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tv   This Week in Northern California  PBS  February 3, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PST

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closed captioning of this program is made possible by the firemen's fund foundation. >> belva: the republican presidential candidates stump for their first in the west contest at the nevada caucuses. we have a report from the campaign trail. social networking giant facebook hopes to raise $5 billion in its much-anticipated ipo. it could make millionaires of one-third of its employees and help fill state coffers with new tax revenue. and the court orders occupy oakland activists to stay away from city hall plaza following last weekend's melee involving the burning of the american flag. plus, a look at grassroots efforts to save san francisco's
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treasured coit tower murals from decay due to years of neglect and exposure from the fog. coming up next. >> belva: good evening. i'm belva davis and welcome to "this week in northern california." joining me on our news panel tonight are josh richman, bay area news group's political reporter. jolie o'dell, reporter for "venture beat." carla marinucci, ploit call reporter with the "san francisco chronicle," joining us from las vegas. carla, we know they say what happens in vegas stays in vegas.
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but how are the republican presidential candidates changing their message to reach voters here in western states? >> yeah, belva, you're right. first in the west caucuses in nevada and it is all about western issues. the candidates are talking water and immigration. but they're also talking about issues we know in california, but that are even deeper here in nevada. the highest unemployment rate in the nation in nevada. the highest home foreclosure rate. this is stuff that is absolutely a theme on the campaign trail. but i have to say when you're talking about the nevada caucuses, you're talking about some campaign events you would never see in california. i just came from ron paul touring a gun store with assault weapons. i just came from newt gingrich in a country western bar. and yesterday, it was mitt romney with donald trump in his glittery hotel about the only thing that was missing was the showgirls there.
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you get a little of everything in nevada but the fact is this is be a important stage for the west, and i think an important stage for mitt romney. he's expected to come in ahead, but right now, it is very interesting that many of the volunteers in these caucuses are coming from california, particularly in the ron paul camp. >> i mean, that's kind of ron paul's -- sorry. isn't that kind of like ron paul's national strategy is to pack the caucus states and get his people into the rooms wherever he possibly can? >> yeah, josh, you've got it right. ron paul said he is going to fight for every vote and it is amazing to see the turnout from california that is here for him. they are knocking on doors. they are doing phone calls. almost every event i go to of ron paul is packed with californians. look, some of these issues are the same issues. when we're talking about lower taxes, we're talking about help for small business, and of
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course ron paul has a huge following among young voters and many of them are from the bay area. i have to say. so we're seeing that. and i'm wondering if he's going to be able to pull off some kind of surprise here with the kind of turnout he has. but i mean, also seeing a lot of folks from the meg whitman campaign working behind the scenes for mitt romney. i mean, it's very, very interesting to washington californians playing in this market here in nevada. but the fact is the media markets are the same. a lot of the themes are the same. the way the caucuses are run, though, very, very strange and very interesting. they're going to be held at 9:00 a.m. on saturday morning. and that is a time that really eliminates most of the working people in a tourism-dryn state. you're talking about a state where taxi drivers, waitresses, friday night to sunday, that is their peak time. many of them can't get off to go
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to these caucuses. so who's going to go? mostly senior citizens, a lot of the experts are telling me. that could skew the vote. >> belva: what about the issues, though? are they talking about these things these people are concerned about? about foreclosures, about jobs? what's the message? because the messages have been quite different, both in new hampshire and in south carolina. >> you're eventually right, belva. you were with me in new hampshire, you saw the themes that the candidates went for there. out here in nevada, you're talking -- ron paul, for instance, gun rights. you're talking about government intervention in small business. you're talking about federal management of lands. 85% of the lands here in nevada are under the control of the bureau of land management. these a big issue here. libertarians are very big in the nevada political scene. and that's why i think some of the themes are much different here. and when you're talking about
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the west, immigration, a huge issue. we've heard newt gingrich pound heavily on this today. and he's been very much more aggressive than he was in new hampshire and elsewhere. today he just went after romney as obama-lite and said he didn't have really the values. and he didn't have the campaign. he was too prone to gaffes. this is the kind of thing that we're seeing a real all-out fight here in nevada for these caucuses. and i think it's going to impact as we go forward, june in california, we'll see if newt gingrich and ron paul and even rick santorum can keep this then going all the way till june and maybe california. that's what some republicans are saying they want to see happen here. >> carla, can i ask, what have some of mitt romney's issues been in nevada? he got a trump endorsement and that was probably a little uncomfortable or even embarrassing for him?
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>> that was one of the more interesting campaign events i've ever seen, watch donald trump just completely overshadow romney. and he did seem almost embarrassed to have this endorsement. in a week in which romney made that gaffe and said he didn't worry about poor people, to be standing next to one of the most bombastic millionaires in the country and get an endorsement, it's been a little rough for mitt romney here. the fact is, he has organization not only in a campaign that's well-funded and lots of attack ads on the air, and these ads are running -- >> >> belva: what about the mormon vote? >> that's exactly right. he's got a mormon organization here that is very, very strong and they are expected to get out the votes tomorrow. that is, he won these caucuses in 2008. he's expected to win them tomorrow. but i think a lot will be told on how big his win is.
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and whether ron paul or newt gingrich can cut into it so much that it sort of raises questions yet again on his strength as a candidate. >> belva: okay, so you're telling us all about the political trail. we're going to turn to something now that everybody's interested in. whether they're in nevada or not. that is the future of facebook and who will make money and how much they will make. so tell us a little bit, when should you and i think about, ha ha, selling our stock? >> sadly it's not going to be happening for me until i get out of the business. but i would say, if you can get your hands on facebook stock early, the day that it debuts on the market, i would say go for it. go for it as soon as you can. because this stuff is going to be on the rise, conservatively, at least for the next year. possibly the next two years. beyond that, in technology, these companies come and go, it
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can happen at a moment's notice. but i don't think anybody in the tech community sees that the facebook credits, facebook gets one-third of that. as the use of facebook credits is growing revenue from facebook credits is growing, as people use their facebook profiles and they give facebook all the status, facebook uses that data to make lucrative advertising products. and they're selling like hot cakes. it's a big threat to everybody else and internet advertising. so that's why i think they're going to be around for a while. >> what's the sudden bumper crop
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of young -- sorry, carla. what's this bumper crop of young millionaires going to mean to the bay area? >> i think you said it, young millionaires. these shareholders skew young, younger than google, younger than apple. some of these, most of these engineers i would say, i would say on average they're in their mid-20s. some of them younger. and i don't think they're looking to put down roots in the bay area and buy property right now. i would think, you know, look to corporate taxes for a lot of local benefit. but i wouldn't count on individuals providing the kind of revenue that california needs for the state budget. i would say if you own a lamb bo lamborghini or rolex outlet, you might be doing well. >> this is a company that's upped its profile on the political scene in the last year, mark zuckerberg having a town hall meeting with president obama, they hired joe lockhart,
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clinton spokesperson. have they been preparing for this? their political profile in washington is much bigger now. what are the issues they're worried about that they are hiring lobbyists and important folks in politics to represent them? does this have to do with the ipo? >> you know, i think it does. some of it. i mean, some of they're going to be under so much more scrutiny as a public company. they're going to be releasing numbers that we've never seen before. and people i think are a little bit more concerned. it's one thing when you give your data to a private company. when you give your data to a public company, who knows what's going to be public. privacy has always haunted facebook. whether or not that's based on fear, uncertainty and doubt or fact, privacy has always been a big issue for them and i think it will continue to be. when they're lobbying congress, i think they're trying to keep themselves as competitive as possible in the advertising game. >> belva: what has been done to quell the fierce of people over
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privacy issues? >> i think a lot of what they've done is pr, to be prank. i think the concerns over privacy are, hm, a little bit of a myth. sometimes they're mythic, sometimes they're very real. it's very hard to draw that line without knowing a lot of facts that because they're a private company we don't have those facts. >> belva: what about the control of the company? there was some discussion -- >> oh, yes, a bit exciting. >> belva: this is a new ball game too. >> mark zuckerberg controls a lot of facebook shares and the votes that go along with those shares. but somewhere in some backroom deal that he made, or boardroom deal, with some big-name investors like dustin moscow vits, a facebook voe-founder, sean parker, a prominent early employee, even some of the biggest venture firms in silicon valley and the world, dst, excel, he got them to take their equity, but he got to keep the voting rights. and the minute any of those people sell those shares, the voting rights for those shares,
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they go from ten votes per share to one vote per share so he retains control. he has this huge bloc of voting power and it will let him control the facebook board for the foreseeable future until he himself dies or divests. >> belva: your best guess, how long will they stay hot? >> you know what, if i had to put them -- lock some of my money away in facebook, i would take it out in two years just to be safe. just to be safe, because you know, with these big social media companies like myspace, we saw these guys start to slide downward, and eventually they crashed. but it took a long time and you could see it coming a mile away. i think with facebook, they're just as large and it's going to be -- much larger, and it's going to be the same long, slow, zeppelin plunge down to the ground. >> belva: thanks. interesting stuff here. i have lots of interesting stuff going on in oakland. lots of news this week out of oakland. >> yes, not quite so positive as the last segment. yeah, you know, an occupy
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oakland march and demonstration last week turned into, as you called it at the top of the show, a melee. more than 400 people were arrested, the biggest mass arrest that the county has seen in 30 years. there have been accusations hurled around on both sides. the protesters say that the police acted, you know, with undue and excessive force. and the police pointed out that the protesters came and tore down fences and threw things at officers and had reinforced metal shields they were advancing on police lines with. so it's pretty ugly. the 12 people have been charged with criminal offenses so far. and they've taken the unusual step of getting stay-away orders for these dozen people. 11 of them have been served with these orders. that they cannot come within 100 yards of franc ogawa plaza or
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the auditorium, site of the original clashes. this is raising eyebrows. civil libertarians have concerns this is an infringement upon constitutional rights to keep protesters away who have not been convicted of crimes of which they're accused. and there's practicality concerns about what if they ignore these orders, get arrested again, it's going to just continue to build sympathy for the cause, they don't have any money that the city can take. all this happens again the backdrop of a city that's financially struggling. i mean, the city council this week found a way to make its $28 million in budget cuts that were necessitated by the loss of the redevelopment funds we've talked about here on the show before. 80 layoffs are happening this month in city government, not in the police department but elsewhere. and, you know, it's very hard for the city to swallow the costs week after week of dealing with these things. it's ultimately the city that's paying for it. >> josh --
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>> belva: go ahead, carla. >> sorry, belva. josh, here's the question. there have been some reports, i mean, how far is occupy oakland going to go? some of these reports suggest that their next goal may be to try to take over the oakland airport. at some point we've asked governor jerry brown this before, does the national guard get called in on some of this? i mean, how far can this be taken with these organizers? >> yeah, well, i think -- it remains to be seen how far they're going to want to go. i think they're starting to lose a lot 6 people along the way. i've seen a lot of -- not just in our mass media but in blogs and other places where occupiers are communicating this week, a lot of frustration with the guy who stood up and said, if you don't do this we're going to take over the airport. because they don't think there's a viable goal or even a useful goal. frankly there's polling out this week that shows that a lot of people, even self-identified liberals, are shying away from the movement now. they may have supported it
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initially when it was really focused on economic inequality. but if it becomes a weekly opportunity to provoke the police, a lot of people don't really have any interest in doing that. they also don't have any interest in the idea of occupying vacant buildings in order to create a headquarters. >> belva: it's strange these two stories are coming together. >> yeah. do you get any sense the occupy oakland movement itself is losing momentum? >> i think it's going to start losing bodies if nothing else. i think people are going to be -- are going to start to wonder why they're out there after a while. because i think the message is kind of getting lost. there's a lot of the question, when people break into city hall as they did last week and smash a children's art exhibit and burn an american flag on the steps, what is that saying? what is it accomplishing? who are you fighting by doing that? >> it's a very dark message. >> it's a very dark message and it's kind of a murky message, more so. i don't think it's clear as to what it -- i don't think they're identifying very well what it is they think they're fighting for.
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>> belva: oakland took a step of appointing a permanent chief also. >> yes. amid all of this tumult, the guy who's been interim chief since october, howard jordan, who's actually presided over the police tactics of recent months, is now permanent, a 24-year veteran of the department, good ties with rank and file, a good bond with mayor kwan, a lack of such a bond is why the previous chief left. he's coming into this with a department that's down a lot of officers in recent years and he's got this to contend with, he's under the watchful eye of a federal judge. we'll see how he copes with it. >> belva: we should add on the budget news, there was good news for some of the social programs and children's programs. >> yes, that's right. amid all those budget cuts the oakland zoo and children's fairy land managed to escape the very deep 40% cut in city funding they were going to get. unfortunately, as i said, there are 80 city workers who will be out of work as of the middle of this month.
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happy news for some, not so happy for others. >> belva: lots of news in oakland, thanks, josh. there is a petition drive under way in san francisco for a ballot measure that would require the city to restore its historic coit tower murrells to original 1930 splendor. backers of the initiative say the treasured frescos have decayed from years of exposure to fog and neglect. pbs news hour's correspondent spencer michels has our report. >> perched atop telegraph hill, coit tower has dominated the san francisco skyline since it was dedicated in 1933. it's a familiar symbol of the city. a beacon at a spot where residents in the 1850s used to signal ships in the bay. but there is historic treasure inside as well. more than 75 years ago, ruth gottstein watched as her father
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bernard and other artists painted frescos on the walls, murals that depicted life in america in the early 1930s. the murals in which gotstein appears as a girl were funded by a predecessor of the wpa program begun by president franklin roosevelt to keep artists working during the depression. >> as a little girl i was fortunate enough to be here at different times where they were actually at work. i guess i could never quite believe that it would still be here and that all the work my father did, all the artists did, are still here, intact, and speaking so clearly to their ties. >> nationally, in the '30s, 2,500 murals were created. in post offices, schools and elsewhere. 60 buildings in san francisco alone. many have been destroyed and the impending closure of nearly 4,000 post offices could signal
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that more would be junked. coit tower's artworks are regarded as among the best of the genre. they depict scenes as different as the grim reality of city life, pastoral beauty of california's agriculture, and the worlds of food and leisure. allison cummings is an art historian for the san francisco art commission. >> the quality of art is amazing here. it's really indicative of the time period of the early '30s and sort of public art, public mural movements of that time period. >> but today at 89, gotstein and others are worried about those frescos and whether they will survive the ravages of weather and neglect. and she also says the city doesn't treat the tower as it should. >> if it were treated as a museum, if the walls were kept secure, if the entrance was guarded so that people could walk around, like any other museum of any importance in the
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world, it would be secure. and it's not. >> but even cummings agrees there are problems, partly because of fog that often envelopes the tower. most of this looks pretty good. but right up there you've got this real problem. >> right, we have this area of moisture damage or evidence of moisture damage where moisture has penetrated the back of the mural and is evaporating through the space and leaving behind what we call efflurescence, basically salt crystals. >> in addition, visitors, about 200,000 a year, occasionally touch the works and damage or chip them, either accidentally or maliciously. in a second floor section maintenance workers damaged frescos with their equipment. those problems are solvable given enough money. >> there is no climate control in here at all. where in the very early planning
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stages of this, working on a treatment assessment and coming up with how much it's going to cost. >> but a whole new approach is needed, says attorney john gallenger, who heads the hill directliers association. >> walk in the front door, there's no one to greet you and to say, here's what these murals are all about, here's what you can do to help protect them. water is dripping from the ceiling, paint is peeling. it's an integral part of the city. if it's not being treated and the murals are falling apart, that's something people are going to be upset about. it should be city policy to strictly limit commercial activities and private events at coit tower. >> he leads a group of residents that has begun collecting signatures to place a measure on the city ballot to call attention to the plight of the tower and the murals and ensure that most of the money generated at the tower -- $900,000 last year -- be used to preserve it. much of that money comes from a $7 fee to ride the elevator to the top of the tower.
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collected at the concession stand in the main floor. gallenger is spent call of city plans to raise more funds by renting out the top room, with its beautiful views of the bay area, for occasional small parties. >> it shouldn't be just another corporate party venue that could be used for years to come without the public being allowed to enjoy it in the same way as those who are willing to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to do so. >> we've been asked to cut or raise $42 million -- >> limited rentals won't harm the tower, says phil begins bearing, head of san francisco's recreation and parks department. he admits it's tough to find money to fix the murals in today's hard economic times. much like the times when they were painted. >> i wish we could do, the city could do more to protect and preserve them. the parks department has about $1 billion worth of deferred maintenance needs throughout our system. we're actually going to be giving the arts commission about
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$250 million more capital fund to help preserve the murals. >> ginsburg says the proposed ballot measure isn't needed. about the ruth gotstein supports it as a way to ensure the survival what was she considers a national treasure. >> i think it's extraordinary, it's amazing. it's a capsule in time. >> in a city noted for its political activism, coit tower and its murals have become the latest battleground. activists have until february 6th to gather enough signatures to put the advisory proposal on the ballot. >> belva: for more coverage of the murals at kqed/org/thisweek. anna demure smith is currently at grace cathedral. sunday morning at 9:30 i'll be
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her guest in conversation and it's free to the public. i'm belva davis. thanks for watching. good night.
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