David Chiu Launches Participatory Budgeting Pilot Program

David Chiu, President, San Francisco Board of SupervisorsBoard of Supervisors President David Chiu last week announced the launch of a participatory budgeting pilot program in District 3 to give residents the power to decide how to use $100,000 of discretionary funding.

As part of the 2012-2013 budget approved last July, each district was allocated this funding to be decided by a District Supervisor for one-time expenditures that are not operational costs.

Participatory budgeting is a civic engagement process that involves citizens voting directly on what community projects government should fund. After being first developed by the city of Porto Alegre in Brazil in 1989, the process has since been adopted by more than 1,500 cities worldwide, including recently by several municipal wards in Chicago and 8 city council districts in New York City.

“I want to introduce participatory budgeting in San Francisco because a deeper level of civic participation will improve our community investments in our neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Chiu.

President Chiu is partnering with the Office of the Controller, the Participatory Budgeting Project and the Right to the City Alliance to implement a four month process that will engage residents, neighborhood groups and other community stakeholders in dialogue and voting on proposed projects.

“Through our work in New York, Chicago, and Vallejo, we have seen firsthand how participatory budgeting can empower residents to have a real say over how their tax dollars are spent,” said Josh Lerner of the Participatory Budgeting Project. “At a time when trust in government is so low, participatory budgeting offers a golden opportunity to increase transparency, build community, and engage people in democracy.”

“Right to the City Alliance views participatory budgeting as an important stepping stone toward greater democracy in our cities. We have watched the process in New York allow for the involvement of those typically alienated or disenfranchised from political and budgetary processes in the city and are committed to see participatory budgeting strengthen and spread,” said Rachel Laforest of the Right to the City Alliance.

“As the Controller for the City, I’m always interested in new ways we can further engage our residents in the financial decisions regarding the services they value most,” said Controller Ben Rosenfield.

In the coming month, Supervisor Chiu will be convening the partners to initiate planning of the pilot program. The process will include community sessions to identify and develop potential projects and a final vote to select winning projects.

Source: Press release from Supervisor Chiu’s office

Seoul/San Francisco Film Project to Star James Kyson Lee

Actor James Kyson Lee, most famous for his role on NBC’s “Heroes” television show, will collaborate with San Francisco-based film director Henry J. Kim on an independent feature film that is thought to be the first joint film project between San Francisco and Seoul production companies.

Kim will direct a short prelude film, titled “No Rest for the Righteous,” starring Lee in San Francisco that will start shooting on Dec. 16. The short film will set up the untitled feature film.

Through the collaboration between South Korean and Asian American filmmakers and actors, Kim and Lee hope to spur more opportunities to showcase Korean American and Asian American films and artistic projects in South Korea and other Asian countries.

“The film and entertainment industries in Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo have been incredibly successful in influencing their American counterparts,” said Kim, who is also co-founder of Empty Kingdom, one of the leading media arts websites, “which is fantastic since it represents the pendulum swinging back after Asian creatives embraced, adapted and evolved American cinema.”

“Unfortunately, Asian American artists are largely overlooked in Asia, so No Rest for the Righteous and the following feature film represents an effort by James Kyson, me and many others to create more opportunities for Asian audiences to experience Asian American cinema.”

To kick off the filming of the short film, Kim and Lee will appear at a special event to raise funds for the project on Dec. 15, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Aato Restaurant, 1449 Lombard St., San Francisco. Empty Kingdom, Asian Business League of San Francisco (ABL-SF), Korean American Professional Society (KAPS), Keith Kamisugi, Louis Hong, Claire Chang, Suhi Koizumi, Min Lee, Dennis Kwon, Tae E. Kim, Amy Kang and Christine Chang are also on the event host committee.

Organizers are requesting a $20 donation at the door. Food will be available to order and bar will be no-host. To RSVP for the event, visit http://on.fb.me/sfseoul or http://sfseoul.eventbrite.com.

If you’d like to support the project with a donation, but can’t make the event, contribute on indiegogo.com.

Free Tix Giveaway to ‘No Rest for the Wicked’

Henry J. Kim’s film, NO REST FOR THE WICKED, will premiere on May 6 here in San Francisco at the Roxie.

NO REST is a dreamy tale of crime and romance and a peek into the lives of two lovers on the run, Kat (Korean American Kathy Gardiner) and Isaac (Burmese American Fred Szkoda). As they try to navigate through a dangerous world, they must also come to terms with what it means to have a relationship with each other.

“Sounds like Bonnie & Clyde,” wrote channelAPA.com.

I’m giving away two tickets to the 9:30 p.m. showing on May 6:

Enter by Noon this Thursday, April 28.

Movie site = http://www.therestlesswicked.com

There will be special giveaways for attendees, as well as some sweet PRIZE raffles for several lucky movie-goers, and not to mention exclusive merchandise and swag.

Then, join the EMPTY KINGDOM family at the OFFICIAL AFTER PARTY for the premiere at RECESS SF!

443 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133

All movie-goers will have free admittance to the after party upon presenting their movie ticket! Come party with us in our exclusive VIP area with the cast and crew!

Asian Law Caucus and Affiliated Groups Launch New Branding

The Asian Law Caucus and three affiliated Asian American civil rights organizations yesterday announced the adoption of “Asian American Center for Advancing Justice” as the new name for the affiliation of the four groups.

The organizations announced the new brand at the second annual Advancing Justice Conference, a three-day event focusing on issues of special interest to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The four affiliating organizations—the Asian American Institute (AAI), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Law Caucus (ALC) and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC)—jointly host the conference, which has brought together hundreds of participants from across the country.

“This represents a tremendous opportunity not only for the Asian Law Caucus and our sister organizations, but for the larger Asian American community,” said Titi Liu, executive director of ALC, the nation’s oldest Asian American civil rights organization. “Through Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, we will have a larger platform from which to speak about issues that affect our community.”

Asian American Center for Advancing Justice will address many of the issues that are currently the focus of headlines across the country, including immigration, LGBT, civil rights and worker’s rights.

“We are very excited to be part of this partnership of equals at a time when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a greater presence—both in numbers and in prominence—than ever before,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of APALC, the nation’s largest organization addressing the civil rights and legal services of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The four groups will adopt their shared identity in stages over the coming years, explained AAI Executive Director Tuyet Le. “By affiliating gradually, we will maintain our identity and presence in our local communities. AAI is the leading pan-Asian organization in the Midwest, and we will continue to speak to local issues. Asian American Center for Advancing Justice gives us a voice to speak to national ones as well.”

Each organization will continue to be based in its home city: AAJC in Washington, D.C., APALC in Los Angeles, AAI in Chicago and ALC in San Francisco. AAJC will continue to serve as the lead on federal policy as well as other areas in which it has expertise. However, all member organizations do some work at the national level. On a given issue or area, any one of the member organizations may be the national lead for Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

“As independent organizations coordinating around a set of shared vision and values, we will work to promote a fair and equitable society for all; strengthen civil and human rights; and empower the Asian American, Pacific Islander and other marginalized communities’” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC, one of the premier national Asian American civil and human rights organizations. “In formalizing relationships that have existed for many years, we are expanding our reach and effectiveness and speaking with one unified and powerful voice.”

For more information on Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, please visit www.advancingjustice.org.

Eva Lowe Fellowship for Social Justice

Applications are due March 8 for the Eva Lowe Fellowship for Social Justice at the Chinese Progressive Association.

The Eva Lowe Fellowship for Social Justice provides a unique opportunity to a new generation of activists and organizers who want to build the power of and improve the lives of the working class Chinese immigrant community. During eight weeks of intensive training, ground work and reflection, Eva Lowe Fellows will learn about and support Chinese immigrant struggles in San Francisco, work to connect the larger API Movement across the country and build lasting relationships with peers, mentors and community members.

Eva Lowe is a longtime progressive community activist who has committed her life to serving the community, she turns 101 this year. Born in Fort Bragg, California in 1909, Eva was the fourth child of five girls. Her mother passed away when she was young and her father was a cook at a lumber mill. Throughout her early life, she and her family went back and forth to China for education and to support the anti-imperialist movement. She was inspired by China’s movement and the women’s rights movement and got involved in many progressive issues.

In 1926 she was a part of her high school’s Chinese Student Association and made “soap box” speeches in Chinatown to condemn foreign aggression in China. In the 1930’s during the Great Depression, Eva became involved with Huaren Shiye Hui (Chinese Unemployed Alliance), a predecessor organization to the Chinese Progressive Association. Returning to China in 1937 during China’s war with Japan, Eva volunteered at the China Defense League for Madame Sun-Yat Sen. In 1941, Eva and her family returned the United States to settle in Oakland and to start a small grocery business. Later her family became well known philanthropists and community leaders. After retirement, she volunteered for over 15 years at the Chinese Culture Center, the Chinese Hospital, and UC Moffitt Hospital. Eva has dedicated her life to social and economic justice and believes that people should actively work to end imperialism and “fight for the underdog” – the poor and working class community.

All placements for the program will be in San Francisco, California. Scholarships ranging from $500 – $2000 are available but students are also encouraged to seek additional and alternative funding sources (include campus work-study programs, scholarships and stipends). All other costs will the responsibility of each Fellow though some assistance may be offered to locate and secure housing. A maximum of four Fellows will be chosen for the 2010 year.

Applications are due by Monday, March 8, 2010 at 5:00 pm. Applications can be filled out online at http://www.evalowe.org. We will announce the Fellowship recipients by March 20, 2010.

Founded in 1972, the Chinese Progressive Association educates, organizes and empowers the low income and working class immigrant Chinese community in San Francisco to build collective power with other oppressed communities to demand better living and working conditions and justice for all people. http://www.cpasf.org

Thanks to Betty Magome for sharing this.

Census Looking for SF Workers, $16.50 to $23.50/hr, Part-Time Work Avail

San Francisco Census Office East Manager Don Chan asked me to let folks know that the Census is looking to hire local San Franciscans to work locally in their neighborhoods for the upcoming census. Hourly pay ranges from $16.50 to $23.50. There are requirements and a test for these positions. Flexible hours, part-time and full-time positions are available, and most of the work takes place on the weekends and evenings, so having work or school full-time doesn’t automatically prevent you from Census work.

The Census hires locally so that enumerators are familiar with their own neighborhoods and comfortable with their neighbors. So if someone lives in North Beach and was hired, she or he would be working in that neighborhood, and not some area across town. The Census needs to find enough workers in every San Francisco neighborhood to ensure that everyone is counted.

The local office is hiring about 1,800 workers by the end of April, but there will be smaller operations before that time that will require a few hundred people.

At this point, several neighborhoods in the city are very low on workers for those areas.

Pay rates are as follows: Clerk $16.50/hr; Enumerator $22.00/hr; Crew Leader Assistant $22.50; and Crew Leader $23.50.

Qualifications: Able to read, write, and speak English at the high school level; second language capability desirable; legal working status resident, preferably with U.S. citizenship; at least 18 years old by April 1, 2010; and have have two forms of indentification.

Hiring takes place from February to June of this year.

Call 1-866-861-2010 for more information and to sign up for a test, which is only 28 questions.

Here’s the areas in the city where the Census office needs workers:

Jan. 30 Benefit Event for Quake Victims in Haiti, Glide Memorial

[Cross-posted from BayAreaBenefit.org] A massive earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12 with some estimates putting the casualties at hundreds of thousands of lives. At the time of this post, Haiti officials are still trying to assess the extent of the devastation.

The Glide Foundation, in partnership with Bay Area Benefit, Citizen Hope, and A Good Idea invites supporters from the San Francisco Bay Area to an event to raise funds for the disaster victims in Haiti and for Glide on Saturday, January 30, from 9 p.m. at Nuit Blanche, 564 Market St, San Francisco.

Nuit Blanche, an exclusive penthouse in downtown San Francisco, will host this open bar event with tickets starting at $45 available at http://sfrecess.eventbrite.com.

Event will feature Legendary DJ KingMost, an open bar and hors ‘doevres. The $45 ticket price is good until January 22 (only 65 of these tickets are available) and the price goes up to $60 on Jan. 23.

Join the event on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=273876462564.

Kudos to Mike Kim for spearheading this effort!

San Francisco Japantown Foundation to Provide Matching Grants Program for 2010

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation will announce details of its 2010 matching grants program at a community meeting on Monday, January 25, at 4 p.m. in the Union Bank Japantown branch conference room, 1674 Post Street, San Francisco.

Like many nonprofit organizations, the Foundation was affected by the severe economic downturn and was unable to provide grants in 2009. For 2010, organizations selected by the Foundation will be asked to match the amount of money given to them by the Foundation from other individual or corporate resources.

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation envisions a Japantown that inspires respect for the past, embrace of the present, and a commitment to a place and a community that is culturally vibrant, prosperous, safe, inclusive, engaging, and attractive to residents and to visitors. The Foundation was formed in December 2006 through generous initial endowments by Kintetsu Enterprises of America, the late Jack Hirose, and Hats and Amey Aizawa. The Foundation has since received additional donations from Minami Tamaki LLP, Union Bank and other benefactors.

The foundation’s mission is to support cultural, community and educational activities for San Francisco Japantown. We are dedicated to preserving and honoring Japantown’s history, to welcoming and serving its residents, visitors, businesses, congregations and community organizations, and to supporting the growth and development of the community. In particular, we support activities that reflect the Japanese American experience, and activities that engage Japanese of all generations and experiences in America.

Foundation board members will share details of the matching grants program at the Jan. 25 community meeting. Attendance at the meeting is not a requirement for being accepted into the matching grants program, but it’s highly recommended so prospective applicants have a chance to ask questions.

Those unable to attend the meeting will be able to download a matching grants program packet from http://sfjapantownfoundation.org after Jan. 25.

The Foundation is requesting RSVPs to the Jan. 25 meeting by emailing names and organizational affiliations by Jan. 22 to info@sfjapantownfoundation.org. Contact board member Keith Kamisugi at keith@keithpr.com with any questions.