Tag Archives | san francisco

SF Transit System Blocks Cell Phone Service To Thwart Protests

0816-bart-protests-Transit-Phone_full_380Mobile technology may be a powerful tool for grassroots organizing, but the flip side of the coin is that authorities can block such technology when they wish to crack down on dissent — case in point, San Francisco’s public transit system. SF Weekly writes:

This might just be a first in the annals of Bay Area transit agencies’ political suppression (such as those annals are). BART has fessed up to jamming cell-phone signals yesterday at downtown stations in San Francisco in order to disrupt protests over the death of Charles Hill, who was shot by BART police on July 3.

Here is what BART had to say in a statement on its tactics that was released today:

Organizers planning to disrupt BART service on August 11, 2011 stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators.

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San Francisco To Outlaw Pet Stores

sonia_real_puppy Kudos to San Francisco for its decision to crack down on an industry based on animal misery. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

San Francisco’s ever-active Animal Control and Welfare Commission has renewed its push for a pet sale ban in the city – only this time, it even covers goldfish. The idea is to put the squeeze on puppy and kitten mills that supply pet stores, and to discourage “impulse buys” of hamsters and other small pets that often wind up being dumped at shelters.

“Most fish in aquariums are either mass bred” under inhumane conditions “or taken from the wild,” commission member Philip Gerrie said. That leads to “devastation of tropical fish from places like Southeast Asia,” he said.

The proposed ban, which the commission just adopted after a year of study, was expanded to cover animal breeders as well as pet stores.
As you might expect, it has local merchants like Ocean Aquarium owner Justin Hau dumbfounded.

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San Francisco Bans McDonald’s Happy Meal

San Francisco has enacted a law prohibiting restaurants from giving toys away with high-fat and sugary meals, including the American staple: the Happy Meal. This was done in hopes that children won’t opt for unhealthy food just because they receive a toy as well. The New York Daily News reports:

The McDonald’s Happy Meal went the way of Prop. 19 in San Francisco Tuesday when the city’s board of supervisors voted to forbid restaurants from offering toys with meals that contain too much fat and sugar.

Restaurants would also need to provide fruits and vegetables with meals that come with free toys. The city said the measure was an effort to combat childhood obesity.

“We’re part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice,” Supervisor Eric Mar told the Los Angeles Times. “From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate.”

The rule, scheduled to take effect in December, says that restaurants may include a toy with a meal it contains fewer than 600 calories – food and drink combined — and if less than 35% of the calories come from fat, The Times reported.

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God Hates Twitter

Kansas’s Westboro Baptist Church has become famous for holding no-holds-barred protests at funerals and places of worship. But just because you believe that modern America is a hell-bound bastion of sin, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with the youth culture. First there was last month’s Lady Gaga cover; now they’ve begun protesting outside of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco:

“Twitter should be used to tell the punks of doomed America that God hates you!”

The religious group, based in Topeka, Kansas, usually pickets soldiers’ funerals, reasoning that they died defending a gay-loving country. Thursday, they set their sights on a larger target: the headquarters of the social-media giant Twitter.

Everyone played their part as the Westboro Baptist Church immediately antagonized the crowd of several dozen with a rousing chorus of “God Hates America,” while dancing the twist on an American flag.

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