Avi Asher-Schapiro

Cal president resists pressure to veto West Bank divestment bill

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Late Tuesday night, UC Berkeley Student President Connor Landgraf decided not to a veto SB 160, which called on the university to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The bill labels the university “a complicit third party in illegal occupation and ensuing human rights abuses” by Israel.Read more »

Cal on Palestine

UC Berkeley Student Senate passes divestment measure, but pro-Israel opponents pushing hard for veto

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The UC Berkeley Student Senate has passed a bill that calls upon the university to withdraw nearly $12 million in investments from corporations that do business in the Palestinian West Bank, including Caterpillar, Cement Roadstone Holdings, and Hewlett Packard Company. The bill, SB 160, passed at 5am April 18 by a slim 11-9 margin after 10 hours of emotional debate.Read more »

SF declares Pay Equity Day as it lowers salaries for women's jobs

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The Board of Supervisors today declared April 9 Pay Equity Day in San Francisco, in recognition of the persistent national gap between male and female financial compensation. But with the city locked in a dispute with SEIU Local 1021 over pay cuts to jobs dominated by women and workers of color, the day took on special local significance. Read more »

San Francisco female priest and gay Catholics react to selection of Pope Francis

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Victoria Rue, a female Roman Catholic Priest, leads a small community of renegade Catholic worshipers in San Francisco. Ordained by a trio of female Bishops on a boat on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2005, she’s part of a growing international movement to dismantle the longstanding ban on female clergy and push the Catholic Church in a more liberal direction. Although Rue was excommunicated shortly after her ordination, she continues to consider herself a Catholic.Read more »

Oakland's JVP counters AIPAC's push to exempt aid to Israel from sequestration cuts

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Ahead of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's three-day policy conference in Washington DC, Oakland-based Jewish Voice for Peace and Avaaz.org blanketed the DC Metro with provocative anti-AIPAC posters. The $100,000 marketing campaign features images of young Jews with the words: “AIPAC does not speak for me. Most Jewish Americans are pro-peace. Read more »

Sunshine superheroes

Three champions in the fight for open government

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From the nation's Capitol to local city halls, requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and local public records laws tend to be stymied by bureaucracy. Protecting the public's right to know requires fierce dedication, and for 28 years, the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has honored journalists, lawyers, citizens and others who have successfully used public records to hold government accountable. In an era of steep budget cuts and assaults on transparency laws, these first amendment champions deserve serious cred.Read more »

Cutting from the bottom

Federal budget sequestration would hit the Bay Area's most vulnerable: poor children, battered women, AIDS patients

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news@sfbg.com

While the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration were designed to equally hit Democratic and Republican party priorities, from social services to the military budget, in the Bay Area they would disproportionately target society's most vulnerable citizens and strain already-stretched local agency budgets.Read more »

Sequestration cuts would hit the Bay Area's most vulnerable

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While the looming federal budget cuts known as sequestration were designed to equally hit Democratic and Republican party priorities, from social services to the military budget, in the Bay Area they would disproportionately target society's most vulnerable citizens and strain already-stretched local agency budgets.

If Congress and the White House fail to forge a budget deal by March 1, the cuts could begin to withdraw $9-10 billion of federal support from the California. In the Bay Area, these cuts would have the biggest impact on low-income families, the homeless, victims of domestic violence, adults living with AIDS, and children ages 3-5.

Back in September, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed a U.S. Conference of Mayors' letter that called on federal lawmakers to resolve the budget conflict before the sequestration cuts could take effect, labeling the budget cuts "a threat" to local economies nationwide. Now, with the deadline looming, city officials and social service providers across the Bay Area are bracing for the impact. Depending to how the cuts are eventually allocated, San Francisco alone could lose more than $10 million in critical social services.

"All across the city, the sequestration hurts those most in need of services and support," Gentle Blythe, spokesperson with the San Francisco Unified School District, told the Guardian.

Read more »

Trail to historic gay Boy Scouts vote started in the Bay Area

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This Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) Executive Board will consider removing the controversial ban on gay members and allow each individual troop to adopt its own policy on gay scouts. The board publicly reaffirmed the anti-gay policy just last summer, but recent pressure from gay rights groups, corporate sponsors, and Bay Area troops has forced the governing body to revisit the blanket prohibition on gay members.   Read more »

Police gear up for round two on Tasers

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On February 4, the San Francisco Police Commission will hold the second of three planned community meetings to gauge support for a pilot program to arm 100 SFPD officers with Tasers. The controversial proposal pits police Chief Greg Suhr, a proponent, against civil liberties organizations and homeless advocates who are mobilizing public opposition to the Taser initiative. Read more »