June membership meeting
Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:15:00 am

The June 12 membership meeting blended politics with environmental issues.

David LattermanFirst up was Fall Line Analytics consultant and USF professor David Latterman, addressing what the June 3 election may tell us about the "state of the city."  Latterman disputes that the success of Prop B indicates an increasingly negative attitude among San Franciscans toward development in general.  Pointing to other successful waterfront height ballots in the past, he says that the failure of the 8 Washington initiative and success of June's Proposition B probably say more about San Franciscans' aversion to tall waterfront buildings than anything else.

With respect to the Campos-Chiu race (Latterman works for the Chiu campaign), he says that Campos “did what he had to” by “going negative,” but is going to have to pick up a lot of new voters in September to have a chance, since Chiu not only won by four points in June but is likely to pick up the Republican eight percent of the electorate in the Fall.

Latterman still supports the top two primary for "encouraging bipartisanship," and says that the distortions it caused in the Controller and Secretary of State races were exceptions, and probably won't happen again.  We'll see; what we know for a fact is that it puts third parties out of business.


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May Meetup: The Housing Crisis
Sat May 17, 2014 6:55:00 am
Tim Colen, Sara Shortt, Calvin Welch, Brad Paul

News flash!  In the midst of a "housing crisis," we are building investment properties for Saudi princes, Russian mobsters, and investment banks instead of housing.  Film at 11 (or video here). 

Postscript: the May 3 paper Chronicle featured an interview with a gentleman who has lived at One Rincon for a number of years now with no neighbors either on his floor or the floors above or below.  The Chron, of course, attributed this phenomenon to the "economic downturn."


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April Meetup: NSA Surveillance / A.L.E.C.
Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:11:00 pm
Rainey Reitman and Chris Conley

Rainey Reitman of Electronic Frontier Foundation and Chris Conley of the ACLU gave us an overview of issues surrounding the NSA's surveillance program, and Common Cause's Sarah Swanbeck discussed the American Legal Exchange Council, and its California collaborators.  Watch video here.


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Honored Not Dead
Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:01:00 pm

San Francisco for Democracy would like to take this and every opportunity to show off the four Certificates of Honor we received at our tenth anniversary party.  We will be hanging these on our office wall as soon as we have an office or a wall.


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June 2014 Endorsements
Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:39:00 am

are on the PAC page.


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Board of Supervisors: democracy & public accountability must be restored to City College
Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:17:00 pm

This week the SF Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a strongly worded resolution directed to the State Chancellor of the Community College system, Brice Harris, urging him to bring democratic decision-making, transparency and public accountability back to CCSF by restoring the duly elected Board of Trustees.    Sponsored by Supervisor David Campos and co-sponsored by Supervisors Mar, Avalos, Wiener, Yee, Kim, Chiu and Cohen, the resolution was ultimately approved by all 11 supervisors at their March 25th meeting.

While much criticism has been directed toward the ACCJC which issued its de-accreditation order against CCSF last July, this resolution focuses on poor decision making and lack of public accountability by the current all-powerful boss of the college,  Bob Agrella.   Originally invited to campus as a Special Trustee by the Board of Trustees in 2012, Agrella was subsequently elevated to the role of “Special Trustee with Extraordinary Powers” by the State Chancellor and Board of Governors in July, 2013, which is when the duly elected Board was suspended.


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Night of the Two Davids (annual party)
Sun Feb 2, 2014 11:32:00 pm
"so after close inspection, the first Harvard lawyer declared them to be deer tracks. The second Harvard lawyer disagreed, saying they must be elk tracks..."

San Francisco for Democracy held its tenth annual membership party on January 25.  Click here for the photos...


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Meeting the new chancellor
Fri Dec 6, 2013 1:32:00 am

On December 5th, members of San Francisco for Democracy, the Noe Valley and Potrero Democratic Clubs, and Noe Valley Friends and Neighbors got to spend some quality time with the new City College Chancellor, Dr. Arthur Tyler. It was his first ever community meeting since being hired in October.

Acquired in a nationwide search, the knowledgable and well-spoken Tyler would appear to be a stellar choice for the job. He comes to us from the Houston system, largest in the country, where he served as Deputy Chancellor and COO, serving over 72,000 students in 22 locations. Prior to that, he served as President of Sacramento City College, Special Trustee at Compton Community College, and VP of Admin and Finance for the LA system.


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New SF4D'er
Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:53:00 am

Congratulations to our President Glenn Davis, and his wife Heather, on the October 1 birth of their daughter Ella Anais. Does this face look vaguely familiar to anyone?


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2013 Endorsements
Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:23:00 am

are on the PAC page.  Also, some of our members have written blog entries to explain why they will be voting one way or another.


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Mark Ruffalo & Maureen Taylor join water shutoff protests in Detroit
by Tom Brown, Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:20:20 pm

Even though notables such as Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden spoke at this year's Netroots Nation convention in Detroit,  the highlight for me was Friday's protest against water shutfoffs by the City of Detroit.   The State of Michigan now has 17 "emergency managers" who, like CCSF's special trustee with extraordinary powers,  pursue a privatization agenda to satisfy corporate demands.  

Actor Mark Ruffalo and Michigan Welfare Rights leader Maureen Taylor were at the head of the march shouting "Water is a Human Right!"  (see video below).  I didn't know who "Mark Ruffalo" was until, on Friday, he just showed up on stage after the Elizabeth Warren speech to invite us all to join him at the lunchtime rally. 


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Eventful week in the battle to save CCSF (and other California community colleges)
by Tom Brown, Sun Jun 8, 2014 11:10:23 am

The ACCJC's intransigence in sticking firm to its arbitrary closure deadline for City College of San Francisco may be on the wane.  This week ACCJC President Barbara Beno held a mostly secretive 3 day meeting in a hotel near the state capitol.  She also met with State Chancellor Brice Harris and CCSF Chancellor Art Tyler on their demand that she send a new evaluation team to City College to take into account the work that has been done over the last year.

On Friday, Beno received a scathing letter from Congresswoman Jackie Spear who said:  "I believe the actions of the ACCJC to date threaten not only the existence of City College but also the ACCJC itself."  And even if Beno remains firm, she very well may be forced to back down as a result of the court action taken against her agency by SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The trial is set for October. 

There's increasing awareness among politicians and educational leaders across the state that the ACCJC's unfair and secretive practices, combined with numerous conflicts of interest, must come to an end.  On Friday, community college students, faculty and staff came from Los Angeles,  San Diego, Fresno,  San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco and elsewhere to protest against Beno's unfair practices.

Here's a short (15 minute) video I did of the event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsLTUExAI2g


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Whither High Speed Rail?
by Jeff Whittington, Sat May 3, 2014 8:19:00 pm

Lawsuits, sagging support in some polls, officials hopping off the bandwagon, funding tied up in courts, a threatening ballot measure. Is California's signature high speed rail project in trouble?

Not likely, said Dan Richard, chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority, at an April Commonwealth discussion; it's just experiencing the prenatal pangs most major infrastructure projects go through.  2,300 lawsuits were filed to prevent the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, which Ansel Adams famously called an “upside-down rat trap.”  In 1994, the BART authority was told there would be no Federal funding for the airport extension; they ended up forking over $50 million for it.  The California Water Project came within a single vote of not getting through the legislature at all.  HSR is having an easy time of it compared to many projects of the past.


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48 Hills: a new kind of newspaper in San Francisco
by Tom Brown, Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:13:08 pm

In case you haven't heard,  Tim Redmond is no longer associated with the Bay Guardian and has been working on a new kind of on-line newspaper called "48 Hills."   Even with its modest start,  48 Hills is already creating a stir in local political circles and if Tim Redmond has his way 48 Hills will become "the progressive daily San Francisco has always needed". 

On Friday night Tim talked to a group of supporters about what 48 Hills plans to do to restore investitgative reporting on social and economic issues to our community.   Featured speaker Assemblyman Tom Ammiano revealed a secret clause in the new Warriors contract that may surprise you, but then went on to comment on Tim Redmond's importance to the future of journalism in this town.  

The Friday night event raised thousands of dollars, but more is needed to make 48 Hills a success.  The organization that publishes 48 Hills,  the "San Francisco Progressive Media Center," is seeking non-profit (501.c.3) status and has a volunteer working on getting paid on-line advetising. Tim said donations of any amount are deeply appreciated. 

You can hear more of what Tim Redmond and Tom Ammiano said at this fundraiser in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQgfO8nxwMo


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Pirate Shuttles
by Jeff Whittington, Thu Apr 3, 2014 10:53:00 pm

The April 1 Supervisors meeting included a lengthy public hearing on an “appeal of an exemption determination on the SFMTA's Commuter Shuttle Policy and Pilot Program.” What emerged was that, in their desperate haste to boost the city's sagging population and bring housing prices up to national norms, our city government skipped that one elemental, pedestrian task that's done for pretty much everything that happens around here: they failed to file an Environmental Impact Report.

Environmental lawyer Richard Drury opened comments on behalf of appellants Sara Shortt, the Harvey Milk Club, SEIU 1021, and the League of Pissed-Off Voters. Drury pointed out that that the California Environmental Quality Act requires that an EIR be filed before a project such as the Shuttle Program is implemented; the whole idea is to understand what the impacts will be. Worse, loading and unloading private vehicles in public bus zones (red zones) is flatly illegal under state law (Vehicle Code; Stopping, Standing and Parking; Code 22500); the only exceptions allowed are school buses. The city is turning a blind eye while a fleet of pirate shuttles operates illegally within its borders.


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Housing Discussion in Noe Valley
by Jeff Whittington, Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:00:00 pm
Schumacher, Shortt, Colen, Martí

The NVDC housing panel on Wednesday night was interesting and thought provoking, though as one of the participants noted, not much was really resolved.  The panel consisted of Douglas Schumacher, former chief of the Housing Authority and now with the nonprofit housing firm Mercy Housing; Sara Shortt, Executive Director of the tenants' group Housing Rights Committee; Tim Colen, who heads the pro-construction Housing Action Coalition; and Fernando Martí of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, a coalition of 11 different groups.


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Dean Brothers Celebrate DFA's 10th Anniversary in San Francisco
by Tom Brown, Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:01:30 pm

On March 11th Howard Dean and his brother Jim appeared at two events in San Francisco.  There was a small luncheon in the house of SF for Democracy members Alec and Sharry Bash followed by a larger event at Savor Restaurant in Noe Valley.   At the luncheon,  Jim reported on the effectiveness of DFA's bottom-up organizing strategy with a current membership of well over one million. Governor Dean gave candid comments about the Tea Party and Democratic party prospects in the upcoming election.  He explains why there's cause for optimism in this video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9bYjcv7rQQ

At the Savor restaurant event, there was a crowd of DFA supporters from all over the bay area . . . as far away as Tracy, California.  Although the event sold out at one point, ultimately the organizers were able to find room for all the late comers.  A good time was had by all.


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Population and Climate
by Jeff Whittington, Tue Mar 4, 2014 11:00:00 pm

In 1950, world human population was 2.5 billion souls.  Currently it is about 7 billion, by 2060 it will be nearly 10 billion, and it is projected to rise to fifteen by the end of the century.  To what extent is this extraordinary explosion culpable for our current environmental travails, particularly with respect to climate; and what can/should be done to stem the tide?

In 1968, Paul and Anne Erlich wrote The Population Bomb, which warned of mass starvation in the 1970s and 80s due to overpopulation.  At that very time, Norman Borlaug was busy launching the Green Revolution, which rendered the predictions temporarily moot.  As a result, nobody has really worried too much about population for decades, to the point where today your typical American would likely say the book was "Sixties-style sensationalism," or some such.

Big mistake, say Alan Weisman, author of Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth; and Malcolm Potts, family planning expert at the U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health.  Even at the time, Borlaug only viewed his Revolution as a temporary reprieve from mass starvation, stating in his 1970 Nobel lecture that "Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the 'Population Monster'," and warning of the "impending doom" that would follow if nothing were done to curtail it.  Today the "doom" may have more to do with dwindling water supplies, water and land poisoned by fertilizers and insecticides, ocean acidification, and rising global temperatures than anything it had to do with in Borlaug's day, but it appears to hang over us more menacingly than ever.


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Fencing Out the Deluge
by Jeff Whittington, Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:52:00 pm

Sea level in Northern California will rise between thirty-one and sixty-nine inches by the end of this century. What can Bay Area cities do to accommodate the change? What are they doing now? These questions were put to Laura Tan, SPUR's Sustainable Development Policy Director; Larry Goldzband of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission; Alicia Aguirre of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and former San Mateo Mayor; and E. Julian Potter, SFO Chief of Staff, at Commonwealth's February program on dealing with a rising bay.


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Idiot Grid
by Jeff Whittington, Sat Feb 8, 2014 9:00:00 pm

I've had several lively conversations the past few years with the folks campaigning against smart meters. The intermittent nature of renewables makes an intelligent, load-routing grid sine qua non for any large scale deployment of green energy, without which our planetary boat is pretty much sunk. But as Commonwealth's January 28th presentation, “High Road to the Smart Grid,” made clear, the meter-haters are probably not so far off the mark.

Timothy Schoechle

The program centered on a 2012 paper, “Getting Smarter about the Smart Grid,” written by Timothy Schoechle, PhD, which you can find here. Schoechle has been engineering energy management systems for 25 years, is a board member of the International Organization for Standardization, taught at the University of Colorado, and has founded a number of companies, including BI Incorporated, a pioneering RFID firm, and CyberLYNX Gateway, which focuses on home automation. He spends most of his time at the intersection of energy and IT.


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Event:

Membership Meeting
Climate Hope; David Latterman
Thursday, June 12
Mission Police Station, 7:00PM,
630 Valencia, SF





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