October 2007 Archives
A frustrated crowd, a fraction of the size of the usual tens of thousands that show up in the Castro each Halloween, gathered at the corner of Castro and Market. They surrounded a scantly clad drag queen named Starr Ebony.
Ebony announced to the crowd, "They closed the gay area on Halloween. What are they going to cancel next, Christmas? How about Thanksgiving?"
The crowd responded with delighted applause and people shouted, "Down with Newsom."
Castro resident John Johnson yelled, "Kick the police out!"
The San Francisco government's decision to clamp down on the Castro this Halloween followed a series of incidents, including the nine people shot during last year's huge celebration. The decision has provided mixed reactions from students, residents and business owners alike.
Johnson started to gather a crowd with his anti-Gavin Newsom views.
"Newsom ended freedom of expression tonight," Johnson said. "In San Francisco, people don't listen to anyone, but this time they listened to Newsom."
Josh Wolf, one of Newsom's opponents in the upcoming mayoral election and an SF State alumnus, was at the scene recording the event on his video camera. Wolf said he would have tried a different approach, trying to promote parties around the city to make Castro less of a "can of sardines."
He said he wants the event to shed its corporate vibe and return to its roots as an LBGT community event.
Gay activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca had an impassioned response toward Newsom and Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the Castro: "How can a pro-gay mayor and a gay supervisor be responsible for this?"
Mecca said that Halloween at the Castro in the 1950's was the only place where you could dress in drag and not get beat up.
"The police would beat us; it was the one night of the year where no one would touch us," Mecca said.
He said the police presence in the Castro Wednesday reminded him of his time in Philadelphia in 1971, and not of the open and progressive San Francisco he lives in today.
About 600 police officers were in the Castro Wednesday night, according to Officer Sal Perez of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Between two and four cops were located every 20-40 feet along Castro and Market streets.
The police seemed to be in good spirits. When asked why, Officer Jim Kreps said, "'Cause nobody's here."
Many businesses in the area were upset with the city's choice. Clark Dorsey the manager at the restaurant Blue on Market Street said that business was worse then even a normal weekday.
"Cops ruin this," he said. "600 cops in the area creates a bad vibe [...] I mean, nine people were shot last year, so I guess it's not all bad, but from a business perspective..."
Todd Gleason and Steven Delante are managers at the Pomodoro restaurant on Market Street.
"Business is a lot slower by far," Delante said. But despite the slowdown, he said he was happy with Halloween this year.
"I think it was a great idea, no people getting stabbed, everything closing early."
One of the few open bars in the area, The Bar on Castro Street, still wasn't generating great revenue, according to manager Eric Hawkes, who said it was slower than usual.
SF State students were largely deterred from attending the event. Haroon Adalat, 18, a cinema major at SF State said, "No one I know is going, I am not going mostly because there isn't a huge concentrated wave like last year."
Danny Banles, 18, an apparel design and merchandising major, was experiencing his first Halloween in San Francisco. "I am going to go check it out, but I'll probably head to Mission soon after that," he said, adding that he just wanted to see what 600 cops would look like.
Banles' friend, Ryan Conlon, 18 said, "It's the Castro. You never know what to expect."
A moderate earthquake, estimated magnitude 5.6 on the Richter Scale, struck the Bay Area tonight at 8:04 PDT, including at SF State.
Seychelle Bradley, 20, an SF State Business major was in class when she felt the quake.
"We were taking a midterm when it hit," she said. "We all just sat there looking at each other. We asked the proctor if we should go outside and he didn't know what to do but said to just keep going."
The quake was centered 5 Miles NE of the Alum Rock, 9 miles NE of San Jose City Hall.
October is breast cancer awareness month and though there are only two days left in October, Pamela Davis, director of oncology service line from St. Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center is trying to inform SF State students about breast cancer awareness.
“This is a life skill that women need to learn on how to give yourself a self-breast examination,” said Davis. She recommends all women learn how to give a self-breast exam by the age of 21.
At age 40, women should get an x-ray or mammogram of their breasts every year according to Michelle Alexander, oncology data coordinator at St. Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center. “If there is a strong family background of breast cancer then we suggest women to get checked at the age of 35,” said Alexander.
SF State student Ashley Welton said this is great way to get women to get their breasts examined. “This brings this to everyone’s attention and it’s something that can be prevented” said Welton, a design industrial major.
“Not too many women put this as their main obligation,” said SF State student Christina Quintero, 26, a industrial design major. “Early detection is the key,” said Quintero.
To learn more about breast cancer and how to detect it early, visit te American Society Web site www.cancer.org.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom brought his campaign to SF State Monday evening and answered questions eight days before the 2007 mayoral election.
A crowd of approximately 50 people gathered in Knuth Hall in the Creative Arts building for the hour and a half event, which was hosted by the College Democrats.
Newsom arrived promptly at 6:30 p.m. and discussed pedestrian safety on 19th Avenue, S.F. Promise and how the unofficial program will affect SF State, and how San Francisco is defined as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.
“We’ve seen a 10 year low in pedestrian incidences last year, […] but this year we started seeing an increase, particularly here on 19th Avenue,” Newsom said. “I’m very cognizant and very aggressive in trying to address that with more countdown clocks, more upgrades, the median strip islands and re-striping crosswalks.”
When an audience member asked about education opportunities for people of color, Newsom said, “I feel like a broken record.”
In September, Newsom announced a proposal for S.F. Promise, a program that would help guide and prepare students in the sixth grade for the four-year college track. S.F. Promise partners Newsom with SF State President Robert Corrigan, California State University Chair of the Board of Trustees Roberta Achtenberg, and the San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia. Newsom plans to partially fund S.F. Promise with the estimated $6 million leftover from the mayoral campaign.
“We want to guarantee every single sixth grader, we want to start this next year with sixth graders, a four year college education – where? Right here at SF State,” Newsom said of S.F. Promise.
The event concluded with a question about whether S.F. Promise would lead to more overcrowding and impacted classes because of the additional students.
“I don’t believe that the president of the CSU and the current president of SF State would have supported something that would exacerbate that issue,” he said. “I think they’re supporting it because it’s going to enhance the educational mission of SF State and beyond.”
Antonio Taylor, 19, said that Newsom’s appearance seemed short, but that “there were a lot of great questions about minorities.” Newsom should have discussed his stance on the war on drugs, which he recently described as “an abject failure,” Taylor said.
“I wish he would have answered questions about the war on drugs which he stated on the news five weeks ago,” he said.
While Taylor is not registered to vote in San Francisco County, he said he would cast his vote for Newsom.
“He has experience and he has a tough job managing a city of 800,000 people,” Taylor said.
Newsom has been campaigning throughout the entire city the last couple of weeks, and expressed concern about the polls.
“My biggest concern is that it’s going to be a very low turnout election,” Newsom said. “We’re trying to encourage people to get out and vote because there’s a perception that the race is already over, and that is just not a perception I share, nor is it one that is advantageous.”
Newsom extended his stay for an additional 20 minutes before leaving for another campaign event in San Francisco's Mission district.
A team of editors and producers from "Exposé: America’s Investigative Reports" converged at SF State last Wednesday to talk to journalism students about investigative reporting.
Created in 2006, "Exposé" (originally titled "AIR") is a PBS documentary series that focuses not only on top investigative cases, but on the process and the reporters themselves.
“Very, very important stories are reaching very, very few people,” said Tom Casciato, executive producer of "Exposé." “A lot of them are just not that interesting to read. Investigative reports can be very dry, even though the reporters aren’t.”
Click the play button on the right to listen to the podcast...
"Exposé" showed one of their recent episodes, in which Stephen Henderson, a Supreme Court reporter for McClatchy (formerly Knight-Ridder) went through four states and 80 cases to reveal inadequate defense for death row inmates. Henderson talked with attorneys in the four states who stated there was not enough funding to investigate their clients’ background.
In his reporting, Henderson documented what defense attorneys could have done if they had enough resources. Cynthia Allen, an inmate who was charged with killing four people in Georgia, was taken off death row when her attorney found out she has a low IQ and past sexual abuse.
The future of investigative reporting is positive. “We’re in a transitional period, it’s hard to know the future, but I’m optimistic,” said Oriana Zill De Granados, a writer and producer for "Exposé." “The U.S. public is very supportive and they want to hear these stories.”
Though readers may want to read about investigative stories, many newspapers are not dedicating resources to the stories because of the length of time it takes to investigate the story. On the flip-side, these are the stories that win awards, said Granados.
There is currently a movement in which some newspapers are going non-profit such as the Pro Publico in New York, which will be ready by next year, she said.
This year's race for San Francisco mayor has brought out a group of candidates with a wide range of ideas and viewpoints. As the campaign enters its final weeks, the [X]Press newspaper and website will provide special coverage of the 2007 races.
To gain a better understanding of what each mayoral hopeful has to offer, we have invited Mayor Gavin Newsom and his rivals to outline their goals for San Francisco over the next four years.
Nine of the twelve candidates for mayor sent us their essays. Shorter versions of the essays will run in the print edition of [X]Press. The longer versions of the essays are listed here at [X]Press Online, along with links to all of the candidates websites.
Note: [X]Press is not responsible for content on outside websites.
San Francisco is a beacon.
We are the first American city to launch universal health care. We are taking bold action on climate change, utilizing the greenest and cleanest new technologies. We helped lead the fight for civil rights and stood up for marriage equality when other cities backed down. We won the stem cell center in Mission Bay because the nation knows we are a capital of innovation. I’m proud of the last four years, and the facts show that San Francisco is making progress.
We have signed up 1,850 San Franciscans for phase one of our universal health care program, Healthy San Francisco, and now we’re on track to provide access to comprehensive high-quality health care for all 82,000 uninsured residents. We reconnected 2,280 homeless San Franciscans with their families through Homeward Bound. Another 2,062 formerly homeless residents have moved into permanent supportive housing as a result of Care Not Cash. We added 416 new police officers to protect our neighborhoods. And our new 311 Call Center has already answered over one million calls, making city government easily accessible to all residents. We’ve spent the last four years pursuing big ideas, while making sure that we address everyday quality-of-life issues too—like filling potholes and cleaning the streets.
But like all San Franciscans, I know we still have a lot of work to do.
We need free municipal WiFi to close the digital divide and bring Internet access to all of our residents. We need to reform and improve MUNI based on the findings of the Transit Effectiveness Project. We need a community justice court to continue the progress on homelessness sparked by Care Not Cash. We need to rebuild every public housing project and connect every San Francisco neighborhood with access to good jobs and great schools.
But to make those reforms a reality in the future, and to continue the progress of the past four years, I need your help.
The election is almost here and all indicators point to a record-low turnout. Please prove them wrong by voting on Tuesday, November 6th and send a clear message at the ballot box—that we want San Francisco to keep moving in the right direction.
I would be honored to have your support for another four years so that we can continue the work we’ve started.
Brown did not turn in a response.
The goal of the campaign is to educate and bring about a Free Body Culture movement to make America more like Europe. The Free Body Culture (Freikorperkultur = FKK) is a century old political/social movement advocating nudism in sports, recreation, leisure and home life. The Free Body Culture has only been suppressed during periods of German militarism during World War I and the National Socialist (Nazi) periods. The Free Body Culture is the dominant philosophy in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, and other areas of Europe. My first act as mayor would be to make Golden Gate Park clothing optional like the major urban parks in Europe.
(Ironically, public nudity absent lewd conduct is legal in California by court decisions like in re Smith, except Golden Gate Park which has a nudity ordinance passed 40 years ago by an unelected Parks and Recreation Commission.)
By extension this campaign advocates social benefits that Europeans take for granted like 6 week vacations, sabbatical leave, universal health care, guaranteed incomes, and union representation on corporate boards. Agreed these are mainly Federal and State issues, but the reason that Americans don’t have these benefits is because the government is controlled by an billionaire oligarchic Demo-publican political machine which even reaches into the San Francisco mayor’s office.
On the ballot initiatives, I would encourage public transit first with a Yes on A and No on H. I always vote for money for the libraries. Yes, the mayor should have to answer to the Board of Supervisors and the citizens for administration acts and policies.
I support “free” Muni. We already have “free” transit at San Francisco airport. Seattle has “free” downtown transit. Las Vegas has a “free” monorail. Right now fares only pay for about 20% of the Muni budget. With no fare collection, transit operators can operate more safely, courteously, and timely. The remainder of the Muni budget can come from downtown and commercial transit district fees.
For maintaining diversity in San Francisco, I would not allow any big box, chains, or formula retail. The merchants would then represent the respective diversity of their neighborhoods.
For housing and once again this is a Federal tax issue, I would advocate making low and moderate income housing profitable to developers. There is certainly developable land available for housing on Mission Street (prior to 1950 the second busiest retail district in San Francisco), Van Ness Ave, Geary Blvd, Third Street, and underutilized Port and City land. Developers and Investors could be offered construction loan interest subsidies, accelerated front loaded depreciation schedules of 10-15 years, and passive loss on other income. Also, the HUD Section 8 housing program could be expanded.
You are invited to explore the blogs at www.gonakedyoga.com for more campaign details and background.
My name is Lonnie S. Holmes a native of San Francisco, in choosing the next Mayor, we face a clear choice: We can stay chained to the status quo, or we can move boldly into the future, a future that will embrace us all and not just a select few. In the few months since I announced I was running for Mayor, I've met thousands of people in every corner of this great city who've said to me, "I want to move boldly into the future. I want my city to continue to challenge itself to do better." This is why you will get more demonstration and less conversation from a Holmes administration.
I will be a Mayor who will reach out to all residents of San Francisco regardless of their status. I am asking all residents to join me in our journey towards a better future for all San Franciscans:
*A future where our school system is second to none – where children have the tools they need to learn and teachers have the tools they need to teach.
*A future where a college education is guaranteed for every high school graduate in our city who wants one and a future where excellent vocational programs leading to well-paying jobs are available for those students who choose that route to success.
*A future where there is a mix of housing options, including affordable housing, and housing for our poor, students and homeless, across our city.
It is a brighter future:
*Where quality health care is a right – not a privilege, and where citizens in all parts of San Francisco have access to primary care, and excellent hospitals.
*Where we develop partnerships between the government, the non-profit sector and our faith community to effectively battle the epidemic of STD’s and HIV/AIDS that is ravaging our people.
*A future where our business leaders and environmentalists work together to build our city while protecting our environment, and where developers and community activists can find common ground to build and strengthen our neighbors and provide well-paying jobs to support our families.
It's a future:
*Where we deliver balanced budgets that will still provide essential services to those in our city least able to fight for themselves – our children, our seniors, an our poor.
*And where we won't continue to build new high rises yet, we can't afford to fix our schools and pay our teachers a living wage.
• With 20 years of experience working in the Law Enforcement community, I have been known to address matters how large or how small in a very detailed manner. As a Manager for the SF Juvenile Probation Department, public safety, affordable housing, education, recreation, and the building of our neighborhoods are issues I deal with on a regular basis. As Mayor, I will do the same for our entire city and I will challenge professionals to build a dynamic administration, competent and ready to tackle our most pressing issues. This cannot be done without working with Black, White, Latino, Asian, straight, gay and others, this is our city, and it is only by working together that we will have a better San Francisco for everyone.
As a working class person looking for working class solution that will involve all of you, I again say, you will get more demonstration and less conversation from a Holmes! Please vote for Lonnie Holmes on November 6, 2007 as your next Mayor for San Francisco. Thank you. .
Regarding the ballot propositions, I would encourage you all to vote for what you believe is in the best interest of San Francisco. Some of the things I look for when deciding to support a proposition is accountability, affordability, and transparency.
As a candidate for mayor there are many compelling issues that beg and tug for an opinion, a position or just time and attention. Candidates address issues and try to persuade any given audience to accept that candidate as their choice. That is the role of a politician. That is not my role. I am not a politician. What I seek to do in my career, first as candidate and later as mayor, is to present clearly and effectuate my vision of the better, more livable future that San Francisco deserves.
My vision for a better, more livable San Francisco includes all the traditional hot buttons: transportation, housing, safer and cleaner streets without undue burden on our businesses or residents. San Francisco can have all of those things without much more than sound management and visionary development. I hope you will read on.
The key to any city is a healthy environment and sound transportation. My vision includes the construction of subway light-rail on major corridors (19th Avenue Park Presidio, Geary, the Marina—by extending the proposed Chinatown subway, Van Ness and Potrero Avenues would be the first projects). As one might imagine, with subways come subway stations. Further, though, with subway stations comes the opportunity to build transit-oriented, mixed use developments. Not high rises, but rather, high value, envelopes of development entitlement to property owners in exchange for the accesses to the subways.
Those envelopes of development must include housing opportunities for public service employees (police, firefighters, teachers, etc.). With that we would have fulltime residents whose profession is to keep our streets safe… creating a buy-in to our city for our employees with the added value of keeping the city [taxpayer paid] paychecks of those employees from being spent in far flung suburbs. Hence, the value added without undue burden to business and residents as those very businesses and residents would benefit from the new infusion of previously lost city employee paychecks.
With a transit backbone of several subway lines crisscrossing our city, many residents would find they no longer need a car, relieving the need for the “parking space wars” that infest our ballot and our legislative and planning chambers. With our public workers resident in greater numbers, our streets and transit would be measurably safer (visualize off duty cops taking Metro to work). I believe my vision is clearer to you now.
I, Grasshopper Alec Kaplan, am running for Mayor of San Francisco because I want to make our city a place where people can live.
My motto is housing, housing, housing. If you work here, you gotta be able to live here.
On November 6th, 2007, vote Grasshopper for Mayor. Vote Grasshopper for change. Peace, love, and Grasshopper. Let’s make San Francisco beautiful. Let’s make San Francisco a place where people can live – in office spaces, with eviction protection. In every part of the city there are vacant commercial spaces. Let’s make it legal to live, here in San Francisco, by making it legal to live in office spaces, and giving people eviction protection who already do. Let’s eliminate local Ellis Act evictions.
Let’s make San Francisco beautiful, with total amnesty for undocumented people. Let’s legalize prostitution and sex work, and encourage safe practices. Let’s make Gavin Newsom walk the streets.
A vote for Grasshopper is a vote to impeach George Bush. Dick Cheney, and Nancy Pelosi too. The only dope that should be illegal is George Bush and Dick Cheney. Vote Grasshopper to impeach.
Let’s legalize marijuana, with a greens for peace program. We can all get behind a greens for peace program here in San Francisco – I’m talking about a local tax on cannabis to help support schools, roads, parks, homes and hospitals, but not jails, and not wars. Greens for peace. Everybody chill out, smoke a joint, and vote Grasshopper Alec Kaplan for Mayor.
For free Muni for residents with a downtown transit assessment district vote Grasshopper. For separate pathways for bicycles – vote Grasshopper.
Let’s make San Francisco Beautiful. Let’s make San Francisco a place where people can live – with freedom of mind, thought, and expression. Vote Grasshopper Alec Kaplan for Mayor. Thank you for your vote San Francisco.
Over 10 years as a taxicab driver, and as a vegan Bay swimmer, Grasshopper is uniquely qualified to bring you a world-class transit system where you won’t need nor want to have a car. Vote Grasshopper for Mayor.
Let’s make our city one where not just the 21 billionaires, but the rest of us, working people, students, artists, musicians and just plain outcasts – where anyone is welcome, in a celebration of diversity and freedom. Stop the war. Stop the torture and terror. Vote Grasshopper Alec Kaplan for Mayor.
So far this election season, you have been bombarded by carefully scripted press releases from Gavin Newsom’s administration designed to make you believe that he is running unopposed in this year’s mayoral race. Newsom’s team has lots of money and media allies to reinforce that message.
At the same time, he has carefully refused to debate me. I am confident that once you have the opportunity to compare our respective positions, character and vision, you will cast your vote for change.
You are the one who gets to decide the fate of this city. You do have a choice. You can vote for change to send a message to our incumbent Mayor that you believe San Francisco can do better.
In recent years, San Franciscans have experienced a spike in homicides and violent crime, an epidemic of homelessness, an affordable housing crisis and a failed MUNI system. The next mayor of San Francisco needs to address these crucial issues head on, with bold and innovative solutions.
In 2004, the Mayor said he would sign his own recall petition if homicide rates didn’t go down. Homicide rates are up. The Mayor’s refusal to hold himself accountable for our public safety is just one of many examples of his failed leadership, and one reason I am compelled to challenge him on November 6.
The Mayor tried to sell San Franciscans a “free” wireless plan that will actually turn our public airwaves over to a corporation. He vilifies and criminalizes those who are poor and without a home, while refusing to take steps to improve the shelter system, to stop evictions that result in homelessness, or to advocate for those living in poverty in our city.
He consistently supports the construction of luxury housing over affordable housing options. He is giddy about the construction of housing that is unaffordable to nearly all San Franciscans, while consistently favoring real estate interests over those of San Francisco’s tenants. Mayor Newsom refuses to take a stand against Ellis Act evictions by real estate speculators.
His only successes are initiatives proposed and led by members of the Board of Supervisors. While the District Supervisors work tirelessly to represent their constituents, the Mayor places style over substance, press releases over action.
I am the choice for people who want to see real change, real progress in our city. I offer substantive solutions to real problems facing San Francisco. My campaign seeks to move this city forward, in a new direction that reclaims the best of San Francisco.
Please join me. Together, we will elevate substance over style, and show that San Francisco can do better.
Thank you for your support.
Campaign debates and promises have rehashed the same volatile issues over many election cycles. Let’s implement solutions with an integrated approach! As Mayor, I would coalesce professionalism in government to focus our resources on solutions. I am a consensus-builder with life experiences that resonate with a broad spectrum of San Franciscans:
-As a single parent: I have raised three college-degreed (one PhD) daughters through the SF school system.
-As a college professor: I have taught music, Citizenship and ESL at City College of SF for over 30 years. I am a SF State University alumnus.
-As a community activist: I am founder of ABCT (A Better Chinatown Tomorrow), a community based organization that preserves Chinatown’s cultural heritage. I teach citizenship courses to immigrants.
-As a person in charge: I have worked harmoniously with diverse ethnicities as a North Beach/ Chinatown Neighborhood Arts Organizer for the SF Arts Commission and abroad as an Australian Ethnic Arts Officer.
-As a business owner: I work with events planning and performing artists to showcase Asian culture.
-As a lifetime renter: I know first hand tenant issues and the challenges of affordable housing.
-As a Muni rider: I see daily the unfulfilled needs for quality, world class public transit.
EDUCATION: Integrated collaboration of public, nonprofit and private entities---linking parents, vocational education, juvenile delinquency, social services, recreation, language and neighborhood empowerment.
FAMILY INCENTIVES TO STAY IN SF: Refocus on fundamental public infrastructure, childcare, preschool programs and quality of life issues.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Integrated planning and permitting by government, nonprofits, builders, architects and communities, with a broader range of housing types.
SMALL BUSINESS: User-friendly public services with incentives for job creation, rewards for quality/ contributions to the community.
MUNI: Integrated Muni staff and community. Increased funding (Yes on Prop A’s additional $26 million). Reinforce transit-first policy; reduced greenhouse gas emissions (No on Prop H’s increased parking/ cars).
HOMELESSNESS: Assess existing public, nonprofit and private resources. Establish specific responsibilities; refocus funds to diversion programs and compact housing.
HOMICIDE: Focus public, nonprofit and private resources on building an interrelated community network, with a partnership of City Departments, the citizenry, schools, recreation, health/ family services…..
As an Asian-Pacific-Islander and the first Chinese-American woman candidate for Mayor, I also want to advocate the issues of API’s and the voices of women and minorities---to universally enable the American dream.
As a candidate for Mayor it is my intent to accomplish the following tasks
for my fellow residents. I will:
-make Muni free and introduce a community bicycle program with 10,000 bikes as in Paris.
-protect our cities skyline through slow growth rather than our present program of Manhattanization.
-lower our crime rate by increasing the number of police officers we have on our streets by use of Lateral Transfer hiring and insisting that sworn personnel are not wasted on administrative duties.
-use our bike program to allow the homeless to become its supervised labor pool in their maintenance, thus teaching them a trade.
-encouraging the promotion of Harvey Milk's birthday as a national holiday.
Rinaldi did not turn in a response.
Sumchai did not turn in a response.
Jello Biafra, the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, once proclaimed, “Don’t hate the media, become the media.” And I did. After watching biased coverage of political protests on the news, I picked up a camera and began shooting what I saw. One of the videos I shot resulted in me spending 226 days in a federal detention center just two months after graduating from San Francisco State. The FBI demanded that I turn over my unpublished video and testify about the identities of the protestors; I refused.
In 1979, Jello ran for mayor of San Francisco, and while I can’t really say that he directly inspired my campaign or my decision to pursue journalism, the Dead Kennedys certainly influenced my life.
I am running for mayor to present an alternative to business as usual, to resist the machine politics that dominate the city, and to propose a model for real, direct democracy. Politicians buy and sell their influence like commodities on the stock market; backroom deals and empty rhetoric dominate, and it is the everyday people, people like you and me, who suffer. I’m running to change that. It’s time to open up government and create a society that empowers every man woman, and child to have an active voice in planning our city’s future.
Right now, there is no real way to enter a conversation with our officials. The mayor refuses to participate in question time at the Board of Supervisors’ meetings, and the voice of the community is often silenced. We can do better.
It wasn’t possible to create a direct democracy when our country was founded, the technical demands just couldn’t be met. With the advent of the internet and Web 2.0, we can begin moving toward real democracy. The idea is simple: every single issue that goes before our government should have it’s own node – it’s own web page – created that allows for people to comment about the matter, propose alternatives to the solutions already on the table, and take part in straw polls to get a feel for where the people stand. I’m calling it SFDemocracy.net and I will be working to develop this project no matter who is elected mayor. I hope you’ll join me to help make it a reality.
On November 6th, please vote for me, Josh Wolf, as your first choice for Mayor of San Francisco. It’s time for a new democracy!
President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency as a series of wildfires ravaged Southern California, destroying approximately 1,600 buildings and homes, causing six deaths and at least 100 injuries, and resulting in the evacuation of over 500,000 people, the largest evacuation in California history.
The number of fires, which peaked at 17 on Monday, changes with the shifting Santa Ana winds. More than 3,200 firefighters—some called in from Northern California and neighboring states like Nevada—are attempting to contain the blazes. As of Wednesday morning, the infernos had burned about 410,000 acres (640 square miles) and had caused at least $1 billion worth of damage in San Diego County alone, officials said.
President Bush’s Tuesday declaration of federal emergency was stepped up to a declaration of a major disaster in the state of California, making federal funding available to people in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Bush, who is traveling to Southern California today to see the effects of the disaster and the effectiveness of government aid, said in a press conference Wednesday morning, “We’ll continue to make sure that our efforts are coordinated, that we are responsive to the needs and people.”
“And most importantly, I want the people in Southern California to know that Americans across this land care deeply about them, we’re concerned about their safety, we’re concerned about their property, and we offer our prayers and hopes that all will turn out fine in the end,” Bush said. “In the meantime, they can rest assured the Federal Government will do everything we can to help put out these fires.”
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met with thousands of evacuees in Qualcomm Stadium on Tuesday with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) chief David Paulison.
Paulison admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle that “things didn’t run as smoothly” as they should have during the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, but insists that “this is a new FEMA,” and that they will be more efficient in this disaster.
“There’s no question that there were a couple lessons from Katrina that we have put into effect here,” Chertoff told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
There are currently four major fires in or near the San Diego area. The Harris Fire, a 72,000 acre blaze near Potrero that has destroyed or damaged up to 500 homes and caused $1.3 million worth of damage since it started on Sunday, is the fire responsible for the only directly fire-related death of this disaster, that of Thomas James Varshock, 52, of Tecate who died in his residence on Sunday.
Despite the efforts of 1,210 firefighters, 2 helitankers and 65 fire engines, this conflagration was only 10 percent contained as of Wednesday morning.
Larger still is the Witch Creek Fire, a westbound blaze between Interstates 5 and 15 that was possibly caused by a downed power line on Sunday and covers 196, 420 acres, completely destroying at least 480 homes. Over 10,000 people were evacuated to local community centers and no fatalities have been reported. The blaze has the attention of nearly 1,500 firefighters, but was merely one percent contained as of Wednesday morning.
The Poomacha Fire, which originated in a structure on the La Jolla Indian Reservation on Tuesday and spread to vegitation, merged with the Witch Creek Fire on Wednesday. The Poomacha fire covers 20,000 acres, was zero percent contained as of Wednesday and resulted in the evacuation of the La Jolla reservation and all of Palomar Mountain. The final major fire, the Rice Canyon Fire, covers 7,500 acres and was 10 percent contained as of Wednesday.
Varshock’s was the only death caused by not evacuating a dangerous area. Three people over the age of 90 died of “natural causes” after being evacuated and Alla M. Robinson, 62, died from a fall in a restaurant after being evacuated from Rancho Bernardo, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
About 25 percent of the almost 30,000 current SF State students are from Southern California, 5.6 percent from San Diego area in particular.
Even those whose families have not been forcefully evacuated have heard from home about the lingering effects of the poor air quality and fear of a sudden change in wind direction.
Sara Draffin, a 21-year-old psychology major, said her family was seeing the effects of the infernos over 100 miles north in Newport Beach—with smoke and ashes in the air.
“The air is so bad, they don’t want them breathing it in while they’re working out,” she said.
Alex Williams, 21, is from University City in San Diego, south of the raging fires. Though his family did not receive a reverse 911 call for evacuation, they decided to go to his sister’s house by the beach in nearby Point Loma, fearing that a change in the winds could turn the fire in their direction.
“The fire was east of our house, so we’re good, but the winds were changing and we didn’t know, so [my] family just evacuated,” he said.
Williams said he is growing weary of the recurring fires in his homeland.
“They’re something normal now, like every four years a big fire comes along. It’s getting ridiculous. The Santa Ana winds really hampered the effort. I have a buddy who’s a firefighter and it’s just all about those Santa Ana winds, they couldn’t get any planes up.”
The winds, which have raised temperatures in the area about 10 degrees from normal, are expected to begin subsiding on Thursday, which will allow more emergency aircraft to move in and attempt to extinguish the fires before they cause more damage.
» FIRE BLOGS: Los Angeles - Lindsay Rasten gives us the low-down in her old stomping grounds near the LA coast
» FIRE BLOGS: San Diego - Khari Johnson runs through the news on the San Diego region
Gerald Eisman was a senior in college at Caltech University in Pasadena, Calif. when he and his classmates tensely watched the news as birth dates were drawn out like lottery numbers.
“We cheered when they missed our number, and had a beer and consoled our contemporaries when their number came up,” remembered Eisman of the lottery draft that was instituted in 1969 during the Vietnam War.
By then, 543,000 U.S. troops had already been deployed to Vietnam, according to The Oxford Companion to American Military History. And as the number of troops increased, so did the anti-war sentiment. In October of 1969, over 2 million people took part in the Vietnam Moratorium protests all around the country and was followed by countless other protests that spanned up until the early 70s when President Richard Nixon announced the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Today, the U.S. finds itself in ongoing conflict with Iraq and as of September 2007 at least 3,803 U.S. soldiers have died since the start of the war in 2003, according to the Associated Press. And a recent CNN poll showed that the support for the Iraq war is now at an all time low of 30 percent among Americans. Yet to some experts, what is notably absent this time is another prevailing anti-war movement.
The anti-war movement back then had a huge consciousness around it because [the war] was personally affecting you and your family and friends,” said Eisman, the director of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at SF State. Eisman, whose lottery number was never called, recalls his less fortunate classmates coming back home from the war with missing arms and legs. “It was very real.”
“Now here we have the Iraq war and who’s serving in [this] war? Volunteers,” Eisman said. “And with a volunteer army, where are the protests going to come from?”
Others like Eisman cite the lack of a draft as being the utmost reason why students today have not organized themselves the way the youth of the ‘60s did.
“Because there’s no draft [today], there’s no passion,” said 20-year-old Greg Doty, communications director for the college democrats at SF State. “And that’s why you don’t see students flooding the streets.”
Political Science Professor Matthew Freeman also agreed that the draft was a major component in the up-rise of the ‘60s anti-war movement, but said that there are many other factors involved, the difference in cultural outlooks being one of them.
People these days are intolerant of policies and their politicians and perhaps this attitude is stronger than ever, he said. Young children are taught that you’re supposed to do good, not bad. And if they’re given the idea that politics are a bad thing then these kids grow up thinking they don’t want to be a part of that. And according to Freeman, the result is a lack of political involvement.
Richard Deleon, a professor emeritus in the Political Science department, matched such sentiment.
“Looking back, when I was involved in the Free Speech Movement and early anti-war movements circa 1964 to 1967, I and most of the students I knew really did believe our high school civics textbooks and had a highly idealistic conception of how American democracy was suppose to work,” Deleon said. “I think that students today are more realistic and cynical about politics.”
Business major Alejandro Hernandez expressed his own realism.
“No matter how important they are, people don’t want to hear about these issues anymore,” said the 23-year-old. “Yeah, there are a lot of international issues going on, but I need to deal with the shit that’s happening on my own block.”
Along with the idealistic views of the past, Ethnic Studies Professor Larry Salomon, who has taught his students about the history of SF State’s involvement in the 60s protests, recounted the support of other major movements such as the Free Speech Movement and the Civil Rights Movement that were going on at the same time as the anti-war protests.
“Young students had already been cutting their teeth with things like the Civil Rights movement and Free Speech before the anti-war movement came along,” he said. “And young people in the 60s believed that what they were doing on this campus would actually lead to change.”
Now decades later, [X]press asked a group of 50 students on campus if they personally knew someone who had served or was serving in the Iraq war and 66 percent answered yes. Of those 50, 82 percent said they did not support the war. Still, a sense of apathy and disheartenment towards activism was present amongst them.
“I haven’t found a way to get involved. But I don’t feel like I even have a say or a chance to make some sort of change anyway,” said 21-year-old senior Deanna Madanat. “It’s depressing, really. And because I feel hopeless about the situation, I just block out all the news so I don’t have to think about it.”
Twenty-two-year-old senior Faten Madanat added to her cousin’s case. “We can protest all we want but in the end, Bush is gonna do what he wants to do,” she said. “And I think all we can do at this point is try and clean up the mess.”
Mechanical engineering major Mike Arce brought up Salomon’s second point, distraction.
“I’m no sociologist, but [the lack of activism] has a lot to do with today’s culture. We’re distracted by video games and the Internet,” said the 20-year-old junior.
Not everyone has been distracted during the current war, however.
According to James Martel, the department chair of the Political Science department, student activism is still around though it is definitely not at the same level as it was during Vietnam.
“Back then activism included the average person or student,” Martel said. “The activism that is happening today is coming more from the radical groups.”
SF State’s own Students Against War is a politically active campus group whose sole purpose is to end the war in Iraq, according to S.A.W. member Kristen Lubbert, 22.
Though it isn’t what it was before, Lubbert still holds hope for the future of student activism.
“Large movements don’t just happen,” Lubbert said. “It’s the small groups in colleges doing little things and learning activism; that’s what makes it happen.”
Though Eisman doesn’t consider the rebirth of ‘60s politics and its movements as likely without a draft, Lubbert still deems the possibility of a movement, reminiscent of the one against the Vietnam War, today but only if there comes a change of interests amongst her peers.
“If we expect to see change we have to do it ourselves,” she said.
Professor Freeman agreed that change will only happen if we ourselves participate like those who did in generations past.
“You know the John Mayer song, Waiting on the World to Change,” said Freeman. “Well, the biggest difference between the ‘60s and now is that the ‘60s didn’t wait on the world to change. They fucking changed the world.”
Standing tall with UC Berkley and Stanford University, SF State’s title as a “College with a Conscience” by the Princeton Review is rewarding for both the student body and community all around.
Given the title in 2005, SF State was selected based on criteria including the college’s admissions and scholarships, rewarding community service, student activism and level of social engagement of the student body, according to a press release from the Office of Public Affairs & Publications.
According to the latest data available from the Student Needs and Priorities survey in 2005, students were asked how often they engaged in any kind of community service or community betterment activities. The survey is usually part of the registration process and only takes a few minutes for students to fill out.
In the survey of approximately 2,500 students, 77.6 percent, or about 1,940 students, said they had engaged in community service or activity.
Another question was if the students had taken a course at SF State that involved the student with community service. Approximately 25.6 percent, or about 642 students, said they had.
“Community is in the lifeblood of the campus. San Francisco historically is progressive,” said Gerald Eisman, the acting director of the Institute for Civic & Community Engagement (ICCE).
“It’s our job to help connect our community and civic organizations to San Francisco,” said Eisman.
Around 8,000 students and 415 faculty members work with ICCE, according to Eisman. “It’s a big program,” he said.
Eisman said that there is great involvement on every California State University campus, but “not as deep as SF State.”
Every campus has a service-learning learning office but SF State had one of the first offices, according to Eisman.
“We are a very educated city, we have a great university. Because of who we are, we are closer to the ground,” said Eisman.
One program that has a high level of social engagement and has been involved in communities all over San Francisco is the Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders (Project SHINE), through the Marian Wright Edelman Institute. The direct of Project SHINE is Gail Weinstein.
Project SHINE started in a different form around 1985 in Philadelphia but eight years ago she came to SF State, and Project SHINE as it is now began to take shape.
Project SHINE now works with approximately 60 students from SF State and 140 students San Francisco City College to help coach elderly people for learning literacy and preparing for naturalization.
“There are students from many different disciplines, and different disciplines find different ways” to coach, said Weinstein.
Weinstein said that her job was created because students wanted to become involved.
“It was a grassroots [movement] from the students to create my position,” said Weinstein.
The feedback from the communities involved is positive.
“The elders love these coaches,” said Weinstein. “They are very moved.”
Project SHINE operates on an approximately $10,000-yearly budget. Eisman said that the ICCE is well funded and receives lots of support from the SF State administration.
Despite the programs on campus that get students involved, they do not have to go through SF State to be involved with the outside community in a rewarding way that the Princeton Review looks for. Steve Meyers, 32, works at Making Waves, a non-profit group that helps tutor at risk kids starting in the 5th grade.
“I like working with the kids,” said Meyers, who is working towards his teaching certificate. “The tutoring has given me practical experience.”
Meyers hopes to work in San Francisco when he gets his certificate.
Despite the high involvement from the student body, Gerald Eisman would like every student have some sort of community awareness.
What he’d like to see is every student, “graduate with a sense of civic responsibility,” he said.
An SF State professor received a dose of southern inhospitality when a man from Atlanta, angered by a YouTube video featuring the professor, sent a menacing e-mail threatening him with physical harm.
The video prompting the man's e-mail threat, a montage of clips collected from the conflict surrounding the Malcom X Plaza 9/11 memorial, was produced by the College Republicans at SF State and appeared on Fox News Network last month.
"It was a perfect example of the manipulation of the media to indicate the opposite of something that occurred," said Phillip Klasky Professor of American Indian Studies, who received the intimidating e-mail.
Klasky said the video was a "shameful manipulation" of his attempt to resolve the heated dispute between protestors and the memorial's organizers.
According to Klasky, the e-mail declaring, "We saw the video. Watch your back," found its way to his inbox shortly after Bill O'Reilly aired a segment of the event, characterizing SF State as disrespectful to 9/11 victims.
Klasky said he then notified campus authorities of the threat, who immediately contacted the police department in Atlanta about the man.
Captain Patrick Wasley, of the SF State university police department, handled Klasky’s threat.
"It's a closed case, but we're going to continue to monitor the situation," Wasley said.
Klasky said he was concerned about the potential for violence and stepped in to quell the escalating tension at the 9/11 memorial—where protestors from the group, The World Can’t Wait, shouted and interrupted the event jointly held by campus Democrat and Republican organizations.
He appears near the end of the campus Republican's YouTube video, talking with protestors and saying, "They're using the deaths of these people to wage an illegal war." The video then cuts to a slide that reads, "Leftist professors and students joined forces to disrespect those that died in Sept. 11th."
Klasky said the clip was taken out of context as he tried to broker a deal between the groups, offering protestors a chance to speak following the memorial in exchange for an end to their disruption.
"I told organizers that the university is a constructive place to open dialogue and discuss these very important global issues," he said.
President of the College Republicans at SF State, Leigh Wolf, would not comment on the YouTube video saying he didn't want to get into a "who said what argument about the memorial," but added that his group condemned the e-mail threat against Klasky.
"As an organization that has received multiple threats, we don't think what the man in Georgia did is appropriate," Wolf said. "We condemn that action. It should be fully investigated, and that person should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
Klasky said he was upset and saddened by the video, but added it wouldn't dissuade him from promoting a diversity of opinions on campus.
"I'm not easily intimidated," Klasky said. "I will continue to endeavor to create situations for constructive dialogue at our university."
Adhering to the adage that rules are made to be broken, SF State students routinely bend the regulations when it comes to campus conduct. But aside from the drinking and drug regulations notoriously pushed at college campuses, the main offenders tend to be those engaging in everyday activities not commonly viewed as unlawful.
Some obvious rules such as smoking marijuana or drinking under the age of 21 reflect national laws, leaving little leeway for students not to acknowledge them. But it’s the other, everyday behavior rules specific to SF State —banning biking, skateboarding, and smoking in the non-designated areas—that may catch students off guard.
Although police records show that nights and weekends keep campus police busy cracking down on underage drinking and noise complaints, weekdays they spend much time enforcing university regulations. Since the start of the semester 28 citations for skateboarding have been recorded, 12 for smoking, and 48 for jaywalkers, according to University Police officer Pat Wasley.
While the breaking of these rules may seem trivial, University Chief of Police Kirk Gaston argues that there are important reasons why they’re in place.
“It all has an impact on people’s safety and quality of life,” he said.
Wasley acknowledged that the police can’t hand out citations to rule breakers because calls must be prioritized.
“You do what you can with staff you have on hand,” Wasley said of the 38-member force.
Although the city of San Francisco prides itself on using alternative, non-polluting forms of transportation like bicycles and skateboards, SF State prefers students leave those items locked up while at school.
The narrow walkways on SF State’s small campus aren’t conducive to bicyclists and skateboarders, Gaston said, adding that skateboarders might injure people walking in the packed campus paths or exiting from buildings. The school could be liable for any such injuries.
He said that some of the skateboarders perform tricks that damage the school’s railings.
Gaston said the University Police Department (UPD) is stringent on the anti-skateboarding policy and regularly issues citations and confiscates boards. Citations for both skateboarding and bicycling cost between $100 and $150. Currently, a pile of confiscated skateboards is sitting in the police station office that will not be returned to the owners until they go through the appropriate court process.
But police records show that most students found breaking skateboarding rules get away with a simple warning. From the beginning of September until last week, only three skateboarders were cited out of the 22 reported violators. Some regular skateboarders said they skate around the entire campus and never get in trouble for it.
“Cops are pretty cool about that,” Robert Mercado a 23-year-old student said about his skateboarding. “I’ve never been cited.”
One skateboarder, Mandeep Sethi, 18, said that he hasn’t personally been cited for skateboarding but he has seen others cited. Sethi said while he acknowledges the possibility that a skateboard could hurt someone at SF State’s compact campus, he disagrees with the policy.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “In 2007 they still fail to understand that skateboarding is a means of transportation.”
While Gaston said they’ve been issuing citations for skateboarding, an officer who asked not to be named said citing cyclists is often unnecessary.
“ As soon as they see us, they get off their bikes,” he said. “Most of the time.”
The officer emphasized that riding them on SF State’s campus is “ dangerous and inconsiderate.” Earlier this semester, a student was injured when she was hit by a cyclist near Burk Hall. The officer said the student suffered a broken nose and a shoulder injury because the cyclist was on his cell phone and not paying attention.
Students placing bikes on the railings is another problem, Gaston said. Students with disabilities, especially impaired vision, need the railings. Gaston said if there were an on-campus emergency that would be a catastrophe for these students.
Aside from personal transportation offenses, SF State also has had a fairly restrictive smoking policy in place since the fall 2004 semester. It states that smoking is prohibited on campus except for the nine designated areas marked with purple signs along the perimeter of the campus. At this point, the officers have only been issuing warnings for smokers that aren’t smoking in the designated areas, even though the UPD frequently receives calls of complaints about smoking.
Some areas are more susceptible to getting smoke than others and the smoke regularly comes into classrooms and offices on campus. “Wind drafts take it right into a building and some people are very sensitive to that,” Gaston said.
Some who have heard of the smoking policy said they do not know where to find a designated area. Others feel inconvenienced or offended by the policy and willfully ignore it.
“It’s inconvenient to walk all the way off campus when I have a 10 minute break in between classes,” said Matthew Morgan, a politics and philosophy major smoking behind the closed Franciscan building near the library. Morgan, 19, said he was a new student who did not know about the designated areas, but he would likely not use them.
One student smoking in a designated area on Holloway Avenue, behind the library and fewer than 100 feet away from where Morgan and others stood, disagreed. “The campus isn’t that big,” says Matthew Chevedden, 22. The philosophy student said he found the bench with the salmon-colored ashtrays by following the purple square signs that direct with arrows.
Bridget McCracken, chair of the student affairs committee and member of the campus’ smoking task force, said some students have been ripping down the designated smoking signs or spraying graffiti on them and said that often smoking is worst at the beginning of the semester because it takes people a while to learn where the designated areas are.
But McCracken acknowledged that the new policy has been a step in the direction they wanted to be going.
“We’ve come a long way from not having a policy at all,” she said.
Another commonly broken rule on campus that could have a more immediate effect on student well-being is jaywalking. Gaston said illegally crossing the dangerous 19th and Holloway happens often, with people most frequently darting across 19th by the East side of Hensill Hall.
“It’s scary to watch people that do that,” Gaston said. “That’s a fatality waiting to happen.”
In the on-campus dorms and apartments, Judicial Coordinator Patrick McFall said the three most common policy violations are loud noise, underage drinking and marijuana use--which seems to be particularly low this year, he said.
Freshmen are often the ones most likely to bend the rules, McFall said, because of that “fresh taste of freedom.”
“It’s natural that students are going to test the system to see where the boundaries are,” McFall said. In reference to the lengthy lease resident students must sign, McFall pointed out that students are informed about all of SF State’s policies before they even move on campus.
The punishment for certain behaviors varies by violation. Noise complaints often illicit a visit from the cops and a warning. More serious offenses, like being in possession of drugs or dealing them, can get students kicked out.
An accurate number of on-campus housing violations was not immediately known because student housing records are not recorded at the county level.
“What happens in housing stays in housing,” McFall said.
As an extra preventative measure this semester, SF State adopted a three-hour online program already offered at numerous universities across the country. The program seeks to inform incoming freshmen about polices and facts related to alcohol.
“What people see as little things end up cumulating into a big thing,” Gaston said of all the rules broken on campus each day.
Additional reporting by Adam Loraine, staff writer
A new student effort to recycle batteries, cellular phones, fluorescent light bulbs and ink cartridges will likely end today—three days after it began—thwarted by liability, legality and logistics.
The short-lived project started Oct. 22 in the Malcolm X Plaza as part of ECO Students’ “Every Day is Earth Day.” People on campus deposited the above items, known collectively as “universal waste” or household hazardous waste, into recycling bins through today.
The club of environmentally conscious students aimed to inform people at SF State that universal waste could not be thrown into the garbage and should be recycled, said member Suzanne McNulty.
“A lot of people don’t recognize [these items] are toxic. We store them, we collect them, and we don’t think ‘What are we going to do with them?’” she said.
ECO Students planned to place the bins in the Cesar Chavez Student Center and several department buildings, emptying them twice a semester or as needed. But after discussing the plan with Phil Evans, the campus director of integrated waste management who returned that day from a weeks-long international trip, the project would not advance beyond the trial period, McNulty said.
It was a quick end to a program that triggered numerous questions from school officials, a local authority and the group itself: Where would the collection eventually go? Would the program divert a new waste stream from SF State’s trash or is it redundant to a university program inconspicuous to students? And is such a program even legal?
Though it began collecting universal waste Oct. 22, ECO Students had not yet decided where it would ultimately be recycled. The group’s initial idea involved letting a staff member in the Business building take it to her son’s grade school, McNulty said.
That option fell out of favor when the group learned the school may not accept cellular phones and fluorescent bulbs. From the beginning, ECO Students searched for a local depository that would accept the whole collection, McNulty said.
But engaging in such collection without permission or supervision by the university could create liability, legality and safety problems, said Paul Fresina, manager of the household hazardous waste facility at SF Recycling and Disposal.
Throwing away universal waste in the garbage has been illegal in California since February 2006, when residential exemptions expired on the state’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003.
Though they are not necessarily harmful during regular use, products in this category often contain small quantities of chemicals or heavy metals—such as cadmium, lead and mercury—that can poison groundwater in landfills, according to Norcal Waste Systems’ Web site.
San Francisco waste haulers do not have a curbside collection program for the smaller pieces of universal waste ECO Students accepted, Fresina said. Residents are expected to drop off these items at designated local drug stores, supermarkets and hardware stores. The local garbage company picks them up and sends them to recycling facilities, according to Norcal’s Web site.
The new collection program could have turned ECO Students into an illegal “miniature transfer station” for universal waste, Fresina said. Its affiliation with SF State and the potential size of its collection would prohibit the group from processing the waste at local depositories—like Walgreen’s and nearby hardware stores—that accept small loads from residents, he said.
If something were to happen to the hazardous waste, “who would be responsible?” Fresina said.
He added if a collection were to catch fire or break open, someone would have to pay for a specialized cleanup. Seeking authorization and establishing liability are better left to SF State’s waste management officials, he said.
“We’ll investigate this further,” McNulty said. “We certainly don’t want to do anything illegal.”
When speaking earlier with staff and faculty, it was not clear to McNulty that SF State had a campus-wide collection program, though some people and departments had independent programs of their own.
“It’s hard to get a definitive answer on what’s being done,” she said.
The group hatched a plan to collect until the university handled the waste collection itself.
Robert Shearer, director of environmental health and occupational safety, said he did not know much about the program but wondered about its legality.
A licensed hazardous waste carrier collects the university’s electronic and universal wastes, which include fluorescent lights, batteries and toner cartridges, in what is a heavily regulated process, Shearer said. Collecting students’ universal waste on campus “sounds like a good idea, but it sounds premature” because such a program has to be approved by both his department and Evans’ integrated waste management, he said.
Logistical issues would also need to be worked out, such as finding locations for the bins that are sufficiently out of public access to obey fire codes while still attracting attention, Shearer said. And while he supported collecting relatively benign universal waste like batteries, the mercury present in fluorescent bulbs “is a whole different thing. That is hazardous waste,” he said.
“The idea is right,” said Evans, who added he was “happy to see students engage fellow students and bring to their attention the need to recycle these items responsibly.”
The ECO Students’ plan, though, would not work because it essentially made the group an unregulated hazardous waste collection facility. Evans said his department agreed to handle the disposal, including any costs, of what the group collected during the four days.
It will also create informational packets describing the integrated waste management program and what should be done with the different kinds of universal waste.
“The bottom line is: don’t throw them away,” Evans said.
University housing recycles compact fluorescent bulbs, ballasts, batteries and thermostats with mercury, said Jim Bolinger, associate director of residential property management.
For information on where you can properly dispose of these kinds of universal waste and more, visit www.sfenvironment.org.
While San Franciscans were out this past Saturday night having a drink in North Beach or sauntering the Embarcadero they may have noticed the lights were out on the Bay Bridge and Coit Tower, it wasn’t a hallucination from the red wine.
It was a city-wide movement entitled Lights Out SF, to promote energy conservation and energy efficient light bulbs.
This was the first annual Lights Out SF event for the city, and it took place October 20th, between 8 and 9 pm. Individual homes and businesses as well as iconic structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge and SF City Hall turned off all non-essential lighting to promote energy efficiency over time.
“We [Lights Out SF] were going to all these buildings and talking to them, and they were very open to this idea,” said Nathan Tyler, the 38-year-old event founder. “We were targeting the large ones [iconic buildings], for they are symbols, people look to the larger institutions for guidance and to see what to do.”
According to Lights Out SF’s Web site the organization distributed over 110,000 free compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) across the city by means of event volunteers and two donated vegetable oil powered buses. PG&E and Yahoo! donated over 210,000 CFLs for distribution in city neighborhoods in the weeks prior to the event.
The Lights Out Web site said more than 600 nine-watt bulbs were shut off on the string of lights that frame the Bay Bridge alone, which saved 10.8 kilowatts of energy.
Safety was not compromised, however as street lights remained on to guide motorists and flashing navigation lights kept all planes and ships from crashing into the bridge. Caltrans and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority endorsed the event. The Transit Authority, the owners and operators of the Golden Gate Bridge, shut down to show how much energy can be saved in a single hour.
The Golden Gate Transit Authority said that the City of San Francisco felt turning out the lights on the Golden Gate Bridge was something they could do, a study, to see how much power could be saved.
The same day there was a party in Dolores Park from 5-9 pm, powered solely by the veggie-powered buses and featured live music, food and string quartet bands.
Jens-Peter Jungclaussen, founder of Teacherwithabus.com, operates a bus that is a self-sufficient, veggie-oil fueled, solar power plant with up to 14 kilowatt output and a modular interior. His second bus has a traditional school bus interior that is biodiesel fueled and solar powered.
Jungclaussen has a Masters degree in education and has ten years of experience in teaching from kindergarten to college.
“I want to send the message that being environmentally friendly is fun,” Jungclaussen said.
“I was teaching 15-20 kids, and I had to reach a bigger audience. The event in Dolores Park was completely run off of solar energy, lights and everything, and we were overlooking the entire city on top of the park—it was really cool,” said Jungclaussen.
Jungclaussen uses his buses to provide transportation for everything from field trips to movie screenings, art galleries, corporate events and engagement parties.
Tyler was inspired to start this event when he attended something similar in Sydney, Australia. He started the movement with one single web page and called everyone he knew.
“We are hoping to get everyone in San Francisco to turn out their lights for an hour and to install one energy efficient light bulb,” he said.
Last week they had a practice run on the 15th of October to smooth out any glitches, and on Saturday evening people gathered to have neighborhood block parties, candle-lit acoustic shows in their living rooms with friends- even beach bonfire sing-a-longs.
Brianna Warren, a 22-year-old event volunteer that was handing out bulbs and information on campus, hosted her own Lights Out SF party in the Mission District. From their high rise windows they could see most of the city and the Bay Bridge. They had lit candles and a jack o’ lantern, and even the lights had been turned off—the room stayed dark to keep the spirit going.
Even though it was a bit delayed, excitement grew in the room as they party-goers saw sections of lights go dark on the Bay Bridge in the otherwise illuminated city after 8 p.m.
“The cause we were supporting was actually in action,” Warren said of the lights going off on the bridge. “We were a part of something big happening in the city.”
Ryan Scott, the event organizer, says that this is the first time it has happened in North America.
“We have been very successful in promoting this,” Scott said. “There was a lot of outreach to youth, church and environmental organizations.”
Lights Out SF says turning the lights out in San Francisco for even an hour could save as much as 15 percent of the energy consumed on the average Saturday night. They held the event in October for it is typically warmer and less foggy than other times of the year in the city. Another reason being that school is back in session and it is a way for the organization to reach out to schools and make kids aware of energy conservation.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, humans are greatly contributing to the release of greenhouse gases that are changing the earth’s atmosphere, and the burning of fossil fuels creates and releases large amounts of CO2. This rising concentration of greenhouse gases contributes to warming of the planet, and this is where humans can step in and greatly reduce their carbon footprint.
If you missed out on this year’s party in the dark, you can still get involved by installing one CFL bulb in your home or business and by checking out www.lightsoutsf.org.
As a major source of U.S. Army recruits dwindles and the president begins pushing the potential threat of “World War III,” fears of a new military draft may chill those still haunted by the memory of the Vietnam lotteries. But those fears should be tempered by the huge political and practical obstacles to even pursuing such a draft, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Bottom line: there is absolutely no consideration being given to reinstituting the draft,” wrote press officer Jonathan Withington of the Department of Defense in an e-mail Tuesday.
The Department of Defense supports continuing with the “All Volunteer Force, [which] has surpassed all expectations of its founders—this force is intelligent, fit, and committed—the best in the world. And it is cheaper than a draft force by more than $4 billion annually,” Withington wrote.
But SF State political science professor Robert Smith warned that the military’s current policy of using only volunteer recruits may only have a few years of viability left.
“If war looks almost certain, it’s a disincentive to join the Army,” Smith said. “They can offer to pay a good salary and send recruits to college, but that will only do so much good if people think they’ll be sent to war.”
President George W. Bush suggested last week that “World War III” could be sparked if Iran acquires the ability to build nuclear weapons. Smith called those comments irresponsible and reckless, and likely to slow voluntary military enrollment.
Bush’s comments come while black Americans are drastically shrinking as a source of voluntary recruits for the military.
A report called the “U.S. Military Image Study” found that blacks who view the military favorably dropped from 22 percent in 2003 to 11 percent the following year.
Army data show that blacks made up 24 percent of new recruits in 2000, but had dropped to 14 percent in 2005. Maj. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, a black graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, told the New York Times in August that among several reasons for the change is African-Americans’ disapproval of the war.
“With blacks turning away from the military, they’ve turned to recruiting Latinos and Asians, immigrants who see service as a path to citizenship,” Smith said.
From 2000 to 2005, Latinos grew from 10.5 percent of enlisters to 13.2 percent, and Asians grew from 2.6 percent to 4.1 percent, ac cording to army statistics.
“The voluntary program should be fine for two or three more years, as long as we don’t go to war in the meantime,” Smith said. “And all the leading presidential candidates are saying ‘no’ to a draft.”
Smith was a student at UC Berkeley during the anti-war protests in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and said the paranoia each student felt about possibly being drafted fueled a lot of the anger and protests.
“The government will look at a draft as almost a last resort,” he said. “They know from their experience during Vietnam that a draft provides a lot of fuel for anti-war sentiment. That was why Nixon ended the draft in 1973.”
When Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., introduced legislation to bring back a draft in 2003, it was crushed by a 402-2 vote in Congress. His second effort, in 2006, met a similar fate.
“I think that effort was probably not really sincere,” Smith said. “I don’t think he actually thought Congress would bring back the draft; he was just arguing that we should spread the burden of military service to everyone, instead of putting it all on minorities and the poor.”
Smith noted that with Democrats arguing to increase the size of the military by 100,000 recruits, even a hypothetical draft wouldn’t be very large.
“You’d only need to draft about 250,000 people,” he said. “And from that, you could use a lottery system, like they did at the end of Vietnam.”
The Selective Service System, which collects draft registrations and would be responsible for organizing a draft, claims on its Web site that any future drafts would use a revised lottery system and would be more fair than during the Vietnam war.
College students would only have one semester’s worth of deferment time, according to the Web site, which would prevent college-aged men from enrolling in classes solely to avoid service. Seniors would be given the full academic year.
Growing up in Oak Park, a small town outside Malibu, changed my views on the fires. I remember when my family and I were evacuated and instead of packing our most precious belongings and pictures, my mother and I grabbed lounge chairs and sat in the middle of street watching the fires burn down the mountains.
Most LA residents hear the term fire so much that when their house is being evacuated they don’t leave. Residents are posting in and outside their houses thinking that the fires will be put out before their homes are torched.
All over southern California there are over 13 fires destroying lives, houses, mountains, and more. Luckily today the Santa Ana winds, which were fueling the fire, calmed down and firemen were able to control one near Griffith Park.
The associated Press reported that the Los Angeles Zoo put most of its 1,200 animals inside holding quarters. But, what is happening to all the wildlife?
My dad called me a few days ago said, “When I was leaving for work the other day I saw a pack of coyotes running into the suburbs form the mountains. And the rats have been flooding the city with no where to go.”
Many high schools throughout the southern California are opening their doors and transforming into rescue centers for the families that have lost their homes. Neighbors and other people of the communities have opened up their homes as well.
One major problem that has risen is the threat on the Southern California power grid line, which cut power for 335,000 customers on Sunday and over 37,000 customers on Monday. The power company and state officials stated that the power line reached all the way to Arizona but the region was still able to serve 99% of their customers.
Investigators are questioning if the fires were started because of arson. The man who is the suspect was cited for smoking in a non-smoking area and was later recovering from burn injuries.
» FIRE BLOGS: San Diego - Khari Johnson runs through the news on the San Diego region
» Devastation - Southen California ravaged by wildfires that have destroyed 1600 homes and businesses and cost more than $1 billion in damages.