Tobacco marketing is targeting California’s low-income and African American youth, according to researchers who examined advertising throughout the state. Academic researchers funded by the state’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program found that there was greater visibility of menthol cigarette advertising at retailers near high schools where there are larger African American student populations.
Foster City drugmaker Gilead recently updated its application with the federal Food and Drug Administration for approval to market its HIV treatment medication Truvada as an HIV prevention pill. If the FDA approves Truvada for preventive use, it “would be the first agent indicated for uninfected individuals to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV through sex,” according to a company statement at the time of the filing in December 2011.
For nearly four years, Cassandra Martin lived in West Oakland, a few blocks from two freeways and the city’s port. This has made her an accidental expert on air pollution. “I used to wonder what that black stuff was on the windowsill,” said Martin, who was diagnosed with asthma in 2009. “I would constantly wipe the walls and windowsills, but it would get so caked with soot. That’s a reason I was wondering about particulate matter.”
In the next six months, local officials and a consortium of private developers will begin to finalize legal papers for Treasure Island’s future as a high-density eco-city. Renderings of the gleaming towers, parks and gardens suggest harmony and community. Yet the promise of an urban Treasure Island, one of the most complex and risky redevelopments in San Francisco’s recent history, has for more than a decade been wrapped up in a process driven by power and influence. The mayor got neartotal control. Political friends got plum jobs and contracts. Critics were exiled. City and state conflict-of-interest laws were waived. Independent inquiries and the will of voters were nakedly rebuffed.
Debt collectors are increasingly using litigation as a tool to collect on aging debts. Critics say the practice clogs the courts and turns the credit card companies’ debtor lists into free-fire zones that sometimes target the innocent. In the Bay Area, a coordinated response to these practices is being developed, as a loose-knit group of public-interest lawyers pools resources to fight what they see as a misuse of the court system.
Proposition L, which would guarantee funding to San Francisco’s new Community Justice Center, is supposedly an initiative that would “stop efforts to play politics with community justice,” according to advertising paid for by proponents.
However, given the heated debate among city officials — rooted in a longstanding feud between Supervisor Chris Daly and Mayor Gavin Newsom — that surrounds the creation of the court, the measure appears to serve a political purpose itself.
Proposition K, which seeks to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco, has spawned a heated debate over how to curb human trafficking and protect the lives and health of sex workers. A close look at campaign advertising around the proposition reveals sharp disagreements between supporters and opponents over what the local impacts of the law would be, as well as a schism in feminist circles over prostitution itself.