Guardian Intelligence: July 23 - 29, 2014

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J-POP ROCKED

The annual J-Pop Summit in Japantown drew a lively crowd of anime and other Japanese pop culture treasures to Japantown last weekend (including Shin, pictured). This year's festivities included a Ramen Festival portion, featuring noodle cooks from around the world — and lines up to two hours long to sample their rich, brothy creations. PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

DA LOBBYIST

Former San Francisco Mayor and current Chronicle columnist Willie Brown, often just called Da Mayor, is widely acknowledged to be one of the most politically influential individuals in San Francisco. But until recently, he'd never registered as a lobbyist with city government. Now it's official: Brown has been tapped as a for-real lobbyist representing Boston Properties, a high-powered real-estate investment firm that owns the Salesforce Tower. News outlets (including the Bay Guardian) have pointed out for years that despite having received payments for high-profile clients, Brown has never formally registered, leaving city officials and the public in the dark. Da Mayor, in turn, has seemed unfazed.

GAZA PROTEST

On July 20, marked as the deadliest day yet in the Israeli-Gaza conflict, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in San Francisco to march against the ongoing violence. Waving flags, participants chanted "Free, free Palestine!" and progressed from the Ferry Building to City Hall. It was just one of hundreds of protests staged worldwide in response to the bloodshed. As of July 21, the Palestinian death toll had risen to about 500, while 25 Israeli soldiers were killed. PHOTO BY STEPHANY JOY ASHLEY

PET CAUSE

Last year, the SF SPCA (www.sfspca.org) assisted with over 5,000 cat and dog adoptions. With its new adoption center near Bryant and 16th Streets, which opened June 13, it aims to increase capacity by 20 percent — saving 1,000 more furry lives in the process. The new facility features improved condo-style enclosures rather than cages, a small indoor dog park, and SF-themed climbing structures for cats. (So far, there's a Golden Gate Bridge, a Transamerica Pyramid, a cable car, the Sutro Tower, and the SF Giants logo; a Castro Theatre design is in the works.) These improvements make the shelter life more comfortable for the animals, but they also help entice visitors, making the adoption process "a fun, happy experience," says SF SPCA media relations associate Krista Maloney. See more kitties and puppies at the Pixel Vision blog at www.sfbg.com. PHOTO BY CHERY EDDY

MIX IT UP

The quarterly SF Mixtape Society event brings together people of all, er, mixes with one thing in common: a love of the personally curated playlist. This time around (Sun/27, 4pm-6pm, free. The MakeOut Room, 3225 24th St, SF. www.sfmixtapesociety.com) the theme is "Animal Instinct." You can bring a mixtape in any format to participate — CD, USB, etc. (although anyone who brings an actual cassette will "nab a free beer and respect from peers.") Awards will be given in the following categories: best overall mixtape, audience choice, and best packaging. Hit that rewind!

CODERS FOR KOCH

This week San Francisco plays host to the Libertarian conference/slumber-party Reboot 2014, aimed at — you guessed it — tech workers. Conservatives and government-decrying libertarians are natural allies, wrote Grover Norquist, scion of the anti-tax movement, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Uber swerves around transportation regulations, Airbnb slinks under housing regulations. It's no wonder politically marginalized libertarians are frothing at the mouth to ally with Silicon Valley's ascendant billionaires. Reboot 2014 speaker Rand Paul's recent meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, and Peter Thiel should have liberals all worried.

BART CLEANSING

BART announced via a press release they'd begin "ensuring safe evacuation" of downtown BART stations. By this they mean they'll start sweeping out anyone sitting or laying down in the stations, clearly targeting the homeless. Deflecting those accusations, BART said they are one of the few transportation agencies with a dedicated outreach and crisis intervention coordinator, as if that gives them a pass.

CLIFF JUMPING

At 66, Jimmy Cliff put on one of the most energetic live shows we've ever seen on Saturday, July 19 at the Fillmore, high-kicking through newer songs, like "Afghanistan," an updated version of eternal protest song "Vietnam," as well as the classics: "The Harder They Come," "Many Rivers to Cross," etc. Check the Noise blog at www.sfbg.com for a full review.