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PHOTOGRAPHY – Federal Phlogging

THROUGH THE LENS OF DAVID TOERGE

FEDERAL PHLOGGING

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Steel workers erect the skeleton of the new Federal Building in downtown SF. photographed January 29, 2004.

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The new federal building sits on the corner of Mission and 6th streets but its visual impact is felt from many blocks around.

It sits there, a cold unfeeling building much like the bureaucracy contained within it’s walls. It seems omnipresent, like the federal government it houses, always there and always watching over it’s people.

Thom Mayne, an LA architect has built a rather impressive structure commissioned by the General Services Administration with a decade old program conceived to eliminate boring, tired, and unimaginative federal buildings across the country. The problem, in my opinion, is that he went way too far in “trying to be imaginative” and doing things for sake of being creative.

The perforated metal skin that covers one half of the south facing side looks like the screen door of an Appalachian shack. I can’t wait to see it in ten years. On the north side, there are vertical, skinny panes of green glass jutting out perpendicular to the actual windows.

Those windows actually open too, a rarity in modern office buildings. Too bad that the view is that of sixth street also known affectionately as the “wine country”. On a good note, the “ Mayne attraction” is very eco-friendly. Gentle breezes flow through the building eliminating the need for air conditioning and the steel panels on the exterior act like a warming blanket enveloping the entire structure.

It just seems to be like the city’s sore thumb building visible from everywhere. Of course, this architectural marvel (said with a slightly sarcastic tone) will soon be completely outdone when those HUGE green glassed towers are completed. It’s beginning to look a lot like Kuala Lumpur in this city. Didn’t there used to be a height limit here?

The Thom Mayne federal building has become an obsession with me. It has turned into a love-hate relationship.

I have tried to photograph it from every conceivable angle but the light is rarely good on it and the security guards don’t like me taking pictures fearing me to be some kind of terrorist. No, not me. I just hate your building. No, I love your building. No, I’m just confused just like they want me.

THE SAN FRANCISCO WAY OF A SUNNY DAY APRIL 28 2007

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If you found yourself wondering where all the people were on Saturday -A great many could be found enjoying the beautiful weather in Dolores Parkwith a City view to match.

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Someone who prefers the shade in the hammock gets a helping hand from another tree dweller.

HOBART BUILDING A SAN FRANCISCO JEWEL APRIL 26 2007

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The HOBART building on Market at Montgomery was designed in 1914 by Willis Polk the leading architect in San Francisco after the Great Quake of ’06. He designed mostly residences with this building being one of his only office structures. Today, it is surrounded by it’s contemporaries but is still seen as a jewel today and is also a national landmark.

GOLDEN GATE PARK EASTER LILY GOOD FRIDAY 2007

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Good Friday 2007 a lily of the Cala variety at San Francisco Golden Gate Park

SPRINTIME FOR PARROTS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EMBARCADERO

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Spring fever hits the famous parrots of North Beach as two find a little cozy comfort in a tree today near Embarcadero 2.

SUNSET BREAKS THROUGH RAINY DAY AT OCEAN BEACH

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A recent Tuesday at Ocean Beach after a wet afternoon gave way to a beautiful sunset. The man pictured is trying to regain his hold on shredded plastic washed up on the shore.

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When David Toerge left a career in photojournalism that had spanned over twelve years and started in a new direction of commercial photography he blended the editorial style with a more corporate look. David led the way in that new style garnering many awards for his work. Communications Arts has honored him over six times. Based in San Francisco, David shoots projects on location all over the US for various corporations and a multitude of magazines and always brings back great images. He has a keen sense of light, color, and composition and delivers to his clients assignments done with passion. He has climbed bridges hundreds of feet in the air, shot in caves hundreds of feet below, dived with sharks and driven the track with Indy drivers. He has shot earthquakes and firestorms but loves walking the streets with his camera just photographing the everyday life of his city. Visit Toerge Photography at toerge.com, email david@toerge.com, or telephone 415-730-3824

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Disaster field training exercises credited for integrated regional response to San Francisco Bay Bridge maze collapse

MONDAY COMMUTE LIGHTER THAN EXPECTED – TANKER DRIVER CRIMINAL RECORD CITED

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Photo By John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

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

Disaster training sessions prior to collapse of the MacArthur Maze Sunday smoothed the way for integrated regional response, Mayor Gavin Newsom stated in San Francisco today.

Field exercises conducted over the past year familiarized state, county and local emergency service providers with one another as well as protocols for disaster response used by each agency, Newsom related in an 11:30 a.m. San Francisco City Hall press conference.

The training paid off Sunday, he said.

“The value of our field exercises paid off immeasureably,” reported the San Francisco mayor.

“Everyone recognized everybody. Everyone had protocols well established.

“There was familiarty to the effort and that was because of the regional training that we had been doing, both inhouse exercises that we call ‘tabletop’ exercises, as well as the field exercises.

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Photo from the Office of the California Governor

“That’s important – the notion of constancy. You got new players. You got a new mayor in Oakland. You got a new mayor in San Jose. You got a new directors of emergency services.

“So we’re constantly have to train, retain, train.”

No breakdowns in communication occured Sunday as did during a California tsunami warning in June, 2005, Newsom stated.

Laura Phillips, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, echoed the value of training.

“It’s the drills. It’s the tabletops. It’s the relationships in advance of emergency, knowing each other, knowing how to communicate with each other effectively — I think that’s really the key to this,” Phillips noted.

“It’s a marriage somewhat in the super-urban area in working together.. and really pull together effectively and really turn things on.”

Workers began stabilizing the damaged sections of the interchange Sunday evening, California Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Haus said today.

“It sounds kind of ironic, but … before they tear it down, they have to shore it up,” Haus said.

“As soon as they clear the wreckage from the top deck, then they can clear the wreckage from the bottom deck” and see what work needs to be done,” he said.

Caltrans estimates the cost of the demolition work will run around $2 million, agency spokesman John Cunliffe said.

Prior major emergency repair projects such as construction on state Highway 1 at Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County have ended up being fully funded by the federal government, he said. But it’s too early to know how the costs of the Maze repair project will be divided, he said.

A connector ramp in the Maze that moves traffic from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 collapsed after a tanker carrying around 8,600 gallons of gasoline slammed into a guardrail and ignited around 3:45 a.m. Sunday.

The tanker was headed westbound on Interstate Highway 80 toward southbound Interstate Highway 880 when it crashed and set off a blaze so intense that a stretch of the Highway 80 to Highway 580 connector around two-and-a-half football fields in length, above the ramp, gave way and tumbled onto the roadway below.

Haus didn’t want to estimate how long it would take crews to clear the wreckage from the lower ramp but said it was more than a matter of days.

Contractor Cleveland Wrecking, which has been working on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge retrofit project, pulled some of its equipment over to the Maze to help with demolition, Haus said.

Heat from the fire Sunday reached temperatures as high as 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit. Even if the section of Highway 880 where the collapsed section fell seems OK at first glance, structural engineers will still have to test the integrity of the steel throughout the roadway to see what repairs need to be made, he said.

That assessment can’t take place until the damaged roadway is cleared away and engineers can inspect what remains, Cunliffe said.

Additionally, estimates of the project’s cost and the timeline of repairs can’t be made until then, he added.

“There’s a lot of unknowns here,” Haus said. In a worst case scenario pillars that support the ramps would have to be replaced, adding to the cost of the project, he said.

On Sunday Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said the entire repair project could, “unofficially,” take months.

Haus said he believed the steel required for the project had been secured but had no estimate of the cost.

Caltrans secured an emergency contract Sunday evening to get to work right away on the repairs.

Some Caltrans workers have been pulled off other projects, but it doesn’t look like the agency will have to look for workers for this project from outside its current pool of staff. That said, “resources are not unlimited,” Cunliffe said.

The availability of steel could determine how quickly repairs are made to the portion of the MacArthur Maze that collapsed after a fuel tanker crashed and ignited Sunday morning, Caltrans Director Will Kempton also reported today.

“We will be searching the countryside for steel that will be used for the upper structure” that collapsed, Kempton told reporters at a briefing near the site of the crash and spectacular fire that reached temperatures as high as 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit.

He said, “You can’t just buy steel off the shelf at the hardware store.”

Kempton said Caltrans hopes to find a U.S. source for the steel needed for the project but will consider buying steel overseas if necessary.

He said Caltrans hopes to complete an assessment of the damage to the I-880 connector by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Kempton said he hopes the damage to the I-880 connector is “minimal,” in which case it could be repaired and reopened “in a relatively short period.”

But “all bets are off” if the damage is severe and there are structural problems, he said.

Kempton said Federal Highway Administration officials were at the explosion site today. He said he’s hopeful the officials will agree that the repair work is eligible for federal emergency relief funds.

He said members of California’s congressional delegation tentatively are expected to tour the site on Friday.

Kempton said Caltrans is assessing the strength of the I-880 connector in a variety of ways, including visual inspections, x-rays and gauging its tension to see what kinds of loads it can support.

“We won’t put people on an unsafe structure,” he said.

In related developments, both morning and evening commutes today were lighter than expected, officials reported.

And several news organizations are reporting tonight that James Mosqueda, the driver of the tanker truck involved in the MacArthur Maze collapse, struggled with drugs and has been convicted of a property-damage hit-and-run among more than a half dozen arrests and several convictions, citing court documents.

He was convicted in 1981 in Yolo County for burglary of an inhabited dwelling and in 1991 for residential burglary, according to reports.

He pleaded guilty in 1993 in Sacramento County to possessing hypodermic needles stemming from a 1993 police stop in which officers said that they found heroin and needles. He was sentenced to three years of probation.

Later in 1993, Woodland police arrested him in a parking lot on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine. No conviction is noted in the file.

He pleaded guilty in 1994 to receiving stolen computers and was sentenced to four years probation.

He was caught with drugs twice in 1996, the second time with heroin. He pleaded guilty to drug possession in Sacramento County as part of a plea bargain to serve two years and eight months in state prison.

Other arrests since 1974 include petty theft, possessing marijuana for sale, and carrying a loaded firearm. It was unclear if he was charged or convicted in any of those cases.

Mosqueda’s last criminal court record dates to 1996. In 2004, he appears to have tried to have the receiving stolen goods expunged from his record. The Sacramento County District Attorneys Office opposed the action.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer said Monday she will make a visit later this week to the portion of the MacArthur Maze that collapsed after a fuel tanker crashed and ignited Sunday morning.

Boxer will be joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and members of the California congressional delegation on the Friday visit, according to a statement from Boxer’s Web site. Boxer spent part of Monday in a conference call with Peters and the head of the Federal Highway Administration, Richard Capka.

See Related California Governor Schwarzenegger declares maze collapse state of emergency

Bay City News contributed to this report

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California Governor Schwarzenegger declares maze collapse state of emergency

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File Photo by John Han
Sentinel Photographer
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel


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

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today declared a state of emergency in order to reimburse local transit agencies for free public transit.

Schwarzenegger said the state would also provide funds to accelerate the reopening and restoration of the damaged infrastructure and to cover overtime costs for the California Highway Patrol and California Department of Transportation employees.

“We will take the same extraordinary measures the state took after the Northridge earthquake to ensure construction happens as quickly as possible,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement after issuing the declaration Sunday. “… the state will take every action possible to minimize the impact on commuters and repair the overpass as quickly as possible,” he said.

As part of the emergency declaration, the state will reimburse local public transportation agencies, including Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the $2.5 million it will cost to give rides away for free.

Schwarzenegger last nightalso praised the work of a local wreckage company that has already started to take parts of the destroyed roadway.

Following a site tour, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said that once a thorough analysis of the situation is in place, a plan will go forward with the goals of safety and efficiency in mind.

“We’re all in one in being grateful that no human life was lost in this situation,” he said.

Dellums said that as of now, people will need to seek other ways to get to work, find carpools and use public transportation. “Our hope is people will be patient, that they’ll deal with each other with dignity and patience,” he said.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom also spoke and said that local and state authorities can do as well or better in repairing the current devastation as the quick rebuilding of bridges and roads that occurred following the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

However, he said that it’s going to be a difficult time for the upcoming days, weeks and even months.

As an example of progress, Newsom noted that while there is normally only one ferry making 13 trips between Alameda, Oakland and San Francisco, on Monday there will be 4 ferries making 52 total roundtrips during peak commute hours. Muni, which normally runs 70 lines at peak commute time, will run 79 lines on Monday.

Bay Area Rapid Transit will run longer trains all day Monday, adding more cars for increased capacity, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. Additional trains between the Pleasant Hill and Montgomery Street stations, and the Daly City and Richmond stations, will run during commute hours, Allison said. BART riders will travel free of charge Monday and BART officials will meet Monday to determine plans for Tuesday.

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As parking at many BART stations is in high demand, Allison urged commuters to carpool or take the bus to BART stations and to arrive early or leave for work a little later, if possible. Parking will be free at BART stations, except for parking in reserved lots. BART police will enforce reserved parking regulations, according to Allison. BART recommends parking at North Concord/Martinez, Richmond, Coliseum/Oakland Airport, Hayward, South Hayward, Colma, South San Francisco, San Bruno and Millbrae parking lots.

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AC Transit buses will be operating on a normal schedule Monday and all available buses and personnel will be available, according to spokesman Clarence Johnson. All riders will travel for free, Johnson said. AC Transit does not have many extra buses or drivers available to substantially increase its service between the East Bay and San Francisco, Johnson said.

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However, he added, the current bus lines normally have between 40 and 50 percent of their capacity unfilled, and should be able to accommodate additional passengers tomorrow, Johnson said.

According to Johnson, bus lines into San Francisco will stop at all regular stops, but the buses may use alternate routes to avoid congestion on Interstate 80. Because many buses make more than one trip to San Francisco during the morning commute, later trips leaving the East Bay may be delayed if the bus has to use a longer route to return to the East Bay, Johnson said.

However, AC Transit plans to attempt to make all scheduled trips, even if they are delayed.

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Local routes may also be affected during the day on Monday by traffic that is diverted from the freeways onto local streets. According to Johnson, Monday’s evening commute from San Francisco to the East Bay will be significantly affected and bus lines that normally use eastbound Interstate 580 will be rerouted. There will also be additional buses available in San Francisco to try to keep the schedule on track for the afternoon commute, Johnson said.

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Alameda-Oakland Ferry service between Oakland and San Francisco will be doubled from 13 to 26 ferries for the morning and evening commutes, San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority spokeswoman Maggie Lynch said.

Passengers on using the SFMTA will also ride for free Monday.

Lynch also encouraged East Bay commuters to use the Casual Carpool Program in San Francisco during the afternoon rush hour. It is located on the east side of Beale Street between Howard and Folsom streets, and offers service to Hercules, Fairfield, Vallejo, North Berkeley, Orinda, Lafayette and Oakland/Lakeshore, according to Lynch.

The San Francisco Police Department at the SFMTA will monitor on-and off-ramps during the morning commute and will assist traffic flow at freeway entrances during the afternoon commute, Lynch said.

While the westbound roadways from Interstate Highway 580 and Interstate Highway 80 to the Bay Bridge remain open, drivers trying to reach eastbound Interstate Highway 580 from the Bay Bridge will have to find alternate routes, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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CHP officials today recommended several alternate routes for drivers traveling to locations throughout the Bay Area.

For drivers traveling from San Francisco to Hayward, take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 over the Bay Bridge to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

For drivers going from San Francisco to Walnut Creek: after the Bay Bridge, exit eastbound Interstate Highway 80 at West Grand Avenue, take a left on Northgate Avenue, then enter the on-ramp to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 towards state Highway 24, and take eastbound state Highway 24 to Interstate Highway 680.

Four other alternate routes from San Francisco to parts of the East Bay are recommended:

– Take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 and exit the Albany/Buchanan off-ramp, turn left under the freeway, left onto westbound Interstate Highway 80, and follow to eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound San Mateo Bridge (state Highway 92) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound Dumbarton Bridge (state Highway 84) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take northbound U.S. Highway 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

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For drivers going from Richmond to San Jose: take westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580, then take westbound Interstate Highway 980 to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

Going from Richmond to San Francisco, drivers can take westbound Interstate Highway 880 to the Bay Bridge without any detours.

Going from San Francisco to Sacramento, drivers can take eastbound Interstate Highway 880 to Sacramento without any detours.

Caltrans director Will Kempton said tonight that he hopes to begin reconstruction work for the collapsed section of the MacArthur Maze within a few days.

Kempton said demolition work has already begun and it’s expected to take a few more days.

He said Caltrans will also conduct an engineering analysis to determine the extent of the replacement work that will be needed.

“Once we can look at the (freeway) deck, we can make a better assessment of the work that will be needed,” Kempton said.

At this point, the destroyed section of highway in Oakland’s MacArthur Maze appears to be “pretty severely damaged,” he said.

Once the reconstruction work begins, workers will work around the clock, seven days a week, Kempton said.

But he said that at this point, he couldn’t estimate whether that would be weeks or months.

2007 MACARTHUR MAZE FREEWAY COLLAPSE

1989 CYPRESS FREEWAY COLLAPSE

See Related Disaster field training exercises credited for integrated regional response to San Francisco Bay Bridge maze collapse

KCBS and Bay City News

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San Francisco Film Festival goes online

‘INTERNATIONAL ONLINE’ BRINGS FESTIVAL FILMS TO WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE

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The San Francisco Film Society today announced six films now playing at the 50th San Francisco International Film Society will be available online.

Graham Leggat, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society, and Gaurav Dhillon, Chief Executive Officer of Jaman, Inc., ‘a premier online community for world cinema,’ said the first International Online will focus on showcasing some of the Bay Areas most pre-eminent filmmakers, Robert Arnold, Les Blank and Rob Nilsson. The complete schedule of films and screening times can be found at jaman.com/festivals/sfiff

“The International Online is a ground breaking and visionary programming initiative synonymous with the San Francisco International Film Festival’s tradition of excellence,” said Gaurav Dhillon, CEO of Jaman, Inc. “We are extremely please to pay tribute to the pioneers of “social cinema” by showcase films from the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area film and media scene to Festival fans across the country and around the world.”

Unveiled as a new element of the landmark 50th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 26 – May 10), The International Online will offer online screenings of SFIFF feature films at better-than-DVD quality for viewing on Macs, PCs and home entertainment systems.

The six films selected for The International Online will be available worldwide for download to a limited number of viewers during an exclusive 24-hour window following their last SFIFF theatrical screening. Also, fans that register to view the International Online screenings will also be registered to win a 42” plasma TV from Jaman.

Schedule:
Thursday, May 3, Starting 9 am, EST
All in This Tea, directed by Les Blank and Gina Leibrecht (70 minutes, 2006). This absorbing documentary follows adventurer and world-renowned tea importer David Lee Hoffman as he travels through China in pursuit of the best handcrafted teas. After seeing this film, you’ll never drink a cup of tea the same way again.

Sunday, May 6 Starting 9 am, EST
The Key of G, directed by Robert Arnold (59 minutes, 2006). Robert Arnold’s moving documentary chronicles the life of a developmentally disabled 22-year-old who has difficulty integrating what he hears, sees and feels because the two halves of his brain do not communicate well.

The following four films for The International Online are recent works by Rob Nilsson who is featured in the Cinema By the Bay program, Carved Out of Pavement: The Work of Rob Nilsson.

Monday, May 7 Starting 9 am, EST
Winter Orange (73 minutes, 2000), set on a small island off the coast of Hiroshima focuses on a local resident torn between a desire to move to Tokyo and work in the theater or stay on the island with his wife who is expecting their first child.

Tuesday, May 8 Starting 9 am, EST
SAMT (72 minutes, 2001), shot in Jordan in collaboration with ZENID, a Jordanian social development institute run by Farah Daghistani. SAMT concerns a modern young woman named Ashtar who wishes to attend a youth conference and lies to her father in order to do so. In a broader context, it studies the role of women in Jordanian society.

Wednesday, May 9 Starting 9am, EST
Security (81 minutes, 2005), made for the Pacific Film Archive with the help of UC Berkeley students, examines the murder of a street person. The work leads to a broader exploration of the violence in Iraq and the nature of security in an insecure world.

Thursday, May 10 Starting 9 am, EST
Opening (85 minutes, 2006), an ensemble piece shot in three days about a diverse group of people confined to a Kansas City art gallery when tornadoes hit the city. Questions about art and its importance to particular communities are raised and explored.

For tickets and information go to www.sffs.org, call 925.866.9559 or visit the Main Ticket Outlet at the Sundance Cinemas Kabuki (1881 Post Street). For additional information telephone 415-561-5000.

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San Francisco Bay Area more than twice as humane to pets as other cities

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San Francisco Marina District Walkies

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2007) – The Bay Area ranks first in compassion for animals according to a new comparison of the largest U.S. cities, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced today.

The San Francisco Bay Area didn’t just win — it is more than twice as humane as the average large city. The Humane Index, an effort to determine America’s most humane city, ranked the nation’s largest 25 metropolitan areas.

“Our society’s treatment of animals has so many facets, and the Humane Index is an attempt to measure a wide range of conduct that has implications for animals. We hope the Index inspires individuals and entire communities to strive to do better to make the world a more merciful place for animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.

“This is a wonderful honor that I proudly accept on behalf of all the pet and animal lovers living in San Francisco,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

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Gavin Newsom
Photo by Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photographer

“Pets play a significant role in the culture and social landscape of our city. There is an undeniable love and respect for our pets that often gives them equal status as a beloved member of the family.

“From pet-friendly hotels to world-class veterinary facilities, we are a compassionate city dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and take great pride in being the best place in the country to live for animals and animal lovers alike.”

The first-ever Humane Index is comprised of a dozen factors selected to provide a basis for comparing the relative humaneness of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The Index includes topics related to pets, farm animals, wildlife, animals in entertainment and advocacy for animals and demonstrates that Americans extend their compassion beyond the millions of pets who share our homes.

The full results are available online at humaneindex.org . The interactive web site allows visitors to view details on each index item, see how various cities rank, compare two cities, and learn how they can take action to make their city more humane.

The Humane Index revealed several positive aspects about the treatment of animals in the Bay Area, which makes the top five in all but four categories and the top ten in all but two.

– Puppy savers. San Francisco is the top city in avoiding the cruelty of puppy mills, with only nine percent of pet stores selling puppies from commercial operations that breed dogs in shockingly poor conditions.

– Grabbing cameras, not shotguns. In California, there are 20.9 wildlife watchers for every hunter.

– Eating their veggies. The Bay Area places first for humane dining, with 40 vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

Seattle, Portland, Washington and San Diego follow San Francisco in order of humaneness. The HSUS examined data from the largest 25 metropolitan areas, the results of which are detailed in an interactive web site that allows visitors to view the details on each index item, see how various cities rank, compare two cities, and learn how they can take action to make their city more humane.

HSUS chief economist Jennifer Fearing conceived of and developed the Humane Index project over the last several years with research support from the Seattle-based Humane Research Council. The 2007 edition of the Humane Index is the first attempt to determine how America’s biggest metro areas—making up 41 percent of total U.S. population and including nearly 5,000 cities and towns—rank in terms of animal protection issues and will provide a baseline for future reference.

“With its wealth of vegetarian restaurants, a dozen institutions that have adopted cage-free egg policies, and only ten fur retailers, it’s no surprise that San Francisco, which is named for the patron saint of animals, is America’s most humane city,” said Fearing. “But despite its excellent record, there is always room for improvement.”

Other ways that San Francisco shows its celebration of the human-animal bond include the following notable characteristics:

– Thanks in large part to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and its endorsement of the ProtestSeals campaign, there are 86 Bay Area locations participating in the Canadian seafood boycott to help end the slaughter of baby seals in Canada.

AT&T Park, home of baseball’s San Francisco Giants, offers veggie dogs and burgers for sale at concession stands. McAfee Coliseum, home to the Oakland Athletics, also offers veggie dogs and burgers.

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco’s Katie Smith was a finalist in The HSUS’ 2006 Cool vs. Cruel contest, which challenges fashion students to create animal-friendly reinterpretations of designer fur garments.

At the same time, the Bay Area has room for improvement in the following areas:

– San Francisco has numerous markets where turtles, fish, frogs, and other live animals are sold for food. In 2000, a law was passed to protect frogs, turtles and birds under California animal cruelty statutes that prohibit stores from skinning and dismembering live animals or storing and displaying them in ways likely to result in injury, starvation, or suffocation.

– Pitbulls and pit mixes are by far the most frequently confiscated dogs in Oakland—and are also the breed most often euthanized at shelters across Alameda County. Animal control officers usually pick these dogs up roaming the streets, many of them abused, scarred and unfit for adoption. According to the interim director of Oakland Animal Services, backyard breeders are the heart of the problem.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization—backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the web at humanesociety.org.

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DON QUIXOTE – An Impossible Dream at SF Ballet

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

Something was in the air at the Saturday night opening of DON QUIXOTE and it was more than the awesome razor-sharp gravity-defying leaps of Principal Soloist Davit Karapetyan as “Basilio”. Where was his complimentary partner from this Season’s previous programs and as established in the 2006 production of SWAN LAKE — Lorena Feijóo? Among the topmost treasures of San Francisco Ballet is internationally acclaimed prima ballerina Lorena Feijóo. Throughout the 2007 Season the Intermission chatter has included the “just you wait” of watching the luscious Cuban-born beauty repeat her now legendary interpretation of “Kitri” and – depending on how the casting cards were dealt by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson and one’s own personal ticket karma – the supporting embrace and determined drive of Leading Man Joan Boada. As of this publication, neither of their names appears on the schedule of remaining performances.

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DAVIT KARAPETYAN and VANESSA ZAHORIAN – in Tomasson-Possokhov’s DON QUIXOTE. Photo by Erik Tomasson

Details 2BAnnounced, no doubt. But the on-stage intelligence was screaming loud and clear – through the invisible 4th Wall, past the orchestra pit and dubious baton of guest conductor David LaMarche – “The show must go on”. Our antiphonal response of “we know that you know that we know” surely penetrated to their back wall, even past those silly lightning bolts of Lisa J. Pinkham. The Intermission exchanges, however, were far more articulate – puzzled-faces checking watches, the switching back-on of cell phones, text-messaging, yawning, eye-rolling, and more aggressive moaning from those who tolerance of tutu-ballets was being stretched too-too thin. Come the house fade of Act Three, a number of seat-holders had faded from the house – the SROs filling-in by lights-out. At the curtain call, a handful of the bound & determined (to get their money’s worth) actually got up to applaud. But for the Opening Night veterans (from farther back than my head could turn) and those who hold out for theatrical miracles (such as whoever/whatever those dreary fairy “Driads” of Act II were choreographed to conjure) the applause and scattered shouts were about the occasional displays of daunting footwork, along with our plaudits of gratitude to an ingratiating ensemble, and an “Adieu” to Muriel Maffre. Unfortunately, there are no photos available of Ms. Maffre as the tempestuous “Mercedes” or of her handsome partner Moises Martin as “Espada”. Even dear Pascal Molat as “Sancho Panza” – nothing. What we have all caught onto are those deliberately pathetic put-down dweeby thumb-nail barely recognizable yearbook photos in the published Programs. Time for Change!

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DAVIT KARAPETYAN – as Basilio, DON QUIXOTE. Photo by Erik Tomasson

The Company identified as the San Francisco Ballet is celebrated as “World Class”. It follows that this is a particular group of Musical Athletes who are astonishingly beautiful, whose disciplined bodies and dazzling auras are not only in constant centerfold readiness but represent the very definition of Superstar. In days of yore, names of such accomplished Artists appeared above the Title – certainly above that of the artistic director or resident choreographers, and even above such second-ring composers as Ludwig Minkus. Every corner Newsboy would be shouting out the Block-Letter Headlines of Who was dancing that night … or not. And why. [But then, as recently stated on more than one episode by TV's favorite GILMORE GIRLS, one of The City's printing-press dailies is "a terrible newspaper".]

Without a true Latin Leading Lady – one who brings her life’s blood and blazing spirit to the arms of her impassioned lover – the Tomasson/Possokhov DON QUIXOTE is nothing more than a dancer’s showcase held together by the palest thread of a plot. San Francisco Ballet prides itself in its bevy of similarly qualified Principal Dancers. Four pairs of principals are teamed for the remaining seven performances. How does this fact inform our perceptions of this particular vision of a heretofore much-loved opus within Classical Repertoire? This DON QUIXOTE is extremely ordinary, often inconsistent, and occasionally clunky. Even the horse and donkey were nonplussed. Overheard in the audience – “Are they real?”

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LUDWIG MINKUS, Composer – SANCHO PANZA and DON QUIXOTE, by Picasso

Stepping up to the plate for Saturday’s opening, the lovely and extremely gifted Vanessa Zahorian. She deserves her place in the Spotlight. But Lorena Feijóo deserves her place in the Sun. In the world of Theatre – that place, that light is Opening Night.

To order tickets on-line:
Tue, May 1, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Tina LeBlanc
Basilio: Gonzalo Garcia

Wed, May 2, 2007, 7:30 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Molly Smolen
Basilio: Tiit Helimets

Thu, May 3, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Tina LeBlanc
Basilio: Gonzalo Garcia

Fri, May 4, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Kitri: Vanessa Zahorian
Basilio: Davit Karapetyan

Sat, May 5, 2007, 2:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Kitri: Kristin Long
Basilio: Gennadi Nedvigin

Sat, May 5, 2007, 8:00 PM
Conductor: David LaMarche
Kitri: Tina LeBlanc
Basilio: Gonzalo Garcia

Sun, May 6, 2007, 2:00 PM
Conductor: Martin West
Kitri: Vanessa Zahorian
Basilio: Davit Karapetyan

See Seán’s recent interviews and articles:
THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall
JEANETTE MacDONALD – First Lady of “San Francisco”
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
An Interview with PASCAL MOLAT – Principal Soloist, San Francisco Ballet
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo
Agnes de Mille’s RODEO – at SAN FRANCISCO BALLET
COLOR ME KUBRICK – starring John Malkovich

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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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Newsom plans for additional City vehicles and staff for public transit in wake of maze collapse

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced he will be working with City and regional transit officials to ensure transportation needs of the region are met, following a fiery crash that collapsed 250 yards of the MacArthur Maze approaching the San Francisco Bay Bridge Sunday morning.

Newsom reported officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco Police Department will be working together through a Department of Operations Center that has been activated to monitor traffic and deploy resources as needed.

Newsom said assistance may include parking control officers and police officers to assist with access and egress on the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Newsom reported that tonight, steps will be taken to promote additional casual carpool arrangements that will leave from Beale Street between Folsom and Howard streets.

Today and throughout the week, Newsom reported the city would support local transit agencies with extra vehicles and staff.

As part of the emergency declaration, the state will reimburse the local public transportation agencies including Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the $2.5 million it will cost to give rides away for free today.

However, the economic impact the collapse may have on the city of San Francisco is not yet known.

“This accident will cause some inconvenience, but I want to make it clear that we will do everything we can to ensure that San Francisco’s civic, business and cultural institutions continue to operate without interruption. We have systems in place to prepare for challenges such as this and these systems are responding to the situation at hand efficiently and smoothly,” Newsom said in a statement.

Bay City News

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Stabbing victim clings to life

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Police are investigating an early morning stabbing that seriously injured one man, according to a San Francisco police officer.

The officer said the stabbing occurred at 11th and Folsom streets at around 1:40 a.m. in San Francisco’s South of Market area.

The wounded man was taken to an area hospital with multiple stab wounds to the chest. The dispatcher said the man is still alive but sustained life threatening wounds.

Bay City News

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Governor Schwarzenegger directs series of Bay Bridge maze collapse actions

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to hold a news conference at 10:00 p.m. tonight in Oakland with Caltrans and California Highway Patrol officials on this morning’s collapse of a section of freeway in Oakland’s Macarthur Maze.

The news conference will take place at the collapse site near the eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 connector. Directions to the location will be forthcoming later this evening, according to Schwarzenegger’s press office.

Schwarzenegger will survey the damage and discuss the state’s response to the catastrophe.

Since this morning’s early freeway collapse of I-580 at the MacArthur Maze, the state has taken actions to minimize the upcoming difficulties for Bay Area commuters.

“Gov. Schwarzenegger directed the state to use every available resource to reduce the incident’s impact on the Bay Area,” said Dale E. Bonner, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency which oversees the Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol.

“Caltrans Director Will Kempton and CHP Commissioner Mike Brown have been on the scene since this morning to help manage the traffic situation and expedite repairs on the freeway.”

Steps taken earlier today by the state to manage today’s roadway collapse include:

– Caltrans structural engineers have been on site since early this morning, assessing damage and formulating repair designs.

– Caltrans has already hired a contractor for debris removal. The contractor is already on site and work is expected to start soon.

– CHP has dispatched a Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team to conduct in-depth investigations and analyses of major traffic incident.

– CHP has sent an airplane to fly over the site to provide video downlink to its Traffic Management Centers so traffic flow can be monitored and managed.

– CHP will have extra patrols/assets in the area over the next few days to assist with traffic control.

– The Highway Patrol has established an on scene incident command and is diverting traffic.

– The state will reimburse local transit authorities (including BART, AC Transit and ferry operators) for the cost of providing free public transit services for San Francisco Bay Area commuters for Monday, April 30, 2007.

The interchanges from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580, and from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880, remain closed indefinitely.

For drivers traveling from San Francisco to Hayward, take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 over the Bay Bridge to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

For drivers going from San Francisco to Walnut Creek: after the Bay Bridge, exit eastbound Interstate Highway 80 at West Grand Avenue, take a left on Northgate Avenue, then enter the on-ramp to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 towards state Highway 24, and take eastbound state Highway 24 to Interstate Highway 680.

Four other alternate routes from San Francisco to parts of the East Bay are recommended:

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound San Mateo Bridge (state Highway 92) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take southbound U.S. Highway 101 to the eastbound Dumbarton Bridge (state Highway 84) to Interstate Highway 880 north or south.

– Take northbound U.S. Highway 101 over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge on eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

– Take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 and exit the Albany/Buchanan off-ramp, turn left under the freeway, left onto westbound Interstate Highway 80, and follow to eastbound Interstate Highway 580.

For drivers going from Richmond to San Jose: take westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580, then take westbound Interstate Highway 980 to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

Going from Richmond to San Francisco, drivers can take westbound Interstate Highway 880 to the Bay Bridge without any detours.

Going from San Francisco to Sacramento, drivers can take eastbound Interstate Highway 880 to Sacramento without any detours.

Caltrans officials are working with the Federal Highway Administration to try to get federal funding to help pay for repairs to the portion of the MacArthur Maze in Oakland that collapsed early this morning after a tanker truck crashed and exploded, Director of Caltrans Will Kempton
said during a news conference today.

Although it’s too soon to know how much it will cost to repair the roadway, Kempton said, “It’s not going to be cheap.”

Caltrans has also issued an emergency proclamation, Kempton said. The proclamation activates emergency provisions, such as special purchasing and contracting powers, and is a prerequisite for requesting a proclamation of a state of emergency from the governor’s office, according to the state Office of Emergency Services.

Office of the Governor of California and Bay City News

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BART extends Monday service following partial collapse of Bay Bridge maze

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Bay Area Rapid Transit officials will be extending service Monday to try to accommodate commuters between San Francisco and the East Bay, following the collapse of part of Oakland’s MacArthur Maze early this morning, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

BART will run longer trains all day Monday. Its normally increased frequency of service during the rush hours will be extended both 45 minutes earlier and 45 minutes later, according to Allison.

“We anticipate the peak periods will be quite busy,” Allison said.

BART officials will monitor ridership Monday in order to make day-to-day service decisions this week, Allison said.

As parking at many BART stations is in high demand, Allison urged commuters to carpool or take the bus to BART stations and to arrive early or leave for work a little later, if possible.

Two additional trains are running from the East Bay to San Francisco today, a BART dispatcher said.

Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder recommended the roughly 280,000 commuters who travel across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge each day, consider other options Monday, including BART, buses, carpooling, taking other bridges or telecommuting.

California Highway Patrol investigators believe speed was a factor in the crash of a gas tanker that exploded and caused a portion of Oakland’s MacArthur Maze to collapse early this morning, but do not believe the driver was intoxicated, CHP Officer Trenton Cross said.

According to Cross, the driver, James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland, had just filled his tanker with about 8,600 gallons of gasoline at a local refinery before the crash, reported at 3:42 a.m., on the connector ramp from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

According to Cross, Mosqueda had been driving for his trucking company for only 10 months.

The tanker was apparently traveling too fast on the connector ramp from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880 when it lost control, struck a guardrail and overturned, Cross said.

Heat from the explosion, which reached temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, rose and caused 250 yards of the connector ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 to collapse, according to Cross.

Both ramps are closed indefinitely, according to Wonder.

The speed limit on the ramp is 50 mph, and evidence from skid marks and damage to the guard rail indicates Mosqueda was speeding, Cross said. Investigators have ruled out any kind of drug or alcohol intoxication, he said.

Mosqueda walked away from the crash and took a taxi from a nearby gas station to Kaiser hospital in Oakland, where he is being treated for second-degree burns to his hands, arms and face, according to Cross.

“He’s lucky,” Cross said. “He got out pretty quick. Then there was an explosion.” If the crash had happened 10 or 15 feet further along the roadway, the ramp might not have collapsed, Cross added.

Assessment crews are on scene now and will be evaluating the damage as soon as fire and CHP officials confirm that it is safe, Wonder said.

It was not known how far along the roadway before and after the collapse the damage extends, according to Wonder.

Caltrans highway engineers are headed to Oakland from Sacramento to further assess the damage, Wonder said.

The collapsed ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 will have to be demolished and then rebuilt, Wonder said.

“Unofficially, it’s going to take months,” Wonder said. “This is major damage.”

The connector from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 is now open, but eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 remains closed, according to the CHP.

Traffic continues to flow onto the bridge.

Travelers wishing to enter San Francisco from the East Bay may take Interstate Highway 80, which remains open.

Travelers coming from San Francisco to Oakland or Hayward, as well as those traveling from Berkeley to Oakland, on Monday, will likely experience problems and should seek alternative routes or public transportation, Cross said.

Bay City News

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BELIEVE IT OR WHAT – What’s your price? Gavin Newsom’s?

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BELIEVE IT OR WHAT
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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher

What’s your price?… In theory, to look the other way…. And in practice…

I set mine a few years back — in theory — at $500 million… The in practice part has not come manifest…

Such sum would provide enough income to live out my life nicely, run with the swells, and be a philanthropist…

Being a philanthropist would help me rationalize my choice… My choice to turn a deaf ear to something my gut and heart insist is wrong…

Would you do it?… If great wealth really could be yours just by saying yes?…

So many are saying yes in the global village — where old nation-state choice of conduct doesn’t apply — to new China mega bucks…

Google, Yahoo, in their submission to China government censorship… Nations, cities, corporations, in expansion of their community prosperity with China…

Exploding propserity helps everyone, one winces when gut and heart elbow the queue…

The elbow is ‘chatter,’ San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom opined last week…

Keeping focus on the human majesty of sport and the 2008 Olympics Torch passing through San Francisco… The only American city to be so honored…

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Photos by John Han

Veteran broadcaster Jim Vargas had given voice to such elbow… The only press conference reporter to do so…

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This corner took a more indirect approach with China San Francisco Consul General Peng Keyu …

‘Why do you think your country has such a good relationship with Google?’ this writer lilted…

Google does good business in China, Keyu noted…

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China San Francisco Consul General Peng Keyu

San Francisco has a unique bond with China… San Franciscans, notably Dianne Feinstein and successive San Francisco mayors, groomed that relationship economically and culturally for decades…

Preferring to noodge China behind the scenes to become fully democratic…

Will you choose differently?

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Photo by Bill Wilson

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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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URGENT ADVISORY – Caltrans predicts Monday commute nightmare – Tanker explosion causes roadway to Bay Bridge maze collapse

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KOMO-TV

BART EXTENDS MONDAY SERVICE

California Highway Patrol investigators believe speed was a factor in the crash of a gas tanker that exploded and caused a portion of Oakland’s MacArthur Maze to collapse early this morning, but do not believe the driver was intoxicated, CHP Officer Trenton Cross said.

According to Cross, the driver, James Mosqueda, 51, of Woodland, had just filled his tanker with about 8,600 gallons of gasoline at a local refinery before the crash, reported at 3:42 a.m., on the connector ramp from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880.

According to Cross, Mosqueda had been driving for his trucking company for only 10 months.

The tanker was apparently traveling too fast on the connector ramp from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound Interstate Highway 880 when it lost control, struck a guardrail and overturned, Cross said.

Heat from the explosion, which reached temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, rose and caused 250 yards of the connector ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 to collapse, according to Cross.

Both ramps are closed indefinitely, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Lauren Wonder.

Roughly 280,000 commuters feed through Oakland’s MacArthur Maze to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge every day, where a portion of the freeway collapsed this morning, according to Wonder.

“The structure is heavily damaged,” Wonder said. The Monday morning commute is going to “a nightmare,” she added.

The speed limit on the ramp is 50 mph, and evidence from skid marks and damage to the guard rail indicates Mosqueda was speeding, Cross said. Investigators have ruled out any kind of drug or alcohol intoxication, he said.

Mosqueda walked away from the crash and took a taxi from a nearby gas station to Kaiser hospital in Oakland, where he is being treated for second-degree burns to his hands, arms and face, according to Cross.

“He’s lucky,” Cross said. “He got out pretty quick. Then there was an explosion.” If the crash had happened 10 or 15 feet further along the roadway, the ramp might not have collapsed, Cross added.

Assessment crews are on scene now and will be evaluating the damage as soon as fire and CHP officials confirm that it is safe, Wonder said.

It was not known how far along the roadway before and after the collapse the damage extends, according to Wonder.

Caltrans highway engineers are headed to Oakland from Sacramento to further assess the damage, Wonder said.

The collapsed ramp from eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 will have to be demolished and then rebuilt, Wonder said.

“Unofficially, it’s going to take months,” Wonder said. “This is major damage.”

The connector from westbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 is now open, but eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to eastbound Interstate Highway 580 remains closed, according to the CHP.

Traffic continues to flow onto the bridge.

Travelers wishing to enter San Francisco from the East Bay may take Interstate Highway 80, which remains open.

Travelers coming from San Francisco to Oakland or Hayward, as well as those traveling from Berkeley to Oakland, on Monday, will likely experience problems and should seek alternative routes or public transportation, Cross said.

Bay City News and KCBS

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Former Assemblyman Lou Papan succumbs to heart attack

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Lou Papan

By Emmett Berg

Former state Assemblyman Lou Papan died in a Burlingame hospital tonight after complications from an apparent heart attack, according to a statement.

Peninsula Medical Center spokeswoman Margie O’Clair said Papan’s family members have requested privacy during the passing. Information on funeral arrangements and a family statement would come later, she said.

Born in Springfield, Mass., Papan was named Elias Papandricoupolos. Because the doctor who delivered him was not familiar with the name Elias, he wrote Louis on the birth certificate. Before Papan entered school, he spoke only Greek.

Papan was a Daly City councilman, real estate broker and insurance agent. He served in the Assembly from 1972-86 and again from 1996-2002, earning the nickname the Dean of the Assembly.

In 2006 the 77-year-old Papan fell short in his bid for the Democratic nomination for state senate in District 8.

Bay City News

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The San Francisco Way on a Sunny Saturday Day

Through The Lens of David Toerge

THE SAN FRANCISCO WAY ON A SUNNY DAY APRIL 28 2007

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If you found yourself wondering where all the people were on Saturday -A great many could be found enjoying the beautiful weather in Dolores Park with a City view to match.

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Someone who prefers the shade in the hammock gets a helping hand from another tree dweller.

HOBART BUILDING A SAN FRANCISCO JEWEL APRIL 26 2007

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The HOBART building on Market at Montgomery was designed in 1914 by Willis Polk the leading architect in San Francisco after the Great Quake of ’06. He designed mostly residences with this building being one of his only office structures. Today, it is surrounded by it’s contemporaries but is still seen as a jewel today and is also a national landmark.

GOLDEN GATE PARK EASTER LILY GOOD FRIDAY 2007

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Good Friday 2007 a lily of the Cala variety at San Francisco Golden Gate Park

SPRINTIME FOR PARROTS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EMBARCADERO

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Spring fever hits the famous parrots of North Beach as two find a little cozy comfort in a tree today near Embarcadero 2.

SUNSET BREAKS THROUGH RAINY DAY AT OCEAN BEACH

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A recent Tuesday at Ocean Beach after a wet afternoon gave way to a beautiful sunset. The man pictured is trying to regain his hold on shredded plastic washed up on the shore.

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When David Toerge left a career in photojournalism that had spanned over twelve years and started in a new direction of commercial photography he blended the editorial style with a more corporate look. David led the way in that new style garnering many awards for his work. Communications Arts has honored him over six times. Based in San Francisco, David shoots projects on location all over the US for various corporations and a multitude of magazines and always brings back great images. He has a keen sense of light, color, and composition and delivers to his clients assignments done with passion. He has climbed bridges hundreds of feet in the air, shot in caves hundreds of feet below, dived with sharks and driven the track with Indy drivers. He has shot earthquakes and firestorms but loves walking the streets with his camera just photographing the everyday life of his city. Visit Toerge Photography at toerge.com, email david@toerge.com, or telephone 415-730-3824

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Three more shot in San Francisco

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San Francisco police are investigating a shooting that left three men with gunshot wounds, Officer Tim Buelow said this morning.

Officers responded to reports of gunshots at 4:13 a.m. at the intersection of Polk and Sacramento streets in the Pacific Heights neighborhood. According to Buelow, the responding officers found two men suffering gunshot wounds to their legs. They were transported to a local hospital in stable condition.

A third victim left the scene of the shooting and went to St. Francis Memorial Hospital, according to Buelow. Police are not sure about the extent of his injuries.

The victims were very uncooperative, Buelow said, and gave police no description of the shooters. However, witnesses gave police information about a vehicle that they saw at the scene of the shooting.

Police have stopped a vehicle in the area that matched a witness’s description and recovered a gun from the car, Buelow said.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

Bay City News

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THE DAMNATION OF FAUST – Absolute Heaven at Davies Symphony Hall

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

Conductor Charles Dutoit, taking the podium for the second time in two weeks, guided the San Francisco Symphony and its magnificent Chorus, along with four guest soloists, the SF Girls Chorus, and Oakland’s Pacific Boychoir in a non-stop and stunningly beautiful production of Berlioz’s LA DAMNATION DE FAUST.

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CHARLES DUTOIT, Conductor and HECTOR BERLIOZ, Composer

Defined as a “Légende” in four parts – sans Intermission – the presentation was a dramatic test of endurance for its hundreds of musicians (at least the singers had the occasional chance to stand up) and throngs of listeners confined to their seats. Not necessary! In spite of the Symphony’s remarkable record for exiting in and around the stroke of 10 PM, no one complains about the Ballet’s occasional 7:30 curtain and double intermissions nor the Opera’s unedited versions of Wagner. Berlioz’s “Damnation” is an exquisite work and this current rendition of it serves it magnificently. There is simply no reason for its attendees to be put through a Test of Fire.

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GREGORY KUNDE, tenor – Faust

Gregory Kunde, Tenor – has appeared in the role of “Faust” with the London Philharmonia Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. While making his debut with the SF Symphony, he is also scheduled to repeat the role with the Dallas Symphony and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. His recordings include Bellini’s “Bianca & Fernando“. In Scene 9 – Faust’s Aria, “Merci, doux crepuscule” (“Thanks, gentle twilight”) the vibrant treble of Mr. Kunde’s upper register shone through. His security with and easy placement of a pianissimo High A-flat entrance to “Que j’aime ce silence” (“How I adore this silence”) is but one example of how this romantic tenor maintains a fully blended tone, not resorting to disconnected falsetto. Still on the same breath – “et comme je respire un air pur” (“and breathe a pure air”), the composer demands the singer drop the phrase slightly more than an octave to 2nd-line G, finishing up on 4th-space E-Flat. Mr. Kunde glides through such moments. It is useful to be reminded that with a full orchestra behind the soloists, all facing the 2,743–seating capacity of Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall – without a microphone / over a two-hour + time frame / with no Intermission — it is the accumulation of such moments that define a great performance.

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TISSOT – Marguerite & Faust In The Garden

Ruxandra Donose, Mezzo-Soprano – marks her SF Symphony debut as “Marguerite”. She is a favorite with the Vienna State Opera appearing in the roles of Carmen, Hänsel, Antigone, and as Pierotto in Donizetti’s “Linda di Chamounix”. Her recordings include Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and Mozart’s Requiem In D minor. Previously seen at the SF Opera in the pants-roles of “Nicklausse” (Offenbach’s TALES OF HOFFMANN) and “Sextus” (son of General Pompey in Handel’s JULIUS CAESAR), the lovely Ms. Donose proved a most vulnerable and compelling “Marguerite”. As the object of Faust’s desire and eternal ruin, Ms. Donose’s warm and lyrical mezzo caressed the phrases of the much anticipated aria, “Le Roi de Thulé”. Since her character does not make an entrance until the second hour of the opera, both the sight and sound of Donose’s “Marguerite” prompted a refreshing wave of energy throughout the house. As with composer Charles Gounod’s treatment of the bedazzled ingénue, Berlioz guides our sympathies towards Marguerite in spite of the fact she is having a torrid affair with Faust (on 16th Century demonic viagra) in one room, while across the hall she keeps her mother drugged and unaware with a poisonous concoction bottled by her aging and hell-bent paramour. Two hours later in the “Epilogue” – with her mother dead, her lover en route to the flames, and awaiting her own execution – the San Francisco Girls Chorus and Pacific Boychoir finally took their place alongside the great SF Symphony Chorus and (as the celestial voices of Heaven) beckoned her beguiled soul to the forgiving vapors of eternal bliss.

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WILLARD WHITE, as Mephistophélès – Leave behind your useless philosophy

Bass-Baritone Willard White is the perfect “Mephistophélès”. Jamaican-born and Juilliard-trained, Mr. White is handsomely personable, properly fit, persuasive, potent and playful. His rich and booming voice can take complete command over all the Devils in the Faustian canon. Mr. White’s Wagnerian repertoire includes “Wotan” in both DAS RHEINGOLD and DIE WALKÜRE, and the title role in THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. In 1995 Mr. White was made Commander of the British Empire and then knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004. His recently released CD, My Way, captivates the soul with beautiful renditions of Deep River, Some Enchanted Evening, and Bess You Is My Woman.

Baritone Christopher Feigum makes an impressive debut as “Brander”. Although the role itself is slotted in the column marked “Thankless”, Berlioz replaces the role of “Valentin” (Marguerite’s brother) with a smart cameo appearance for an up&coming baritone and inserts a respectable drinking-type chanson, “Certain rat, dans une cuisine” (“There once was a rat in a kitchen”). Capturing the role to his advantage, Christopher has used it as his debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.

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CHRISTOPHER FEIGUM, baritone – Brander

In spite of many a stiffening spine (and a jittery exit by a few of the more feint of heart prior to Marguerite’s de-flowering) the audience rose to its feet as Conductor Dutoit rested his baton. Joining in the well-deserved and rapturous applause was Symphony Chorus director Ragnar Bohlin, Susan McMane – Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus, and Kevin Fox – Founding Director of the Pacific Boychoir.

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SF Girls Chorus and Pacific Boychoir

Together with the San Francisco Symphony, these three separate choral groups can crowd the stage with Grammy nominations and awards. They are collectively the Bright Seraphim of San Francisco.

To order tickets on-line:
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MEPHISTOPHÉLÈS, by Eugene Delacroix – Come, they’re knocking at the door.

Friday, April 27th at 8:00
Saturday, April 28th at 8:00
MATINEE, Sunday, April 29th at 2:00

Check out Seán’s recent interviews and articles:
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
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo
Agnes de Mille’s RODEO – at SAN FRANCISCO BALLET
COLOR ME KUBRICK – starring John Malkovich

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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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SPECIAL REPORT: SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

AT 50, SF FILM FEST STILL WORLDLY

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Photo by John Han
Sentinel Photographer

MOVING PICTURES
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By PJ Johnston
Sentinel Film Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

The wonderful thing about the San Francisco International Film Festival is that it really is an international film festival. While it has always had solid representation from the homegrown independent film community that desperately needs the venue film festivals provide – along with a dash of Hollywood – SFIFF has consistently catered to San Francisco’s vision of itself as a fundamentally cosmopolitan city.

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And that’s a good thing. Because many of its brethren and offspring – it has no progenitor in America, being the U.S.’s oldest film festival – have jumped on the Sundance bandwagon in recent years. That bandwagon, fine in itself, is one that emphasizes the gritty quasi-comedy, the emotionally gripping “outsider’s” tale, in the vein of “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Half Nelson,” to name popular recent examples. As good as it is to help these often great and traditionally challenged films find an audience, the enormous financial success Sundance has had, and spawned, has led to two troubling trends: 1) other U.S. film festivals try to copy the model and overemphasize small narrative “quirky films” over other audience-starved fare, such as documentaries or non-narrative experimental films; 2) the movie theaters themselves, in American cities that actually showcase more than Hollywood blockbusters, have gradually favored the offbeat indie film over international cinema – the kinds of movies from around the world that flourished here and elsewhere throughout the late 50s, the 60s and 70s.

When we look back on those years, we tend to think of them as a golden era of the world cinema – the Bergmans, the Fellinis, the Truffauts, the Kurosawas … ah, the memories! But don’t be fooled: the world hasn’t packed it in and gone away. In fact, the international cinema has consistently thrived and expanded and explored exciting new territory, almost in inverse proportion to the self-aggrandizing rehashing Hollywood has offered (sequels, remakes, comic book characters, ’60s TV shows, etc.). But it was only golden because urbane Americans were going to the art house cinemas and spending their gold there.

But those art houses in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and, I don’t know, Marfa, Tex., are now supplanting the foreign films with quirky little guys out of Sundance, like “American Splendor” or “Hustle & Flow.”

How many of the Best Foreign Film nominees of the past five years played at your neighborhood theater? Where are you going to see this year’s “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” “I Am Curious: Yellow,” “Pather Panchali,” “Empire of the Senses” or “Tin Drum”?

Film festivals are where you have a chance to see these types of cutting edge international movies. Well, the San Francisco International Film Festival anyway. (And you can actually see Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece “Pather Panchali,” winner of SFIFF’s first Golden Gate Awards in 1957, this Sunday at SFMOMA.)

Through changes in leadership, changes in cinema and changes in its namesake city, the SFIFF has nevertheless maintained its commitment to world film, and that continues today. The festival opened its 50th anniversary festival last night at the Castro … with a screening of a new Italian epic, “Golden Door.”

HOW TO ATTEND A FILM FESTIVAL

Of course, international fare isn’t the only stuff on the menu. You got your film shorts, your documentaries, your indies, your tributes – to Spike Lee, Robin Williams, George Lucas and Peter Morgan, this year – your opening and closing night parties, your midnight shows, your awards ceremonies and your hip and hipper parties. Whew! Where to begin …

Roger Ebert wrote an essay 15 years ago called “How to Attend a Film Festival,” which one hoped could help the casual movie buff navigate the overwhelming labyrinth that most film festivals present. I love Ebert, but unfortunately his essay was little more than a listing of prominent festivals, a reminder that the vast majority are open to the public and an enthusiastic suggestion that you make a vacation out of attending a film festival. Cool, but … um, how do I deal with this madness? The San Francisco International Film Festival offers more than 100 films across 10 venues over two weeks!

(Incidentally, this may not have been the best subject for Ebert. I once sat behind him at a Sundance screening of “Amandla!: Revolution in Four-Part Harmony,” a spectacular film you should run out and buy on DVD this very moment … and about half-way through I noticed Ebert was snoring. Then, during Q&A after the screening, he fired a bunch of questions at the filmmakers as if no one had noticed his little siesta. They had.)

Well, there is no perfect way to attend a film festival, but I can give you a veteran’s perspective. In addition to attending SFIFF for many years, I’ve often been to Sundance, Mill Valley and Santa Barbara – which is awesome, and not just because my brother is a bigwig at the festival. I’ve also been to Cannes, which is hands-down the best overall experience, but also the most ridiculously expensive and nearly impossible to get into. Still, you haven’t lived till you’ve walked up those carpeted steps in black tie, sat through a three-hour Hungarian epic and three more hours of impolite audience questions en francais, then swilled cosmos on a yacht with Ivana Trump and her well-oiled mimbos…

But I digress.

In my mind, there are three ways to approach a film festival:

Shoot the moon: Go nuts and try to see everything. You can only do this if you’re not gainfully employed and don’t require much sunlight, but some of us can actually sit through four movies a day, day after day, for the entire run of the festival. You can’t see 100 movies, but you can see a goddamn lot of them, and nothing gives you a better taste of the full width and breadth of the cinema today. Or the taste of popcorn, which will last in your mouth for about four months after the festival.

I actually did this one year at the SFIFF. I spent more hours in the Kabuki Theater than Tom Hanks spent in that terminal in the terminally awful Steven Spielberg movie, “The” – ahem – “Terminal.” My seat cushion became a perfect cast of my ass.

Anyway, this option is for the hardcore filmgoer, so I don’t expect many of you to pull it off. You gotta have balls of jujifruit.

Go with a theme: One year at Sundance, I only went to see documentaries. It was cool, because I love documentaries, and there are so many variations on the genre, things you never see on PBS, that it never got boring. And I try to see documentaries because many of them will never make it to video – just as I try to see foreign films because many of them will never make it back to our shores in any format.

So pick up an SFIFF catalog, pick a genre – say, French movies, or period pieces, or films made by Californians – and schedule yourself to see as many of these as you can.

Fly blind: This is my preferred method, and not only because it’s the easiest. If you really love movies, you’re willing to see just about anything. Just show up at the theater of your choice and go see whatever. Sure, you might catch a stinker here and there; but the sweet thing about film festivals is that the selection committees are made up of people who actually love movies, and they usually do a pretty damn good job. And unlike your typical cineplex, which is driven simply by cash, butts in seats, the film fest juries actually try to challenge audiences. You might be surprised or shocked or unnerved by the unusual film you’re seeing, but you’re not likely to be bored.

I’ve seen countless great movies this way, mostly at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

SFIFF WEEKEND 1: PJ’S PICK

Once
dir. John Carney, Ireland, 88 min.
Saturday, 7:15 p.m., Kabuki (also May 6, Clay)

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Glenn Hansard, lead singer of the Frames, gives a scruffy-sweet and thoroughly authentic performance as a struggling singer-songwriter trying to lift his stuff from the streets of Dublin to the big time – or even the medium time. But the real gem here is Markéta Irglová as a quirky Czech immigrant girl who breathes life back into our mopey hero. “Once” compresses the traditional arc of the aspiring musician story into a few working-world weeks and nicely avoids most of the archetype’s clichés, all the while building genuine emotion into the film. A lovely not-quite-a-love story that nails real-life relationships as squarely as the landscapes of Dublin’s working-class neighborhoods, Stephen’s Green shopping zone and Temple Bar nightlife.

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PJ Johnston is president of the San Francisco Arts Commission and a former executive director of the San Francisco Film Commission. He served as Mayor Willie Brown’s press secretary and now runs his own communications consulting firm in San Francisco. A former journalist, he has written about movies for several publications, including the San Jose Mercury News and – long ago, in a galaxy far, far away – for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Email PJ at pj@pjcommunications.com.

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom vows to pray for Lou Dobbs, et al

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NOT ENOUGH HUGS — San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom this morning ponders whether Lou Dobbs got enough hugs as a child.
Photo by John Han
Sentinel Photographer

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

The vitriol expressed by CNN broadcaster Lou Dobbs toward San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom led Newsom today to question whether Dobbs and other critics were hugged enough as children.

And he will pray for them, Newsom intoned.

Newsom made the remarks this morning in response to Dobbs likening Newsom to nazi propagandist Hermann Goering.

The mayor’s response came following a 10:20 a.m. press conference announcing San Francisco is the only American city through which the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay will pass.

In addition to Dobbs, “Michael Savage said the federal government needs to come in and take over the City,” Newsom recalled.

“Bill O’Reilly has ‘countdown for arrest.’

“I’m just proud. That means we’re doing the right thing.

“I’ts unbelieveable — they must not have gotten enough hugs from from their mothers and fathers when they were growing up.

“I pray for them,” Newsom smiled.

See Related Hebrew immigrant group calls on CNN to fire Lou Dobbs for likening San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to nazi Hermann Goering

Sentinel photographer Bill Wilson contributed to this report.

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CIA captures senior al-Qaida operative Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi

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Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi

From the US Department of Defense

The Department of Defense announced today that it took custody Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a high-level member of al-Qaida captured in the War on Terror and placed him under control of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Prior to his arrival at Guantanamo Bay, he was held in CIA custody.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi was one of al-Qaida’s highest-ranking and experienced senior operatives at the time of his detention. Abd al-Hadi associated with leaders of extremist groups allied with al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Taliban. Abd al-Hadi worked directly with the Taliban to determine responsibility and lines of communication between Taliban and al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan, specifically with regard to the targeting of U.S. Forces.

For more details of his background and activities, click here.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi is now under DoD custody and control and will be treated appropriately and in accordance with policy and procedures for other DoD detainees at Guantanamo. He will be treated in accordance with U.S. law and international obligations under treaties to include the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the Detainee Treatment Act, the Military Commissions Act, and applicable Department of Defense directives and instructions governing detainee operations.

Just like previous detainees who have arrived at Guantanamo, he will undergo a period of in-processing to help him adjust to detention rules and procedures. He will be given an internment serial number and will undergo a combatant status review tribunal. The International Committee of the Red Cross will be granted access to this detainee.

As a result of this latest transfer, there are now approximately 385 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Yale economist sees possible real estate crash

COMMENTARY

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Robert Shiller

In the April 2006 issue of NewsMax’s Financial Intelligence Report, “Hard Landing: Profit from the Coming Real Estate Crash,” Shiller — the Stanley B. Resor professor of economics at Yale University — said in an interview that “a substantial drop in home prices in many cities is certainly a serious possibility … There’s a scenario for a major decline.”

Indeed, prices have dropped in many areas.

But today Shiller believes his worst case scenario may be yet to come — as homes are still about as overvalued as stocks were before the tech-stock crash of 2000.

In an interview appearing in the May issue of Money magazine, Shiller was credited with calling the dotcom crash with his uncanny predictions in his book “Irrational Exuberance.” Shiller attributed that stock crash to “collective consciousness.”

He said: “Our minds focus on the same ideas. Those [ideas] get reinforced because we hear them all the time. Back in the late 1990s, you kept hearing that you had to stake your claim on the Internet or you’d miss out on the future. No one cared about the present.”

Asked if a similar crash in the real estate market was imminent, Shiller opined: “It doesn’t seem like we’re there quite yet.”

Shiller debunks the myth that residential real estate has been a savvy investment, noting that from 1890 through 1990, the return on residential real estate was just about zero after adjusting for inflation, and he discounted the notion that homes rise 10 percent a year in price.

“If they did, in the long run no one would be able to afford a house,” said Shiller, who is also a fellow at the International Center for Finance.

He warned that there’s a strong possibility the return on real estate will actually be “substantially negative” over the next 10 years.

Shiller clearly puts himself in the contrarian’s corner. He told Money: “I used to coach children’s soccer, and I would tell my players, ‘Stand away from the pack, and sooner or later the ball will come to you.’

“I think relatively few [Americans] are getting away from the pack, investing more outside the U.S. than in.”

Shiller is practicing what he preaches: “I’m probably a little over 60 percent in stocks, almost all of it outside the U.S.,” he said, adding: “I’ve been reducing my exposure to real estate.”

NewsMax Wire

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April Advocate – Congratulations to Earth Award winners, Don’t miss salute to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

THE ADVOCATE
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By Ken Cleaveland

BOMA Congratulates the 2007 Earth Award Winners!
The first annual BOMA San Francisco Earth Awards luncheon was held April 26th at the Hotel Nikko and recognized nine commercial properties for their exemplary commitment to sustainability. Using criteria that measures energy efficiency, water conservation, garbage recycling, toxics reduction, tenant education, purchasing and transportation policies, the association has launched this program to highlight and reward BOMA members who take the appropriate steps to upgrade and improve their buildings’ performance while reducing their carbon footprint on the environment. First place winners received engraved crystal globes and $4,000 each; 2nd Place winners received a commemorative plates made from recycled glass from vandalized MUNI bus shelters plus $2,000 each, and Third Place winners received framed certificates from the Dept. of the Environment and $1,000.

This year’s winners are:

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BOMA Salutes San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd – May 16th – Don’t miss it!
The BOMA SF Political Action Committee, in conjunction with Committee on Jobs Executive Director Nathan Nayman, and the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, is hosting a special reception for San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd on May 16th from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the E & O Trading Company restaurant, 314 Sutter Street (between Grant and Stockton). Supervisor Elsbernd represents the Westside of San Francisco (along with Supervisor Ed Jew) and has been a strong supporter of property owner rights, and fiscally-responsible city government. He deserves the support of every BOMA Member. For a copy of the invitation, call Wendy De Lara at the BOMA Office (415-362-8567).

BOMA SF PAC Holds Three Successful Events in March/April!
The first event was a reception for Mayor Gavin Newsom’s re-election campaign held on March 29th on the 40th floor of the Transamerica Pyramid, in the offices of Scott Seligman, Seligman Western Enterprises, a BOMA member. The event drew over 50 attendees, and raised more than $9,000 for the Mayor. Attendees enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by Steve Adams President of Sterling Bank & Trust, also a co-host.

The BOMA SF Associates Committee helped raise over $11,000 for the BOMA SF PAC at its annual BBQ before the first regular season night game of the Giants on April 4th. Held behind the China Basin Landing building at 185 Berry Street (which is now having two stories added to it!) the event attracted over 300 BOMA members and guests. Special thanks go to the site hosts: RREEF and McCarthy Cook & Company, for being so generous to BOMA by allowing the association to use its beautiful outdoor area for the fundraiser. Big thanks also to AMPCO System Parking, August Supply, Baskets to Banquets, Giampolini & Company, Marble West, and Perfection Sweeping for their food and beverages for the event.

The third event was a special golf tournament held April 25th at Harding Park in San Francisco. This double scramble event was organized by Bruce Schilling (August Supply), Margot Crosman (Unico Properties), Mike Murphy (Cushman & Wakefield), Howard Fish (Skyline Construction) and Siobhan Vignoles (CAC Real Estate Management) and paired sponsoring associate members with key building owner/management reps. The event raised over $10,000 for the BOMA SF PAC, which will also contribute a portion of the proceeds to our BOMA Cal PAC.

Possible November City Ballot Measure to Preserve Parking in San Francisco
As anyone knows trying to find parking in San Francisco, the supply is shrinking. In fact, Caltrans estimates the city has lost over 10,000 parking spaces in the downtown area alone over the last ten years. Because of the city’s Transit First policy, many new developments are not allowed to put in adequate parking and even residential developments are not allowed to put in one space per unit in some areas of the city. The city’s Off Street Parking Fund has been raided for years of the monies it accumulates from parking meters, city garages, and neighborhood parking permit fees to be used to build more off-street parking garages in the city’s neighborhood commercial districts. Instead, these funds have been diverted to fund un-related social programs. A new movement, spearheaded by the city’s small business community, is underway to stop this loss of parking and to mandate minimum parking requirements in future developments and has filed a city ballot measure to do just that. More details to follow.

San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros to Meet May 21st with BOMA on New Parking Tax Rules
City Treasurer Jose Cisneros and Deputy City Treasurer David Augustine will discuss the new regulations recently issued that affect parking spaces included as part of commercial leases at a meeting with the BOMA SF PAC Board on May 21st at noon. BOMA members who are interested in attending this discussion must contact Ken Cleaveland kenc@boma.com to be put on event guest list. This briefing is limited to only BOMA members. Lunch is being provided courtesy of Township Building Services.

BOMA Briefing on San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance May 18th
The city’s voter-approved mandate that employers must provide paid sick leave to all employees, full time, part-time, and temporary, went into effect February 5, 2007, but will not be fully implemented (meaning payable) until June 4th. However, employers must accrue sick leave now on the basis of one hour for every 30 hours worked. To assist BOMA members and their tenants with compliance, a special briefing has been arranged on Friday, May 18th at 9 a.m. with Donna Levitt, who is the Manager of the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, and labor attorneys Horace Green (Green & Humbert) and Eli Gould (MBV Law). The briefing will be held at 650 California, in their basement conference center. There is no charge, but you are requested to make a reservation so we can plan appropriately. Contact Wendy De Lara at 415-362-8567.

City Graffiti Advisory Board Gets New BOMA Representative
The city’s Graffiti Advisory Board meets monthly to discuss ways and means of combating an all-too pervasive problem in San Francisco: graffiti vandalism. Tagging, etching, scratching, and painting illegal graffiti on public and private buildings and signs cost the city’s taxpayers and its citizens millions annually. Recently, Mike Cashion, who is the building manager for Shorenstein’s Russ Building, 235 Montgomery Street, was appointed to this Board as a business representative. Mike is also the Vice Chair of the BOMA San Francisco Government and Public Affairs Committee. The city needs new and more effective ways to combat graffiti. BOMA congratulates Mike on his appointment, and looks forward to his service on this important citizen advisory board.

San Francisco Establishes Green Building Task Force
San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom recently appointed a “green” ribbon task force to come up with a plan to promote green building standards in both the public and private sectors of the City. Private sector members of the task force include BOMA Government Affairs Director Ken Cleaveland, Webcor’s Phil Williams (who is the chair), Ken Seibel with Tishman Speyer, Margie O’Driscoll, the Executive Director for the AIA/SF, Kirsten Ritchie of Gensler, Ezra Mersey of Jackson Pacific Ventures, Mike Kerwin of Lorax Development, Peter Liu of New Resource Bank, and Bill Worthen of Simon and Associates. Public sector representatives include Dan Sider of the Mayor’s Office of City Greening, Laura Rodormer of the Dept. of the Environment, Laurence Kornfield of DBI, and Craig Nikitas of City Planning. The recommendations are expected to be completed and forwarded to the Mayor mid-June. The meetings are open to the public and are held every two weeks at the AIA/SF offices, 130 Sutter Street, 6th Floor, at 8:30 a.m. The next meeting will be on May 10th.

CPUC may consider Direct Access!
BOMA California is part of a coalition (Alliance for Collaborative Energy Services) that is seeking to re-open the electricity markets to competition from all energy service providers. On April 24th, CA Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey issued a proposed decision to conduct a proceeding on the issue in three phases. Phase One would discuss the Commissions authority to lift the DA ban. Phase Two would discuss the merits of lifting the DA ban and establish the wholesale market structure and rules. Phase Three would establish the rules governing a reinstituted retail direct access market including cost recovery issues.
BOMA supports re-instituting the ability of customers to have choice, and applauds President Peevey for taking this initial step to get the public discussion going. BOMA San Francisco created one of the first business power pools in the country in 1998 and saved its members millions of dollars on the commodity price of electricity by being able to negotiate on the open market. Creating a power pool can benefit both small businesses (as tenants get the pass-through savings) and the environment with a higher percent required use of “renewables”.

Historic Accord with PG&E on Sub-Metering in Progress
The current prohibition on commercial building owners sub-metering their tenants off a master meter may be soon changed under a proposed negotiated agreement between PG & E and BOMA California. This agreement would modify Rule 18 which currently only allows the utility to sub-meter and bill customers. BOMA has argued that to engage commercial tenants more fully in energy conservation, they must first fully understand their energy consumption. That information can only be provided on a regular basis if tenant spaces are sub-metered and are billed based on consumption, not square footage. The agreement would be limited to commercial office buildings as defined in PG & E Rule 1, on a single premise basis. Sub-metered tenants would continue to pay the rates which are applicable to the building’s master meter. Sub-meters must also be certified by the applicable county sealer of weights and measures. The agreement would be subject to CPUC approval.

San Francisco Ban on Non-Compostable Take-Out Food Containers Begins June 1st
Effective June 1, 2007, the Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance requires that all disposable food service ware used in San Francisco be either compostable or recyclable. All food vendors including restaurants, delis, fast food establishments, fair vendors, food trucks, and all city facilities must follow this new law or face penalties of up to $500. The Department of the Environment estimates that businesses that participate in the city’s food scrap program may be able to get a discount on their garbage service of up to 75%. The Department of the Environment is also available to help businesses and BOMA tenants in finding suitable alternatives to Styrofoam plastic cups, food containers, and the like. Visit their website: www.sfenvironment.org for more information or call 415-355-3745.

Brenna Walraven Talks About Green (and profitable) Buildings
Just in case you were wondering, Kirsten Walraven’s sister, Brenna Walraven, is the incoming BOMA International President. She has just had an article published in the April issue of “Today’s Facility Manager” magazine on how “greening your building” can be profitable, and uses three examples: the EPA building in Sacramento that is managed by Craig Sheehy (a previous speaker at the BOMA SF Commercial Recycler of the Year awards luncheon), the Adobe Systems Headquarters buildings, which are managed by George Denise, our speaker this year at the Earth Awards luncheon April 26th, and the Hearst Tower in NYC. To read the excellent piece, click here.

San Francisco Health Department Hosts Free Workshops for Building Engineers and Commercial Property Managers on Indoor Pollution Prevention
The San Francisco Health Department has scheduled a free workshop on May 15th, from 9 a.m. – Noon at their offices at 25 Van Ness Avenue, 5th Floor, Suite 500, to go over the various things building engineers and commercial property managers can do to reduce/prevent indoor pollution and promote a healthier work environment for all tenants. For more information or to register for this event, go to www.sfdph.org/eh. A follow up workshop on June 12th will focus on the proper handling of hazardous materials. Call 415-252-3900 with any questions. Ask for Elana Goss.

BOMA San Francisco to Offer BEEP Energy Management Classes Statewide
BOMA San Francisco and PG&E are partnering to offer BOMA International’s acclaimed BEEP seminars (BOMA Energy Efficiency Program) to members throughout California. The seminars will be held in San Francisco and broadcast simultaneously as a webinar. The first class will be held Monday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m. PDT. Cost is $99 per attendee for members and $125 for non-members. Watch for a separate announcement in the coming weeks. Go to www.boma.org/beep for an overview of the BEEP program.

“Every wise person started out by asking many question.” (Ancient Chinese saying)

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Ken Cleaveland is Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Building and Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of San Francisco.

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New task force to develop recommendations for increasing number of San Francisco green buildings

A newly appointed Green Building Task Force will develop recommendations for increasing the number of San Francisco green buildings by mid-June, Mayor Newsom reported today.

The Task Force iis charged with developing expanded green building standards for major new private construction projects in San Francisco.

Its appointment follows new priority permitting for private development projects that meet a minimum ‘gold’ standard under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process.

“In just a few short months, the City’s fast-track permitting process has resulted in more than a dozen proposals for new green buildings,” said Newsom.

“The Green Building Task Force has built on that momentum and will look at the next steps that we can take to keep San Francisco at the forefront of environmentally responsible urban development,” continued the mayor.

The Task Force will also consider additional incentives to foster environmentally sensitive design and greater sustainability features in new development projects.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the construction and operation of conventional buildings uses 35% of all energy the nation consumes, and is responsible for 35% of the material that goes to landfills.
In addition, conventional buildings use 30% of all wood and other raw materials consumed and contribute to 35% of the carbon dioxide produced nationwide.

In contrast, green buildings maximize energy efficiency and resource utilization. Green buildings have significant advantages in providing healthy indoor environments for employees, employers, and residents.

Corporate productivity studies show natural lighting and natural ventilation in offices can improve employee productivity by as much as 16 percent.

Green Building Task Force members include:

􀂃 Ms. Kirsten Ritchie of Gensler, an international design firm

􀂃 Ms. Margie O’Driscoll of the American Institute of Architects

􀂃 Mr. Ken Cleaveland of the Building Owners and Managers Association

􀂃 Mr. Ezra Mersy of Jackson Pacific Ventures, a San Francisco-based housing developer

􀂃 Mr. Charles Breidinger, a San Francisco-based engineer, developer and member of the Building Inspection Commission’s Code Advisory Committee

􀂃 Mr. Ken Seibel of Tishman Speyer, an international property development and management firm

􀂃 Mr. Peter Liu of the New Resource Bank, a financier of sustainable projects and organizations

􀂃 Mr. Bill Worthen of Simon and Associates, a San Francisco-based green building consulting firm

􀂃 Mr. Mike Kerwin of Lorax Development, a local construction firm specializing in sustainable design

􀂃 Mr. Phil Williams of Webcor, a California-based construction and project management firm

􀂃 Staff from the Mayor’s Office of City Greening, Building Department, Planning Department, and Department of the Environment

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BOMA salutes sustainable practices in San Francisco buildings with Earth Awards

The Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco today recognized nine San Francisco companies for their demonstrated leadership in developing innovative practices that promote sustainable “green” working environments at the 2007 Earth Awards Luncheon.

The Earth Awards, formerly known as the Commercial Office Recycler of the Year (CoRY) Awards, acknowledge efforts by local commercial properties to reduce water and energy usage, reduce or eliminate use of toxics that affect indoor air quality, educate commercial tenants in sustainable operating practices, promote the use of public transportation and bicycling in daily commuting, and recycle everything from paper, bottles, cans, cardboard and food waste to construction debris.

Cash prizes totaling $21,000 were awarded by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the San Francisco Department of the Environment to winners selected from several categories of commercial buildings.

The BOMA Earth Awards is a collaborative event to promote sustainable practices in San Francisco’s buildings.

Co-sponsors include PG&E, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Golden Gate Disposal & Recycling Company and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Commercial properties were divided into three categories: Small Commercial, representing buildings up to 300,000 square feet in size; Medium Commercial, representing buildings between 300,000 and 600,000 square feet in size, and Large Commercial, representing buildings and complexes more than 600,000 square feet in size. There were a total of 38 contestants.

The 2007 BOMA SF Earth Award Winners Large

Commercial Buildings Property Manager Placement Post Montgomery Center/One Montgomery

Street Cushman & Wakefield 1st Place 245 Market/77 Beale Streets (PG & E Corporate Offices)

CB Richard Ellis 2nd Place 303 Second Street Cushman & Wakefield

3rd Place Medium Commercial Buildings Property Manager Placement McKesson Plaza Building/One Post Street

Crocker Plaza Company 1st Place 455 Market Street Cushman & Wakefield 2nd Place 100 Pine Street Unico Properties 3rd Place Small Commercial Buildings Property Manager Placement

The Ferry Building Equity Office Properties 1st Place The Thoreau Ctr.at Presidio ECB Management Svcs. 2nd Place The U.S. Mint U.S. Treasury 3rd Place

PR News Wire

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San Francisco City Attorney sues Check n’ Go and Money Mart for illegal business practicies

City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against storefront lending institutions Check ‘n Go and Money Mart for illegal business practices, his office reported.

The suit also names their online affiliates and an associated out-of-state bank, for unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices stemming from their marketing of short-term installment loans at unlawful interest rates to low-income borrowers.

In addition to Check ‘n Go, Money Mart and its affiliates, the lawsuit names Wilmington, Del.-based First Bank of Delaware (OTC:FBOD) as a defendant for aiding and abetting the storefront institutions’ illicit lending schemes.

Check ‘n Go and Money Mart are licensed deferred deposit lenders, offering “payday loans” in which a borrower gives the lender a post-dated check in exchange for cash. Payday loans are most often sought by low-income and working class families living paycheck to paycheck.

In addition to these payday loans, however, Check ‘n Go illegally offers short-term installment loans for principal amounts of up to $1,500 — with annual percentage rates exceeding 400 percent — through questionable arrangements with online affiliates and First Bank of Delaware, which Herrera charges are deliberate efforts to circumvent state law, the City Attorney maintained.

According to the complaint, Money Mart marketed the identical loan offering in association with First Bank of Delaware until earlier this month, when the company quietly ended the illegal practice in its storefront locations. Money Mart’s current marketing materials, however, confirm that the company is planning to launch an Internet version of the same product later this month, according to the City’s complaint.

Neither Check ‘n Go nor Money Mart is licensed to provide such short-term loans in California, and each is legally prohibited from offering installment loans in the same place of business as payday loans, Herrera said.

The litigation alleges that the businesses’ bait-and-switch marketing practices of advertising “more flexible” installment loans, whereby “bigger is better,” run afoul of state legal prohibitions on false, misleading, or deceptive advertising.

The suit further alleges that these “installment” loans are in reality disguised payday loans, because they give the lenders access to borrowers’ checking account funds for repayment. By pushing these larger, higher interest loans on customers who seek payday loans, Herrera charges that Check ‘n Go and Money Mart are attempting to circumvent the limits imposed by state law on the size, duration, and fees that California law permits lenders to offer for payday loans.

“Check ‘n Go and Money Mart have targeted working families with an illicit lending scheme that would make a loan shark blush,” Herrera said.

“With annual interest rates exceeding 400 percent, these business practices are not merely unconscionable, they’re illegal — and we intend to put an end to them in California.

“I thank the California Reinvestment Coalition and the Center for Responsible Lending for their work on these issues.

“I am also grateful to the participants in our affirmative litigation working group from Yale Law School, who worked hard to help advance this important consumer protection action.

“This is the first of what I hope will be many more worthy collaborations.”

“We have always asserted that charging consumers 459 percent APR interest rate for a small-dollar loan is usury,” said Charisse Ma Lebron, the California Reinvestment Coalition’s Payday Campaign Organizer.

“CRC commends City Attorney Herrera for protecting consumers, which is unfortunately what the state legislature has failed to do for all Californians. We visited 253 payday lenders across the state and found widespread noncompliance even with the most basic requirement, such as posting a full Schedule of Fees so that consumers know what they are paying.

“The San Francisco City Attorney’s litigation against fringe financial services companies sets the necessary and important precedent of broadening and ensuring consumer protections. Ultimately, our Payday Lending Campaign’s goal is to implement robust and comprehensive consumer rights and protections for all Californians against predatory payday loans.”

According to the civil action filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, the illicit loan offerings by Check ‘n Go and Money Mart violate both the California Finance Lenders Law, which governs short-term consumer loans, and the California Deferred Deposit Transaction Law, which regulates deferred deposit or “payday loans.”

By violating these provisions of the state Financial Code, the lenders have lost exemptions to constitutional usury prohibitions that the law would typically extend. As a result, Herrera’s lawsuit alleges, Check ‘n Go, Money Mart and their affiliates are additionally in violation of the California Constitution’s usury law, which prohibits personal loans whose annual interest rate exceeds ten percent.

Check ‘n Go is controlled by Mason, Ohio-based corporations Check ‘n Go California, Inc. and Southwestern & Pacific Specialty Finance, Inc. According to the company’s Web site, Check ‘n Go operates three locations in San Francisco.

Money Mart, whose Web site claims twelve locations in San Francisco, is operated by the Berwyn, Pa.-based Monetary Management of California, Inc. According to records of the California Department of Corporations, Money Mart has more than 100 locations in California, while Check ‘n Go has nearly 200 California stores.

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San Francisco recycling effort keeps 69% of waste material from going into landfill

PUBLIC USE OF COMPOSTABLE GREEN BINS WOULD RAISE PERCENTAGE TO 78%

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GREEN COMPOSTABLE BINS are spotlighted as quick and easy means to hike communicty recycling results during a Wednesday press conference across from San Francisco Recyling Center.
Photos by John Han

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

Nearly 40% of all material San Franciscans toss into sidewalk black recylcing bins are compostable, according to a study released yesterday.

Unfortunately, that compostable material ends up going into landfill when dropped into black recyling bins.

City officials hope to educate the public to use green recycling bins to quickly and easily hike community reclyling success. Mayor Gavin Newsom gathered environmental workers Wednesday to focus public attention.

“If we were to capture all of the compostables that are currently going to the landfill, we’d have a 78% recycling rate,” explained Jared Blumenfeld, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Enviornment.

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“The recently adopted ordinance requiring supermarkets and drug stores to distribute compostable bags will help us drive these numbers up, since residents can put messy food waste into the bag, tie it off, and drop it neatly into the green cart,” noted Blumenfeld.

A study done by the City’s Environment Department and approved by the California Integrated Waste Management Board indicates local recylcing currently keeps 69% of all waste materials from going into landfill.

Newsom urged residents to help boost the figure.

“San Francisco shows other big cities how recyling is done,” said the mayor.

“But we can’t rest on our laurels.

“Our goal is to recycle 75% by 2010 and to accomplish that we still need residents and businesses to take full advantage of composting and recyling programs.”

Blumenfeld lauded San Francsico Scavenger, a Norcal Company, “as a leader in efforts to combat global warming.”

The firm’s Recycling Center this year was fitted with 21,000 square feet of solar paneling. The $2.1 million project, installed by the San Francisco Public Utilites Commissions’ Power Enterprise, generates some 330,000 kilowatt hours of power each year.

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Photos Courtesy Larry Strong Photography

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Photo by John Han

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