There is something about being unemployed — or underemployed, as it is cutely referred to these days — that puts a crimp in one’s life. What is harsh is the loss of hope that comes with long-term unemployment. It is the constant effort to keep optimistic and on top of things while isolation grinds one down. Unemployment focuses the mind on individual survival, instead of collective solutions. Watching Billy Bragg perform recently at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco was, for me, a desperately needed injection of hope and a reminder that there is a lot more to life than getting by.
In anticipation of Wednesday’s Earth Day celebration, Berkeley Farmers’ Market has stepped up to the “green” plate – by becoming the first market in the nation to eliminate all plastic bags and packaging.
“We’ve been anti-plastic for a long time, but we’re also committed to our farmers and didn’t want to negatively impact them through diminished sales or costs,” said Ben Feldman, program manager of The Ecology Center – an environmental non-profit that has run the markets since 1987.
The market launched its “Zero Waste” campaign March 7, demanding all farmers’ market refuse be recyclable or compostable. The new rule includes materials for bagging produce as well as containers and utensils for prepared foods.
• Sidebar: “Moderate vs. Progressive?”
For a measure that is completely nonbinding there is much sturm und drang around the “Policy Against Terminating Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) in Public High Schools.”
Debate is a limited commodity in the case of Proposition V; instead the two sides talk past and through each other — loudly and heatedly. They also make claims that cannot be verified.
View our annotated Flickr collection to see how pro- Proposition M activists are spinning the issue in campaign fliers.
Rancorous is always a good way to describe tenant-landlord relations in San Francisco, and the debate over Proposition M — an anti-harassment initiative put on the ballot by tenants’ rights activists — is no exception.
The inelegantly dubbed Changing the Residential Rent Ordinance to Prohibit Specific Acts of Harassment of Tenants by Landlords attempts to do just that — at great length, and has spurred an exchange of pro and con arguments around free speech and the role of lawyers.
The battle over public power and the hospital bond have vacuumed up much of San Francisco’s attention and political capital this season. But there’s an equally significant, if under-the-radar, item up for grabs: Proposition B. The “Establishing [an] Affordable Housing Fund” measure mandates that 2.5 cents out of every $100 in property taxes go to create what is essentially a dedicated San Francisco affordable housing account. Proponents and opponents alike agree that it would raise roughly $2.7 billion over its 15-year lifespan — in fact, that’s about all they agree on.
Propositions N and Q, which would increase and modify San Francisco’s property transfer and payroll expense taxes, were the product of intense negotiations between different business groups. Not surprisingly, the winners and losers in those negotiations define the pro and con election advertisements. The laws are simple enough: N would increase the property transfer tax from 0.75 to 1.5 percent on properties worth over $5 million, while Q ensures that partners in law firms have to pay payroll taxes. It also raises the ceiling for payroll tax exemption to $250,000. The city controller states in the voter handbook that the propositions would raise almost $40 million for the city’s general fund, but how it does that, and who stands to gain or lose, is not so clearcut.