesn't think so. Not in terms of calling the turn on either party's nomination, that is.
Leo Stutzin

Treasure Island at Berkeley Rep: Faithful Story-Telling Gives Fresh Vitality to an Old Swashbuckler

Leo Stutzin | May 2, 2016 | San Francisco
Steven Epp as Long John Silver and John Babbo as Jim Hawkins in Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale. Photos by Kevin Berne Who could possibly dream of trotting out another version of a story that has...
Karen Fleshman

May 2nd Marks Five Months Since SFPD Killed Mario Woods, and, Unacceptably, Things Are Getting Worse

Karen Fleshman | May 2, 2016 | San Francisco
San Francisco is currently run by a rogue police department with no oversight nor respect for the community. Video of SFPD Officers Raphael Masangcay, Joe Emanuel, Matt Leong, and Roderick Suguiton placing 6th at the US Police and Fire Championships, San Diego, CA June 5, 2015 On December 2, 2015, five San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers surrounded Mario Woods, a 26 year old black man in the Bayview Hunter's Point neighborhood of San Francisco, and shot him 20 times, resulting in his death. Mario's death was video recorded by several witnesses. Many of the witnesses were children who were on their way home from school. In the five months since, noone has been held accountable for Mario's death. The officers who killed him went back to work in January. Police- community relations in San Francisco have further deteriorated. It appears that Mayor Ed Lee is afraid of SFPD and of the community, and no other public official is stepping up to change SFPD. SFPD Kills Again Since April 2011, when Mayor Ed Lee appointed Greg Suhr Chief of Police, SFPD has killed 21 people with impunity. They killed eight people in 2015 alone. The public outcry about the killing of Mario Woods increased scrutiny of SFPD. On April 7, 2016, SFPD shot and killed Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, a 46 year old Mexican Mayan immigrant who had recently become homeless after getting evicted from his apartment. The surveillance video is shocking because police begin shooting within 20 seconds of arriving at the scene. His brutal killing has provoked outrage in both San Francisco and Mexico. Community and Elected Officials Call on CA Attorney General to Investigate SFPD to No Avail On April 4, 2016, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi petitioned California Attorney General Kamala Harris to conduct a civil rights pattern and practice investigation of SFPD and reorganize SFPD under consent decree. On April 13, 2016, the Justice4MarioWoods Coalition organized a press conference in which Public Defender Jeff Adachi, District Attorney George Gascón, Supervisor Malia Cohen, Supervisor David Campos, Supervisor John Avalos, Benjamin Bac Sierra of the Justice4AlexNieto Coalition, Father Richard Smith of the Justice4AmilcarPerezLopez Coalition, Northern California ACLU Senior Counsel Alan Schlosser, and Reverend Christopher Muhammad and Phelicia Jones of the Justice4MarioWoods Coalition united to request California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate SFPD, at San Francisco City Hall, photo by Karen Fleshman Attorney General Harris, who is running for U.S. Senate in the November 8, 2016 election, responded that afternoon: Not sure what was taught at UC Hastings, Harris' alma mater, but in my civil procedure class it would have been unthinkable to respond to a formal letter from a public official requesting an investigation in this manner. Harris' disingenuous response refers to the USDOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing, who began a "collaborative review" of SFPD in February 2016 that will take 18 months to issue unenforceable recommendations. By that time, Harris will likely be well into her first term as Senator. Furthermore, we already know from the Blue Ribbon Panel commissioned by District Attorney Gascón to investigate SFPD racism after the 2015 texting scandal that SFPD stonewalls and intimidates officers who want to collaborate with investigators. More Officers Exchange Racist Texts Demeaning the Community On April 26, 2016, Adachi released text messages by another group of SFPD officers, using racist and homophobic slurs and mocking the outcry over the previous text scandal. Predictably, Mayor Ed Lee repeated his support of Chief Suhr. His office provided the following comment: "The content of these texts are outrageous. The Chief and the Commission took swift action to separate some of these individuals from the police department and there are disciplinary actions ongoing. The Mayor has been very clear that this ignorant and hate-filled speech will never be tolerated. The mayor believes these statements display a discrimination that is incompatible with the values of San Francisco and with the ability of a police officer to perform his or her sworn duties. Mayor Lee is working with the US Department of Justice on a top to bottom review of the Police Department and is moving swiftly to make sure the department enacts reforms as soon as possible." Mayor's and Chief's Response to Text Scandal Would Be Laughable if Police Didn't Carry Guns On April 28, Mayor Lee sent a letter to SFPD officers, asking them to stop being bigoted. And on April 29, Chief Greg Suhr flanked by members of the San Francisco Police Commission, its oversight body, said that all SFPD officers would receive anti-bias training. I am a professional anti-bias trainer and I can assure you that no letter nor any anti bias training can fix the culture of SFPD. A complete overhaul is needed. Hunger Strikers Demand Accountability On April 21, 2016, a group of activists, the #Frisco5, launched a hunger strike at the Mission Police Station demanding that Mayor Ed Lee fire Chief Suhr or resign. Currently in its 11th day, the hunger strike has drawn international attention to the unacceptable state of affairs in San Francisco. On May 1, 2016 the International Longshoreman's Workers Union is shutting down the port of San Francisco to demand racial justice. Activists who support the Hunger Strikers are planning two massive actions on May 3, 2016. Awaiting Announcement of District Attorney Meanwhile, family members and the community are awaiting the announcement of District Attorney George Gascón on whether he is indicting the officers who killed Amilcar Perez Lopez (shot 6 times in the back on February 26, 2015), and Mario Woods (shot 20 times on December 2, 2015) with murder. He declined to indict the SFPD police officers who killed Alex Nieto (shot 59 times on March 21, 2014). Nor did a federal jury find that the officers used excessive force on Nieto. June 2. 2016 will mark six months since Mario was killed by SFPD. Whether anyone will take decisive action to bring SFPD into control by then remains to be...
Karen Fleshman

Who Runs San Francisco? A Rogue Police Department That No Public Official Reins In

Karen Fleshman | May 2, 2016 | San Francisco
Video of SFPD Officers Raphael Masangcay, Joe Emanuel, Matt Leong, and Roderick Suguiton placing 6th at the US Police and Fire Championships, San Diego, CA June 5, 2015 San Francisco is run right now by a rogue Police Department that has killed 21 people without an indictment since Greg Suhr was appointed Chief by Mayor Ed Lee in 2011, stonewalls investigators and tries to intimidate those within its ranks who cooperate, and routinely sends racist sexist and homophobic texts. SFPD can do whatever they want with impunity, because despite the concerted efforts of the #Justice4MarioWoods Coalition, #Justice4AlexNieto Coalition, #Justice4AmilcarPerezLopez Coalition, and the #Frisco5 Hunger Strikers who are active in these coalitions, the public officials with authority to hold SFPD accountable refuse to do so. The union of police officers, San Francisco Police Officers Association, coupled with their counterparts across California, exert far more influence over public officials than we do, and have gotten legislation passed in California that makes it virtually impossible for the public to hold them accountable. If you believe this is unacceptable, here's how to get in touch with the public officials who do have authority over SFPD and ask them to use it: Fire Chief Suhr Mayor Ed Lee Appoints Greg Suhr Chief of SFPD on April 27, 2011 Mayor Ed Lee appointed Greg Suhr Chief of Police and has the authority to fire him. Contact Mayor Ed Lee by 415-554-6141 @mayoredlee email: mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org Ask him to fire Chief Suhr, go to the Mission Police Station at 17th and Valencia and meet with the #Frisco5 Hunger Strikers, and reform SFPD. Sign this petition to Edwin M. Lee The other entity with authority to fire Chief Suhr is the San Francisco Police Commission. Four of its members are appointed by the Mayor and three by the Board of Supervisors. The Police Commission meets every Wednesday at 5:30 pm, usually at SF City Hall. Attend their meetings and testify, contact them by phone 1-415-837-7070 sfpd.commission@sfgov.org @SFPDCommission and ask them to fire Chief Suhr and reform SFPD. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors appoints three members of the Police Commission and could ask them to fire Chief Suhr. On April 19, 2016 the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the reappointment of Suzy Loftus as President of the SF Police Commission. Contact them and ask if they support firing Chief Suhr, and if so, to tell the Police Commissioners they appointed to do so. Here's their contact information. San Francisco's US Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein (former Mayor of San Francisco) and Senator Barbara Boxer and Governor Jerry Brown and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (former Mayor of San Francisco) should also exercise their authority to get Suhr fired. Civil Rights Pattern and Practice Investigation On January 12, 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling on US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the SFPD killing of Mario Woods. On January 29, 2016, the Northern California ACLU petitioned Attorney General Lynch and her Civil Rights Division to conduct a pattern and practice civil rights investigation of SFPD. Then in February, Mayor Ed Lee and SFPD Chief Suhr announced that Attorney General Loretta Lynch would send the USDOJ Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) instead of the Civil Rights Division to "collaboratively review" SFPD. The "collaborative review" excludes an investigation of SFPD's killing of Mario Woods. This distinction is important because a "collaborative review" results in unenforceable recommendations. A civil rights pattern and practice investigation results in a consent decree that is enforced by Federal Court. Contact Attorney General Loretta Lynch at @LorettaLynch 202-353-1555 and tell her the situation in San Francisco is so bad that a "collaborative review" will not solve anything. We need a pattern and practice civil rights investigation. On April 4, 2016, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi petitioned California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a former District Attorney of San Francisco who is currently a candidate for US Senate in the November 8 2016 election, to conduct a pattern and practice civil rights investigation of San Francisco Police Department and reorganize SFPD under court order. Attorney General Harris is the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California and protecting public safety, reforming police departments, and investigating discrimination are all within her mandate. On April 13, 2016, the Justice4MarioWoods Coalition organized a press conference at San Francisco City Hall where Adachi was joined by District Attorney George Gascón, Supervisor Malia Cohen, Supervisor David Campos, Supervisor John Avalos, the Justice4AlexNieto Coalition, the Justice4AmilcarPerezLopez Coalition, and the Northern California ACLU, in calling on California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate SFPD. Attorney General Harris responded later that afternoon: This response is inadequate because the COPS review takes 18 months to produce recommendations and we already know that SFPD stonewalls and is nonresponsive to investigators. By the time COPS produces recommendations, Harris will likely be well into her first term as Senator. Contact Kamala Harris: (916) 322-3360 @kamalaharris and tell her she has a responsibility to keep the people of San Francisco safe from SFPD. Charge SFPD Officers with Murder San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is currently investigating whether to indict the SFPD officers who killed Amilcar Perez Lopez (shot 6 times in the back on February 26, 2015), and Mario Woods (shot 20 times on December 2, 2015) with murder. Gascón, who previously served as Chief of SFPD, declined to indict the SFPD police officers who killed Alex Nieto (shot 59 times on March 21, 2014). Nor did a federal jury find that the officers used excessive force on Nieto. Attorney General Gascón has appointed a Blue Ribbon Panel to investigate SFPD racism in wake of the 2015 texting scandal that has been met with stonewalling by the SFPD. He is on record as calling SFPD "systemically racist" and has had a very public struggle with SFPD Chief Suhr about the most recent slew of racist texts. He is also on record as calling Mario Woods' death "unnecessary." Contact George Gascon at @GeorgeGascon (415) 553-1751 or e-mail districtattorney@sfgov.org. Ask him to indict the SFPD killers of Amilcar Perez Lopez and Mario Woods with...
John Zipperer

Week to Week News Quiz for 4/29/16

John Zipperer | April 29, 2016 | San Francisco
Avoid the crowd protesting your speech and take our latest Week to Week News Quiz. Here are some random but real hints: she filled in for her real-life counterpart; dealers should never use their own drugs; it was not a huge success; and Patti Davis opposed it. Answers are below...
William Bradley

Obama's Saudi Problem Overshadows His Gulf Arab and Western European Summits (and the Next Administration)

William Bradley | April 28, 2016 | Politics
Indeed, the Saudis, long touted by some would-be realists as just the sort of implacable autocrats the Middle East needs for long-term stability, have themselves been furiously stirring the pot in recent months and years.
Sen. Barbara Boxer

Americans Want to Fight Climate Change -- Let's Give Them a Way to Help

Sen. Barbara Boxer | April 30, 2016 | Politics
While we fight to save our planet from the ravages of climate change through the Clean Air Act, international agreements, better fuel mileage standards and clean energy incentives, climate change is already happening.
Alan Black

Notes From a Dive Bar - High There!

Alan Black | April 28, 2016 | San Francisco
The rocket fuel of weed and whisky. A plastered man says, You know, if they smoked a joint in the lunar module when they first landed on the moon, it would have been a real buzz Aldrin. You are a lunartic, I...
Natalia Reagan

Talking Science: Facts About Vaccines and Herd Immunity

Natalia Reagan | April 26, 2016 | Science
This week is World Immunization Week and what better way to commemorate it than by discussing the facts about vaccines and the importance of herd immunity.
Dr. Joseph E. Marshall, Jr.

Domestic Violence Is Worse Than You Think -- And It's Got to Stop!

Dr. Joseph E. Marshall, Jr. | April 26, 2016 | Impact
Whenever people see some celebrity get beat up, then everybody goes, "Ooh, we've got to do something about this serious problem." But when someone sees a woman get beat down in the street, they for the most part just keep on going.
Leo Stutzin

Heir Apparent at Aurora: Low Comedy That Soars to Heights of Hilarity

Leo Stutzin | May 4, 2016 | San Francisco
Digging for gold: Julian López-Gorillas as Geronte, plied by imposters Patrick Kelly Jones, Khalia Davis and Kenny Toll as phony nieces Photos by David Allen Greed isn't simply good in David Ives' The Heir Apparent at Berkeley's Aurora Theatre. As...
Paul Iorio

Once Again, Coachella Comes to Berkeley!

Paul Iorio | April 25, 2016 | San Francisco
As it did last year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival came to Berkeley, California, over its final weekend. Top acts performing on the festival's closing day also played in Berkeley for the opening nights of the 2016 Greek Theater season.
Frank H. Wu

"Look at All the Asians!"

Frank H. Wu | April 24, 2016 | San Francisco
Among the most startling experiences I have had with race is seeing other Asian Americans. I mean being around a critical mass whose lives span the range of human experience versus being virtually alone save for scant contact with a circumscribed subculture. My wife, also Asian American, and I had...
John Zipperer

Week to Week News Quiz for 4/22/16

John Zipperer | April 22, 2016 | San Francisco
We've got a sign o' the times for you, so come find the truth amid the controversy by taking our latest Week to Week News Quiz.
Ken White

Sunshine the Cat Lights Up a Life

Ken White | April 25, 2016 | San Francisco
Once again, a letter best presented without further comment... "Dear PHS President Ken White, "I just read about your January 2003 promises to not put to sleep physically healthy, behaviorally sound dogs and cats, as well as helping to re-home the physically unhealthy...
Jesse Jackman

A Low Blow: Utah's New Anti-Pornography Law Hits Below the Belt

Jesse Jackman | April 22, 2016 | Politics
After months of lobbying by anti-porn groups, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a resolution that declares pornography a "public health crisis." The legislation's philosophy is based on the premise that pornography is addictive. Here's the thing, though: it isn't.
All posts from 05.03.2016 < 05.02.2016