Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

United Nations Plaza Update: These Naughty Grannies are _Still_ Selling Food Given to Them for Free and Meant for Hungry People

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

They used to hang out on Market near 7th, but now they’ve been pushed north, closer to the Tenderloin Crime Containment Zone:

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This is what happens when you give food to a food bank.

Oh well.


Monday, October 8th, 2012

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The 13th United Nations Association Film Festival Continues Until Halloween, 2010 – Held in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and S.F.

Monday, October 25th, 2010

The 13th United Nations Association Film Festival is coming to town Wednesday night – tickets are just $10, if you can get them.

All the deets:


Palo Alto, CA—After a very successful opening night, the United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) continues its 13th year program with an inspired array of documentaries from around the globe with more timely stories than ever in line with this year’s theme, POPULATION – MIGRATION – GLOBALIZATION. Highly anticipated by its loyal and passionate audiences, championed by civic and community leaders and voted by MovieMaker Magazine as “one of the 25 Film Festivals worth the entry fee,” UNAFF is one of the most important events on the Bay Area’s cultural calendar and an important stop on the festival circuit. In addition, it is one of the oldest purely documentary film festivals in the US.



Sponsored by Rotary Club San Francisco and by La Mediterranee

(Australia/West Papua, Indonesia)

5:25 PM KITES (Afghanistan/Poland)
6:45 PM Panel “Images that Provoke”
co-presented with Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco and Afghan Coalition

Full sched, after the jump


Supervisor Eric Mar Gets Booted from Littler Mendelson Law Firm – “Shame on Kloosterman!”

Friday, May 28th, 2010

San Francisco Supervisor for District One Eric Mar just  got the boot from the offices of Littler Mendelson (can guess their nickname*) at 650 California this morning. Why? Something to do with one of the firm’s lawyers attending the International Labor Organization’s 99th Annual Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

See it for yourself here at the IndyBay:

A Visit to America’s most notorious Anti-Labor Law Firm

It looked like this:


Shame on Kloosterman! Shame on Kloosterman!”

All the deets:

Police Remove Domestic Workers and Elected Officials from San Francisco Law Firm
Employer Representative Refuses to meet with Supervisors and Workers

On Thursday, over 35 housekeepers, nannies, caregivers and their allies,
including San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, and representatives from the
offices of Supervisor David Campos and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, were
threatened with arrest if they did not leave the offices of Littler
Mendelson, a notoriously anti-union law firm, in downtown San Francisco.
Domestic workers sought to bring attention to their plight in the run up to
the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) annual conference, which will
be held in Geneva from June 2 – 18.  The Supervisors sought to deliver a
copy of a resolution that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
unanimously passed on Tuesday, calling for an end to domestic worker
exploitation and urging John Kloosterman, an attorney at the firm who will
represent U.S. employers of domestic workers at the International Labour
Conference, to support a strong ILO Convention on domestic work.  Mr.
Kloosterman refused to appear, and instead the law firm called the police.
A video of the encounter with Mr. Kloosterman is available here:
Hillary Ronen, aide to Supervisor David Campos, said “This is a disgrace.
Kloosterman is calling the police on elected city officials when all we are
asking is for 5 minutes of his time. This man is supposedly representing US
employers of domestic workers at the ILO, and yet he is refusing to even
face a room full of domestic workers who have come to his office.”
Domestic workers called on Kloosterman to work with workers to pass a
strong convention to end the abuse in their industry.  For the first time
ever the ILO will discuss decent work for domestic workers as part of the
conference. Juana Flores, a former domestic worker who is now Director of a
Bay Area immigrant women’s center Mujeres Unidas y Activas and the Caring
Hands Worker Association, will represent U.S. based workers in Geneva.  “We
have been working tirelessly with sister organizations from around the
world, the AFL-CIO, and the U.S. Department of Labor to pass a strong
convention which will help end the abuses these workers face, and I’m
saddened that Mr. Kloosterman seems uninterested in discussing these issues
with us” she said.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution to
end the exploitation and harassment of domestic workers on Tuesday, and the
Board sent letters to Mr. Kloosterman asking him to support the
recommendations of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.  Supervisor Eric
Mar, who authored the resolution and who requested to deliver the
resolution to Mr. Kloosterman personally, said, “Domestic workers help to
ensure the health and prosperity of families by freeing others to
participate in the workforce.  But domestic workers usually work alone,
behind closed doors and out of the public eye, leaving them isolated and
vulnerable to exploitation. I had really hoped to convey this message
personally to the representative of domestic worker employers at this
historic ILO Conference.”
“Equality is at the heart of our American values but we are long overdue in
treating domestic workers as equals.  They are the mothers and daughters
that provide vital assistance to our families, to our seniors and who take
care of our children, yet they lack the basic protections under the law
that many of us take for granted,” said California Assembly member Tom
Ammiano, who is coauthoring a resolution in the state legislature on their
The delegation of domestic workers leaving for Geneva tomorrow are
undaunted by the hostility of the law firm and the encounter with the
police. They hope to win the basic recognition that domestic work is work
just like any other, and should be protected as such.  They will demand the
same labor protections that other workers already enjoy under international
labor law or are able to gain through collective bargaining, a process that
is not always feasible for domestic workers.  These include basic rights
such as the right to rest breaks, sick time, health and safety protections
and wage and hour regulations.

*”Hitler Mendelson,” natch.

What’s Up With All the Military Helicopters Above San Francsico These Days?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

It would have been hard to miss a giant twirlypopper like this twin-engine, tandem rotor, heavy-lift Boeing-Vertol CH-47 Chinook (I’ll say it’s a CH-47D, just because) over Civic Center’s United Nations Plaza yesterday. Mmmm. And, it’s not alone up there – there are other military birds above us as well these days.

 What does the military need to lift in San Francisco? Are there any bases around here anymore?

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Or maybe it’s just another military joyride above the 415?

Hard to say.

UNICEF’s Tap Project Draws Attention to World Water Week, March 22-29, 2009

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

The people from UNICEF’s Tap Project were getting the word out yesterday at the hideous Vaillancourt Fountain (aka Québec libre!) yesterday in Justin Herman Plaza. (Tap water is just fine in San Francisco, you know – bottled water isn’t necessary or anything.)

Read all about it.

Click to expand:

Sadly, no quarters could be seen on this day:

Oops, time to go. She’ll be back soon though.

See a list of participating restaurants after the jump.


The United Nations Association Celebrates UN Day 2008

Friday, October 24th, 2008

The United Nations Association of San Francisco celebrated the sixty-third anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations and the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last night at the aptly-named Green Room of the historic War Memorial Veterans Building in the Civic Center. (Or Civic Centre if you’d prefer [Crazy U.N.-English mode: ON].)

The reception honoured Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor and National Advocate of the United Nations Foundation, speaking on Human Rights—the Possible Dream.

Kimberly Weichel, President of the United Nations Associations of San Francisco and Marin, looked on last night as Mark Chandler, Director of the Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce (MOITC) addressed the crowd. Click to expand.

It was a lovely affair.

Learn more about the UNA-SF here  and United Nations Association of the United States of America here.

Co-Sponsors and Donors:

The United Nations Foundation

United Nations Association, Marin County Chapter

United Nations Association, Northern California Division

United Nations Association of San Francisco

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Draper III

Participant Media, producer of “The Visitor”

The Skoll Foundation

San Francisco City College

Protocol Professionals, Inc.

20/20 Productions

2048 Project

M. Christine Torrington, Photography

Institute of International Education, West Coast

Rotary Club of San Francisco

San Francisco Linens

World Affairs Council of Northern California

Greenwashing the Bottled Water War – Fiji Water vs. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Gavin Newsom, America’s “most stylin'” mayor, has deservedly gotten lots of national attention for leading the charge against the bottled water industry. Take a look here at a scene from last month in San Francisco – he was somewhere inside this scrum of media and tap water fans. He’s got a tiger by the tail with this popular issue, much to the chagrin of industry giants Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle.


But what started this campaign? It was a conversation a while back the mayor had about his possession of some bottles of Fiji Water. Somebody pointed out a few things about the pros and cons (mostly the cons) of shipping drinking water from the South Pacific to San Francisco. The result is that he is an international leader on this issue.

Fair enough. But now it appears that Fiji Water is leading the campaign FOR bottle water. They’re attacking the anti-bottled water movement at an RSS 2.0-enabled website called FijiGreen. (They’ve just boosted the ad budget so you might be hearing more from them soon.)


Having dispensed with that, check out this blog entry written by “Fiji Green Gal” where she attempts to debunk the “food miles” myth. As you can see, she’s got her hands full when she doggedly replies to commenters.

You’re on your own after that. It’s up to you to make your own decision about how some people in the Republic of the Fiji Islands might benefit from Fiji Water bottling, about how some chefs just seem to love the stuff, about how they have an SVP working on these issues, etc. You might end up with a nuanced view or you might get so interested you’ll take the TreeHugger Survey.

Add it all up and see how all this compares with turning on the faucet when you’re thirsty or bottling your own tap water for those times when you’re on the go.  

Street Scene – San Francisco’s United Nations Plaza at Market Street

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

This recent detention of a couple people who obviously had some kind of altercation in San Francisco’s U.N. Plaza attracted attention from hundreds of onlookers. Both detainees had blood visible on them. One of them took an argumentative approach (“yes, I have paraphanalia, but I don’t have any drugs on me”) while the other kept quiet.

What happened? Who was at fault for attempted robbery or whatever? Impossible to tell.

On it goes…


The Mayor of San Francisco Takes On the Bottled Water Industry

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Part of this crowd, a large crowd actually, at the San Francisco Ferry Building yesterday was there to get their very own free stainless steel vacuum flask to carry around tap water as an alternative to buying water in plastic bottles.

These were handed out for free:


Doesn’t everyone heart S.F.? How about the tap water you get in S.F. and some sourrounding areas? It comes from the Yosemite area, takes a rest around here, and then comes into your kitchen. It’s the best tap water in the world. So what’s wrong with drinking it instead of Dasani or Aquafina or whatever?

In 2007, Mayor Newsom famously worked on getting municipal workers off of the plastic water bottle. That move generated a little blowback but it also attracted some national interest.

In 2008, attention turns to restaurants routinely offering bottled water to patrons. It didn’t used to be this way, but nowadays it’s the first choice  you have to make at some joints and some diners might feel that they’re being a bit cheap if they don’t spring for the spring water. What the Mayor is doing is using a little moral suasion to affect public behavior for the greater good. It’s not really “greenwashing,” actually. What it is is a perfectly appropriate use of the bully pulpit, as it doesn’t force anybody to do anything and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers any substantial amount of money.

Of course the bottled water industry thinks yesterday’s effort smacks of  totalitarianism.

Stainless steel bottles are available while supplies last at SFPUC Customer Service at 1155 Market Street near Civic Center. Take a pledge to stop buying plastic bottles of water and you can get a nice metal bottle as well. Just drop on by. Who knows, you might get lucky.