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By Otis R. Taylor Jr.

I’m not angry.

But that’s the perception some readers have of me based solely on the photo that accompanies my column. I know this because since my column debuted in this space exactly two years ago today, I’ve received a steady stream of emails and handwritten notes imploring me to smile.

Some readers are playful, like the people who have cut out pages of the newspaper and mailed me photos of myself smiling at The Chronicle’s VisionSF Gala.

But there are frequently people who use racist language.

“Boy, get back in those chains before I pull out those dreads and whip you with them,” read one of the first emails I received about my face. “That will give you something to be mad about.” …


In a city known for its long and pioneering LGBTQ history, the buildings and businesses that are part of that heritage have been disappearing from the city’s landscape

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A man passes the Castro Theater during the annual Dyke March in San Francisco in June 2014. Photo: James Tensuan/The Chronicle

By Spud Hilton

There is some question about which of San Francisco’s gay bars was the oldest and longest operating. The Old Crow opened on Market Street in 1935, closing in 1980, while the Gangway on Polk opened in 1910, but was not clearly LGBT-affiliated until much later.

In terms of historical preservation, however, the question is moot. Both are gone.

The Gangway shut down in January, destined to become a hip theme bar. And the 1907 building that housed the Old Crow was leveled this year to make room for a Market Street condo and boutique hotel. …


Even America’s psychologists — the people tasked with knitting people’s psyches back together — are fighting over politics. And the battlefield is their role in the nation’s war on terrorism.

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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

By Joe Garofoli

Even America’s psychologists — the people tasked with knitting people’s psyches back together — are fighting over politics. And the battlefield is their role in the nation’s war on terrorism.

Meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, a leadership group of the American Psychological Association, the industry’s largest professional organization, voted 105 to 57 to continue to ban military psychologists from treating prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, where the U.S. is holding foreigners it suspects of being terrorists.

The organization imposed the ban in 2015 to prevent military psychologists from working in “settings where persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either international law…or the U.S. …


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An illustration shows a whaling crew using a harpoon in a traditional hunt in the 19th century. Photo: Chronicle archive

By Gary Kamiya

San Francisco has been called the Paris of the West, but for decades it could have been called the New Bedford of the Pacific.

Between 1885 and 1905, San Francisco was the leading whaling port in the world, home to a fleet of dozens of ships and a major producer of refined whale oil, which was widely used for heat and lighting.

Baleen, or whalebone, the bristles that filter water through the mouths of baleen whales as they feed, was used to make riding crops, corsets and crinoline petticoats. Fields of baleen could be seen drying in the sun at the edge of Mission Bay, near the largest whale-oil producer in the city, the Arctic Oil Works at Illinois and 17th streets. Exotic-looking whale hunters, attired in fur coats, wandered the piers. …


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Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images

By Caille Millner

The day after I learned Ivanka Trump was shutting down her namesake women’s fashion brand, I went searching for its remains.

Trump’s statement about why she was shutting the line down didn’t make sense to me.

“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business,” Trump said in a statement she released via the company. …


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Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

By Roland Li

Were it a country, the Bay Area’s economy would be larger than Saudi Arabia’s, getting rich from its residents’ minds rather than minerals pumped from the ground, according to a new report.

The Bay Area’s annual growth rate of 4.3 percent over the past three years was nearly double that of the U.S. as a whole, bringing the region’s gross domestic product to $748 billion, behind only 18 countries, according to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, a think tank backed by the local business group, and consulting firm McKinsey.

“It’s impressive. The diversity of the Bay Area economy should hopefully lead to more resilience in the next downturn,” said Micah Weinberg, president of the think tank. …


A young boy taken from his mother went on solo trip through 4 states in 6 months

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Photography by Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle

By Karen de Sá

At 5:30 a.m., barely dawn, they came for Jorgito.

It was December, and he and his mother had spent three days detained at the U.S. border near San Luis, Ariz.

Immigration authorities assigned the 4-year-old boy an alien number. He was screened and given a notice to appear for removal proceedings. He stamped the government forms using his gumdrop-size thumbprint.

His mother, Mayda, 26, was sent to jail. She’d tried repeatedly to enter the country illegally, this time with Jorgito. …


By Roland Li

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Twitter has benefited from a tax exemption set to expire next year. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle 2016

As fast-growing tech companies strain housing, transportation and other civic resources, cities are pushing to increase their taxes. There’s one exception: San Francisco.

Last week, Mountain View’s City Council placed a business tax on the November ballot that would disproportionately affect one major employer, Google. If voters approve it, the tech giant will pay an estimated $3.3 million per year, more than half the $5.9 million in annual revenue Mountain View expects from the tax.

Other Silicon Valley tech hubs such as Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Sunnyvale are contemplating their own new taxes and fees.

San Francisco has gone in a different direction, with policies that have largely helped tech and increased taxes on other industries like real estate, according to city data. …


By Otis R. Taylor Jr.

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Katie Rabinowitz, general manager of cannabis dispensary Magnolia Oakland, poses for a portrait on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 in Oakland, Calif. Magnolia Oakland stopped stocking the pet cannabis products of TreatWell, a company owned by Alison Ettel, who allegedly called the cops on an 8-year-old girl selling water without a permit, and Rabinowitz is working to cut ties with her entirely. Photo: Liz Moughon / The Chronicle

It happened again: a white woman called — or pretended to call — police on black people over a minor transgression.

You’ve probably already heard about it: The viral video in which a Bay Area resident was recorded and accused of being racist features Alison Ettel, who lives in San Francisco and became upset because an 8-year-old black girl was selling water without a permit on a sidewalk.

The video prompted a social media outburst of condemnation for Ettel and compassion for the girl, who had been trying to raise money for a trip to Disneyland. The online reckoning resulted in a Good Samaritan buying Disneyland tickets for the girl and her family and Ettel resigning as the CEO of her cannabis company, TreatWell Health, after several dispensaries announced they would no longer carry her products. …


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San Francisco mayoral candidate London Breed addresses the media at a press conference Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif. after fellow candidate Mark Leno called breed to concede to her. Photo: Jessica Christian/The Chronicle

By Heather Knight

For a week, San Francisco political insiders huddled every afternoon in the bland basement of City Hall to get the latest vote counts in the mayor’s race, crunch data and make colorful precinct maps showing who was winning where.

He’s up! She’s up! She’s up by more! Check out those trend lines!

Lost in all the nerding out was the sheer significance of what was being counted. On Wednesday, we could finally let it sink in: Supervisor London Breed, 43, has become the first woman of color to win election to San Francisco’s top job.

She’ll be just the second woman ever to manage San Francisco, the first being Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who became mayor in 1978 when Mayor George Moscone was assassinated. That was so long ago, Breed was just a toddler. …

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