Tenderloin’s New Approach to Safer Streets
by Randy Shaw‚
Dec. 11‚ 2013
Property owners near O’Farrell and Jones Streets have come up with a creative approach to combating drug dealing and problem sidewalk behavior: install planter boxes. The Pacific Bay Inn (which houses formerly homeless persons) recently placed planter boxes in front of its Jones Steet location and they are already being cheered by tenants, workers and others in the area. Longtime Pierre Hotel tenant Karen Taylor says “they make the whole block look nicer.” The Central City SRO Collaborative (CCSRO) will install barrels planted with flowers and vegetables in front of some Tenderloin SRO’s next spring. Such plantings do more than help create safer streets. According to studies in Charles Montgomery’s new Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, will also make Tenderloin residents happier through increased exposure to greenery.
Bay Area Longshore Workers Led the Local Fight Against Apartheid
by Peter Cole‚
Dec. 11‚ 2013
With the passing of Nelson Mandela, our responsibility is to commemorate the global fight against apartheid and—more importantly—follow his lead and push for radical change in our own times. Though a tremendous leader, Mandela sat in prison for decades while millions of people, in South Africa and around the world, built the most impressive global movement in recent history. In the San Francisco Bay area a passionate cadre of longshore workers led the to fight to overthrow the racist, oppressive regime. In November 1984, days after Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election, members of Local 10 of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) refused to touch South African cargo for eleven days, arguably the most dramatic act in the Bay area, itself a leader in America’s anti-apartheid movement.
NELSON MANDELA peacefully transition to the other side. R.I.P. MADIBA. During the summer, his severe illness kept many of us on edge, touch and go; he lingered a little longer until December 5. He was 95. We knew he would leave us soon, not knowing the exact time or day, The Nobel Peace Prize winner died at his home in Johannesburg. REST, SWEET WARRIOR....YOU FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!
Mandela was a great man of courage, vision, hope, forgiveness, love for human kind - a graceful man. Madiba, as his family lovingly calls him, spent 27 years behind prison bars in 1962, for his opposition to apartheid, the oppressive, violent system of segregation created by South Africa’s white minority government. He became an international symbol of the struggle for black liberation and universal human rights!
Can Socialists Win Elections in the U.S.?
by Bhaskar Sunkara and Micah Uetricht‚
Dec. 11‚ 2013
Kshama Sawant of Seattle showed socialist victories are possible. Will they spread?
On December 5, fast food workers in over 100 cities carried out their largest mass protest in history. The protests built upon similar events held in fifty cities in August. The national media wrote advance stories on the plight of low-paid fast food workers which even before the protests occurred helped revive national focus on rising inequality in the United States. And considering that the December 5 fast food protests were large, boisterous, and colorful, they would have dominated evening news broadcasts and the following day’s newspapers but for an unforeseen development: legendary freedom fighter Nelson Mandela died in South Africa during the protests. Mandela’s death understandably dominated television news for the balance of the day, while the fast food protests were ignored. While labor and activists groups promoted the protests through social media, traditional media sources continued wall to wall Mandela coverage through December 6, a day which otherwise would have put fast food workers in the spotlight,
While few outside Rush Limbaugh criticized the media for excessive coverage of Mandela, fast food workers and their supporters got a very unlucky break as to the timing of his death. It follows a less dramatic example of media plans going awry when nationwide immigrant rights protests long planned for October 5 were eclipsed by the ongoing government shutdown. Such examples again demonstrate why activists must win through ongoing organizing rather than putting too many eggs in the media basket.
Rally Today Against Urban Green, Ellis Act Eviction Speculators
by Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer and Tina Cheung‚
Dec. 10‚ 2013
At 12pm on Tuesday, Dec 10th, the direct action housing rights group, Eviction Free San Francisco, allies and individual community supporters and activists will gather to hold a rally in front of 1746 Union Street, the offices of out-of-state speculators and mass evictors, Urban Green LLC. The rally is being staged to demand that Urban Green drop all of the Ellis Act Evictions and also to bring attention to the abuse of the Ellis Act and the need for state reform. The event is being endorsed by Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Chinatown Community Development Center as well as Housing Rights Committee of SF. The rally will include speeches from current Urban Green tenants being evicted, other San Franciscan Ellis Act evictees, as well as organizers from both housing and environmental groups who will expose Urban Green as green washers who use environmentalism as a marketing scheme, while mass-evicting San Franciscans from their homes.
A Record Number Of Americans Can’t Afford Their Rent
by Bryce Covert‚
Dec. 10‚ 2013
Paying more than 30 percent of your income on rent is what experts call unaffordable. Yet the number of people who fall into that group has reached record numbers, according to a new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
The share of renters who pay more than 30 percent of what they make on housing, or what the study labels “cost-burdened,” rose 12 percentage points last decade, reaching 50 percent in 2010. That includes 27 percent who face a “severe burden,” or in other words, pay more than half of their income on rent, a figure that rose 8 percentage points. Initial estimates show that there were a record 21.1 million renters who were cost-burdened in 2012.
Day of Action Unites Students, Teachers in Protest
by Lynette Holloway‚
Dec. 10‚ 2013
Educators, parents and youth hold mass demonstrations nationwide to demand quality public schools
Eighteen-year-old Tre Murphy, a native of Baltimore, has been active in social justice concerns since the age of 12, he says. But on Monday, his activism will take an urgent and personal turn when he plans to participate in the National Day of Action for education.
He is among thousands of young people from more than 60 cities slated to participate in the day of protest, which is being hailed as the largest unified opposition to educational reforms that organizers say have devastated families and communities.
San Francisco Must Raise Minimum Wage
by Randy Shaw‚
Dec. 09‚ 2013
Last week, fast food workers in over 100 cities rallied in support of a $15 minimum wage. Voters in the city of SeaTac near Seattle approved a $15 minimum in November, and efforts are spreading to raise local minimum wages in Washington DC and other cities. President Obama has endorsed a $10 federal minimum (from the current $7.25), and California’s will go to $10 in 2016. Raising the pay of low-wage workers has become the driving force in the struggle to reduce inequality and make work pay.
But San Francisco is being left behind. The city was the national pioneer in raising its local minimum wage in 2003, and still has the highest of any city over 30,000 in population, $10.55 per hour and indexed to inflation (it will be $10.74 in January). Yet San Francisco’s higher housing and overall living costs requires a significantly higher local minimum. This may require a ballot initiative to overturn the 2003 measure setting the current rate, but such a proactive move for economic fairness is imperative. There is little doubt that San Francisco voters would raise the city’s minimum to at least $12 if not to $15 if given the chance on the November 2014 ballot.
White House Fears Immigration Blame
by REID J. EPSTEIN‚
Dec. 09‚ 2013
President Barack Obama wasn’t happy when a heckler interrupted his immigration speech in San Francisco last month. That was just the beginning.