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San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris testifies on witness intimidation Tuesday before US Congress

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala D. Harris has been selected to testify before the United States Congress House Judiciary Committee Tuesday on improving the safety for witnesses who cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute violent crime.

The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Robert C. Scott (D-Virginia), invited DA Harris to speak on behalf of the nation’s prosecutors.

DA Harris will speak before the Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism and Homeland Security at 2:00 p.m. EST in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2141.

The problem of witness intimidation has become a state and national epidemic, with witnesses who cooperate with the police and prosecutors targeted for murder and threats of violence against them and their families.

Fear of violence or being labeled a “snitch” silence many eyewitnesses to homicide and violent gang crime. According to recent studies, prosecutors across the country believe that the issue of witnessintimidation is the single biggest hurdle facing any gang prosecution.

Most local and state-level witness relocation programs are temporary, severely underfunded and provide few services to witnesses. In several recent cases, including one in San Francisco, witnesses have left their relocation areas, returned to their neighborhoods and have been killed.

DA Harris will urge the members of Congress to support H.R. 933, the “Witness Security and Protection Act of 2007″ which will direct additional resources to local and state law enforcement agencies to shore up local efforts to relocation and protect witnesses.

The legislation would also establish within the United States Marshals Service a short-term witness protection to provide assistance to state and local prosecutors to protect their witnesses in serious criminal cases. DA Harris will also urge members of Congress to consider funding for more comprehensive, ong-term and victim-centered approaches to witness relocation and protection.

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Goldman Environmental Prizes awarded this evening at San Francisco Opera House

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An Irish farmer jailed for his work in opposing Shell Oil’s natural gas pipeline through his land and an Icelandic entrepreneur saving North Atlantic wild salmon by brokering innovative fishing rights buyouts with North Atlantic governments and commercial interests are among the winners of this year’s prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize.

“This year’s Prize recipients have succeeded in combating some of the most important environmental challenges we face today,” said Goldman Prize founder Richard N. Goldman. “Their commitment in the face of great personal risk inspires us all to think more critically about what ordinary people can do to make a difference.”

The Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony this evening at 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Opera House. They winners will subsequently be honoured at a series of events in Washington DC hosted by, among others, the National Geographic Society and the World Wildlife Fund, and will have the opportunity to meet with US Congressional leaders.

The $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, now in its 18th year, is awarded annually to six grassroots environmental heroes and is the largest award of its kind in the world. The winners will be awarded the Prize at an invitation-only ceremony Monday, April 23, 2007 at 5 p.m. at the San Francisco Opera House and will also be honored at a smaller ceremony on Wednesday, April 25 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, DC.

This year’s winners are:

North America: Sophia Rabliauskas, 47, Canada: Working on behalf of the Poplar River First Nation, Rabliauskas succeeded in securing interim protection for a portion of the boreal forest of Manitoba, effectively preventing destructive logging and hydro-power development while calling on government and international agencies to permanently protect the region.

Africa: Hammerskjoeld Simwinga, 45, Zambia: In Zambia’s North Luangwa Valley, where rampant illegal wildlife poaching decimated the wild elephant population and left villagers living in extreme poverty, Simwinga created an innovative sustainable community development program that successfully restored wildlife and transformed this poverty-stricken area.

Asia: Ts. Munkhbayar, 40, Mongolia: Munkhbayar successfully worked with government and grassroots organizations to shut down destructive mining operations along Mongolia’s scarce waterways. Through public education and political lobbying, Munkhbayar has effectively protected Mongolia’s precious water resources from additional unregulated mining.

South & Central America: Julio Cusurichi Palacios, 36, Peru: In the remote Peruvian Amazon, Cusurichi secured a national reserve to protect both sensitive rain forest ecosystems and the rights of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation from the devastating effects of logging and mining.

Europe: Willie Corduff, 53, Ireland: In the small farming community of Rossport, Corduff and a group of fellow local residents and landowners successfully forced Shell Oil to halt construction on an illegally-approved pipeline through their land.

Islands & Island Nations: Orri Vigfússon, 64, Iceland: With business savvy and an unwavering commitment to reverse the near-extinction of wild North Atlantic salmon, Vigfússon brokered huge international fishing rights buyouts with governments and commercial interests, helping bring to an end destructive commercial salmon fishing in the region.

About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1990 by San Francisco civic leader and philanthropist Richard N. Goldman and his late wife, Rhoda H. Goldman. It has been awarded to 119 people from 70 countries.

Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Previous Prize winners have been at the center of some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, including seeking justice for victims of environmental disasters at Love Canal and Bhopal, India; leading the fight for dolphin-safe tuna; fighting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and exposing Monsanto’s role in introducing the rBGH hormone into the US dairy industry.

Since receiving a Goldman Prize, eight winners have been appointed or elected to national office in their countries, including several who became ministers of the environment. The 1991 Goldman Prize winner for Africa, Wangari Maathai, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Newsom vows defense of San Francisco 2004 anti-discrimination law

From the Mayor’s Office of Communications

San Francisco enacted a sensible law that levels the playing field by giving minorities and women a better chance to win city contracts. In 2004, our anti-discrimination law suffered a setback when a judge struck it down.

Last week, an appeals court ruled that state law does not prevent us from using race — and gender-conscious methods to combat discrimination. Now we have the chance to go back to court to defend our law.

The significance of this case goes well beyond one city’s public contracting program. It goes to the heart of how we as a society can combat discrimination in education, public contracting, and employment. Once again, San Francisco is leading the way.

I pledge my full support to the City Attorney, the Board of Supervisors, and the Human Rights Commission as together we fight to defend our sensible law.

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First act of child abuse

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A San Francisco woman gave birth to a baby boy on the sidewalk Sunday night then walked away, pretending that it never happened, said San Francisco police Capt. Al Casciato.

Casciato said someone called 911 after the woman was seen birthing her baby on fifth and Stevenson streets in San Francisco, at around 9:34 p.m.

When an ambulance arrived, a five-pound 12-ounce baby boy was found alive and kicking, but his mother was nowhere to be found, said Casciato.

In a scenario reminiscent of a March 9. birth that occurred on an Oakland sidewalk, Casciato said a woman believed to be the baby’s mother was spotted about a block and a half away, covered in blood.

According to Casciato, the woman, who was unable to give her name, denied giving birth.

She was taken to the hospital in police custody, where she exhibited psychotic behavior and needed to be restrained, Casciato said.

Police have not been able to positively identify the woman, who is thought to be homeless and around 35 years old. Casciato said the woman may be named Nadine Matthews, but police have not yet been able to confirm this information.

Of the sidewalk birth, Casciato said that in a way, it was probably “the best thing that could have happened to that child.”

He said the baby is in good condition at an area hospital and is in the custody of Child Protective Services.

The woman remains hospitalized and faces charges of child endangerment.

Bay City News

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San Francisco healing abused children during National Kids Month

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GET IN THE GAME is the maxim for a life well lived through helping others, especially the abused children of San Francisco, Ronnie Lott beckoned an audience Friday as headliner for the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center’s Tenth Annual Luncheon. Lott is seen with Cheryl Jennings who emceed the gathering and, at right, philanthropist and antique dealer Chip Zecher.
Photos by Thomas John Gibbons

By Pat Murphy
Sentinel Editor & Publisher

Otherwise caring parents sometimes smack their kids around insulating the breach with hidden shame.

Hidden from those who might help, deadening the spirit of children who don’t understand why.

The breach occurs regularly and across a range of severity.

Each week, child protective services (CPS) agencies throughout the United States receive more than 50,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect. Annual reports affect some 5 million American children.

San Francisco, in this National Kids Month, turned attention throughout April to local children and all things impacting a child’s quality of life.

Most child services highlighted the joys of childhood, while locking eyes with children turned dead to emotion still comes quietly.

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Even so, there are those who shout down the silence.

“I don’t know if I would have that courage,” Ronnie Lott, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, lowered his voice before San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center luncheon Friday.

Lott spoke of Laveranues Coles, a New York Jets receiver, who came to public terms with being abused as a child.

“The reason why I say I don’t know if I would have that courage is because I don’t know if I would let that out,” reflected Lott.

“And yet because of him, it’s inspired me to be here. Because of all of you who are here you are inspiring me to want to help.”

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“I’m almost positive somebody is sitting here right now maybe afraid.

“You can’t be afraid.

“And the reason you can’t be afraid is you got to be in the game. Our society is calling for us to get in the game and when you think of children, and when you think of children who are being abused, we can stop it. We can prevent it.”

‘Exhaust life because there are moments you can change someone’s life’ -Ronnie Lott

“You got to share who you are. You got to volunteer. You got to volunteer and you got to play big,” Lott continued.

“My dad tells me this all the time – exhaust life.

“Exhaust life. It is the hardest thing to do because you get tired and you got people who say, “Oh, I can’t.’

“Exhaust life — because there are moments you can change people’s lives to make it better.”

Lott, who went on in 2004 to found and now control a $1 billion venture capital firm, and his wife, Karen, co-founded All Stars Helping Kids, a not-for-profit organization helping disadvantaged youth in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He appeared at the Friday luncheon to raise funds for the 34-year-old San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center.

Now located in a restored Fire House at 1757 Waller Street, the organization centralizes public and private services for children and parents.

The annual luncheon began ten years ago under leadership of Center Co-Presidents Cathy Topham and Lorraine Cohen.

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Cahty Topham and Lorraine Cohen

To volunteer, telephone Anita Moran at 415-387-3684 ext. 325.

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San Francisco Presidio this month receives $15 million gift from Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi praises $15 million donation as making it possible for the Park to realize its potential as a park for all
Photos by John Han

The nonprofit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, with its public agency partners the Presidio Trust and the National Park Service, this month announced a $15 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to continue the transformation of the Presidio into a great national park for all.

Building on the Haas, Jr. Fund’s support to the Crissy Field restoration in 1999, this new gift for the Presidio of San Francisco to the Parks Conservancy raises the Haas, Jr. Fund’s philanthropy in the Golden Gate National Parks to $30 million total to date. Their combined gifts represent the largest philanthropic cash contribution ever received for America’s national parks.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Robert Haas at the Presidio to announce the gift.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Bob Haas, Jr.

“The generosity of the Haas, Jr. Fund reflects the vision and commitment to the public good that has secured our national parks. The Presidio has stood for more than 200 years as sentinel to the Golden Gate. It continues to do so now as a national park, due in large part to the public-private partnership exemplified by the Haas family. This gift will help the Presidio realize its potential as a park for all people — a shining jewel for our city.”

In 1996, Congress passed legislation drafted by Speaker Pelosi that created the Presidio Trust to preserve the Presidio as an enduring resource for the American people.

This significant support from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund advances an important era of park building and the ongoing “post to park” conversion of the Presidio — an era begun in 1994 when this former military post became part of the Golden Gate National Parks.

The latest gift from the Haas, Jr. Fund seeks to make the Presidio a park cherished by people of the Bay Area, especially those who may have limited access to outdoor settings and national parks.

“For years now, the Presidio has been understandably focused on its financial mandate to be fiscally self-sufficient. We are so pleased that the Trust and the Parks Conservancy are now able to turn their attention to the Presidio’s mission as a national park for all,” said Robert D. Haas, a Haas, Jr. Fund Trustee.

“As we did for Crissy Field, our intention with this gift is to help ensure the Presidio will be a place that is used and enjoyed by the entire community. Our national parks belong to all of us.”

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The Haas, Jr. Fund gift focuses on community access to the Presidio. Specifically, this new gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund supports the implementation of a comprehensive 24-mile pedestrian, hiking, and bicycle trail network at the Presidio; and the revitalization of the Presidio’s Rob Hill Campground — the only overnight campground in San Francisco.

These projects will advance the Presidio’s value to the community as a national park for all and continue to realize the Presidio’s potential as a national park destination that brings outdoor experiences to youth, families, and underserved communities — an aspect of particular priority to the Haas, Jr. Fund.

“This new gift and its call-to-action builds upon the Bay Area’s love affair with the Presidio and the Golden Gate National Parks and demonstrates the civic spirit and generosity of our community,” said Greg Moore, Executive Director of the Parks Conservancy.

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Greg Moore

“We are deeply grateful for the Haas, Jr. Fund’s commitment to improving our parks for the entire community.”

The Haas, Jr. Fund gift provides important momentum to efforts of the Presidio Trust, which in cooperation with the National Park Service, has worked to preserve and enhance the open space of this national historic landmark site — including the trails, forest, and the natural areas.

“Integral to the gift is the vision we share for the Presidio as a tremendous resource for our community, especially for the children and families of San Francisco,” said Craig Middleton, Executive Director of the Presidio Trust. “We believe the outdoor experiences offered by national parks can be transformational for young people.”

The gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is intended to mobilize community affection for these parks and public generosity for their long-term benefit and stewardship. A portion of the gift — $10 million — is a challenge grant for the Trails and Bikeways project, asking Bay Area philanthropists and park supporters to join with the Haas, Jr. Fund in advancing the Presidio’s mission as a national park for all with gifts of any amount.

From the beginning of the Presidio’s conversion to a national park, the Haas, Jr. Fund has been instrumental in its transformation. When the Presidio’s closure as a military post was announced, the late Walter A. Haas, Jr. served on the Presidio Council, a group of national volunteers advising the early transition from “post to park.” Later, the Haas, Jr. family through the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund provided a $13.5 million leadership gift to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy for the restoration of Crissy Field, along with a $4.5 million gift from Colleen and Robert Haas. This leadership gift, along with many other generous financial and volunteer contributions helped make this shoreline site one of the region’s most beloved public places and the recipient of national and international awards for the quality of design, environmental restoration and community engagement. The Haas, Jr. Fund recently made a $1.5 million additional gift for future enhancements at Crissy Field. Today, Walter J. Haas, the son of Walter Haas, Jr., serves on the Board of Trustees of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

“This generous gift reaffirms the importance of the Presidio to our local community, the region, and nation — and its vital role in the lives of Bay Area residents,” said Brian O’Neill, General Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Parks. “From its earliest days, when Muir Woods was donated to the National Park Service as a national monument, philanthropy and citizen action have come together to create the Golden Gate National Parks.” Today’s gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund builds on that history and initiates another chapter of community support for these treasured national park lands. The Parks Conservancy, Presidio Trust, and National Park Service invite donors, friends, and supporters to contribute to the Haas, Jr. Fund challenge grant and help build the momentum to make the world’s greatest urban national parks at the Golden Gate.

See Related: PRESIDIO DEVELOPMENT

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More San Francisco shootings

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Two different shooting incidents that happened Friday night within ten minutes of each other produced two victims and no suspects, said San Francisco Police Officer Timothy Buelow.

The first shooting took place at 8:49 p.m. in the 100 block of Hahn Street in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood, Buelow said. Police arrived to find one man suffering a gunshot wound to the right leg. The victim was transported to a local hospital in stable condition.

The second shooting was reported at 9 p.m. at the intersection of Divisadero Street and Golden Gate Avenue, in the Alamo Square neighborhood.

One victim was found suffering from a gunshot to his right arm, according to
Buelow.

The victim was walking along the street when suspects, described only as two black men, drove up in a car. The victim began to run and one of the suspects got out of the vehicle and shot at the victim, Buelow said, striking his arm. The victim was transported to a local hospital in stable
condition.

Police are continuing to search for suspects in both shootings.

Bay City News

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Scoopstress Kim Knox reports Angela Calvillo the new Clerk of the Board to San Francisco Board of Supervisors

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WOMAN GETS THE SCOOP – Author, teacher, and perennial Green Party activist Kim Knox, seated in front of School Board Member Hydra Mendoza at Saturday mayoral Town Hall Meeting on City services to San Francisco children, first to announce selection of new Clerk of the Board to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Photo by John Han

BELIEVE IT OR WHAT
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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher

KIM KNOX GETS THE SCOOP

Irrepressible Kim Knox, scribing for leftinsf.com, is first to let it be known candidate selected to replace beloved Gloria Young as Clerk of the Board…

Angela Calvillo — of institutional memory, unflappable charm, youth and beauty — got the nod, Knox reports… Calvillo, to boot, is young enough to serve for a very long time… Building on institutional memory sorely needed at City Hall…

PHIL MATIER AND ANDY ROSS GET THE SCOOP

Big Gorilla pagesters Phil Matier and Andy Ross pass along politically indelicate missive from Jennifer Siebel… Mayor Newsom’s steady girlfriend…

“While he is running for re-election as mayor of San Francisco,” Gavin’s actress girlfriend wrote in e-mail that went out along with the invite, “he is also a top candidate for the upcoming California gubernatorial election,” San Francisco Chronicle sleuths get it first

PAT MURPHY GETS THE SCOOP

Fruit flies, this column good for something, live only two days…

It’s true… This corner learned this week… Tell exacting in-the-knowers The San Francisco Sentinel shared it quickest…

GET PARANOID, LUMPY

Influence peddling, I suspect it… A San Francisco Ethics Department staffer being handed a complaint against The Sentinel one day prior to that department’s budget hearing before the Budget and Finance Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors… Chaired by District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly… Who made the same complaint from the Chamber Floor of the Board of Supervisors in 2005…

Quickly as Ethics Staffer Paul Solis notified yours truly, this writer clicked ‘send’ requesting influence peddling investigation by both the regional US Attorney and by the FBI…

Scan each shadow, yon Liege of The Punk People, wondering whether the shadow knows

NEVER A BLUE SAN FRANCISCO DAY

Take ten minutes to be happy somebody pretty still will grace the Board of Supervisors dais, be glad anybody has a steady girlfriend, and go out and tell us complainers we’re tiresome…

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MEROLA OPERA PROGRAM – Winners Announced

TWENTY-NINE INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS SELECTED FOR 50TH ANNIVERSARY TRAINING PROGRAM

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

SAN FRANCISCO – April 22, 2007 – San Francisco Opera Center Director Sheri Greenawald announced the 23 singers, 5 apprentice coaches, and 1 apprentice stage director who will participate in the 50th Anniversary Season of the prestigious Merola Opera Program, running June 4 – August 18, 2007. The artists, selected from more than 750 applicants last fall, come from seven different countries: Argentina, Greece, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and the United States.

The intensive eleven-week training program is highlighted by fully-staged productions of Gioachino Rossini’s LA CENERENTOLA, directed by Jose Maria Condemi and conducted by Martin Katz (July 13 and 15 at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater), and the world premiere of Thomas Pasatieri’s THE HOTEL CASABLANCA, directed by Richard Kagey and conducted by Joseph Illick (August 3 and 5 at Cowell Theater). Additional public performances include the Schwabacher Summer Concert on July 29 at Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Merola Grand Finale on August 18 – the annual event showcasing the gifted young singers in performance with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House on August 18.

Throughout the summer, the artists will participate in master classes and private coachings with such luminaries as pianists Steven Blier, Martin Katz, and Warren Jones; conductor Patrick Summers; sopranos Jane Eaglen and Carol Vaness; mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade; tenor Rockwell Blake; and baritone Sir Thomas Allen. Participants will also receive training in operatic repertory, foreign languages, diction, acting, and stage movement.

A complete Merola Opera Program performance and casting calendar and artist roster follows. Visit www.Merola.org for more information.

2007 MEROLA OPERA PROGRAM ARTIST ROSTER

APPRENTICE STAGE DIRECTOR:

EUGENIA ARSENIS (Athens, Greece)
SCHOOLS: Royal Holloway University of London, Boston University, University College London, New York Film Academy, Attiko Conservatory
DIRECTING EXPERIENCE: Waxworks; El Cimarrón; Antigone at Royal Albert Hall—BBC Proms; theater in England and Greece; film and television in U.S. and Greece

APPRENTICE COACHES:

ROBERTO BERROCAL (Bilbao, Spain)
SCHOOLS: New England Conservatory; College of Charleston
COACHING EXPERIENCE: Aida, Manon Lescaut, Così fan tutte, Hansel and Gretel, Anna Karenina

KEUN-A LEE (Seoul, Korea)
SCHOOLS: Manhattan School of Music; The Juilliard School; Kyunghee University
COACHING EXPERIENCE: Il Viaggio a Reims, Così fan tutte

MATTHEW OTTENLIPS (St. Louis, Missouri)
SCHOOLS: University of Missouri, Kansas City; University of Cincinnati
COACHING EXPERIENCE: Il Matrimonio Segreto, Madama Butterfly, L’Elisir d’Amore, The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe

YASUKO OURA (Kyoto, Japan)
SCHOOLS: The Juilliard School; Oberlin College
COACHING EXPERIENCE: The Pearl Fishers, Così fan tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro, Little Women, Faust, Poliuto, A Month in the Country, Rage d’Amour, The Sound of Music

MATTHEW THOMPSON (Burlington, North Carolina)
SCHOOLS: University of Michigan; University of North Carolina
COACHING EXPERIENCE: L’Incoronazione di Poppea, The Pajama Game

SOPRANOS:

JAMIE-ROSE GUARRINE (Peoria, Illinois)
SCHOOLS: University of Wisconsin, Madison; Illinois Wesleyan University
MAJOR ROLES: Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Despina (Così fan tutte), Tiny (Paul Bunyan), Isabelle/Madeline (The Face on the Barroom Floor), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)
MEROLA ROLE: Veronique (The Hotel Casablanca)

ASHLEY LOGAN (Princeton, New Jersey)
SCHOOL: University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music
MAJOR ROLES: Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Giannetta (L’Elisir d’Amore), Josephine (Comedy on the Bridge), Dritte Zofe (Der Zwerg)
MEROLA ROLES: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) and Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)

ANI MALDJIAN (Los Angeles, California)
SCHOOLS: California State University, Northridge; California Institute of Arts
MAJOR ROLES: Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank), Nannetta (Falstaff), Serpina (La Serva Padrona), Princess (Transformations), Despina (Così fan tutte), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Adele (Die Fledermaus), Miss Wordsworth (Albert Herring), Jane (WET)
MEROLA ROLE: Clorinda (La Cenerentola)

REBECCA PAUL (Rochester, New York)
SCHOOLS: University of Notre Dame, Goucher College, Mannes College of Music—Extension Division, Eastman School of Music—Community Education Division
MAJOR ROLES: Suor Angelica, Magda (The Consul), Gutrune (Götterdämmerung), Elsa (Lohengrin), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Leonore (Fidelio)
MEROLA ROLES: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Aida and Mother (Hansel and Gretel)

TAMARA WAPINSKY (Pottsville, Pennsylvania)
SCHOOLS: Mannes College of Music, Indiana University, Temple University
MAJOR ROLES: Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Nella (Gianni Schicchi), Beatrice Carbone (A View from the Bridge), Ellen Orford (Peter Grimes), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos), Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
MEROLA ROLE: Tallulah Carter (The Hotel Casablanca)

MEZZO-SOPRANOS:

CYNTHIA HANNA (Charleston, South Carolina)
SCHOOLS: University of South Carolina, Charleston Southern University
MAJOR ROLES: Mercédès (Carmen), Mum (Albert Herring), Inez (Il Trovatore), Charlotte (A Little Night Music), Isabella (L’Italiana in Algeri), Baba (The Medium), Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica), Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro)
MEROLA ROLES: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Amneris (Aida) and Hansel (Hansel and Gretel)

DAVEDA KARANAS (Mandeville, Louisiana)
SCHOOLS: Boston University—Opera Institute, Arizona State University, Southeastern Louisiana University
MAJOR ROLES: Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia), Judith (Bluebeard’s Castle), Marchesa Melibea (Il Viaggio à Reims), Mother Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Madame Flora (The Medium), Lady with a Hat Box (Postcard from Morocco), Amahl’s Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Zia Principessa (Suor Angelica)
MEROLA ROLE: Tisbe (La Cenerentola)

DANIELA MACK (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
SCHOOLS: Louisiana State University
MAJOR ROLES: Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Dorabella (Così fan tutte), Blanche (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Carmen (La Tragédie de Carmen), Jo (Little Women), Mrs. McLean (Susannah), Maurya (Riders to the Sea), Suzy (La Rondine), Alisa and Mercédès (Placido Domingo Gala Concert—A Night for New Orleans)
MEROLA ROLE: Cenerentola (La Cenerentola)

PAULA MURRIHY (Tralee, Ireland)
SCHOOLS: New England Conservatory, Dublin Institute of Technology—Conservatory of Music and Drama
MAJOR ROLES: Good Witch (Transformations), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Dido (Dido e Aeneas), Ariodante, Messagiera (L’Orfeo), Hippolyta (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Diana (La Calisto), Nancy (Albert Herring), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel)
MEROLA ROLE: Lucy Perez (The Hotel Casablanca)

MEREDITH WOODEND (Kissimmee, Florida)
SCHOOLS: Boston University, University of Florida
MAJOR ROLES: Ruth (The Pirates of Penzance), Flora (La Traviata), Gertrude (Roméo et Juliette), Third Lady (The Magic Flute)
MEROLA ROLE: Miss Pooder (The Hotel Casablanca)

COUNTERTENOR:

VINCE YI (Los Angeles, California)
SCHOOL: Boston University
MAJOR ROLES: Cardinal 1 and Oracle 1 (Galileo Galilei), The Boy (The Tsar has his Photograph Taken), Nanki-Poo (The Mikado), Abe Kaplan (Street Scene)
MEROLA ROLE: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Cesare (Giulio Cesare)

TENORS:

ANDREW BIDLACK (Chambersburg, Pennsylvania)
SCHOOL: Temple University
MAJOR ROLES: Rodolfo (La Bohème), Bastien (Bastien and Bastienna), Candide
MEROLA ROLE: Charles Carter (The Hotel Casablanca)

ALEXANDER BOYER (Port Washington, New York)
SCHOOLS: Manhattan School of Music, Boston University
MAJOR ROLES: Luigi (Il Tabarro), Alfredo (La Traviata), Chevalier de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites), Prince Philippe (A Dinner Engagement), Azor (Zemire und Azor), Arkady (A Month in the Country), Rodolfo (La Bohème), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni)
MEROLA ROLES: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Nemorino (The Elixir of Love) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte)

ALEK SHRADER (Alva, Oklahoma)
SCHOOLS: Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern Oklahoma State University
MAJOR ROLES: Count Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Nemorino (L’Elisir d’Amore), Fenton (Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor), Florville (Il Signor Bruschino), Le Chevalier (Dialogues des Carmélites)
MEROLA ROLE: Ramiro (La Cenerentola)

BARITONES:

WILLIAM BROWNING (Madison, Kansas)
SCHOOLS: Emporia State University, Wichita State University
MAJOR ROLES: Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette), Count Ceprano (Rigoletto), Marquis d’Obigny (La Traviata), The Four Villains (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Marcello (La Bohème), Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Don Giovanni, Le Marquis de la Force (Dialogues des Carmélites), Count Danilo (The Merry Widow)
MEROLA ROLES: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Father (Hansel and Gretel) and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte)

NATHANIEL HACKMANN (Phoenix, Arizona)
SCHOOL: Central Michigan University
MAJOR ROLES: Schaunard (La Bohème), Silvio (Pagliacci), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte)
MEROLA ROLE: Raul Perez (The Hotel Casablanca)

MATTHEW HANSCOM (Plymouth, Minnesota)
SCHOOL: Northwestern University
MAJOR ROLES: Gianni Schicchi, Eugene Onegin, Falstaff, Gideon March/Dashwood (Little Women), Graf Danilo (Die Lustige Witwe), Second Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte), Ben (The Telephone), Clark/Reverend MacCarty (Slip Knot)
MEROLA ROLES: Schwabacher Summer Concert: Belcore (The Elixir of Love) and Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte)

PAUL LA ROSA (Union, New Jersey)
SCHOOLS: The Juilliard School, Williams College
MAJOR ROLES: Agamemnon (Iphigénie en Aulide), Junius (The Rape of Lucretia), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Marcello (La Bohème), Don Giovanni, Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro)
MEROLA ROLE: Dandini (La Cenerentola)

MATTHEW MOORE (Newport News, Virginia)
SCHOOLS: Boston University, Baylor University
MAJOR ROLES: Marcello and Schaunard (La Bohème), Reinaldo Arenas (Before Night Falls), Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Belaev (A Month in the Country), Don Giovanni, Der Zar (Der Zar Lässt Sich Photographieren), Belcore (L’Elisir d’Amore), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Conte Robinson (Il Matrimonio Segreto)
MEROLA ROLE: Alidoro (La Cenerentola)

JASON PLOURDE (Caribou, Maine)
SCHOOLS: University of Southern Maine, Indiana University
MAJOR ROLES: Pistola (Falstaff), Hortensio (The Daughter of the Regiment), Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore), Le Dancaïre (Carmen), Tom/John (The Face on the Barroom Floor), Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro), Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Baron Zeta (The Merry Widow)
MEROLA ROLE: Burton (The Hotel Casablanca)

BASS-BARITONES:

TOM CORBEIL (San Diego, California)
SCHOOLS: University of California, Davis; Regent College; University of British Columbia
MAJOR ROLES: Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Mustafà (L’Italiana in Algeri), Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring), Crespel (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Caronte (L’Orfeo), Captain Corcoran (H.M.S. Pinafore)
MEROLA ROLE: Tom Carter (The Hotel Casablanca)

SAM HANDLEY (Union City, Tennessee)
SCHOOLS: University of Houston, University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
MAJOR ROLES: Don Pasquale, Bottom (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Mr. Emerson (A Room with a View), Polyphemus (Acis and Galatea), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Collatinus (The Rape of Lucretia), Dikoj (Kát’a Kabanová), Dr. Miracle (Les Contes d’Hoffmann)
MEROLA ROLE: Don Magnifico (La Cenerentola)

BASS:

KENNETH KELLOGG (Washington, District of Columbia)
SCHOOLS: Academy of Vocal Arts, University of Michigan, Ohio University
MAJOR ROLES: Zaretsky and Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Bluebeard (Bluebeard’s Castle), Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Seneca (L’Incoronazione di Poppea), Orgon Pernelle (Tartuffe), Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Simone (Gianni Schicchi), Mr. Kofner (The Consul), Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring)
MEROLA ROLE: Tobias (The Hotel Casablanca)

Ani Maldjian, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, and Matthew Ottenlips are returning artists from the 2006 Merola Opera Program.

2007 Calendar of Performances
La Cenerentola, by Gioachino Rossini – Rossini’s charming take on Cinderella will be presented at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater on July 13 (8 pm) and 15 (2 pm). Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the fully-staged performances, featuring scenic design by Erik Flatmo, will be conducted by Martin Katz and directed by Jose Maria Condemi.

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LA CENERENTOLA – Merola Opera production, July 13th and 15th

Schwabacher Summer Concert – Merola will perform an afternoon of semi-staged opera scenes from works by such composers as Donizetti, Handel, Humperdinck, Mozart, and Verdi on Sunday, July 29, at 2 pm, at Yerba Buena Gardens (Mission Street, between Third and Fourth, in San Francisco). A part of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, this outdoor concert will be conducted by the Opera Center’s Director of Musical Studies and Merola alumnus Mark Morash; Roy Rallo will direct. This concert is free; no tickets are required.

The Hotel Casablanca, by Thomas Pasatieri – The world premiere of Pasatieri’s 19th opera will be performed at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater on August 3 (8 pm) and 5 (2 pm). Sung in English, the fully-staged performances will be conducted by Joseph Illick and directed and designed by Richard Kagey. Staged at the mythical Double-T Ranch and a seedy hotel riddled with assorted eccentric guests and set to an original libretto by the composer, The Hotel Casablanca is a comedy that takes place in 1948 regarding a wealthy Texan couple and their attempts to “toughen up” their 25-year-old nephew visiting from New York.

Merola Grand Finale – The 2007 Season of the Merola Opera Program culminates with the annual Merola Grand Finale, a concert of operatic arias and ensembles with full orchestra performed at the War Memorial Opera House on Saturday, August 18, at 7:30 pm. Merola Opera Program alumnus and Houston Grand Opera Music Director Patrick Summers will conduct the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

Tickets for La Cenerentola ($35-48), The Hotel Casablanca ($35-48), and the Merola Grand Finale ($25-38) go on sale beginning May 1, and may be purchased by calling the San Francisco Opera Box Office Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, at (415) 864-3330. Members of the Merola Opera Program may purchase tickets to the Merola Grand Finale Reception ($40), which follows the concert. For information on how to become a Merola member, please call (415) 565-6427 or visit www.Merola.org.

About the Merola Opera Program
Now in its 50th year, Merola Opera Program is the nation’s oldest and foremost young artist training program in the country. Named for Gaetano Merola, San Francisco Opera’s founding General Director, the Merola Opera Program has nurtured more than 1,000 up-and-coming singers, accompanists, and directors since its establishment in 1957. Each year, more than 750 artists from throughout the world vie for approximately 30 coveted spots in the summer program. Admission is based solely on talent rather than financial ability; there is no charge to participants.

The continued success and acclaim of this program is founded on the principal of focusing on one artist at a time, with an emphasis on personal attention and commitment to quality. Over the past five decades, Merola has built careers in opera with a proven balance of training, performance and individualized support. The Merola Opera Program is an independent nonprofit organization, which operates in collaboration with San Francisco Opera Center (Sheri Greenawald, director) and San Francisco Opera (David Gockley, general director).

The extensive list of Merola Opera alumni includes such celebrated artists today as: Brian Asawa, Charles Castronovo, Laura Claycomb, Tracy Dahl, Mark Delavan, Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Thomas Hampson, Gary Lakes, Janis Martin, Sylvia McNair, Anna Netrebko, Cheryl Parrish, Earle Patriarco, Patricia Racette, John Reylea, Michael Schade, Kurt Streit, Patrick Summers, Ruth Ann Swenson, Jess Thomas, Mel Ulrich, Carol Vaness, Rolando Villazon, Deborah Voigt, and Dolora Zajick.

Seán’s recommendations:
DVD – La Cenerentola (1981) – Claudio Abbado, Conductor. Featuring: Frederica von Stade, Francisco Araiza, Paolo Montarsolo, Claudio Desderi, and Laura Zannini

CD:
La Cenerentola (2005)
Alberto Zedda, Conductor. Featuring: Bruno Praticò, José Manuel Zapata, Joyce DiDonato, Paolo Bordogna, Patrizia Cigna, Martina Borst, Luca Pisaroni, and Marco Bellei.
La Cenerentola (1993) – Riccardo Chailly, Conductor. Featuring: Cecilia Bartoli, William Matteuzzi, Michele Pertusi, Fernanda Costa, Gloria Banditelli, Enzo Dara, and Alessandro Corbelli.

La Cenerentola (1987) – Sir Neville Marriner conducts the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Featuring: Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo Soprano), Francisco Araiza (Tenor), John del Carlo (Baritone), Simone Alaimo (Bass), Ruggero Raimondi (Bass), Carol Malone (Soprano), and Felicity Palmer (Soprano).)

See Seán’s recent interviews and commentaries:
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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Citizens issuing parking tickets to Muni, Creating San Francisco sanctuary for taggers – PHLOG by David Toerge

PHLOG
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By David Toerge
Sentinel Photography Editor
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

MUNI Parking Phlog
22nd of April 2007

I recently saw a piece in one of the local newsprints (very unGreen you know). It was about the City placing cameras on MUNI busses to catch motorists parked in the bus zone.

Now, I definitely support a huge fine when issued by the police but not in absentia. Drivers should not park in bus zones period.

B U T I get more annoyed at the Muni drivers who don’t use those zones. Sometimes a driver will make a half hearted stab at it only to leave of huge portion of the bus’ rear sticking out and blocking a lane.

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I spent an hour today following busses and found that more than 50% did not use the designated zone. I am wondering, City Hall, can a citizen with a camera give the Muni drivers $100 Tickets?

File this in the “what’s good for the goose” department.

GRAFFITI Phlog
22nd of April 2007

I recently heard that San Jose had pretty much solved their graffiti problem. I think that I heard that they even gave themselves some kind of award.

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How did they do it?

I think they shipped up their most prolific taggers up to OUR city because just in the last couple of months the graffiti in San Francisco has gotten out of hand.

These moronic fools are now not content with defacing vacant buildings as they once did.

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They are targeting shops and buildings and it some cases homes. They also use sharp instruments to etch their ridiculous monikers in plate glass windows costing hundreds of dollars to repair.

It seems to me that it wouldn’t take much investigating to find these little budding criminals. Of course, then what do we do with them?

Some lawyer would probably file suit against the City for violating the little thug’s civil right of free expression.

Or maybe the supervisors have declared OUR City a tagger friendly sanctuary.

In any case, it’s time for a crackdown.

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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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San Francisco student loan company suspected of kickback scheme to school officials

By Emmett Berg

A San Francisco lending firm is under pressure to disclose any financial relationships with California colleges and universities as part of a growing scandal involving student loan companies and alleged kickbacks to education officials.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown on Tuesday demanded records detailing any financial relationships between San Francisco-based Education Finance Partners and public or private universities in the state.

Brown also called for San Diego-based Student Loan Xpress Inc. to produce documentation.

“Schools and universities must be beyond reproach, and no further burdens should be visited upon students who are already weighted down by escalating student-debt responsibilities,” Brown said in a statement.

A day earlier, Education Finance Partners agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a complaint by the State of New York after a wide-ranging investigation into kickbacks that helped lenders get placement atop preferred lending lists given to students.

No one from Education Finance Partners was immediately available for comment.

A spokesman for the California Faculty Association, which represents faculty at California State University campuses, said the details unfolding so far were the “tip of the iceberg.”

President John Travis said the association he leads “was grateful for the attorney general’s efforts to uncover any inappropriate or usurious financial aid practices that involve California’s public universities.”

Bay City News

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Cinco De Mayo Soccer Fest set for Kezar Stadium May 5

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SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–San Francisco’s community celebration “Cinco de Mayo Soccer Fest,” is a great combination of Family Fun and “Futbol.” The California Victory, the new United Soccer League’s Division One team in San Francisco, takes on Necaxa 1A, a professional soccer team from Aguas Caliente, Mexico during “Cinco de Mayo Soccer Fest.”

The Cinco de Mayo festivities at Kezar Stadium are 11 a.m-5 p.m. with the game starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. The California Victory will conduct a special soccer clinic prior to the game. Kezar Stadium, the field of champions, where the San Francisco 49’ers and the Oakland Raiders got their start, is located at 755 Stanyan Street in the Southeastern corner of Golden Gate Park. Head Coach, Glenn Van Stratum, and Assistant Coach, Hugo Perez lead the Victory.

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Mayor Newsom and members of the Board of Supervisors have been invited to kickoff the festivities with a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the California Victory’s first game at Kezar Stadium. “We’ve joined with the community to create the Cinco de Mayo Soccer Fest,” said Terry Fisher, General Manager of the California Victory. “We are looking forward to people coming out to enjoy great food and entertainment. We want people to know the California Victory is their home town team and we’re not moving anywhere.”

It’s an event that is worth a commute to the Bay Area. Before and after the game that involves Mexico, which is historically tied to Cinco de Mayo, community organizers will cook up a great time! La Familia (the family) can enjoy fiery mariachi, mesmerizing Aztec dancers; baile folkloric, captivating drum beats, tantalizing canto de ninos, enchanting cha cha and magnificent descarga; and habañero hot hip-hop. Fun begins at 11 a.m.

Tickets are free for children under seven; eight-eighteen are $9.00, and $12 for adults. It’s a great deal for families, non-profits, and businesses. Get tickets at www.californiavictorysoccer.com or call 415.593.1491. Affordable professional sports tickets are now available in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit www.cincodemayosfca.com.

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San Francisco plastic shopping bag ban said a national trendsetter

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom signs plastic shopping bag ban legislation into law under pleased eye of San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi who led the ordinance through to completion
Photos by John Han

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

A homegrown flicker of an idea, two years distilling and today resonating beyond US borders, was signed into San Francisco law Friday.

It was never in the bag, when San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi first struck on the idea shoppers by law should be weened off use of plastic shopping bags.

They pollute the environment and their manufacture furthers global warming, the District 5 Supervisor propounded, hoping to soften business opposition by targeting large supermarkets only for plastic bag ban.

Working its way through Board of Supervisors committee review, often pro-business Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier later expanded the ban to large pharmacies such as ubiquitious chain stores Walgreens and Rite-Aid.

Mayor Gavin Newsom went on to instruct his Department of the Enviornment to collaborate in the proposal culminating in 1:30 p.m. signing yesterday in the International Room of City Hall.

Mirkarimi suggested the Bush Administration is yet to “design a master plan that obligates the reduction of green house emissions.”

“Until that really happens, it’s going to be up to US cities to step up to the plate and to do so in vigorous ways,” stated the District 5 Supervisor.

“San Francisco is doing that and one aspect of that message, I believe, is our legislation to help reduce plastic bags by compelling the ban of non-biodegradeable plastic bags in our largest retailers — grocery stories and pharmacies.

“We have for the two years or so since I contemplated, and we have, the introduction of the legislation… arrived obviously at a piece of legislation that resonates well within the elected City Government.

“Stunningly, has resonated well around the world.

“We would have never anticipated… the response that we received literally from all corners of this planet from cities’ representatives, elected officials, advocacy organizations, nonprofits, who have found strong kinship with our efforts here in San Francisco that’s either made them hopeful for the United States or at least for their own locality that they would like to replicate this kind of legislation.

“In a short period since the Board of Supervisors has passed this legislation, we understand that there have been at least 12 US cities who want to see this legislation.

“That to me is a wonderful way to ring in Earth Day.”

Mirkarimi thanked Newsom and the Department of the Environment.

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“Thank you very much to the mayor and to his staff… particulary to the Department of Enviroment, to Jared (Blumenfeld, director of the Department of Environment), to his staff, Mark Westlund, to David Osmond, Robert Haley,” Mirkarimi extended.

“You guys have been steadfast and true. And I want to also identify my aide Boris Delepine who’s been just really true in keeping to this legislation.”

Political courage saw the legislation through to completion, Blumenfeld said.

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Jared Blumenfeld, left, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Enviornment

“We had the political courage with the supervisor and the mayor to take action,” he stated.

“It wasn’t easy. There was a lot of resistance from industry because this is the thing end of the wedge — if San Francisco can do it 12 other cities, as we have heard, are going to do it.

“So they really wanted to make sure that what happened in San Francisco didn’t happen because if it happened here it meant it would happen in Marin, it would happen in St. Louis, now Alaska, New York City.

“All these people have suddenly realized, ‘You know what, it is possible, it is politcally feasible that we can do it.”

Large supermarkets must stop using plastic bags within six month under the legislation. The ordinance requires chain pharmacies to no longer use plastic bags by 2008.

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Police Officer Isaac Espinoza killer gets two consecutive life sentences — No possibility of parole

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Police Officer Isaac Espinoza

By Brent Begin

A Superior Court Judge nearly broke down in tears today as she handed down two consecutive life sentences, one without the possibility of parole, to the killer of a beloved San Francisco police officer.

David Hill, the 23-year-old convicted killer of Officer Isaac Espinoza, will spend the rest of his life in prison for second degree murder, attempted murder and an allegation of knowingly murdering a peace officer.

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David Hill

Judge Carol Yaggy denied the defense’s claim that a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, would violate Hill’s constitutional protections under equal protection and cruel and unusual punishment.

She said it was the crime itself and not the punishment that shocked the conscience and offended the fundamental notions of human dignity.

Espinoza’s family wept, jurors cried, officers sniffled and even Judge Yaggy’s voice cracked as she mentioned the many letters that she called a “tribute to a fine man.”

“Justice was served today. People need to know that if they murder a police officer, there will be severe consequences,” Mayor Newsom said in a prepared statement.

Yaggy called the April 10, 2004 murder of Espinoza an “unprovoked attack” and a “horrifying cascade of bullets” that led to the death of one officer and the injury of another.

The jury of seven women and five men also found Hill, 23, guilty of using an assault rifle for the use of gang purposes, attempted murder on Espinoza’s partner, Officer Barry Parker, and several other enhancements.

Yaggy said that though only two victims were named in the case, a whole community was affected by Hill’s actions. She also said that Parker is lucky to be alive and that he will always carry the bullet fragments in his ankle that will remind him of that night.

Dorfman had argued for first-degree murder in the case, claiming that Hill made a premeditated decision to gun down Espinoza and his partner Officer Barry Parker.

Martin Sabelli, Hill’s defense attorney, argued that Hill was only protecting himself on enemy gang territory when he turned and shot at two plainclothes officers that he thought were rival gang members.

Bay City News

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San Francisco substitute teacher pulls knife in front of students – Threatens suicide

A substitute teacher at San Francisco’s Washington High School pulled out a knife and “expressed feelings of suicide” this morning as students were leaving class, a school district spokeswoman said.

Three students who “saw the substitute teacher seemingly distraught” notified the school administration after the teacher, who was holding a paring knife, described feeling suicidal, Gentle Blythe said.

Administration officials immediately removed the teacher from the classroom and notified police, Blythe said.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

Parents, staff and students have been notified and counseling is available to students through the school’s wellness center, Blythe said.

Washington High School is located at 600 32nd Ave., in the city’s outer Richmond neighborhood.

Bay City News

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Bay Area students selected as Young Entrepreneurs of The Year

The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Bay Area today announced that Christian Abrego from Menlo-Atherton High School and Andrew John Kutches from Turning Heads of San Francisco were selected as the winners in the 14th annual nationwide “NFTE Young Entrepreneurs of the Year” competition. NFTE is an international nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and business skills to low-income young people.

“Nothing is more rewarding than empowering young people with the belief that they can make a difference in their lives,” comments Gerald Richards, Executive Director NFTE Bay Area. “We have seen what happens when students get engaged in their education; they want to learn when they have a practical way to apply the concepts,” added Richards.

Abrego, 16 years old, is from East Palo Alto and launched Young Sprouts Event Marketing. Kutches, 20 years old, started Kutches Construction Company. Both students participate in classes using NFTE curriculum where they learned the skills to build a business. Abrego and Kutches flew to New York City for NFTE’s “Salute to the Entrepreneurial Spirit” awards dinner. Winners receive a cash prize to serve as working capital for their businesses or to fund future educational pursuits.

NFTE, with the financial support of such national sponsors as The Goldman Sachs Foundation has been working with low-income young people for more than 20 years, teaching students to channel their creativity and turn their hobbies and dreams into viable businesses.

NFTE’s entrepreneurship education program teaches students the business skills they need to start their own small business, while reinforcing basic academic skills. Richards adds, “Many neighborhoods are filled with talented children who just need help finding their talents. NFTE’s goal is to give young people the skills and confidence to unlock their true potential, so they can improve their lives and their communities.”

Research shows that NFTE’s program has a strong and positive impact on many of its graduates. A study conducted by Harvard University Graduate School of Education indicates that youth entrepreneurship programs such as NFTE are particularly effective at keeping students from low-income urban backgrounds on the academic track and can be a significant force in driving them toward high achievement and leadership.

Further, a recent study conducted by Brandeis University has shown that when compared to a control group, NFTE graduates are 30 times more likely to start their own businesses, and they are 20 times more knowledgeable about entrepreneurship and basic business concepts.

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Classic ABCs on stage this weekend – ALBEE, BRUBECK, and COPLAND

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

SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY presents –
Conductor Charles Dutoit and pianist Yuja Wang in Beethoven’s CONCERTO FOR PIANO No. 2 in B Flat Major, Op. 19. Also on the program, Maurice Ravel’s LE TOMBEAU DE COUPERIN and Richard Strauss’ LE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME SUITE.

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CHARLES DUTOIT, Conductor and YUJA WANG, Pianist

Since 1998, Charles Dutoit has served as the Music Director of the NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai) Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo. Between 1977 and 2002 he held the position of Artistic Director with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and, as its conductor, led them through many international tours. Through at least 164 recordings, Mr. Dutoit has worked with internationally respected orchestras ranging from the Academy of St. Martin In The Fields to the Zurich Beromünster Orchestra. Next week, Thursday April 26th – Sunday April 29th, he returns to the podium with Berlioz’ The Damnation of Faust.

Twenty year old Yuja Wang is a native of Beijing. Two years ago Ms. Wang made her debut with SF Symphony playing Grieg’s Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 16 and returned last September to perform Ravel’s Concerto for Piano in G major. Later this season she will team again with Mr. Dutoit and the NHK Symphony in Japan. She also marks her debuts with the symphony orchestras of Houston, Chicago, and the New York Philharmonic.

To order tickets on-line:
Friday, April 20th at 8:00 pm
Saturday, April 21st at 8:00 pm

Suggested Recordings:
RAVEL: Le Tombeau de Couperin – Charles Dutoit conducting the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. This beautiful compilation of recordings produced between 1980 and 1983 includes Boléro, Daphnis et Chloé Suite no. 2, Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte, Rapsodie Espagnole, etc.
Beethoven: Piano Concertos No 2 & 3 – Conductor Clemens Krauss and Pianist Wilhelm Backhaus joins with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Concerto For Piano No. 2, conducted by Clemens Krauss; and Concerto for Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 37, Karl Böhm conducting.
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Op. 60: Suite – Erich Leinsdorf leads the Chamber Orchestra of Europe in the suite inspired by French playwright’s Molière’s “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme”. Also included is Tanzsuite aus Klavierstücken von François Couperin, AV 107.

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET presents PROGRAM 6
Final Performances – Saturday, April 21st at 2:00 and 8:00 PM
The “Mixed Repertory” includes: On Common Ground / Night / Rodeo

ON COMMON GROUND – Helgi Tomasson’s ballet utilizes nine movements from composer Ned Rorem’s String Quartet No. 4.
NIGHT – The music consists of selections from the provocative “<strong>Night Grooves” by composer Matthew Pierce – including beautiful renditions of Present, Office Parks and Strip Malls, African Smile, Salvadori Dali. The music can be sampled on-line and an order placed for the next issue of CDs.
RODEO – Music by Aaron Copland. This perennial favorite choreographed by Agnes de Mille lassoes dreams and fantasies into an always welcoming round-up of trysts, trials and traditions.

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RORY HOHENSTEIN – Kicks-up de Mille’s RODEO. Photo by Erik Tomasson

To order tickets on-line:
Saturday Matinee, April 21st at 2:00 PM
Saturday, April 21st at 8:00 PM
Saturday Matinee, April 21st at 2:00 PM

SAN FRANCISCO BALLET presents PROGRAM 7
Friday, April 20th at 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 22nd, Matinee at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, April 24th at 8:00 PM
The “Mixed Repertory” includes: Elemental Brubeck © / Concordia / Symphony in C

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ELEMENTAL BRUBECK

ELEMENTAL BRUBECK © – Set to music by jazz legend Dave Brubeck, Lar Lubovitch’s lively piece returns to the stage after premiering during the Company’s 2005 Paris tour and 2006 Repertory.

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MURIEL MAFFRE and PIERRE-FRANÇOIS VILANOBA – Mrozewski’s CONCORDIA. Photo by Erik Tomasson

CONCORDIA – World premier. Music by Matthew Hindson, choreography by Matjash Mrozewski. In Toronto-based choreographer Matjash Mrozewski’s new work, traditional and contemporary concepts in dance movement engage in a bit of tug of war and ultimately prove they can live peaceably together.

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SAN FRANCISCO BALLET – Balanchine’s SYMPHONY IN C. Photo by Erik Tomasson

SYMPHONY IN C – Music by Georges Bizet, choreography by George Balanchine. This masterwork set to triumphal music by Bizet, is one of Balanchine’s most grand and jubilant ballets.

To purchase tickets on-line:
Friday, April 20th at 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 22nd, Matinee at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, April 24th at 8:00 PM

Suggested Video: Why Dance? – A film by James E. Manning

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? – At the Golden Gate Theatre
April 20th – May 12th
Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf comes to San Francisco after successful runs on Broadway and in London, starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin who reprises his Tony-Award winning performance. Featuring Kathleen Turner (as “Martha”), Bill Irwin (as “George”), David Furr (as “Nick”), and Kathleen Early (as “Honey”).

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Running time: 3 hours (including two intermissions)
To purchase tickets on-line: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Orchestra/Loge $80.00
Mezzanine $70.00
Side Mezzanine $50.00

Suggested Viewing, DVD: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, 1966

See Seán’s recent articles and reviews:
TERRA HAUTE – An Interview with The Stars, John Hutchinson and Elias Escobedo
SAN FRANCISCO – At the Balboa Theatre
ALTAR BOYZ – In San Francisco
PASCAL MOLAT, A Stroll Through Eden/Eden
AFTER THE WAR – at A.C.T.
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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Lawsuit against Yahoo! filed in San Francisco on behalf of imprisoned Chinese dissident – Alleges Yahoo! provided identity to Chinese Government

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Yu Ling, wife of jailed dissident Wang Xiaoning, in San Francisco today to file lawsuit
Photo by John Han

By Julia Cheever

The wife of a jailed Chinese dissident said in San Francisco today she hopes her lawsuit against Yahoo! Inc. will cause corporations to stop giving Chinese authorities private e-mail information.

Yu Ling, 55, said through a translator, “I hope Yahoo and other foreign companies can stop these wrong activities.”

Yu said, “I hope they can have a written commitment.”

Yu filed a human rights lawsuit against Yahoo in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, alleging that the Sunnyvale Internet company’s release of e-mail information led to her husband’s arrest, imprisonment and torture.

Her husband, Wang Xiaoning, 57, is serving a 10-year sentence in a forced-labor prison in Beijing after being convicted of incitement to subvert state power.

The lawsuit claims Wang was arrested in 2002 after a Yahoo subsidiary provided information that linked him to e-mails he used for anonymous publication of articles advocating democratic reforms. It claims he has been beaten and mistreated while in prison.

Wang is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was prepared by lawyers from New York-based World Organization for Human Rights USA. The suit says that other imprisoned dissidents yet to be identified may be added as plaintiffs at a later time.

The lawsuit claims that Yahoo violated international human rights law as well as three U.S. laws, including the Torture Victims Protection Act.

Yahoo spokesman Jim Cullinan said on Wednesday that he could not comment specifically on the lawsuit, but said, “Yahoo is distressed that citizens in China are imprisoned for expressing opinions on the Internet.”

Cullinan said Yahoo calls on the U.S State Department to work for the dissidents’ release.

He said that companies doing business in China are required to comply with Chinese law requiring release of information or risk having their local employees face civil and criminal sanctions.

The lawsuit seeks financial compensation, punitive damages and a requirement that Yahoo and its subsidiaries take action to secure the dissidents’ release.

Yu said she hopes the lawsuit will result in her husband’s release. She said if she wins any financial compensation, she will use part of it to help other victims.

By City News

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San Francisco increases commitment to children

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The Touch of Class Choir from Phillip and Sala Burton Academic High School opens SFKids Conference this morning with a rousing welcome to educators, nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and City offficials working on issues impacting San Francisco children
Photos by John Han

By Brent Begin

The state of San Francisco’s children is “better, and the best is yet to come,” Mayor Gavin Newsom told a crowd of educators, nonprofit leaders and city officials this morning at the city’s Moscone Center.

With SF Kids month in full swing, Newsom gave a rosy speech on education, housing, healthcare and safety, which have been major reasons for 30 years of “family flight” from the city.

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“We’re making progress,” he said. “It may be, for some, in the margins. For others though, that have benefited from these investments, it has fundamentally changed their lives.”

This year the city has invested $30 million in family friendly housing, Newsom said, referring to 1,700 new family units that are “in the pipeline to be built.”

The mayor pledged to increase that amount to $43 million in the city’s 2008 budget. By July, he said, the city will begin to redevelop the city’s run-down public housing projects, rather than relying on the federal government for funding.

“We’re going to something that no other city in this country has ever had the audacity to do, and that is locally redevelop all of these aging housing authority projects,” Newsom said.

Probably one the loudest applauses came when Newsom touted the city’s universal healthcare initiative, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors in July 2006.

“I find it fascinating in this country, by the way, that people are so outraged to see two men kissing or holding hands on the steps of City Hall and they’re morally outraged, but they don’t have that same kind of intensity and moral outrage because their family can’t bring their kids into a medical clinic because they can’t afford health insurance,” he said.

The mayor assured today’s audience that there would be several other new programs that would make living in the city more affordable for families. He promised to create an after school program for young children by 2009, to make citywide wireless Internet available, and to make every city agency conscious of its responsibility to serve children and families.

“I think we’re turning the corner,” he said.

“Every program in this city should go through a process where we look through the eyes of our children and our families.”

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Newsom also noted that the city today launched a Web site, dedicated to connecting families with services and grants.

Organized by the City’s Department of Children Youth and their Families, the state of the city’s children summit is an annual event that provides workshops on how to reverse family flight by 2011 to making public transportation more family friendly.

Bay City News

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California voters more upbeat about state economy

By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field

In a statewide survey completed in late March, The Field Poll updated its periodic measures about how residents view California as a place to live and the state of our economy. The findings include the following:

• Half (50%) describe California as one of the best places to live. This is similar to the results obtained when this question was last posted in 2002 and 2003.

• While greater than two in three residents strongly identify themselves as Californians, most residents (59%) do not think of California as a nation-state, but like any other large U.S. state.

• Voters are much more upbeat about the state’s economy than they were two years ago. More voters now describe the state as being in economic good times (42%) than bad times (31%), a reversal from how residents described the state in 2005, when twice as many felt the state was in bad times.

• Voters are generally positive when asked about their own financial well-being, with more saying they are better off (41%) than worse off (28%) financially than they were a year ago.

When asked about the coming year, most (55%) expect no change, while among those who see change ahead, many more expect to be better off (34%) than worse off (9%).

California as a place to live
Residents continue to rate California highly as a place to live. One half (50%) believe the state as one of the best places to live and another 29% describe it as nice but not outstanding. This compares to one in six (16%) who feel it is about average and 4% who say California is a poor place to live.

Residents’ current appraisal of the state as a place to live is generally on par with periodic Field Poll ratings on this topic since 1994. However, these assessments contrast with a much more enthusiastic view about the state registered between the period 1967 and 1985, when between 70% and 78% described the state as one of the best places to live.

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Differences by region, age and income
Residents of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area are more positive in their assessments of California as a place to live than those living in other parts of the state. In the Bay Area two out of three (67%) consider California one of the best places to live. This compares to somewhat smaller proportions, ranging from 41% to 47%, of the residents in Southern California and the Central Valley who say this.

Older voters and those with higher annual household incomes tend to give the state higher ratings than others.

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Identification with California
Greater than two in three voters (68%) identify themselves very strongly as a Californian. This view spans all regions of the state, and all age and ethnic groups.

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California as a nation-state?
Because of the size and diversity of California’s economy, many economists, politicians and others often compare the state to other countries of the world rather than to other U.S. states.

In recent speeches and television appearances, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has even likened California to a nation-state.

However, when asked how they view the state, only about one in three voters (37%) thinks of California as a nation-state, while most (59%) think of it as being like any other large U.S. state. Younger voters are more inclined than older voters to take a more expansive view, with 60% thinking of California more as a nation-state than like most other large states.

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Views about California’s economy
One measure that has varied widely over the years is how residents perceive the condition of the state’s economy.

Currently, 42% describe the state as being in good economic times, while 31% think California is in bad times. Another one in four (24%) hold a mixed view.

The last time The Field Poll measured this two years ago, residents had a much less optimistic view of the state’s economy. At that time, just 24% believed that California was in good economic condition, while twice as many (49%) thought it was in bad times.

Californians’ lowest appraisal of economic conditions was in 1992, when 91% described the state as being in bad times and just 2% said the state was in good economic times.

The best ratings of the state’s economic health was found during the 1998-2001 period, when between 65% and 72% felt the state was in good economic times.

In the current poll, men and upper income Californians are more likely than others to believe the state is in good times.

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Expectations of the economy for the coming year
Almost half of the voting public (48%) do not foresee any significant change in the state’s economy during the next twelve months. Among those who anticipate change, about as many (22%) believe things will get better as think conditions will worsen (27%).

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Californians’ personal financial well-being
When asked to describe their current personal financial condition compared to what it was last year, about four in ten say they were better off (41%) and about three in ten feel they were worse off (28%). This is similar to findings obtained in 2004 and 2005, the last two times this was measured.

Men and voters with higher levels of household income are more likely than others to describe themselves as being better off than they were one year ago.

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Economic expectations for the coming year
Californians’ own personal financial expectations for the coming year remain fairly stable, with 55% expecting no change in their financial situation next year. Among those who foresee some change, nearly four times as many think things will improve (34%) as feel their situation will worsen (9%).

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See Related: FIELD REPORT

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California Senators join San Francisco shock over US Supreme Court abortion ruling

THE FULL OPINION

THE FULL DISSENT

By Julia Cheever

A Planned Parenthood lawyer who argued against an abortion ban approved by the Supreme Court said today that the high court’s ruling is “a shocking setback for women’s health.”

Planned Parenthood attorney Eve Gartner said, “This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women’s health and safety. Today the court took away an important option for doctors who seek to provide the best and safest care to their patients.”

The high court today by a 5-4 vote upheld a federal law known as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, with the majority saying the measure does not impose “an undue burden on a woman’s right to abortion.”

The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion in which a fetus is partially delivered intact and then killed. President Bush today called the technique “an abhorrent procedure.”

Planned Parenthood and other opponents of the law contend it violates women’s constitutional right to abortion, denies them care that is sometimes needed to protect their health and additionally criminalizes procedures commonly used in second-trimester abortions.

The court made its ruling in two lawsuits, one originating in federal court in San Francisco and the other initiated in federal court in Nebraska.

Planned Parenthood was the lead plaintiff in the San Francisco case and was later joined by the city of San Francisco as a co-plaintiff. The city said the law compromised its ability to provide health care to indigent women at San Francisco General Hospital.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “With today’s decision, the court has struck a blow against judicial independence and allowed politics to hijack medical care.”

But Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jordan Lorence said, “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court upholds and acknowledges that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is a reasonable restriction on abortion.”

The fund, based in Arizona, wrote a friend-of-the-court brief together with Christian Legal Society in support of the law.

Lorence called the ruling “a welcome sign of judicial restraint from the Supreme Court.”

California’s two Democratic U.S. senators decried the ruling.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said, “I am truly shocked by this decision. This is a major strike against a woman’s right to choose. And the effective elimination of the health exception in my view will put women’s lives in jeopardy.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer said, “Today’s decision brings home in clear terms the impact of President Bush’s Supreme Court choices. As a result of today’s ruling, the health of women who have dangerous pregnancies is now in deep jeopardy.”

The law allows an exception to preserve a woman’s life but not to preserve her health.

The high court overturned decisions in which federal trial judges and appeals courts in the San Francisco and Nebraska cases struck down the law on the ground that it lacked a health exception and interfered with a woman’s right to have an abortion.

In the Planned Parenthood case, the measure was found unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton in San Francisco in 2004 and by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in 2006.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in today’s ruling, saying that opponents “have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases.”

Kennedy wrote that there is medical uncertainty as to whether the law creates a risk to women’s health and that other abortion procedures “that are considered to be safe alternatives” are available.

He was joined in the majority decision by Justice Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia along with Bush’s two appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

Thomas and Scalia also wrote a separate concurring opinion noting that they see “no basis in the Constitution” for Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision in which the high court said women have a constitutional privacy right to an abortion in the time before a fetus is viable.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in a dissent, “Today’s decision is alarming.” She noted the procedure was “found to be necessary and proper in cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

Ginsburg said the ruling was the first time since the Roe decision that the court approved a prohibition on abortion with no exception to safeguard a woman’s health.

Ginsburg was joined in the dissent by Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Stephen Breyer.

See Related San Francisco City Attorney: US Supreme Court ruling upholding ban on partial birth abortion allowed politics to hijack medical care

Bay City News

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San Francisco City Attorney: US Supreme Court ruling upholding ban on partial birth abortion allowed politics to hijack medical care

SAN FRANCISCO HAD INTERVENED ALONGSIDE PLANNED PARENTHOOD IN CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO CONTROVERSIAL 2003 LAW

The United States Supreme Court today upheld a controversial federal law passed in 2003 banning a procedure that abortion rights foes called “partial birth abortion,” a medically ambiguous term that had been declared unconstitutionally vague by previous courts.

The 5-4 ruling marks the first time the high court has banned a specific medical procedure involving abortion. Six federal courts had previously found that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on a woman’s right to an abortion.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. A strong dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the ruling “tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”

She was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.

In response, City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement: “With today’s decision, the court has struck a blow against judicial independence and allowed politics to hijack medical care. I am troubled by the majority opinion, which is unnecessarily paternalistic and ignores both legal precedent and the overwhelming medical evidence in this case. Nevertheless, San Francisco will endeavor, as it always has, to provide the best possible care to our patients consistent with the rule of law.”

In January 2004, City Attorney Dennis Herrera successfully moved to intervene in the case on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco, arguing that under the federal abortion ban, local public health services “would be compromised, potentially endangering the health and lives of the City’s neediest women.”

San Francisco is the only municipality in the nation ever to challenge an abortion restriction.

Principally in charge of the case in the City Attorney’s Office were Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese M. Stewart, Chief Deputy for Neighborhood and Community Services Aleeta Van Runkle, and Deputy City Attorney Kathleen S. Morris. The cases are Gonzales v. Carhart, U.S. Supreme Court No. 05-380, and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, U.S. Supreme Court No. 05-1382.

See Related: HEALTH CARE

SEE RELATED California Senators join San Francisco shock over US Supreme Court abortion ruling

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One-way to Dublin from SFO $199


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Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge

Dublin is capital of the Republic of Ireland, and it’s renowned for its lively atmosphere and rich cultural heritage. A charming and cosmopolitan city steeped in history and brimming with youthful energy, it is a fantastic place in which to take a break and offers great attractions, museums, art galleries and a wealth of traditional entertainment in its pubs, cafes and restaurants. Whatever your interest, be it sport, music, history, art or literature, Dublin will have it covered.

AerLingus today announced a special fare running October 28, 2007, through December 16, 2007, from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Dublin priced one-way $199.

The citys heritage trails allow you to walk in the footsteps of James Joyce and William Yeats, or you could eat dinner in a castle, visit the zoo and immerse yourself in a world of art and music brimming with both classical and contemporary delights. The city’s traditional pubs are at the centre of Dublin’s social life and are the best place to get to grips with the unique culture and character that is at the heart of Dublin and its friendly people.

The historic heart of the city lies to the south of the River Liffey and is home to Dublin’s most famous landmark, Trinity College. Merrion Square, also to the south of the river; is home to the National Gallery and the National Museum, while Parnell Square plays host to the Dublin Writers Museum.

Within easy reach of Dublin is a vast array of natural beauty including magnificent cliffs, beaches, quaint harbours, rugged mountains and woodland. The wider Dublin County is dotted with charming villages and small towns as well as a number of stately homes and gardens. It takes just 20 minutes to journey to the charming coastal towns and villages of the County and, once you have escaped the city, there is a host of outdoor activities to enjoy from horse-riding and hiking to sailing and golf. The rugged and sandy coastlines also offer a great backdrop for taking a relaxing stroll.

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Vanishing gloves glimmered for public pet poo poo

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A new campaign to encourage pet owners to pick up their pets’ waste will feature promotional biodegradable glove-shaped bags, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

The educational campaign, sponsored by the SFPUC, San Francisco Recreation and Parks and San Francisco Dog Owners Group, has installed four new bag dispensers along Marina Green, according to the commission. The campaign was launched to help reduce water pollution in the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

Pet waste that is not picked up can be washed into local waters without any treatment, the commission reported. Although pet waste is not a major contributor to water pollution, responsible pickup is the right thing to do, according to the commission.

The campaign will also feature bus advertisements with a slogan promoting picking up pet waste.

Bay City News

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