The SNACK benefit concert at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco was put together in a breakneck 3½ weeks, with appearances by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Marlon Brando, Willie Mays and more.
The SNACK concert (Students Need Activities, Culture and Kicks), which raised $200,000 to save high school sports in San Francisco, was everything great about concerts in San Francisco.
[...] it continued the city tradition of artists and promoters who are willing to leave their comfort zones and put on a show that no one will ever forget.
Looking at the past half century of rock and pop music performances, is there any city in the nation you would rather live in?
Is there any city that has gotten more out of its homegrown talent, and seen so many artists from out of town step up their artistry to another level?
Artists and bands on the treadmill of a multicity tour will break out of the haze, throw away their carved-in-stone set list and do something special because it’s San Francisco.
The Long Beach rapper was going through the motions at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium when through the marijuana smoke several figures emerged.
Snoop had invited generations of the greatest S.F. and Oakland rappers — including Too $hort, San Quinn, Rappin’ 4-Tay and Mistah F.A.B. — to engage in a joyous 20-minute freestyle, leaving stunned fans in thrilled disbelief.
The Civic Auditorium has been hosting live music since it was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
More memories exist in defunct venues, including the Avalon Ballroom and Winterland.
San Francisco’s reputation as a special place for rock concerts started in the mid-1960s, when a string of one-offs and benefits solidified San Francisco as not just a creator of new music, but also an inspiration for new ways of looking at performance.
The Grateful Dead were more often than not at the center of these musical freakouts, which The Chronicle, back when it was still more likely to write a profile of Paul Anka or Engelbert Humperdinck than Quicksilver Messenger Service, covered with a mixture of bemusement and concern.
“The first thing to say about the Trips Festival is that there is nothing to say about the Trips Festival,” The Chronicle’s Bob Graham wrote after the first day of the January 1966 acid-fueled concert.
The Grateful Dead, Chinese lion dancers and various visual artists contributed to a three-day freakout at Longshoreman’s Hall near Fisherman’s Wharf.
By the time the Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company took the stage on the second day, even The Chronicle was writing about the positive energy of the scene.
There were many events like this in the 1960s, combining different venues and lineups and causes for something unique — events like the Human Be-in on Jan. 14, 1967, which again mixed the music of bands including the Dead with poets and thought leaders, including Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
The tragedy at Altamont Speedway Free Festival in December 1969, which resulted in four deaths, rightfully endures as a symbol of the unofficial end of hippie culture.
Newspaper stories also show bad feelings earlier in the year surrounding the 11th-hour cancellation of the August 1969 Wild West Festival at Kezar Stadium.
The late Warren Hellman’s annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass transcends genres, with folk and bluegrass legends mixing with rock and even rap icons for a free October weekend festival in Golden Gate Park.
The Outside Lands and Treasure Island Music festivals are 21st century versions of Day on the Green, with diverse lineups of popular bands.
Metallica, whose members came up in small S.F. clubs such as the Stone, played a 2011 four-show Fillmore residency to celebrate their 30th anniversary, inviting all of their past collaborators and major influences.
When the demolition of Candlestick Park was announced, Paul McCartney stepped up for a special show last year to send off the stadium; fitting, because the last public Beatles show was at Candlestick in 1966.
Posted: March 29, 2015, 3:00 am
The driver, whose name has not been released, appears to have missed a curve and instead drove off the road and down an embankment, said CHP Officer Amelia Jack.
The car then hit the opposing bank of the creek bed, crushing the front of the vehicle and trapping the driver inside the car, which almost immediately caught fire, she said.
Witnesses claim that they say the driver earlier at a local tavern, while one witness says they saw him driving recklessly prior to the collision, Jack added.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 10:40 pm
With a fourth year of drought looming, officials at many water departments are taking extra steps to make sure their pipes are free of glitches big and small.
“Especially these last four years, being in a drought, this has taken heightened importance for us,” said Katie Miller, a division manager for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, who is spearheading the program.
Miller noted that reducing lost water also keeps customer rates down, since it doesn’t have to be absorbed as a loss on the books.
With more than 1,200 miles of pipeline beneath city streets, water officials are focusing their initial inspections on about 130 miles of cast iron lines that deliver water exclusively to firefighters.
Bess, 31, who works with his colleague Anthony Stevenson at M.E. Simpson Co., which is based in Indiana, attaches his custom mike to either a hydrant or a valve accessible from the street and listens for the telltale sound of a leaking pipe.
When the sound is detected, as was the case near the intersection of Union and Front streets this month, the two use a specialized computer to measure how long it takes for the sound of the leak to travel to the surface, allowing them to pinpoint the exact location of the faulty pipe.
The utilities commission maintenance team is now seeking an expedited permit to dig up the area and fix the line.
The city’s leak-detection program is being managed by Pure Technologies, based in Canada, which has worked with other cities to reduce water waste.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 10:19 pm
A state appeals court has overturned part of the pension cutbacks for city employees that San Francisco voters approved in November 2011, a reduction of cost-of-living increases for retirees when their pension fund was earning more than previously expected.
The reduction was part of Proposition C, sponsored by Mayor Ed Lee, backed by labor unions and approved by more than two-thirds of the voters.
The ruling doesn’t affect the measure’s central provision, which required city employees to contribute 7.5 percent of their salaries to the pension fund, a percentage that will rise when the fund is dwindling and drop when it is thriving.
Adding to the annual inflation adjustments pensioners were already entitled to receive, the new provisions gave them an additional increase of up to 3.5 percent in years when the city retirement fund’s earnings were higher than anticipated.
While the ballot measure argued that it merely clarified the previous voter-approved laws, the First District Court of Appeal said Friday it was actually a cutback that would eliminate the increased payments in some years when the fund had exceeded its projected earnings.
David Clisham, a lawyer for employees and retirees who filed the suit, said he disagreed with that part of the ruling but considered it an important victory overall for 23,000 former city workers and for current employees.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 8:55 pm
Posted: March 28, 2015, 10:00 am
Martinez police were investigating a fatal crash between a pedestrian and a vehicle on Morello Avenue near Highway 4 on Friday night.
A stretch of Morello on the south side of the highway was closed because of the incident, according to a Police Department post on Twitter.
Details weren’t immediately available.
Erin Allday is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: email@example.com
Posted: March 28, 2015, 5:08 am
Bullying behavior, offers of cheeseburgers for silence, threats of violence, rumors of other deputies knowing but doing nothing — the accusations in the 2006 sexual assault civil cases against San Francisco sheriff’s Deputy Scott Neu echo the allegations made Thursday by County Jail inmates who said the deputy forced them to fight each other for his entertainment.
After three inmates in 2006 accused Neu of forcing them to perform sexual acts on him, the case was handled internally by other deputies, and apparently no criminal charges were presented to the district attorney’s office.
Since those accusations, Neu has had four more lawsuits filed against him: one for a false arrest and three for excessive force.
Harry Stern, an attorney for the deputies’ union, said he did not believe that the sexual misconduct suits had merit in the criminal justice system, which is why charges were never filed against Neu.
In recorded conversations with Adachi, the inmates said Neu had created an environment of fear and retribution in County Jail No. 4 at 850 Bryant St., humiliating an overweight inmate by making him “train” for the fights and ordering them to gamble for their basic benefits of food and clean laundry.
[...] Mark Nicco, assistant legal counsel for the Sheriff’s Department, said that before the 2014 establishment of the criminal investigations unit, the sheriff’s internal affairs unit handled all reports of deputy misconduct.
Since 2005, the department has fired six sworn personnel and three civilian employees, but Nicco said he did not know why.
According to the city attorney’s office, a jury ruled in Neu’s favor in one 2011 excessive force lawsuit.
Since the fight allegations came to light, Neu, along with the other deputies named in the allegations — Deputies Eugene Jones, Clifford Chiba and Evan Staehely — have been put on paid administrative leave.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 4:48 am
A federal appeals court ruling that eases legal standards for deportees who face the prospect of torture has given new hope to a Bay Area man who described ordeals of abuse in his native Mexico at the hands of corrupt police.
In the same ruling, the court overturned previous decisions, dating to 2004, that required immigrants who feared torture after deportation to prove that it would be impossible to relocate to a safe place in their native country.
According to his testimony, which immigration judges found credible, Maldonado was held for three months and subjected to beatings, burnings with cigarettes, electric shocks to his testicles and choking with a water-filled bag placed over his head.
Maldonado fled to the United States three times between 2000 and 2007, was deported each time, and suffered the same brutal treatment from police, who had started to gather victims from airports across Mexico, he testified.
[...] the appeals court majority, led by Judge Richard Paez, said federal immigration law does not require a deportee to prove that safe relocation in a country would be impossible.
[...] the court said government records showed that in April 2010, six months after his last deportation order, he applied for renewal of his California driver’s license in Palo Alto.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 3:53 am
Rabbis, pastors, priests and members of different faiths encircled a San Ramon mosque on Friday afternoon, standing shoulder to shoulder with locked arms in a show of solidarity with the Muslim Americans who were inside praying.
“We’re recognizing that there is a whole community that lives in fear of violence against them,” said the Rev. Will McGarvey, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, one of the organizers of the event, which brought more than 200 people to the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center.
Afterward, Muslims, Jews and Christians gave speeches emphasizing their commonalities as people.
In February, a group of protesters confronted Muslim Americans attending Islam Day at the Oklahoma Capitol just weeks after a similar protest was held outside of Texas’ Muslim Capitol Day rally.
Earlier in the month, three Muslim Americans in North Carolina were shot dead, allegedly by a neighbor, in what the victims’ families called a hate crime.
“It’s a concrete example that we can give our children that we are not alone,” Hina Mukhtar, a 43-year-old San Ramon teacher and mother of three boys, said of the event.
Maimoona Ahmed, a 71-year-old Concord resident and member of a local interfaith women’s circle who also helped organize the event, said it was inspiring.
Hamed Aleaziz is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 2:28 am
Ricky Allen Newman had no idea he was in a cult. He thought everybody’s rent was $18,000 per month. He thought everybody paid $8 for coffee. He thought everybody ate chowder out of bowls made of bread. Yes, he thought all of these things. But then he spoke to his sister, who told him that rent was a bit lower in Oakland, that she paid $4.25 for a coffee, and — the worst — that she ate soup from a plastic, non-edible bowl. Ricky grew silent. And then he broke down and cried. That night, he sneaked out of San Francisco. For good. Ricky is just one of a growing number of people who are leaving the city for Oakland.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 1:05 am
Stanford also announced that families with incomes below $65,000 (up from $60,000) won’t even pay room or board.
“Our highest priority is that Stanford remain affordable and accessible to the most talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances,” said Provost John Etchemendy, noting that the school’s goal is to help low- and middle-income students stay out of debt.
“This is excellent news for low-income students who in these times are very much concerned about how we’re going to pay for college,” said Williams, a former foster youth whose mother is on disability.
“Being from a low-income background, it’s amazing that a private institution like Stanford is sensitive to the needs of low-income and middle-income students,” said Williams, who serves on the City College Board of Trustees as the nonvoting student member.
Told that the University of California also waives its undergraduate tuition of $12,192 for families earning less than $80,000, Williams said she was surprised and would apply there, too.
On Friday, Stanford announced it had offered admission to 2,144 undergraduates out of 42,487 hopefuls, the largest group of applicants in its history.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 12:56 am
Chiu will announce Monday that he is sponsoring Assembly Bill 1287 to continue permanently the city’s use of cameras aboard Muni vehicles to issue citations for vehicles stopping or parking in transit-only lanes.
The legislation would also seek to allow camera-issued citations for cars driving in transit-only lanes, “block the box” violations in which cars obstruct intersections and crosswalks, and illegally parked or stopped vehicles in lanes not designated for transit only.
The MTA is clearly counting on continuing that, having equipped its entire fleet of more than 800 buses with enforcement cameras and rolling out a series of so-called “red carpet” transit-only lanes painted red to stand out.
Tickets for vehicles parked in transit-only lanes run $110, said MTA spokesman Paul Rose, while citations for blocking intersections and crosswalks cost $103, and parking or stopping in bus zones costs $279.
The bill has the backing of Mayor Ed Lee, who said reauthorizing the transit-lane enforcement program would “help make Muni, taxis, shuttles, bikes and cars move around the city more smoothly and predictably, and can make the streets safer for everyone, particularly pedestrians.”
Thea Selby, chairwoman of the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, also backed the bill, saying the test of transit-only lanes and camera enforcement has worked.
Posted: March 28, 2015, 12:53 am
The owners of a Chinatown residential hotel who had threatened to evict several dozen low-income tenants have agreed to withdraw the eviction notices and not issue any new ones in the foreseeable future.
Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Julie Christensen, who represents Chinatown, contacted the owners and property managers at 2 Emery Lane after reading a Chronicle account of how the tenants in the 32-unit single-room-occupancy hotel had been served with eviction notices for seemingly minor lease violations, such as hanging laundry outside their windows and putting Chinese New Year decorations in common areas.
The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development will work with both the owners and the tenants to address the issues that led to these notices of violation and eviction notices.
The city is also providing the fullest legal defense to tenants at 2 Emery Lane and other buildings at risk for real estate speculation.
The tenants, who pay an average of $550 a month for 100-square-foot rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchens, alleged that the owners had sought the eviction of 24 tenants and were seeking to rent vacant rooms to professionals for $1,300 a month.
Longtime Chinatown housing organizers say the situation is noteworthy because until now SRO hotels — which make up three-fourths of the district’s housing stock — have been immune to the displacement sweeping nearly every other part of the city.
Building operator Sterling Heatley, a vice president with Paragon Real Estate Group, defended the actions Thursday, saying, “It is the landlord’s right to legally notice and serve violations upon tenants that are in violation of their rental lease agreements.”
Posted: March 27, 2015, 11:32 pm
Mayor Ed Lee is banning city employees from traveling to Indiana for business after that state’s governor signed into law a controversial “religious freedom” bill that critics say will promote discrimination.
In a statement, Lee said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will legalize discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Effective immediately, I am directing city departments under my authority to bar any publicly funded city employee travel to the state of Indiana that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety,” Lee said.
Last year, Lee threatened travel sanctions against Arizona when the governor there was considering a similar bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers based on the owners’ religious beliefs.
Posted: March 27, 2015, 11:18 pm
Funeral services for slain San Jose police Officer Michael Johnson will be held Thursday, officials said.
After police arrived, Dunham came out on his balcony and opened fire, killing Johnson, who was married and had been with the department for 14 years.
Officer Doug Potwora, a 16-year veteran, returned fire and killed Dunham, officials said.
Posted: March 27, 2015, 10:51 pm