New issues today from the alternative weeklies. Of note:
- How the Happy Meal ban explains San Francisco (SF Weekly)
San Francisco's acumen for imposing bans has grown so pronounced that when an anticircumcision zealot began disseminating a petition to criminalize the practice within city limits, observers nationwide didn't write it off as fringe lunacy but, instead, saw it as just another day at the office in San Francisco. That ban didn't make the cut. And San Francisco does not have a monopoly on banning things. But nowhere else can you ban so much with such ease and so little political blowback.
- SF's new political era (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
You can argue about what the word "progressive" means, and you can argue about the process and the politics that put Ed Lee in the Mayor's Office. And you can talk forever about which group or faction has how much of a majority on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, but you have to admit: this city has just undergone a significant
- Parks in Peril (East Bay Express)
A 2009 report by the nationwide nonprofit organization Trust for Public Land identified Oakland as the number-one US city in parkland per 1,000 residents among high-density cities. Yet the parks' condition is another matter, and the ongoing decline in maintenance contributes to a problem that reaches well beyond their borders. According to the Trust for Public Land, parks, greenways, and natural lands can boost property values and attract and support businesses. But if neglected, they can be a magnet for blight, crime, and vandalism, while lowering the value of adjacent properties.
Normally, a sister-city relationship is just a formality, with politicians traveling on junkets every year to exchange gifts and then forgetting the whole thing afterward. The San Jose/Dublin connection, to me, seems unique, as it forms a backdrop to the rise of the high-tech sector in Ireland, and the growth of Irish technologists here in Silicon Valley, plus numerous other cultural, educational and business exchanges that continue to evolve. Even the public libraries are scheming to form a partnership of some sort.