Posts Tagged ‘Zusha Elinson’

Declaring the SFMTA a Rogue Agency – FIX MUNI NOW Becomes FIX MUNI SOMETIME LATER – “Give Us More Money”

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

San Francisco’s “Strong Mayor System” plus the SFMTA = the San Francisco’s worst government agency, one unresponsive to the Commonweal.

Zusha Elinson explicates.

Another part-timer goes full time - Training Day in the Birmingham Electric this week:

Click to expand

Oh, what’s that MUNI, you’re actually perfect and your approach to everything is and always has been perfect and Mayor Ed Lee is a Golden God and everything will get better once you get just a little (or a lot) more money?

OK fine, whatever you say, SFMTA.

Phil Ting and Leland Yee Throw Down Against the BART Police Cell Phone Shutdown Policy

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

[UPDATE: The latest video communique from Anonymous, or somebody.]

I’ll just say for the record that, fundamentally, what BART did with their cell phone repeaters on Thursday wasn’t unconstitutional. (Of course, I think their actions this past week were stupid - the representatives of BART are behaving in a ham-fisted fashion, oh well.)

However, this bit here from Friday’s hastily-released release is overbroad:

“No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms.”

Rest assured, passengers can legally engage in at least some expressive activities (like wearing a red shirt to represent the blood of dead passenger or saying, “Gee waiting for BART can be a pain,” for example) in the paid areas of the stations regardless of what BART’s PR hacks say. (Don’t you have lawyers on staff, BART? So why don’t you let them formulate your legal policies instead of having a formerly ink-stained wretch writing copy? Just asking, Bro.)

Comes now Zusha Elinson of the The Bay Citizen:

“Ironically, it was BART’s chief communications officer Linton Johnson who has taken credit for the idea to shut off service. Johnson told The Bay Citizen that he suggested it to BART police after a protest on July 11 snarled the evening commute. Demonstrators delayed trains and even tried to climb on top of one as part of a protest against the BART police shooting of Charles Hill on July 3. Johnson said that the police didn’t have to take the idea, but they did, and he bristled at criticsms leveled from passengers and civil libertarians. “It is an amenity. We survived for years without cellphone service,” Johnson said. “Now they’re bitching and complaining that we turned it off for three hours?”

Ooh, the B-Word (or gerund or whatever.) Is this the definition – acting like an overbearing woman? (Sometimes PR people get in trouble for not doing enough and sometimes they get into trouble for doing too much. I think we’re at the point when the PR person is doing too much.)

Now, here’s what your Senator Leland Yee has to say about the matter:

“Yee Blasts BART for Cell Phone Decision - Senator urges FCC to investigate, calls on BART Board to take action

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) blasted BART officials for shutting off cell phone service earlier this week within downtown stations to prevent protests. Yee called on the BART Board of Directors to take immediate action to prevent a repeat incident in the future. Yee also plans to contact the Federal Communications Commission to request an investigation on the constitutionality of the decision.

“I am shocked that BART thinks they can use authoritarian control tactics,” said Yee. “BART’s decision was not only a gross violation of free speech rights; it was irresponsible and compromised public safety. Riders need cell phone coverage to call on police and medical personnel during an emergency. How many more lives need to be put at risk because of inappropriate actions by BART officials?”

On Thursday, BART switched off the transit system’s underground cell phone network throughout downtown San Francisco after they learned individuals were planning to coordinate a protest using mobile devices. The people were protesting a July 3 fatal shooting by BART police.

“The BART board should take immediate action to prevent a repeat of such a blatant disregard for the needs and rights of riders,” said Yee. “I plan to also contact the Federal Communications Commission to investigate this appalling incident.”

And here’s a bit from Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting:

Censorship Is Not a Public Safety Strategy - BART Shuts Off Cell Phone Service to Prevent Protest

By: Phil Ting

The news from BART keeps getting worse and worse. We learned this morning that not only did BART turn off cell signals in its Civic Center, Powell Street and 16th Street Stations on Thursday evening to try and prevent a protest – the decision was made at the very highest staff level of the agency.

Censorship is not, and should never be, a public safety strategy. We take BART leadership at their word about motives; they say they were worried about a crush of passengers and protesters on a dangerously crowded platform.

But the proper response to such a concern was to send BART police, and SFPD if necessary, to safeguard passengers and protesters. The decision to cut off cell service in order to prevent the protests violates fundamental principles of our democracy.

Violating Fundamental Principles of Democracy

At Reset San Francisco, our view is that the more voices heard, the more vigorous our democracy. Peaceful protest is a way people who are not being heard can be heard – and that feedback, as uncomfortable as it can make the politicians, is absolutely necessary to improve government.

Of course we must promote peaceful protest, not dangerous actions like rushing a crowded train platform. But we don’t enforce laws by violating our most fundamental principles of free speech. Censorship is not, and must not become, a public safety tool.

Across the world, pro-democracy protestors are using social media to spark peaceful protests. And across the world, governments that fear their own citizens are trying to block the Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and SMS texts that give everyday people a new power to be heard.

It is sad that in our own city, and from one of our own government agencies, censorship was used to block protest.

Make Your Voice Heard – Right Now

We need to make sure this never happens again. Please be heard on this important issue. Below are the names of all the BART Board of Directors and an email address to contact them. Indicate whether you are contacting the full Board or an individual Board Director. I know many of them are as appalled by this as we are. But please email them now – and give them the support and strength they need to stop the policy of censorship immediately.
BART Board of Directors

Gail Murray – District 1
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Joel Keller – District 2
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Bob Franklin – District 3
bobfranklinbart@aol.com

Robert Raburn – District 4
robertraburn@covad.net

John McPartland – District 5
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Thomas Blalock – District 6
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Lynette Sweet – District 7
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

James Fang – District 8
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

Tom Radulovich – District 9
boardofdirectors@bart.gov

On It Goes.

Last Night’s One-Year Anniversary Party for The Bay Citizen a Huge Success, As Far As I Know

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

[Oh, here we go, it's the Citizen of Tomorrow Awards, just posted.]

Now, the problem I had last night was being too ambitious, thinking I could drop by the First Birthday Celebration of The Bay Citizen and then hustle it uphill to the Specfic Whites neighborhood by nine-ish, thinking that this year’s party would be like last year’s, you know, the one they had in the Twitterloin. That one was off the hook.

Anyway, here it is at the stated 8:00 PM starting time. (A dozen people to park your car, but only one to check you into the place.)

(Why, yes, Terra _is_ 200 feet away from a bridge and two miles away from a tunnel – why do you ask?)

And here are your food trucks. (Everything seems to taste better when it’s from a truck, non?)

Click to expand

I guess things got going later in the evening. But I’ll tell you, if you skipped the first hour of last year’s soiree, which was off the hook, you would have missed a lot.

The good thing is that The Bay Citizen produced, as designed, a lot of good stuff the past year.

Anyway, Bon Anniversaire, The Bay Citizen.

Bay Citizen Launch Party at the Great American Music Hall a Huge Success

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

[Whoops, spoke too soon - turns out that the SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle's Katie Baker was en la casa. The conspiracy of silence broken.]

Despite all the obituaries written earlier this year, The Bay Citizen celebrated its launch yesterday at the Great American Music Hall. Some TBC editors on the scene were fretting about getting a new batch of “stately idiom” finished up for the following morning, but a good time was had by all.

They literally rolled out the red carpet in the Tenderloin last night:

Who was there? Everybody. (Everybody excepting some of the hAtERz in local media who feel any new investment should go to existing concerns, you know, the ones that employ the hAtERz themselves. The hAtERz that showed somehow even managed to generate, with noticeable effort, Mona Lisa smile/smirks for the camera.) The place was packed from the get-go, baby. Check out the Party Pix from E.B.Boyd showing who all was there.

Standing room only:

Bay Citizen CEO Lisa Frazier (pronounced fraze-yah) started things off by inviting Founder Warren Hellman to play a  song.

Lois Beckett snapped the chorus and here are the full lyrics to the sing-a-long tune Hardly Strictly News.  Note the A-A-B-B rhyming scheme. Also note:

“We met with Lisa Frazier who pronounced ‘for now it will be free’/
A multi-layered news hub is the only way to be.”

What, “for now?” Uh oh:

Click to expand. It’s quite legible at 1200 pixels.

Anyway, F. Warren appeared to be somewhat irked by the constant chatter of the assembled throng. Oh well.

Here’s the mise-en-scene from up on the catwalk:

A big thank you to all the founding investors, founding members, patrons, and corporate sponsors. Notably, Dede Wilsey’s name isn’t on this list, so perhaps she just recently kicked in her seven figure donation? (Or let’s call it a $500,000 donation with Uncle Sucker kicking another half mil., mas o menos. That’s the thing with non-profit journalism – the federal govmint lowers your taxes by about 50 cents for every dollar you donate, assuming you pay a lot of taxes in the first place. This is the Unfair Advantage that the Chronicle people complain about. Speaking of which, nothing yet about TBC from the SFC – check for yourself.)  

Everybody’s a star:

$5 tote bags just like Trader Joe’s and the KQED, plus loads of free bumper stickers:

The lives of the party: 

Anyway, had to bail early to get down to Massive Attack at the Warfield while Arcadio was playing the TBC party. The booze was flowing and the place was still packed when I left, anyway.

Bon Courage, Bay Citizen!

All the deets, after the jump

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Just $50 Makes You a Founder of the Bay Citizen – Includes Tickets to Party on May 26th

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Here’s the lastest about the much-talked-about media joint The Bay Citizen.

Matt Baume gives fresh details of everthing a potential freelancer could want to know at this point;

CEO Lisa Frazier today extends a final invitation to get on board before launch. See below; und

Kevin Montgomery gives us a sneak peek* on what the site might look like.

That’s the wind-up, and here’s The Pitch:

Dear LADIESMAN217:

The Bay Citizen’s launch is just two days away, and we can’t wait!  Some exciting things have happened over the last few weeks:

We now have fourteen journalists in our newsroom, including twelve full-time journalists and two paid summer interns from the UC Berkeley Journalism School;

Our reporters are busy producing stories on topics including the environment and land use, health and science, education, arts and culture, and more;

We’ve started hosting partner meetings to explore collaborations with local independent media organizations, bloggers, and writers;

We recently moved into our new office at 126 Post Street in San Francisco

Become part of Bay Area history

You still have time.  Until midnight on Wednesday, you can become a Founder of The Bay Citizen by donating $50 or more.  As a Founder, your name will be permanently listed on our website and you’ll also receive two tickets to our launch party this Wednesday evening at the Great American Music Hall, where you’ll get the chance to meet hundreds of other founding members.

Become a Founder now!

And, don’t forget to check out www.baycitizen.org on Wednesday morning when it goes live.

With thanks,
Lisa Frazier, CEO

P.S. Our long-term sustainability depends on support from community members like you. Thank you for supporting The Bay Citizen.

See you there!

*I had a similar experience over the weekend when I decided to visit my giant Toyota sitting in the shop getting fixed. Even though the place was closed I was able to walk right in and take it for a quick test drive – now they told me last week my car would be ready this coming Wednesday but I wanted a sneak peek. Fuck man, the brakes sounded like shit! All screeching metalicky and whatnot. I called them up today and it turns out that they’re saying the new pads are coming in Tuesday. I don’t know, man, maybe they’ll get it done proper, but that’s a lot of work they still have to do…

The Bay Citizen Reveals its Newsroom Staff, Plus It Makes Bloggers a Cash Money Offer

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Read today’s announcement after the jump but first learn all about the new $25 Bay Citizen Partner Program for bloggers right here. Not satisfied with that? Well, then join the club.

The blogger meeting you weren’t personally invited to last week via scented, hand-delivered letter. Actually, you don’t need to go to tonight’s alternate meeting either if you don’t want. But you can still get in the game.

Click to expand

So, here’s the thing: If you don’t want to make a deal with The Bay Citizen, then don’t make a deal with The Bay Citizen, in’nt?

Seems pretty simple.

Also it seems that some reporters could report more better. For instance, “….rumors that reporters were being paid huge salaries are untrue.” Um, how do you know that? In fact, there were out-of-hand rumors about what reporters would get paid. And, in fact, there was a lot of disappointment around town when people found out that:

The salaries for reporters aren’t going to be all that high; und 

It matters not because lots of people didn’t get hired anyway, owing to the competitive environment

Oh well. (In addition, the office is just regular, nothing fancy or nothing, right?)

So, with Mother Hellman’s contractions coming faster and faster, things are the way you’d expect for our soon-to-be-bouncing baby Bay Citizen, with:

Jealousy-fueled* ankle-biting from below;

Jealousy-fueled* back-biting from the side; and

Silence from above, pretty much**

Anyway, the latest TBC sonogram, after the jump.

*Envy-fueled, more precisely, but you know…

**Could it be that the replacement for the old San Francisco Chronicle will be the current leaner and meaner San Francisco Chronicle? Yep, it could be. Certainly.

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