Dear United States: #Jessicastux discrimination shows SF inequality


Dear United States,

Yes,  you’ve found San Francisco out. You’ve got us. Our city is not the bastion of equality we claim it to be. 

It’s something most San Franciscans know, but now you, the country, are getting a peek at how discriminatory our local institutions can actually be.

Just last week, the news of Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep’s discrimination against young Jessica Urbina went viral. Urbina just wanted to wear a tuxedo in her yearbook photo, and the Catholic school, Sacred Heart, said it would not print her photo in a yearbook because she wasn’t in a dress.

The resulting social media firestorm blew up in national media, propelled by the hashtag #jessicastux. Today Sacred Heart issued an apology, offering to work on its policies moving forward.

“On Friday, May 16, the school communicated that it will change its policy regarding senior portraits. We agree with our students who showed solidarity with their classmate that the current policy regarding senior portraits is not adequate to meet the needs of our families or our mission. We will involve our students, families, and Board in crafting the updated policy.

Many people suggest that the past few days have been deeply revealing about our school community. We agree. We are an imperfect community that can and does fail. We are a community that is open to self-reflection, and to the constructive criticism and leadership of its students, as well as to the criticism from members of our broader community. We are a community that strives to grow, improve and do what is right. We are a community that sees, in all situations, an opportunity to learn.”

But before we let Sacred Heart be crucified in the court of public opinion, let’s remember an old religious maxim: let ye who is without sin cast the first stone. And when it comes to inequality, San Francisco has many sinners.

Yes, dear country, you spent the last week utterly aghast that San Francisco, the champion of marriage equality, could discriminate against an LGBT teen.

You really don’t know the half of it. 

Take our public schools. Even as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, an investigative report by the San Francisco Public Press revealed massive inequality in San Francisco public elementary schools. Though the SFUSD suffered funding cuts totalling $113 million in the 2009-10 school year (after numerous annual state cuts), some public schools managed to stave off layoffs and provide excellent facilities for their children. The catch? Only the elementary schools attended by rich families survived, bouyed by nearly $3 million in PTSA fundraising in 11 elementary schools.

But 35 of SFUSD’s elementary schools raised no money at all. These schools are not surprisingly attended mostly by the city’s poorest families, and their schools were met with brutal cuts.

The SFUSD is only now allowing students to wear hats (including some religious headgear), and is only now considering raising its minimum wage to San Francisco’s minimum of $10.24 an hour (as a state entity, it only has to pay $8 an hour).

And lest we pick on the schools too much, the explosive tech industry has had its impacts on San Francisco equality too. As taxi drivers flock to rideshare companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, there are fewer drivers to drive wheelchair-accessible taxis. Those rideshare companies don’t yet have a plan to offer service to our city’s many persons with disabilities. Even our beloved regional transit system, BART, has new proposed “trains of the future” offering less space for electric wheelchairs to move around as well.  

San Francisco has also seen massive numbers of folks displaced by the tech boom, symbolized (and even exacerberated) by our city’s most hated/loved/over-discussed behemoths, the Google buses.  

We’ve even got the second highest inequality in the United States, fast headed for number one. Go us.

And though Bill O’Reilly at Fox News loves to make funny videos about San Francisco’s homeless while he talks up our love of hippies, he’s got it all wrong (unfortunately). The city issues numerous citations against homeless youth for the act of sitting down in the Haight Ashbury district (the birthplace of the Summer of Love), and has struggled with policies to help the homeless for over 10 years running. 

Also, did we mention one in four San Franciscans are food insecure? That means about 200,000 San Franciscans don’t have enough money to eat healthily, and many are near starvation. 

Yes, dear country, San Francisco espouses many loving principles, and we do have an innate sense of justice to help immigrants, the poor, and the marginalized.

But we still have a long, long way to go. 


A San Franciscan. 



Carmageddon cometh



San Francisco — already overwhelmed with private automobiles — faces a grim future of gridlock unless there is a radical change in how we think about city streets, parking, and regional transportation.

The facts are clear. Every day there are 1.7 million private car trips to, from, or within the city, according to the city’s transportation plan. Coupled with almost 10,000 vehicles registered per square mile, San Francisco today has one of the densest concentrations of cars on the planet, more than any peer city in the United States. In the business-as-usual scenario, the streets are forecast to absorb another half-million car trips. By 2040 there will be 2.2 million car trips on the exact same street grid we have today.

This is madness and it is dysfunctional for everyone. If you think Muni is unreliable now, it will be useless in 2040 as it stalls in the morass of 2.2 million car trips jammed onto city streets. Pedestrian injuries and deaths will rise with another 160 cars hitting pedestrians annually, simply due to oversaturation of automobiles. Cyclists might be able to weave around the stalled traffic, but it will be an ugly scene that fouls the air. Motorists will be stuck in their own gridlock, evermore impatient, distracted, honking, lurching through blocked intersections, sneaking through yellow lights, blocking crosswalks, double parking, and irritated with fellow drivers and everyone around. No one will be happy

This does not have to be. The city’s transportation agency hopes to reduce car trips from 1.7 to 1.6 million by 2018, a modest goal but barely holding the line. Reducing existing car trips by 100,000 while also adding thousands upon thousands of housing units and jobs, most coming with more parking, will quickly undo this humble ambition. The city can do more and the data shows us that there are many opportunities.

Consider that 68 percent of car trips within San Francisco are less than three miles. That’s 650,000 car trips per day that are generally pretty short — with a bicycle it’s less than a half-hour ride on relatively even terrain. If the city were able to get half of those car trips to switch to bicycle trips, it would be well on its way to averting carmageddon.

A more ambitious goal, increasing cycling to 20 percent of all trips, is the official city policy adopted by the Board of Supervisors. That’s 500,000-600,000 trips by bicycle every day, most of which can take place within that three-mile range, especially if cleverly arranged “wiggles” (level routes circumventing steeper hills) are laid out on the most logical corridors. But to carry that many cyclists, real space has to be allocated for them.

Out at San Francisco State University, where I teach a new Bicycle Geographies course that aims to increase cycling to the campus, there is tremendous opportunity to shift these kinds of short trips to bicycling. For students, faculty, and staff, bicycling is compatible with rapid transit, particularly for the “last mile” segments, such as between BART and SF State.

Bicycling is also a way to relieve local bus and light rail transit crowding — the 28 bus line on 19th Avenue, for example, is often jam packed and the city has only modest goals to improve that key line. Unlike transit or highways, bicycles do not require costly, long-term capital investment or operating funds and so can be deployed much more quickly.

It will be decades and cost hundreds of millions to improve the M-line, only now in the planning phase. We can lay down cycletracks much more quickly. Bicycling is also among the most equitable forms of urban transportation because it is affordable and accessible to almost everyone. This is obviously relevant to working-class students at SF State.

SF State has a memorandum of understanding with the city that obliges the university to reduce drive-alone automobile trips to campus, and the campus will not build any more car parking. With 4 percent of commute trips to SF State by bicycle (and only 2 percent among faculty) there is potential to increase the mode-share of bicycling as a path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and auto trips.

The spatial proximity to Daly City and Balboa Park BART stations, as well as the Excelsior and Sunset, all under three miles from campus, means that the bicycle is well-suited to be a substitute for many short-range automobile trips and help the campus meet its goals. Yet what my students have found this semester is that it is all but impossible to bike safely to and from SF State, and the southwestern quadrant of San Francisco is largely left out of current bicycle planning in the city.

Taking multiple bicycle field trips over the past few months, we surveyed the opportunities for making safe routes to campus and envisioned what it would take to increase cycling to 20 percent of trips to and from SF State. Starting with the Balboa Park station, which is next to a deplorable tangle of freeway ramps, we ask what it would look like if fully-separated cycletracks were built on Geneva or Ocean avenues. These could connect City College and the Excelsior, and by way of a westward and southward jog, to a bicycle boulevard on Holloway Avenue, enabling a safe and convenient, 1.7-mile, 15-minute bike ride to SF State. Expanding the nascent Bay Area Bike Share to connect SF State and Balboa Park BART would create even more opportunity for cycling.

To the south of SF State, Daly City BART is a 1.4-mile, 10-minute bike ride that is daunting and poorly signed. It could be made safe and inviting with bicycle boulevards on streets parallel to traffic-clogged 19th Avenue and Junipero Serra. Borrowing from signature bicycle and pedestrian bridges in Pleasant Hill and Berkeley, perhaps there is an opportunity to build a bridge across Brotherhood Way toward the BART station, leveling an otherwise steep climb that discourages cycling.

To the north of campus, describing the designated 20th Avenue bicycle route as “a bit of a challenge” is an understatement. Cyclists must thread a cluttered shopping mall parking lot and overbuilt wide streets, and then confront a median blockading the way across Sloat Boulevard. While the megaproject to improve the M-line could include a cycletrack on this stretch of 19th Avenue, we should not wait a generation to increase cycling between SF State and the Sunset. The 20th Avenue route can be made welcoming now, with a fully-separated cycletrack and fixes on the Sloat intersection.

SF State, probably one of the most diverse campuses in the nation, has highly motivated students seeking real solutions to the huge problems society faces. The students are coming of age under extreme pressure of economic inequity and ecological duress, but they also see ways out of the mess created by the wasteful car culture and its linkages to ecological and social problems. They want to act now, and unlike past generations, they are shunning driving and many of them desire to reside in livable cities that offer choices for how they get around.

But what we have found this semester is that the campus is extremely isolated, difficult to access by bicycle, and walled-off by car sewers. Older, uninviting bicycle lanes are fragmented, disjointed, and seem to be an afterthought. With imagination, ingenuity, and political will, this can be remedied with bicycle improvements that cost far less than adding more car lanes and parking to the campus or surrounding area. And this would go much further at improving quality of life for neighbors who now have to put up with campus-generated traffic. Keeping the status quo, which means even more car trips but within the same space, is a dead end.



Speaking of dead ends, San Francisco seems to specialize in dead-end train projects. The Central Subway, which is experiencing cost overruns and possible mismanagement, is one of these dead ends. There is no current option to have trains exiting to Geary or onto Columbus and possibly running on Lombard into the Marina, and that is a shame. Having the subway exit to the surface is probably the only way to make this project worthwhile.

There’s another dead end train project at the Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco. Yet unlike the Central Subway quagmire, I am impressed with the scale and possibilities for the Transbay Terminal project and there is opportunity to fix this dead end. Going back to the city’s business-as-usual traffic forecast, in 2040 car trips into the city from the Bay Bridge would increase 18 percent, and by 21 percent from San Mateo County. Aside from scratching my head wondering where exactly all of these cars are supposed to go, we simply need to stop this onslaught before the city becomes too dumb to move.

BART cannot solve it alone, as it will probably approach half a million riders per day by 2016, placing many downtown stations at or near capacity. BART also does not run all the way down the peninsula. Sometimes there are back-of-the envelope proposals to build a second BART tunnel under the bay, but this idea should be weighed against another idea. Rather than build a second BART tunnel to Oakland, how about a joint Amtrak California/Caltrain tunnel under the bay, and creating a true Grand Central Station of the West at Transbay? Let’s punch through the dead end currently planned for the east end of the Transbay Terminal “train box” and truly connect Northern California by rail.

This does not need to be high-speed rail, but rather the conventional, off-the-shelf electric rail already planned for Caltrain, of the variety that operates in the Northeastern US and much of Europe — efficient, high capacity trains that can travel 100-120 mile per hour comfortably and safely. In conjunction with a new transbay rail tunnel, the Capitol Corridor should be electrified and right of way captured from the freight railroads. One could take an electrified “baby bullet” from San Jose, through San Francisco, and continue to the East Bay and Sacramento. As Caltrain is electrified to the south, let’s also electrify the Altamonte Commuter Express trains, bring them across a rebuilt Dumbarton Bridge, and run high-frequency rail service into the new Transbay Terminal.

Understanding that this will take time to build, in the short term the Bay Bridge should be reconfigured to have bus-only lanes (and a bicycle lane on the bottom deck of the west span) and a greatly expanded AC Transit service that can relieve the looming BART crowding to the East Bay.

How to pay for these transbay dreams? A transbay rail project could get funding from Amtrak and other federal sources, requiring our congressional delegation to work for it. The state gasoline tax or eventual carbon taxes, and revenue from tolling Bay Area freeways, should be in the mix. The 101 and 280 should be tolled as well as the Caldecott Tunnel and I-80 in the East Bay, with revenue directed at electric rail in the long term and regional buses short term. And while people are talking about reforming Proposition 13 to end the artificially low property taxes on commercial land, let’s remember that transit — whether Muni, BART, or Caltrain — brings massive value to commercial property owners. They should be realistically expecting to pay in. In short, there are possibilities and ways to do this.

Here’s one small additional idea for raising seed money: In the wake of the Google bus controversy, the SFCTA, SFMTA, SF Planning Department, and City Attorney’s Office should assemble a crack team of California Environmental Quality Act experts and send them (on Caltrain and bike share!) down to comment on every large-scale suburban office project proposed in Silicon Valley. For example, Mountain View, where Google has its campus, is effectively displacing part of its transportation and housing responsibility to San Francisco.

As part of the CEQA mitigation for these suburban office projects, San Francisco ought to be demanding that Google/ Mountain View contribute to paying for the Transbay Terminal and electrifying Caltrain (a separate fund would be directed to affordable housing as mitigation for displacement). This is a similar line of reasoning to the May 1 lawsuit against the Google bus pilot, but it draws in those responsible for the poor planning in suburban sprawl. Regardless, the city ought to take a look at a CEQA mitigation angle for addressing the impacts these suburban decisions are having on the city.



One last point about transit finance: I sure hope Mayor Ed Lee, his political advisors, and all those religious ministers who complained about paying for metered parking on Sundays (see “Politics over policy,” April 22) have a plan to advocate for the November ballot proposals to help finance Muni.

They sold out sustainable transit advocates, their biggest ally on the November ballot initiatives, and have offered no rational explanation for their strategy, just an emotional hunch that somehow some people can’t cope with Sunday metering, and that making it free again will convince them to support increased public transit funding.

I imagine there is a well-thought-out campaign strategy, whereby every Sunday between now and November, the mayor is visiting all the churches in the city, and cajoling the ministers to use their pulpits to enthusiastically preach the merits of increasing the vehicle license fee (as well as approving a related general obligation bond).

After all, the VLF is a progressive tax — the more expensive your car, the more you pay. The older and cheaper your car, the less you pay. And bringing in $73 million annually would contribute to making God’s green earth cleaner, and help transport God’s children safely to work and on their errands. Praise the Lord and free parking on Sunday! Amen.

Street Fight is a monthly column by Jason Henderson, a geography professor at SF State and the author of Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco.

Tech in Transit


Transit of today is looking more futuristic every day. From Google Buses that look like UFOs to driverless Uber cars, the future really is now. But what will the actual future of transit have in store for San Francisco? Will the gadget-obsessed disruptions of the future abandon our congested streets? Most importantly: In the future, how will I get my favorite coffee?!

Guardian illustrations by Matthew Smith.


Coffee Delivery Drone



The real-life Amazon will soon deliver by drone, but why would companies stop there? Coffee drones would let fog-laden western ‘hoods, or techies trapped in cubicles everywhere, taste their hipster coffee concoction of choice without having to interact with people. And thanks to a splash of surveillance with your java, these drones will anticipate your next delivery need, too!


Driverless Rideshare Hovercrafts



Uber recently announced purchasing 2,500 Google driverless cars, but in a hundred years they’ll undoubtedly trade those in for driverless – and street traficless – hovercrafts. We trust our robot overlords to fly us home safe from our latest drunken escapade in SoMa, right?


Citishare Hoverboards



SF Citi Bikeshare is so 21st century. The 22nd century will undoubtedly give rise to Citi Hovershare. Just remember McFly, those boards don’t work on water. (Unless you’ve got POWER!)


Google Orb



No matter what, don’t tell tech employees of the 22nd century their floating commuter Orb (invisible to protesters) resembles a Death Star. They’ll cry ‘TECH PREJUDICE!’ and blow up Alderaan just to spite you.


The SFMTA (Muni)



Every time a rider flocks to private transit, one less person gives a damn about funding Muni. By the 22nd century “the people’s transit” will be held together with spit, tape, and carefully arranged bandages. Like today… but even worse.

Waiting for transit


Transit options for wheelchair users and people with disabilities are under threat in the Bay Area, and riders are losing ground on multiple transit fronts.

In late April and early May, hundreds of advocates for those with disabilities took to the streets, protesting BART’s Fleet of the Future, a touring mockup of a new BART trains slated to roll out in 2017.

The trains are a step backward in wheelchair accessibility, among other issues, advocates said.

Just last month, advocates for senior and those with disabilities stormed a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors meeting, asking for free Muni for the most economically disadvantaged among them. They were denied based on dollar amounts, while drivers were given an $11 million giveback restoring free Sunday parking meters.

The SFMTA promised to revisit the issue in January. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s wheelchair accessible taxi fleet has seen its drivers flee to so-called “rideshare” companies — whose cars aren’t equipped to carry wheelchairs — causing what officials say is a record low number of wheelchair accessible taxi trips.

Compounding that decision was the SFMTA’s March adoption of its Transit Effectiveness Project, which the agency billed as expanding service by 12 percent and improving the system’s efficiency, but some advocates for seniors and the disabled noted it removed some bus stops, requiring longer walks by those who have a hard time getting around.

The transit troubles cover most of the transportation options available to San Franciscans with disabilities, and that’s the problem.

“We’re one of the most transit-dependent populations,” Peter Mendoza, a community organizer with the Independent Living Resource Center, told the Guardian. He also uses a wheelchair. “Everything we do in our everyday life, we mostly do with public transportation.”

Their needs are simple: getting groceries, seeing a movie, picking up their kids from school. People with disabilities are now in a multi-pronged fight for their right to everyday mobility, and to do so with dignity.



A walking tour of BART’s Fleet of the Future shows much is new: computer screens with live GPS updates of the train’s location, triple-bike racks, and redesigned seats. BART Vehicle Systems Engineer Brian Bentley proudly showed us the new touch screens in the driver’s cockpit.

For people with disabilities, the Fleet of the Future is a step backward. Their first beef with BART’s new trains is a simple one: there’s a pole in the way of the door.

Hundreds of disability advocates protested BART’s public tour of its newly redesigned trains just last week, with more protests planned for the future. All they want is the damned pole moved.

The handhold in question features a triple-pronged design: what begins as one vertical metal column branches into three partway off the ground.

“Where the pole is now is in the path of travel for the accessible seating area,” Mendoza said. “People holding onto the poles and the power wheelchairs will be in a sense be trying to occupy the same space.”

BART’s Fleet of the Future will arrive in limited numbers in 2015, and fully roll out by 2017, according to the BART website. BART plans to use the new trains for decades. So will BART move the pole to a different location in the car before then?

“It’s too soon to say,” BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told the Guardian. “That’s why we’re doing outreach.”

Trost told us BART did its due diligence by garnering feedback from the BART Disability Task Force. But the DTF, a volunteer body serving like a consistent focus group, informed BART of the pole-problem years ago.

“From day one, they identified the pole as being a problem,” BART Access Coordinator Ike Nnaji told us. Now, he said, “the pole has been moved slightly.”

The triple column handhold has also been raised since the initial outcry. But advocates say the changes still haven’t solved mobility problems. And lack of BART access would be especially poignant, as the trains are now one of the most seamless public transit trips a wheelchair rider can take, advocates told us.

Unlike a Muni or AC Transit bus, no one needs to strap in a wheelchair user on a BART train. After an elevator ride to the train platform (assuming they’re working), they easily roll onto the train: no muss, no fuss.

“On BART, I can be a regular customer,” longtime disability rights activist Corbett O’Toole told the Guardian. “I can ride it with dignity.”

The wheelchair-using community isn’t the only one with BART concerns. Emergency intercoms have long been an issue with the deaf community, O’Toole told us. The BART train’s new video screen would be a natural place to integrate visual emergency communication, she said.

Trost told us BART is trying to balance the needs of many communities, from bicyclists to folks not tall enough to reach the handholds.

“It’s public transit, you try to help everyone,” she said. But people with disabilities are a group with federal law mandating consideration of their access, Mendoza said.

We asked BART if the agency had specific employees (besides the DTF) in charge of ensuring American with Disabilities Act compliance. BART spokesperson Luna Salaver told us the agency doesn’t have an ADA compliance officer, but its engineering staff and consultants are well-versed in ADA compliance issues.

BART’s board may take a direct vote on disability access modifications to the Fleet of the Future at its May 22 meeting, but that may be subject to change.

While the wheelchair accessibility of the Fleet of the Future is hotly contested, the future of rideshare disability access remains a mystery to most.



Regulations task the taxi industry with providing wheelchair accessible cabs, something the rideshares don’t do, at least not yet. And as taxi drivers flee to the more profitable rideshare industry, fewer and fewer wheelchair accessible taxis are being driven in San Francisco.

Worryingly, the newest numbers from the SFMTA paint a portrait of hundreds of stranded wheelchair users. In January 2013, there were 1,379 wheelchair trips via taxi cab, according to numbers provided by the SFMTA, which regulates taxis. This January, that number plummeted to nearly half that.

The drivers just weren’t there. The SFMTA Board of Directors voted in January to offer a $10-per-trip cash incentive for drivers that pick up wheelchair users. But it was like a bandage on a gaping wound: the number of taxis picking up wheelchair users in San Francisco has not yet increased.

And Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar aren’t yet equipped to pick up wheelchair users.

As we’ve previously reported, Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber were recently required to file disability access plans with the California Public Utilities Commission. Some mention researching wheelchair access in the future, but most of the one-page plans tout their apps’ ability to speak to visually impaired users. None promise wheelchair-accessible cars.

The SFMTA is trying to lure taxi drivers back from these Transportation Network Companies through waived permit fees. Deputy Director of Taxi Services Christiane Hayashi said, “the total cost to the public of the TNC phenomenon is over $3 million and counting.”

Despite the stark numbers offered by the SFMTA, the CPUC doesn’t see the situation as a crisis. At a hearing on accessible transit, Marzia Zafar, the director of policy and planning division at the CPUC, told the Guardian there isn’t enough data at this point to say why the disabled community isn’t riding taxis as often as they did before.

“The commission will step in once we have information, verifiable information, that there’s a divide between the disabled and abled communities,” she said. “If there is such discrimination (on part of the TNCs), we will step in and bridge that divide.”

The CPUC could require TNCs to provide access, BART may modify its Fleet of the Future, and the SFMTA can still provide free Muni for seniors and people with disabilities in January.

And in the meanwhile, people with disabilities are waiting for a ride which may or may not ever arrive.

Happy May Day, San Francisco


Happy May Day, comrades, and what a fine May day it is even if the urgent mayday spirit on this International Workers Day doesn’t seem as strong as some recent years past in the Bay Area.

While Russia seems to be rediscovering its previous practice of massive May Day marches marked by anti-Western propaganda, spurred on by renewed nationalism from the standoff in Ukraine, May Day has never been very big in the US.

The holiday celebrated throughout the world with workers showing their strength and demanding their fair share of our collective wealth marks the anniversary of a labor demonstration that turned violent and triggered a harsh crackdown in Chicago in 1886. While the socialists of the Second International adopted the May Day holiday in 1889, the American holiday of Labor Day was adopted as a bland alternative meant to take the radical edge off of workers movements.

But many leftists in the US retained an affinity for May Day, and it was infused with a renewed spirit and radical energy by supporters of immigration reform and an end to deportations that divide up families, with massive marches in major US cities in 2006 catching the media and political establishment off-guard.

 Then, two years ago, fresh off of the Occupy Wall Street (and Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland, etc.), some young anarchists rampaged through the Mission District, breaking windows, spray painting luxury cars, attacking a police station, and generally targeting what they saw as the forces of wealth and gentrification, albeit in a misguided and widely condemned way.

Today’s big May Day march in San Francisco starts at the 24th Street BART Plaza, again strongly emphasizing the need for immigration reform, but also marrying that cause with the anti-displacement and anti-eviction activism that are roiling San Francisco these days. [The poster for the event even features a photo of a recent Google bus blockade CORRECTION: The photo is actually of immigration activists blocking a deportation bus.]

Meanwhile, in the East Bay, the main May Day march begins at 3:30pm at the Fruitvale BART Street, also with a focus on social justice and immigration reform. So get on out there, comrades, you have nothing to lose but your chains.  

Guardian Intelligence: April 30 – May 6, 2014



Polish your reading glasses: Sat/3 marks this first ever California Bookstore Day, a party featuring readings, author and artist appearances, and one-day-only, limited-edition book releases, taking place simultaneously at some 90 bookstores up and down the state. It’s modeled on the mega-successful Record Store Day, natch. A dozen bookstores in San Francisco have signed on, including Green Apple, City Lights, Booksmith, Books Inc., and Borderlands. Check to find the celebration closest to you. Because hey, what kind of party has Amazon thrown for you lately?


The Attic, the dank 24th Street dive bar known for its decrepit vinyl booths, a pervasive questionable smell, and, somehow, boatloads of charm, closed its doors for good last week. Those in the know say owner Roger Howell (a former owner of Mad Dog in the Fog) will be using his liquor license at the schmancy new Gashead Tavern on Mission. No word yet on whether there will be DJs at that establishment who play nothing but the Clash if you ask them, or bartenders who give you endless bowls of Goldfish crackers, or a welcoming gang of hard-drinking regulars who cheer when you find your phone still at the bar after leaving it there the night before. RIP.


Last year, when we at the Guardian were the only ones shouting about Airbnb‘s tax evasion and illegal short-term rentals, is was a lonely struggle. Then other journalists caught onto the story, Sup. David Chiu introduced his regulatory legislation a couple weeks ago, and the issue began to heat up. This week it all became a full-blown shit show, with rival rallies at City Hall on April 29. Opponents of the legislation are threatening a fall ballot measure that would reinforce the short-term rental ban in residential areas and give rewards to people who rat out their Airbnb-using neighbors. Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for.


It’s alive! The UC Theatre — the 1,460-seat Berkeley landmark, once beloved for its killer repertory film programming, but closed since 2001 — will undergo an eight-month renovation starting this summer and re-open as a nonprofit live music venue in 2015. According to a press release sent out by its new directors, Berkeley Music Group, the venue will present “approximately 75 to 100 shows a year, featuring a culturally diverse range of local, national, and international artists performing music genres ranging from Americana to zydeco and everything in between.” Located just two blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, it will feature both touring and local bands and musicians, as well as comedy shows, a speaker series, and (yesss!) film screenings. Bonus: a full-service restaurant and bar, too. Bookmark to stay posted on the latest.


Six winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize were awarded this week in San Francisco. The prestigious awards were given to Desmond D’Sa of South Africa, who organized a campaign to shut down a toxic waste dump; Ramesh Agrawal of India, who led disenfranchised communities in a successful effort to seek information on industrial activities and shut down a proposed coal mine; Suren Gazaryan of Russia, who helped expose the illegal use of federally protected forestland; Rudi Putra of Indonesia, who is targeting palm oil plantations that have triggered massive deforestation; Helen Slottje of New York, who provided pro-bono legal assistance to help pass bans on fracking; and Ruth Buendía Mestoquiari who led indigenous people of Peru in a fight against large-scale dams that would have displaced them.


Missionites and other east-side San Franciscans are always bashing the Outer Richmond and the Outer Sunset. Dubbed the Outerlands, its too foggy, too far, too quiet, or too-blah to make the visit worthwhile. You know what? The Outerlands doesn’t need you anymore, Mission! They’ve got a brand new parklet at Simple Pleasures Cafe on 35th avenue. Soon they’ll have overpriced coffee, Google buses, and white-washed ethnic food too! Avenues, represent.


San Francisco-based RaidumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chalal allegedly beat his girlfriend 117 times, but the man will not go to jail. A jury found Chalal guilty of misdemeanor violence and battery charges, and will serve three years probation, spend 52 weeks in a domestic violence program and perform 25 hours of community service. The court through out video evidence of the incident that police had seized from Chalal’s home as inadmissible. Chalal wrote on his blog, “This was all overblown drama because it generates huge volumes of page views for the media given what I have accomplished in the valley.” He then invoked the “American Dream” and lamented the cost to his soon-to-go-public company. Silicon Valley doesn’t have an entitlement problem. Nope.


The Guardian’s Roaring ’20s-themed “Feathers and Fedoras” party last Friday at the de Young Museum drew a huge crowd of vintage-lovers. Zincalo Trio performed old-time favorites and gypsy jazz, the flapper-attired Decobelles dance troupe did a mean Charleston, and the de Young’s dazzling “Georgia O’Keefe and Lake George” exhibit provided a perfect artistic backdrop.


The 2014 Northern California Independent Book Awards were announced last week, and must-read winners include Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (fiction), George Albon’s Fire Break (poetry), Mary Roach’s Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (nonfiction), Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist (food writing) and Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko (middle-grade readers). The NCIBA winners were determined by a coalition of independent bookstores, see more at


How did people react to the racist comments allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Don Sterling? Clippers players: Removed their warmup shirts in a silent protest so that Clippers team logos would not be displayed. Magic Johnson: “He shouldn’t own a team any more. And he should stand up and say, ‘I don’t want to own a team any more.'”

President Barack Obama: “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let ’em talk.”

Snoop Dogg (in an online video addressing Sterling directly): “Fuck you, your mama, and everything connected to you, you racist piece of shit.”


Guardian endorsements




Editor’s Note: Election endorsements have been a long and proud part of the Guardian’s 48-year history of covering politics in San Francisco, the greater Bay Area, and at the state level. In low-turnout elections like the one we’re expecting in June, your vote counts more than usual, and we hope our endorsements and explanations help you make the best decisions.



There is much for progressives to criticize in Jerry Brown’s latest stint as governor of California. He has stubbornly resisted complying with federal court orders to substantially reduce the state’s prison population, as well as shielding the system from needed journalistic scrutiny and reforms of solitary confinement policies that amount to torture. Brown has also refused to ban or limit fracking in California, despite the danger it poses to groundwater and climate change, irritating environmentalists and fellow Democrats. Even Brown’s great accomplishment of winning passage for the Prop. 30 tax package, which eased the state back from financial collapse, sunsets too early and shouldn’t have included a regressive sales tax increase. Much more needs to be done to address growing wealth disparities and restore economic and educational opportunity for all Californians.

For these reasons and others, it’s tempting to endorse one of Brown’s progressive challenges: Green Party candidate Luis Rodriguez or Peace and Freedom Party candidate Cindy Sheehan (see “Left out,” April 23). We were particularly impressed by Rodriguez, an inspiring leader who is seeking to bring more Latinos and other marginalized constituencies into the progressive fold, a goal we share and want to support however we can.

But on balance, we decided to give Brown our endorsement in recognition of his role in quickly turning around this troubled state after the disastrous administration of Arnold Schwarzenegger — and in the hope that his strong leadership will lead to even greater improvement over his next term. While we don’t agree with all of his stands, we admire the courage, independence, and vision that Brown brings to this important office. Whether he is supporting the California High-Speed Rail Project against various attacks, calling for state residents to live in greater harmony with the natural world during the current drought, or refusing to shrink from the challenges posed by global warming, Jerry Brown is the leader that California needs at this critical time.



Gavin Newsom was mayor of San Francisco before he ascended to the position of Lieutenant Governor, and we at the Bay Guardian had a strained relationship with his administration, to put it mildly. We disagreed with his fiscally conservative policies and tendency to align himself with corporate power brokers over neighborhood coalitions. As lieutenant governor, Newsom is tasked with little — besides stepping into the role of governor, should he be called upon to do so — but has nevertheless made some worthwhile contributions.

Consider his stance on drug policy reform: “Once and for all, it’s time we realize that the war on drugs is nothing more than a war on communities of color and on the poor,” he recently told a crowd at the Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles. “It is fundamentally time for drug policies that recognize and respect the full dignity of human beings. We can’t wait.” In his capacity as a member of the UC Board of Regents, Newsom recently voted against a higher executive compensation package for a top-level administrator, breaking from the pack to align with financially pinched university students. In Sacramento, Newsom seems to come off as more “San Francisco” than in his mayoral days, and we’re endorsing him against a weak field of challengers.



Although the latest Field Poll shows that he has only single-digit support and is unlikely to make the November runoff, we’re endorsing Derek Cressman for Secretary of State. As a longtime advocate for removing the corrupting influence of money from politics through his work with Common Cause, Cressman has identified campaign finance reform as the important first step toward making the political system more responsive to people’s needs. As Secretary of State, Cressman would be in a position to ensure greater transparency in our political system.

We also like Alex Padilla, a liberal Democrat who has been an effective member of the California Senate. We’ll be happy to endorse Padilla in November if he ends up in a runoff with Republican Pete Peterson, as the current polling seems to indicate is likely. But for now, we’re endorsing Cressman — and the idea that campaign finance reform needs to be a top issue in a state and country that are letting wealthy individuals and corporations have disproportionate influence over what is supposed to be a democracy.



The pay-to-play politics of Leland Yee and two other California Democrats has smeared the Assembly. Amid the growls of impropriety, a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting has painted Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, a leading candidate for Controller, with a similar brush. CIR revealed Perez raised money from special interest groups to charities his lover favored, a lover later sued for racketeering and fraud.

Betty Yee represents an opportunity for a fresh start. On the state’s Board of Equalization she turned down campaign donations from tobacco interests, a possible conflict of interest. She also fought for tax equity between same-sex couples. The Controller is tasked with keeping watch on and disbursing state funds, a position we trust much more to Yee’s careful approach than Perez’s questionable history. Vote for Yee.



While serving as California’s elected Controller, John Chiang displayed his courage and independence by refusing to sign off on budgetary tricks used by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and some legislative leaders, insisting on a level of honesty that protected current and future Californians. During those difficult years — as California teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, paralyzed by partisan brinksmanship each budget season, written off as a failed state by the national media — Chiang and retiring Treasurer Bill Lockyer were somehow able to keep the state functioning and paying its bills.

While many politicians claim they’ll help balance the budget by identifying waste and corruption, Chiang actually did so, identifying $6 billion by his estimate that was made available for more productive purposes. Now, Chiang wants to continue bringing fiscal stability to this volatile state and he has our support.



Kamala Harris has kept the promise she made four years ago to bring San Francisco values into the Attorney General’s Office, focusing on the interests of everyday Californians over powerful vested interests. That includes strengthening consumer and privacy protections, pushing social programs to reduce criminal recidivism rather than the tough-on-crime approach that has ballooned our prison population, reaching an $18 billion settlement with the big banks and mortgage lenders to help keep people in their homes, and helping to implement the Affordable Care Act and the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.

Harris has maintained her opposition to the death penalty even though that has hurt her in the statewide race, and she brings to the office an important perspective as the first woman and first African American ever to serve as the state’s top law enforcement officer. While there is much more work to be done in countering the power of wealthy individuals and corporations and giving the average Californian a stronger voice in our legal system, Harris has our support.



We’ve been following Dave Jones’s legislative career since his days on the Sacramento City Council and through his terms in the California Legislature, and we’ve always appreciated his autonomy and progressive values. He launched into his role as Insurance Commissioner four years ago with an emergency regulation requiring health insurance companies to use no more than 20 percent of premiums on profits and administrative costs, and he has continued to do what he can to hold down health insurance rates, including implementing the various components of the Affordable Care Act.

More recently, Jones held hearings looking at whether Uber, Lyft, and other transportation network companies are adequately insured to protect both their drivers and the general public, concluding that these companies need to self-insure or otherwise expand the coverage over their business. It was a bold and important move to regulate a wealthy and prosperous new industry. Jones deserves credit for taking on the issue and he has earned our endorsement.



This race is a critical one, as incumbent Tom Torlakson faces a strong challenge from the charter school cheerleader Marshall Tuck. An investment banker and Harvard alum, Tuck is backed by well-heeled business and technology interests pushing for the privatization of our schools. Tech and entertainment companies are pushing charter schools heavily as they wait in the wings for lucrative education supply contracts, for which charter schools may open the doors. And don’t let Waiting for Superman fool you, charter schools’ successful test score numbers are often achieved by pushing out underperforming special needs and economically disadvantaged students.

As national education advocate Diane Ravitch wrote in her blog, “If Tuck wins, the privatization movement will gain a major stronghold.” California ranks 48th in the nation in education spending, a situation we can thank Prop. 13 for. We’d like to see Torlakson advocate for more K-12 school dollars, but for now, he’s the best choice.



Fiona Ma was never our favorite member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and in the California Legislature, she has seemed more interested in party politics and leadership than moving legislation that is important to San Francisco. There are a few exceptions, such as her attempts last year to require more employers to offer paid sick days and to limit prescription drug co-payments. But she also notoriously tried to ban raves at public venues in 2010, a reactionary bill that was rejected as overly broad.

But the California Board of Equalization might just be a better fit for Ma than the Legislature. She’s a certified public accountant and would bring that financial expertise to the state’s main taxing body, and we hope she continues in the tradition of her BOE predecessor Betty Yee in ensuring the state remains fair but tough in how it collects taxes.



The race to replace progressive hero Tom Ammiano in the California Assembly is helping to define this important political moment in San Francisco. It’s a contest between the pragmatic neoliberal politics of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and the populist progressive politics of Sup. David Campos, whom Ammiano endorsed to succeed him.

It’s a fight for the soul of San Francisco, a struggle to define the values we want to project into the world, and, for us at the Bay Guardian, the choice is clear. David Campos is the candidate that we trust to uphold San Francisco’s progressive values in a state that desperately needs that principled influence.

Chiu emphasizes how the two candidates have agreed on about 98 percent of their votes, and he argues that his effectiveness at moving big legislation and forging compromises makes him the most qualified to represent us in Sacramento. Indeed, Chiu is a skilled legislator with a sharp mind, and if “getting things done” — the prime directive espoused by both Chiu and Mayor Ed Lee — was our main criterion, he would probably get our endorsement.

But when you look at the agenda that Chiu and his allies at City Hall have pursued since he came to power — elected as a progressive before pivoting to become a pro-business moderate — we wish that he had been a little less effective. The landlords, tech titans, Realtors, and Chamber of Commerce have been calling the shots in this city, overheating the local economy in a way that has caused rapid displacement and gentrification.

“Effective for whom? That’s what’s important,” Campos told us during his endorsement interview, noting that, “Most people in San Francisco have been left behind and out of that prosperity.”

Campos has been a clear and consistent supporter of tenants, workers, immigrants, small businesses, environmentalists — the vast majority of San Franciscans, despite their lack of power in City Hall. Chiu will sometimes do right by these groups, but usually only after being pushed to do so by grassroots organizing and lobbying efforts.

Campos correctly points out that such lobbying is more difficult in Sacramento, with its higher stakes and wider range of competing interests, than it is on the local level. Chiu’s focus on always trying to find a compromise often plays into the hands of wealthy interests, who sometimes just need to be fought and stopped.

We have faith in Campos and his progressive values, and we believe he will skillfully carry on the work of Ammiano — who is both an uncompromising progressive and an effective legislator — in representing San Francisco’s values in Sacramento.



Incumbent Phil Ting doesn’t have any challengers in this election, but he probably would have won our support anyway. After proving himself as San Francisco’s Assessor, taking a strong stance against corporate landowners and even the Catholic Church on property assessments, Ting won a tough race against conservative businessman Michael Breyer to win his Assembly seat.

Since then, he’s been a reliable vote for legislation supported by most San Franciscans, and he’s sponsoring some good bills that break new ground, including his current AB 1193, which would make it easier to build cycletracks, or bike lanes physically separated from cars, all over the state. He also called a much-needed Assembly committee hearing in November calling out BART for its lax safety culture, and we hope he continues to push for reforms at that agency.



Over a decade ago, Californians voted to use hundreds of millions of our dollars to create the CalVet Home and Farm Loan Program to help veterans purchase housing. But a reduction in federal home loan dollars, the housing crisis, and a plummeting economy hurt the program.

Prop. 41 would repurpose $600 million of those bond funds and raise new money to create affordable housing rental units for some of California’s 15,000 homeless veterans. This would cost Californians $50 million a year, which, as proponents remind us, is one-tenth of 1 percent of the state budget. Why let hundreds of millions of dollars languish unused? We need to reprioritize this money to make good on our unfulfilled promises to homeless veterans.



This one’s important. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown sought to gut the California Public Records Act by making it optional for government agencies to comply with many of the requirements built into this important transparency law. The CPRA and the Ralph M. Brown Act require government agencies to make records of their activities available for public scrutiny, and to provide for adequate notice of public meetings. Had the bill weakening these laws not been defeated, it would have removed an important defense against shadowy government dealings, leaving ordinary citizens and journalists in the dark.

Prop. 42 is a bid to eliminate any future threats against California’s important government transparency laws, by expressly requiring local government agencies — including cities, counties, and school districts — to comply with all aspects of the CPRA and the Brown Act. It also seeks to prevent local agencies from denying public records requests based on cost, by eliminating the state’s responsibility to reimburse local agencies for cost compliance (the state has repeatedly failed to do so, and local bureaucracies have used this as an excuse not to comply).



Prop. A is a $400 million general obligation bond measure that would cover seismic retrofits and improvements to the city’s emergency infrastructure, including upgrades to the city’s Emergency Firefighting Water System, neighborhood police and fire stations, a new facility for the Medical Examiner, and seismically secure new structures to house the police crime lab and motorcycle unit.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to place Prop. A on the ballot, and a two-thirds majority vote is needed for it to pass. Given that San Franciscans can expect to be hit by a major earthquake in the years to come, upgrading emergency infrastructure, especially the high-pressure water system that will aid the Fire Department in the event of a major blaze, is a high priority.



As we report in this issue (see “Two views of the waterfront”), San Francisco’s waterfront is a valuable place targeted by some ambitious development schemes. That’s a good thing, particularly given the need that the Port of San Francisco has for money to renovate or remove crumbling piers, but it needs to be carefully regulated to maximize public benefits and minimize private profit-taking.

Unfortunately, the Mayor’s Office and its appointees at the Port of San Francisco have proven themselves unwilling to be tough negotiators on behalf of the people. That has caused deep-pocketed, politically connected developers to ignore the Waterfront Land Use Plan and propose projects that are out-of-scale for the waterfront, property that San Francisco is entrusted to manage for the benefit of all Californians.

All Prop. B does is require voter approval when projects exceed existing height limits. It doesn’t kill those projects, it just forces developers to justify new towers on the waterfront by providing ample public benefits, restoring a balance that has been lost. San Francisco’s waterfront is prime real estate, and there are only a few big parcels left that can be leveraged to meet the needs of the Port and the city. Requiring the biggest ones to be approved by voters is the best way to ensure the city — all its residents, not just the politicians and power brokers — is getting the best deals possible.



Daniel Flores has an impressive list of endorsers, including the Democratic, Republican, and Green parties of San Francisco — a rare trifecta of political party support. But don’t hold the GOP nod against Flores, who was raised in the Excelsior by parents who immigrated from El Salvador and who interned with La Raza Centro Legal while going to McGeorge School of Law. And he did serve in the Marines for six years, which could explain the broad range of support for him.

Flores is a courtroom litigator with experience in big firms and his own practice, representing clients ranging from business people to tenants fighting against their landlords. Flores told us that he wants to ensure those without much money are treated fairly in court, an important goal we support. We also liked Kimberly Williams and hope she ends up on the bench someday, but in this race, Flores is the clear choice.



This was a hard decision for us this year. Everyone knows that Pelosi will win this race handily, but in past races we’ve endorsed third party challengers or even refused to endorse anyone more often than we’ve given Pelosi our support. While Pelosi gets vilified by conservatives as the quintessential San Francisco liberal, she’s actually way too moderate for our tastes.

Over her 21 years in Congress, she has presided over economic policies that have consolidated wealth in ever fewer hands and dismantled the social safety net, environmental policies that have ignored global warming and fed our over-reliance on the private automobile, and military policies that expanded the war machine and overreaching surveillance state, despite her insider’s role on the House Intelligence Committee.

Three of her opponents — Democrat David Peterson, Green Barry Hermanson, and fiery local progressive activist Frank Lara of the Peace and Freedom Party — are all much better on the issues that we care about, and we urge our readers to consider voting for one of them if they just can’t stomach casting a ballot for Pelosi. In particular, Hermanson has raised important criticisms of just how out of whack our federal budget priorities are. We also respect the work Lara has done on antiwar and transit justice issues in San Francisco, and we think he could have a bright political future.

But we’ve decided to endorse Pelosi in this election for one main reason: We want the Democrats to retake the House of Representatives this year and for Pelosi to once again become Speaker of the House. The Republican Party in this country, particularly the Tea Party loyalists in the House, is practicing a dangerous and disgusting brand of political extremism that needs to be stopped and repudiated. They would rather shut the government down or keep it hopelessly hobbled by low tax rates than help it become an effective tool for helping us address the urgent problems that our country faces. Pelosi and the Democrats aren’t perfect, but at least they’re reasonable grown-ups and we’d love to see what they’d do if they were returned to power. So Nancy Pelosi has our support in 2014.



Barbara Lee has been one of our heroes since 2001, when she was the only member of Congress to vote against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, braving the flag-waving nationalism that followed the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon to warn that such an overly broad declaration of war was dangerous to our national interests. She endured death threats and harsh condemnation for that principled stand, but she was both courageous and correct, with our military overreach still causing problems for this country, both practical and moral.

Lee has been a clear and consistent voice for progressive values in the Congress for 16 years, chairing both the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus, taking stands against capital punishment and the Iraq War, supporting access to abortions and tougher regulation of Wall Street, and generally representing Oakland and the greater Bay Area well in Washington DC. She has our enthusiastic support.



Jackie Speier has given her life to public service — almost literally in 1978 when she was an aide to then-Rep. Leo Ryan and survived the airstrip shootings that triggered the massacre at Jonestown — and she has earned our ongoing support. Speier has continued the consumer protection work she started in the California Legislature, sponsoring bills in Congress aimed at protecting online privacy. She has also been a strong advocate for increasing federal funding to public transit in the Bay Area, particularly to Muni and for the electricification of Caltrain, an important prelude to the California High-Speed Rail Project. In the wake of the deadly natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Speier has pushed for tough penalties on Pacific Gas & Electric and expanded pipeline safety programs. She has been a strong advocate of women’s issues, including highlighting the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses and in the military, seeking greater protections, institutional accountability, and recourse for victims. More recently, Speier has become a key ally in the fight to save City College of San Francisco, taking on the federal accreditation process and seeking reforms. Speier is a courageous public servant who deserves your vote.

SFBG Wrap, April 16-23



The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Bay Area Rapid Transit for three “willful/serious” safety violations in connection with the death of two transit workers last October, saying BART is at fault due to a lack of safety measures.

“Safety standards are designed to save lives,” acting Cal/OSHA chief Juliann Sum said in a statement, “and they were not followed.”

The transit workers were killed in the final days of the BART strike. The accident claimed the lives of Christopher Sheppard, a BART manager and member of the AFSCME union, and Larry Daniels, a contractor, who had been inspecting a “dip in the rail” before they were hit by an oncoming train.

The workers were required to go through what’s called a Simple Approval process to get permission to work on the track, but the OSHA citation seized on that process as a dangerous underlying factor in the fatal accident.

“Employer’s control method, namely the ‘Simple Approval’ procedure, does not safeguard personnel working on tracks during railcar movement,” the citation reads. “The employer allowed workers to conduct work on the railway tracks where trains were traveling. The employees had no warning that a train moving at more than 65 miles-per-hour was … approaching the location where they were working.”

BART General Manager Grace Crunican quickly issued a statement. “Passenger and employee safety is our top priority at BART,” Crunican said. “BART has fundamentally upgraded its safety procedures with the implementation of an enhanced wayside safety program and a proposed budget investment of over $5 million.” She added that Cal/OSHA considered the safety violations to be “abated” in light of these changes, “meaning that none … pose continuing safety hazards.”

Simple Approval has since been terminated, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost told the Guardian. “BART permanently eliminated Simple Approval immediately following the tragic deaths,” she said. “We are also implementing the extra layers of protection for track workers.”

Notably, the two workers were killed during BART management’s attempt to train managers to operate trains during the strike, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which continues to investigate the incident. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez)


Sup. London Breed has proposed setting aside city funding to renovate vacant and dilapidated public housing units, in an effort to quickly make housing available for homeless families in the face of a dire shortage.

At the April 15 Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Breed cited an anticipated budget surplus and called for the Controller and City Attorney to begin drafting a supplemental budgetary appropriation of $2.6 million, for renovating 172 San Francisco Housing Authority units sitting vacant.

“There are over 40 public housing developments in San Francisco, and given the decades of mismanagement and financial neglect that public housing has endured, many units are currently not available for San Franciscans to live in,” Breed said. “As we grapple with an unprecedented affordability crisis and an acute shortage of housing, particularly affordable housing, these fallow public housing units represent one of our best and cheapest opportunities to make housing available now.” Breed, who represents District 5, previously lived in San Francisco public housing.

The Housing Authority receives its funding through the federal government, but spokesperson Rose Marie Dennis said those federal dollars don’t stretch far enough for the agency to perform routine restoration of vacant units. “We have to work with the resources that we have,” she said.

According to an analysis by Budget & Legislative Analyst Harvey Rose, the city has lost $6.3 million in rent that could have been collected had its empty public housing units been occupied.

The day after Breed floated her proposal for a budgetary supplemental, tragedy struck at Sunnydale, the Housing Authority’s largest housing development, when a deadly fire claimed the lives of a 32-year-old resident and her 3-year-old son. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but a San Francisco Chronicle report noted that the Housing Authority had planned to rebuild Sunnydale for years due to its poor condition.

The following day, April 17, Mayor Ed Lee announced that emergency funding of $5.4 million had been identified through the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, to address serious deferred maintenance needs — such as busted elevators in apartment complexes where disabled seniors rely on wheelchairs and canes to get around. (Rebecca Bowe)


When the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave final approval April 15 for legislation to substantially increase landlord payments to tenants in the case of Ellis Act evictions, it reflected a key change designed to counter a recent eviction push by landlords.

Winning approval on a 9-2 vote, with Sups. Mark Farrell and Katy Tang opposed, the legislation increases the current required relocation payments of $5,265 per person or $15,795 per unit (plus an additional $3,510 for those with disabilities or over age 62) up to the equivalent of two years’ rent for a comparable unit. That translates to tens of thousands of dollars.

For example, the Controller’s Office calculates that a family evicted from a two-bedroom apartment in the Mission District rented at $909 per month would be entitled to $44,833 in relocation payment.

The legislation was originally scheduled to go into effect 120 days after passage, in order to give city officials enough time to implement it. But when sponsoring Sup. David Campos heard landlords were rushing to evict tenants prior to the fee increase, he checked in with the City Attorney’s Office and other departments to see whether they could be ready sooner. After getting the green light, Campos amended the measure to go into effect 30 days after it’s enacted into law.

The question now is whether Mayor Ed Lee, who has not taken a position on the legislation, will act quickly to sign it. He was initially given 10 days to decide. Since a veto-proof majority approved the legislation, the mayor’s decision is to either grant approval or stall the inevitable, triggering more evictions at lower levels of relocation assistance. (Steven T. Jones)


Police radio dispatch records from March 21, the night 28-year-old Alejandro Nieto was gunned down in Bernal Heights Park by San Francisco Police Department officers, had been impossible to obtain despite requests from journalists, attorneys, and community members who had ties to Nieto.

Then, incredibly — thanks to a combination of tenacious reporting and the website — the radio dispatch audio popped up in a news report on KQED’s website.

Originally captured in real-time by a website works like an automatic police scanner and preserves all files, the recordings offer a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse of what occurred in the moments leading up to the highly controversial officer-involved shooting.

The SFPD’s account of the incident is that officers opened fire in defense of their own lives because Nieto pointed a Taser at them, causing them to believe he was tracking them with a firearm.

But the audio files that have now surfaced reflect no mention of a suspect brandishing a weapon.

The first mention of a “221” — police code for person with a gun — is to relate a 911 caller’s description of a Latino male suspect, who has “got a gun on his hip, and is pacing back and forth on the north side of the park near a chain-linked fence.” Just before the shooting, a voice can be heard saying over the radio, “There’s a guy in a red shirt, way up the hill, walking toward you guys.” Several seconds later, another voice calmly states, “I got a guy right here.”

Twenty-six seconds after that, a person can be heard shouting, “Shots fired! Shots fired!”

“What’s very telling is that none of the people are saying, the guy had a gun, he pointed it at us,” said attorney Adante Pointer of the law office of John Burris, which is preparing to file a complaint on behalf of Nieto’s family against the SFPD. “It begs the question, did [Nieto] do what they said he did?”

“If this was a righteous shooting,” Pointer added, “then [SFPD] … shouldn’t have any fear of public scrutiny.”

Friends and supporters of Nieto have led marches to protest the shooting and set up a website for ongoing events, (Rebecca Bowe)


Hold BART accountable for deaths



Bay Area Rapid Transit made a deadly miscalculation last year — one that built on years of reckless decisions to value efficiency over safety — and nobody was ever held accountable. That’s not acceptable for a public agency, and it’s time for the people who made these decisions and the elected officials who enabled them to come clean and make amends.

Last year’s contentious contract negotiations between BART management and employees was marked by an ugly union-bashing media strategy and dangerous brinksmanship that forced two strikes. During the second strike in October, two BART workers were killed by a train operated by someone management was training to run replacement service to break the unions.

Whether that driver’s inexperience directly caused the deaths is still being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, but we do know that this tragedy was a direct result of the “simple approval process” that made these workers responsible for their own safety even though they couldn’t see or hear a train coming with enough time to safely get out of the way.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has been battling with BART for years to change this dangerous procedure that had killed workers before, but BART chose to aggressively litigate the mandate at every turn instead doing the right thing, finally acceding after these latest avoidable deaths.

DOSH last week concluded its investigation of the October deaths, finding BART guilty of “willful/serious” safety violations and leveling the maximum fine allowed by law, a mere $210,000. Civil wrongful death settlements are likely to reach into the millions of dollars, and the NTSB could soon bring more punishment down on BART.

But real accountability begins at home. This reckless management strategy should be an issue in every one of this year’s reelection races for BART’s Board of Directors, each of whom are culpable and none of whom have challenged the decisions by General Manager Grace Crunican and Assistant Manager of Operations Paul Oversier in any serious public way.

This arrogant agency has abused the public trust and been hostile to reasonable public oversight, whether that involves its trigger-happy Police Department or its callous disregard for the safety of workers and riders, something its unions have been calling out for many years.

The California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment unveiled damning evidence of BART’s lax safety culture during a hearing in November, and it’s time for the Legislature to follow up and give DOSH the authority and funding it needs to hold BART and other serial safety violators accountable.

Voters should also consider replacing current elected directors this fall (we’ll offer our endorsements then), giving special consideration to those who want to clean house and change a management culture that is hostile to safety and its workers.

BART fined $210,000 for accident killing two workers


The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration is fining Bay Area Rapid Transit $210,000 for three “willful/serious” safety violations connected to the death of two transit workers, citing a lack of safety measures at BART as the fault of their deaths. BART was fined maximum amounts allowed for the offenses, officials said. 

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure worker safety,” acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in a statement. “Safety standards are designed to save lives and they were not followed.”

Two transit workers were killed October last year during the final days of the BART strike. As we reported then, Christopher Sheppard, a BART manager and member of the AFSCME union, and Larry Daniels, a contractor, were inspecting a “dip in the rail” before they were hit by an oncoming train. The two workers were required to go through what’s called a Simple Approval process to get permission to work on the track.

It’s that Simple Approval process that came under fire in the citation.

“Employer’s control method, namely the ‘Simple Approval’ procedure, does not safeguard personnel working on tracks during railcar movement,” the citation reads. “The employer allowed workers to conduct work on the railway tracks where trains were travelling in excess of sixty-five (65) miles-per-hour.”

“The employees had no warning that a train moving at more than 65 miles-per-hour was on the C1 railway track approaching the location where they were working.”

BART General Manager Grace Crunican quickly issued a statement.

“Passenger and employee safety is our top priority at BART.  BART has fundamentally upgraded its safety procedures with the implementation of an enhanced wayside safety program and a proposed budget investment of over $5 million in additional resources to bolster BART’s safety performance,” she said. “Cal/OSHA has informed BART these changes correct the concerns which are at the heart of their citations, designating the issues as ‘abated,’ meaning that none are continuing violations or pose continuing safety hazards.”

The statement goes on to say that BART meets CPUC safety standards, though as we’ve seen with PG&E (San Bruno) and Uber (the New Year’s Eve death of Sofia Liu), those standards have been demonstrated to be at times, lax. 

The three violations were deemed “abated” within the citaiton. The citation tasked BART with reassigning job assignments of untrained personell, not allowing unqualified workers near energized equipment and facilities, and “controls to safeguard personell during railcar movement shall be instituted.”

Simple Approval has since been terminated, BART Spokesperson Alicia Trost told the Guardian.

BART permanantly eliminated Simple Approval immediately following the tragic deaths,” she said. “We now require work orders for anyone who goes wayside.  We are also implementing the extra layers of protection for track workers.”

Notably, the two workers were killed as BART management attempted to train managers to operate trains during the strike, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, who is investigating the incident.


Left, a dimly lit BART tunnel. Right, an oncoming train. BART has been cited for safety issues by CAL/OSHA before, including lighting issues which some say led to the death of another BART worker years ago.

The citation specifically lambasts flimsy safety process of Simple Approval, the process workers formerly used to keep the Operations Control Center “aware of the presence of personnel in a specified location in the trackway,” according to BART training manuals. When workers are preparing to work on a track, they recited the simple approval to the Operations Control Center, also known as central control. It works like signing a waiver, saying that you understand the rules of safety, and more importantly, that you can work on the track without diverting trains. 

This isn’t the first time BART has run afoul of CAL/OSHA citations, they’ve racked up over 20 in the past years. A hearing held shortly after the two workers’ death also brought many of these problems to light.

Shortly after the accident, Saul Almanza, a longtime BART safety trainer, told us the section of track the two workers died on crested the hill a little bit.” Having a sight line is important, he said, because you can’t use your ears to hear a train coming.

“It’s like a jet flying over you, you don’t hear it until it’s past you,” he explained. “I always teach in my class: ‘You don’t listen for trains, you look for trains.’”

Below we’ve embedded the citations issued to BART.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) citations for death of two workers from CAL/OSHA by FitztheReporter

On the real


THE WEEKNIGHTER Sutter Station doesn’t give a fuck. In fact, it has been steadfastly sitting on Market Street, not giving fucks since 1969. That’s before BART existed, before Tales of the City came out, and before the Beatles broke up. The United States was still tangled up in the Vietnam War when Sutter Station first opened its doors to show San Franciscans what not giving a fuck looked like.

Sutter Station is a weird and wild place. And I don’t mean weird like “Ooh, look at him, he’s walking down the street in a tutu.” And I don’t mean wild like a bunch of drunk bros screaming WOOO when their friend takes a shot. I mean weird in a disconcerting way and wild in the sense that you may genuinely get your ass kicked for acting stupid. Sutter Station is a working class bar somehow still in the heart of downtown San Francisco where Budweiser is always $3 and sometimes people get physically tossed out the back door. Those people generally deserve it, too.

There’s a legend about Sutter Station. There was once a lingerie show there. That’s it. That’s the whole legend. Stepping inside the joint you can tell that’s enough. Sutter Station is like if a Tenderloin dive bar walked over to the Financial District for a change of scenery and decided to stay. You ever sat down in a bar in the TL and said, “Gee, I wish there was a lingerie show here”? That’s my point. Some legends are legends for a reason.

Sutter Station isn’t all hard motherfuckers though, as the week draws on the crowd gets pretty diverse. People who say they “work in the FiDi” pop in for happy hour beverages, filling some of the tables with women in pencil skirts and men with their shirts tucked in. Both these genders wear North Face fleeces for some reason.

You do actually see some of these same people during other hours as well. Sometimes the ones with a drinking “preoccupation” dip in for a liquid lunch where they know none of their colleagues will find them, while others hang out far after happy hour tipsily making friends with people they’ll ignore when passing on the street the next day. Sutter Station attracts all kinds for different reasons. It attracts me for the free pizza they put out on Fridays.

As real bars keep disappearing, only to be replaced by more and more craft cocktail joints, the importance of spots like Sutter Station grows. Bars are supposed to be where you unwind, have a drink, and let the day slide off you. They are there to help make merry, make friends, make lovers, make amends. I like a really nice cocktail just as much as anyone, but even more so, I like just having a drink and seeing what happens from there. The beauty of Sutter Station is that anything can happen from there. As spots like Sutter Station become harder to find in San Francisco, I can’t help but give a fuck. Luckily, Sutter Station doesn’t.

Stuart Schuffman aka Broke-Ass Stuart is a travel writer, poet, and TV host. You can find his online shenanigans at


Alerts: April 2 – 8, 2014




Anti-eviction march

24th and Mission BART Station, SF. 11:30am, free. Eviction Free San Francisco will lead “a spirited lunchtime march and picket” to the Mission offices of Vanguard Properties, in response to an Ellis Act eviction that has been filed against longtime tenant Benito Santiago, a Duboce Triangle resident who was born and raised in San Francisco.



Public meeting on tech shuttle plan

City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett, SF. 3pm, free. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on a controversial pilot program that will allow private shuttles, such as Google buses, to use Muni bus stops for a fee of $1 per stop per day. The program, approved by the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency in January, has been appealed on the grounds that it should undergo a full environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The Board will vote on whether the appeal should move forward.





Laney College, 900 Fallon, Oakl. 7:30pm, $20. This is the opening night of IMPACT, a full-length work featuring a cast of 42 talented youth ages 9 to 18 performing a combination of hip-hop, modern and aerial dance, theater, spoken word, rap and song. This group has chosen to take a stand around issues that have powerful impact on themselves, their communities and their world: Environmental destruction, unhealthy food and water, negative attitudes about their bodies, and violence of all kinds.



Talk: Robots and new media

Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley. 2594 Hearst, Berk. 9am-5pm, free. The Center for New Media at UC Berkeley will host this daylong symposium to explore “a new range of more social, personal, expressive, nurturing, and emotional robotic platforms and applications.” Featuring talks by philosopher Hubert Dreyfus of UC Berkeley, Mark Pauline of Survival Research Labs, UC Berkeley robotics professor Ken Goldberg and more.




SF LGBT Center’s Annual Soiree

City View at Metreon, 135 4th St, SF. 6:30-8pm VIP reception; party admission 8pm-midnight; $150 or $95 respectively. Come out in support of San Francisco’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Community Center, which offers free services like career counseling, job fairs, social activities, mentorships, youth meals, daycare and a space for LGBT people to organize and secure equal rights. With a hosted bar, gourmet morsels, silent auction, music, dancing and live entertainment it promises to be a fancy affair.


Ending Solitary Confinement Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists’ Hall, 1924 Bonita, Berk. 2pm, $5-10 suggested donation, no one turned away for lack of funds. Laura Magnani of the American Friends Service Committee will be speaking on Solitary Confinement in California prisons, and what we can do to work to abolish it or promote its more limited use. She will be joined by Marie Levin, sister of a prisoner who has organized and participated in prisoner hunger strikes in the past few years.

Port of Oakland rejects deceptive contract bid by Black Muslim security firm


Editor’s Note: This report, which appears in today’s Oakland Tribune, is part of the continuing efforts of the Chauncey Bailey Project, a joint investigation by various media outlets (including the Bay Guardian) into the 2007 murder of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery.

By Thomas Peele and Matt O’Brien, Bay Area News Group

OAKLAND — Admitting they nearly entered into a deal with a questionable security company now under investigation, Port of Oakland commissioners on yesterday [Thu/27] Thursday vowed to revamp their contracting process.

“We came very close to approving a bad contract,” Commissioner Michael Colbruno said. “The whole procurement process” should be reviewed.

The commissioners voted 6-0 to back out of a contract with BMT International Security Services, which had submitted bogus references and credentials to win a $450,000 deal to patrol two shoreline parks.

The port has extended its existing contract with ABC Security to guard a 42-acre shoreline through the end of the year. Colbruno added that the port needs to have a better screening process.

Commission President Cestra Butner agreed.

“This commission will take our lumps if we did anything wrong,” he said. “We want to make sure we get things right. … I don’t want anything slipped under the rug.”

BMT, which is linked to Oakland’s defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery, had been in final negotiations with the port when this newspaper reported that its proposal contained references to work at other government agencies that had no record of ever doing business with it. The firm also appears to have inflated the credentials of its managers.

The company is now being investigated by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the state Department of Consumer Affairs. A former Oakland police officer also said in court papers that he believes the company stole a security company license number from him that he let lapse in 2008 when he retired.

BMT told the port that it had worked for BART, the San Joaquin County Housing Authority and the Riverside Transit Agency, but those agencies had no record of hiring the company. The firm also lost contracts with Alameda County and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles when staff at those agencies discovered the Oakland company submitted apparently false insurance certification.

At least one Bay Area government noticed before awarding a contract that something appeared wrong with BMT’s credentials.

In 2011, the Vallejo City Council rejected a BMT proposal after city staff reported that the listed references were not calling back and one claimed to not know the company. BMT unsuccessfully appealed and some of its employees spoke out at a public meeting.

BMT sought another Vallejo contract in 2012 but again failed to win it. BMT owner Rory Parker sued the North Bay city in December, claiming she and her company experienced disparate treatment “because of their race, which is Black, and because of their religion, which is of the Islamic faith.”

The firm is run out of a Black Muslim temple in West Oakland whose minister, Dahood Sharieff Bey, was an associate of Your Black Muslim Bakery and a disciple of its founder, Yusuf Bey. Yusuf Bey touted his business enterprise as empowering African Americans, but prosecutors have described it as a wide-ranging criminal organization involved in violent crimes, real estate fraud and identity theft.

The bakery collapsed in 2007 when its members, led by Yusuf Bey IV, killed three men, including Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey. Bey IV is now serving a life prison term without parole. Prosecutors and police have linked five unsolved homicides to the bakery.

Dahood Bey, the minister who identified himself at a recent Oakland council meeting as “Mr. Pasha,” was tried for torture in 2010 but pleaded guilty to lesser charges when the jury could not reach a verdict. His co-defendant in that case, Basheer Fard Muhammad, has been the public face of BMT at port and other government meetings, urging officials to give it contracts.

BMT owner Rory Parker is Dahood Bey’s mother. The company also claimed in its port proposal to have a retired, Harvard-educated FBI agent serving as its chief financial officer and that its guards include former Secret Service agents.

Law enforcement records show San Francisco police officers arrested Muhammad in Oakland on Feb. 25 on suspicion of receiving stolen property, which was described as a “refrigerated sandwich table.” He was jailed for two days and released after the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute him. San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Eric O’Neal has refused to release details about the case despite repeated requests.

BMT is also seeking a contract to work for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but transit officials there would not disclose any information about the bid until they finish evaluating all the proposals in May.

– See more at:




Clean Up The Plaza run by political consultant with ties to developers


Neighborhood and progressive political activists have long been suspicious of the shadowy Clean Up The Plaza campaign and its possible connections to a massive housing development proposed for 16th and Mission streets — and the Guardian has now confirmed that developer-connected political consultant Jack Davis is playing a key role in that campaign.

Asked by the Guardian whether he is being paid by the developers — Maximus Real Estate Partners, which has submitted plans to build a 10-story, 351-unit housing complex overlooking the 16th Street BART plaza — Davis told the Guardian, “That’s between me and the IRS.”

Our exchange with Davis and Gil Chavez, a Davis roommate who runs the Clean Up The Plaza campaign, occurred yesterday outside the LGBT Center where they and three other campaign workers (who refused to speak to us) were promoting their cause and collecting signatures on petitions calling for crackdowns on the plaza before the debate inside between Assembly District 17 candidates David Chiu and David Campos.

Clean Up The Plaza has been refusing to return calls from the Guardian or other local journalists for months, and the group hasn’t filed any paperwork with the San Francisco Ethics Commission in association with its political fundraising or lobbying efforts.

Asked about the group’s relationship with the project developers, Chavez told us, “They’re in communication with us and we’re in communication with them, but they haven’t funded us.” Asked who paid for the group’s website, mailers, window signs, and other expenses, Chavez said it was him and other donors that he wouldn’t identify.

Davis has been the go-to political consultant on big campaigns backed by real estate interests in San Francisco, working on the successful mayoral campaigns of Frank Jordan, Willie Brown, and Gavin Newsom, as well as a number of high-profile development projects, including the 1996 ballot measure approving construction of AT&T Park.

He and Chavez say they live together in the neighborhood and their only motivation in running the group is improving public safety. “I’m happy to to talk about what Clean Up The Plaza is,” Davis told us. “I live at 17th and Mission and I’ve been mugged.”

But housing activist Sara Shortt of the Housing Rights Committee isn’t buying it, calling the group “a fake grassroots campaign that is misleading this community.”

“If you didn’t know Jack Davis’ history in politics in San Francisco, you might be able to take that at face value,” Shortt said of Davis’ claims to be simply a concerned citizen. “Given his ties to big developers, it’s not very believable.”

Willie Brown even heralded Davis’ return to political work two years ago in his San Francisco Chronicle column, entitled “Political consultant Jack Davis back on S.F. scene,” writing that he has returned to local political circles following a hiatus in Wales the previous few years.

“You political types, be warned. Jack Davis is back in town,” the column began, ending with, “I think that after watching from the sidelines for a while, he’s ready to return. Can’t wait to see whom he decides to work for. Stay tuned.”

Is Davis working on fake grassroots campaign designed to smooth the way for a massive gentrifying housing projects in one of the city’s last remaining neighborhoods that still welcomes poor people? Stay tuned.

San Francisco Ethics Commission Director John St. Croix told the Guardian that the group should be registered if it has raised more than $1,000 or if it is lobbying at City Hall — indeed, the group has boasted on its website of efforts to influence Campos and other city officials to increase police patrols and cleansing of the plaza — particularly if it is being paid by a third party to do so.

“If they’re lobbying, obviously we want to know,” St. Croix told us, saying that he planned to personally follow-up with the group on its activities.

Davis denies that the group is in violation of any disclosure laws, claiming it is simply a small neighborhood group, and he referred our inquiries to the group’s attorney, James Perrinello, a partner at the high-powered and politically connected law firm of Nielson Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leoni, who hasn’t yet returned our calls.

For more on Clean Up The Plaza and other campaigns to “clean up” poor neighborhoods as a precursor to gentrification and market rate housing development — including the ongoing efforts to do so in the Tenderloin and Mid-Market areas — read next week’s Bay Guardian. 

[UPDATE 3/18: Former Guardian Editor/Publisher Tim Redmond’s 48 Hills site just posted a long report by reporter Julia Carrie Wong that includes an admission by Davis that he is indeed a paid consultant for Maximus, as well as interesting conflicting statements from Maximus and Chavez about a meeting they held. Check it out.] 

Music Listings: March 19-25, 2014


Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Yellow Ostrich, Pattern Is Movement, Paint the Trees White, 9pm, $12-$14.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. Thumpers, Solwave, 9pm, $10.
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. Sam Roberts Band, Kris Orlowski, 9pm, $15-$18.
Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Hellbeard, Serial Hawk, Sludgebucket, 8:30pm, $7.
The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. Terra Moans, The Krypters, My Name Is Joe, 9:30pm, $6.
Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, La Plebe, The Joey Show, DJ Big Nate, 9pm, sold out.
Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Spirit Caravan, Pilgrim, Waxy, 8pm, $15.
Beaux: 2344 Market, San Francisco. “BroMance: A Night Out for the Fellas,” 9pm, free.
The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco. “Sticky Wednesdays,” w/ DJ Mark Andrus, 8pm, free.
Club X: 715 Harrison, San Francisco. “Electro Pop Rocks: EPR’s Spring Break,” 18+ dance night with Frank Nitty, D Menis, DJ Audio1, more, 9pm
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. Go Chic, Blok, Violent Vickie, 9pm, $10-$12.
F8: 1192 Folsom, San Francisco. “Housepitality,” w/ Kenneth Scott, Max Gardner, Sean Murray, Tony Watson, 9pm, $5-$10.
Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “Indulgence,” 10pm
Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “What?,” w/ resident DJ Tisdale and guests, 7pm, free.
Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Rock the Spot,” 9pm, free.
Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Burn Down the Disco,” w/ DJs 2shy-shy & Melt w/U, Third Wednesday of every month, 9pm, free.
MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Reload,” w/ DJ Big Bad Bruce, 10pm, free.
Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Booty Call,” w/ Juanita More, Joshua J, guests, 9pm, $3.
Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Nokturnal,” w/ DJs Coyle & Gonya, Third Wednesday of every month, 9pm, free.
Neck of the Woods: 406 Clement, San Francisco. “Over the Hump,” w/ Children of the Funk, 10pm, free.
Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco. “Mixtape Wednesday,” w/ resident DJs Strategy, Junot, Herb Digs, & guests, 9pm, $5.
Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco. Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod, 7pm, free.
Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. Jeb Havens & Tawnee Kendall, Lee Aulson, 8pm, $10.
Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. Michael Mullen, 9pm
The Rite Spot Cafe: 2099 Folsom, San Francisco. Goh Nakamura, 9pm, free.
Balancoire: 2565 Mission, San Francisco. “Cat’s Corner,” 9pm, $10.
Burritt Room: 417 Stockton St., San Francisco. Terry Disley’s Rocking Jazz Trio, 6pm, free.
Cigar Bar & Grill: 850 Montgomery, San Francisco. Jack Mosbacher Duo, 8pm
Club Deluxe: 1511 Haight, San Francisco. Patrick Wolff Quartet, 9pm, free.
Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. The Cosmo Alleycats featuring Ms. Emily Wade Adams, 7pm, free.
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Fran Sholly, 8pm
Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco. Ricardo Scales, Wednesdays, 6:30-11:30pm, $5.
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Four80East, Matt Marshak & Marcus Anderson, 8pm, $21.
Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Chris Duggan, 7:30pm, free.
Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Baobab!,” timba dance party with DJ WaltDigz, 10pm, $5.
Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. “Bachatalicious,” w/ DJs Good Sho & Rodney, 7pm, $5-$10.
The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. Ana Tijoux, Kumbia Queers, Como Asesinar a Felipe, 9pm, $15.
Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. Cafe Latino Americano, 8pm, $12.
Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Tommy Odetto, 7:30 & 9:30pm, $15.
Pier 23 Cafe: Pier 23, San Francisco. Wendy DeWitt, 6pm, free.
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Craig Horton, 9:30pm
Monarch: 101 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Color Me Badd,” coloring books and R&B jams with Matt Haze, DJ Alarm, Broke-Ass Stuart, guests, Wednesdays, 5:30-9:30pm, free.
The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Freddie Hughes & Chris Burns, 7:30pm, free.

Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. Lonesome Locomotive, Twin Engine, 9:30pm, $5-$7.
Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Skaters, Team Spirit, Panic Is Perfect, 9pm, $10-$12.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. CAAMFest Directions in Sound: Korean Showcase, w/ Love X Stereo, Rock n Roll Radio, Glen Check, No Brain, Kero One (host), DJ Relic, 9pm, $20.
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. Truckfighters, Crobot, The Devil in California, Blackwülf, 8:30pm, $10-$12.
Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Nubs, Atlantic Thrills, Scraper, 8:30pm, $7.
Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. The English Language, The Lolos, 9pm, $8.
The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. Iron Chic, The Shell Corporation, Civil War Rust, 10pm, $8.
Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco. Haight-Ashbury Street Fair Fundraiser: Battle of the Bands #1, w/ Kingsborough, Battery Powered Grandpa, High & Tight, Them Creatures, 9pm, $5.
Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco. “Popscene,” w/ The Lonely Forest, Semi Precious Weapons, Breakdown Valentine, DJ Aaron Axelsen, 9:30pm, $10-$12.
S.F. Eagle: 398 12th St., San Francisco. The Whoa Nellies, Muñecas, Thith, 9pm, $5-$7.
Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. The Sword, Big Business, O’Brother, 8pm, $21.
The Stud: 399 Ninth St., San Francisco. Starbeast II, Grendel’s Claw, Kurly Something, 9pm, $5.
Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Disappearing People, Wreck & Reference, Hollow Sunshine, So Stressed, 9pm, $8.
1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom, San Francisco. Autojak’d Tour, w/ Autoérotique, Uberjak’d, Frank Nitty, Krishna Lee, DJ Audio1, 10pm, $10 advance.
Abbey Tavern: 4100 Geary, San Francisco. DJ Schrobi-Girl, 10pm, free.
Beaux: 2344 Market, San Francisco. “Men at Twerk,” 9pm, free.
The Cafe: 2369 Market, San Francisco. “¡Pan Dulce!,” 9pm, $5.
Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco. “Class of 1984,” ’80s night with DJs Damon, Steve Washington, Dangerous Dan, and guests, 9pm, $6 (free before 9:30pm).
The Cellar: 685 Sutter, San Francisco. “XO,” w/ DJs Astro & Rose, 10pm, $5.
Club X: 715 Harrison, San Francisco. “The Crib,” 9:30pm, $10, 18+.
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. Go Gold, Childhood cancer research benefit party with Lazy Rich, Paul Anthony, DJ Denise, Forest Green, Carlos Alfonzo, Ross.FM, John Beaver, Infected Frequencies, The Doctor, Arize, Adept, and more., 8pm, $15-$20.
Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Afrolicious,” w/ DJs Pleasuremaker, Señor Oz, and guests, 9:30pm, $5-$8.
F8: 1192 Folsom, San Francisco. “Beat Church,” w/ resident DJs Neptune & Kitty-D, Third Thursday of every month, 10pm, $10.
Harlot: 46 Minna, San Francisco. Bloody Mary & Jozif, 9pm, free.
The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. Break Science, ChrisB., 9pm, $15-$17.
Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “I Love Thursdays,” 10pm, $10.
Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Night Fever,” 9pm, $5 after 10pm
Mezzanine: 444 Jessie, San Francisco. “House of Mezzanine,” w/ Marc “MK” Kinchen, Matrixxman, Epicsauce DJs, 9pm, $10.
Monarch: 101 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Hey Young World,” w/ Soul Clap & Nick Monaco, 9:30pm, $15 advance.
Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco. “Deep Blue,” w/ Marco Carola, Rooz, Bo, 9pm, $15-$25.
Raven: 1151 Folsom, San Francisco. “1999,” w/ VJ Mark Andrus, 8pm, free.
Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco. “Awakening,” w/ GTA, What So Not, 9pm, $25-$35 advance.
Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Bubble,” 10pm, free.
Vessel: 85 Campton, San Francisco. “Base,” w/ H.O.S.H., 10pm, $5-$10.
Eastside West: 3154 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Throwback Thursdays,” w/ DJ Madison, 9pm, free.
Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Tougher Than Ice,” w/ DJs Vin Sol, Ruby Red I, and Jeremy Castillo, Third Thursday of every month, 10pm
Amoeba Music: 1855 Haight, San Francisco. Chuck Ragan, 6pm, free.
Atlas Cafe: 3049 20th St., San Francisco. Bermuda Grass, 8pm, free.
Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco. Acoustic Open Mic, 7pm
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. Bear’s Den, 9pm, $12-$15.
Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. John Caufield, 9pm
The Rite Spot Cafe: 2099 Folsom, San Francisco. Devine’s Jug Band, 8pm, free.
Blush! Wine Bar: 476 Castro, San Francisco. Doug Martin’s Avatar Ensemble, 7:30pm, free.
Cafe Claude: 7 Claude, San Francisco. Nova Jazz, 7:30pm, free.
Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Eugene Pliner Quartet with Tod Dickow, First and Third Thursday of every month, 7:30pm, free.
Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums, 7:30pm
The Lucky Horseshoe: 453 Cortland, San Francisco. Ralph Carney’s Serious Jass Project, 9pm
Pier 23 Cafe: Pier 23, San Francisco. Citizen’s Jazz, 7pm, free.
The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Charlie Siebert & Chris Siebert, 7:30pm, free.
Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. Savanna Jazz Jam with David Byrd, 7pm, $5.
Top of the Mark: One Nob Hill, 999 California, San Francisco. Stompy Jones, 7:30pm, $10.
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. NaJe, in Yoshi’s lounge, 6:30pm, free.
Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Barbara Ochoa, 7:30pm
Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Pa’Lante!,” w/ Juan G, El Kool Kyle, Mr. Lucky, 10pm, $5.
Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. VibraSÓN, El DJ X, 8pm, $12.
Cigar Bar & Grill: 850 Montgomery, San Francisco. Carlitos Medrano Quartet, 8pm
Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. “Jueves Flamencos,” 8pm, free.
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Gary Flores & Descarga Caliente, 8pm
Verdi Club: 2424 Mariposa, San Francisco. The Verdi Club Milonga, w/ Christy Coté, DJ Emilio Flores, guests, 9pm, $10-$15.
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis with Yair Dalal, 8pm, $30-$32.
Pissed Off Pete’s: 4528 Mission St., San Francisco. Reggae Thursdays, w/ resident DJ Jah Yzer, 9pm, free.
50 Mason Social House: 50 Mason, San Francisco. Bill Phillippe, 5:30pm, free.
Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Bill Magee, 7:30 & 9:30pm, $20.
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Chris Ford, Third Thursday of every month, 4pm; Cathy Lemons, 9:30pm
The Parlor: 2801 Leavenworth, San Francisco. “Twang Honky Tonk & Country Jamboree,” w/ DJ Little Red Rodeo, 7pm, free.
The Luggage Store: 1007 Market, San Francisco. Gosling, Gestaltish, 8pm, $6-$10.
Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. Baby & The Luvies, The Ironsides with Gene Washington, 8pm, $7-$10.
Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Soul: It’s the Real Thing,” w/ The Selecter DJ Kirk & Jon Blunck, Third Thursday of every month, 10pm, free.

50 Mason Social House: 50 Mason, San Francisco. Spidermeow, Shot in the Dark, Gnarboots, Be Brave Bold Robot, The Bottle Kids, 8pm
Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Guy Fox, Big Tree, The Districts, Young Moon, 8:30pm, $10-$12.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. The Family Crest, Milagres, 9pm, $12-$14.
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. Bart Davenport, Danny James, Anna Hillburg, DJ Robert Spector, 9pm, $12-$15.
El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. Friday Live: The Ghost Ease, DJ Emotions, 10pm, free.
Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. The Asteroid No. 4, Joel Gion & The Primary Colors, Daydream Machine, DJ Jodie Artichoke, 9:30pm, $5-$8.
Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Rykarda Parasol, The Tunnel, So What?, 9pm, $8.
Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. JoyCut, Running in the Fog, Feral Fauna, 9pm, $10.
Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco. The Belle Game, Ski Lodge, Lords of Sealand, 9pm, $8-$10.
Neck of the Woods: 406 Clement, San Francisco. Heavenly Beat, Seatraffic, Survival Guide, on the upstairs stage, 9pm, $10-$12.
Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco. Perfect Pussy, Wild Moth, Happy Diving, 9pm, $10-$12.
The Riptide: 3639 Taraval, San Francisco. The Ray City Rollers, Powder, 8pm, free.
Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. Lacuna Coil, Kyng, Eve to Adam, Nothing More, 8pm, $21.
Sub-Mission Art Space (Balazo 18 Gallery): 2183 Mission, San Francisco. Safe & Sound, Singled Out, Eternal Sleep, Stay Scared, Dust Off, 7:30pm, $8.
Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Shake Before Us, The Arabs, Greg Hoy & The End, 9pm, $7.
1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom, San Francisco. “Witness 5.0,” w/ Juan Atkins, Kastle, Le Youth, Djemba Djemba, Sweater Beats, Touch Sensitive, Krampfhaft, Kit Clayton, J-Boogie, Mikos Da Gawd, MPHD, Chris Clouse, more, 10pm, $15-$25 advance.
Audio Discotech: 316 11th St., San Francisco. Uner, Shonky, Glade Luco, Marija Dunn, 9pm, $10 advance.
BeatBox: 314 11th St., San Francisco. “U-Haul: Bromance Edition,” w/ DJs China G & Ms. Jackson, 10pm, $5-$10.
Beaux: 2344 Market, San Francisco. “Manimal,” 9pm
Cat Club: 1190 Folsom, San Francisco. “Dancing Ghosts: 7-Year Anniversary,” w/ DJs Xander, Daniel Skellington, Melting Girl, and Owen, 9:30pm, $7 ($3 before 10pm).
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “Band Saga,” w/ Metroid Metal, Rekcahdam, Anova, Kozilek, 8pm, $8-$13.
The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Trade,” 10pm, free before midnight.
Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “Flight Fridays,” 10pm, $20.
Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “HYSL: Handle Your Shit Lady,” 9pm, $3.
Mercer: 255 Rhode Island, San Francisco. “SoulHouse,” w/ Jeremiah Seraphim, Didje Kelli, Jaime James, Dylan Mahoney, 9pm, $10-$15.
Mezzanine: 444 Jessie, San Francisco. “Lights Down Low,” w/ Tensnake, Huxley, Cooper Saver, Brian Tarney, Split, 9pm, $20-$22.
Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco. “Set,” w/ John Digweed, Atish, Matt Hubert, 10pm, $35-$40 advance.
Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco. Crossfire: Synaptic Equinox, Flaming Lotus Girls benefit with DJs Aaron Pope, Billy Seal, Brad Robinson, Cosmic Selector, Darren Grayson, Drew Drop, Dulce Vita, J-Rod, Kapt’n Kirk, Layne Loomis, Matt Kramer, and Shissla., 9:30pm, $15-$20 advance.
Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Pump: Worq It Out Fridays,” w/ resident DJ Christopher B, 9pm, $3.
Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco. Syn Cole, Human Life, DJ Vice, 9pm, $20 advance.
Supperclub San Francisco: 657 Harrison, San Francisco. “The Midas Touch,” w/ Gavin Hardkiss, Michael Anthony, The Golden Gate Dolls, more, 7pm
Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco. “Resonance,” w/ Alex M.O.R.P.H., Mitka, Jake DeSilva, more, 10pm, $20.
Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Studio 3AM,” w/ Michael Perry, Darrell Tenaglia, Soft & Crispy, 10pm, free.
Vessel: 85 Campton, San Francisco. Kryder, 10pm
John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco. “Juicy,” w/ DJ Mark DiVita, 10pm
Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Fresh to Def Fridays: A Tribute to Yo! MTV Raps,” w/ resident DJs Boom Bostic, Inkfat, and Hay Hay, Third Friday of every month, 10pm
Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco. Emily Zisman & Marty Atkinson, 7pm
Dolores Park Cafe: 501 Dolores, San Francisco. Storm Florez, 7:30pm
Pa’ina: 1865 Post, San Francisco. Ben Ahn, 7pm, free.
Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. “Bluegrass Bonanza,” w/ The Bearcat Stringband, 9pm, $6-$10.
Atlas Cafe: 3049 20th St., San Francisco. Jazz at the Atlas, 7:30pm, free.
Cafe Royale: 800 Post, San Francisco. Cyril Guiraud Trio, 9pm
The Palace Hotel: 2 New Montgomery, San Francisco. The Klipptones, 8pm, free.
Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. Bill Kwan, 7:30pm, $8.
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Steve Snelling Quartet, 9pm
Asiento: 2730 21st St., San Francisco. “Kulcha Latino,” w/ resident selectors Stepwise, Ras Rican, and El Kool Kyle, Third Friday of every month, 9pm, free.
Cafe Claude: 7 Claude, San Francisco. Trio Garufa, 7:30pm, free.
Cigar Bar & Grill: 850 Montgomery, San Francisco. Montuno Swing, 10pm
The Emerald Tablet: 80 Fresno, San Francisco. Flamenco del Oro, 8pm, $15 suggested donation.
Pachamama Restaurant: 1630 Powell, San Francisco. Cuban Night with Fito Reinoso, 7:30 & 9:15pm, $15-$18.
Pier 23 Cafe: Pier 23, San Francisco. Danilo y Universal, 8pm, free.
Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco. “Chevere: 4-Year Anniversary,” w/ DJs WaltDigz, Epic, and Leydis, 9:30pm
Gestalt Haus: 3159 16th St., San Francisco. “Music Like Dirt,” 7:30pm, free.
The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. The Wailers, 9pm, sold out.
Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Chris Cain, 7:30 & 10pm, $22.
Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson, San Francisco. Robert “Hollywood” Jenkins, 6pm
The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Big Bones & Chris Siebert, 7:30pm, free.
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. West Coast Blues Revue, 4pm; Chris Cobb, 9:30pm
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Sinbad with Memphis Red & The Stank Nasty Band, 8 & 10pm, $35.
Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. The Nibblers, The Mark Sexton Band, DJ K-Os, 9:30pm, $10-$15.

Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. “Rajeev’s Big Night Out,” w/ We Will Be Lions, The Cuss, Rafa’s One Man Band, plus stand-up comedy, 9pm, $7-$10.
Bender’s: 806 S. Van Ness, San Francisco. Lecherous Gaze, Dirty Fences, Buffalo Tooth, 10pm, $5.
Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. DonCat, Split Screens, Scary Little Friends, 9:30pm, $10.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. Wakey!Wakey!, Jillette Johnson, 9pm, $12.
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. Lost in the Trees, Icy Demons, 9pm, $12-$15.
Connecticut Yankee: 100 Connecticut, San Francisco. The Wearies, The Sweet Bones, Modern Kicks, 10pm
El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. White Cloud, Talk of Shamans, DJ Awnode, 9pm, $2-$5.
Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Kids on a Crime Spree, Yea-Ming & The Rumours, Eternal Drag, 9pm, $6.
Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. Abatis, The Straight Ups, Alabasta Jack, 9pm, $8.
The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. Fracas, VKTMS, RocketShip RocketShip, Kick Puppy, 4pm, $6.
Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco. Keystone Revisited, Pam, Just Passing Through, 9pm, $10.
Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco. Weekend, Cities Aviv, Surf Club, 9pm, $12-$14.
Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. INVSN, Wax Idols, 9pm, $13-$15.
Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Great Apes, Hard Girls, Canadian Rifle, Acid Fast, 9pm, $7.
Audio Discotech: 316 11th St., San Francisco. Goldfish, 9pm, $20-$25.
BeatBox: 314 11th St., San Francisco. “Chaos,” w/ DJs Dan DeLeon & Erik Withakay, 9pm, $10-$20.
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “Bootie S.F.,” w/ Pepperspray, A+D, Haute Mess, Marky Ray, Keith Kraft, Lucio K, more, 9pm, $10-$15.
The EndUp: 401 Sixth St., San Francisco. Shangri-La, Asian queer dance party., Fourth Saturday of every month, 10pm, $15-$20 (free before 11pm).
Harlot: 46 Minna, San Francisco. “Set,” w/ Hernan Cattaneo, Pedro Arbulu, Franccesco Cardenas, Zita Molnar, 9pm, $15-$25.
Infusion Lounge: 124 Ellis, San Francisco. “Set,” Fourth Saturday of every month, 10pm, $20.
The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. “Galaxy Radio,” w/ PlaZa, Roche, Smac, Lel Ephant, Holly Bun, 10pm, free.
Lookout: 3600 16th St., San Francisco. “Bounce!,” 9pm, $3.
Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “Blunted Funk,” w/ resident DJs Sneak-E Pete & Chilipino, Fourth Saturday of every other month, 9pm, $5 (free before 10pm).
Mighty: 119 Utah, San Francisco. Nightmares on Wax, Bläp Dëli, Mophono, 9pm, $15 advance.
Monarch: 101 Sixth St., San Francisco. Jimmy Edgar, Danny Daze, Papa Lu, 9:30pm, $25-$30.
Public Works: 161 Erie, San Francisco. “Dance Mania,” w/ Paul Johnson, Jammin Gerald, Parris Mitchell, more (in the main room), 9pm, $15 advance; “Mister Saturday Night,” w/ Eamon Harkin, Justin Carter, more (in the OddJob Loft), 9pm, $15 advance.
Ruby Skye: 420 Mason, San Francisco. Fedde Le Grand, Cazzette, Moguai, DJ Zya, 9pm, $50+ advance.
S.F. Eagle: 398 12th St., San Francisco. “Sadistic Saturday,” w/ Mystic Ray, 9pm
Slate Bar: 2925 16th St., San Francisco. “Electric WKND,” w/ The Certain People Crew, Fourth Saturday of every month, 10pm, $5.
The Stud: 399 Ninth St., San Francisco. “Planet Squrrrl,” w/ DJs Trevor Sigler, Joe Pickett, and Ben Holder, 9pm, $5.
Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco. “Life,” w/ Feldy, Animal Control, Christophe, Jeff Morena, Glade Luco, more, 10pm, $20.
Vessel: 85 Campton, San Francisco. Scooter & Lavelle, 10pm, $10-$30.
W San Francisco: 181 Third St., San Francisco. “Spring: Celebrating the Persian New Year,” w/ DJ Aykut, Dr. T, Nitro, 9pm, $10-$25.
111 Minna Gallery: 111 Minna, San Francisco. CAAMFest Directions in Sound: Here Comes Treble, w/ Suboi, Rocky Rivera, Cynthia Lin & The Blue Moon All-Stars, DJ Umami, DJ ThatGirl, DJ Roza, 9:30pm, $20.
John Colins: 138 Minna, San Francisco. “Nice,” w/ DJ Apollo, Fourth Saturday of every month, 10pm, $5.
Showdown: 10 Sixth St., San Francisco. BYOB Live Beat Battle, w/ Ghettosocks & Timbuktu, 9pm, $7-$10.
Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco. “Sing Out of Darkness: The Return of the Bird,” American Foundation for Suicide Prevention benefit with Julie Mayhew and many musical guests, 10am-10pm
Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. Chris Mills & The Distant Stars, Chris von Sneidern, 7:30pm, $8.
Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. Savannah Blu, 9pm
The Riptide: 3639 Taraval, San Francisco. The Lady Crooners, 9:30pm, free.
Steven Wolf Fine Arts: 2747 19th St., San Francisco. A Record Is a Record: Bill Orcutt, 6pm, free.
Cafe Claude: 7 Claude, San Francisco. Terrence Brewer Trio, 7:30pm, free.
Peacock Lounge: 552 Haight, San Francisco. Leon Joyce Jr., 6pm, $15.
The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Steve Lucky & Carmen Getit, 7:30pm, free.
Savanna Jazz Club: 2937 Mission, San Francisco. David Byrd Ensemble, 7:30pm, $8.
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. The Robert Stewart Experience, 9pm
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Kurt Elling, 8 & 10pm, $24-$28.
Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Anya Malkiel, 8pm, free.
1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom, San Francisco. “Pura,” 9pm, $20.
Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. Pacific Mambo Orchestra, 8pm, $15.
Cigar Bar & Grill: 850 Montgomery, San Francisco. Latin Rhythm Boys, 10pm
El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. “Mango,” Fourth Saturday of every month, 3pm, $8-$10.
OMG: 43 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Bollywood Blast,” Fourth Saturday of every month, 9pm, $5 (free before 10pm).
Roccapulco Supper Club: 3140 Mission, San Francisco. Hector Acosta, 8pm, $55.
Space 550: 550 Barneveld, San Francisco. “Club Fuego,” 9:30pm
St. Gregory’s Church: 500 De Haro, San Francisco. Veretski Pass, 8pm, $30.
The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. The Wailers, 9pm, sold out.
Neck of the Woods: 406 Clement, San Francisco. One Drop, Midnight Raid, Saane, on the upstairs stage, 9pm, $10-$12.
Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Delta Wires, 7:30 & 10pm, $22.
Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson, San Francisco. Willie G, 6pm
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Dave Workman, Fourth Saturday of every month, 4pm; Ron Hacker, 9:30pm
Noisebridge: 2169 Mission, San Francisco. Godwaffle Noise Pancakes, noon.
Mezzanine: 444 Jessie, San Francisco. Rebirth Brass Band, The Loyd Family Players, 9pm, $25.
Pa’ina: 1865 Post, San Francisco. Chocolate Rice, 7pm, free.
Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. Wicked Mercies, DJ K-Os, 9:30pm, $10 advance.

Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. Future Twin, Daydream Machine, DJ Joel Gion, 8pm, $7-$10.
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. Death, Audacity, 8pm, $22-$25.
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. Broken Hope, Oceano, Fallujah, Rivers of Nihil, Kublai Khan, 6pm, $13-$15.
El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. The Desert Line, The Night Falls, Phosphene, 8pm, $8.
Hemlock Tavern: 1131 Polk, San Francisco. Religious Phase, Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Jordan Glenn, 8:30pm, $6.
Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. Andy Suzuki & The Method, The Weather Machine, 8pm, $10.
The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. Toadies, Supersuckers, Battleme, 8pm, $22.
Slim’s: 333 11th St., San Francisco. The Orwells, Twin Peaks, Criminal Hygiene, 8pm, $14-$16.
Audio Discotech: 316 11th St., San Francisco. “London Calling: Chapter 3,” w/ D’Julz, Ben Annand, Bells & Whistles, Nikita, more, noon, $10 advance.
Beaux: 2344 Market, San Francisco. “Full of Grace: A Weekly House Music Playground,” 9pm, free.
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. “Sunday Mass,” 9pm
The Edge: 4149 18th St., San Francisco. “’80s at 8,” w/ DJ MC2, 8pm
Elbo Room: 647 Valencia, San Francisco. “Dub Mission,” w/ Jahdan Blakkamoore, Relic Secure, Deejay Theory, DJ Sep, 9pm, $11-$14.
F8: 1192 Folsom, San Francisco. “Stamina,” w/ Lukeino, Jamal, guests, 10pm, free.
MatrixFillmore: 3138 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Bounce,” w/ DJ Just, 10pm
Otis: 25 Maiden, San Francisco. “What’s the Werd?,” w/ resident DJs Nick Williams, Kevin Knapp, Maxwell Dub, and guests, 9pm, $5 (free before 11pm).
The Parlor: 2801 Leavenworth, San Francisco. “Sunday Sessions,” w/ DJ Marc deVasconcelos, 9pm, free.
Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Gigante,” 8pm, free.
S.F. Eagle: 398 12th St., San Francisco. “1982,” w/ DJs Ben Holder & Chaka Quan, 7pm, $5.
The Stud: 399 Ninth St., San Francisco. “Cognitive Dissonance,” Fourth Sunday of every month, 6pm
Temple: 540 Howard, San Francisco. “Sunset Arcade,” 18+ dance party & game night, 9pm, $10.
Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco. “Electric B.A.S.E.,” w/ Beau Kelly, Anya Timofeeva, Remy J, 7pm, free.
Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. “Return of the Cypher,” 9:30pm, free.
Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. K.Flay, Air Dubai, Itch, 9pm, $12-$14.
Mezzanine: 444 Jessie, San Francisco. Bun B & Kirko Bangz, 8pm, $22.
Thee Parkside: 1600 17th St., San Francisco. Astronautalis, Playdough, Transit, Low Country Kingdom, 8pm, $14.
The Lucky Horseshoe: 453 Cortland, San Francisco. Bernal Mountain Bluegrass Jam, 4pm, free.
Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. Seisiún with Marla Fibish, Erin Shrader, and Richard Mandel, 9pm
Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. Jazz Revolution, 4pm, free/donation.
The Royal Cuckoo: 3202 Mission, San Francisco. Lavay Smith & Chris Siebert, 7:30pm, free.
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Kurt Elling, 7 & 9pm, $24.
Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Hubert Emerson, 7:30pm, free.
Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. Sol Tevél, 8pm
Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Brazil & Beyond,” 6:30pm, free.
Cana Cuban Parlor: 500 Florida St., San Francisco. “La Havana,” w/ resident DJs Mind Motion, WaltDigz, and I-Cue, Sundays, 4-9pm
El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. Salsa Sundays, Second and Fourth Sunday of every month, 3pm, $8-$10.
Lou’s Fish Shack: 300 Jefferson, San Francisco. Sam Johnson, 4pm
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Blues Power, 4pm; The Door Slammers, Fourth Sunday of every month, 9:30pm
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Bohemian Knuckleboogie, 8pm

The Independent: 628 Divisadero, San Francisco. Japan Nite 2014: Happy, Zarigani$, Vampilla, Jungles from Red Bacteria Vacuum, 8pm, $15.
The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. Guantanamo Baywatch, Courtney & The Crushers, 10pm, $5.
DNA Lounge: 375 11th St., San Francisco. “DGXXI: Death Guild 21st Anniversary,” w/ DJ Decay, Melting Girl, Joe Radio, Sage, Lexor, Intoner, Identity Theft, Veil, RPTN, Daniel Skellington, 9pm, $5-$21.
Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Wanted,” w/ DJs Key&Kite and Richie Panic, 9pm, free.
Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Vienetta Discotheque,” w/ DJs Stanley Frank and Robert Jeffrey, 10pm, free.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. Jeremy Messersmith, The Parmesans, 9pm, $10-$12.
Fiddler’s Green: 1333 Columbus, San Francisco. Terry Savastano, 9:30pm, free/donation.
Hotel Utah: 500 Fourth St., San Francisco. Open Mic with Brendan Getzell, 8pm, free.
Osteria: 3277 Sacramento, San Francisco. “Acoustic Bistro,” 7pm, free.
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Peter Lindman, 4pm
Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Eugene Pliner Quartet with Tod Dickow, 7:30pm, free.
Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. Le Jazz Hot, 7pm, free.
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. City Jazz Instrumental Jam Session, 8pm
Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Nora Maki, 7:30pm, free.
Bissap Baobab: 3372 19th St., San Francisco. “Raggada,” 9pm, $5.
Skylark Bar: 3089 16th St., San Francisco. “Skylarking,” w/ I&I Vibration, 10pm, free.
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. The Bachelors, 9:30pm
Madrone Art Bar: 500 Divisadero, San Francisco. “M.O.M. (Motown on Mondays),” w/ DJ Gordo Cabeza & Timoteo Gigante, 8pm, free.

Amnesia: 853 Valencia, San Francisco. Cellar Doors, Cool Ghouls, 9:15pm continues through, $7-$10.
Bottom of the Hill: 1233 17th St., San Francisco. Sea Knight, Babes, Wag, 9pm, $8.
Brick & Mortar Music Hall: 1710 Mission, San Francisco. High Cliffs, The Wave Commission, Yours, 8pm, $5-$8.
The Chapel: 777 Valencia, San Francisco. Daniel Rossen, 9pm, $20-$22.
El Rio: 3158 Mission, San Francisco. Hungry Skinny, Saturn Cats, The Impersonations, 7pm, $6.
The Knockout: 3223 Mission, San Francisco. Musk, Freak Vibe, Burning Curtains, DJ Tosh, 9:30pm, $6.
Rickshaw Stop: 155 Fell, San Francisco. Small Black, Snowmine, Yalls, 8pm, $12-$14.
1015 Folsom: 1015 Folsom, San Francisco. Annie Mac, Skream, Jacques Greene, 10pm, $12-$15 advance.
Aunt Charlie’s Lounge: 133 Turk, San Francisco. “High Fantasy,” w/ DJ Viv, Myles Cooper, & guests, 10pm, $2.
Monarch: 101 Sixth St., San Francisco. “Soundpieces,” 10pm, free-$10.
Q Bar: 456 Castro, San Francisco. “Switch,” w/ DJs Jenna Riot & Andre, 9pm, $3.
Underground SF: 424 Haight, San Francisco. “Shelter,” 10pm, free.
Wish: 1539 Folsom, San Francisco. “Tight,” w/ resident DJs Michael May & Lito, 8pm, free.
Boom Boom Room: 1601 Fillmore, San Francisco. Vokab Kompany, Tropo, 9:30pm, $7 advance.
Double Dutch: 3192 16th St., San Francisco. “Takin’ It Back Tuesdays,” w/ DJs Mr. Murdock & Roman Nunez, Fourth Tuesday of every month, 10pm, free.
Bazaar Cafe: 5927 California, San Francisco. Songwriter in Residence: Lonnie Lazar, 7pm continues through.
Plough & Stars: 116 Clement, San Francisco. Song session with Cormac Gannon, Last Tuesday of every month, 9pm
The Rite Spot Cafe: 2099 Folsom, San Francisco. Toshio Hirano, 8pm, free.
Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant: 1000 Great Highway, San Francisco. Gerry Grosz Jazz Jam, 7pm
Blush! Wine Bar: 476 Castro, San Francisco. Kally Price & Rob Reich, 7pm, free.
Burritt Room: 417 Stockton St., San Francisco. Terry Disley’s Rocking Jazz Trio, 6pm, free.
Cafe Divine: 1600 Stockton, San Francisco. Chris Amberger, 7pm
Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins: 44 Ellis, San Francisco. Clifford Lamb, Mel Butts, and Friends, 7:30pm, free.
Le Colonial: 20 Cosmo, San Francisco. Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, 7pm
Revolution Cafe: 3248 22nd St., San Francisco. West Side Jazz Club, 5pm, free.
Sheba Piano Lounge: 1419 Fillmore, San Francisco. Michael Parsons, 8pm
Tupelo: 1337 Green, San Francisco. Mal Sharpe’s Big Money in Jazz Band, 6pm
Verdi Club: 2424 Mariposa, San Francisco. “Tuesday Night Jump,” w/ Stompy Jones, 9pm, $10-$12.
Wine Kitchen: 507 Divisadero St., San Francisco. Hot Club Pacific, 7:30pm
Yoshi’s San Francisco: 1330 Fillmore, San Francisco. Roberta Gambarini, 8pm, $24-$29.
Zingari: 501 Post, San Francisco. Brenda Reed, 7:30pm, free.
Cafe Cocomo: 650 Indiana, San Francisco. Salsa Tuesday, w/ DJs Good Sho & El de la Clave, 8:30pm, $10.
The Cosmo Bar & Lounge: 440 Broadway, San Francisco. Conga Tuesdays, 8pm, $7-$10.
F8: 1192 Folsom, San Francisco. “Underground Nomads,” w/ rotating resident DJs Amar, Sep, and Dulce Vita, plus guests, 9pm, $5 (free before 9:30pm).
Milk Bar: 1840 Haight, San Francisco. “Bless Up,” w/ Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi, 10pm
Biscuits and Blues: 401 Mason, San Francisco. Two-Tone Steiny & The Cadillacs, 7:30 & 9:30pm, $15.
The Saloon: 1232 Grant, San Francisco. Powell Street Blues Band, 9:30pm
Center for New Music: 55 Taylor, San Francisco. sfSoundSalonSeries, w/ Benjamin Kreith & Travis Andrews Duo, Matt Ingalls, 7:49pm, $10-$15.
Make-Out Room: 3225 22nd St., San Francisco. “Lost & Found,” w/ DJs Primo, Lucky, and guests, 9:30pm, free. 2

Watchdogs in action


The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California, will honor the following James Madison Freedom of Information Award winners during a March 20 banquet. Details on their work and the dinner are available at



Throughout his 29-year journalism career, Peter Sussman, a retired San Francisco Chronicle editor, advocated for greater media access to prisoners and fought to uphold the rights of inmate journalists. In the 1980s, federal prison officials cracked down on inmate Dannie “Red Hog” Martin for writing to Sussman to share what life was like behind bars.

The retaliation spurred an epic battle over free speech within prison walls, and Sussman responded by publishing Martin’s regular writings about prison life, and later co-authoring a book with him titled Committing Journalism: The Prison Writings of Red Hog.

In the mid-’90s, Sussman fought state prison officials’ restrictions on media interviews with prisoners. He also helped write and sponsor statewide legislation to overturn limits restricting media access to prisons. Sussman will receive the Norwin S. Yoffie Award for Career Achievement.



Beverly Kees Educator Award winner Rob Gunnison is a former instructor and administrator at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he arrived after spending 15 years covering government and politics in Sacramento for the San Francisco Chronicle.

As a longtime instructor of a course called “Reporting and Writing the News,” Gunnison has continued to educate hungry young journalists on how to seek public records and carry out investigative reporting projects.



Peter Buxton will be honored with the FOI Whistleblower/Source Award. In 1972, Buxton played a key role in alerting the press to the ongoing operation of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, where African American sharecroppers were intentionally exposed to the disease, without treatment or their knowledge, so researchers could study its progression.

By the time the story was related to the press, 28 men had died of syphilis, and 100 others had died of related complications. That leak helped spur Congressional hearings on the practice beginning in 1973, ultimately spurring a complete overhaul of federal regulations. A class-action lawsuit was filed, resulting in a $10 million settlement.



Reporter Tom Vacar of KTVU pushed for records determining whether replacement drivers that BART was training to help break last year’s labor strike were qualified to safely operate the trains, eventually finding that they had been simply rubber-stamped by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Those findings proved gravely significant on Oct. 21 when two workers on the tracks were killed by a BART train operated at the time by an uncertified trainee, an accident still being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.



California Sen. Leland Yee is once again being honored by SPJ Norcal for his work on sunshine issues, including last year criticizing Gov. Jerry Brown and other fellow Democrats who had sought to weaken the California Public Records Act, instead seeking to strengthen the ability of the courts to enforce the law.



Freelance journalist Richard Knee’s Distinguished Service Award caps a 12-year fight for open government in a city eager to stash its skeletons securely in closets.

Knee is a longtime member of the San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, created in 1994 to safeguard the city’s Sunshine Ordinance, and he has fought to maintain its power and relevance.

Over the years, many city agencies have fought against the task force, from the City Attorney’s Office to a group of four supervisors who claimed the task force was wasting public money, a struggle that is still ongoing.



The Lake County News and its co-founders Elizabeth Larson and John Jensen will received a News Media Award for a protracted legal battle with local law enforcement for a simple journalistic right: interview access.

The scrappy local paper detailed allegations that Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero and his deputies wrongfully detained suspects on trumped up charges, made threats, conducted warrantless home searches, and violated suspects’ civil rights.

Rivero’s office responded by blacklisting the paper from interviews, a fundamental building block of news coverage. The paper sued the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, eventually winning its battle to obtain the right to keep asking the sheriff the tough questions.



When Saratoga High School student Audrie Potts committed suicide in September 2012, her parents alleged she was pushed over the edge by cyber bullying over photos of Potts at a party. High school journalists Samuel Liu, Sabrina Chen, and Cristina Curcelli of The Saratoga Falcon scooped the sensational national media outlets that descended on the story, but they were subpoenaed by the Potts family to reveal their sources.

They refused, citing California’s shield law in a successful legal defense that strengthened the rights of student journalists. As Liu said, “We are not willing to destroy our journalistic integrity by giving up our confidential sources, we got this information on the condition of anonymity, from people that trusted us.”



Bay Guardian News Editor Rebecca Bowe and Reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez are being honored with a Journalist Award for “Friends in the Shadows,” (10/8/13) our investigation of the shady ways that developers and other powerful players buy influence at City Hall.

“Their detailed and thorough account explored a trail of money through myriad city agencies and departments,” the awards committee wrote, noting how the paper “used public records, interviews and independent research to probe how developers, corporations and city contractors use indirect gifts to city agencies to buy influence.”



For accomplishing “extraordinary journalism under extraordinary circumstances,” The San Quentin News is being honored with a News Media Award. It is California’s only inmate-produced newspaper, and one of the few in existence worldwide.

The San Quentin News publishes about 20 pages monthly, and has a press run of 11,500 for inmates, correctional officers, staff, and community members. It’s distributed to 17 other prisons throughout California.

Under the scrutiny of prison authorities, the inmate journalists and volunteers wound up covering a historic prison hunger strike, the overcrowding of the prison population, and the denial of compassionate release for a dying inmate, an octogenarian with a terminal illness.



The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), better known as the name it held prior to 2001, the School of the Americas, is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers and commanders, with many graduates going on to commit human rights atrocities.

School of the Americas Watch founder Judith Litesky, a former nun, and Theresa Cameranesi, filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco seeking the list of those who had gone though courses that include counter insurgency techniques, sniper training, psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics.

Last year, the pair won a significant victory when a federal judge in Oakland ruled that the government could not cite national security reasons in withholding the names. Although the case is ongoing, they are being honored with a Citizen Award.



In 2008, journalists from The New York Times and BusinessWeek looked to Terry Gross of Gross Belsky Alonso for legal counsel in a case against Hewlett-Packard. In a staggering display of corporate snooping, the tech giant had illegally obtained private telephone records of the journalists, in an attempt to gain access to the identities of their sources.

Gross has also defended journalists against police in cases regarding media access for breaking-news events, and he’s helped to expand the rights of online journalists. This year, Gross will receive the FOI Legal Counsel Award.



Sacramento Bee Senior Investigative Reporter Charles Piller will be honored with a Journalist Award for exposing corrosion problems in the long delayed, cost-plagued eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. His breaking story and subsequent follow-ups revealed Caltrans’ inadequate corrosion testing, as well as inadequate responses to bridge inspectors who for more than two years warned Caltrans of water leaks and corrosion — only to go unheeded.



Editorial and Commentary Award winner Daniel Borenstein, who writes for the Bay Area News Group, issued a strong response to a legislative attack on California’s Public Records Act last year, ultimately helping to defeat proposed changes that would have gutted the law.

“Without the state Public Records Act, we would never know about the Oakley City Manager’s $366,500 taxpayer-funded mortgage scheme, the Washington Township hospital CEO’s $800,000-plus annual compensation or the retired San Ramon Valley fire chief’s $310,000 yearly pension,” Borenstein wrote in one of his columns. “We would be ignorant of broken bolts on the Bay Bridge, the cover-up of Moraga teachers sexually abusing students, a BART train operator who collected salary and benefits totaling $193,407, the former BART general manager who received $420,000 the year after she was fired or the Port of Oakland executives who spent $4,500 one night at a Texas strip club.”

Alerts: February 26 – March 4, 2014



Hoodies Up! A Day of Remembrance for Trayvon Martin Fruitvale BART Plaza, Oakl. 4pm, free. On the two-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death, join others in sending a message that we will not stand by in silence while youth of color are brutalized, locked up, and murdered. Now is the time for youth, professors and students, artists and writers, athletes, musicians and prominent voices of conscience to rise up in spirited resistance with the clear objective of stopping mass incarceration, criminalization, and the murder of our youth. Wear your hoodie and join the rally to commemorate Trayvon and the many others like him.


Protest the NSA Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market, SF. 6:30-7:30pm, free. National Security Agency Deputy Director Chris Inglis stepped down from his post last month, but he continues to defend the work of the NSA and criticizes the important documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Documents leaked by Snowden show that the NSA created a formula for generating random numbers to create a “back door” in encryption products. RSA became a distributor of that formula by putting it into a software tool called Bsafe that is used on personal computers and other products. Inglis will be in San Francisco to attend the RSA Conference.




Keep the Warriors off the Waterfront Unitarian Universalist Center, 1187 Franklin, SF. 7pm, free. Former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos will be speaking against the proposed building by the Golden State Warriors which will include a 12-story basketball and entertainment complex, a 175 feet high residential tower, a hotel, a 500 space private parking garage, and a 90,000 feet shopping mall on the waterfront and on the Bay itself. Is this what we want for San Francisco’s future? Come hear Agnos challenge the corporate vision of our city.



The Congo in Crisis 2969 Mission, SF. 7pm, $5-10 suggested donation (no one turned away for lack of funds).More than 5 million people have been killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) over the past 15 years. Why is this history rarely reported in the corporate media here? What is the role of the U.S. government and its allies in this ongoing crisis in the Congo and the region? Come listen to speakers Maurice Carney and Akbar Muhammad discuss this little known tragedy.



March Against Corruption: San Francisco Justin Herman Plaza, Market and The Embarcadero, SF. 12pm, free. The March Against Corruption is an international campaign to raise awareness about the corrupting influence of money in politics, to organize the public to speak out against and resist the power of special interests, and to work toward abolishing the corrupt relationship between private wealth and public policy. We welcome all individuals and groups to participate in this nonviolent struggle to create the mass movement we need to end the corruption of our corporate plutocratic state.

Muni fare shakedown


Update: Just a day after the release of this article, advocacy group POWER announced that Google pledged to pay for Free Muni For Youth for two years. “This validates both the success and necessity of the Free Muni for Youth program,”said Bob Allen, leader in the FreeMuni for Youth coalition, in a press release. “We need tech companies in San Francisco and throughout the region to work with the community to support more community-driven solutions to the displacement crisis.” 

The funding though is promised only for two years, and when that timeframe is up the question will still remain — will Muni’s operating budget pay for something Mayor Ed Lee could find funding for elsewhere? Additionally, Google hasn’t announced funding for free Muni for seniors or the disabled, another program up for consideration in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new budget. That may change if and when it is approved by the SFMTA for the next budget year. 

“I think it’s a positive step in the right direction,” Superivsor David Campos, the sponsor of Free Muni For Youth, told us. “But there are still questions about what it means in terms of the long term future of the program. It’s only a two year gift.” 

“We have asked for a meeting with Google and the mayor’s office and the coalition to talk about long term plans, to find out more information about what this means.” 

There’s a tie that binds all Muni riders. From the well-heeled Marina dwellers who ride the 45 Union to Bayview denizens who board the T-Third Sunnydale line, we’ve all heard the same words broadcast during sleepy morning commutes.

“Please pay your fare share.”

The play on words (also seen on Muni enforcement signage) would be cute if it didn’t perfectly represent how Muni riders may now be stiffed. A slew of new budget ideas hit the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors last week (Feb. 18), and who will pay for it all is an open question.

The first blow to riders is a proposed single-ride fare hike from the current $2 to $2.25.

Other proposals include expanding the Free Muni for Youth program, rolling out a new program offering free Muni for seniors and the disabled, and a fare hike to $6 for the historic F streetcar.

The odorous price jumps (and costly but promising giveaways) are moving forward against a backdrop of a Muni surplus of $22 million, which the board has until April to decide how to use, and a controversial decision by Mayor Ed Lee to make a U-turn on charging for parking on Sundays.

The meter decision would deprive Muni of millions of dollars.

“We’re not proposing anything here, just presenting what we can do,” SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin told the SFMTA board at City Hall last week.

There’s still time to change the SFMTA board’s mind on the proposals between now and final approval of the budget in April. But who will end up paying for a better Muni?



In 2010, the SFMTA instituted a policy to raise Muni fares along with inflation and a number of other economic factors, essentially putting them on autopilot. The SFMTA board still has to approve the fee hikes, which may rise across the board.

fares One-time fares may jump to $2.25. Muni’s monthly passes would see an increase by $2 next year and more the following year. The “M” monthly pass will be $70 and the “A” pass (which allows Muni riders to ride BART inside San Francisco) will be $81.

Muni needs the money, Reiskin said.

“To not have (fares) escalate as fuel and health care costs increase, you can’t just leave one chunk of your revenues flat,” he told the Guardian. Muni’s operating budget will expand from $864 million this year to $958 million in 2016. “Salary and benefit growth is the biggest driver of that,” Reiskin said.

Mario Tanev, spokesperson for the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, said the hike was expected.

“We’re not necessarily against the inflation increase,” he said. “But though the parking fines SFMTA levies are inflation adjusted, other rates (against drivers) are not. There are many things in our society that disincentivize transit and incentivize driving.”

Drivers enjoy heavy subsidies to their lifestyle on the federal, state, and local levels, from parking lot construction, the cost of gasoline, and now it seems, renewed free Sunday parking meters. The new fare increases are hitting transit riders just as the mayor is poised to yank funding from Muni to put in the pockets of drivers.



When the paid Sunday meter pilot began in early 2013, it was a rare flip in a city that often treats Muni like a piggy bank: money was floated from drivers and dropped onto the laps of transit.

A report from SFMTA issued December 2013 hailed it as a success for drivers as well: Finding parking spaces in commercial areas on Sundays became 15 percent easier, the study found, and the time an average driver spent circling for a space decreased by minutes.

Even some in the business community call it a success, since a higher parking turnover translates to more customers shopping.

Jim Lazarus, senior vice president of public policy at the Chamber of Commerce, is a supporter of the paid Sunday meters. “You can drive into merchant areas now where you couldn’t before,” he told us.

Eliminating Sunday meter fees would punch a $9.6 million hole in Muni’s budget next year, by SFMTA’s account.

The timing couldn’t be worse. On the flip side the Free Muni for Youth program, which targets low-income youth in San Francisco, may expand next year at an estimated cost of about $3.6 million, and a program to offer free Muni for the elderly and disabled would cost between $4 and $6 million — close to the same the same amount that would be lost by the meter giveback.



“As an 18-year-old in high school it was a struggle to get to school, it was a struggle to find 75 cents or two dollars to get home,” Tina Sataraka, 19, told the SFMTA board last week. As a Balboa High School student, Sataraka had a 30-minute commute from the Bayview. She’s not alone.

A study by the San Francisco Budget & Legislative Analyst’s office found that 31,000 youth who faced similar financial hurdles had signed up for the Free Muni for Youth pilot program, a resounding success in a city where the youth population is dwindling. Authored by Sup. David Campos, the program may redefine “youth” to include 18-year-olds, who are often still in high school.

But initial grant funding for the program has dried up, so now Muni will foot the bill.

Not one to say “I told you so,” Sup. Scott Wiener said there were reasons for objecting to the program a year ago.

“My biggest, fundamental objection to the program was less that they were giving free fares to kids, and more that they were taking it out of Muni’s operating budget,” Wiener told us. “They need to find a way to pay for it, perhaps from the General Fund, and not just taking the easy and lazy way out.”

The Budget & Legislative Analyst recommended several options for alternative funding: special taxes on private shuttle buses (Google buses), or an increased vehicle license fee specially earmarked for the youth bus program. So far, Mayor Ed Lee hasn’t shown an interest.

“There haven’t been discussions of having the Board of Supervisors fund free Muni for youth,” Reiskin told us. The same goes for the mayor. And though Reiskin was cautious and political about the possibility of Sunday meters becoming free again, he didn’t sound happy about it.

“As for what’s behind [the mayor’s] call for free Sunday parking, that didn’t come from us,” Reiskin told us. “That came from him.”



Mayor Lee’s office didn’t answer our emails, but politicos, including Wiener and Chronicle bromance Matier and Ross, indicated the mayor may be reversing on Sunday parking meters to appease the driving voter electorate.

There are two measures up on the November ballot, and one is aimed right at drivers’ wallets.

The two measures, a $1 billion vehicle license fee hike, and a $500 million transportation bond, are both aimed at shoring up the SFMTA’s capital budget. An October poll paid for by the mayor showed 44 percent of San Franciscans in favor of a vehicle fee hike, and 50 percent against, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Reiskin said the loss of those two ballot measures would be crippling to Muni’s future.

“The improvements we’re trying to make to make Muni more reliable, more attractive, those won’t happen. This is our funding source for that,” he said.

The mayor is busy smoothing the potholes towards the bonds’ success in the November election, but it seems he’s willing to pile costs onto Muni and its riders to do it.

Correction 2/26: An editing error led to the erroneous calculation of Free Muni For Youth at near $9 million. Free Muni For Youth is only estimated to cost the SFMTA $3.6 million. It is the combination of Free Muni For Youth and free Muni for the disabled and elderly that equal about $9 million. 


Controversial housing proposal at 16th and Mission follows calls to “Clean up the Plaza”


El Tecolote had a great cover story last week about the coalition that has formed to oppose a large housing development proposed for the corner of 16th and Mission streets, with 351 new homes that would tower 10 stories above the BART plaza, which is a gathering place for the poor SRO residents who live in the area.

This could become the next great battleground over the gentrification and displacement struggles that are rapidly transforming the Mission, where commercial and residential evictions have been increasing as real estate speculators trying to cash in on the hot housing market.

The article covered a recent protest by the Plaza 16 Coalition, which includes Latino, social justice, and housing rights groups, as well as parents from nearby Marshall Elementary School, which would be left in the shadows of the development project.

The article mentioned but didn’t shed much light on the shadowy Clean up the Plaza campaign, which popped up in September, the month before Maximus Real Estate Partners introduced the lucrative project, which the San Francisco Business Times pegged at $175 million.

The Clean of the Plaza campaign started a website and covered the neighborhood with flyers decrying the “deplorable” conditions around 16th and Mission and painted a portrait of people risking violent assaults every time they use BART, employing more than a little hyperbole while declaring “Enough is enough.”

But the campaign didn’t return Guardian calls at the time or again this week, nor those from El Tecolote or others who have tried to ask questions about possible connections to the developers, who also didn’t return Guardian calls about the project.

“Everyone has assumed those are connected, but nobody has found the smoking gun,” activist Andy Blue told the Guardian.

The possible connection between the development project and a supposedly grassroots campaign seeking to “clean up” that corner did come during the Jan. 23 Assembly District 17 debate between Board President David Chiu and Sup. David Campos, who represents the Mission.

Chiu chided Campos for conditions in the area, claiming “crime has not been tackled” and citing the thousands of signatures on the Clean up the Plaza campaign claims to have gathered on its petition as evidence that Campos’ constituents aren’t happy with his leadership.

“It’s a way to get a luxury condo project,” Campos countered. “You would be supportive of that.”

Campos told the Guardian that he doesn’t have evidence of the connection and that he’s remaining neutral on the project, noting that it could eventually come before the Board of Supervisors. But Campos said he has worked with both police and social service providers to address concerns raised by the petitions and flyers.

“To the extent there were legitimate concerns by these people, I wanted to address them,” Campos said, noting that there have been more police officers patrolling the area and homeless outreach teams trying to get help to people who need it in recent months, a trend we’ve observed.

As to the fate of the project and efforts to promote it, stay tuned. 

Goldies 2014 Comedy: Sean Keane


GOLDIES At a recent edition of the Business — his weekly comedy showcase at the Dark Room Theater — Sean Keane is fulfilling one of stand-up’s most cherished rituals: skewering the absurdities that inconvenience our daily lives.

Like BART seats, for instance. “Who’s the person with the bright idea of making BART seats out of carpet?” Keane asks, before re-creating one possible scenario for an uproariously-laughing audience: “Sir, I think we should use carpet, as much carpet as possible, carpet on the floor, carpet on the seats, carpet that we scavenge from an elementary school in the ’70s. And it should be as absorbent as a sponge. Every spill, every odor, every terrible thing that happens on a BART train should be preserved for eternity. And for cleaning we’ll shut down the whole system for six hours a night and lightly sweep it with a broom.”

Keane’s specialty is the observation beat. The self-described “baby-faced man with the body of a dad” deftly riffs on the various mishaps and oddities he encounters. With his sports-announcer voice, he spins comedy gold from that time he ate at an Ethiopian-Irish food truck, or witnessed the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death on ESPN, or found himself having to react to a stranger’s curiosity about his “I’ve Got Beaver Fever!” T-shirt (true story: he used to coach a middle school swim team with a beaver mascot).

It’s no surprise that a unique city like San Francisco has produced such an effective observational comic. “It’s interesting how what’s unacceptable in SF is acceptable in other places,” Keane says. “The worst thing you can do is use a plastic bag. At the Folsom Street Fair, you can see guy in a full leather outfit just sitting on a street corner jacking off, but if he was jacking off into a single-use plastic bag, he’s a monster.”

Keane is also a sports fanatic. Stories from one of his blogs,, have been picked up by Deadspin and other mainstream outlets. Though he avoids incorporating wonky inside-baseball jokes into his comedy act, he’s able to combine his two passions by regaling crowds with hilarious sports-related happenings. (Like, say, his ejection from a bar after accosting someone clad in a 49ers pajama onesie.) His best sports-related gag is his hilariously accurate impression of a British commentator covering the NFL draft, and the inevitable culture clash that follows.

Keane comes from a humor-loving family that encouraged his performing ambitions. In high school, he was involved in musical theater, which he credits for helping him overcome a speech impediment and learning to properly enunciate. At UC Berkeley, he started doing stand-up, opening for touring acts like Dave Attell.


Guardian photo by Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover

Cal is also where he developed his material-generating process. “We had a big white board in our living room where I would write ideas down,” he recalls. “The key is to write things down everywhere. When I’m driving, I record voice memos. You kind of feel like a crazy person when you do that, and duck to the side of the street and just start dictating something into the phone. I write things out like they’re lecture notes, with a subject and heading. Jokes comes first and then wording gets fixed later.”

After doing a lot of writing and improv, Keane fully committed himself to stand-up in late 2005 and early 2006. In 2009, he co-founded the Business, which has become a popular fixture on the local comedy scene.

“The Business helped with developing our style and skills due to the regular 20-25 minute sets,” says Keane. Of his fellow Business comics — including Caitlin Gill, Nato Green, and Bucky Sinister — Keane says, “When you perform with people every week, you pick up on stuff from them and you get pushed by seeing someone go out and kill.”

“Sean is someone who makes stand up look easy,” Gill says. “He is impossibly likable, endlessly witty, and incredibly fun to watch, even more fun to be around.” One of Gill’s most memorable moments with Keane was the “Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction” show, in which Keane performed bits entitled “Riding Miss Daisy” and “Zero Dark 69.”

Sadly for San Francisco comedy fans, Keane is at that point in his career where a move may soon be necessary. “SF is a great place, but I need to get to the next level and there’s no comedy industry here,” he points out. “Your ceiling as a SF comic is two weekends a year at the Punchline, and two weekends a year at Cobb’s. To become a headliner, you have to be famous. To be famous you have to get on TV. And it’s hard to get on TV in a place that does not produce many TV shows.”

Until then, Keane’s Business is booming on Mission Street, delighting audiences every week — even those who have to ride those carpeted BART seats to get home. Catch him while you can.