Tag Archives: bay area

BART Strike Impedes Transportation for USF Community

For the second time in three months, BART’s union workers, which includes train operators and station agents, went on strike last Friday, leaving the railroad’s reportedly 500,000 daily commuters without transportation.

USF students and staff that commute from other parts of the Bay Area were affected by the railroad shut down after BART management and union leaders were unable to reach a compromise Thursday afternoon.

Christina Goultas, senior exercise and sports science major commutes to USF from San Mateo. She doesn’t take BART herself, but was still affected by the strike. Goultas drives to school, but was late for class because traffic was so backed up on the 280 freeway leading to the Bay Bridge.

“I understand that the BART workers need to voice their opinions,” said Goultas, “but I think they need to be more considerate of all the riders and commuters in the Bay Area who need to adjust their schedule to cope with the strike.”

After BART went on strike in August, Governor Jerry Brown imposed a 60-day “cooling off ” period. After the 60 days ended, negotiations between union workers and BART management continued, but as the workers neglected to operate the train, commuters remain unsure when it will start running again.
First year law student Miles Maurino, whose weekend plans were affected by the BART strike notes, “The California Chamber of Commerce reports that the Bay Area loses $70 million in productivity each day the BART is on strike. For the BART employees to claim that their already high salary is not justified is completely unwarranted by the circumstances,” said Maurino.Much of the controversy is over the worker’s wages. The average base salary for full time station agents and train operators is $56,000 a year, in addition to the average $10,000 of overtime for stations agents and $17,000 for train operators, reports Mother Jones.

The average base salary for full time station agents and train operators is $56,000 a year, in addition to the average $10,000 of overtime for stations agents and $17,000 for train operators, reports Mother Jones.

While many look to that salary and wonder why union workers need a higher salary, train operator William Smith says that’s not the only issue. BART management is attempting to change the contract, resulting in more money taken out of their paycheck for pensions and health insurance, according to Smith.

“Our contract states that each year we pay three percent more for medical insurance, but BART wants to up that,” said Smith. Additionally, the contract BART’s management is proposing takes away some union worker’s rights, said Smith: “we want to maintain the current language of our contract.”

The change in contract is likely due to BART’s management hiring a chief negotiator and general manager outside of the Bay Area. “They have no interest to the Bay Area. There are plenty of negotiators within the area that would love to be paid $400,000 to negotiate BART’s contract,” said Smith.

Smith states that it wasn’t his decision to go on the strike, saying that the current management forced it. He adds, “I feel BART is being disingenuous with the riding public. I make no where near what they’ve printed in the papers,” said Smith. “They vilify the workers, yet they hired us.”

Maurino, who doesn’t think contract negotiations justify the negative effects the strike has imposed, finds it crucial for a compromise to be reached and for the trains to start running again because, “BART is the beating heart of the Bay Area,” he concludes.

Major Lazer literally and musically connected with crowd, while perfoming their top hits like “Get Free.” (Photo by Eric Bader)

Treasure Island Music Festival is the Festival to Go to in the Bay

On Oct. 19 and 20, a short shuttle ride over the Bay Bridge transported my friends and me to a place full of music, food, art, and fun. The Treasure Island Music Festival, held one weekend every October, was a two-day, non-stop music experience. The event only has two stages, and no artist plays at the same time so you can see every one on the lineup.

The weather on Saturday was perfect. It was sunny and warm with a light breeze. I started the day off seeing the rap artist Danny Brown, who really got the crowd moving. The two artists I was excited to see on Saturday were electronic groups Disclosure and Major Lazer, and I was not disappointed. Disclosure blew me away with their visuals, live band, and set list. I did not see one person standing still the entire time, and it was one of the most fun crowds I have ever been a part of. As the sun was setting and the air got cooler, people danced for warmth during Major Lazer. Major Lazer is a group lead by electronic artist Diplo. Their heart pumping beats and crazy bass made for a great dance party as the sun went down over the Bay. Major Lazer’s performance ended around 7 p.m. and the weather had taken a turn for the worse. We nick-named the island “Treasure Iceberg.” It was absolutely freezing and the only way to fight the cold was to huddle into the middle of the crowd for a set by Phantogram, an American electric-rock duo, who put on a killer show. The music was upbeat and the energy from the performers rubbed off into the crowd. Even though I was not familiar with their music, I am now a big fan.

As the night wore on it got colder and colder, and when it came time to see Atoms for Peace, Thom Yorke of Radiohead’s new experimental group, I could not feel my hands. Being a fan of Radiohead, I was hyped up to see Atoms for Peace. Unfortunately, i was very disappointed. They did not come on-stage on time, the performance was half-hearted and not impressive at all. I ended up leaving early because it was not enjoyable.

Sunday was a much chillier day from the start, but the lineup of performers was good enough to get me excited. We stopped to frolic in a cloud of bubbles that came from a giant bubble maker and soaked up a little bit of sun before it got cold again. Then came time for Lord Huron, a folk group who put on an amazing show. The lead singer, Ben Schneider, softly sang with his dreamy voice and mesmerized the crowd. The live performance of their song, “Time to Run,” was energetic, beautiful, and a pleasure to listen to.

STRFKR’s set was full of high energy and props, like astronauts crowd surfing in a raft. (Photo: Eric Bader)

STRFKR’s set was full of high energy and props, like astronauts crowd surfing in a raft. (Photo: Eric Bader)

After Lord Huron’s set, the kickass, sister indie rock group Haim went on the other stage. Their performance blew me away. There is a lot of hype around the group and it is well deserved. Their energy and rock-and-roll style made for a great set which my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed. The rest of the night was left with more stellar performances and no disappointments. STRFKR, James Blake, Animal Collective, Sleigh Bells, and Beck all led incredible performances. STRFKR’s show included crowd surfing astronauts, aliens, blow up dolls, and sumo wrestlers. The combination of funky dance music and visuals was awesome, and made the band stand out the most.
The members of Animal Collective had an amazing set of teeth onto which they projected crazy visuals. Although they did not play my favorite song (“My Girls”), they had great energy, and the crowd loved their performance.

Last but definitely not least, Beck, who was the biggest headliner of the weekend, closed out the festival in a big way. He performed older songs and put on a great show. It was the perfect way to end a great weekend!

The festival also had a huge collection of snack vendors, including the famous Spicy Pie Pizza, and many other delicious food trucks. The crowd was not overwhelming, and the event’s setup was easy to navigate. With the art installations and music, Treasure Island was an enjoyable experience, and you will definitely see me there again next year!


Staff Editorial: BART Strikes the City’s Routine

As students with limited affordable transportation options and professors that take the BART for its convenience and speed to get to campus on time, we all have been greatly impacted by the BART strike and its affect on our plans and commute. We, the Foghorn, believe this to be a time of understanding unions and their intentions; as well as maintaining a balanced perspective while critiquing.

As students that come to San Francisco, a city brimming with opportunities for those who can afford the education necessary to be eligible, the BART labor dispute was an inconvenience to us. Yet, as students who should also be aware of prevalent social justice issues in our own communities, we must recognize the considerable wide wealth gap that divides the average Silicon Valley employee and one who maintains BART services.

The BART transports nearly 375,000 commuters along a 104-mile long system on the average weekday. With a halt to this city-funded agency due to wage negotiations, the real impact made on this city will not come from the six-digit income earners that cannot make it to their office, but those “invisible” workers who depend on their meager paycheck and cannot earn it while working from home (i.e. custodians, waiters, etc.).

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute approximated that a day of the BART strike would cost the Bay Area economy $73 million dollars. Yet there is no mention in most media coverage of the strike of this probably being a result of the usually ignored, large number of people in the city that work lower income jobs, just like that of BART employees, not being able to get to their place of work.

A closer look at the unions’ demands shows that their concerns are warranted. Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 have been asking for increased safety measures and a salary that equals some of the risk they expose themselves to whilst working. This past Saturday, two BART employees were killed by an automated train while inspecting the tracks, just one day after the strike began.

The repetitive striking by BART employees is indicative of the unfortunately, disparaging income gap that continues to grow and plague our country. As informed and educated citizens, we must acknowledge that these are individuals demanding the chance to begin bridging this gap.

Tuesday night, BART announced an end to its four-day strike the effect of which was felt by many with a pension, salary and health care settlement that was agreed on by management and the two unions. Even with the reinstatement of the BART service, the topic of working conditions will continue to be negotiated. This is a small victory for not just its union, but for other unions demanding higher wages that give workers the opportunity to save and live comfortably. It is also a step in the effort to fight our country’s income inequality — a feat that will positively affect the lower and middle classes.

San Francisco’s Unaffordability is an Environmental Injustice

The high costs of living here means those who are not wealthy will find it hard to share in an environmental dream.

It is an environmental injustice that living in San Francisco has become and remains out of the reach of middle- and low-income people, not just an economic one.

April 22 will mark the 43rd Earth Day, and as it approaches, talk of divestment from fossil fuels, green building and transport, bike paths, slow food, and sustainable farming dominate the conversation about being green. That many USF students are eager to take up these causes is wonderful to see.

But these issues need to be placed in the context of a very real environmental problem that could not be closer to our college home. It is a problem that is by no means unique to San Francisco, but it is especially acute in a city that, though it prides itself on the diversity of its residents, becomes less diverse by the year.

San Francisco’s problem is that of providing an environmentally sound human habitat for all — the rich, and the poor; professionals and laborers; the politically powerful and the marginalized; the generationally established and recent immigrants; minorities as well as majorities.

In many ways, San Francisco is the embodiment of that environmentally sound human habitat, but the incredibly high cost of living here means the green gem that is the City is only reasonably available to an ever-shrinking, homogenous, and wealthy segment of the population.

Our city’s population density — in the U.S., second only to New York — makes San Francisco what is called a “walkable” town. The green implications of living in a walkable town are that its residents are healthier for not having to jump in a car every time to conduct business, commute, or run errands. The proximity of stores, schools, offices and open spaces in San Francisco, combined with an extensive and well-used public transit system, translates into dramatically reduced fossil fuel use per person, and reduced pollution and energy use overall.

And, increasingly, these benefits are only for those who can afford it.

Or take this scenario: the ease of being able to walk, bike, or bus to an urban farmer’s market to purchase locally grown, sustainably farmed food is something we take for granted in San Francisco; it is luxury in other, less expensive locales, where residents may have no choice but to drive to a commercial complex sitting on acres of asphalt to buy conventionally-raised food.

The fact that the San Francisco farmer’s market scenario is increasingly restricted to the wealthy, and the second, less environmentally desirable situation is what the rest of society is being limited to, means a clear injustice is happening.

In USF’s celebration of Earth Day, if we lose sight of this growing environmental inequality taking place just outside campus, all our efforts toward sustainability are suddenly hamstrung.


Sorority Raises Funds for Leukemia in Honor of Sister

The Delta Zeta catchphrase “Once a Delta Zeta, always a Delta Zeta,” is more than just a quote to these sorority sisters. Each year, the Ali’s Way event is held to celebrate the memory of sister Ali Facella, who passed away from leukemia in 2006 while attending USF. Over 200 USF students and staff, and Delta Zeta members gathered last Tuesday to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). In its seventh year, the event featured a silent auction, and a benefit dinner and concert with music local rock bands Solwave and Hibbity Dibbity.

Delta Zeta is a nationwide sorority and was chartered at USF in April 1983. There are currently over 100 members. USF chapter director Kiara Kempski was president of Delta Zeta at the time of Facella’s passing. Kempski remembers Facella as an involved and dedicated member of the sorority. “She was always the life of a party and brought that joy and outgoing personality into Delta Zeta. Ali was never about sadness nor heartache, but always about fun and community. She was our recruiter and advocate and showed everyone in the Greek community that we were a Greek family,” said Kempski. The decision to start the Ali’s Way events came about after Facella’s memorial, which was held at Saint Ignatius Church. “The support we got from the Greek community was overwhelming so we knew we had to continue something in her name and that is when we started Ali’s Way in 2007,” she said.

Kempski noted that Facella was not the only sister that Delta Zeta has lost to cancer. Sister Ashley Spiller passed away a year before Ali, in 2005, after transferring from USF to Loyola Marymount University to be closer to her doctors. The Ali’s Way event has become a way for Delta Zeta to keep the memory of their lost sisters and loved ones alive while raising money and awareness for LLS.

“While I did not know Ali personally, she has often been described as someone who was very involved, supportive, fun-loving, and enthusiastic about life” said Jessica Small, a junior advertising major and vice president of philanthropy for Delta Zeta. Fellow sister Elizabeth Nigh, a senior politics major, shares the same feelings toward Facella. “I’ve heard she was very fun and loud,” she said. Even though the girls never got the chance to meet Facella, her outgoing energy serves as the inspiration behind the Ali’s Way events. “This semester, I thought that a benefit concert, featuring bands that USF students are involved in would represent these qualities of Ali’s personality. The themes of our events have focused on both honoring not only Ali, but also anyone affected by these diseases, as well as creating events that will bring about support and awareness of the LLS.

The money raised from the event is donated to the LLS to help patients cope financially and emotionally with cancer. For leukemia survivor Forrest Brunson, the LLS helped his family out by setting him up with a social worker for free counseling to work through his diagnosis emotionally. “Events like this make it possible for people like me to survive,” Brunson said.

Brunson overcame leukemia two years ago and spoke at last years Ali’s Way event. “I like how it’s geared toward people our age, and it’s different from other events our campus does,” said the senior communications studies student.

This year, the sorority raised over $4,150. Small and philanthropy assistant Elizabeth Anderson, a freshman marketing major, came up with the concert idea together for this year back in April. “This wasn’t something we’d done before” said Anderson. “The main thing is getting everyone motivated to donate prizes and push college students to donate time and money to the event,” she said of the challenge to raise money from college students. Performances by Solvwave and Hibbity Dibbity pumped up the crowd. Both bands include USF and non-USF students.

“Ali’s Way is not a memorial event where we mourn the loss of Ali or any persons who have left us to cancer,” said Kempski. Instead Delta Zeta has turned the pain of losing their sisters around to create a productive and inspirational event to celebrate the progress toward finding a cure. “It is a celebration for research, an event to raise awareness and to raise funds to help those battling cancer,” Kempski said. “Each year we try to do it in a fun and community involved way, because truly that would have been Ali’s way.”

Electronic feel: An Interview with Electronic Artist FAREOH

    San Francisco’s premiere nightclub, Ruby Skye, had a lively, whimsical energy Jan. 17th due to the highly anticipated joint concert of Fareoh and Madeon. Both powerhouse DJs are under the age of 21, but that didn’t stop them from performing booming sets that showcased their heavy-hitting and melodic styles. The Foghorn met up with Fareoh before his set to introduce this NYC native to the Bay Area, and ask him about his tour, opening for EDM superstar Kaskade, and his plans for the rest of 2013.

FOGHORN: Tonight is the first show of the winter leg of your tour. How are you feeling and what’s going on in your head right now?

FAREOH: I’m feeling great. To be honest, not that much. I have one track that I know I’m going to start with and I just go from there. I have an SD card with hundreds of songs on it and I know them very well and how to mix them in and out, so it won’t be the same as my other sets.

FOGHORN: Has this always been your method of mixing during your shows?

FAREOH: The majority of the time I’ve done my sets like that. Whenever I play shows like [tonight’s] I just go for it. It really is about having an experience with the crowd. I’m not going to play what they don’t want to hear.

FOGHORN: This past year, you got to open for Kaskade on his “Freaks of Nature” tour. What was your experience like?

FAREOH: It was amazing. He is a big mentor [to me] and we did a lot of work on the tour. It was really a great experience.

FOGHORN: What did you learn from Kaskade while on tour together?

FAREOH: The main thing I’d say is his attitude towards everything. He’s a very humble, “family” guy. Being as famous as he is, he’s very grounded and all around just a great person.

FOGHORN: Do you think that you taught him anything?

FAREOH: The only thing I could maybe say I taught him is some of the outlook from the younger scene. But I mean, what can you really teach Kaskade? (laughs)

FOGHORN: What is your status in regard to releasing new music?

FAREOH: I’m working on an EP/mini-album. Right now I have five finished tracks, but I feel like six [tracks] could be a mini-album. I got a lot of people saying that 12 is the minimum for an album. I personally don’t agree with that. I feel like an album is just an EP. I feel like is more of a collection of tracks while an album is just a collection of an idea and they’re all attached.

FOGHORN: I read that you try to make each track have a different sound. Is that what you did when producing these five tracks?

FAREOH: They’re pretty different. A lot of my stuff that I’ve put out so far is kind of within the boundary of the same sound, but this EP is all over the place. I listen to a lot of different types of music, and so I try to put out a lot of different styles.

FOGHORN: Besides your tour and potential album, what are your plans for 2013?

FAREOH: I have a bunch of productions that are getting finished up: a number of remixes, a number of originals. My plan is just to release as much music as I can.