There’s a guy named Willie Brown (see above) who has clients including PG&E (a company that’s known to exercise influence under the Dome) and who meets and talks regularly with the mayor, but never registers or reports anything. If Yaki is found in violation of the law (and the evidence in the 400-plus-page complaint is pretty compelling) then a larger cadre of unregistered lobbyists is going to have to stop charging for influence peddling – or fill out the damn forms, like everyone else.

Gavin Newsom, the Lite Guv, wants to reinvest in higher education in the state. All in favor, say “Gav!”

Yeah. Let’s reinvest and reinvent and do all these things that the man formerly known as “Mayor Press Release” is (in somewhat vague terms) talking about.

But really, it starts with money. And money comes from somewhere. And never, ever have I heard Newsom talk about substantially raising taxes on rich individuals and corporations.

Politics is about making choices, about saying some things are more important than others. At least Gov. Jerry Brown is doing that – he’s saying that paying down the state’s debt is more important that restoring cuts in essentially services now that there’s more money on the table. I disagree. But I appreciate the honesty.

I wish we got more of that, and less platitudes, from Gavin Newsom.


The big lingering question about the sex scandal at the Shrine of St. Francis: What did the monsignor know – and when did he know it?

By all accounts, Monsignor Tarantino and Bill McLaughlin are and for years have been close friends. By most accounts, Tarantino lives in the same bucluilding where the alleged abuse took place. Is it really possible that he knew absolutely nothing?

I suppose so. There are clueless bosses in the world. There are clueless priests and monsignors. But if the story that Jhona Mathews is telling turns out not only to be true but supported by strong evidence (the complaint, for example, says he sent her sexually explicit photos) Tarantino should have to answer for what happened on his watch.

I asked Larry Kamer, the PR guy for the Shrine, about that, and he had little to say except that the church and the SFPD are conducting a full investigation and “will have more to say as we learn the facts.”

On history: It was 1977 when my college newspaper first ran an editorial calling for Wesleyan University to sell its stocks in companies doing business in South Africa. Ten years later, I was elected to the Wesleyan Board of Trustees on a platform of immediate divestment. I was another three years before we sold the first stock.

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, he talked about how important it was that pension funds, municipalities, states, and yes, universities put economic pressure on the apartheid government. It took a long, long time – but the supporters of divestment were right, and they perservered, and in the end, the arc of history was only going one way. And the people who resisted the calls look, in retrospect, like idiots.

That’s an important lesson for activists who are fighting injustice at home and around the world today. It takes time. But we are right.


Oh, and welcome to This is our soft launch, just the beginning of our efforts to provide a progressive daily news alternative in San Francisco.

I realize the site still needs work (gotta get the pictures working!) but the bells and whistles will come. For now it’s about journalism. And if it’s not fancy enough, there’s always this.