Uncommon Knowledge at the Roxie, Thursday night


What’s up with UC Berkeley Extension in SF?
By sarah Phelan

It’s not common knowledge that the UC Regents are proposing to close UC Berkeley Extension’s historic San Francisco campus and convert it into condos and a retail shopping center.

Thankfully, along comes Eliza Hemenway and her documentary, Uncommon Knowledge: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension, just in time to get you up to speed before public comment closes in December.

So, get yourself down to the The Roxie Film Center for a special preview screening Thursday, Nov. 16, at 6:30 PM.
For advanced tix, visit www.roxie.com/Nov06.cfm (scroll down to Uncommon Knowledge).

Ranked choice spreads


By Laura Beth McCaul
While the Democrats’ congressional takeover and Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation are making headlines, election day set off another trend that may not be on the tip of voters’ tongues, but could change the way democracy works in the United States.
Instant runoff voting (IRV), or ranked choice voting – which has been in place in San Francisco for two years — was on the ballot in four jurisdictions and all won with significant approval. Minneapolis, Oakland, Davis and Washington’s Pierce County all approved measures that will eliminate separate primary elections and allow voters to rank the candidates from their first to last choice.
Steven Hill, director of the Political Reform Program at the New America Foundation, said IRV “speaks to a lot of people who feel like the current system is not working and they want a political system that is going to open it up and give more choices. Instant runoff voting really fulfills a need that makes them feel like their vote counts.”

Virginia Falls


By the Velvet Hammer

Virginia falls, or better yet, rises. And now there will be no excuses for not asking questions, chairing investigations and getting answers about the past. Right? (I mean, left.)

What do the Republicans share with Federline?


By the Velvet Hammer
What do the Republicans share with Kevin Federline?
They both got dumped election day 2006

Done deal for Aimee?


by James Woodward

Aimee Allison’s campaign party was the second one I attended tonight. Maxwell’s, located four blocks away on 13th St. in Downtown Oakland, was festooned with orange balloons while a young crowd of supporters,
clad in bright orange tee shirts, stood out front to smoke. Inside people filled the dance floor as the DJ played Latin rhythms and funk. The crowd here is much younger than the Kernighan party. Everybody’s having a pretty good time, although the food is gone and the drinks aren’t cheap, but everybody seems to partying like it’s a
done deal.



No on 85/Yes on F Election Party
by Ailsa Chang

The scene at Medjool Bar tonight is upbeat, confident and loud. This election party hosted by the San Francisco Labor Council and Medjool’s owner, Gus Murad, is the party for everyone who didn’t have a party: No on 85, Yes on F, supporters for Bob Twomey for School Board, State Assembly Candidate Fiona Ma.

Seems good, feels good


Live report by Jon Beckhardt

Nothing but optimism all night among the diverse crowd gathered at Tennessee Grill to witness Ron Dudum’s potential win for Supe in District 4 – which has now only been heightened with news that he’s 6 points ahead. “Seems good, Feels good” says Tuan Nguyen, Field Director for Dudum’s campaign.

Chan not giving up


live report by Jessica Chandler

Doug Chan trailing behind Ed Jew, Ron Dudum, and Jaynry Mak in District 4’s tight race seems relaxed and happy tonight. Supporters packing Dragon Lounge, a local bar at 24th and Taraval, are leaving early, feeling that with rank voting the results are still fully unknown.

Kernighan cautiously optimistic


live report by James Woodard

As early numbers roll in, Pat Kernighan is being cautiously optimistic at his election night party being held at Sushi Zone on Ninth Street in downtown Oakland. Supporters of Kernighan, including Oakland City Council President, Ignacio de la Fuente, are calling her a woman of action and someone who works hard for Oakland, whether or not everyone likes her position.

Early predictions


Still no more results from here, but Chris Bowman, a Republican political consultant with a knack for calling races early, says Daly, Dufty and Alioto-Pier are headed for re-election. District 4, he says, is a “wild card”; with Ed Jew, Ron Dudum, Jaynry Mak and Doug Chan all neck and neck, it’s anybody’s to win or lose.

Asian representation in District 4


live report by Jon Beckhardt

The energy at Harry Ha’s restaurant on Irving isn’t exactly captiviting. Janry Mak’s core campaign has yet to show at the election night party being held there. “It’s hard to know,” one supporter, who refuses to give his name, says of Mak’s chances of becoming a Supervisor. “They say we won’t know the results until Friday. That’s San Francisco politics.”

Polling problems


The Chris Daly campaign just issued the following statement:

Almost 20 percent of the polling places in San Francisco’s District 6 are experiencing problems and irregularities in the early hours of Election Day, according to Supervisor Chris Daly’s campaign.

According to the Daly campaign, at least 10 out of 52 precincts have experienced problems ranging from late openings to voting machine failures to incomplete ballots. In one case, a precinct did not open until almost 90 minutes after the official 7 AM opening time, preventing many voters from casting their ballots. At the same time, the Department of Elections was telling the Daly campaign that the precinct was open. In another instance, witnesses saw a voting machine that was not turned on.

The Daly campaign encourages all media outlets to remind voters that the polls are open until 8 p.m. The campaign encourages all voters within District 6 to vote throughout the day.

New Poll Data


The Fog City Journal cited a new poll of District 6 voters which shows Chris Daly ahead with 60 percent of the vote.The article included the polling firm’s name, location, and numbers — perhaps its more accurate than the others lauded by the Black campaign and commissioned by his supporters.

Zozobra’s ashes


By G.W. Schulz

Old Man Gloom first formed as a side project for members of the Boston bands Converge, Isis and Cave In. In some senses, OMG was bigger and more destructive than anything its members had done with their primary outfits.

Nonetheless, Old Man Gloom has made few live appearances over the years (including a rare and devastatingly loud visit to Bottom of the Hill a couple of years ago) despite four colossal records that sway dramatically from haunting ambience to absolutely vicious breakdowns complete with full, crunching guitars and guttural screams that will shred your face off. The problem is, no one in Old Man Gloom has really had time to take the band further (or, as I’ve heard, the band thrives on its rarity.)

Ignorance ain’t bliss


Today’s New York Times Op-Ed page had a fantastic piece by Jeff Stein suggesting the real source of ongoing conflict in Iraq is the chilling ignorance of our elected representatives and counterterrorism officials. Several interviewed by Stein failed to articulate the differences between a Sunni and a Shiite, or even define what either sect supports. This wouldn’t be so disturbing if it weren’t so believable.

Biosphere 2 Revisited


By Sarah Phelan
Former Biosphere 2 crew member Jane Poynter speaks with a endearing British accent, says “bloody” when she gets excited and believes the two-year-and twenty-minute-long project of which she was part, is “one of the most publicly misunderstood and undervalued projects” of the 20th century.”

Or 21st century, given that the impact of the project—a mini-version of Biosphere 1, or Planet Earth, involving four men and four women isolated in a three-acre glass and steel structure near Tucson—continues to elude people to this very day.

Black interview


Listen to our endorsement interview with Rob Black, who is trying to replace Sup. Chris Daly with the help of downtown’s heaviest hitters, who keep doing attack mailers on Black’s behalf. The link is at the bottom of this page.

Keegan McHargue’s opening in NYC


By Mirissa Neff

Better late than never right? Way back on September 21st I checked out the opening of Keegan McHargue’s show The Control Group at Metro Pictures Gallery in Chelsea. The hugely successful opening followed on the heels of Keegan being featured on the cover of the Guardian’s Fall Arts Preview. Here’s the artist with his mom and dad:


It was impossible not to feel SF pride and I think Keegan was happy to see some homefolk in the Big Apple. The entire block was choked with hipsters as several neighboring galleries had openings. Rubbed elbows with Michael Stipe who seemed genuinely interested in the art as opposed to the free wine and cheese.

Back from Berlin…


By Mirissa Neff

In the midst of excursions to NYC, Reykjavik and Paris I spent last week in Berlin… here are some posts from the experience:

Generally Berlin reminds me a lot of SF/Oakland… the thrift-store aesthetic, the experimental vibe, people are very willing to go out on artistic limbs here. The city is quite sprawling and real estate is cheap… e.g., anyone with a creative idea can afford to set up a storefront. This doesn’t mean that they will be successful… things seems to be in constant renewal. If a project doesn’t work out people here seem fine with picking up and starting from scratch with something else. Perhaps that attitude has historical roots… the wall coming down, etc? Hmmmm….

Last night we went to an underground party where my host’s friend Manuel was spinning. The party was very literally under ground… once we paid our $4 admission to a burly Austrian who was listening to honky tonk music on a transistor, we descended into the party via a shakey ladder propped up in a hole in the cement. The subterranean scene was very cool… tunnels full of brick arches with stalagtites hanging down, projections, art installations, a dj and a makeshift bar only serving beer, vodka (no mixers) and water. We grabbed a couple of Berliner beers and sat down to hear Manuel’s super eclectic set… he played everything from German soccer anthems to the Aryan equivalent of Frank Zappa.

The King Kong Klub during a quiet moment…

Manuel was leaving to spin elsewhere and we followed. We ended up at the King Kong Klub… a bar saturated with red walls, hipsters and King Kong imagery. The scene had a full cast of characters…

Green as in money or green as in the environment?


By Andrew Tolve
For a politician who often projects himself as environmentally conscious, Mayor Gavin Newsom dealt his reputation a blow Thursday when he missed his keynote address at West Coast Green, the largest residential green building conference in the country. Mayoral spokesperson Peter Ragone told us Newsom had planned to speak Saturday and did. But the fact that he missed the slot printed in the schedule chafed more than a few in the audience.
Nearly 7,000 architects, contractors, developers, and policy makers have arrived in San Francisco for the weekend conference (Sept. 28-30), many of whom were left searching for answers on Thursday when the event’s inaugural speech at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was left unspoken.
It turned out Mayor Newsom was just a few blocks away, celebrating the opening of San Francisco’s new Bloomingdale’s instead.
“I have to say that we are all full of contradictions, and we would not be here today unless we were,” said Jim Chace, director of PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center. Despite Chace’s commendable record with environmental issues, the fact that a PG&E representative was making the announcement only heightened the irony of the moment. “I promised I wouldn’t take any shots (at the Mayor), but this should not be so easy,” Chace continued. “The fact is that there’s a contradiction here, and contradictions are just a sign in our lives that it is time to look at change.”
The Mayor’s absence aside, embracing change is the fixture of this year’s West Coast Green Conference. Presentations about the feasibility and the implementation of green building techniques will continue Friday and Saturday at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Saturday the event is open to the public.
“Clearly there’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” said Christi Graham, the event’s founder and executive producer. “I do think that we might look back one day and recognize the impact of our gathering here.”

Angelides says bring our troops home


By Jonathan Beckhardt
Trailing by as much as 20 points in his race for governor, Democrat Phil Angelides has turned to the Iraq War — the issue supposed to galvanize the nation’s left — and made it a state issue by today vowing to “do everything in [his] power” to bring home the approximately 800 California guard troops deployed in Iraq.
“A Governor’s first responsibility is to ensure the safety of the people of California,” Angelides said at a rally at San Francisco State University devoted to the issue. “And a governor cannot do that without a strong National Guard, [which is] our crucial defense against domestic disorder and natural disaster.”
“What does Governor Schwarzenegger say about the pressure the war has put on our precious citizen soldiers, on their readiness for earthquake, flood, or fire?” Angelides said.
Angelides said he will “put in a formal request to President Bush to return our National Guard units” on his first day in office. Then he will “mobilize governors from across this nation to force a change in national policy- so guard units can be used for their intended purpose, not propping up the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld excuse for a foreign policy.”
Though not saying what legal options he might be able to exercise, Angelides said he would “take any action, including going to court,” to carry out his pledge.
The new stand differs from the position he took in May, where at a Primary debate he said governors do not have the power over the Pentagon to bring state Guard troops home from war.
According to the California National Guard, the federal government provides about 85 percent of the funding for the National Guard, though this varies according to the amount the Guard is serving the federal government. The guard is under the command of both the state and federal government, though the federal government’s power over the force supersedes the state’s power over the force.
According to the Angelides campaign, 275 Californians have died in Iraq, 21 of whom have been members of the Guard.

Police foot patrols get green light


In the face of raised levels of violent crime in San Francisco in recent months, the Board of Supes voted on September 19 to look into expanding a pilot police foot patrol program.
The program was first suggested by Sup. Ross Mirkarimi and, as amended, would provide foot patrols in more neighborhoods.
In a 5-4 vote, the Supes decided to add the Tenderloin, Mission and Ingleside police stations to the program and to send the proposed legislation back to committee for another hearing.
All this went down in face of Police Chief Heather Fong’s warnings that the program would result in increased costs and slower responses to violent crimes, even as she expressed support for expanding the program.
City Budget Analyst Harvey Rose predicted that the SFPD could start up the program without additional resources.
The amended legislation goes before the Committee on Gun and Gang Violence on Oct. 2 and returns to the full Board on OCt. 3,

NOISE: Winning Tortoise


Guardian contributor Chris Sabbath weighs in on the recent Tortoise show on Sept. 14 at Great American Music Hall:


Being a late bloomer in the whole Chicago post-rock department, I didn’t actually get around to hearing Tortoise’s eclectic jazz-prog-electronic post-whatevers until my early 20s. That being said, I went Thrill Jockey crazy for a summer — endlessly stockpiling my college apartment with albums by such label staples as Mouse on Mars, Trains Am, and Oval. Wharves — I’m over it now, but fast-forward six years later, and I still hadn’t seen the Windy City quartet in the flesh. From what I could remember, they had only breezed through my Cleveland, Ohio, hometown once, and instead of venturing to their show, I chose to spend the day bonding with my ex-girlfriend. Wish I would have chose the former, because I ended up lost in the ghetto, fighting with my ex, while my friends were having the time of their lives. (One friend went on to comment: “Dude, a haunting performance, dude. The best show I’ve seen in years.”) So to make up for bad arguments and stupid decisions, I was pretty stoked when I found out that I was going to be able to finally see the band when they came to the Bay Area last week.

My date and I ended up waiting outside in the will-call line for what seemed like an hour (nothing is more alluring then being entertained by the homeless and musically inept). Anywho, I began to panic when we finally reached the doors and I recognized the song echoing throughout the Great American Music Hall as “Swung from the Gutters” (one of my favorite Tortoise songs) off 1998’s landmark TNT album. Playing it cool, I casually asked my date where she would like to sit, and of course, she chose the highest portion of the building, behind the lighting designer, something I initially frowned upon (I like to be in the shit of sweaty bodies and spilled beer). But in actuality, it turned out to be a great viewing area, and I could see perfectly throughout the duration of the show.

After “Gutters” went through the motions with post-jazz, electronic gurgling, I was treated to a harmonious barrage of great songs from each of the group’s albums. The show ended up being the best I have seen this year. Having not bought an album by Tortoise in the past couple of years, I was a tad bit worried that the band would be playing all new songs that I wouldn’t recognize. Not the case. They relentlessly played all the hits. Every song that I would ever want to hear Tortoise play live ripped through the crowd — all bases were covered. Some of the highlights were “Glass Museum” off Millions Now Living Will Never Die, “It’s All Around You” from the album of the same name, and their first encore performance of “Seneca” off Standards.

I was very surprised that I recognized most of the songs that the band was playing. Tortoise released an album of covers with Bonnie “Prince” Billy earlier this year, in addition to a box set of rare material. There was a song or two that stuck out as not being memorable, but much to the crowd’s delight, as well as mine, the band kept dishing out the good stuff. John McEntire and company seemed to very relaxed on stage too, repeatedly switching up the instruments between members. I thought the use of two drum sets was very effective. What they lacked in stellar studio production, live, (their fluctuating tempos are obviously electronic based) was made up for with hard-hitting drumming — ultimately taking the music to a new level. In addition to the crystal-clear tones and rich textures of the guitar and bass, the band seemed comfortable jamming on stage, adding a sense of ingenuity to already great songs. After two encores, the band called it a night and succeeded in making an impression on me, amid my somewhat drunken daze — I will definitely go see this band the next time the opportunity arises. And so should you.