UC Berkeley has a new chancellor, but his raise is blasted by Gov. Brown


The University of California Board of Regents today approved the hiring of Columbia University Faculty Dean Nicholas Dirks as the new chancellor of UC Berkeley, a widely lauded selection, but one whose $50,000 pay increase over his predecessor was opposed and criticized by Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.Read more »

No deal yet on business tax reform as competing measure are introduced


Mayor Ed Lee and his business community allies failed to reach an agreement with labor and progressives by today's deadline for submitting fall ballot measures to the Board of Supervisors, leading progressive Sup. John Avalos to introduce a business tax reform measure that would compete with Lee's proposal.Read more »

Millionaires Tax merger is a risk and opportunity


My first reaction to today’s news that the popular Millionaires Tax measure was merging with Gov. Jerry Brown’s broad-based tax measure was “What the fuck!?!?” Taxing millionaires had over two-thirds support in recent polls and seemed to clearly tap the tax-the-rich zeitgeist that animated and was amplified by the Occupy movement.Read more »

Bubbles, rising rents, and the politicians who fuel them


After neither Mayor Ed Lee nor Sup. Jane Kim were willing to return my calls to discuss the implications of their economic development policies that favor big commercial landlords and tech companies – which I wrote about in this week's cover story – it was ironic to listen to their rhetorical concerns over local small businesses being hit with rising rents this week.Read more »

Will Obama bring the populist fire in tonight's speech?


President Barack Obama has a choice for how he uses his State of the Union speech this evening. He could follow the advice of Blue Dog Democrats like Mark Penn, who wrote in The Hill today that Obama should avoid “rhetoric that could be interpreted as class warfare.” Or he can find his inner populist and give the speech that the 99 percent needs to hear by announcing that the rich and the Right have already declared that war, and now he intends to win it on behalf of the people.Read more »

End war, bring that money home -- a controversial proposition, even in SF?


A substantial majority of Americans support ending the war in Afghanistan, decreasing the military budget, and redirecting that money to domestic needs, a position held even more strongly in liberal San Francisco. Read more »

The richest 1 percent get richer


If there was any doubt in the message being sounded from the streets these days -- that the richest 1 percent has been taking a disproportionate and growing share of the nation’s wealth -- a long-awaited new study issued yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office makes it crystal clear.Read more »

Artists attack capitalism in the streets of San Francisco


A group of local artists and bloggers on the site Capitalism is Over! will hit the streets of San Francisco this week for a series of performance art pieces designed to highlight the damage that powerful players in our economic system are doing to people and the environment, an action they dubbed “Capitalism is Over! If You Want It (The Summer of Tough Love).”Read more »

Moyers: Plutocracy and democracy can't co-exist


The great public-interest journalist Bill Moyers, 75, ended his long-running Journal program on Friday with a warning: Plutocracy and democracy don’t mix. And these days, it appears that the former has all but destroyed the latter, turning American democracy into a cruel and deceptive farce. Read more »

Whitman and Goldman should be rich fodder for Democrats


Democrats are now benefiting from the confluence of the public’s outrage over reckless self-dealing on Wall Street, debate over a Democratic bill to regulate such casino-style financial practices, and prosecution of Goldman Sachs for profiting from an economic collapse it helped cause. But the bigger question is whether top Democrats are willing to make the sustained case that it’s the rich who have screwed over the vast majority of Americans, and it’s time to recover that plundered wealth to deal with pressing problems like poverty, global warming, and infrastructure needs. Read more »