Chesa Boudin: New Kid in SF DA’s Office

Only time will tell whether Chesa Boudin, the current San Francisco DA, walks in the footsteps of S.F. DA Terence Hallinan, whose life and times Fred Gardner has so ably chronicled. But after six months in office—he took over in January 2020—Boudin is off to a good start. Hallinan, who died on January 17, 2020, […]

Meat: To Eat or Not To Eat?

Meat is the enemy! That’s the mantra I hear these days from nearly all sides of the political spectrum. In The New York Times author, Jonathan Safran Foer, recently wrote, “We cannot protect our environment while continuing to eat meat regularly.” He added, “We cannot protect against pandemics while continuing to eat meat regularly.” In the latest […]

Covering Corona

These days, citizen journalists are almost everywhere reporting on the ebb and flow of the virus, from Seattle and San Francisco to Chicago and New York

Book Review of “Home Baked”

Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, And The Stoning Of San Francisco by Alia Volz Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 435 pages; April 20, 2020; $27 Poet George Sterling called San Francisco “the cool grey city of love.” Journalist Gary Kamiya borrowed Sterling’s phrase for his book about San Francisco titled Cool Gray City of Love, which offers 49 views […]

Upton Sinclair

Last January, before all hell broke loose, Seven Stories Press republished Upton Sinclair’s 891-page anthology, The Cry for Justice, subtitled An Anthology of Social Protest with the original introduction by Jack London and a new introduction by Chris Hedges. The book says as much if not more about Sinclair than it does about social protest movements and prompts […]

This Too Shall Pass

Would the AVA’s resident expert on the media, Flynn Washburne, regard this story as newsworthy? Probably not! After all, it’s not about his backyard and not about anyone he knows. Chances are, you don’t know the person at the heart of this story, either and don’t really care that she has been coughing and sneezing […]

Stay Home & Make News of Your Own

The doctor wasn’t in his office and wasn’t seeing patients either, but he was talking with them by phone, and trying to be supportive. After all, psychotherapy had to go on, with or without the coronavirus, and the good doctor—an old fashioned shrink—wasn’t about to abdicate his responsibilities or renounce the Hippocratic Oath which he […]

Be Prepared & Don’t Panic

By the time I picked the miners lettuce in the meadow it had already flowered and was tougher than it would have been if I had picked it a week earlier, before the sun and warm weather. No, I’ve not become a gatherer and certainly not a hunter. Except for squirrels and wild turkeys there’s […]

My Life in the Plague

I spend most of my days and nights in a relatively small room, about 20 feet by 20 feet with about 8 feet headroom. I refer to it as my “cell” and like to say I have entered “the monastic phase” of my life. I sleep in my cell and write and read in my […]

The Call of the Mild

The problem with Jack London has always been that while he was a compelling storyteller with a vivid imagination, he was also a racist, or at least a writer who embraced racial ideas about the superiority of Anglo Saxons and the inferiority of African Americans, Asians and Latinos. Most of the racism that’s embedded in […]

The Destruction Of California?

They don’t come to northern California for the bubbly, the marijuana or the luxury hotels and they don’t enjoy picnic lunches along the Russian River. There are more than 150,000 of them in the whole state, most of them sleeping in the streets of L.A., San Francisco, Ukiah, you name it. If they come for […]

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