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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Big Day For Airbnb: Sues City, Seeks Funding at $30 Billion

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 2:39 PM

One way to announce to someone you're suing. - AIRBNBACTION
  • Airbnbaction
  • One way to announce to someone you're suing.

Airbnb is all growed up. The San Francisco-based company — which was a literal air mattress in its co-founders' apartment just a few years ago — is now an international juggernaut offering hotel alternatives in 200 countries (where in at least a few places it's also blamed for exacerbating housing shortages).

The company is currently seeking funding based on a valuation of $30 billion, according to the New York Times, and may even turn a profit (!) as soon as later this year (!!). What might help its profitability? Not having to pay San Francisco $1,000 a day for every illegal listing it offers.

To that end, Airbnb is suing its hometown. In a lawsuit filed Monday, Airbnb is asking a federal judge, as the Times observed, to not enforce a law regulating Airbnb units that Airbnb had a hand in creating.

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S.F. Voters Could Tax Twitter, Other Tech Companies

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 2:13 PM

  • Davide D'Amico/Flickr
Voters in November will have the chance to declare their love, or lack thereof, for the tech industry – often labeled the sole source of the death of the city’s soul.

Supervisor Eric Mar, with the support of colleague Aaron Peskin, is expected to introduce a ballot measure today at the Board of Supervisors that would, essentially, bring back a tax eliminated by the city five years ago, according to the SF Examiner.

The Fair Share – Homeless and Housing Impact Tech Tax would generate some $120 million a year by imposing a 1.5 percent tax on tech company payrolls. (Recall that the city's controversial "Twitter tax break" was an exemption on the payroll tax available to firms who relocated to Mid-Market, before the city did away with payroll taxes altogether).

And that’s where things get sticky.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

VIDEO: ISIS Threatens San Francisco — Sort Of

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 12:00 PM

That's Arabic for, "Damn, it's windy." - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • That's Arabic for, "Damn, it's windy."
San Francisco has the unfortunate honor of appearing in a new propaganda video for the Islamic State released Sunday, no doubt to coincide with the city’s massive Pride celebration, since persecution of LGBT people is a hallmark of deranged fundamentalists.

Several alleged terrorists appear on screen to praise Omar Mateen, the Orlando gay nightclub shooter, and Larossi Abballa, the man who attacked a French police officer and his family June 13, the day after the Orlando shooting.

The trio reportedly encourages more attacks in the U.S. and Europe, and this is when the footage of San Francisco starts to roll (Las Vegas is also threatened, likely for its questionable buffet restaurants). Were we recently visited by some famous fundamentalists?

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VIDEO: Pride Trashes Dolores Park Into Submission, Evokes Dystopian Metaphors

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 11:22 AM

The above is video footage captured in Dolores Park this morning, in the not-too-distant, post-Pride present, in a reality where humans have abdicated their responsibilities and where trash is the dominant life form.

Instead of green space, there is green and white and brown and glass and trash space, as far as the eye can see, in a new world order populated by beer boxes, plastic bags, and other remnants of late capitalism.

As the early morning sun lights the collection of discarded human ephemera known as trash, the only signs of life are the seagulls, who dance with delight at the bounty before them.

What's most impressive about the stupendous amount of waste left behind in Dolores Park is that it's only one day's work. Supposedly, the park was mostly clean as of Sunday morning. 

The best bit? "There are almost 30 trash cans a mere 20 yards away from this," according to the individual who shot the video.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Police Presence Leads Social Justice Groups to Exit Social Justice-Themed Pride

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 3:05 PM

  • SF Examiner file photo

Pride weekend is here, and it's secure: Metal detectors will greet visitors to Pride's main stages at Civic Center on Sunday and all festivities will include a heightened police presence, measures taken following the June 12 slaughter of 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Pride's official theme this year is Racial and Economic Justice, a marked step away from corporate partying towards the gay rights' radical social justice roots. To that end, groups representing marginalized people of color — including Black Lives Matter and TGI Justice, which advocates for black trans people — were given prominent placement in the Pride Parade.

But no more. Saying that they are "more afraid of police than terrorists," activists from TGI Justice, Black Lives Matter, and other groups announced earlier Friday that they will withdraw from the Pride Parade.

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S.F. Cop Union Supported Death Penalty Measure, Even Before There Was a Measure

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 2:47 PM


California's various police officers don't necessarily love one another — L.A. cops look down at SFPD as a loose outfit, whereas SFPD scoffs at LAPD as a band of paramilitary, Hollywood-wannabe showboats — but they can agree on one thing: California should start killing people again, and pronto.

Nearly every law enforcement agency's lobbying arm in the state has signed on to support the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act, a voter initiative that promises to fast-track death sentences.

Currently, condemned prisoners are on Death Row for decades as their appeal process winds through the courts; if approved by voters in November, Reform and Savings would set a five-year limit for a death sentence's appeal process.

All executions have been on hold in California for more than 10 years, as legal squabbling over the cocktail used for lethal injections continues. But that hasn't stopped police lobbyists from pouring $1.2 million into the Reform and Savings effort, including $60,000 from the San Francisco Police Officers Association — which ponied up money before it endorsed the bill.

So early was the POA's support that it cut a check even before there was an official bill to support.

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S.F.'s "Vision Zero" Isn't Stopping Bad Drivers, Or Hit-and-Runs

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 12:33 PM


What we know following the deaths of two cyclists Wednesday in San Francisco is that both were biking legally, the streets are considered high-injury corridors, and advocates say the city isn’t following through on its Vision Zero promises to end traffic fatalities by 2024.

We also know the actions of both drivers in the separate collisions were woefully illegal, including fleeing the scene in each case. That begs the question: No matter how many improvements are made to streets in the name of protecting pedestrians and cyclists, will drivers stop running red lights or making illegal lane changes? And will they stop trying to get away after the fact?

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Sleeper Hold," Cops Shooting At Cars Central To Dispute Over S.F. Police Use of Force Policy

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 2:38 PM

click image The cartoid restraint - POLICE MAGAZINE
  • Police magazine
  • The cartoid restraint

Nationally, San Francisco police have a reputation as lovable, fuzzy pussycats. That's according to the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the city's police union, who have traditionally resisted most any change to the way they do business out on the streets. But following a string of fatal police shootings that cost former police Chief Greg Suhr his job, S.F. cops are finally due for a policy change. 

Last night, after a build-up of more than six months, the city's Police Commission finally approved some modest changes to city police's use-of-force policies. Various words in the use-of-force policy were swapped around — there was a debate over whether cops should use "minimal" force or "reasonable" force — and the new policy also forbids police from shooting at moving vehicles and applying a neck restraint called the "carotid artery hold," according to the San Francisco Examiner.

That all sounds reasonable enough. The compromise earned the praise of Mayor Ed Lee, who put police on notice that use-of-force would change following the Dec. 2 fatal shooting of Mario Woods. But the problem is none of it is final — and it could all blow up in everyone's faces.

Before the use-of-force policy is finalized, it must be reviewed one more time by the city's Department of Human Resources... and the POA. And the POA still has issue with "20 percent" of the policy, meaning the whole thing is potentially at risk, as the Chronicle reports.  

Two key disagreements — the "carotid artery restraint," seen above, and police's ability to shoot at cars.

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Millennial Problems: A Mystery Inside an Enigma

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 1:05 PM

click image GIPHY
  • Giphy

Millennials can be a study in a lot of things, but maybe none better than contradictions. The world’s most annoying generation thinks the best places to live in the U.S. are New York City and San Francisco, yet their top priorities for their home city are a healthy economy and rent and housing prices that aren’t too damn high.

That’s according to these easy-to-browse survey results from Abodo, some apartment listings site we’d never heard of (probably because we can’t afford to ever rent another apartment in the Bay Area).

Abodo contacted 2,000 people born between 1982 and 1998 to compile these results. It offers no plus-minus on the outcome (rookie move), but the results are still oodles of fun. Especially the contradictions.

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Yesterday's Crimes: Squeaky Fromme, Charles Manson, & Assassination Attempts

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM

  • Randy Heinitz/Flickr
Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. became vice president when then-VP Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace on Oct. 10, 1973 following a bribery scandal. Ford became president less than a year later when Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace following a number of scandals on Aug. 9, 1974.

Ford's unlikely presidency is best remembered for the time he fell down the Air Force One stairs during a diplomatic visit to Austria. In the early days of Saturday Night Live, Chevy's Chase's impression of Ford consisted of nothing more than a series of pratfalls before emerging from the stage floor with the familiar, "Live from New York..."

Ford was hardly the kind of divisive figure to inspire one potential assassin, let alone two of them. But in September 1975, Ford survived two different assassination attempts in as many weeks.

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