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Friday, October 31, 2014

"Venture Socialist" Keith Beneath Is Running for Supervisor and Wants to Nuke Silicon Valley

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 3:33 PM

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You may have seen the flyers around the Castro advertising the write-in candidacy of one Keith Beneath. He is running on an explicit program of class war, including detonating a small nuclear device in Silicon Valley.

Beneath, who describes himself as “Queer — queer sexuality, queer politics, disposition, gender. Incapable of functioning in a normal capitalist society," is a late-stage entry in the campaign for District 8 Supervisor, in which Scott Wiener is projected to coast to re-election over a fragmented opposition. A musician and performance artist, Beneath was personally troubled by his grandfather being gentrified out of SF at the age of 91. SO he put together a semi-anonymous, social media-based protest platform with the help of some friends.

We sat down at Philz Coffee in the Castro to discuss the tenets of his atypical candidacy, the irony of using tech in order to undermine it, and just what he might do if the people gave him that bomb. How real is Keith Beneath about combating the tech industry?

Well, he's still using a flip phone.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chronicle Inadvertently Posts Election Wrap-Up Article Online, Calls Winners

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM

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Election day is Nov. 4. Today is Oct. 30. 

Oct. 30 is earlier on the calendar than Nov. 4 — on the Julian Calendar, the Gregorian one, and presumably, the Mayan one, too (though that one concluded in 2012). 

So, a Chronicle article wrapping up the results of that Nov. 4 election appearing online in late October is an eye-catcher. But, lo, that happened: 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mark Leno Already Beating Mayor Ed Lee — On Facebook

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 7:59 AM

The pro-Leno crew did an admirable job of juxtaposing a good shot of their man, and an awkward one of Mayor Ed Lee.
  • The pro-Leno crew did an admirable job of juxtaposing a good shot of their man, and an awkward one of Mayor Ed Lee.
The word around town ended up being the printed word this week: A poll shows Sen. Mark Leno edging Mayor Ed Lee in a head-to-head matchup, Leno knows this, other people know this, and Leno is entertaining the offers of those other people to pull this matter out of hypothetical terms.

Growing discontent with the city's ostensible new mantra of "What's good for tech is good for San Francisco" — and Lee's close ties to billionaire venture capitalist Ron Conway and other tech barons — has rendered Leno an attractive candidate for some. Again, Leno knows this: He's slammed the city ordinance validating Airbnb the mayor recently signed, echoing the same reservations publicly aired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein

The mayoral election is slightly over a year off. To put it mildly, a lot can happen in a year. But there is one place where Leno is already outpolling Lee: The Internet. 

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anti-Prop. H Campaign Literature Eerily Anticipates the Mission Playground Flap

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 2:11 PM

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On its face, the battle over Propositions H and I seems clear-cut. Proponents of H want to preserve Golden Gate Park's Beach Chalet fields in their unfettered, grassy state; proponents of I want the city to resurface those fields with astroturf and turn them into a pristine, multi-million dollar complex, similar to the one at Crocker-Amazon or Raymond Kimball Playground.

But the latest spate of campaign fliers from the Pro I camp have recast that dispute in terms more closely associated with the gentrification debate.

"Don't lock our kids out," rails a slogan on a bilingual mailer from Let SF Kids Play, the pro-I foundation bolstered by Robert, William, and John Fisher — sons of wealthy businessman Don Fisher, who co-founded The Gap. The flier shows a picture of a Latino kid with a soccer ball, standing near a fenced-off soccer pitch. Below it is the kicker: "Because he deserves to play on soccer fields in his own neighborhood."

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Big Tobacco Makes a Comeback in California: Even Democrats Are Taking Money From Tobacco Companies

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Big tobacco loves you - FLICKR/ GRAYWOLFX47
The tobacco industry is tightening its grip on California politics in attempt to block anti-tobacco legislation — and its working, according to a new study from UCSF.

Big tobacco has donated some $64 million to various political campaigns over the last six years, including to Gov. Jerry Brown's gubernatorial campaigns. As a result, the anti-tobacco industry is losing steam in California, the study says. 

Researchers point to the facts: California has the 33rd lowest cigarette tax in the nation, and none of the seven bills introduced to increase the cigarette excise tax from 2007 to 2014 even got past the legislature. The shifting priorities of political leaders becomes more apparent as California has yet to regulate e-cigarettes, a new product from which the tobacco industry stands to gain billions. 

Meanwhile, the anti-tobacco industry is seeing its program funding sliced, and it's now half of what it was in 1988. 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

SideCar CEO Helps Boost the Anti-Campos Campaign

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 3:30 PM

David vs. David - NOAH BERGER
  • Noah Berger
  • David vs. David
The fight over David Chiu's newly-ratified Airbnb legislation heated up two weeks ago, when word got out that Airbnb investor Ron Conway and his wife, Gayle, had poured some $75,000 into an independent expenditure committee to crush Chiu's rival, David Campos, in the assembly race this November.

And the money for "San Franciscans to Hold Campos Accountable" keeps rolling in, as more tech companies try to make good with the city family. Right now, the committee has more than $700,000 in its coffers, and the meter keeps ticking up.

So far, the biggest contributor is LinkedIn co-founder — and early Airbnb backer — Reid Hoffman, whose $600,000 contributions account for the lion's share of the fund. Last week, SideCar founder Sunil Paul chipped in $5,000 of his own. Silicon Valley investor Justin Fishner-Wolfson, a managing partner in the firm 137 Ventures, donated $10,000 in early October.

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Protesters Accuse Airbnb of Desecrating San Francisco's Neighborhoods

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

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Community activists are scattering flowers and planting votive candles outside the mayor's office this morning as a symbolic memorial to San Francisco's neighborhoods, which, they say, will deteriorate as more and more people convert their homes and apartments into Airbnb vacation squats. 

Protesters convened on the Polk Street steps at 10:30 a.m. and marched to the mayor's office to protest his signing of David Chiu's controversial Airbnb legislation. The new law would allow tenants and homeowners to rent out units to tourists, so long as they register with the city and live on the property for 9 months out of the year. *It does not touch upon the estimated $25 million in back taxes that Airbnb owes San Francisco.

Critics, including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, call this measure a blind capitulation to the $13 billion company. Protesters say the $25 million could be used to purchase new ambulances, fund public transit, or pay the annual salaries of 250 teachers or nurses — some of whom have joined today's protest.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

America Grows Up: Juicy Gay Sex Scandal Fails to Draw the Nation's Ire

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 3:31 PM

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Fairly or not, gay Republicans are going to draw extra heavy scrutiny and have a tough row to hoe. So it’s probably a bad idea for an LGBT conservative to allow his or her campaign to devolve into a nasty sex scandal.

Openly gay Republican Carl De Maio is running for Congress in a swing district in San Diego against Scott Peters, who is in his first term and among the most vulnerable House Democrats in the state. That’s news in and of itself, but De Maio's ambitions seem to be disintegrating.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tech, Capitalists Happily Bankrolling Modest Drug Reform. Will They Pay To Legalize Marijuana?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 7:31 AM

click image Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna, drug-reforming tech billionaires. - GOODVENTURES.ORG
  • Goodventures.org
  • Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna, drug-reforming tech billionaires.
Drugs bring people together. So does shoplifting, petty theft and other small-time crimes. An uncommon cadre of well-heeled individuals have coalesced over the crimes mentioned — or, more accurately, they're bankrolling an effort led by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón to make the above less-serious crimes.

As of now, it's possible to be charged with a felony for nonviolent simple possession of drugs in California. That's right: you can kiss your shot at an education and most jobs goodbye just from getting high. Prop. 47 would change most drug possession felonies to misdemeanors, and helping Gascón convince California that this is a good idea are some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.

There's Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, newly minted big-time political power player Sean Parker, and some old-time capitalists. These are some of the same names that will be tapped to fund any future marijuana legalization measure.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Airbnb Legislation Under Attack Today

Posted By and on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 11:45 AM

They are coming...
  • They are coming...
It's not every day that a sitting U.S. Senator takes out an op-ed in the city's paper of record to argue that municipal legislation is crap, and sets an evil precedent. 

But that's just what Sen. Dianne Feinstein has done with regard to this city's capitulation to Airbnb. This would seem to be unprecedented. But it could portend more than just griping from up on high. This could lead to changes in the city's nascent Airbnb legislation.

That's because the David Chiu-spawned ordinance needs to pass a second reading at today's Board of Supervisors meeting in order to gain passage, head to the desk of (unabashed Airbnb supporter) Mayor Ed Lee, and clear the way for you to bump into Norweigans with rolly bags in your hallway even more than you already do. 

SF Weekly has learned that fervent behind-the-scenes wrangling is going on at this very moment and, likely, all the way up to and during the 2 p.m. meeting. At issue isn't so much whether the supes will reverse their 7-4 vote authorizing the legislation but revisit a number of spurned amendments, many of which only failed by a 6-5 vote. 

And, in this case, many eyes will turn to Supervisor Malia Cohen, who is "a" if not "the" swing vote. 

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