Articles Posted in the Politics Category

  • Tourk Confirms Saturday Voting Dead

    Tourk Confirms Saturday Voting Dead

    Tourk needed to raise $2.4 million from private donors by July 7 to fund the cost of adding Saturday, November 5, 2011 as an alternate day for voters to cast their ballots. As of Friday, the Saturday voting fund had a zero balance.

  • A voting initiative sponsored by GroundFloor Public Affairs founder Alex Tourk appears to have failed for a luck of funding. Image courtesy

    Saturday Voting Initiative Dead? Herrera Downplays Connection to Consultant and Contributor

    The WhyTuesdaySF initiative was the brainchild of political consultant Alex Tourk, who successfully tapped private venture capital from Silicon Valley angel investor Ronald C. Conway, tech maven David Jeske, Morgan Stanley partner Robert Lesko and other wealthy interests (some of whom, like Lesko, were from out of state) to fund the campaign to place Proposition I on the November 2010 ballot. Despite being drowned out by the hubbub of pension reform and hotly contested supervisorial races, voters overwhelmingly approved the WhyTuesdaySF initiative by almost 20 percentage points.

  • Tony Hall Gets Some Necessary Conversation Love

    Tony Hall Gets Some Necessary Conversation Love

    Tony Hall is the target of Melissa Griffin and Beth Spotswood’s latest episode of Necessary Conversation, poking a little fun at the former District 7 Supervisor and mayoral candidate, best known for his stand against corruption on Treasure Island, successfully defending himself against trumped-up allegations of money laundering, and for his silky-smooth, swooner voice.

  • Bock, Gascón, Onek Square Off at DA Candidates Forum

    Bock, Gascón, Onek Square Off at DA Candidates Forum

    But judging strictly by the applause-meter, the clear winner was David Onek, a criminal justice expert and former San Francisco Police Commissioner who is the founding executive director of the UC Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice. Onek is running as a reformer and an “outsider,” yet he’s no stranger to the halls of power. His father was once senior counsel to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and his father-in-law is Michael Dukakis, the former governor of Massachusetts and the 1988 Democratic nominee for president. He served in Mayor Newsom’s Office of Criminal Justice before being appointed by Newsom to the Police Commission. Still, his message that only an outsider can reform the criminal justice system, seemed to resonate with the audience.

  • Wagging the Dog

    Wagging the Dog

    Think about it. Just a week after submitting his budget and fresh off of negotiating a deal on pension reform; just days after revelations that a political consultant with close ties was staging an Astroturf campaign to draft him into the race; and at the very moment legislation authorizing the biggest demolition of rent-controlled housing in San Francisco history was being transmitted to his desk, Ed Lee was at my bar looking magnanimous—bearing gifts for one of his most vocal critics.

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    NationBuilder: Increasing Grassroots Access
    to the Voter File

    Today I begin a new role as chief organizer for NationBuilder, a software platform that aims to equip grassroots activists, small businesses, NGOs and candidates with the kind of organizing tools that are usually reserved only for those with deep pockets. NationBuilder is the brainchild of Jim Gilliam, a progressive activist who co-founded Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films. Jim is also creator of and TweetProgress.

  • Overheard in Fog City: Campos to Vote Against His Conscience?

    Overheard in Fog City: Campos to Vote Against His Conscience?

    Apparently the progressive supe is uncomfortable with his support for Turman, according to a reliable source, but remains committed to Turman despite damaging reports of Turman’s record absenteeism on the Human Rights Commission.

  • Art courtesy

    Congress Should Reject US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

    The negotiated U.S.-Colombia FTA will give market access for U.S. agricultural, consumer, and industrial products, and will immediately remove all tariffs on about 80 percent of U.S. goods entering Colombia. This includes immediate duty-free treatment of beef, cotton, wheat, soybeans, many fruits, and other agricultural products. The remaining 20 percent of tariffs will be phased out over a period of 10 years for both agricultural products and industrial products. In addition, the agreement provides protections for U.S. investors that will be enforced through a binding international arbitration program.

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    Will U.N September Vote be Palestine’s Last Hurrah?

    The last thing Israel wants is for the issue to end up in the U.N with a vote for Palestinian statehood. But why not the U.N.? Consider that at the creation of Israel in 1947, the U.N. partitioned the land, allotting the Jews 55 percent of Palestine. The Arabs did not agree to this partition. The action of the UN conflicted with the basic principles for which the world organization was established, namely, to uphold the right of all peoples to self-determination. By denying the Palestine Arabs, who formed a two-thirds majority of the country, the right to decide for themselves, the U.N. had violated its own charter. Now is the chance for the U.N. to rectify its 1947 action and give the Palestinians a chance, denied them in 1947, to have a say in their future.

  • Overheard in Fog City: Will Adachi Run?

    Overheard in Fog City: Will Adachi Run?

    That potential candidate is Public Defender Jeff Adachi who is singularly responsible for making this year’s mayor’s race a referendum on pension reform, the Care Not Cash, if you like, of 2003 that helped to elect then Supervisor Gavin Newsom over former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez to Room 200.

  • National Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton. Photo by Donald Weber.

    Canada Hits Political Breaking Point and What it Means for Us

    Unlike the US, Canada has a parliamentary system. But for those who don’t know too much about the way our northern neighbor runs elections, they actually elect their Parliament in exactly the same way we elect our House of Representatives. In other words, in the most absurd manner possible -winner-take-all, first past the post, with geographically delineated districts by province.

  • Mayor Lee Presents Budget Proposal

    Mayor Lee Presents Budget Proposal

    To help balance the budget, Lee’s proposed budget includes $106 million in reductions to city departments, including $32 million from the Department of Public Health, $26 million in salary increase deferrals and $14 million in cuts to Human Services.

  • Court Jester Surveys Political Field on Memorial Day

    Court Jester Surveys Political Field on Memorial Day

    Same for Leland Yee whose one great ability is to raise money and hide its source in piles of litter. Ed Jew has a better chance of being elected Mayor than Phil Ting does and Dennis Herrera has more arrows in him than General Custer. Face it, unless Chicken John declares again, this is as exciting as this field is gonna get.

  • Cartoon by Monte Wolverton.

    Are For-Profit Prisons the Answer
    to California Prison Overcrowding?

    Why is the prison system overcrowded? California’s tough-on-crime policies have led to the passage of hundreds of laws that increased prison terms. One of the most significant was the 1977 policy mandating that every prisoner leaving the system get paroled resulting in thousands of ex-convicts being sent back to jail each year for minor parole violations. Last year’s change in parole laws, which allows some non-violent offenders to avoid parole and others to avoid getting sent back to jail for minor violations, was a step in the right direction.

  • Documentary of the Year: Lifting the Veil

    Documentary of the Year: Lifting the Veil

    Lifting the Veil is the long overdue film that powerfully, definitively, and finally exposes the deadly 21st century hypocrisy of U.S. internal and external policies, even as it imbues the viewer with a sense of urgency and an actualized hope to bring about real systemic change while there is yet time for humanity and this planet.