Calvin Welch

The real CPMC story

Unsung heroes and how it all went down

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OPINION The recently announced terms for the development of California Pacific Medical Center's hospitals at Cathedral Hill and St. Luke's generated front-page and lead stories in the local news media. But nearly without exception, only part of the story was reported. Missing from most accounts of the terms of the new deal, which dramatically changed last year's failed draft development agreement negotiated by Mayor Ed Lee, was the decisive role played by a community/labor coalition, San Franciscans for Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Justice.Read more »

Guardian Voices: There's something happening here

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There are distinct signs of the rebirth of a grassroots  balanced-growth  movement in San Francisco, and some small indication that it’s even beginning to shift, ever so slightly,  the politics of the Board of Supervisors.  This is very good news for the vast majority of San Franciscans.

First, a little history.Read more »

Guardian Voices: The case against RCV

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“The Cure for the Ills of Democracy is More Democracy”
                                 -- old Progressive Party slogan

My friends here at the Guardian have elevated support for ranked choice voting to a defining requirement for being considered a progressive. This is not only historically incorrect,  it is actually politically silly. There are many progressive reasons to oppose RCV -- not the least of which is the undeniable fact that it overwhelmingly favors incumbents, has failed to deliver on the 2002 ballot promises, and now poses real threats to progressive political advancement in key supervisor districts. 

First, a little history. 

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Guardian Voices: Stop and Frisk didn't work last time

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Mayor Lee’s musings before the Chronicle editorial board, in which he revealed his thoughts about instituting a “stop and frisk” policy in San Francisco, set off a very quick negative responses from two of his high-profile supporters in the African American community, Willie Brown and Supervisor Malia Cohen. But that’s only part of the surprise the mayor will face if he pursues this policy.

It wasn’t a real good week for Mayor Lee, who seemed to repeatedly trip himself up:

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Guardian voices: The labor agreement that changed SF

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This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the beginnings of  negotiations between the International Longshoreman’s and Warehouseman’s Union and the Pacific Maritime Association over what came to be known as the “Mechanization and Modernization Agreement.”  Signed in October, 1960, after months of talks,  the “M and M agreement” transformed San Francisco’s economy forever, moving its founding industry -- shipping and trans shipping -- to the East Bay, opening up the land once devoted to maritime uses to real estate development, and setting off the modern political era of San Francisco.

The agreement allowed containerization to come into the San Francisco Bay, making obsolete  the finger piers along San Francisco’s waterfront and the ILWU’s “gangs” that worked on them, hand-loading “break bulk” cargo into the holds of cargo ships. The new technology of shipping cargo in a single  container that could be transported by truck, train, and ship without unloading  transformed maritime trade.

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Guardian voices: The zombie condo converters

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What is the shelf life of  a really bad public policy concerning housing in  San Francisco?

When it comes to condo conversions of existing rent controlled apartments, the answer is that there is no limit on how many times this bad idea is taken off the shelf. Like a bad summer zombie movie, this undead keeps  walking, no matter what San Franciscans say.

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Sutter's CPMC deal isn't healthy

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At 10am on Friday, June 15, at the main chambers of the Board of Supervisors, the first of a series of public hearings will be held on specific aspects of the  development agreement governing the $1.9 billion Sutter Health/California Pacific Medical Center proposal to expand and centralize the giant health-care outfit’s health center by building a new 555 bed hospital at Geary and Van Ness. The deal involves demolishing the existing 220-bed hospital at St. Read more »

Guest opinion: It's not about Mirkarimi, it's about us

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Virtually unmentioned in the torrent of words that have flowed over the Ross Mirkarimi false imprisonment, suspension and pending vote to determine his removal by the Board of Supervisors is any reference to what should now be the most important issue to be considered as the sad saga unfolds: the fact that Mirkarimi was, just four months before his removal, elected by a majority vote and his removal from office would simply set aside that vote, diminishing all of our cherished beliefs about "majority rule."Read more »

Lessons from 2011 for 2012

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With the release of precinct results for the 2011 election, we are able to actually see, for the first time, what San Francisco voters did, as opposed to hearing what various nabobs said they did.  There are a couple of key conclusions about the vote that should guide any left-liberal thinking of the key 2012 Supervisor races.Read more »

SF's redevelopment miracle

Since 1990, the Redevelopment Agency has become the major funder of affordable housing in San Francisco, pouring more than $500 million into low-cost housing

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OPINION While many of us (and most of the rest of the state) can tire from time to time when we hear San Francisco "exceptionalism" being touted, especially when Gavin Newsom is doing the touting, there are some cases in which it's justified. One of the most salient is the way San Franciscans transformed the city's Redevelopment Agency and used tax-increment financing to build housing and infrastructure that served its residents, not elite developers.Read more »