Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stimulating City

Ten years ago, I came to San Francisco from a boring backwater town in Washington State looking for adventure and new horizons. Including a brief summer tour of Europe in 1999, I've spent those ten years discovering interesting people and ideas I would never otherwise have known.

Engaging in the successful rent-control battle of 2000, and the unsuccessful fight to save New College in 2007, I got to know the City of Love in ways perhaps most new-comers don't. Watching the massive march against war in 2003 from the steps of City Hall, where in 2006 four thousand gay and lesbian marriages were performed by the mayor, stirred my imagination in ways that only San Francisco could.

Dining in a French restaurant recently with my new friends from Hong Kong and Shanghai, I listened to a native San Franciscan recount growing up in the Mission in the 1930s, when the now Latino-populated district was home to mostly Irish-Americans. Whatever one might say about Fog City, it's never boring, and despite all its flaws, it's the place I now consider home.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

20 20 on Prop 8

Surina Khan of Public Eye and the Women's Foundation of California examines the mechanics of California's fundamentalist Christian Right electoral tactics and political strategy. While the Mormons took the heat for the Christian bigots Prop 8 success, Khan observes that the Catholic church played an even larger role, especially among the Latino population. Looking to the future, Khan notes that the vastly superior planning, organizing and fundraising made possible by the multi-ethnic Christian coalition of fundamentalists in California bodes ill for many progressive issues.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cavallo Point

Cavallo Point Lodge at Fort Baker, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Sausalito, is now open. The lodge has a restaurant, bar and health spa.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Message of Resistance

Harry Britt's keynote speech at the Harvey Milk Memorial on the steps of San Francisco City Hall recently reminded me of the courage needed to endure political violence, and the fortitude required to carry on when life goes from bad to worse. In a 2002 interview as candidate for the California State Assembly, Britt remarked on the importance of making the status quo uncomfortable for the privileged in order to make progress toward equality. Watching his former opponent Nancy Pelosi pandering to the powerful while millions of us struggle to survive, it is good to know there are Harry Britts in this world, keeping the message of resistance alive.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sacred Lands

Sacred Lands interactive map allows you to take a look at some of the sacred sites of the world. A project of Earth Island Institute, which is in the process of moving from San Francisco to Berkeley, Sacred Lands sponsors documentary films to accompany field reports on indigenous holy places.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Noble Endeavor

As the Irish Times notes, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly 60 years ago today, still has the ability to inspire. The declaration itself, drafted in the San Francisco Opera House, is a source of pride to the former host city for this noble endeavor. Think about that next time you stroll across UN Plaza in front of San Francisco City Hall.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

More Hammett

They brought their cult to California because everybody does, and picked San Francisco because it held less competition than Los Angeles.

---The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett