California Ranked as 5th Best State to Get Help With Your Taxes

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If a sudden bout of depression came on yesterday (April 1), it's probably because you have to do your taxes soon -- for real this time.

Part of what's sparking this depression is this fact: The IRS estimates that it takes over 20 hours for the average person to file their federal and state taxes. That's two full days of work, or, to put it more bluntly, your entire next weekend.

Or you could just hire someone to do it for you. Wallethub, a social network for personal finance decisions, ranked California as the 5th best place to get help with your taxes. The company analyzed all 50 states and the District of Columbia using seven metrics, including the amount of accountants in the state and their workload.

North Dakota was no. 1 and Mississippi, per usual, came in last.

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7-Foot Cardboard Cutout of Mayor Ed Lee Makes a Cameo at Union Event


SEIU Local 1021 has found a makeshift solution to get Mayor Ed Lee to attend their "Worker Wednesday" roundtables: a 7-foot cardboard cutout of the mayor.

Last week, SEIU Local 1021 invited Mayor Lee to "Worker Wednesdays", a play-on "Tech Tuesdays," when the mayor meets with tech companies to discuss how to keep them in the city. The union's proposed "Worker Wednesdays" is a workable way to get the mayor to meet with union workers on site each Wednesday to discuss how to help them thrive in San Francisco.

But the mayor was a no-show to the Wednesday event. As a result, the union crafted their own Mayor Lee and paraded the cardboard cutout of the mayor on the grounds of the De Young Museum where they were planning to meet.

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Do You Have the Urge to Rappel 230 Feet From the Hyatt Regency Hotel?


It's not news that homelessness is a dilemma throughout the country, especially rampant in San Francisco, thanks to the high cost of living.

Youngsters aren't protected from that reality. According to Larkin Street Youth Services, there are 5,700 kids on the streets in San Francisco and 30 percent of those are LGBT. And since Gavin Newsom has yet to eliminate homelessness in San Francisco, Larkin Street Youth Services has come up with a creative solution to raise money for local homeless kids while teaching them some much-needed life skills.

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Solace SF Shutters Amid Allegations of Fraud

Categories: Community

Solace SF, a local faith-based nonprofit that served San Francisco's sex worker community, has shut down amid allegations that its founder, Laura Lasky, defrauded donors and beneficiaries and did not provide the services she claimed.

On its website, which was taken down on Tuesday, Solace SF stated its mission was to "meet the needs of men and women within the sex industry and those who are survivors of human trafficking." The organization purported to do so by offering "medical care, counseling, personal development, life skills, adult education assistance, recovery program materials, and more, completely free of charge to those we serve."

Lasky was also widely known in San Francisco's strip clubs as "the cupcake lady," where she spread awareness about her mission while distributing sweet treats and makeup.

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San Francisco Uses Valentine's Day to Draw Attention to Sexual Abuse Against Women

via V-Day
This Valentine's Day, San Francisco is hosting a seemingly a-typical Cupid event, yet one that's probably more compelling than any Hallmark bouquet you might get.

For the second year in a row, city leaders will welcome "One Billion Rising for Justice Day," a global campaign spanning 207 countries that raises awareness of domestic and sexual abuse against women. One Billion Rising began in 2013 in response to the alarming statistic that one in three women throughout the world will experience sexual or domestic abuse in their lives. The campaign invites survivors of abuse and their allies to join in solidarity to fight against the oppression and humiliation inflicted upon victims.

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Isaak Berenzon Identified as Elderly Pedestrian Killed Yesterday, Driver Charged With Manslaughter

The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office this morning identified the pedestrian who died yesterday afternoon as Isaak Berenzon, a 78-year-old resident of San Francisco.

Yesterday, Berenzon was walking through a crosswalk in the Parkside neighborhood at about 11 a.m. when he was hit by a car driving along Sunset Boulevard and Yorba Street. Berenzon died at the scene.

"After the collision, the force of the impact caused the pedestrian to be lodged in the windshield," says Officer Albie Esparza.

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Sofia Liu: Community Raises Money for Family of 6-Year-Old Pedestrian Killed

Categories: Community

Sofia Liu
After enjoying New Year's Eve dinner at grandma's, 6-year-old Sofia Liu and her family headed home when they were hit as they walked through a crosswalk in the Tenderloin.

Sofia was killed. Her mother and 5-year-old brother were badly injured, but survived.

Tuesday would have been her 7th birthday.

A week after the incident, Sofia's mother, Huan Kuang spoke to reporters, explaining that the accident not only left her with broken bones, but a broken heart. Reeling from the loss of the young Sherman Elementary first grader, the community has stepped up and started a fundraising campaign to help Liu's family pay for a memorial service as well as other necessary costs.

Janet Kunze, whose son attended school with Liu, organized the campaign.

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Sasha Fleischman: Donate to Help Skirt-Wearing Teen Who Was Set on Fire on City Bus

Categories: Community

Sasha Fleischman
Kind people are coming out of the woodwork to help raise money that will cover the multiple surgeries Sasha Fleischman must have after being set on fire while riding an Oakland bus Monday evening.

While it's friends and family who created a donation page to help 18-year-old Fleischman who suffered second and third-degree burns as a result of the incident, it's mostly strangers kicking in cash -- as much as $500 -- for the very wounded high school senior.

According to the fundraising page:

Yesterday while sleeping on the bus, someone set Sasha on fire. He is in St Francis Memorial Hospital & will require several surgeries. Please donate to his speedy recovery!

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Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Asks for Money to Build a Brand New Jail

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is looking to get $80 million in state funding to help build a new jail, sparking criticism from community members who'd prefer more rehab programs, and fewer jail cells.

The application for the money goes before the Board of Supervisors today for approval. If passed, the state would still need to sign off on the application before anything happens.

Needless to say, jail opponents are not happy about this. They said money should be invested in community programs, not jail expansion, and have vowed to stop Mirkarimi from moving forward on his plan for more incarceration space.

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Middle Schooler Tells Obama Cabinet Member That "White People Are Taking Over The Mission"

Well, you asked
Everett Middle School, on Church Street in the Mission District, is one of the city's most-improved public schools. It's also a hotbed of realness.

The latter was on display Tuesday during a visit to the school by Shaun Donovan, Barack Obama's secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

At the behest of Donovan and school Principal Lena Van Haren, a table-full of students were asked to opine on their likes and dislikes. You know, the usual. Muni was trod upon, of course, but then it got a little real -- a young Mission District native was asked what changed the neighborhood.

Her honest answer: white people.

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