BY RAUL HERNANDEZ
The Washington Post reported that Army officials on Sunday said they will not approve an easement necessary to permit the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota, marking a monumental victory for the Native American tribes and thousands of others who have flocked in recent months to protest the oil pipeline.
“I’m happy as heck,” said Everett Iron Eyes, a retired director of natural resources for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and one of the organizers of a camp protesters set up near the pipeline site. “All our prayers have been answered.”
Officials in November had delayed the key decision, saying more discussion was necessary about the proposed crossing, given that it would pass very near the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose leaders have repeatedly expressed fears that a spill could threaten the water supplies of its people.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in a statement Sunday. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
The victory for the Standing Rock Sioux and its allies could be short-lived, though. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to support pipelines such as this one. And Kelcy Warren, the chief executive of the pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, has been a major contributor to the Republican Party and Trump’s campaign.
Trump, who once owned a stake worth between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners, has sold the shares, his spokeswoman Hope Hicks said. At the time of his most recent disclosure statement in May, Trump owned $100,000 to $250,000 of stock in Phillips 66, which has a 25 percent stake in the Dakota Access project.
Iron Eyes said that “we shall remain vigilant regardless. We have witnessed the power of being peaceful and prayerful.”
High Rent in San Francisco
This story was aired in San Francisco when I was there during the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s incredible – stores like Macy’s and Arthur Beren Shoes can’t afford the high rents at San Francisco’s Union Square.
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5/Aired Nov. 23, 2016) — San Francisco’s Union Square has faced a number of problems over the years, from traffic, parking, homeless, and construction.
But now – like the rest of the city – it’s also fallen victim to the squeeze of skyrocketing rents.
Union Square has long been known as the gold coast of shopping – but even $900 shoes – and $25,000 hand bags can’t make the rent there anymore.
“It’s gotten very extreme,” Ken Peterson with Arthur Beren Shoes said.
In the past two years, Arthur Beren Shoes saw its rent jump more than 40 percent to over $1 million a year.
“Sad to say the big corporations can afford these higher rents. We independents and family owned stores don’t have that luxury,” Peterson said.
And, it’s not just the small stores. Karin Flood of the Union Square Business District estimates up to 20 stores, including such big names as Prada, Faconnable, and Saks men’s – have moved out or consolidated – leaving a score of empty store fronts in their wake.
“We’re seeing changes happening a lot faster with business going out but also with new businesses going in,” Flood said.
Longtime local favorite Britex Fabric may soon be making way for more profitable office space.
“That shows demand. The rents wouldn’t go down if there wasn’t demand,” Jim Lazarus with the city’s Chamber of Commerce said.
There is talk of the Nike super store moving.
Even the Macys men’s building has become too valuable to just sell clothes.
“You could see more offices and residential. Especially on the upper floors. Property owners are looking to get the highest rents they can,” Flood said.
“Levis moved to Market. Apple tore down Levi’s and put a new Apple store up. That shows demand. The rents would go down if there wasn’t demand,” Lazarus said.
So, is Union Square in the middle of gentrification?
“You know, I hope not. That is always a challenge. You don’t want to lose the character of Union Square and the old time businesses,” Lazarus said.
“I think of you less…”
An article last month in The Sun Sentinel by Phil Shailer, Hollywood sums up the feeling of many in this country about the election. Here is an excerpt from the column.
“…No, I think less of you because you watched an adult mock a disabled person while addressing a crowd and still supported him. I think less of you because you saw a candidate spout clear racism day after day and still backed him.
“I think less of you because you heard him advocate for war crimes and still thought he should be given the reins of government. I think less of you because you watched him equate a woman’s worth to where she landed on a scale of 1 to 10 and still got on board.”
“I think less of you because you stood by silently while he labeled Mexicans as criminals and Muslims as terrorists.”
“It wasn’t your politics I found repulsive. No, it was your willingness to support someone who spouts racism, sexism, and cruelty almost every time he opens his mouth. You sided with a bully when it should have mattered most, and that is something I will never be able to forget.
“So in response to your post-election expression of hope, no, you and I won’t be ‘coming together to move forward.’ Obviously, the president-elect disgusts me; but it is the fact that he doesn’t disgust you that will stick with me long after the election.”
GOOD NEWS FOR RESTAURANT AND OTHER INTERNET REVIEWERS
Congress has passed a bipartisan bill that aims to protect negative online reviews by banning nondisparagement clauses in nonnegotiable consumer contracts.
The bill voids any provision in form contracts that bars consumers from posting or communicating reviews about goods and services, that imposes penalties for the reviews, or that requires consumer to transfer intellectual property rights in the reviews.
The bill does not apply to contracts with employees and independent contractors, and it doesn’t shield defamatory reviews. The bill gives enforcement authority to the Federal Trade Commission and the states.
“The bill we’ve now sent to the president’s desk will ensure that the internet remains a place where the freedom of speech can thrive and protect honest consumers from retaliatory litigation,” said a bill co-sponsor, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in a statement.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill, according to the Law Blog.