Archive for August, 2009

See How Much Every Last Bay Area Government Worker Makes, Courtesy of the CoCo Times

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Oh, it’s on. The Contra Costa Times went and done it. They went and  asked every bay area governmental agency they could think of (from “A” for AC Transit to “W” for the City of Woodside), “Hey, how much do all your employees make?” So now, tout le monde, can see how much you (a city, county or other regional government employee) makes in salary by clicking here.

The search screen looks a little like this:

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What’s that, you work for the state?  Well then the Sacramento Bee has you covered right here.

Is all this disclosure legal? Hells yes! Why? Because International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO v. Superior Court of Alameda County was a 7-0 vote in the California State Supreme Court. Does that mean that you can look up the Supreme Court Justices’ salaries? Yes. Ha! (But they don’t care if you know, srsly.)  

Did some “public health care district” hospital administrator in the East Bay pull down over $800,000 in a year? Yes.

Why? Why not? And, since women only make 59 cents for every dollar men make, shouldn’t her take have been adjusted up 69% to $1,486,000 per year or something? Why not? After all, her job is described as “difficult.”

And her assistants only get paid “from $372,555 to $407,065.”

That’s all.


See some of the cities covered, after the jump.


Sarcastic San Francisco Chronicle “Thanks” Toyota for 25 Years of NUMMI in the Bay Area

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

So, somehow, Toyota’s recent departure from Fremont’s NUMMI auto plant is connected with:

1. Our nation’s ridiculous Cash for Clunkers federal bailout, and/or

2. Nissan pulling financing from a car dealership in Oakland.

That’s the conclusion you’d reach if you gave Chronicle editorial “Thanks a lot, Toyota a gander. Hey Chronicle: WTF?

A typical San Francisco car crash scene, in this case on Hayes Street. Note the make of the vehicles making up the bread part of this sandwich – “Thanks a lot, Toyota!”



Toyota’s U.S. market share has something to do with the Cash for Clunkers program? Really?

Isn’t C4C a federal program, and isn’t Toyota moving production to other North American plants, so isn’t it pretty much a wash anyway?

Didn’t Toyota lose a boatload of money on NUMMI the past quarter century? 

So, in fact, hasn’t Toyota done the bay area huge favor by operating the plant and paying those high-salary (no, not BART-driver six-figure money but close enough) union jobs?

So you all want Toyota to continue to lose money on NUMMI indefinitely on into the future making products people don’t seem to want to buy?  

Does it make sense to build cars in California these days?  

Don’t all Enterprise Zones generally suck anyway?

Has Toyota ever before pulled out of a production plant anywhere in the world in its history? So why would they single out poor little California in 2009?

Perhaps Oakland and Northern California already have too many car dealerships anyway?

(Do I want undercoat(!) on my new car for $600, or chrome on the wheels for $1800 and how much added dealer markup would I like to pay? Well gee, give me ten minutes* to think about it, and why don’t you make out with my girlfriend right here in the showroom while I’m deciding.)

Perhaps we don’t need evil car dealerships at all anyway?

Oops, of course the San Francisco Chronicle needs car dealerships, but what about everybody else in the bay area?

People can buy expensive things, like MacBooks Air**, online, so why can’t we buy a Yaris Hybrid or something online?  

Oh, that’s right, it’s illegal or something. Well why’s that?

[Sarcasm Mode= ON]

Thanks a lot, San Francisco Chronicle!

[Sarcasm Mode= OFF]

*En realidad, I’ve purchased one new vehicle in my life, and that deal took 7 minutes to complete, a hefty, hefty, hefty discount off of MSRP, no test drive – car dealerships are evil, and let me tell you, the sole curriculum at so-called Toyota University seems to be how to extract as much money as possible for routine service.

**The plural form of MacBook Air.

Fox News and Famous Glenn Beck Versus the Bay Area’s Very Own Van Jones

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I don’t know who Glenn Beck is but what I do know is that he’s embroiled in a controversy with the Bay Area’s Van Jones, who just got appointed by President Barack Obama to be Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

There’s a boycott going on due to something or other. It’s a bit hard to see what’s parody and what’s not, but you can figure it out, if you want.

Since graduating from Yale Law School, Van Jones (aka  Anthony Kapel Jones, aka Anthony “Van” Jones – isn’t it funny how Wiki spells out the full names of Cher, Sting and Madonna, but not Van Jones?) has been a fixture in the Bay Area.

Here he is promoting his new book…


…with Mayor Gavin Newsom at the Cal Academy in Golden Gate Park last year:


Seems a little unusual that this controversy hasn’t gotten that much play in the Bay Area, but oh well…

The Bay Area Resting Place of the World Famous Battleship U.S.S. Iowa, BB-61

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Here it is, in the East Bay, the famous battleship USS Iowa. She went under the Golden Gate Bridge for the last time back in 2001 and now just sits around at a cost of a quarter mil a year. There was talk of the Iowa (and also her sister ship, the USS Missouri) getting berthed in San Francisco as a floating museum, but don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

Click to expand:

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via kqedquest

And here it is from above:

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Of course Telstar Logistics has been there already, as you can see here.

Any takers?

A Brand New Path for Cyclists and Pedestrians on the Benicia-Martinez Bridge

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Yesterday saw the debut of a brand-new 12-foot-wide path for pedestrians and bike riders on one of the spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge a way out there in the extreme East Bay. That means that you can now easily travel from the former home-town of the Zodiac Killer to the beaver-ridden shores of Martinez, CA without using your car.

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Take a look at the circuit you can now make on your bike way out in the 925. Just use the Carquinez Bridge (cost overrun = $47,000,000 in 2003) one way and the B-M Bridge (cost overrun = $1,000,000,000 in 2007 mas o menos, due, in part, to the alleged suicidal tendencies of bay area fish, srsly) the other and you’re looping, baby.

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Pedestrian/Bicycle Path Debuts on Benicia-Martinez Bridge

New Path Closes Gap in Bay Area Trail System 

Festivities were held today to mark the official opening of a new pedestrian/bicycle path on the George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge leading from Benicia to Martinez. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans hosted opening events at both ends of the bridge, with a ribbon-cutting in Martinez at the foot of the bridge kicking off the festivities. Attendees then joined in the official first walk/ride across the bridge, where an opening ceremony followed at Vista Point in Benicia. A bicycle rodeo geared to youths at the nearby Amports lot was offered by the City of Benicia.

“The opening of the pedestrian/bicycle path is an exciting milestone that signifies completion of the final improvements to both spans of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge,” explained Bijan Sartipi, Director of Caltrans District 4 and an MTC/BATA Commissioner. “We are thrilled that we now have safe and efficient travel across the Carquinez Strait for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.”

The Benicia-Martinez Bridge connects Contra Costa and Solano counties across the Carquinez Strait. It is comprised of two separate spans, named for father and son (the late Senator George Miller, Jr. and current Congressman George Miller III), making the bridge a unique landmark. The 2007 addition, the Congressman George Miller III Memorial Bridge, carries five lanes of northbound Interstate 680 traffic from Martinez to Benicia and includes the Bay Area’s debut of open-road tolling technology. The original George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge, built in 1962 to carry traffic in both directions, now carries four lanes of southbound Interstate 680 traffic with full shoulders and the new pedestrian/bicycle path.

“This is a milestone project that has been in the works a long time and we are all very excited to see its completion,” said Laura Thompson, Bay Trails project manager for the Association of Bay Area Governments. “We are happy that we are making strides to close both the Bay and Ridge Trail gaps.”

Funded primarily through the Regional Measure 1 toll program approved by voters in 1988 and administered by BATA, the $50 million Benicia-Martinez Bridge project encompassed reconfiguring the bridge and adding the new path. The completion of the construction on the pedestrian/bicycle path indicates the final phase of construction on both bridges.

Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven of the eight Bay Area toll bridges. BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as MTC, administers toll revenues from the region’s state-owned toll bridges. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

                                                                   FACT SHEET


    Significance        The new Benicia-Martinez pedestrian/bicycle lane on
                        the Senator George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge will
                        close a gap in the San Francisco Bay and Ridge Trails.
                        This lane also serves as a link in the Carquinez
                        Strait Scenic Loop Trail, which is a 50-mile trail
                        that crosses both the Benicia-Martinez Bridge and Al
                        Zampa Bridge spans over the Carquinez Strait.
                        Bicyclists and pedestrians using this new path will be
                        treated to stunning views of the Suisun Bay, as well
                        as the Carquinez Bridge and the Mothball Fleet.

    Official Name       George Miller, Jr. Memorial Bridge

    Original Structure
     Opened             September 16, 1962

    Location            Carquinez Strait linking Contra Costa and Solano

    Roadway             Southbound Interstate 680 from Benicia to Martinez

    Configuration       Originally, three northbound lanes and three
                        southbound lanes; now four southbound lanes and one
                        pedestrian/bicycle lane

    Length of
     Path               11,800 feet or 2.2. miles

    Width of
     Path               12 feet; bi-directional travel

    Vertical Clearance
     of the Bridge      138 feet

    Type of
     Construction       Deck truss

    Project Cost        $50 million to seismically retrofit the bridge and add
                        the pedestrian/bicycle path

     Funding            Regional Measure 1 funds:  77%

    Federal funds:      21%

    State funds:        2%

    Seismic Safety      A “Lifeline” structure designed to remain in service
                        following a maximum credible earthquake. The
                        Interstate 680 corridor has been designated as a
                        primary route for transporting emergency supplies into
                        the Bay Area after a major earthquake.

Golden Gate Park’s Outside Lands 2009 Already a Huge Success

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

One-third of Outside Lands 2009 is finished and the reviews are universally good, more or less.

But what’s up with the water situation? People need to buy water? Srsly? How about air, is there a fee for breathing?

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via minusman

At least they’re not charging $4 for a bottle of water, the way it went at the riotous Woodstock 1999.

Our de Young Musuem Celebrates Spirit of the Arctic Tonight Starting at 5:00 PM

Friday, August 28th, 2009

As of yesterday,the de Young Museum has a new Eskimo / Inuit addition to its permanent collection. It’s called Yua, Spirit of the Arctic. It’s all about the Far North. They’re having activities tonight to celebrate. Check it out before you carry on with your evening.

From yesterday’s walkthrough:

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More photos here.

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See you there in Golden Gate Park! Just ignore Outside Lands!

Outside Lands 2009 Preparations are Finished – How Will the Kids Sneak in This Year?

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Meadows Speedway and Lindley were abuzz yesterday in Golden Gate Park due to preparations for the sure-to-be-delightful Outside Lands 2009, which fires up this afternoon. The thriftiest among us will have to deal with a more robust fencing situation, it would appear. Check it:

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Click to expand.

You’re looking at perimeter chainlink that’s something like 9 feet high, coupled with crowd control fencing that’s a bit shorter.

Which strategy will win out this year – over, through, or under? Only time will tell…

Also new for this year is a huge signage effort:

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Look for the Critical Mass riders to show up ’round about eight-ish. Guaranteed.

Have a great OL09!

And don’t forget to share your stories with the N Judah Chronicles, in real time. baby. Why not?

This Morning’s Auction at the Presidio Should Prove to be Entertaining

Friday, August 28th, 2009

What’s that? You missed the previews on Tuesday and Wednesday? Well then you missed this:

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Click to expand

To answer your questions:

No, that’s not Nuetella in the cabinets,

Yes, that is the Hammond C3 organ; and

I have no idea.

What are you waiting for? Put your Rice Krispies down and get on up to the Presidio, why not?

The first hammer drops at 9:00 AM.

Don’t Miss Your Chance to See Lords of the Samurai at the Asian Art Musuem

Friday, August 28th, 2009

All right, the summer crowds are starting to dissipate, so now’s your chance to see the fantastic Lords of the Samurai exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. And if you saw it already, well then come on back for the new stuff that just got put up why don’t you?

Read all about it via Kenneth Baker and SF Art Examiner Marisa Nakasone, and take a look at the pieces present at the opening of the exhibit here, here, and here at the Civic Center blog. And check out the Asian Art Museum Blog here.

Speaking of which, learn about the mystery behind a new collaborative parody website here. ( Boy, looking at that site, geez, somebody paid attention at college, huh?) If people did research into this scandal… the woman is the culprit.”

 Anyway,… God Bless the Armored Cav:

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Tosei gusoku-type armor.

Unlike a certain culprit, I missed the press preview to this show, which is too bad. But I’m going to try to make it back to the AAM before Lords of the Samurai goes dark on September 20th, 2009

See you there!

“The samurai culture and code of conduct, bushido, have long captivated the imaginations and aspirations of young and old in the Western world. More than just professional warriors, Japanese samurai of the highest rank were also visionaries who strove to master artistic, cultural, and spiritual pursuits.

Lords of the Samurai takes an intimate look at the daimyo, or provincial lords of the warrior class in feudal Japan. The Hosokawaclan, powerful military nobles with a 600-year-old lineage, embodied this duality of fierce warrior and refined gentleman.

The exhibition features more than 160 works from the Hosokawa family collection housed in the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo, and from Kumamoto Castle and the Kumamoto Municipal Museum in Kyushu. Objects on view include suits of armor, armaments (including swords and guns), formal attire, calligraphy, paintings, tea wares, lacquerware, masks, and musical instruments.

The Asian Art Museum is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition.”