Archive for June, 2013

Advice for the Summer of 2013: Avoid Limited Edition Watermelon Oreos

Friday, June 28th, 2013

That is all.


Hard Body, Market Street – How Much Exercise Can One Person Do?

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Well, As Expected, the $7 Fee at the Strybing Arboretum is Going to Become Permanent – A Little History

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Boy there’s a lot of overhead involved with the whole process of charging people $7 to walk through the former Strybing Arboretum, it sure looks like.

Anyway, here’s a little background on how we’ve gotten to this point:

LMA-BOS-Supporter Talking Points-6-4.21.13 Budget Hearing

Arboretum Contract Critique

And here’s a post from 2010:

“Not sure how many people were at last night’s “workshop” to discuss the idea of charging admission at San Francisco Botanical Garden (aka Strybing Arboretum) in Golden Gate Park ’cause I left before it ended. But the hand-count totaled 225 souls, so let’s call that a gentleman’s 250 altogether for the crowd.

Here’s the thing – people on both sides all seem to know each other and care deeply about The Garden. This conflict seems a kind of civil war (hence the Antietam name check, yes it rhymes exactly), a family squabble. It’s plant-loving Brother against plant-loving-but-other-stuff-too Brother. Get up to speed on this dispute here.

Now, once more into the breach, dear friends.

The mise-en-scene last night. It’s Recreation and Park Commission President Jim Lazarus taking individual questions from a hostile crowd, split up unnecessarily, it turned out, into three sections. This is what the bulk of the meeting looked like. Click to expand:

But let’s start at the beginning. Below, it’s the organized neighbors! They taped up hundreds of small signs to draw attention to the meeting. Did workers from DPW spend a lot of time taking down the unofficial notices? Apparently. Were any official notices put up, like last time? Not that I could see.

Inside, the fellow on the left, (didn’t get his name, someone called him The Kid) tried to get things started, but vocal members of the crowd didn’t like the agenda that was handed out, particularly they didn’t like being split up into three groups.

The guy with the ponytail went off, and the Eli in the Yale jacket on the right pleaded for calm. Thank Gaia for Yalies:

After a couple go-arounds like that, The Kid threatened to cancel the meeting. (Arboretum staff appears to view hosting public meetings like these as doing a favor to Arboretum visitors, and truth be told, if San Francisco officials are dead-set on allowing the charging of admission, they can do it regardless of what regular Arboretum visitors want.) Here’s a ten-minute video of the action.

But after a brief huddle, redolent of a friendly car salesperson taking your low-ball offer to the Big Guy…

…out comes lawyer Jim Lazarus calling an audible to change the meeting’s format. He seemed every bit the experienced pol he is.

The new agenda that got worked out with leadership elements from the masses: an uninterupted 10-15 minute “general presentation” of the plan. “Then you can decide how much you want to beat us up after that,” said Jimbo. “You can shoot us all when it’s over.”

This Lazarus Effect resuscitated the meeting. So, let’s hear The Proposal.

The Arboretum would set up pre-fab ticket kiosks at the Main Gate and the Friend Gate (near the Japanese Tea Garden) for $65K and then hire four part-time cashiers, a manager(?), and also a part-time accountant for $148K per year. San Francisco residents would enter for free after showing some sort of ID. Those useless freeloading parasites known as Everybody Else in the World would pay $7, or $4 (students and seniors), or $2 (kids) each time they go in. They’d have the option of getting a $75 annual pass that would also allow entry at the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers – something like that.

The projected 100,000 in paid admissions would have a “blended average” of $5.50 per, resulting in a gross take of $550K. Take away $150K for expenses and you end up with an annual net of $400K, of which $100-150K would go into the Rec and Park kitty and the rest could go into whatever, like hiring more gardeners at $68K salary (plus 25% more in benefits).

The goal would be to eventually get up to a full complement of 16 gardeners, which will “never happen” without some new source of Arboretum-specific cashola.

That’s it.


What about residents of neighboring counties in the Bay Area you say? It doesn’t matter, all auslanders gotta pay.

What about the rumoured $1.3 million cost of building the kiosks and other related expenses? That was just a “Cadillac proposal” dreamed up by somebody or other – the bare bones approach discussed last night would not be as nice, but it would get the job done.

This charismatic-messianic type got lots of applause for questioning the whole idea of charging anybody anything, regardless of the numbers:

Mr. Lazarus acknowledged the fear San Francisco residents have of being the next in line to be charged, the fear that admission prices would then increase after that. No promises on that front. Que sera sera.

But I’ll let the Keep the Arboretum Free people delve into these issues more. When I left, Lazarus was answering questions one by one, Phil Donahue-style.

“FREE means NO FEES, NO I.D.s”

Oh yes, the “next terrible meeting” promised by Jimbo will concern paid parking in Golden Gate Park. (Do people really plant their vehicle in the park for free and then run all over town all day? People do.)

Random observations:

The estimate of $148k annually to pay salaries for  the paid admission scheme sounds low. Way low, particularly in light of what cashiers at the Japanese Tea Garden get paid.

Park and Rec knows how to notice a public meeting but, for whatever reason, it appears to have done a bush-league job of noticing last night’s workshop.

Next up next month in June: the action will move over to City Hall and the Board of Supervisors. When will our civil war end?

Public Workshop – Botanical Garden

When: May 28, 2009 – Thursday 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: County Fair Building, 9th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, San Francisco
What: In response to the feedback received on the proposed admission program at Botanical Garden, the Rec & Park Department decided there will not be a fee for residents. The revised proposal does include a $7. fee for nonresident visitors. Public workshop is to take feedback regarding revised proposed admission fee and will be seeking topics including:
Implementation of the new fee for non-San Francisco residents.
Amenities at the Garden.
Potential new revenue sources.

To Be Continued…

The Harassed Hawks of Golden Gate Park are Always Getting Hassled by Smaller Birds

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Your crows, ravens, and blackbirds of  Golden Gate Park just won’t tolerate the presence of raptors.

They can’t abide.

Above the Golden Gate Park Panhandle, just yesterday:

Canon 200mm 2.8L

Above what used to be called Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park:

Canon 400mm 4.0 DO IS

Above Stow Lake:


Canon 300mm 2.8LIS + 2x extender

Gee, If the “FREE SPEECH AREA” for the 2013 Pride Parade is Halfway Down 5th Street, Everywhere Else is the NO FREE SPEECH AREA?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Here’s the map from last year and I’m supposing that it’s still good for 2013 seeing as how the Pride website doesn’t seem to have been updated completely.

And I suppose that I mean halfway down the first block of 5th Street, but it hardly matters – those with something to say about Bradley Manning or whathaveyou will be out of sight, out of mind regardless.

Or so it seems:

Oh well.

This Photo is Your Best Shot of Seeing the Blue Angels During San Francisco Fleet Week 2013 – Federal Sequester Blues

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

A photo from the Presidio, from back in the day, from an innocent time when we didn’t know what a “sequester” was, you know, federal-wise:

Click to expand

But yes, they would fly them jets ‘neath the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Oh, So _That’s_ What the Central Subway Looks Like – A Giant Hole in the Ground at the Foot of Stockton – “Don’t Dig There!”

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

The Central Subway project might make sense politically (let’s take money from taxpayers from all over America to pay for a big project in our little-big city), but it doesn’t make sense from a transit standpoint.

Down down we go, under Market Street, under the MUNI Metro, and under the BART. When you pass by, you should crumple up all your ones and fives on you and throw them into this sinkhole because that’s what you’re already doing and what you will be doing far far into the future.

Click to expand

Oh, what’s that, “transit justice,” they say? Well, most of the victims of this project live in San Francisco and most of them aren’t caucasoids, so I don’t know what the fuck that phrase means in the context  of this ridiculous scheme.

The project promotes transit justice by providing reliable, efficient, and safe transit for those who live in Chinatown and those who want to visit Chinatown.”

Does City Attorney Dennis Herrera believe this bullshit? No. Does Supervisor Scott Wiener? No. How about closeted Republican Supervisor Mark Farrell? No. How about Board of Supervisors President David Chiu? No.

Oh well.

Don’t dig there and dig it elsewhere
You’re digging it round and it ought to be square
The shape of it is wrong, it’s much too long
And you can’t put a hole where a hole don’t belong

The Hole in the Ground” was a comic song which was written by Myles Rudge and composed by Ted Dicks. When recorded by Bernard Cribbins and released by EMI on the Parlophone label in 1962, it was a hit in the UK charts.[1][2]

The song is about a dispute between a workman digging a hole and an officious busybod y wearing a bowler hat. This exemplifies English class conflict of the era and Cribbins switches between a working class Cockney accent, in which he drops his aitches, and a middle class accent for the gentleman in the bowler hat.

Here’s the July 4-11 Schedule for the America’s Cup, Here’s What We’re Getting for Our Tens of Millions of Dollars

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

But first, the news. Here are your top seven stories when you search for news regarding this colossal failure:

  1. How Larry Ellison Is Destroying the America’s Cup – Bloomberg

    Jun 5, 2013 – The result is the sports equivalent of Apple’s Newton or Microsoft’s Bob: a disruptive, innovative, colossal failure. The America’s Cup, which 
  2. America’s Cup finals scaled back from original vision – San Jose 

     Aug 23, 2012 – In an interview this week at Marina Green, Troublé blamed theAmerica’s Cup Event Authority for failing to secure TV contracts early enough,
  3. Did an America’s Cup Sailor Drown Because His  – Slate Magazine

    May 9, 2013 – On the America’s Cup website, there is a description of the AC72, the new  It’s not clear if there was a structural failure that caused the crash 
  4. America’s Cup Team Feared Capsizing –

    May 10, 2013 – The team said doctors failed to revive him while in rescue boats and later  The America’s Cup, established in 1851 as a competition between 
  5. Organized Labor – America’s Cup Admits Failure to Pay Prevailing 

    Organizers for the America’s Cup Yacht races were called to a special hearing by the Board of Supervisors in March to explain a failure by some contractors 

And now, on with the show:

“Please check below for the schedule for the first week of the America’s Cup Summer of Racing. Changes and updates will be made to this schedule as necessary.

July 4 – Opening Day

12:00 America’s Cup Park officially opens to the public for the first time
13:30-16:45 AC72s at mooring off Promenade at Piers 27/29
14:00-14:30 Poster signing session at Presentation Stage with America’s Cup Teams
14:15 America’s Cup Pavilion open for ticketed entry
15:00-16:30 Opening Ceremony at America’s Cup Pavilion
16:45 AC72 depart mooring
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

July 5 – Race Day (Fleet Race / Parade)
10:00 America’s Cup Park opens
10:00-11:00 AC72s at America’s Cup Park mooring
10:15 Marching band from Plaza to Presentation Stage
10:45-11:15 Dock Out Show (including full sailing teams at Presentation Stage)
11:15-12:00 AC72s depart for Boat Parade from Pier 27 to Marina Green
12:15-13:15 AC72 racing, live on big screens, with commentary
14:00-14:30 Poster signing session with America’s Cup Teams
15:00 -17:30 Live Music – New Diplomat and The 500s
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

July 6 – ‘Special Event Day’
12:00 America’s Cup Park opens
13:30-14:30 “AC Talk Show” with Andy Green and Tucker Thompson plus teams @ AC Pavilion
14:30-15:00 America’s Cup Trophy – San Francisco Fan Photo Opportunity
15:00-15:30 Poster signing
15:30-17:30 Live Music – Nova Albion and Bonnie & the Bang Bang
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

July 7 – Race Day
10:00 America’s Cup Park Opens
10:00-11:15 AC72s on moorings
10:15 Marching band to Presentation Stage
10:45-11:15 Dock Out Show
12:00-13:00 “AC Show” at America’s Cup Pavilion, with live commentary of Emirates Team New Zealand vs. Luna Rossa race starting at 12:15
14:00-14:30 Poster signing session
15:00-17:00 Live Music– Jazz Mafia
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

July 8 – ‘Reserve Day’
12:00 America’s Cup Park Opens
12:30 “Kids World” America’s Cup Park tour starts
12:30-13:00 America’s Cup History Film, AC Pavilion
13:30-14:00 What’s Inside – The Science of Sailing, AC Pavilion
14:30-15:00 America’s Cup Movie of the Day – 1
15:30-16:00 America’s Cup Special Film, AC Pavilion
16:30-17:30 America’s Cup Movie of the Day – 2
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

July 9 – Race Day
10:00 AC Park opens to the public
10:30 “Kids World” AC Park Tour starts
12:00 -13:15 “AC Magazine Show” at AC Pavilion with Team representatives
14:00 -14:30 Poster signing session
15:00 -16:00 America’s Cup Discovered
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

July 10 – ‘Reserve Day’
12:00 AC Park Opens
12:30 “Kids World” AC Park Tour starts
12:30-13:00 AC History Film, AC Pavilion
13:30-14:00 What’s Inside – Science of Sailing, AC Pavilion
14:30-15:00 AC Movie of the Day -1
15:30-16:00 AC Special Film, AC Pavilion
16:30-17:30 AC Movie of the Day – 2
19:00 AC Park closes

July 11 – Race Day
10:00 America’s Cup Park opens
10:30 “Kids World” America’s Cup Park Tour starts
12:00-13:15 “AC Magazine Show” at AC Pavilion with team representatives
14:00-14:30 Poster signing session
15:00-16:00 America’s Cup Discovered
19:00 America’s Cup Park closes

Now MUNI’s Running Ads That Support UberX Taxi Service? Apparently, Uber is “Better Faster Cheaper”

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Here’s what the SFMTA is saying this week, that UberX is “better faster cheaper” than SFMTA’s regular taxis:

And here’s the SFMTA’s other ad on this topic:

“All right, here’s the new side-of-the-bus ad from our SFMTA, the slowest large transit agency in American history (And I’m srsly on that one. Can you name me one slower? OK then.)

“Do You Know What You’re Getting Into?”

Click to expand

By the numbers:

1. Trained drivers with extensive training [And people say bloggers talk funny!]

2. Proper insurance [A low blow! But yes, SFMTA, you have a valid point here.]

3. Your support of local San Francisco drivers. [Some yes, some not]

4. Driver background checks. [Meh.]

5. Safety and meter inspection [Meh.]

6. Formal process for dispute resolution [Meh.]

OK, now how old are you, SFMTA? Not too old but old enough to have been in charge of this:

Was this SFMTA-licensed driver trained with extensive training to, IDK, investigate fires before people die?

Apparently not. How many fares have Lyft drivers killed?

Speaking of which, what about  the sad case of Julie Christine Day, who was last seen alive leaving the Bubble Lounge on Montgomery?

One of your vaunted, extensively-trained, fully licensed and insured drivers started up his fully-inspected meter and then immediately set about murdering his fare, right, SFMTA?

So, what the Hell?

All right, SFMTA, you might have some good points about Lyft and Sidecar and Uber (look for the orange rear-view window cozies, I’m srsly) and the illegal limos and the out-of-town taxi drivers making illegal pickups in the 415.

But you are biased by your 50% tax on taxi medallions, among other things.

So let’s mark this effort as yet another failed initiative from the SFMTA.

SFMTA Dragnet

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

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