This week's new articles from the alternative weeklies...
- Spies in blue (SF Bay Guardian)
San Francisco cops assigned to the FBI's terrorism task force can ignore local police orders and California privacy laws to spy on people without any evidence of a crime. That's what a recently released memo appears to say — and it has sent shockwaves through the civil liberties community. Full article
- Jerry Brown and the Prison Guards (East Bay Express)
Jerry Brown vowed in January that he could save California's deficit-stricken general fund more than $300 million next year by slashing public-employee compensation. But after the governor struck questionable deals with the state's politically powerful prison guards' union, along with several other government-worker unions, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that Brown had fallen short of his promise by about $200 million. Brown's failure, however, should come as no surprise considering that the unions, particularly the prison guards, helped him defeat Republican billionaire Meg Whitman last year. Brown, in fact, sent a strong message early on that he had no plans to play hardball with the prison guards despite his January vow. Just days after his inauguration, the new governor announced the appointment of two Oakland residents with close ties to the prison guards to top-level positions in his administration. Full article
How Much S.F. Spends on Toilet Paper (SF Weekly)
SF Weekly asked city purchaser Naomi Kelly for a peek at San Francisco's TP budget. The request obviously piqued her interest. She combed the city's janitorial paper contracts, segregated the toilet paper data, and compiled a magnificent seven-page compendium revealing just who used all the toilet paper in this city, how much it cost, and even whether they obtained single-ply, two-ply, or the princely "jumbo." In any event, the next time city officials begin talking about how much money will be saved because of their heroic actions, remember how much this city doled out for toilet paper in 2010: $833,113. Full article