Archive for July, 2009

Arrest #49 for Local Burglar – Baited Car in Golden Gate Park Proves Irresistable

Friday, July 31st, 2009

What items tempt you the most when you scan parked cars for Objects in Plain View  – would it be a laptop computer, an iPod, maybe a backpack? Well, be careful, cause when the SFPD baits cars for sting operations in Golden Gate Park, they sometimes use all three. (It’s almost like entrapment, or something. So tempting these parcels are, next thing you know, it’s smashy smashy!)

From the Richmond District Blog comes a sneak peek of Richmond Station Police Captain Richard Corriea‘s next weekly update for the Richmond District Police Community Police Forum. Read an entire entry below.

Is this a parking lot, a freeway, or Golden Gate Park‘s MLK Drive near the Inner Sunset on a recent Friday? Click to expand:

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Yes, it’s MLK near the Friend Gate of Strybing Arboretum. Perhaps the cars huddle together for safety?

Here’s why:

“On July 25, 2009 Richmond [District] officers working in plain clothes staked out a car at Middle Drive and Bowling Green Drive in Golden Gate Park. There were several items of value in the car, including, a backpack, computer and an IPOD. The officers knew from experience that an auto burglar would find the car an appealing target. Indeed, several hours into the stakeout an individual burglarized the car, and he was immediately arrested. A subsequent search of the suspect turned up evidence from a theft committed nearby earlier in the day and narcotics. The suspect, who has been arrested forty-nine times, including thirty-one times for felonies, was booked for burglary, possession of stolen property, theft and a narcotics violation. This individual is likely responsible for several auto burglaries daily.”

How many car windows do you have to break to get a rap sheet this long – hundreds, thousands?

On It Goes…

Another Street Plaza! Mason Street Blocked Off Tomorrow for Two-Month Trial

Friday, July 31st, 2009

The Pedestrianist today reminds us all that the temporary closure of 184 feet of Mason Street begins tomorrow, August 1, 2009. (And, as ususal, The Streetsblog can always get you up to speed on streets issues right quick.)

Check it. Can you see that tiny stretch of Mason between Lombard and Columbus? Imagine people lounging about (in the middle of the damn street!) for the next eight weeks or so.

Click to expand:

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Here’s the mise-en-scene:

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See the upper left corner? That little triangle is your possible future library location, pending NIMBY approval:



So if you ever experience congestion in North Beach or Chinatown or Fisherman’s Wharf, be sure to blame it on this tiny temporary plaza.

Will it be a “traffic nightmare“? The people at Save Mason Street think so.

Brace yourselves…

San Francisco Surrenders – The Pigeons are Now Firmly in Control

Friday, July 31st, 2009

They’re everywhere.

As seen on Market Street. Mid-Market, actually, home of boarded-up storefronts and empty newsboxes, for some reason. Look at these boids strutting around on the Champs-Élysées of the West” like they own the place.

Click to expand:

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I, for one, welcome our new avian overlords. (Actually, maybe not. Histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis – the risk of contracting those conditions is something to consider before cleaning up after these flying rats.)

Maybe we’ll get the birth control thing figured out one of these days, but probably not.

All Hail King Pigeon.

What To Do When You Find a Wallet on the Streets of San Francisco

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Well, the onus is on you to return it, of course. Here’s the etiquette:

If you are offered a reward, which is typically something like 10% of the folding money that’s left inside, turn it down at least two times. After that, it’s your call whether to accept it or not. How’s that for etiquette?

But usually, the reward you’ll get is simply the adventure you have with the return, as here, where Whitney’s gold wallet, filled with credit cards and tens of thousands of Chilean pesos (guessing on that part), somehow ended up on Sutter Street getting pummeled by the massive tires of  a #3 Jackson bus last night.

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Next thing you know, you’re experiencing Redevelopment from the inside in a relatively new building that’s just an adventure in itself. Something like (but not actually) the horrible and horribly expensive Fillmore Center Apartments. Yish. Drop off the wallet with the roomie and her yapping chihuahua Taco Bell Dog (speaking of which, R.I.P. Gidget) and bingo bango, you’re done.

The Western Addition doesn’t have pizza delivery (note rectangular no-fly zone), but complimentary late-night wallet delivery, well that’s another story:


So yeah, you could take the easy way out and drop it by an SFPD station, but even getting an officer’s attention at one of these places can take a while, in my experience. Plus, you might miss out on encountering an Enormous Government-Related-Failure from up close, you know on Fillmore Street.

(Wonder how Yoshi’s San Francisco is doing these days. Are they still focused on jazz? Will the Redevelopment Agency give them ever more millions until the cows come home? Does the Redevelopment Agency know what it’s doing? Has the Redevelopment Agency ever known what it was doing? Such are the thoughts you might have when encountering the aftermath of the Redevelopment Agency up close at night.)

Oh well.

They said she jumped from floor twenty one
It’s empty now but it blocks out the sun
Used to be the shape of things to come

Non-“DUI Lawyer” Explains What to do if You’re Stopped for a DUI in California

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Hooh boy. Below is an actual “press release” that just came over the transom from a lawyer licensed in California. We’re going to do it Point/Counterpoint style with the actual press release from the “DUI lawyer” followed by the reply from a non-“DUI lawyer.” 

Easy peasey. But first, a photo caption: 

The poor victims of California’s draconian DUI laws, horrible laws enforced by unreliable cops using unreliable breathalyzers. Oops, nobody wanted to pose for a photo bearing that caption, so let’s make do with a shot from the wrecked Volvo of the victims of a boozed-up driver:

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via vikisuzan

“California DUI Lawyer Explains What to do if You’re Stopped for a DUI”

LONG BEACH, Calif., July 29 /PRNewswire/ — Nationally-known California DUI attorney [Redacted] , author of [Redacted], offers this advice:

“What should I do if I’m stopped  for suspicion of DUI?”
[Think to yourself, “Man, what’s gone wrong today such that I’m now in this predicament? Maybe it has something to do with all that effing  alcohol I just drank? Or maybe it was the Vicodin. What changes can I make in my life?]

First, don’t flunk the “attitude test”:  Be pleasant and cooperative with the officer. But that doesn’t mean to do everything you’re asked.
[No arguments here.] 

For example, you’re not required by law to take the DUI field sobriety tests, and frankly I’d advise you to decline them. 
[Frankly, take the Field Sobriety Test, if you want.]

In [Redacted – basically a list of some of the counties where said “DUI lawyer” has an office] and other parts of California, you may be asked to take a DUI handheld breath test during the DUI investigation; again, you’re not required by California law to take it and you should politely decline.
[WTF? Didn’t he just say that in the preceding sentence? Again, take the Field Sobriety Test, if you want.]

“Should I answer the officer’s questions?”
[It depends – are you drunk or not?]

Decline to answer potentially incriminating questions, such as “How much have you had to drink?”
[Don’t say “a couple beers”! Everybody always says, “a couple beers”!]

or “How do you feel?”
[Don’t say, “Drunk”!]
Remember: whatever you say that can hurt you will be put in the officer’s DUI report – and whatever will help you will be left out.  A good answer is, “I would prefer not to answer any more questions until I can see an attorney.”
[Try to not to slur your speech when you say this.]

“Should I take a breath or blood test?”
[Both. Why not Bring It On!]

If you’re offered a test after you’re arrested for DUI, you should probably take it. 

If you refuse, the possible license suspension and jail time will be longer and a refusal can be used in evidence as an implied admission of intoxication.
[Bingo. Now we’re on the trolley.]
The blood test is potentially more accurate than the generally unreliable breathalyzer
[“Unreliable”? Wouldn’t you want your DUI level determined by an unreliable method if you’re drunk, as most people prosecuted for drunk driving actually were?]

so if you’re confident that your blood-alcohol level is under .08%, take it.
[This is advice? If you know you’re going to pass the blood test, you should take it? But what if you are actually too drunk to drive under the law, the position most people find themselves in after failing or refusing to fail the Field Sobriety Test? There’s no pithy advice for actual drunk people, apparently.]

“How serious are the consequences of a California DUI conviction?”
[Pretty much the same whether you hire a “DUI Lawyer” or not, if you’re a first timer with a typical case. F. Lee Bailey famously avoided conviction when he got caught in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley back in 1982. More about him later.]

Initially, the possible legal consequences of a DUI conviction depend upon many factors, such as the blood-alcohol level, any prior DUI record, presence of children in the car, etc.  Penalties include jail, fines, license suspension, DUI schools, probation and possibly more.  But the indirect damage can be considerable: including a criminal record, increased car insurance, employment problems, professional licensing issues, security clearance — even possible consequences in divorce or child custody cases.
[Yep. What’s this, a commercial for lawyers?]

“What is the most important thing for me to know if I’m arrested for DUI in California?”
[Yes, it is a commercial for lawyers. Here comes the hard sell.]

DUI is the most difficult crime for an attorney to defend correctly,

due to the complex criminal DUI laws

and scientific blood-alcohol issues, as well as separate California DMV administrative hearings.
[Difficult? The hearings they have on the second floor of the DMV where the drunk driver’s chance to speak  lasts a number of seconds or minutes? Srsly? Hahahahahahhahahah! Oooooh… a hearing at the blessed DMV where you’re going to lose your license to drive for a while, whether you like it or not! So “complex” a path for your attorney to navigate as he cashes in on your drinking problem.]

Recognize that it’s usually the unreliable breath machine that largely determines guilt or innocence.
[Recognize that it’s the usually reliable breath machine that largely determines whether you are guilty of DUI.]

It’s crucial that you retain a California DUI attorney with at least 10 years experience,
[Gee, he means maybe himself, maybe, just maybe? Hahahahahahhahahah!]

preferably a lawyer who specializes in DUI defense exclusively in Los Angeles, Orange County or wherever you were arrested.
[If you look at it along these lines, this attorney has somebody available to represent about half of the state of California. What a specialist!]

For more information about California DUI laws and DUI lawyers, visit [Redacted]
About the Law Offices of [Redacted]
Known nationally as “The Dean of DUI Attorneys,…”
[The “Dean”! Hahahahahahhahahah!]

Thus ends our trip to press release lawyer land.

Now, about F Lee Bailey. The way he got off was to hire Robert Shapiro(!), who went after the arresting officer, Peter Canaan. Remember all that stuff about Ron Fuhrman back in the O.J. Simpson case? There’s your “aggressive defense” defense strategery:

“In 1982, he attracted national attention again when he beat a drunk driving charge with LEGAL REPRESENTATION from his friend, ROBERT L. SHAPIRO. Bailey complained that the police had picked on him because he was famous. Soon he was campaigning publicly against what he saw as police harassment, warning, “The cops have decided to set some fierce public examples of their new hard line, probably to scare drivers into going easy on the booze.” He promptly wrote a legal SELF-HELP book titled How to Protect Yourself against Cops in California and Other Strange Places, purporting to be a guide to avoiding unfair drunk driving convictions.”

So, O.J. Simpson didn’t kill his ex-wife and Ron Goldman (a guy who just happened to be seen around town driving the crappy white Ferrari Mondial that OJ’s money paid for), because of the N-word and you’re not a drunk driver because you paid thousands of dollars for a “DUI attorney”? O.K. fine.

Let’s review the state of affairs:

99%+ of trips made by drunk drivers in California never result in a traffic stop, arrest, conviction or anything of that sort and;

California has one of the most lenient standards for how impaired you can be compared with the rest of the world, and;

A thousand-something non-drunk driving Californians die each year due to drunk drivers.

That’s the state of affairs. If you want to pay an attorney to commiserate with you after the DMV pulls your license, well then have at it.

And also, what does this mean, California Lawyer Magazine?

“DUI defense is the specialty people love to hate—but dare not drive without.”

So let’s see here, got my keys, my cell phone, OMG, where’s my DUI defense? I never dare to drive without it! WTF, CLM. Also, try finishing this sentence:

“DUI has gotten to be like child molesting…”

All right, if you say so.

That is all.

Who is Vandalizing the Lawn Sprinklers of Golden Gate Park?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Now, you’d think that the water sprinklers of the Golden Gate Park Panhandle would be old school, like made 50 years ago out of some kind of heavy metal. But you’d be wrong – these things are mostly plastic. So there’s no market in stealing the sprinkler heads to sell for scrap or anything.

So, why do some people come along and wreck ’em? Do they do it to see this kind of scene?

Now back in the day, some SAAB cars used to spontaneously combust, just sitting around at night. But those days are over, so there’s no point in this exercise: 

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Click to expand

Bad form, vandals.

McAllister Repaving Ensures Snickerdoodle Bike Route is Smoother Than Ever

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

See? That’s smooth, baby.

San Francisco Bike Route 20 (if you’re going west, anyway) on McAllister near Pierce. Click to expand:

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(If you’re heading east, in towards downtown, the Route 20 switches over to hillier Fulton, which is not recommended.)  

And those “lead pipe” attacks (well, not actually lead, probably, but whatever) on cyclists ended more than four years ago. From 2005:


“We’ve received reports of cyclists being assaulted near the corner of Fillmore and McAllister by youths carrying lead pipes during the past few weeks. Use caution when biking through this area after dark, and immediately report any violence to the SFPD by calling 911 (for emergencies) or 553-0123 for non-emergencies.”

So now there’s no excuse not to take The Snick to get to the Golden Gate Park Panhandle bike path.  

If you want…

The BART S.W.A.T. Team Makes a Bust in San Francisco’s Civic Center

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

This is just a routine bust from yesterday in the Civic Center. But can you see Officer Lennan’s golden S.W.A.T. badge?  

Didn’t know that BART‘s SWAT team (cue musicwalked around without their assault rifles. Thusly:

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Click to expand

SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics)

“The BART Police Department maintains several specialized units to deal with the variety of needs which may arise within the BART system. One of these units is the SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) Team. 

The department’s SWAT Team was established to deal with situations within the BART system which require equipment, techniques and training which are beyond the norms for most police officers.

Personnel assigned to the SWAT Team and assigned personnel have other full-time assignments within the department. Personnel are selected from applicants based on a range of criteria including: physical fitness, firearms proficiency, and supervisory recommendations. Members of the team receive specialized training from several sources including local F.B.I. courses and joint training with other local teams. Personnel on BART’s SWAT Team have developed proficiency with a number of specialized weapons and with techniques designed to increase their efficiency and safety in dealing with situations unique to underground transit systems.

Team members train on scenarios which include situations on-board trains within tunnels, on elevated trackways, or in stations. In addition to situations unique to the BART system, the department’s SWAT Team is also utilized to make “high-risk entries” pursuant to warrants obtained by the department. When crimes occur within the BART system which lead to the issuance of arrest or search warrants, an evaluation is done to determine if the service of the warrant will present a risk to officers or the public. In cases where there is a high potential for violence, the SWAT Team is utilized for the initial entry.

The use of the specially trained team members decreases the likelihood for resistance and enhances the safety of police personnel, occupants of the residence and the surrounding community.

The department’s Hostage Negotiation Team works in conjunction with the SWAT team.”

If I ever get busted by the BART police, I hope it’s the SWAT team that does it…

The California Academy of Sciences Announces Extended Summer Hours

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Our CalAcademy has just announced extended hours!

So, until September 3, 2009, the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park will be open until 8:00 PM on Mondays and Tuesdays. Check all the deets below.

Are the animules friendlier during the evening? It sure seems that way:



Museum to stay open until 8:00 pm every Monday and Tuesday night.

Summer nights in San Francisco just got steamier. Visitors to the California Academy of Sciences can now enjoy the four-story rainforest exhibit, the swampy alligator habitat, the mangrove lagoon, and the rest of the museum’s exhibits and shows until 8:00 pm every Monday and Tuesday from August 3 through September 8, 2009.

San Francisco residents and tourists alike can take advantage of the long summer days to visit the Academy during off-peak times for Golden Gate Park—and to catch some of the aquarium’s nocturnal animals at their most active. “We have been delighted by the strong interest that San Francisco residents and visitors have shown in the new Academy since we opened last September,” said Dr. Greg Farrington, executive director of the Academy. “These extended summer hours will help ensure that everyone who wants to visit with our penguins and zoom through our digital Universe is able to do so.”

Dr. F welcomes you:


“Throughout the extended summer hours program, all of the Academy’s exhibits will remain open until 8:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday nights, and the planetarium and 3D theater will offer additional shows. The Academy Cafe will also remain open, giving working parents the opportunity to bring their kids to the Academy for “dinner and a museum” as a special weeknight treat.

Regular admission fees will apply for the Academy’s extended summer hours; Academy members will be admitted free of charge. Unlike the Academy’s weekly Thursday night program, NightLife, during which adults ages 21 and over can enjoy the museum from 6:00 – 10:00 pm, the Academy’s extended summer hours on Monday and Tuesday nights will be available for all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online at As always, visitors who take public transportation receive a $3 discount.

On Monday, August 3, evening visitors can also choose to attend an astronomy lecture by Margaret Race from the SETI Institute. Hosted inside the Academy’s 90-foot diameter planetarium dome, the lecture will begin at 7:30 pm. During the talk, Race will describe how experts from many different disciplines contribute to searches for extraterrestrial life—and explain how the Outer Space Treaty and planetary protection policies urge “responsible exploration” when visiting other planets. Lecture tickets cost $10, and advanced purchase is recommended. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 800-794-7576.

 The California Academy of Sciences is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum, and world-class research and education programs—all under one living roof. The new Academy, designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano, opened to the public on September 27. Admission to the Academy is: $24.95 for adults; $19.95 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID; $14.95 for children ages seven to 11; and free for children ages six and younger. The Academy is free to the public on the third Wednesday of each month. Admission fees include all exhibits and shows. Hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. The Academy is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. (415) 379-8000.

Bus Rapid Transit is Coming to Geary, Whether You Like It Or Not!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Last night’s meeting on the proposed Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project was co-hosted by District One Supervisor Mar and the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority. Lots of people showed up, including at least one blogger – read all about the meeting here at the Richmond District Blog.

They’re still working on some major details, so it’s not too late for citizens such as yourself to get involved. Just saying.

San Francisco Country Transportation Authority Principal Transportation Planner and Geary BRT QB Zabe Bent taking questions along with Eric Mar:

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Yes, this event WAS well-attended, with about seventy-something souls at the Rec Center on 18th Avenue. Some of them didn’t look or sound too happy. Crossed arms was the order of the day:

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So, the long-running BRT Battle continues. Read all aboot it here, courtesy of “Don’t Call Him Crazy” Rob Anderson, and here, courtesy of Rescue Muni, and you might as well get up to speed with all the deets of this project here, from the Official FAQ.

As they say, Go Geary!