Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Muni management, pointing to the agency’s anemic finances, has moved to put the kibosh this year on year-end payouts from a special trust fund set up for the city’s transit operators.

Unless the decision is reversed – the operators’ union is reviewing its legal options – there will be no annual disbursement, which in years past has put up to $3,000 extra into each worker’s pocket at the start of the winter holiday season.

The cumulative hit to Muni would be $3.5 million this year, said management spokesman Paul Rose. Muni’s operating budget this year is $775 million.

It is “beyond dispute that the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) remains in a state of fiscal crisis. The agency has exhausted its reserves; service cuts remain in effect; and the agency is facing another deficit for the upcoming fiscal year,” Debra Johnson, the agency’s director of administration, explained in a memo to the head of the operators’ union.

At the same time, she dangled the prospect that at least some money could be freed up at the negotiating table. “We invite you to bargain over what amount, if any, that the SFMTA shall contribute to the trust fund for the current fiscal year,” she said.

But Rafael Cabrera, acting president of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, told The Chronicle Friday that there’s no need to negotiate.

“The MTA has a legal obligation under the charter to fund the trust fund,” he said. “The attorneys are involved and it’s going to be a legal fight.”

Prior to the current fiscal year, which began July 1, Muni spent nearly $18 million in the past three budget cycles to replenish the trust fund. The contribution is based on a complex formula set in the City Charter. It takes into account the benefit packages provided to transit operators in the two highest-paying agencies.

Pay for Muni operators, the second-highest among comparable agencies in the United States, is based on a similar formula.

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved a Charter amendment in November to abolish the automatic compensation calculation and force Muni operators to bargain for pay and benefits during contract negotiations. The idea behind the ballot initiative was to give management more leverage at the bargaining table to cut labor costs by getting rid of inefficient work rules.

However, Cabrera contends that until the current contract expires at the end of June 2011, management is obligated to make the trust fund payments.

Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the Municipal Transportation Agency, said Friday that question is being researched by the city attorney. But for now, “our current position is that the operators are not getting the payouts this year.”

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

via Muni management moves to stop year-end payouts.

WOW, what a great video!  Great job guys!  I personally know the people behind this video, and know that everything they have said is true.  THINK ABOUT IT!  If everyone that wants to smoke is already smoking, then why aren’t we taxing it?

I totally get that it might be against what you believe  – but you’ll have to get used to the idea that pot is around to stay – and come to terms with it – BECAUSE IT IS ALREADY PRESENT EVERYWHERE!  Vote YES ON PROP 19!

Los Angeles, California (CNN) — A federal court in California will rule Thursday on whether to keep a temporary stay in place in the case that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California will announce its decision between 9 a.m. and noon (12 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET).

If the stay is lifted, same-sex marriages will be legal in California.

Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that voter-approved Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution.

The 136-page opinion is an initial step in what will likely be a lengthy fight over California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

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At question in the trial was whether California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates gay couples’ rights to equal protection and due process, as protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The high-profile case is being watched closely by both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, as many say it is destined to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, the case could result in a landmark decision on whether people in the United States are allowed to marry people of the same sex.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in five U.S. states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa and New Hampshire — and in the District of Columbia, while civil unions are permitted in New Jersey.

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples,” Walker, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Ronald Reagan, wrote in his opinion.

“Race restrictions on marital partners were once common in most states but are now seen as archaic, shameful or even bizarre,” he added. “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”

After the ruling, elated supporters gathered to celebrate the judge’s opinion in San Francisco’s Castro district.

People waved rainbow flags and U.S. flags, and carried signs that read, “We all deserve the freedom to marry,” and “Separate is Unequal.” Similar rallies unfolded in Los Angeles and San Diego.

“For our entire lives, our government and the law have treated us as unequal. This decision to ensure that our constitutional rights are as protected as everyone else’s makes us incredibly proud of our country,” said Kristin Perry, a plaintiff.

Perry and Sandy Stier, along with Jeffrey Zarrillo and Paul Katami, are the two couples at the heart of the case, which, if appealed, would go next to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before possibly heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have said their best bet lies with higher courts and have vowed to appeal the federal judge’s ruling.

In a national survey conducted by Gallup in May, 53 percent of respondents said same-sex marriages should not be recognized by law, while 44 percent said they should.

Proposition 8 is part of a long line of seesaw rulings, court cases, debates and protests over the controversial issue of same-sex marriage. It passed in California with some 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.

“Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial,” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said last week. “With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman.”

IllegalInAmerica Says:

Judge Walker, you better make the right decision!  These are civil rights that should be afforded to same-sex couples, and it is really the only way to go.  I’ll be back once the decision has been made with more thoughts.

IIA

San Francisco, California (CNN) — Both proponents and opponents agree that the legal battle surrounding same-sex marriage in California is far from over.

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled the state’s Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional. However, Chief U.S District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco granted a temporary stay, which stops his decision from taking immediate effect.

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples,” Walker, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Ronald Reagan, wrote in his opinion.

Supporters of Proposition 8 argued, prior to Walker’s ruling, that same-sex marriages would be performed soon after his decision and could be complicated by rulings and appeals farther down the legal road.

via Both sides agree legal battle on same-sex marriage far from over – CNN.com.

IllegalInAmerica says:

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Yesterday, I was able to attend the SF Prop 8 Reversal Rally at San Francisco City Hall.

Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I was not able to partake in the actual march that happened from Castro street to City Hall.  When I arrived at City Hall with my roommate Dominic, there was a medium-large size crowd standing outside of City Hall in celebration (please see my videos and pictures below).  Everyone there seemed so impressed and happy that something had finally gone our way.  I felt proud to live in this awesome city of San Francisco during these times.

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples”  WOW!  What a statement.. something that I’ve been telling everyone and anyone who will listen.  This has nothing to do with any of the 7,000,000 plus people who feel that it is right to put their views on other people, WHEN WE ARE JUST LOOKING FOR PROTECTION AND EQUALIZATION UNDER THE LAW, just like everyone else.  Well, I hope that this is an indication that we will not back down, not from this… don’t hate, GET RID OF PROP 8!  (Yes, I just came up with that one by myself!)

Peaceout Everyone, I enjoy reading your comments!

IllegalInAmerica


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Hello everyone,

I took these pictures today at the rally, and will be adding videos of the rally tomorrow.  They aren’t much. Because I couldn’t find the cord to my camcorder, I used my cell phone, which didn’t do that bad of a job.  There were so many people out there who were so happy, and who cared so much about this… damn. 

If you have any comments and want to share, please feel encouraged to.  Also, you can subscibe to this blog for automatic email updates at the top of my menu.

Best,
Illegalinamerica

Prop. 8 supporters plan appeal before ruling.

(08-03) 19:18 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court ruling on the right of same-sex couples to marry in California is scheduled to be released today – and opponents of gay and lesbian nuptials are already making plans to appeal.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco will decide whether Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, violated gays’ and lesbians’ right of equality under the U.S. Constitution.

After court officials on Tuesday announced plans to release the decision, Prop. 8‘s sponsors filed papers making it clear they expect to lose this round. They asked Walker, if he rules against them, to leave the ban on same-sex marriages in place while they appeal.

Lawyers for Prop. 8’s backers told the judge they are confident that any such ruling would be overturned on appeal. They said a stay would honor the will of the voters and would not harm same-sex couples, who can still register as domestic partners.

Walker presided over a nonjury trial in January, the first ever held in a federal court on the issue. The plaintiffs, two gay men from Burbank and two lesbians from Berkeley, testified that their hopes to be married were thwarted when voters overturned the May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

The plaintiffs’ witnesses also included researchers who said sexual orientation has no relationship to successful parenting and that marriage in the United States is an evolving institution.

The conservative religious coalition that sponsored Prop. 8 offered testimony that the male-female definition of marriage is universal and that children are better off with married, biological parents.

The city of San Francisco joined the lawsuit on the plaintiffs’ side. Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to defend Prop. 8 and said he considers it unconstitutional.

Walker’s ruling, due sometime between 1 and 3 p.m., is certain to be appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 or 2012.

A group that supports same-sex marriage has announced a march from the Castro district to City Hall, starting at 5 p.m., followed by a rally from 6:45 to 8 p.m.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/03/BAF11EODM9.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0vfjP74ag

Illegal In America:

Wow, hopefully within the next few hours we will know what the Federal Judge Walker has decided.  I think it’s pretty dumb that the supporters of PROP 8 know that they will most likely get defeated, as they well should.  People who give a shit about this issue either want equal rights, or do not think that the fellow citizens living around them deserve the same rights that they do.

When this does get repealed today, this case is obviously going to continue its adventure into bigger, badder courts, but I really hope that Walker ends Prop 8, at least temporarily, now.  As you saw at the end of the article, anyone in San Francisco that wishes to walk can do so from the Castro to the San Francisco City Hall.

Let’s show them who they are dealing with and give this fight a voice!