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Let’s see here, can you spot the PG&E Tower of our Golden Gate Bridge in the lower left? Good, now check out vertical elements of our old and new San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridges.
Not much has changed with the poorly-managed 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake-related fix-up job that’s due to finish up sometime this decade, so there’s no reason to think that America isn’t still laughing at us.
Of course you should try to not to stare at the new ornamental tower when you are cruising by on the temporary S-curve. Safety First, right? Anyway, it’s a little higher now. See?
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And, of course, Mike still sucks big titties.
That’s your Bay Bridge update for 2011.
It’s hard to say exactly how many people marked the 21st Annivesary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre* in front of the Chinese Consulate on Laguna down in the Western Addition on Friday, June 6th. It seemed like they had a caravan of 30-40 cars plus a giant moving van but I didn’t see a big crowd or anything.
A motorcade passing City Hall before the protest:
As seen on Laguna near Japantown:
The protesters had a lot of interesting posters displayed. Are people still jailed 21 years later? No se, I’m a little gun-shy about checking out strange websites ever since Google sent a message to warn me that, apparently, Red China (or, specifically, a dude with an IP address from Red China) hacked into my GMail account two days ago. And that struck the Googlers as a bit odd since I also logged in from San Francisco multiple times the same day. Oh well. China has lots and lots of energetic hackers operating for their own purposes 24-7, of course. Anyway, if you want surf around, knock yourself out:
The events of 1989 represented the huge challenge to the Communist Party of China’s position as supreme political authority in the world’s largest country. The Party didn’t know what to make of this kind of thing, at first:
Anyway, here’s the mise-en-scene from Friday: a protester carrying a funerary display up Geary, a plainclothes Fed (Jacqueline Bauer?) assigned to protect the consulate building, and a young dude from Armada Security paid hourly to do the same thing:
So, nobody scaled the building to fake hang themselves they way they did back in aught-eight. This was the scene just before a Chinese dude on the roof famously cut the suspension line. Simple physics tells us it took slightly more than a second for her to hit the balcony about 15 feet below. Ouch:
No, things were pretty mellow at Friday’s protest, excepting for the guy who shouted out, “Why don’t you all go home, motherfuckers!”
Something very San Francisco about him – what do you think, is it the convertible Mercedes lifestylemobile, the tattoos, the Hollywood-director baseball cap, the rage, the unsolicited advice yelled at strangers? Something in that area….
Cyclist gal was all, WTF, racist dude?
The next day, Armada had an older fellow marking time minding the store as baseball-hatted Chinese intelligence officers entered and exited the building.
Just another day in Paradise.
See you next year.
*With 400-800 deaths in and around the square, on or around June 4, 1989, all told – that still appears to be the best guess.
60 Minutes just aired its big been-two-decades-after-Loma-Prieta-so-why-isn’t-the-Bay-Bridge-fixed-yet bit. It was mostly good, but let’s start with the bad:
“But they may not know their most important lifeline to the outside world is also one the weakest: the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco to Oakland.”
The Bay Bridge isn’t a “lifeline to the outside world,” of course.
Then there’s this:
“In 2004, Caltrans finished replacing half a million rivets with bolts and added 17 million tons of extra steel.”
Really, 34 billion pounds of steel? Isn’t that a lot? Wouldn’t that weigh more than every person in the western U.S.? Yes. How about 17 million pounds instead? (That’s a screaming error of more than three orders of magnitude. Journalists, when throwing about large numbers, try not to exceed three orders of magnitude. Of course, you should feel free to continue substituting million for billion and vice versa, I mean, they’re both big – they’re practically the same thing, right? Moving on…)
Now, speaking of bad, what about the workers who seem to have all the time in the world to spend tagging our cracked bridge instead of finding more cracks?
via CalTrans, actually
But hey, what about the good?
Well, there’s this:
“But the decision to build an architectural icon didn’t end problems – it started new ones. The most bizarre was with the U.S. Navy. In 1998, it refused to let Caltrans onto Yerba Buena Island to finish its engineering work. The Navy’s issue was whether the Bridge would overshadow the one-time home of Admiral Chester Nimitz, a hero of World War II.”
Did not know that. I knew there were some kinds of probs but I didn’t know that this was one of them. Bad form, U.S. Navy. Do you think old Ches cares about building shadows? I don’t.
And then there’s this:
“But for those who would say, ‘How dare you take that risk with the lives of people who live in this community,’ you say what?” Pitts asked.
Of course the interviewer didn’t get an answer, but thanks for asking.
Our tough old Bay Bridge has handled stuff like container ship and military jet crashes over the years. Let’s hope it can survive state, federal, and local government mismanagement for just a little longer.
Hold on, Bay Bridge. Hold on.
“$1.8 million settlement that prevents Maurice Irving Glad (aka Mike Glad), owner of 22 Midas auto shops throughout California, from owning or operating an auto repair shop in the state, after the franchisee “deceptively lured” customers with cheap brake specials and then charged hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.”
Now what do you suppose Mike did with some of that ill-gotten booty? Well, he traveled the world, natch, but he also produced an Academy Award-nominated documentary (narrated by Edward James Olmos!) called Recycled Life. (So all those people in the East Bay and the South Bay who thought they were just fixing their cars actually were financing the Hollywood dream factory by paying an average of $268 more than they should have….)
El Protector De La Gente, Jerry Brown:
Read all about it, after the jump
Can you hazard a guess as to why?
Here are all the deets:
THE BIG RUMBLE – SAN FRANCISCO
20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Big Rumble commemorates this anniversary with a week-long series of special events designed to connect our communities with preparedness resources.
Join us in October for The Big Rumble, as we come together as a community to learn more about how we can be better prepared for all types of emergencies. Events will include entertainment, activities for kids, free giveaways, and valuable preparedness information.
Venues and Entertainment
Bayview| Joseph Lee Recreation Center | Oakdale Ave and 3rd St.
Sila: Kenyan Afro-Funk band led by Victor Sila
The Congress: Neo-jazz project led by producer/trumpeter Marcus Cohen
Marina| West Side of the Marina Green| Between Scott ST. and Avilla
Gaucho: San Francisco based Gypsy Jazz Sextet.
Mission| Parque Ninos Unidos| 23rd and Folsom.
My First Earthquake. San Francisco Electro-pop dance group
Locura Trio. San Francisco Based Flamenco rock group
Aceituno Arts Capoeria Exhibition. Capoeira Exhibition by student owned Martial Arts Studio
Family Style: Jazz and Funk Ensemble
Sunset | 20th Ave. and Irving St.
West Sunset ReConnect Steel Pan Drummers and Dance Ensemble
This was the scene today in historic Portsmouth Square in San Francisco’s Chinatown – the mayor signing autographs after announcing a list of some of the torchbearers who will relay around the city on April 9th.
Let’s not forget about her, in all this Olympic excitement.