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News and Politics | San Francisco Bay Guardian

Big Soda's big money

Pepsi and Coke may spend millions to defeat SF's sugary beverage tax

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joe@sfbg.com

Big soda industry players including Pepsico and Coca Cola spent at least $2.5 million two years ago to defeat Richmond's sugary beverage tax initiative, which lost in a landslide. Richmond's ballot measure to tax sodas and curb obesity drowned in a sweet, carbonated tide of money.Read more »

Photo Gallery: Skaters love new SoMa West park

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Chances are, you'll find Jonathan Dean at the SoMa West skatepark. Dean, 23, is a San Francisco native who spends the majority of his free time at the newly opened skatepark located on Duboce Avenue between Valencia and Otis.

"I've been here every single day, except the first day the park opened," Dean told the Guardian. "Everybody here loves this park. It feels like you're skating on a street."Read more »

Refugee crisis hits home

Waves of child immigrants await court dates in San Francisco, facing deportation back to their violent home countries without legal representation

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joe@sfbg.com

In the small, colorful Precita Valley Community Center, a woman clutches a black ceramic goblet, circling a teenage girl with wisps of incense, and repeats the act with the 60 or so attendees. The spiritual cleansing ritual is much needed. Afterward, the San Franciscans will set their minds to saving the lives of children.Read more »

King of the commons

Departing director of Sunday Streets made community organizing the key to opening up public space

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steve@sfbg.com

When Susan King attends the Aug. 24 Sunday Streets in the Mission District — the 50th incarnation of this car-free community gathering, coming the week before her 50th birthday — it will be her last as director of an event she started in 2008.

That successful run was made possible by King's history as a progressive community organizer who also knew how to do fundraising, a rare combination that has made Sunday Streets more than just a bicycle event, a street faire, or a closure of streets to cars that the city imposes on its neighborhoods on a rotating basis.Read more »

Last chapters?

The threat to San Francisco bookstores goes beyond Amazon and ebooks to rising rents and demand for commercial space

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news@sfbg.com

The tale of the threatened independent bookstore, quivering under the might of Amazon, is nothing new.

It's only been two months since Marcus Books was evicted from its Fillmore District location. Both Adobe and Forest bookstores fled the Mission's 16thh Street last year. But ebook sales growth is shrinking, and sales for many of San Francisco bookstores are up.Read more »

The age of the brogrammer

Solving tech's diversity problem may be a key to saving San Francisco

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"Die techie scum." Those words are sprayed ominously on sidewalks throughout San Francisco. They're plastered on stickers stamped on lampposts. They're even scrawled in the bathrooms of punk bars, the very establishments now populated by Google-Glass-wearing tech aficionados.Read more »

Motorists fight back

Ballot measure seeks to prioritize cars and undermine SF's "transit-first" policy

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Believing that they're somehow discriminated against on the streets of San Francisco, a new political coalition of motorists, conservatives, and neighborhood NIMBYs last week [Mon/7] turned in nearly twice the signatures they need to qualify the "Restore Transportation Balance in San Francisco" initiative for the November ballot.Read more »

Revitalized

Zendesk's new corporate headquarters shows dramatic transformation of mid-Market, while bitter eviction battles drag on down the street

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rebecca@sfbg.com

Although the mid-Market Street headquarters of Twitter was targeted with protests by the city's largest employee union this spring, Zendesk was technically the first company to take advantage of what came to be known as the Twitter tax break.

Crafted by Mayor Ed Lee along with Sups. David Chiu and Jane Kim in 2011, that controversial policy lured the elite tech sector to the central core with the promise of payroll-tax exclusion — leading progressives to deride it as corporate welfare, served up to an industry already soaked in venture capital.Read more »

Beyond the bros

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EDITORIAL

San Francisco's rapid economic growth is increasingly being framed in reference to the Tale of Two Cities, and signs of its staggering wealth gap are ubiquitous. Luxury retailers are gravitating to the South Bay to cater to the tastes of newly minted millionaires, the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, while low-wage workers on opposite sides of the Bay are charging forward with campaigns to increase the minimum wage, since soaring rents and a rising cost of living have made it tricky to achieve basic economic survival.Read more »

Taxing speculators

Rival housing measures debated in City Hall, previewing high-stakes battles at the ballot

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steve@sfbg.com

Political tensions over evictions, displacement, real estate speculation, and rapidly rising housing costs in San Francisco are likely to heat up through the summer and autumn as a trio of November ballot measures are debated and combated by what's expected to be a flood of campaign cash from developers and other real estate interests.Read more »