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Opinion and commentary on some of the issues affecting daily life in Northern California. Unsigned opinions are those of the California Beat’s Insight page and do not necessarily reflect those of contributing writers. Have something to say? Sound off with your guest commentary contribution to this page by e-mailing us at info@californiabeat.org.

[By Andrew Leonard | 13 Nov 2012 | One Comment]
A cyclist is treated for injuries after falling off of a bike while drunk.

Police have decided not to charge the driver of the SUV who struck and killed a Novato girl on a busy street in October, the department announced Nov. 8. The girl, who had been riding on West Novato Boulevard, was hit head-on by the SUV and died after she was taken to a local trauma center.

The cause of the accident remains a mystery to investigators. At the time, it was only known the Hailey Ratliff, 12, was new to the area and may have been unfamiliar with the roads.

[By California Beat | 12 Aug 2011 | 14 Comments]

BART officials admitted Friday that they shut off wireless communications for some stations in Downtown San Francisco to keep a planned protest from happening — a move that infuriated civil liberties groups and peeved passengers who likened the maneuver to former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak’s regime to crush a citizen uprising.

[By California Beat | 1 Jun 2011 | 9 Comments]
Alameda, California

Alameda city officials promised an in-depth review of emergency procedures after a 52 year-old suicidal man took his own life at Crown Memorial Beach on Monday while police and firefighters stood at the shore and watched him sink into the shallow bay waters and drown to death.

The city’s fire department blamed deep budget cuts that eliminated its water rescue training program in 2009 as the primary reason why its firefighters did not go into the water to save the man.

[By California Beat | 17 May 2011 | No Comments]
Then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at his second inauguration ceremony in Sacramento in January 2007. (Andrew Leonard/ CALIFORNIA BEAT)

Call it what you will: a bombshell, a shocker, a show-stopper.

The Los Angeles Times’ eyeball grabbing scoop about former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathering an out-of-wedlock child with a since retired staffer at his Brentwood home was the talk of the town when it first broke midnight Tuesday. 

[By California Beat | 15 May 2011 | 5 Comments]

Organizers of the 100th running of San Francisco’s zany Bay to Breaker’s race promised a toned-down and sober athletic event free of the keg-carrying floats and frat party atmosphere that plagued the annual tradition for years.

At first glance, Sunday’s event turned out calmer than in years past: fewer drunks, less public urination and a calmer crowd. 

[By California Beat | 7 May 2011 | 2 Comments]

A proposed ban on serving “shark fin soup,” long considered a delicacy in many Asian countries, is making its way through the California state capitol, but it is proving to be a difficult sell for some cultures who call the ban an assault on their culture.

The delicacy is a delicate balancing act between environmentalists view the fishing methods used to capture the shark fins as inhumane and communities who view the shark fins as important to cultural heritage.

[By California Beat | 30 Apr 2011 | No Comments]
Courtesy Buckingham Palace

Despite the proliferation of camera-phones, the immediate uploads of TwitPics, and Facebook status updates, rarely is the public invited into celebrity weddings the way we were to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s ceremony.

With excruciating close-ups of the royal couple, networks and nearly all of the major celebrity websites provided a continuous stream of Royal Wedding related coverage. If you woke up early — 3 a.m. on the West Coast to catch the event as it happened — you were probably mesmerized by the pomp and circumstance of the event. If you didn’t bother to tune in, you’re probably wondering the same thing we are: have we gone overboard with the wedding?

[By Beat News Service | 26 Apr 2011 | 25 Comments]

Quintessentially San Francisco, or has this city gone nuts?

Excuse the pun, but proponents of a ban on circumcision in San Francisco brought more than 12,000 signatures to the city’s Elections Department this morning hoping to place the initiative on the November ballot, the Chronicle reported. 

[By California Beat | 10 Apr 2011 | 6 Comments]

There’s no denying that morale is down amongst MUNI drivers. Few will disagree that they have one of the hardest — yet decent paying — jobs in San Francisco.

Last week, a 24-Divisadero driver came under fire for illegally using her cell phone while behind the wheel of a bus. She was later fired by the transit agency.

[By Beat News Service | 19 Mar 2011 | 4 Comments]

LOS ANGELES — The University of California Los Angeles undergraduate who caused a nationwide stir after posting a racially charged rant against Asians on YouTube.com apologized for her comments Friday and withdrew her admission from the school.

Alexandra Wallace, a resident of Fair Oaks, Calif., a suburb in Sacramento County said she had received death threats from angry members of the public who viewed her rant against Asians.