SF cabdrivers vote to unionize as industry continues to take beating from ride services

SF cabdrivers vote to unionize as industry continues to take beating from ride services

San Francisco cabdrivers have decided that it’s time to form a union. The local industry has been reeling for years as venture capital-backed ride services like Uber and Lyft have proliferated and taxi companies’ calls to The City to level the playing field have done little to help. On Wednesday, cab drivers voted to initiate the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)…

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After SF residents’ actions improve dismal SRO units, they could be without homes

After SF residents’ actions improve dismal SRO units, they could be without homes

For four years, William Masone, a laid-off social worker for San Francisco who relies on Social Security disability checks, lived in a 10- by 12-foot unit at the single-room-occupancy Winton Hotel among cockroaches, bed bugs, mold and many other hazardous conditions. But he wasn’t exactly in a place where he could risk eviction by making complaints about the Tenderloin home to someone on the outside. Masone’s requests to building management resulted in a few pest…

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Community advocates concerned short-term rentals are edging low-income tenants out of SROs

Community advocates concerned short-term rentals are edging low-income tenants out of SROs

Cramped single-room-occupancy hotel units in Chinatown, traditionally living quarters for immigrant families, have recently caught the attention of community housing advocates because it appears some are being marketed on websites as short-term rentals, potentially opening a new front in San Francisco’s housing battles. Chinatown community advocates warn that this latest trend of placing SRO units on short-term rental sites, such as Craigslist and Airbnb, could exacerbate The City’s housing crisis by displacing vulnerable families, many…

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Death of the taxi medallion: SF cab company ponders major change

Death of the taxi medallion: SF cab company ponders major change

DeSoto Cab Co. might not like the under-regulated and fast-emerging alternative-ride service industry, but company President Hansu Kim knows an opportunity when he sees one. If Uber, Lyft and others are allowed to expose loopholes in the regulatory process — which boost their bottom lines exponentially — then so too can the traditional taxi industry, he realized. During public comment at many recent San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors meetings, Kim has explained…

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EXCLUSIVE: SF Central Subway tunnel-boring phase reaches milestone

EXCLUSIVE: SF Central Subway tunnel-boring phase reaches milestone

There was no arresting explosion, no sudden, defining crack announcing the breakthrough. Only small rocks – occasionally a large slab of concrete – periodically tumbling down a crumbled wall 47 feet below ground level as “Big Alma,” the second of two tunnel-boring machines excavating San Francisco’s first new subway in nearly a half-century, slowly peered its cutterhead out Wednesday. A few dozen neon-vested, hardhat-fitted workers on the project — from the contractor’s foremen to the…

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Head of SF taxis to retire

Head of SF taxis to retire

Chris Hayashi, head of San Francisco’s taxi industry during arguably its most tumultuous times, told The San Francisco Examiner on Thursday that she would step down from her post June 20. The tall, hard-to-miss, curly-haired blonde took over as deputy director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Taxis and Accessible Services Division in December 2008, a time when the industry was in dire need of reform. A lawyer by trade, Hayashi, 51, maneuvered the…

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Demographics play into state race

Demographics play into state race

Less than a week away from the Tuesday primary election, many of the political chips have already fallen for David Campos and David Chiu, colleagues on the Board of Supervisors running against each other for the state Assembly, and the race for first place is heated though voter turnout is expected to be low. Both candidates are expected to face each other again in a decisive November election due to California’s new top-two primary system,…

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Tech commuter shuttles riding wave of controversy

Tech commuter shuttles riding wave of controversy

On weekday mornings, San Francisco residents, mostly in their 20s and 30s, many in jeans and hoodies, a few in khakis and tucked-in dress shirts, form a single-file line against a mural-graced wall by the Muni bus stop at the southeast corner of 24th and Valencia streets. They know each other well enough to line up following a system that lacks public signage, but rarely engage in conversation. Here they wait to catch a ride…

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Protesters stage Google bus ‘performance’ hours before pilot program could move forward

Protesters stage Google bus ‘performance’ hours before pilot program could move forward

In the spirit of April Fools’ Day — and just hours before the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to address an issue related to commuter shuttles — several dozen Eviction-Free San Francisco protesters blocked a Google bus at 24th and Valencia streets this morning, handing out fake “Gmuni” passes for San Franciscans to board the vehicle. “The Google bus is going to wait because the bus has a place for us,” a suited woman wearing…

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SF marks 10 years since Winter of Love launched push for same-sex marriage rights

SF marks 10 years since Winter of Love launched push for same-sex marriage rights

John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney attended a rally at City Hall a decade ago not knowing that it would be the start of a national movement born right here in San Francisco. On Feb. 12, 2004, The City would open the door for same-sex marriage and Lewis and Gaffney would emerge as one of the first 10 couples to tie the knot. The next month would become known as the Winter of Love. The ceremony…

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