Robots could soon become skilled enough to do white collar jobs

Robots are becoming so skilled, some experts believe nearly half of all human jobs could be at risk in the decades ahead.

“The most important thing we should understand is that this is potentially an enormous disruption,” says Bay Area futurist Martin Ford.

Ford predicted as much in his bestselling book, “Rise of the Robots.”

“The key thing that makes a job vulnerable is the nature of the work. Is it something that’s fundamentally routine and predictable,” he says.

The peculiar priorities of Mayor Ed Lee

by Susan Dyer Reynolds : marinatimes – excerpt

Tents in the Mission photo by zrants

According to recent data compiled by American City Business Journals, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is the highest paid mayor in America with an annual salary of $289,000. I guess with a $9.6 billion budget, that’s a drop in the proverbial bucket. It’s certainly not merit-based: As San Franciscans grow angrier about the condition of their once fair city, Lee’s approval number has plummeted to the low 40s, with those who “strongly approve” of his performance in single digits.

Perpetually perched atop glorious lists such as “best places to visit,” San Francisco now takes titles like “worst roads in the nation.” A November 2016 study by the National Transportation Research Group found that 71 percent of San Francisco’s roads are in poor condition — that’s worse than any other city with a population of 500,000 or more. Drivers here pay nearly $1,000 on average for auto damage caused by those rough rides. Lee’s answer is of course to add another layer of bureaucracy called “the fix-it team,” with a “fix-it director” (yes, that’s the official title) who reports directly to him. Are you telling me with a budget bigger than the nations of Haiti, Belize, Aruba, Jamaica, Cuba, and the Bahamas combined, bigger than 13 U.S. states, bigger than every U.S. city per capita except Washington, D.C., that we can’t get potholes fixed without creating another six-figure middle management job?(more)

A lot to think about. San Francisco has a lot of priorities lining up for a handout. The public needs to be involved in priority discussions, as there will be cuts coming soon. A hiring freeze would be a good place to start. We don’t need any more six figure staff. We also need to admit which of the experiments on our streets are not working. The figured out that removing trash cans was leading to more trash on the street so they are returning the cans. How much money did we spend on that experiment?

A Day Without a Woman rallies unite thousands in Bay Area and beyond

By Kevin Fagan, Filipa Ioannou and Jenna Lyons : sfgate – excerpt (includes video)

Rallies took place around the Bay Area as part of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s March that spilled millions into the streets in January was no one-off, thousands of women loudly declared Wednesday from one end of the country to the other. It was the beginning of a movement.

From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., they punched home their point with their own bodies, gathering in protests to show what life is like at the workplace without women… (more)


There’s something about Carmen

By Joel P. Engardio : sfexaminer – excerpt

Shrugs abound when asking people on the street what they know about the Office of Assessor-Recorder at City Hall. Someone joked the title is obscure enough for its occupant to be the “Designated Survivor” of local government — like Kiefer Sutherland on the hit TV show.
Yet Carmen Chu is poised to become the assessor-recorder everyone knows and celebrates
Chu’s fiscal acumen will help us survive President Donald Trump’s retribution if he withholds a billion dollars in federal funding because San Francisco defied his executive order against sanctuary cities.
Charged with valuing San Francisco’s 208,496 properties, Chu’s office generates more than $2.6 billion in annual property tax revenue for city services. She collected $274 million in transfer taxes alone last year, which can pay for a lot of what Trump threatens to take away.
“I am committed to protecting the rights of our immigrant families, women, LGBT communities and the 90,000 San Franciscans who receive Obamacare,” Chu said. “The City is already estimating a $400 million deficit over the next two years, which doesn’t include what we might lose from a Trump administration. This means every penny counts.”…
It would be easier for San Francisco to defy Trump, stay true to our values and endure a loss of federal dollars if we weren’t also facing a deficit of our own making.
We could have used recent boom years to save more money and shrink City Hall through innovation and efficiency. Instead, we let The City’s budget double the past decade to $9.6 billion, we increased the number of city employees to 30,000 (one for every 28 residents) and we didn’t adequately plan for unfunded healthcare liabilities that are ballooning out of control.
Now, we will be forced to cut the budget. But Chu is doing everything in her power to hold the largest taxpayers accountable so those cuts aren’t as painful…
Let’s hope San Francisco benefits a long time from Chu’s wisdom to diagnose a problem, her determination to solve it and her competence to achieve results.…  (more)

There is a saying that a good manager is invisible. That may be a good sign that Carmen is doing a great job of running her department. No word of discord or dissent. No complaints that we know of. She must be doing something right. She is one of the easier people to work with in City Hall. Our thanks to Carmen. Keep up the good work.