Friday, April 24, 2009

King Coal Fights an Uphill Battle Against Environmentalists

King Coal is already the subject of the next big battle pitting environmentalists against big business. People involved in the issue are trying to determine how we can limit the use of the dirtiest and cheapest form of energy, and whether the notion of "clean coal" is a credible science or panacea.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. made news this week when he charged President Obama and many politicians with been too cozy with coal producers. Though the message was overshadowed by his use of the phrase "indentured servants" when characterizing political backers of clean coal, the son of RFK has been a long-time critic. Here's what he wrote for the Huffington Post in late 2007:
In fact, there is no such thing as "clean coal." And coal is only "cheap" if one ignores its calamitous externalized costs. In addition to global warming, these include dead forests and sterilized lakes from acid rain, poisoned fisheries in 49 states and children with damaged brains and crippled health from mercury emissions, millions of asthma attacks and lost work days and thousands dead annually from ozone and particulates.

Both sides of this debate have featured vociferous opposition to each other. Jeff Goodell, the author of Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future, will attempt to moderate a panel containing a scientist, two lobbyists and a venture capitalist next Tuesday at the Commonwealth Club of California.

Goodell presented the pros and cons of clean coal's main contention in a blog posting for Yale University last year. He wrote that coal's dirty byproduct -- carbon dioxide -- could be liquefied and injected underground, thereby theoretically making the fortified black rocks of energy scrubbed of their ozone-depleting hazards. The science and feasibility, he says, is somewhat dubious, though. "Unfortunately, CCS [carbon capture and storage] is more fantasy than reality at the moment," wrote Goodell.

He does agree with Kennedy on the implication that clean coal is politically expedient and neatly explained. "Politically, CCS is a godsend. Both Barack Obama and John McCain are eager to carry Big Coal (swing) states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Ohio, where the promise of 'clean coal' is the easy answer to every hard question about energy security, global warming, and the economy."

One of the leading proponents of Clean Coal is Joe Lucas, the vice president of communications for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and a member of Tuesday's panel. He was called an "obvious huckster" by David Roberts of the Huffington Post while lampooning his powers of persuasion. "It's old-fashioned street theater, showing you the con and charming you into nodding along anyway," Roberts said. "You kind of have to give him style points."

At a time when populist tendencies are heightened along with broad acceptance of environmental platforms, corporate leaders are being pressured like no time since perhaps the early 1930s. If Clean Coal is nothing more than hokum, the onus of proving its viability to the American public may have passed -- like about six months ago, when more accommodating ears resided in the White House. In the meantime, only the great promise of scientific discovery is their best hope.

Author Jeff Goodell will moderate "Clean Coal: Myth or Reality?" with S. Julio Friedmann, Carbon Management Program Leader, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Ray Lane, Managing Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Bruce Nilles, Director, Beyond Coal Campaign at Sierra Club and Joe Lucas, Senior Vice President, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The program, April 28, begins at 6 p.m. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Toward a New National Food Policy


On April 23rd, The Commonwealth Club will examine the future of food in our city, state and country, and the impact that reforms may have on the hungry.

Local food luminaries such as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters have advocated for radical changes in U.S. food policy. But those changes could have a surprising impact on people living in poverty.

According to the San Francisco Food Bank, 150,000 people in San Francisco (one in every four children) are going hungry, and the United States Department of Agriculture recently reported that more than 36 million Americans are “food insecure” – hungry.

As unemployment continues to rise, food banks are seeing the line between donors and clients blur. PBS’s “Newshour” reported that “Food banks and charities around the country are experiencing shortages as the economy continues to slide. Demand is up 25 percent over last year, and many food banks have closed after running out of money and supplies.”

Paula Jones, the director of food systems at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, agrees that there’s ever-growing demand for food pantries and other emergency food assistance. Jones says the city is also working, simultaneously, to address an overabundance of cheap junk food that drives obesity, diabetes and other health problems, particularly in poor neighborhoods where affordable, healthy food options are hard to come by.

As federal and state budgets tighten, the most vulnerable San Franciscans will also see cuts to federal nutrition programs. The San Francisco Department of Public Health reports that some 40,000 San Franciscans are eligible for, but not enrolled in, the food stamp program. Luckily, $1 million came to the city from the USDA to improve food stamp access, and the city has found ways to enable low-income residents to use food stamps at local farmer's markets.

City leaders have been brushing up on the impact of federal policy on local food systems, and San Francisco has begun advocating for changes in the federal farm bill, calling for enhanced nutrition programs, regional support for fruit and vegetable growers, and more support for ecologically sustainable farming.

San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer Erin Allday detailed the coming changes in San Francisco food policy in her November 30, 2008 piece, “S.F. food policy heading in a healthy direction.” According to the Chronicle, the idea is to decrease reliance on imported food and create stronger ties between local farms and their immediate market, and to get a lot more local produce onto the plates of anyone served a public meal, especially schoolchildren and jail inmates. And Allday suggests that “the ideas are likely to stretch well beyond just supplying fresh produce to San Francisco” and could grow into new partnerships with farms that produce solar or wind power too.

Another of our panelists on the 23rd, Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change, has been working with the city’s Urban-Rural Roundtable, a collaboration of urban and rural food producers and policy leaders. In his address to the roundtable March 31st, Dimock suggested that current economic straights are causing more people to go hungry, but “the tight state and city budgets [could] help to ensure a more thorough alignment of interests and a careful crafting of action. In order to ensure fundamental change, our actions must elevate food and agriculture on the list of competing priorities.”

Other panelists for the event include A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Paul Ash, executive director of the San Francisco Food Bank. Food Blogger Amy Sherman will be the moderator. Join us at G&E Theatre, 245 Market St on the 23rd as these panelists offer their recommendations for crafting a food policy that ensures nourishment reaches the neediest of citizens.

Brush up on some of the issues with this presentation by Bay Area food writer, Marion Nestle:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Author Jay McInerney in the Big City


In the middle of the go-go decade of the 1980s, Jay McInerney lived the decadent party scene of New York City. He would partake in the fast-paced big city living that also included rampant drug use. Period books like the Bonfire of the Vanities and movies like Wall Street epitomize hard-charging professionals working for the top dollars by any means. McInerney's book and the much-panned film, Bright Lights, Big City, is also a part of the pantheon of the 80s debauchery, but it achieved something few authors or books even attempt: He wrote the book in the second person.

Like a how-to manual (or how-not-to, in this case), McInerney peppered the novel with extensive use of the word "you." The opening of the book shows just how bold and original the infrequently used tense sounds to the reader.

You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard lounge. All might come clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder.

McInerney will discuss his latest collection of stories, How It Ended, Wednesday night at The Commonwealth Club of California. (Read a review from the San Francisco Chronicle here.)

A big-screen remake of the 1988 film (which starred Michael J. Fox) is also on the drawing board. Fox told Entertainment Weekly he thinks the 80s-era drug use might not be a topical plot device nowadays. "Do people still run around New York fueled on cocaine 24 hours a day? I don't see [that] at 1st-grade pick-up and drop-off too much," said Fox.

McInerney's books have always had a certain autobiographical aspect to them. Readers of the gossip pages might remember the book, "Story of My Life," which was based on the 20-year-old party girl who later became known as former Sen. John Edwards's mistress. McInerney told the New York Post last year that he dated the woman who now calls herself Rielle Hunter for only a few months, but became so enamored with her personality that he based the novel on her.

"I spent a lot of time with her and her friends, whose behavior intrigued and appalled me to such an extent that I ended up basing a novel on the experience," McInerney recalled.

Acclaimed author Jay McInerney will discuss his latest book at The Commonwealth Club of California Wednesday, April 23 at six. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pelosi Calls for Commission to Investigate Wall Street

With an eye toward quelling the populist anger roiling across the nation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today called for the creation of a commission to root out the causes of Wall Street's meltdown patterned after an obscure Depression-era committee.

In San Francisco to speak about her book encouraging the rise of women in society at a gathering for the Commonwealth Club of California, Pelosi said Americans are angry with the economy and bonuses given to AIG, and at least 75 percent of them want an investigation into the missteps that led to this recession.

"That's what we would do with this commission, is to make sure it does not happen again," she said.

Pelosi spoke with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner this morning about the plan to emulate the Pecora Commission created in 1932. That commission, named after Deputy District Attorney of New York County Ferdinand Pecora, followed two failured attempts but ultimately benefited by Franklin Roosevelt's election to the presidency. The commission's findings led to the Securities Act of 1933 and the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission – itself alleged by many to have been lax in regulating Wall Street (with Bernard Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme being the poster boy for this age).

“Some people can tell you one piece of it. Others can tell you another piece of it. It's really hard to know. Do you understand it?” Pelosi asked rhetorically. “We need a clearer understanding of how we got here.”

Pelosi is not the first politician to allude to the Pecora Commission in recent weeks. Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan called for a new iteration of the committee along with the resurrection of the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. Many believe its repeal in 1999 was the impetus for banks and investment firms like Citigroup and Travelers to merge and allow the subprime credit markets to run rampant. (Wells Fargo Chairman Dick Kovacevich gave the banks' side of the deregulation story in a speech to The Commonwealth Club in 2008. Click here to view video.) A New York Times editorial last month also called for a Pecora-like commission to be created.

Besides making news with her call for a Wall Street investigation, Pelosi had a full schedule. Earlier in the day, appearing on the local Fox affiliate KTVU, Pelosi characterized an upswing of “Tea Party” tax protests as window dressing for elite conservative interests that mainly wanted lower taxes, mocking them as “Astroturf” or fake “grassroots.”

The Speaker also drew upon her personal biography to encourage woman to continue reaching for more positions of power. Her book, Know Your Power: A Message to American Daughters urges women to get involved in all aspects of community service. Pelosi is the daughter of the Baltimore establishment and said she found politics both exciting and distasteful. “It taught me I didn't want to be a part of it,” she said.

While raising five children with husband Paul Pelosi – who incidentally spent the speech doting over their newest grandchildr – she slowly became immersed in Bay Area politics with her big break occurring in 1976 when she secured Maryland for a youthful Jerry Brown in the Democratic presidential primaries. Pelosi joked, though, that the then-governor of California had a problem with saying, “thank you,” but he nonetheless found time to praise her for delivering Maryland to his campaign.

Nancy Pelosi on Power -- Personal and Professional

(photo by John Zipperer)

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and the third person in the line of succession in the federal government, spoke to The Commonwealth Club of California this afternoon about appreciating and using power in one's personal and professional lives.

Pelosi, in conversation with Commonwealth Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy (at right in photo above), discussed her steady rise to political prominence from a San Francisco housewife and mother to the leader of her party in Congress (and the highest-ranking woman in American politics). She said she wrote her book, Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters, partly to get out of having to explain her history to everyone who asks but also to encourage more women to get involved in leadership positions, and of course to inspire girls to aim high when making life plans.

Pelosi concluded the discussion by praising her interviewer, noting the prominent role in American policy and public thought that Duffy has played, both at The Commonwealth Club and earlier at the Defense Department.

In 2007, Duffy wrote about getting to know Pelosi back in 1985 when the two of them were part of a bipartisan fact-finding mission to Nicaragua, where they met with Sandinistas and Contras and others. You can read a PDF of the article, "Dedicated Woman" (January 2007) here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Are Positive Economic Signs Helping Ordinary Americans?

While some people point to Wells Fargo's surprisingly healthy first quarter last week (Noriel Roubini said in Time magazine last month that Wells Fargo was one of the weaker banks; what happened?) as proof the recession has bottomed out, unemployment is still 8.5 percent and likely rising. A chipper AP story reports that the first week of April had the lowest amount of new jobless claims in months. One good week in the middle of 40 may not be a great indicator, and its impact on the unemployed remains to be seen. This New York Times piece speculates that the strong Dow could be covering up significant problems in the overall economy.

This blog has quoted economist and frequent Commonwealth Club speaker Robert Reich on numerous occasions, but he, along with Paul Krugman, have consistently spoken with clarity and caution regarding the state of the economy. In a Salon article Monday, Reich again tempered the media's newfound bullishness and believes the economic perkiness is due to the massive cash infusion issued by the Treasury.

But we're not at the beginning of the end. I'm not even sure we're at the end of the beginning. All of these pieces of upbeat news are connected by one fact: the flood of money the Fed has been releasing into the economy. Of course mortgage rates are declining, mortgage originations are surging, and people and companies are borrowing more. So much money is sloshing around the economy that its price is bound to drop. And cheap money is bound to induce some borrowing. The real question is whether this means an economic turnaround. The answer is it doesn't.

The inclusion of the theory that the recent bump in the Dow is due to the printing of new money was non-existent in most news coverage. Instead, the message in nearly every major story last week, save for a very cautiously optimistic article in the Boston Globe Friday, is that the financial sector is doing well and could indirectly help the pocketbooks of struggling Americans. It's true that short- and long-term interest rates are unbelievably low, but will it translate into more construction of homes? The inventory of already built new homes is high, and recently foreclosed homes are even higher. This could be where Wells Fargo's announced $190 billion in new loan applications are emanating. Once the glut of inventory begins to deplete in relation to low interest rates, where will this segment of the economy look like?

The attitude of much of Wall Street is to keep things positive; to keep the wheels of finance rolling. But it's likely that more than a half million additional workers will get a pink slip this month. Add to this the previous 5 million, and you have quite a segment of the population scrimping and saving and not purchasing goods and services. Until Americans see their own personal economies picking up, the overall mental health of the economy will not be viewed as looking as rosy as recent news reports might be leading people to believe.

--Steven Tavares

The Future of U.S.-Russian Relations


With the news that Russia was cooperating with the United States in developing an approach to deal with Iran's nuclear program, there are questions about how that cooperation will evolve as the two countries confront a host of other pressing issues, including the worldwide recession.

To get insight into the topic, view the video of Columbia University professor and Russia expert Robert Legvold, in conversation with Commonwealth Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy, herself a Russia expert and veteran foreign policy professional. Levgold is also on the steering committee at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences oon Desiging U.S. Policy Toward Russia. Visit the academy's web site for background on that project, as well as a wealth of related resources.

Firoozeh Dumas in the News

Firoozeh Dumas does not seem to be a controversial person. The Iranian-born, Southern California-raised author (Funny in Farsi, Laughing Without an Accent>) specializes in humorous and touching stories about her childhood, youth, and her extended family (but especially her parents). So why did someone make bomb threats at a book discussion she held at a California University?

On March 24, Dumas spoke about her books at the University of Southern California. Her talk followed the screening of the animated film, "Persepolis," which is based on a graphic novel about an independent girl's upbringing in Iran after the revolution. The events were subjected to increased security, including searches and scans of attendees, according to the USC student newspaper, the Daily Trojan. Luckily, the evening took place as planned.

The Trojan reports that the police didn't know anything specific about the threats, which apparently weren't aimed at any specific individual or building. Was it someone who was upset that two Iran-themed events took place on the campus? Or was it someone who was upset that the two events both featured independent Iranian (or Iranian-American) women?

We may never know the answer to that. But we will be hearing more about Dumas' family, thanks to ABC TV. A situation comedy pilot is in the works for that network; if it passes muster, a regular series will be in our future.

Until that time, you can get a taste of Dumas' humor and her message by watching the video below. Dumas spoke to The Commonwealth Club's Silicon Valley audiences on May 5, 2008, about the "Adventures of an Iranian American."

Dumas also moderated the audience question and answer session at the end of travel host Rick Steves' January 26, 2009, Commonwealth Club program about his recent travel to Iran. You can see that video here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Columnist Writes of the 'Real' Pelosi while real thing comes to Commonwealth Club


E.J. Dionne's column in today's Washington Post sheds a quite divergent view of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. It should be noted that Dionne is somewhat liberal and the idea of Pelosi as someone moving the country toward so-called "San Francisco liberalism" is a right-wing talking point. Nonetheless, the profile illuminates a possible congressional road map for the rest of the year.

Pelosi, in the article, lauded Republicans for voting with their convictions. The speaker is in a seemingly conciliatory mood as Congress heads into recess. It also helps that she will spend Easter at her Bay Area home before visiting the Commonwealth Club next Wednesday.

Pelosi told Dionne, "'The priority, of course, is to pass health care,' Pelosi said without blinking." The American Prospect's Ezra Klein notes in his blog that this is the first indication Pelosi sees health-care reform as a top priority over cap-and-trade.
To my knowledge, Pelosi hasn't said that before. More to the point, she's not signaled it. At a recent Maria Leavey breakfast, she implied just the opposite, and many folks I've spoken to on the Hill have suggested that her priority was energy rather than health care.
To reverse that specific perception, Pelosi seemed to be giving Dionne a lesson on congressional parliamentary procedure by saying she could muster 51 percent of the votes on health care under the rules of "reconciliation" where committees receive technical instructions on where and how funding will be budgeted. In effect, it's a promise that health care will be legislated but without specifics. Under the procedure, a bill only needs a simple majority, whereas a bill without reconciliation needs a more problematic 60 votes in the Senate. Pelosi also referred to the diversity of the party that also has the support of some coal-producing states. She showed Dionne a statue of a coal miner in her office given to her by a West Virginia congressman.

Dionne also mentions the recent relaxing of Republican attacks against Pelosi. With President Obama's post-election popularity too strong to spar with, Republicans targeted Pelosi without abandon. An article on Politico from last November claimed that the tactic has failed every time it has been utilized: "It didn’t work in 2006, and it’s not working this year, yet many Republicans continue to use Pelosi power as the ultimate threat to American governance."

Presumably, with a bit less than 100 days of the Obama presidency to work with, Republicans are turning their criticism toward the White House. Karl Rove ironically believes Obama is more divisive than President Bush (according to today's Wall Street Journal).

Despite the constant attacks on her leadership, Pelosi has proven to be a speaker unfazed thus far. Whether Pelosi can help th president push through Democratic-themed legislation like health-care reform is unclear, but it shows that it takes more pieces of the puzzle to assemble than one might think.

You can hear Pelosi in person at The Commonwealth Club on April 15 in San Francisco.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Media and the Recession: Dr. Duffy Sparks HuffPo Debate


Commonwealth Club President and CEO Dr. Gloria Duffy touched off a spirited debate among Huffington Post readers with her recent article on that site, "Bad News Bears: Economic Fear Mongering by the Media." As of this morning, 60 responses had been posted to the article's comments section. In true Internet fashion, the comments range from hearty agreement to vociferous disagreement.

Read the post yourself and join the discussion!

Friday, April 3, 2009

John Blossom and the Rise of Social Media

Your innocuous tweet counts as "publishing." A simple text message reminding your wife to buy a gallon of milk also is publishing, as is the e-mail to your boss, according to social media expert John Blossom. In small portions, these forms of communication are quite tame, but when multiplied a billion times over a day, they will change the ways we live and think while threatening to upend how the news is delivered and consumed.

The most fascinating idea in Blossom's book Content Nation is the belief the the rise of social media and user-generated web sites are, in fact, not a new development, but actually a return to the genuine roots of human interaction. (In the Internet tradition of open-sourcing, Blossom's book is available to read in full on his web site. Click here to read.)

Isn’t social media just another way of saying that humans are by their very nature publishing beings? Well, that’s probably true. But perhaps the question might be asked a somewhat different way: Did we get sidetracked from being natural publishers and are we just getting back to our roots? Did we have a few relatively brief millennia in which a few people controlled communications to masses of people and are those of us in more developed nations just beginning to rediscover our natural abilities to create and share content without such a centralized authority? In other words, if what we’re seeing with the emergence of Content Nation is not something new at all but rather a return to something very basic in human society – namely, the ability of people to communicate with groups of peers without highly centralized control of publishing technology being a major factor – then perhaps society itself is going to undergo major changes as the result of such capabilities.

The democratic leveling aspect of the Internet is a well-chronicled idea, yet some large media outlets, themselves in the midst of declining revenues and battling transformations from print to the web, frame their difficulties in frightful terms rather than a positive evolution in human communication. Some likelanguage maven and left-wing social critic Noam Chomsky would say it is because the ruling elites fear losing the immense power that once came from the exclusivity of the printing press. In his book, Media Control, he writes, "People have to be atomized and segregated and alone. They're not supposed to organize, because then they might be something beyond spectators of action. They might actually be participants if many people with limited resources could get together to enter the political arena. That's really threatening."

It is instructive to analyze the mainstream media's coverage of the music industry's problems since the appearance of file-sharing sites starting with Napster in 1998. The prevailing wisdom to this day is that the record companies failed to realize the shift from CDs to digital and saw their revenues and influence rapidly decline. Yet, when the media covers itself, this tone is rarely evident even though one could argue that the print media made the same fateful errors -- except in their case, making content free. The San Francisco Chronicle's Phil Bronstein recently admitted, in a quite honest posting on his blog, how the nascent power of the Internet was exciting in 1992, but like others he failed to see its long-term future. The frequent Commonwealth Club contributor even apologized saying, "It was a failure of imagination."

That lack of foresight by large media corporations may have already done too much damage for them to ever exert the power they once had even with mega-acquisitions of social media sites such as News Corp gobbling up MySpace and today's viral rumor of Google purchasing Twitter.

Blossom, who will discuss the Brave New World of social media Monday at the Commonwealth Club, predicts that the artificial scarcity of media companies "will give way through social media to a culture more focused on identifying and exploiting the natural abundance of human insight and innovation rapidly and efficiently, enabling more people to collaborate on projects large and small that respond to the threats and opportunities in a changing world more effectively.

There have already been numerous occurrences of bloggers shifting the attention of the traditional news cycle toward events left unexposed by the MSM. Bloggers hastened the demise of Dan Rather at CBS and highlighted former Florida Congressman Mark Foley's dalliances with pages. Some observers claim that the incessant ire that liberal bloggers inflicted on President Bush and the subsequent election of Barack Obama can be tied to the Internet and social media techniques. Even the ubiquity of cell phone cameras tightened the focus of the alleged police abuse on Oscar Grant earlier this year at an Oakland BART station. Without such technology in the hands of numerous BART passengers that early New Year's morning, the thrust of the media coverage might have been much different and focused more on official versions of events.

It can be argued that the media's function as a communication outlet is directly tied to political power. Blossom's book foresees the unraveling of that paradigm as the pure desire of the public is made more evident once it is unhinged from traditional media filters.

It will become ever harder to communicate political themes and objectives that don't have authentic support from everyday people. If the era of television ushered in mass communications that enabled the selling of politicians like tubes of toothpaste, social media ushers in the era of politics in which most facts impacting politics and policies are known instantly and openly. Political victories go to politicians who know how to influence grass-roots political conversations most effectively -- again. Like many things in social media, the transformation that can come in political circles is less about technologies than it is about the ability of those technologies to scale rapidly and effectively to any level of human organization to build effective bonds between people.

In fact, we have already seen this phenomenon with the election of President Obama last November. His once-unimaginable defeat of both Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain lends credence to Blossom's assertion that politicians will need to bypass traditional media filters and communicate more forthright with the public. The president recently has been criticized for using new web technologies to communicate directly to the people instead of through the MSM. During his first press conference, he called upon a reporter from the Huffington Post for his first question and frequently uses YouTube videos to present his positions to the public.

Instead, the Administration may be identifying the future of communication where the power of the press is decentralized into a billion pieces less likely to be manipulated by one powerful producer and, as Blossom says a return to the dawn of man where news was dispensed around the campfire and not from the top floor of a Manhattan skyscraper.

Social media expert and President of Shore Communications John Blossom will discuss the burgeoning power of the social media Monday at The Commonwealth Club of California. Click here for more information.

--Steven Tavares

Thursday, April 2, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle Staff Cuts

The San Francisco Chronicle may have escaped the grave, but there's still a painful downsizing taking place at the city's major print news outlet. The online news site San Francisco Sentinel is publishing online a list of what it says are the first batch of Chronicle employees to accept a voluntary exit deal.

The list includes some names and news beats that are likely to interest long-time Chronicle readers.

For more background on the Chronicle's troubles, see here.