California

What $40 million buys

If you own the megaphone, the transmitter, and the mouth, we are not equal -- especially when it came to the cigarette tax

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OPINION I am a diehard and devoted follower of the round-ball. Basketball. If the game did not exist, I wouldn't spend a minute — hot or cold — planted in front of telly, save the half hour my kids and I watch the new Regular Show. I have no idea who wins the beauty contests or who is villain or hero on reality TV, couldn't ID you the hit sitcom star of today, don't know and don't care.

For this reason, I am intimately aware of the massive anti-Prop 29 campaign waged by the tobacco companies (their target audience is male and of a certain age).Read more »

Of Monsters, Men, and Me

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Editor's Note: California is transferring many prison inmates to jails in their counties of origin, a process known as Realignment that will impact the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. Mayor Ed Lee removed the elected head of that department last week, and the process for determining whether Lee acted appropriately could take months. With that context in mind, we present this inside look at Realignment by Eugene Alexander Day, a third strike inmate at Soledad Prison who will be writing occasional articles about prison life for the Guardian.

A perfect storm is brewing. An unparalleled crisis in corrections is exacerbated by an even worse economy. As a reform-minded inmate buried under a life sentence, it feels like hope is on the horizon. Judicial oversight is the cornerstone.

Due to a murderous and unconstitutional medical department, the Supreme Court implemented a population cap on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). December marked the first of four benchmarks. By mid-2013, the prison population must be brought down by 33,000 inmates.

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Millionaires Tax merger is a risk and opportunity

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My first reaction to today’s news that the popular Millionaires Tax measure was merging with Gov. Jerry Brown’s broad-based tax measure was “What the fuck!?!?” Taxing millionaires had over two-thirds support in recent polls and seemed to clearly tap the tax-the-rich zeitgeist that animated and was amplified by the Occupy movement.Read more »

Occupying the Capitol

Amid education cuts and tuition hikes, students increase pressure in Sacramento

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It's an unseasonably hot day at UC Davis, and student activists are milling around a tent city, set up especially for 100 people arriving from a four-day March on Education. The school, one of the hubs of the Occupy movement, gained notoriety when public safety Officer John Pike casually pepper sprayed a line students during a sit-in back in November. Now, officers bike through the idyllic scene, smiling and chatting up occupiers.Read more »

Staying on track

Top political leaders defend high-speed rail from right-wing attacks

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steve@sfbg.com

After weeks of attacks from critics of the high-speed rail system now being built in California — a campaign that even came home to San Francisco City Hall last week, when Sup. Sean Elsbernd challenged Mayor Ed Lee on the issue and called for a hearing — Gov. Jerry Brown and other supporters have stepped up efforts to keep the train from being derailed.Read more »

More backroom policy talks with the California Public Utilities Commission

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On Dec. 8 and 9, high-ranking state government officials will attend a private conference with executives from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), Chevron, AECOM, and other major energy industry players at Cavallo Point, a luxury resort in Marin County to talk about distributed generation, a decentralized system for renewable power. It’s a gathering of top governmental officials and industry leaders to talk about policy issues with far-reaching effects on California’s energy future, but members of the general public are not invited. Read more »

Legends of the underground

Gehenna's Mike Apocalypse doesn't care what you think

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emilysavage@sfbg.com

MUSIC "There are people like us who decide we no longer want to deal with what is fed to us through commercial forces," says infamous hardcore singer Mike Apocalypse, "We strive to create new things — if I couldn't create new music, I would fall apart in a month's time."Read more »

Newsom's delay tactic would create a legal mess

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In this week's Guardian, I lay out the latest political dynamics surrounding who will become San Francisco's next mayor. But in reporting out that story, I stumbled across some interesting potential implications to Mayor Gavin Newsom's petulant promise to delay his swearing in as lieutenant governor.Read more »

Newsom could be headed for victory

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Gavin Newsom seems poised to win his race for lieutenant governor, at least as indicated by his opponent Abel Maldonado's increasingly desperate campaign tactics and Newsom's string of newspaper endorsements, including the Spanish language La Opinion, which chose to pass over a moderate Latino that it has endorsed in the past. The only question now is voter turnout, and whether Newsom's negatives would be enough to drag him down if the Democratic base stays home in this lackluster election.Read more »

Whitman's global warming positions leave her stand unclear

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Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is playing both sides of the fence on the issue of global warming, belatedly opposing Prop. 23 – the measure that would suspend AB 32, California's long-term plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean technology – but promising to delay implementation of AB 32 for a year anyway.Read more »