Dear Members of the Readers’ Committee,
Allow me just a few lines here to commend to your attention a new book titled “Dear Committee Members.” It is written by Julie Schumacher, who teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota, where she no doubt labors mightily against her charges’ belief that everything of any import can be conveyed in 140 characters using only one’s opposable thumbs.
I will concede that, until reading this slim but richly sardonic epistolary volume, I never gave much thought to letters of recommendation, or, as they are apparently known by those who require and subsequently ignore them, “LORs.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 9:57 pm
(08-28) 12:25 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco officials this week released the addresses on Treasure Island where higher-than-normal radiation readings were detected underground in recent months. And they again sought to assure the public that the tests did not indicate there is a health threat.
All three locations - an occupied home at 1240-D Northpoint Drive, a storage shed behind an occupied home at 1241-B Northpoint Drive and a vacant home at 1303-F Gateview Avenue - fell well below the threshold for concern set by the Navy and state health officials, said Treasure Island Development Authority development director Bob Beck.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 7:26 pm
Muni riders who pay their fares in cash will have to start carrying around quarters, as the price of an adult fare rises from $2 to $2.25 on Monday.
The fare increases, proposed in February and adopted as part of the Municipal Transportation Agency budget in April, are part of an automatic fare increase program that aims to keep pace with inflation.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 6:26 pm
Democrat Ro Khanna is turning up the heat in his Silicon Valley House race against Rep. Mike Honda - holding a press conference outside the seven-term Democrat's San Jose offices to accuse Honda of being unwilling to debate, even as the incumbent agreed to a face-off that would be held without local reporters and possibly without television coverage.
Surrounded by dozens of chanting supporters carrying signs saying "We want town halls" and "Where's our congressman?" Khanna argued Wednesday that Honda has refused to meet with constituents at public forums during the summer congressional recess and has not yet committed to a promised series of debates.
In recent weeks, the Khanna campaign has been pressing Honda on debates - especially since the Huffington Post and San Jose State University floated a possible mid-October face-off, which Khanna's aides said they knew nothing of before it was announced publicly.
[...] Vivek Kembaiyan, spokesman for the Honda campaign, said Wednesday that the congressman has now accepted a Huffington Post and San Jose State invitation for a debate Oct. 6, the first day Californians can cast their votes by mail for the Nov. 4 election.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 5:16 pm
(08-28) 13:16 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco Department of Public Works garbage truck struck and killed a crew member Thursday morning, city officials said.
The accident was reported just after 9 a.m., while the crew was cleaning up trash illegal dumped on streets in the Bayview area.
A few crew members were near a garbage truck when the vehicle hit and killed one of the workers on Quint Street between Newcomb and Jerrold avenues, said Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Fire Department.
The worker was pronounced dead at the scene, an industrial stretch of the city near a railway bridge and the yard used by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission water department maintenance crews.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 5:03 pm
(08-28) 14:49 PDT BLACK ROCK DESERT, NEV. -- A Wyoming woman described as having an "adventurous, caring spirit" died at the annual Burning Man festival in northern Nevada early Thursday after she was run over by a bus carrying participants, authorities said.
Alicia Louise Cipicchio, 29, of Jackson, Wyo., died after "falling under a large vehicle," organizers said in a statement.
Details of the crash were not immediately released, but Burning Man co-founder Marian Goodell described it as "a terrible accident."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and campmates," Goodell said. "Black Rock rangers and emergency services department staff are providing support to those affected.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 12:21 pm
Wednesday, Aug. 27, draw
PowerballJackpot: $80 million
172426454619PballSaturday, Aug. 30, jackpot: TBA
Wednesday, Aug. 27, draw
Super LottoJackpot: $13 million
126293314MEGASaturday, Aug. 30, jackpot: $14 million
Wednesday, Aug. 27, draws
Fantasy 5514173334Daily 46522Daily 3 (midday)551Daily 3 (evening)186Daily Derby race time: 1:46.60
First05California ClassicSecond04Big BenThird02Lucky StarTuesday, Aug. 26, draw and payouts
Mega MillionsJackpot: $15 million
29315160641MEGAPrize categoryCalifornia winnersPrize amount per winner5 of 5 with Mega0$15,000,0005 of 50$1,281,3014 of 5 with Mega3$5,0064 of 531$6783 of 5 with Mega170$603 of 52,440$92 of 5 with Mega3,953$71 of 5 with Mega34,204$2Matched Mega94,992$1Friday, Aug. 29, jackpot: $20 million
For lottery updates: www.calottery.com
Posted: August 28, 2014, 6:03 am
Here's a stumper.
What do you do when an undercover FBI agent allegedly arranges for $20,000 to be donated to your campaign, quite possibly in violation of campaign finance laws, but the feds won't help you figure out if you really got the money, or who gave it to you?
That's pretty much the situation Mayor Ed Lee's campaign finds itself in after a recent court filing by a defense attorney in the complex public corruption case of suspended state Sen. Leland Yee and reputed Chinatown gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 1:05 am
Natural disasters are unfair arbiters of fate - some people are always luckier than others.
Marshall Foster may be among the luckiest. In the aftermath of Sunday's magnitude 6.0 Napa earthquake, his masonry business is booming.
Many of the structures that suffered the worst damage from the temblor were unreinforced brick buildings. Tumbling chimneys were responsible for critical injuries. Both downtown Napa and Vallejo were strewn with piles of fallen brick.
On Sunday morning, Foster said his phone started "blowing up." He couldn't keep up with the volume of calls.
Posted: August 28, 2014, 12:01 am
There's no reason for an independent neighborhood movie theater to survive in San Francisco. [...] that's if movie fans can even be bothered to go to the theater. With Netflix and video on demand, it's easier to stay home, sit on the couch and start the show whenever it's convenient. A small group of determined benefactors are fighting to keep some of the city's oldest movie theaters in business. "Coming to a movie theater is like a religious experience," said Isabel Fondevila, director of the Roxie. The more theaters like this the better. Because once they close, you can't bring them back. After a fling as a porn theater in the mid-'60s, in the mid-'70s it became an art house cinema - the kind of place where you could see first-run, independent films that weren't playing anywhere else. The Roxie featured "Heli," a Mexican crime drama that earned Amat Escalante a "best director" award at Cannes in 2013.
Posted: August 27, 2014, 11:54 pm
It's the jerk merge.
San Francisco's streets are rife with drivers who, impatient with the slow pace of the commute, speed ahead of motorists in the proper lanes and then, at the very last moment, yank their wheel and cut over.
The illegal move - which most often happens at freeway on-ramps - typically goes unpunished and, according to some experts, may exacerbate city's already horrendous traffic problems.
The dynamic punishes law-abiding citizens who sit and wait, while rewarding the scofflaws who save valuable time. It can tempt many an affable commuter to turn into a menacing motorist.
"They cut you off," said 41-year-old Jackie Pham, who lives in Daly City and works in downtown San Francisco. "I can't stand that.
Posted: August 27, 2014, 11:54 pm
Some 2,300 past and present FedEx drivers in California are employees, not contractors, and are entitled to overtime and other benefits because of the extensive control the delivery company exercises over their work, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
FedEx contends that its drivers are independent contractors unprotected by California labor laws, and lower courts agreed. But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned those lower-court rulings.
Wednesday's decision covers all full-time FedEx Ground Package System drivers in the state between 2000 and 2007.
"This ruling will have seismic impact on this industry and the lives of FedEx Ground drivers in California," said Beth Ross, the drivers' attorney.
Posted: August 27, 2014, 11:26 pm
(08-28) 09:52 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Supervisor David Campos intends to ask the city to increase the amount it spends on providing legal representation to hundreds of children in San Francisco facing deportation proceedings from the current $100,000 to $1.2 million.
The political fallout from the recent influx of unaccompanied minors from violence-torn Central American countries - 57,000 have been intercepted at the U.S.-Mexico border since October - has prompted the federal government to instruct immigration courts to prioritize juvenile cases. Advocates say children are now being rushed through the system without access to lawyers - and Campos said the city has a responsibility to help.
Posted: August 27, 2014, 8:46 pm
About 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, a Kia Spectra and an Acura, both driving northbound, got into a fender-bender near the Lake Herman Road off-ramp in unincorporated Solano County, said California Highway Patrol Officer Rick Weaver.
A fire crew from Benicia, arriving at the scene just minutes after the crash, found the driver and his two passengers unconscious.
Posted: August 27, 2014, 5:49 pm
The ripples of destruction left by a powerful earthquake came into sharp focus Wednesday when Napa officials estimated a $300 million hit to homes and businesses in that city alone - a figure that may bolster efforts to bring in federal disaster aid.
"It's a picture of damage that runs the gamut from very visible historic buildings to the smallest, most humble dwelling," said Barry Martin, a Napa spokesman. "It covers every socioeconomic category, every part of town. There's clearly never been this kind of earthquake damage in the city before."
The estimate from Sunday's magnitude 6.0 quake doesn't include damage to public buildings and infrastructure or general economic losses, officials said.
Posted: August 27, 2014, 5:38 pm