Money/Politics

An elected official gets paid while vacationing in Brazil, city workers use taxpayer dollars to pay for prostitutes (and much more), and powerful building inspectors drive homeowners crazy on the island of Alameda.

July 7, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle
CCSF sues Bean Scene cafe over $127,000 in unpaid rent
A campus coffee shop once tied to a criminal scandal at City College of San Francisco is now accused of bilking the troubled school out of nearly $130,000.

April 8, 2014, Agence France-Presse
US lawmaker denies gun-running plot after FBI sting
Chinatown gangsters, gun-smuggling, Muslim rebels in the Philippines and a shady character called “Shrimp Boy.” Oh, and envelopes full of cash from mobsters. It may sound like the plot of a cable television mini-series, but FBI agents say it’s the real tale of a California state senator willing to do nearly anything for campaign cash.

Sept. 4, 2012, San Francisco Examiner
CCSF faulted for mishandling administrator pensions
A recent audit by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System found that for nearly two decades, the college has signed up administrators who were never legally eligible for pension benefits.

Aug. 25, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle
City College trustees OK new pay policy
From now on, City College of San Francisco’s elected trustees will get paid only if they come to work.

Aug. 3, 2012, San Francisco Examiner
No pay for absent CCSF trustees
The elected officials who oversee City College of San Francisco may soon have to show up to work to be paid.

July 6, 2012, Agence France-Presse
Bankrupt California city provides cautionary tale
A California city that was once a thriving Gold Rush town has become a cautionary tale about financial excess and the still-struggling U.S. economy — by going bankrupt.

June 15, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle
SF City College urged to halt absent trustees’ pay
Officials who oversee the state’s community college system are urging City College of San Francisco to stop paying trustees for the meetings they fail to attend – a practice the state authority says is illegal.

May 23, 2012, Agence France-Presse
‘I would vote for President Obama’: Castro’s niece
Fidel Castro’s niece on Wednesday hailed Barack Obama’s support for gay marriage and the loosening of US-Cuba travel restrictions, saying: “I would vote for President Obama.” Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro, also lamented the “small group of delinquents” whom she said were preventing the warming of ties between Washington and Havana.

May 1, 2012, GlobalPost
The American Spring: A preview
As the Occupy movement publicly emerges from a winter thaw and gears up for its first nationwide protest in months, activists are struggling to balance a desire to broaden the movement’s appeal with efforts to maintain some strategic control.

Feb. 27, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle
Absent City College of SF trustees skip meetings, get stipends
City College of San Francisco trustees regularly collect their monthly stipend whether they show up to board meetings or not – a practice legal experts say violates state law.

Feb. 1, 2012, Agence France-Presse
Silicon Valley braces for Facebook millionaires
As Facebook goes public, Silicon Valley is buzzing in anticipation of the “instant millionaires” that may soon be looking for ways to spend their newfound wealth.

Dec. 22, 2011, GlobalPost
Occupy Wall Street: Where did all the money go?
In between facing off with riot police over tent cities and disrupting port traffic along the West Coast, Occupy protesters have managed to rake in some serious cash.

Dec. 9, 2011, GlobalPost
Occupy Ports: West Coast occupiers unite
If successful, shutting down the West Coast port system would be a massive show of power for a movement that in some cities seems to have lost some of its momentum along with the camps. It would also mark the first time the loosely organized and very decentralized Occupy movements have coordinated in a major way.

Nov. 9, 2011, Agence France-Presse
San Francisco elects its first Asian-American mayor

Although the Chinese-American community — 21 percent of the city’s population — is a powerful force in local politics, the election is the first time voters have put an Asian-American politician in the city’s top job.

Nov. 8, 2011, Agence France-Presse
Chinese-American eyes first San Francisco poll win
A former city official was tipped to become the first Chinese-American elected mayor of San Francisco, which has one of America’s oldest Chinatowns, after voters went to the polls Tuesday.

Nov. 2, 2011, Agence France-Presse
California city responds to strike call
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of downtown Oakland on Wednesday, as many businesses closed up shop and hundreds of teachers left classrooms to join a citywide strike call.

Nov. 2, 2011, GlobalPost
Occupy Wall Street: The next move
At a recent Occupy march here against police brutality, demonstrators stopped several times along their route to decide which way to go. At one intersection, it took about 10 minutes of deliberations before the group decided to head through a residential neighborhood. The Occupy movement in some ways looks a lot like that meandering Oakland march.

Oct. 27, 2011, GlobalPost
Occupy Oakland plots next move
On Wednesday, the crowd of several thousand spent the better part of the evening holding a “general assembly” to discuss the movement’s next steps. The verdict: a citywide strike next week. It would be one of the first efforts to move the Occupy movement beyond encampments in city spaces.

Oct. 17, 2011, GlobalPost
Exclusive: Ayman Nour speaks about disqualification from Egyptian presidential election
In his first public appearance since a Cairo court stripped him of the opportunity to run for president, Egyptian opposition figure Ayman Nour warned that Egypt’s revolution is dangerously close to unraveling into a military coup.

Sept. 29, 2011, San Francisco Chronicle
Ex-SF City College officials plead guilty
The former chancellor of City College of San Francisco has pleaded guilty to felony charges of misusing public funds. As part of a plea deal, Philip Day admitted last week to diverting nearly $100,000 in college funds to campaign for community college bond ballot measures.

Sept. 19, 2011, San Francisco Chronicle/Sacramento Bee/Fresno Bee/Riverside Press-Enterprise/Bakersfield Californian via California Watch
High-speed rail: Lawsuits could delay, kill plans
Even if state officials can scrape together the billions of dollars needed to fund California’s ambitious high-speed rail plans, lawsuits from cities and opposition groups could delay, divert or derail the project.

November 9, 2010, California Watch
Some small cities pay officials big money
In the wake of the scandals, the state controller has required all municipalities to report 2009 salary data. The data, which lists salaries by position but not by name, shows that sometimes little towns pay their officials big money.

October 29, 2010, California Watch
Voter Guide: Whitman, Brown differ on education
Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown both say reforming the state’s beleaguered education system is a top priority, but they have very different proposals for getting there.

October 27, 2010, California Watch
Voter Guide: Brown, Whitman clash on job creation
With the state suffering under the weight of a crushing 12.4 unemployment rate, “jobs, jobs, jobs” has been the rallying cry of both candidates.

October 25, 2010, California Watch
Voter Guide: Whitman, Brown at odds on the environment
Standing on stage at USC on Friday, a fired-up Jerry Brown told his college-aged audience that “green jobs” are California’s future. “We don’t need Saudi Arabian oil or Texas gas,” he said, speaking to a crowd hyped up in anticipation of President Obama’s appearance. “We have California sun.”

Oct. 22, 2010, California Watch
Voter Guide: Whitman, Brown spar over taxes
The issue of taxes has been one of the most contentious in the gubernatorial campaign, fueling a heated exchange during a debate and spawning a controversial commercial that pulled Bill Clinton into the race.

Oct. 21, 2010, California Watch
Voter Guide: Brown, Whitman clash on immigration
Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman have both struggled to define their position on immigration during an election year in which the Latino vote is critical and tough laws in a neighboring state have made headlines. Whitman arguably has had a more difficult road, trying to find a middle ground between conservatives who favor stricter regulations and Latinos whom she needs to win.

Oct. 19, 2010, California Watch
Voter Guide: Whitman, Brown fight over budget fixes
From someone in Jerry Brown’s office caught privately calling Meg Whitman a “whore” for allegedly trading pension protection for endorsements to an anonymous Team Whitman aide mocking Brown with a Humpty Dumpty-style nursery rhyme, it’s clear there’s no love lost between the gubernatorial campaigns.

Oct. 11, 2010, California Watch
Nazis, liars, whores: A short history of Brown-Whitman attacks
From someone in Jerry Brown’s office caught privately calling Meg Whitman a “whore” for allegedly trading pension protection for endorsements to an anonymous Team Whitman aide mocking Brown with a Humpty Dumpty-style nursery rhyme, it’s clear there’s no love lost between the gubernatorial campaigns.

Oct. 11, 2010, California Watch
Despite self-imposed bans, insurance donations slip into campaigns
With the next California insurance commissioner expected to play a significant role in the way national health care reform is implemented in the state, the insurance industry is watching the race between Democrat Dave Jones and Republican Mike Villines closely.

Sept. 29, 2010, California Watch
AG candidate Harris benefiting from Hollywood donors
In the attorney general’s race, Los Angeles County may be GOP candidate and L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley’s home turf, but it appears Hollywood has fallen for his opponent, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

Sept. 29, 2010, California Watch
Boxer, Fiorina clash in second debate
Live blog of the Boxer-Fiorina debate.

Sept. 22, 2010, East Bay Express
Cover story – Inspections from Hell: Building inspectors accused of harassing homeowners, soliciting bribes
In a complaint filed in federal district court last year, Doherty, 72, claimed that overzealous inspectors unjustly evicted him from the dilapidated Victorian, his home of three decades. According to his complaint, the inspectors contended the ten-bedroom apartment house was supposed to be a duplex and demanded that Doherty convert the 9,000-square-foot residence to two units.

Sept. 21, 2010, California Watch
Newsom outpacing Maldonado in campaign fundraising
Mayor Gavin Newsom will get some help from one of the Democratic Party’s most powerful players next month when former President Bill Clinton arrives in California to lend his support in the still-too-close-to-call lieutenant governor’s race.

Sept. 10, 2010, Christian Science Monitor
Mosque furor, Quran burning: Anti-Islamic fervor mobilizes US Muslims
With the emotional uproar over plans to build an Islamic community center near ground zero raging, a canceled Quran burning in Florida, and protests against mosques across the country, American Muslims are stepping up public-relations efforts to counter what many observers see as a growing anti-Islam fervor.

Aug. 15, 2010, San Francisco Examiner
Minority Muslim group reaches out

For about a month now, Soheil and other Ahmadi Muslims across the country have been taking their anti-terrorism message to the streets. It’s their way of fighting back, they say, both against the radicals who have “hijacked” their religion and the anti-Islam sentiment many observers say has become especially strong in recent months.

July 28, 2010, Christian Science Monitor
‘Anti-Islamic’ bus ads appear in major cities

The growing debate over Islam’s place in America, which is escalating in light of plans to build a mosque near ground zero, is increasingly playing out on city streets across the country. On the sides of buses, to be precise. … Ads by a group calling itself Stop Islamization of America read: “Fatwa on your head? Is your family or community threatening you? Leaving Islam? Got questions? Get answers!”

July 2, 2010, California Watch/San Francisco Chronicle
Unsupervised city workers accused of brazen theft, cheating taxpayers
by Lance Williams & Stephanie Rice
Bored and unsupervised, five highly paid electricians working for the city of San Francisco spent years allegedly stealing from taxpayers during a remarkable binge that involved sex parties with prostitutes, moonlighting on city time and fraudulent billing to pay for their suburban lifestyles.

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