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LA VIE EN ROSE (La Môme) – Biography of Edith Piaf A Sensation at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival

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PIAF – Images by Gaston Girbal and Bruno Calvo

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Director Olivier Dahan has uplifted the art of cinematic biography in his truly extraordinary story of Édith Piaf, LA VIE EN ROSE. Also known as “La Môme” – loosely translated as “the brat” – the film kicks and screams new life into the legendary Parisian chanteuse whose particular voice and message has withstood the Test of Time. Marion Cotillard’s performance as the tragic singer is miraculous. She embodies Edith Piaf as much as Edith Piaf personifies the heart and voice of France. Marion Cotillard places the term, “a great performance”, on the highest note of the scale.

Plucked from obscurity, the young Piaf begins her career with a song of freedom, the French National Anthem – “La Marseillaise”. Her father, a wandering minstrel street contortionist (played by Jean-Paul Rouve), is literally bending himself in half to eke out a living. One dreary morning, having fascinated a few on-lookers wrapping his knee around his neck, he hastily urges his shy and embarrassed little girl to step forward and sing.

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JEAN-PAUL ROUVE – as Edith’s father, Louis Gassion and PAULINE BURLET – as 8 year old Edith. Photo by Bruno Calvo

Even then, young Edith’s voice and demeanor strikes empathy and common understanding among the passers-by. Fast-forward to 1935, the 20-year-old Edith – still singing in the streets, but with the fiery façade of a young woman – her vibrant chansons strike the discerning ear of a gentleman who hands her a card. Directed to a small but popular café, she steps forward and sings to producer Louis Leplée (Gérard Depardieu). After an inauspicious appearance in front of the café’s dimly-lit shocked and amazed regulars, Edith is spruced-up and entrusted to a smart vocal coach (see below). After refining her musicianship and drawing-out her latent talents as an actress, the approving teacher and savvy producer push her onto a larger stage with professional musicians and one very focused center spotlight.

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With eyes on The Sparrow

Director Olivier Dahan did not personally know Gerard Depardieu prior to engaging him for the film. “Alain [producer Alain Goldman] suggested him to me,” says Dahan. “He plays Louis Leplée, who gave Edith her big break. From our very first meeting, we got on well. Gérard is similar to Piaf. He doesn’t distinguish between life and art. They intermingle.”

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GÉRARD DEPARDIEU, as Louis Leplée – OLIVIER DAHAN, Director

Producer Alain Goldman worked with Depardieu on the epic biography of Christopher Columbus, 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Says Goldman, “In my career as a producer, he was the first actor I signed up for a film. When we got back from the shoot in Costa Rica, he predicted that we’d work together for twenty years. Ever since, I ask him to participate on each of my projects, even if only for a few days. Making a film with Gérard is not just making a film, it’s writing a small page of movie history.”

The city of Prague can boast of its success as “The Primary Location” (around four months-worth of locally-enjoyed capital gains) for the filming of La Môme, with a handful of time allotted to Los Angeles and – oh, yes – Paris. The scenes in New York were shot in a studio and not the one (left over from Rent) out at Treasure Island.

Goldman goes on. “The film required lots of period sets. Some of them, such as a hallway in a hotel with a view of New York, were built for a single scene or even a single shot. There was a huge variety of sets of all sizes. The film goes from handcarts to limousines as Piaf went from early 20th century rural to mid-20th century urban. I didn’t want to reenact it, but to immerse the audience in it. The narrative had to be impressionist, not linear. I wanted to intertwine various periods, skipping from one period to another by associating ideas or images, like when memories flash through your mind. Olivier Raoux, the production designer, was superb. On top of that, the finesse and chiaroscuro of Tetsuo Nagata’s lighting gave me stunning precision visually. It was the first time I had worked with him and I was mesmerized by his mastery of light.”

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MARION COTILLARD and JEAN-PIERRE MARTINS

With its spectacular soundtrack, die-hard fans of Edith Piaf will wallow in the authenticity of Cotillard’s performance. She is spot-on with the lip-syncing and – when in the act of belting a song to the last row – exudes the energy of a finely-tuned roadster

“I like to sing”, admits Ms. Cotillard, “but the technical process of miming to a tape was the hardest thing for me, simply because I wanted it to be perfect. I worked with a singing teacher to learn how Piaf sang – her body and tongue movements, and breathing. It was so complicated it nearly drove me insane. If I had tapes of her singing a particular song, I analyzed her performance. I noticed that being in rhythm isn’t enough when you’re miming. Your breathing is vital. I would jot down the exact moment when she took a breath then I’d put the music on and film myself singing to camera. I spent whole nights taking notes on what not to do! I wanted it to be Piaf.”

Performers are always asked about their “influences” – the question generally geared toward the related artists and celebrities (past and present) whose work inspired choices and kindled determination. One of the most unexpected revelations about the influences of Edith Piaf is her personal relationship with St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897, canonized 1925). In 2002, the Catholic Church raised Thérèse – affectionately known as “The Little Flower” – to the level of Doctor of the Church. Faithful followers in the cult of Thérèse know that with her – it’s all in the eyes. Edith Piaf, topping off at 4′ 8″, was nicknamed “The Little Sparrow” by producer Leplée. Little Edith suffers a serious setback resulting in what most believe will be permanent blindness. She is taken to the saint’s gravesite and prays for recovery. Upon her return home, that being a brothel, patience runs thin as Edith removes her bandage. She can see. Done! For the rest of her life, Edith will seek the calming gaze of Soeur Thérèse.

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MANON CHEVALLIER (as Edith, age 5) and St. THÉRÈSE de LISIEUX, age 22 (1895)

“After my death”, said the young Carmelite nun (a victim of tuberculosis at 24) “I will let fall a shower of roses. I will spend my Heaven doing good on earth.” Perhaps in the same spirit, Edith says, “For me, singing is a way of escaping. It is another world. I’m no longer on earth.”

Not quite. After the gates slammed shut behind her, 15-year-old Thérèse never went beyond the convent walls. But in 2002, to celebrate the awarding of her Doctorate, her relics were placed into a small, elegantly ornate sarcophagus and sent out for a First World Tour. Arriving in New York City, a highly-polished group of uniformed police accompanied the precious cabin and its decorated guest into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and placed Doctor Thérèse under a large glass case. Visitors lined-up for days. Edith Piaf died of cancer in 1963. The Church denied her a Funeral Mass – citing the usual. But the enormous procession to Cimetière du Père Lachaise caused all of Paris to stop, to take notice, and to honor. In 1998, thirty-five years after her death, Piaf’s signature tune, “La Vie en Rose” was draped with the recording industry’s most coveted mantle, the Grammy Hall of Fame Award. The DVD and soundtrack of La Môme will be available worldwide.

La Vie en Rose was a golden choice to close the 50th Anniversary of the San Francisco International Film Festival. Premieres in New York and Los Angeles are scheduled for June 8th. For its star, Marion Cotillard, the shower of roses is just beginning.

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MARION COTILLARD – Edith’s First and Lasting Lights

See Seán’s recent articles and interviews:
SPIDER-MAN 3, An All-American Cinematic Marvel
RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records in SAN FRANCISCO
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo

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San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published over 2,000 responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing tecniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, visit Broadwaybelters.com, email Seán at seanmartinfield@att.net.

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CONTEMPORARY JEWISH MUSEUM rises under direction of world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind

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Blue stainless steel cross-hatching diffuses light reflection as Architect Daniel Libeskind’s vision for a new Contemporary Jewish Museum takes shape meant to “bring together tradition and innovation in order to explore the relevance of Jewish values and traditions in the 21st century and beyond.”
Photos by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Architect Daniel Libeskind offered a glimpse Monday of the new Contemporary Jewish Museum set to open next Spring.

Custom made blue steel panels built with cross-hatching surface finish softening light reflection highlighted media tour.

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Connie Wolfe, Director and CEO of The Contemporary Jewish Museum, (left) Joseph R. Seiger, Board of Trustees and Building Committee Chairman, (second from left) Daniel Libeskind architect of the Contemporary Jewish Museum tour inside the CJM

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View from the first floor looking up through the skeleton of the building

Libeskind’s design revives the Jessie Street Power Substation by preserving its character defining features and transforming it into a striking contemporary space that makes visible the relationship between the new and the old.

The building is a physical embodiment of the CJM’s mission to bring together tradition and innovation in order to explore the relevance of Jewish values and traditions in the 21st century and beyond, Libeskind noted.

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Architect Daniel Libeskind

The museum “will be a lively center that welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds to experience dynamic and diverse cultural programs and educational activities. Inspired by the Hebrew phrase l’chaim, meaning ‘to life,’ pledged Libeskind.

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Connie Wolfe, CEO of the CJM and architiect Daniel Libeskind hold a artist rendering of the completed plaza entrance to the CJM

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Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and East Bay media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past two years.

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In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL JERRY BROWN joins other states in Federal Court of Appeals to force higher gas emission standards on Bush Administration

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California Attorney General Jerry Brown before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Building in San Francisco May 14
Photos by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Lawyers for California, 10 other states and four environmental groups asked a federal appeals court in San Francisco Monday to order the Bush administration to reconsider gas mileage standards for light trucks by taking account of global warming.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown charged outside the hearing before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that standards set by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in March were “dangerously misguided.”

Regulated vehicles could produce six times the emissions of all California, reported an environmental watch spokeswoman.

“The lifetime greenhouse gas emissions of the regulated vehicles will be nearly six times the entire annual emissions of the State of California,” said Kassie Siegel, climate program director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

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Kassie Siegel shares concern with Attorney General Jerry Brown

“Raising fuel-economy standards is one of the most important actions the government can take to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. This case is an attempt to hold the Bush administration accountable for its predictable refusal to do so.”

The standards would increase fuel economy requirements for SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks from the current 22.2 miles per gallon of gasoline to 23.5 miles by 2010.

Brown said, “After years of neglect, it is unconscionable to increase vehicle mileage standards by only one mile per gallon.

“What they’re doing is trivial at best and dangerous at worst,” he charged.

The attorney general said the standards affect not only the environment but also national security by failing to reduce reliance on Middle Eastern oil.

The states and environmental groups claim the highway agency’s decision process was flawed because it didn’t consider the impact of Greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles on global warming.

They want the appeals court to order a full environmental impact statement on the planned standards.

Deputy California Attorney General Susan Fiering told a three-judge panel, “This is a major source of greenhouse gases. Fuel economy will have a direct effect on greenhouse gases from trucks.”

Sean Donahue, representing the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, argued, “The agency totally omitted the value of reducing greenhouse gas emissions” when it assigned a zero value to such reductions during a cost-benefit analysis.

But U.S. Justice Department attorney Thomas Byron contended the agency “took a broad look at a number of ways of addressing competing issues” and did its best to consider “how to adapt efficient technology in a way that benefits the entire country the most.”

The panel took the case under consideration after an hour-long hearing and will issue a written ruling at a later date.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and East Bay media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past two years.

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STREET VIOLENCE nicks two by bullet near Garfield Park

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Two people were shot Sunday evening in San Francisco’s Mission District, not far from Garfield Square, according to a San Francisco police patrol officer.

The shooting occurred at 7:54 p.m. near the intersection of 26th and Harrison streets. Two victims suffered non life threatening injuries and were driven by a third person to the hospital.

Bay City News

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SAN FRANCISCO POLITICAL LEADERSHIP commits to ‘Next Generation’ Housing and Schools Campaign

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Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

In resurrgent unanimity, the entire political leadership of San Francisco has signed on to a strategy for retaining City families.

Developed by Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, the plan would:

– Double the City’s current affordable housing pipeline of 1,500 (recently revised to 1,700), to 3,000 by 2011.

– Increase the opportunity for all students to go to college or living wage work, with an emphasis on African American, Latino, and Pacific Islander students. Raise the achievement of all students so that at least 60% of students in all racial groups have the opportunity to go to college by 2011.

– Budget for high quality childcare, violence prevention and alternatives to incarceration, youth employment, family support services as well as health and after school services.

As of May 11, Mayor Gavin Newsom, School Superintendent Gwen Chan, the San Francisco School Board, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as well as state legislators back the agenda.

Students, parents, and officials celebrated unanimity of purpose Saturday in Civic Center.

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NTanya Lee, Executive Director of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth at left

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JOHN HAN
Sentinel Photographer
For the last year, John Han served Sentinel readership as a freelance photographer. He has that natural eye for photography which cannot be developed or learned. He has earned a following of clients, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California. John joined the Sentinel fulltime in April, 2007.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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LUXURY WAG HOTEL welcomed by San Francisco pet lovers

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Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

The luxury Wag Hotel opened to five star review Saturday, an 18,000 square-foot boarder to dogs and cats, in a town where facials and massage matter.

Wag Hotel clientele are sheltered from glare of the world, awaiting massage and facial, where the air, of course, is recycled a tidy every ten minutes.

Done seizing the political moment of San Francisco as Wag Connect.

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From distant locale, the busy traveling pet guardian may check in on one’s beloved via real-time WagCam, as poochy reclines on plush raised bedding, amid artwork, and flat screen television soothing the spirit with cartoons and Animal Planet programming.

And Fluffy takes note of Aquarium inhabitant frolic.

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Personalized attention with state-of-the-art health and security standards are the hallmark of Wag Hotel, according to founder Ritu Raj.

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Ritu Raj, right, as San Francisco Wag Hotel opens ceremoniously with ribbon cutting by San Francisco PAWS Executive Director John Lipp

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“As a pet owner and frequent traveler, I know how important it is to have a place that ensures the health and safety of my bulldog, Zoebee,” said Raj. “That’s why I created Wag.”

A centrally linked cleaning and disinfecting system allows for easy and frequent cleaing with safe and gentle solvents. An advanced air filtration system eliminates odors and airborne germs and the facility is equipped with latest fire suppression systems.

“Guests keep active with twice daily supervised play groups and relax with classical music,” Raj reminded.

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Pirvate rooftop setting

Individualized services may be summoned for supervised swimming, private walks, and spa services such as pawdicures, facials, massage, and cosmetology.

The first Wag Hotel opened in Sacramento, surpassing occupancy expectations, in 2004. A third Wag Hotel will open soon in Sunnyvale with more planned for the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, and across the nation.

Each hotel is complemented by adjacent Wag Store offering hard-to-find clothing accessories, edible items, toys and bedding.

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Cheryl Baker of San Jose assesses the very best for Maggie during Saturday Grand Opening

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Jade, left, and Armani accompany guardian Valerie Valintina, center, all with homes in San Francisco

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For discerning guardians, the rainbow has landed.

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JOHN HAN
Sentinel Photographer
For the last year, John Han served Sentinel readership as a freelance photographer. He has that natural eye for photography which cannot be developed or learned. He has earned a following of clients, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California. John joined the Sentinel fulltime in April, 2007.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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2007 SAN FRANCISCO DECORATOR SHOWCASE – Featuring Broadway Mansion Atop Pacific Heights

Annual Benefit for San Francisco University High School through Monday, May 28, 2007

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

As a young vocal student I was privileged to study with one of the most gifted and beloved figures on San Francisco’s musical/cultural scene – Mr. James H. Schwabacher. Walking towards his home on Broadway, just a few doors down from 2901 at the corner of Baker (note the NE corner of aerial photo) – with opera scores in hand and crooning a few scales to be all nice & ready for the Maestro – I often wondered if the music we generated in his grand studio breezed-up to the tennis court at the mansion on the corner. With definitions of “racket” in mind, I smile at the fact that both houses are currently for sale, the larger of the two (also with a great music room) sporting a tag of $55 million.

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The Air over Broadway & Baker

San Francisco Decorator Showcase is an annual benefit for the financial aid program of San Francisco University High School. Since the first Showcase in 1977, more than $9 million has been raised, benefiting thousands of students.

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase will celebrate its 30th year in grand style by remaking the stunning four-story mansion at 2901 Broadway Street (at Baker) on top of Pacific Heights. Designed in 1927 by award-winning architect Henry Clay Smith for industrialist Milton S. Ray, the mansion is being opened to the public for the first time ever.

For the past three decades, the San Francisco Decorator Showcase has featured the work of the West Coast’s most distinctive interior and landscape designers, and has included such luminaries as John Dickinson, William Gaylord and Michael Taylor. The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is widely considered to be one of the premiere showcase events in the country. For its 30th anniversary, the San Francisco Decorator Showcase will invite back veteran alumni from past Showcases for “A Celebration of San Francisco Design.” This year’s Showcase will be a must-see for design aficionados as well as for people who want a rare look inside one of San Francisco’s most architecturally significant residences.

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STEVEN MILLER DESIGN – Details of Dining Room

This year’s home at 2901 Broadway is steeped in local history and lore. Herbert Hoover’s wife, Lou Henry Hoover, bought the uneven and rocky lot in 1912. The Hoovers eventually sold the lot to family friend, Milton S. Ray, an engineer who created a new kind of oil burner that revolutionized the shipping industry. Ray hired Henry Clay Smith, well known as San Francisco’s “hilltop architect”, to design the house and solve the problem of the uneven lot. Eventually, the home was built on a cantilever grade beam grounded in two rocky outcroppings. The Ray family lived in the home until Milton’s death in 1946, when the home was sold to local businessman Mitchel Mitchell, for $93,000. Mitchell’s daughter, Gladyne Mitchell, still owns the home today.

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KENDALL WILKINSON DESIGN – Detail of Master Bedroom

The classic four-story mansion at 2901 Broadway Street boasts 10,000 square feet of living space in addition to one of the only private outdoor tennis courts in Pacific Heights. Designed in the Renaissance style, the ornate exterior friezes and entablature were recently restored by the same craftsmen who restored San Francisco City Hall and War Memorial Opera House. The home has seven bedrooms and 6 ½ bathrooms on four levels of living space that include a mezzanine. A grand formal entrance opens to formal dining and living rooms and a bright music room.

The mansion at 2901 Broadway is being offered on the real estate market by the real estate team of Dona Crowder, Peggy Economos and Constance Heldman. Interested? Visit www.2901broadwaystreet.com.

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is open to the public until May 28th:
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Sunday and Memorial Day: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Showcase is closed on Mondays (except for Memorial Day). An audio tour is included in the price of admission. Tickets are available at the door for $30; $25 for seniors. For more information and to schedule group tours, call (415) 447-5830, or visit decoratorshowcase.org. Parking is extremely limited; all visitors are strongly encouraged to take the Showcase Shuttle.

See Seán’s recent articles and reviews:
SPIDER-MAN 3, An All-American Cinematic Marvel
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records in SAN FRANCISCO
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet

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San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on AllExperts.com . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: seanmartinfield@att.net.

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CHARLOTTE SHULZ, by Command of The Queen, Honorary Commander of the Royal Victorian Order

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From the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Protocol

BY PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher

Charlotte, your Charlotte, Chief of Protocol for San Francisco and for California, now bears an added title…

Dame Charlotte… Honorary Commander of The Royal Victorian Order…

Bestowed by Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith…

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Insginia of The Royal Victorian Order

San Francisco’s Charlotte was taken into the Order, established in 1896 by Queen Victoria, during Her Majesty’s State Dinner at the White House…

Honored by the throne for her “long record of service assisting Royal visitors to the United States West Coast,” acknowledged San Francisco British Consul General Martin Uden…

“Her assistance over the years to members of the Royal Family has been invaluable,” stated Uden…

“Without her, Royal visits such as the 2005 visit by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall just wouldn’t have been the success they were. I am thrilled that she is receiving this exceptional honor personally from Her Majesty The Queen”…

“My job as Chief of Protocol for San Francisco and now for California, has afforded me the opportunity and privilege to welcome Her Majesty, members of the Royal Family and many other guests from the United Kingdom,” returned Our Dame…

“These experiences were rewarding in and of themselves…

“I share this award with the many Californians who have helped to welcome our guests and to showcase our great state. I am extremely grateful for this distinguished honor and I will be forever inspired by Her Majesty”…

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CHARLOTTE SCHULZ, Chief of Protocol for the City and County of San Francisco, Chief of Protocol for the State of California, Honorary Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Photo by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

See Related: ROYALS

PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and East Bay media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past three years.

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San Francisco WiFi agreement said to save internet users $9 to $18 million annually

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By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

San Francisco internet users stand to save from $9 milliion to $18 million annually if an agreement between the City and EarthLink is adopted, according to a study by San Franicsco Controller Ed Harrington.

The agreement, proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, also would reduce the digitial divide by “helping to incorporate low-income and disadvantaged populations into the economic mainstream,” according to Harrington.

The measure will be considered Monday by the Budget and Finance Committee for recommendation to the full Board of Supervisors. It will be heard at 2:00 p.m., San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place (formerly Polk Street).

Committee members include Chair Chris Daly and Members Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty, Ross Mirkarimi, Sean Elsbernd.

Daly and Ammiano have expressed opposition to the plan, contending a City owned and operated WiFi network eventually would provide greater savings.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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$28 MILLION HOUSING supplemental becomes law without San Francisco Mayor’s signature – Newsom vows not to spend money City does not have – City housing to be addressed in June 1 budget

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

San Francisco Mayor Newsom today permitted a $28 million hike in the City’s current budget to become law without his signature vowing not to “spend funds which we do not have.”

The mayor’s office has authority to decide which Board approved funds to spend.

In a letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which passed the supplemental spending ordinance, Newsom said “last-minute spending measures such as this one increase the deficit and result in more spending cuts — including cuts in areas this supplemental is intended to address.”

The Newsom administration will address housing in the budget which the mayor is required by City Charter to submit by June 1.

Newsom’s letter to the Board of Supervisors follows:

Dear Supervisors,

Today I return unsigned an ordinance approving $28.05 million in supplemental spending at the end of the current fiscal year (file 070407).

This last minute spending measure doubles the City’s budget deficit in the coming fiscal year, and therefore my administration will not spend funds which we do not have.

In just three weeks, my office will submit to the Board of Supervisors a proposed balanced budget for the coming fiscal year. To balance the budget, each year the fund balance remaining at the end of the year is applied to the coming year’s budget.

Without any additional spending, the Controller projects that the City will end this fiscal year with a fund balance of $126.6 million. Applying every dollar of this $126.6 million fund balance to the next year, we still face a $25.4 million budget deficit beginning in July.

The Controller recently affirmed in the Nine Month Report that with this last-minute supplemental appropriation (and two other smaller spending measures also introduced), the budget deficit balloons to over $54.7 million.

In the current fiscal environment, last-minute spending measures such as this one increase the deficit and result in more spending cuts — including cuts in areas this supplemental is intended to address.

Bridging the City’s budget deficit requires real sacrifices that impact meaningful City
programs.

By way of a few examples, every $1 million of deficit spending now prevents us from funding 83,000 hours of In Home Supportive Services for the elderly; or operating costs for 85 units of supportive housing; or 14 recreation directors; or 10 new police officers; or 2 ambulances; or the installation of 120 curb ramps; or the paving of 25 City streets.

I am further concerned that this supplemental appropriation did not receive the Board’s customary, comprehensive review and analysis. I believe that the City and the public is much better served when all of the information is available before financial decisions of this magnitude are considered.

All of us share affordable housing, the subject of this supplemental spending, as a key budget priority. I am proud of the fact that together we allocated over $200 million in the last fiscal year (an increase of more than $66 million from the prior year) to assist in the creation or preservation of more than 2,900 affordable housing units.

This funding represented a record investment in affordable housing. The proposed budget that I will present to the Board in three weeks will continue to prioritize the creation of affordable housing.

However, I believe that spending available funds now which we will need in a matter of weeks to balance our budget is akin to spending available cash from a monthly paycheck before next month’s bills are paid.

It represents a marked departure from the prudent, collaborative approach that has allowed us to weather economic downturns and earn our City’s stellar bond rating.

Last year, our budget collaboration began in March when together we considered supplemental spending measures that anticipated greatly increased revenues in the Controller’s Nine-Month Report.

Indeed, last year we invested $67 million in revenue growth while still planning a thoughtful budget for the coming fiscal year. This year, such good news has not materialized. The Nine-Month report revealed a mere $3.8 million in additional available revenue which covers just 15% of the projected budget shortfall.

Our work to balance the budget while prioritizing shared priorities is significantly more challenging this year than last.

I look forward to working together over the coming two months to pass a budget for the next fiscal year that reflects our shared priorities — something we have done successfully over the last three years.

Together, I believe we can pass a budget that preserves our legacy of fiscal stewardship while balancing the diverse needs of all San Franciscans.

Sincerely,
Gavin Newsom

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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SAN FRANCISCO TUBERCULOSIS rate highest of US metro areas – New drug resistant strain kills 1, sickens 6 – San Francisco vulnerable to pandemic due to high number of immigrants, travelers, poverty

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By Tamara Barak

San Francisco health officials are struggling with a drug resistant strain of tuberculosis that since late 2005 has killed one person and sickened six others.

Health investigators believe the strain came from the former Soviet Union and infected tenants in a Tenderloin residential motel, said Dr. Masae Kawamura, director of the tuberculosis control section of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

All but two of those sickened have been residents of the single-occupancy motel, which Kawamura declined to name.

The first person became sick at the end of 2005, but wasn’t diagnosed until January of 2006 due to the delay in getting test results from an outside laboratory.

Since then, city health officials have been on high alert.

“It’s a really virulent strain and it causes extensive disease. People have died and are really sick from it,” Kawamura said.

A 56-year-old man who lived in the Tenderloin motel succumbed to the disease in May of last year. Another patient is hospitalized in critical condition.

The other five people who came down with the disease are expected to recover.

“We got them on the right regimen from the beginning and they’re doing very well,” Kawamura said.

The strain does not respond to traditional tuberculosis drugs.

“This treatment is more toxic and more painful, because you have to have injections five days a week, as well as taking pills,” Kawamura said.

Since the outbreak, health officials have held screenings at the motel. They were able to test more than 80 percent of residents for the disease at a screening in April.

“It’s very difficult to get the residents to comply. They want their privacy and they’re not sick – but that’s when we want to prevent TB,” Kawamura said.

Most people infected with the disease do not come down with symptoms, but are carriers.

“Those who get sick from the disease are just the tip of the iceberg. Most people who get infected don’t develop the disease,” Kawamura said.

With 37 percent of its population being foreign-born and a large number of international tourists, San Francisco has the highest tuberculosis rate of any metropolitan area in the U.S., Kawamura said.

“TB is a disease of poverty and migration. San Francisco is a beacon for travelers and immigrants so we’re especially vulnerable to pandemics,” she said.

Tuberculosis flourishes in countries without effective health care systems and about 75 to 80 percent of tuberculosis cases in San Francisco affect foreign-born individuals. However, residential motels also play a role in the spread due to poor ventilation and close living quarters, Kawamura said.

“It becomes kind of a tinderbox effect,” she said.

Bay City News

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SOUTHWEST AIRLINES returns to San Francisco – Discount fares — More flights planned

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Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Southwest Airlines returns to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) this summer offering non-stop discounted flights to San Diego for $39, to Los Vegas for $59, and to Chicago for $89.

The airline also will offer 46 other destinations from SFO, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly reported this morning. Eighteen daily non-stop flights are scheduled with flights to 46 other destinations beginning August 26.

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Southwest Airline CEO Gary Kelly

Boost to San Francisco economy is estimated to be at least $24 million with a minimum of 4,000 new job creation, based on a study of airlines offering 10 daily flights, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom projected.

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

The study found that for every departing flight carrying 150 passengers, totaling 10 flights daily, 3,892 jobs were created and $23 million city revenue produced.

Southwest Airlines has scheduled nearly twice that number of flights.

“It’s a wonderful day when we can welcome back an old friend — in this case, Southwest Airlines — to San Francisco,” said Newsom.

“This new service out of SFO means passengers on this side of the Bay won’t have to travel far to take advantage of Southwest’s vase network of flights.” Flights out of Oakland Airport will not be reduced as a result of SFO Southwest service resumption, Kelly noted.

SFO negotiated lower service fees for Southwest to lure Southwest back to San Francisco.

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San Francisco International Airport Director John Martin, left, with Southwest Airline CEO Gary Kelly

Airport services fees now are approximately $10 per passenger to Southwest, enabling the airline to return to SFO, to cut fares, and expand flights, said Kelly.

“Southwest Airlines is California’s largest intrastate carrier, and our initial 18 daily nonstop flights from SFO will add to our Bay Area presence, while giving our customers additional access to the entire Southwest Network,” Kelly continued.

“We are America’s largest carrier in terms of passengers carried and available seats, so we are well positioned to grow Southwest and offer out customers unmatched flight frequencies and convenience.”

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JOHN HAN
Sentinel Photographer
For the last year, John Han served Sentinel readership as a freelance photographer. He has that natural eye for photography which cannot be developed or learned. He has earned a following of clients, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California. John joined the Sentinel fulltime in April, 2007.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL vicinity gas leak in San Francisco – Red alert Firefighter response

A noxious odor released from a 100-year-old cast-iron pipe in San Francisco’s Mission district this morning sickened 32 people and 13 of them were transported to local hospitals, officials reported.

The foul smell emerged from an underground pipe at around 11 a.m. today as Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews were working to replace the pipe with a new plastic pipe as part of an infrastructure improvement project near Tiffany Avenue and Valencia Street, utility spokeswoman Melissa Mooney said.

While the San Francisco Fire Department did not order any mandatory evacuations as a result of the smell, the incident did warrant a “red alert,” as more than 10 people were affected by the leak, a fire department dispatcher said.

A large group of people in the area of St. Luke’s Hospital voluntarily evacuated from several buildings, Mooney said.

Mooney said she was unsure whether any of the 13 people transported to local hospitals had been admitted as a result of the fumes.

The cast-iron pipe — which has reportedly been out of service since the 1940s — as well as water that had accumulated in the pipe, had retained the odor added as a precaution to natural gases, Mooney said. When crews opened the pipe, the odor was released.

PG&E workers quickly filled the pipe with sand as a means to quell the odor’s release, Mooney said.

Bay City News

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STREET VIOLENCE: Stabbing in the Excelsior – No Witnesses – No Suspects

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San Francisco police today are looking for clues in a stabbing in the Excelsior neighborhood Wednesday night that left one man with life-threatening injuries.

A passerby found the victim, described as a 22-year-old Hispanic man, lying on the corner of Geneva Avenue and Athens Street. He was suffering a stab wound to the abdomen, police said.

Investigators have no witnesses to the stabbing, and the victim has been unable to speak to police about the attack.

Bay City News


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STREET VIOLENCE: Shooting closes Fifth and Harrison offramp – Car riddled with bullets – Wounded man fighting for his life

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A man is fighting for his life after a gunman riddled his car with bullets on a San Francisco freeway offramp this afternoon — an attack one witness described as a “mafia-style execution.”

San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens said the unnamed victim was taken by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital after the 1:05 p.m. shooting at the end of the Interstate Highway 80 offramp and Fifth and Harrison streets.

The man suffered numerous gunshot wounds, including a shot to the chest, Gittens said.

Investigators do not believe it was a case of random violence.

“This appears to be a targeted shooting, based on the number of rounds fired,” Gittens said.

Witnesses watched in shock as the gunman got out of his vehicle and fired multiple shots into the victim’s blue Dodge Charger.

One young woman, who did not want to be named, said she was driving behind the Charger and a green vehicle and approaching the end of the ramp when traffic stopped at a light.

A man got out of the green vehicle and walked over to the Charger with a gun in his hand.

“He just opened fire until the light changed, then the green car sped up Fifth Street” toward downtown San Francisco, she said.

The two vehicles were driving at a normal speed as they approached the traffic light and there was nothing to indicate they were in dispute with one another, she said.

The woman said she pulled over and called 911.

“I said, ‘someone just got shot at an intersection.’”

Another witness, a woman who lives in the area and wished to remain anonymous, said she was walking on Fifth Street when she saw the shooting.

The gunman, a young, tall black man wearing a cap, was standing next to the victim’s passenger-side window holding what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle with two hands, she said.

“It looked like a mafia-style execution,” she said. After seeing about four shots, she sprinted down an alley. She could hear eight to 10 more shots as she was running, she said.

When she emerged, the gunman was gone. Medical personnel arrived and placed the man onto a stretcher.

“He was completely limp,” she said.

The victim’s car remained in the middle of the intersection this afternoon, its rear window shattered and blood on the ground and in the vehicle, which was riddled with more than a dozen bullet holes.

The Fifth and Harrison streets offramp remains closed to traffic this afternoon.

Harrison Street is closed between Fourth and Sixth streets and Fifth Street is closed between Bryant and Folsom streets.

Police do not have an estimate on when the streets will reopen,
Gittens said.

Investigators are urging anyone who witnessed the incident to call the San Francisco Police Department’s general works detail at (415) 553-1141, or the 24-hour anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.

By City News

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SPARKS NAMED POLICE COMMISSION PRESIDENT – Louise Renne resigns from Police Commission following vote – Alioto Veronese explains tie-breaking vote – First transgender police commission president

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President Theresa Sparks
Courtesy Alice B. Toklas LGBT Club

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Former Police Commission President Louise Renne today submitted her resignation from the commission to Mayor Gavin Newsom following loss of Renne’s preferred candidate for commission president.

Both the Police Commission secretary and the Mayor’s Office of Communications confirmed Renne’s resignation to the Sentinel.

The San Francisco Police Commission last night named Theresa Sparks as new commission president.

Sparks won the position on a 4-3 vote with Commissioner Joe Marshall receiving three votes.

Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese provided the fourth and tie-breaking vote in favor of Sparks.

Alioto Veronese explained his vote before the commission Wednesday.

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Joe Alioto Veronese

“There is no commissioner on this panel that is not capable of addressing the issues that this department faces in the coming years. Each of us brings a wealth of experiences, education and leadership to which this great City benefits. We do not represent any government entity, we represent the people of San Francisco,” stated Alioto Veronese.

“I have served on this commission for three years now with Commissioners Sparks, Marshall and Renne. I have a great appreciation for the hours we dedicate to serving this great City, and have great respect for the work of every commissioner that has come….and gone, including those hear with us today…

“I have spent much time considering this vote, an important one for the direction of the Department.

“Three years ago, Mayor Newsom choose Chief Fong to lead the members of this department through very complex difficulties, including staffing shortages, personnel issues, and public relations skirmishers… to say little of the her core responsibility to both fight and reduce crime.

“The chief has served our City and will continue to serve our City well. The chief has also done a masterful job of tolerating the various personalities in this city government. Throughout my tenure, although we have challenged the Chief, there can be no doubt that she has received the support of this full commission and each member individually. I can anticipate that such support will continue. No evidence exists to support a different conclusion, no matter this vote tonight.

“Under proposition H, we were given a decree which has over the last few years been blunt on its edges. While I have been a critique of this commission and its ability to make progress toward the end of fulfilling its vision, I am a strong believer that “no act is too small as long as something greater remains — Marco Tullio Cicerone.

“The people of this great city, through the vision of Supervisor Tom Amianno and Prop H have mandated that we, as a family of commissioners, department heads and members, be more responsive to the people that we serve: a peoples’ department that accelerates on its promise to be the best, the friendliest, the most advanced and efficient department, for all large cities to emulate. Where good people like officers Birco, Tsujimoto, Tuvera and Espinoza, gave their lives so that San Franciscans can live safely, we, as Commissioners have every obligation to fulfill this mandate … and more importantly, support our officers fully toward this end.

“I have known Joe Marshall on a personal and professional level for several years. I work with him on and off this commission to fulfill the promise of the Omega Boys Club. His work in the community is unparallel in this City. In many ways he is my mentor.

“I have also come to know Commissioner sparks and her tireless work on this commission to increase our budget and pass meaningful resolutions. She too, has earned my respect and admiration. Her work with the LBGT community and her representation thereof on this commission has been both historical and meaningful. More importantly, however, Commissioner Sparks is known to me to ask the right questions and challenging stale mentalities, which is the essence of our mandate. She has done so while maintaining the dignity this department is worthy of.

“My vote marks an historical moment for San Francisco , I know you can appreciate it as I do.. Commissioner Sparks has my vote and confidence… Congratulations Madam President.”

Also voting for Sparks were Commissioners Petra DeJesus, David Campos, and Sparks.

Voting for Marshall were Commissioners Marshall, Louise Renne, and Yvonne Lee.

Sparks is the first transgendered person to be elected president of a Police Commission in the United States.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past ten years. Pat scribes an offbeat view of the human family through Believe It or What.

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FILM: ‘Oops!’ – directed by Travis Darcy — named Grand Prize Winner of San Francisco International Film Festival GreenWorld Contest

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Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

From the San Francisco Film Society

The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) today announced that oops!, directed by Travis Darcy is the Grand Prize winner of the SFIFF50 GreenWorld Contest, an online competition for short films focused on the necessary conversations, changes, risks, leadership, and vision needed to make the world truly sustainable, created by Jumpcut, a Yahoo! company.

The Grand Prize winner—selected by Frances Beinecke, president, National Resources Defense Council, Ian Bricke, director, acquisitions and programming, Sundance Channel and Chris Paine, director, Who Killed the Electric Car?—and the online audience favorite, oops! again, were announced at the SFIFF50 Golden Gate Awards Ceremony by actor (The New World) and environmental advocate Q’orianka Kilcher. Darcy received a $1,000 cash award, round-trip domestic travel to San Francisco and a two-night stay at the Orchard Garden Hotel, San Francisco’s newest “green” hotel. NativeEnergy is providing carbon offsets for all emissions related to the winner’s air travel and accommodation.

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Michael Jacobs, film maker “Audience of One” enjoys pre-awards gala prior to Grand Prize Winner announcement Wednesday night

Oops!, as well as the runner up, Plant Trees, directed by Sharif Ezzat, and the other finalists—A Green Future Awaits If You So Choose, directed by Kyle Crawford; A Thought Undelivered, directed by Travis Graalman; Aboard the Same Ship, directed by Rex Floodstream; Driving Me Crazy, directed by Afsoon Razavi; Flower, directed by Stokes MacIntyre; Save the Planet, directed by Elani Chan & Kristin Wong; and Sid the Lid Meets Tumbleweed, directed by Cheryl Lohrmann—all screened at the Halou, Tarentel and the GreenWorld performance and celebration at Mighty and can be viewed at jumpcut.com.

Environmental advocates supporting the GreenWorld Contest—producer Lawrence Bender (The 18Seconds Movement), actors Frances Fisher (Environmental Media Association), Shalom Harlow (ForestEthics), Q’orianka Kilcher (Amazon Watch), Isabella Rossellini (Wildlife Conservation Network) and Aisha Tyler (Trust for Public Land), and activist Julia Butterfly Hill (Circle of Life)—provided personal statements to inspire and guide contest entrants, which may be viewed at sffs.org or jumpcut.com.

Community Partners: 18seconds.org, Amazon Watch, ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers), Circle of Life, Drive Around the World, Environmental Media Association, ForestEthics, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The Trust for Public Land, Wildlife Conservation Network.

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Dorianka Kilcher, actress “The New World” (center) Pam McCann, Actress, Producer (right) Michelle Allen, actess “Used”, “Go Together”, “Presque Isle” directed by Rob Nilsson

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Les Blank, co-producer, co-director “All In This Tea”

Sponsors: Yahoo! Video, Jumpcut, Heart of Green, NativeEnergy, Sundance Channel, Green Zebra, Sillapere, Orchard Garden Hotel, Creative Axis International and zipcar.

Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

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BICYCLES ON SIDEWALKS: San Francisco seniors and Bicycle Coalition call for bicycles not ridden on sidewalks


Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

Pedestrian right advocates, seniors and parents of small children gathered Wednesday to reclaim San Francisco’s sidewalks for walking.

The group, which held a press conference in the Mission District Wednesday morning, claims bicyclists who illegally ride on the sidewalk are endangering pedestrian safety on a daily basis.

“Bicycles are legally vehicles and vehicles are not supposed to operate on the sidewalk,” said Bob Planthold of Senior Action Network.

Flanked by seniors holding signs telling cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk, Planthold said society’s most vulnerable citizens — children, the elderly and the disabled — are being put at risk.

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Bob Planthold with translator Maria Sarti

“Sidewalks are not about speed. Sidewalks are about socializing, shopping and visiting,” he said.

Senior Action Network joined forces with the Municipal Transportation Agency, the Department of Public Health and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to launch the pedestrian safety campaign March 1. In April, San Francisco police announced they are working with the city’s Department of Public Health and the court system to develop traffic school for bicyclists
who violate traffic laws.

“We want police to be aware and start issuing more citations — but first we want to educate cyclists,” Planthold said.

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San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Community Organizaer Andy Thornley calls for bicycles to be walked and not ridden on San Francisco sidewalks.

State law doesn’t require that cyclists obtain licenses for their bikes, which some pedestrians believe leads to a lack of accountability.

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Bay City News

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JOHN HAN
Sentinel Photographer
For the last year, John Han served Sentinel readership as a freelance photographer. He has that natural eye for photography which cannot be developed or learned. He has earned a following of clients, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California. John joined the Sentinel fulltime in April, 2007.

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SAN FRANCISCO BALLET: 75th Annivesary marked with 10 world premiers

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Famed Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson world premier among San Francisco Ballet 75th Anniversary season, reports Executive Director Glen McFoy.
Photos by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

In 2008 San Francisco Ballet will celebrate 75 years of presenting dance in the City and around the world.
7th Anniversary brings new logo to San Francisco Ballet

“What a milestone for an American company to achieve — and that without any government support!” company Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson said at a news conference Wednesday morning at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.

Surrounded by company dancers, Tomasson accepted letters of congratulations from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

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Tomasson then described the ballet’s plans to celebrate this momentous occasion.

“For the 75th anniversary of America’s oldest professional ballet company, we celebrate this milestone by looking forward,” Tomasson said. “Creativity and new works are the lifeblood of this company.”

He added, by way of explanation, that he had been advised long ago that new ballets were absolutely critical for the survival of the dance art form.

“This doesn’t mean I do not like classical works,” Tomasson added hastily. “But new works are vitally necessary.”

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So along this line, he said he has invited 10 choreographers to create 10 world premieres for his talented dancers. The premieres will be presented all at once at a “New Works Festival” scheduled to run from April 22 through May 6, 2008. Choreographers who will mount these new dances are Julia Adams, Val Caniparoli, Jorma Elo, Margaret Jenkins, James Kudelka, Mark Morris, Yuri Possokhov, Paul Taylor, Stanton Welch, and Christopher Wheeldon. Jenkins’ work will be to commissioned music by Paul Dresher; Kudelka’s to commissioned music by Rodney Sharman; and Morris’s to John Adams new “Son of Chamber Symphony.”

In addition, Tomasson has invited three international ballet companies to come to San Francisco to help celebrate the 75th Anniversary.

These companies will perform Program 6 of the company’s 2008 Repertory Season, giving the San Francisco dancers extra time to prepare for the “New Works Festival” that will follow Program 6. The companies performing will be Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, which will dance the American premiere of Jean-Christophe Maillot’s “Altro Canto”; The National Ballet of Canada dancing the San Francisco premiere of Matjash Mrozewski’s “A Delicate Battle”; and the New York City Ballet presenting George Balanchine’s “Duo Concertant.”

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The San Francisco Ballet’s 75th Anniversary Season begins Jan. 23, 2008 with a Diamond Gala Celebration. This opening night Gala will feature three dinners at City Hall, followed by a special one night only performance at the Opera House and a post-performance party.

The Repertory Season opens with Program 1 on Jan. 29. The season will include a new work by Tomasson and a tribute to Jerome Robbins who was responsible for Tomasson coming to America to dance and was a mentor to him.

The All Robbins program will include the San Francisco Ballet premiere of the “West Side Story Suite.”

“You know our dancers can dance,” Tomasson said, ”but did you know they can also sing. Come to this program and see.”

Tomasson also announced that the San Francisco Ballet’s 2007 “Nutcracker” will be televised and shown on KQED Public Television in 2008 as well as being offered nationwide through the PBS system..

“We are all very excited about this, he said, adding that the hope is that the “Nutcracker” will be broadcast for many Christmases to come.

In the fall of 2008, the San Francisco Ballet will go on a four-city American Tour, Tomasson said, giving a total of 32 performances.

The company will perform in Chicago at the Harris Theater in September, at the New York City Center in October, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa the first of November, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. in late November.

Tomasson said that other 75th Anniversary events include the publication by Chronicle Books of a commemorative book titled “San Francisco Ballet at Seventy Five” by dance scholar and historian Janice Ross. The book will cover the ascent of the ballet company from its humble beginnings in 1933 to its current international status, and will include a DVD that provides insight into that journey.

Another highlight of the anniversary is the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra’s all-new recording of the full score of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” with the San Francisco Boys Chorus providing vocal for the Snow Scene in Act I. This record will go on sale in late 2007. The Ballet’s annual
“Nutcracker” performances begin Dec. 13, 2007.

Glenn McCoy, executive director of the San Francisco Ballet, spoke about a number of exhibits being planned around the 75th Anniversary of the company.

The San Francisco Airport Museum will honor the Ballet with an exhibit of 150 of its costumes, historical photographs and artifacts in the International Terminal and a photographic exhibit in the United Airlines Terminal.

The San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum (SFPALM) will create an exhibit in the spring of 2008 showcasing the Ballet’s innovative costume and set designs. This exhibit will inaugurate SFPALM’s new redesigned galleries space.

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JOHN HAN
Sentinel Photographer
For the last year, John Han served Sentinel readership as a freelance photographer. He has that natural eye for photography which cannot be developed or learned. He has earned a following of clients, including the World Affairs Council of Northern California. John joined the Sentinel fulltime in April, 2007.

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SMUIN BALLET 2007 SEASON – Opens May 11th at SF’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

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SMUIN BALLET, 2007 – Carmina Burana

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

The upcoming season for SMUIN BALLET features CARMINA BURANA plus two World Premieres on May 11th at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a stage that Michael Smuin helped launch as an internationally-recognized dance venue. The popular, richly theatrical ballet Carmina Burana returns as the headliner, taking one to a savage, sleek and sensual world where the laws of ballet take fresh, mysterious turns.

In addition to this powerful ballet are two world premieres: one choreographed by Michael to Schubert and an original ballet Falling Up, to Brahms by Smuin Company member Amy Seiwert and a reprise of Michael’s pas de deux from his Emmy Award winning Romeo and Juliet.

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COURTNEY HELLEBUYCK and IKOLO GRIFFIN

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KEVIN YEE-CHAN and YOKO CALLEGARI

On Sunday, May 20th, the Company will host its annual gala at San Francisco’s Four Seasons Hotel, preceded by a special performance at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The season will continue with Bay Area performances in Walnut Creek (May 25th & 26th at the Lesher Center for the Performing Arts), Mountain View (May 30th – June 3rd at the Mountain View Center for the Arts) and in Carmel (June 8th & 9th at The Sunset Center). August 13th – 18th the company returns to the New York City’s Joyce Theatre with performances of SCHUBERT’S SCHERZO, BELLS OF DUBLIN, SHINJU, and OBRIGADO, BRAZIL.

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MICHAEL SMUIN

YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS
701 Mission Street, San Francisco
(415) 978-2787
TO ORDER TICKETS ON LINE:
Friday, May 11th at 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 12th at 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 13th, 2007 at 2:00 pm
Sunday, May 13th at 7:00 pm
Tuesday, May 15th at 8:00 pm
Wednesday, May 16th at 8:00 pm
Thursday, May 17, at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 18th at 8:00 pm
Saturday, May 19th at 2:00 pm
Saturday, May 19th at 8:00 pm
Sunday, May 20th at 4:00 pm – Dancin’ for Smuin Gala

MOUNTAIN VIEW AT THE MOUNTAIN VIEW CENTER FOR THE ARTS
500 Castro Street, Mountain View
(650) 903-6000
Wednesday, May 30th – Sunday, June 3rd
To order tickets on-line: SMUIN BALLET, Program 2

LESHER CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Friday, May 25th – May 26th
1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek
(925) 943-7469
To order tickets on-line: SMUIN BALLET, Program 2

CARMEL AT THE SUNSET CENTER
Friday, June 8th – Saturday, June 9th
San Carlos Street, Carmel-by-the-Sea
(831) 620-2048
To order tickets on-line: SMUIN BALLET, Program 2

See Seán’s recent articles and reviews:
SPIDER-MAN 3, An All-American Cinematic Marvel
JERSEY BOYS – Smashing Records in SAN FRANCISCO
DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
RIGOLETTO – SF OPERA Broadcasts on Classical 102.1 KDFC
NORMA SHEARER – Headlines the 12th ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet

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San Francisco Sentinel’s Fine Arts Critic Seán Martinfield is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Ask him a question on AllExperts.com . If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: seanmartinfield@att.net.

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SAN FRANCISCO CHILDREN: Mayor Newsom announces $25.1 million increase in after-school programs, youth employment and violence prevention services

By Tamara Barak
Bay City News

San Francisco’s after-school programs, youth employment agencies and violence prevention services will be among the beneficiaries of $25.1 million in grants over the next three years.

The money will be distributed to 258 programs through the city’s Children’s Fund. Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the beneficiaries at a Tuesday press conference at the Excelsior Family Resource Center.

“San Francisco’s youth and families will be greatly served by these grants,” Newsom said. “From after-school programs to college and career preparation, or programs for homeless youth and families or to reduce violence in the city, we have addressed all the different areas that are near
and dear to my heart.”

The grant decisions were the result of two years of planning, which included a needs assessment approved by the Board of Supervisors in January, according to Margaret Brodkin, director of the city’s Department of Children, Youth and their Families.

The programs benefiting from the $25.1 million include childcare, youth-run businesses, peer outreach, summer camp, athletics and recreation programs, many in low-income neighborhoods.

About 20 percent of the agencies funded have a close, formal relationship with the San Francisco Unified School District, either providing on-campus services or collaborating with school officials, according to the mayor’s office.

About $3.4 million will be allocated for programs for teens, from college and career preparation to cultural programs and leadership development.

A panel of young people selected three youth businesses to fund, including a gardening a food distribution businesses, a financial literacy project and a youth art business.

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STREET VIOLENCE: Tenderloin residents demand safe streets

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Photos by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

By Tamara Barak
Bay City News

Two coalitions converged on San Francisco City Hall yesterday to call for the city to invest in struggling families and make the streets safe for Tenderloin residents.

More than 100 Tenderloin residents marched to City Hall through their troubled streets, stopping at the sites of recent murders to honor victims with moments of silence.

Dina Hilliard of Safety Network Organize, one of the groups sponsoring the rally and march, said she and her neighbors are fed up with escalating violence in the Tenderloin.

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Dana Hillard
In April alone, three people were murdered in the neighborhood.

“It’s time for change, it’s time for a new Tenderloin,” Hilliard said.

Caesar Garcia, who has lived in the neighborhood for a decade, put the blame for the violence on liquor stores, rampant prostitution and drug sales.

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Cesar Garcia

“It brings in people from outside the neighborhood. The Tenderloin has become a paradise to do all sorts of travesties,” Garcia said.

“We’re demanding a secure neighborhood. We cannot allow our children to live in this sort of environment. We need to finish with all of this.”

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Residents decried the lack of parks and recreation facilities in their neighborhood, the drug dealing on their sidewalks and the lack of protection for seniors and children.

“Just because you’re poor, doesn’t mean you need to be ignored.

San Francisco police Captain Gary Jimenez of the Tenderloin station said the demand for drugs is behind much of the violence. The Police Department’s gang task force has been concentrated on stemming the violence since it flared up again in December, he said.

Jimenez said he sympathized with the marchers.

“I share their dream for a better city and a safer city,” he said.

Jimenez said city officials should focus on “sanctions and solutions” for drug dealers and users in order to help police clean up the streets.

“”It’s time the city stood up and did something,” he said.

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The Tenderloin marchers were met at City Hall by the Family Budget Coalition, made up of youth, childcare and family services advocates.

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At a press conference, the Family Budget Coalition unveiled its $20 million budget agenda.

Coalition leaders have asked Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to allocate the money for new and expanded services in violence prevention, alternatives to incarceration, childcare, children’s health and youth employment.

The coalition’s plan includes more than $7.3 million for affordable childcare, including a voucher program to protect low-income families from cost increases.

The plan also includes $6.4 million for violence prevention, including mental health services for public housing residents and re-entry and intervention services for paraplegic gunshot victims, serious and ex-offenders.

The plan calls for more than $2.2 million dedicated to land use and parks, including after-school programs in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods, improvements to existing parks and a new skate park at Golden Gate Park.

More than a million dollars each is allocated for workforce development and family support services under the proposed plan.

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Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and East Bay media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past two years.

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BUSINESS: Google unveils more powerful web analytics

Google Inc. today announced a new version of its powerful web analytics solution, Google Analytics.

The new version of Google Analytics was unveiled today at the EMetrics Summit taking place in San Francisco. Google Analytics, a free enterprise-class solution, enables executives, marketers and website owners to understand how their users interact with their website and help increase online business. Google has completely redesigned the product and enhanced the feature set through new email reporting, customizable dashboards, improved map displays, and plain language descriptions to make important information more accessible.

“At Geffen Records, we use Google Analytics to determine what website content is most valuable to music fans so we can craft the most effective marketing strategies,” said Aaron Foreman, Head of Digital Media, Geffen Records.

“As an early adopter of the new version of Google Analytics, we are impressed with the richness of the data and its ease of use that provides us with the most important information immediately,” said Lee Hammond, Director of Digital Technology, Geffen Records.

In the new version of Google Analytics, data is concentrated into combinations of reports, allowing users to make informed decisions about site management and Google AdWords™ campaigns. Google Analytics tracks the effectiveness of online marketing initiatives such as display campaigns or cost-per-click programs and creates e-mail reports that can be scheduled and distributed to colleagues.

“At Google, we’re focused on building powerful tools to help advertisers measure the effectiveness of their marketing dollars and optimize their business,” said Paul Muret, Engineering Director, Google. “The new version of Google Analytics will give advertisers and site owners greater insight into their customers’ needs, thereby increasing advertiser ROI while also improving the e-commerce experience of consumers.”

With this new version, users can experience greater visibility of important data, clarity of appearance and more intuitive navigation paths. Utilizing more features and improved metrics, Google Analytics summarizes data and statistics in plain language so that website owners can make more informed decisions. The tool incorporates score cards and summaries that distill information into key performance indicator summaries.

Business Wire

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STREET VIOLENCE: Customer shot in San Francisco small business

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A man is in the hospital this morning after being shot during a convenience store robbery in San Francisco Monday, police reported.

The victim suffered life-threatening wounds after refusing to hand over his wallet to three men who were robbing a 7-Eleven at 2200 Bayshore Blvd. in Visitacion Valley, Sgt. Neville Gittens said today.

The robbery was reported at 5:42 a.m.

Jonard Danag, a clerk at the store, said the victim was a customer.

According to police, the suspects turned on the man after robbing the store’s cashier at gunpoint.

About 35 minutes before the shooting, a business in the 2000 block of Ocean Avenue was also held up by three men. Robbery detectives are investigating whether the two incidents are related, Gittens said.

Bay City News

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