Posts Tagged ‘2013’

McKinley Statue Graffiti, 2015 Update: Yep, It’s Got Some More – Here It Is, More Evidence for Fence Proponents

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Here’s how things stand now:

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And here’s a little history, complete with an artist’s conception of what the anti-graffiti fence would look like – keep reading down, through the webpages of time.

You know, fundamentally, this is the big landmark at the gateway to Golden Gate Park. I don’t like the fence idea but I also don’t like people coming by to see giant KKK letters on the base of this statue for days, weeks and months. And the Rec and Parks and Arts Commission people say it’s a real expensive PITA to keep the graffiti off.

So I don’t know…

Advice for San Francisco Newcomers: What’s “Rent Control?” It’s Something You Might Want – Not Now, But Next Year

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Or not. It’s hard to say how much rent control would benefit you next year once your lease is up.

But these days, there’s a ton of SF newcomers who are just figuring out the big benefit of RC.

Check it:

“Unfortunately most residents can’t afford to stay longer that 1 year. We’ve been living at Argenta for 10 months and have been very happy with the apartment. But we began to suspect that things weren’t quite right with management shortly after moving in. People we met in the elevator, lobby and our floor were all saying the same thing — rent had been raised to ridiculous heights and they were moving out. Over the last 10 months we have watched many of the tenants on our floor leave because of the rent increase.”

So that’s what you get with your brand-new building – a huge rent increase after your first year.

Generally speaking, older buildings have rent control and newer buildings do not. One exception is federal land, like Treasure Island and The Presidio. In those places, you can live in an older building but still get with huge rent increases.

Of course, it always pays to check.

Here’s a test – can you tell which places are rent controlled?

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You see, it’s hard.

Choose wisely.

Who’s Looking Out for San Francisco Taxpayers? The Republican Caucus of the State Senate – America’s Cup Fiasco

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Well, Larry Ellison has decided to take his little boat race to Bermuda for 2017. Now here’s the coda to his scandal-plagued 2013 effort in the 415. It was written last year but it’s still pretty much up to date:

Briefing Report: America’s Cup – The Economic Boon That Wasn’t

What a burn.

From the conclusion of the analyst’s full report:

Because both the America’s Cup Organizing Committee’s fundraising and tax revenues generated by the America’s Cup events fell short of the original projections, the City’s General Fund incurred net costs of nearly $6.0 million and the Port incurred net costs of nearly $5.5 million, totaling nearly $11.5 million.

Moreover, according to the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, it would appear that San Francisco also failed to meet expectations of job creation and small business involvement:

The impact of America’s Cup tourism on hotel occupancy was minimal with increases in hotel occupancy rates during the events generally less than one percentage point versus prior non-event years.

The Event Authority did not notify or work with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) to recruit San Francisco residents for Event Authority Contracts in 2012.

The America’s Cup provided jobs for 517 city residents out of a total of 2,800 jobs (note original projections stood at 8,840 new jobs).

Neither the Event Authority nor OEWD sufficiently tracked small business participation in Event Authority contracts.

What an embarrassment.

What Trader Joe’s #100 Needs is Ocean Beach-Style Warning Signs for Its Shoppers Who Jaywalk on Deadly Masonic

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

This is typical, this is routine – people parking on Masonic northbound and then jaywalking across five lanes of traffic to get to Trader Joe’s #100 and then jaywalking again back to their rides

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Why do people do this? Well, ’cause getting from northbound Masonic to southbound, which is the only way to get into the parking lot, is a PITA. Drivers are banned from simply turning left into the parking lot because that would end up blocking half of northbound Masonic, and of course Masonic is the Great Connector betwixt The Avenues and the Place Where People Want To Be.

And even if you get yourself facing southbound, you still have to queue up to get into TJ’s ridiculously small parking lot. Hey, couldn’t they have built an underground garage? Well, sure, but you’d have to talk with the Planning Department about that. And hey, couldn’t they have built parking on the roof? Well, sure, and actually they did but you’d have to talk with the Planning Department about that because the average shopper isn’t allowed to park on the roof.

And actually, the current parking situation is better than before. Our vaunted Planning Department did a very poor job with this project and now we’re left with a kludgy fix that commits part of Masonic to TJ’s shoppers idling and parking and waiting.

So that’s the situation, that’s why people say I-don’t-wanna-deal-with-all-that and simply park on northbound Masonic on the east side of the street.

And that’s fine, that’s legal, but then the shoppers see that northbound Masonic has long stretches when it’s empty (because drivers need to wait at a red for a long time to let traffic on Geary go through) and they see a bunch of stalled traffic on southbound Masonic (because of the shoppers queuing up and also to wait at a red for a long time to let traffic on Geary go through). So they march across 30 MPH Masonic to get to the store.

How many TJs shoppers do this on a busy day? IDK, hundreds. It’s their thing, it’s their routine.

So can you die doing this? Sure. Does TJ’s know about this situation? Sure. I don’t see how they couldn’t be aware. I mean, when you have journalists calling up your store asking about how somebody died, I assume that you’re aware of the situation.

What’s the solution? Well, people’d be safer walking down to Geary and crossing legally, but they all already know that.

You see the problem is that they don’t know how dangerous it is to do what they’re doing.

Hey, you know how many people die at Ocean Beach during a typical year? A lot. So many theat they have a special sign:

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How about similar signs for shoppers at this unique store:

People Jaywalking Have Died Here

How about that?

Unique situations call for unique signs, right?

Are you going to do anything at all, Trader Joe’s #100?

The Last America’s Cup Column Ever from CW Nevius: Larry Ellison’s Former #1 Booster Becomes a Critic

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

I don’t see how CW Nevius could possibly write another America’s Cup column after this one, so enjoy:

Remember the America’s Cup?”

Sure, it was the event you cheerleaded for when you moved to town about four years ago. It cost us a lot of money and you, CW Nevius, never apologized.

Monumental hype, epic races and crashes on San Francisco Bay, and controversy on top of controversy.

Well, let’s see here, wasn’t it you, CW Nevius, who was Grand Marshall of the America’s Cup “hype” team? Yes, it was. And speaking of remembering, what about this quote: “Holding the America’s Cup race in San Francisco is a wonderful opportunity without a downside. It is a win-win that will bring cargo bags of cash to the Bay Area.” Again, it was you, CW Nevius. Except this fiasco wasn’t a wonderful opportunity, and it wasn’t a win-win, and actually, we lost money on the deal. And actually, somebody was killed in one of those “epic” crashes on San Francisco Bay, you remember? It was just last year, actually, that this occurred.

In San Francisco, he changed the boats from stodgy, slow monohulls to 72-foot catamarans that could jet over the waves at nearly 60 mph.

The prior Cup didn’t use stodgy, slow monohulls, as you seem to imply. The change away from monohulls didn’t happen in SF. You want to make some point, so you change the facts to fit?

Ellison apparently wanted to be praised and admired. We were more like, “Uh, Larry, you promised us a fleet of eight to 12 boats and you only delivered three. And by the way, the 72-footers are so big and unwieldy that they are scary and dangerous.”

The problem with this is that CW Nevius was a great proponent of “NASCAR on the water. But then when he actually gets NASCAR on the water, he claims he doesn’t like it. OK fine.

Ellison is on the case this time. The boats will be smaller, 60 feet, will “only” reach speeds of 50 mph, and there will be a lot more of them. Five challengers have already committed, with five more “expressing interest.”

Oh, so CW Nevius now “knows” that everything will be fine with the boats next time, the same way he thought everything was going to be fine with the boats last time. Also, he now “knows” there’ll be more competitors?

San Francisco spent, and after sponsorships were included the city’s contribution was just $24 million. (The final event shortfall was $5 million after sales and endorsement money came in.)

“Just” $24 million, huh? Well, that number is understated, and I wouldn’t put a “just” in front of it. And the loss for SFGov  was far greater than $5 million.

So maybe we misunderstood Ellison. Maybe instead of bringing sailing to the masses, what he really meant was he was bringing masses of money to sailing. But the press coverage in Bermuda is expected to be very flattering.

So why does CW Nevius expect press coverage in Bermuda to be “very flattering?” What’s the connection between the stinger and all that came before it?

(CW Nevius sometimes seems to think that he himself is the San Francisco Chronicle, but I strongly disagree with that concept. Hey, what if the Chron were a catamaran, then what The Nevius be? A bunch of barnacles on the hulls? Something like that.)

Ed Reiskin Refuses to Comply with the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council, So Let’s Run a Trial on Masonic Ourselves

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Here’s the Citizens Advisory Council’s recommendation that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, has refused:

“Motion 140122.01 – The SFMTA CAC recommends that the peak hour restrictions be repealed on Masonic Avenue between Geary and Fell Streets, with the objective to measure traffic impacts on the 43 Masonic prior to the implementation of the Masonic Avenue street design project.”

Why did he do that? Well, because a “success” for him is the SFMTA spending the money it’s been given to spend. So why should he do anything to interfere with that when he’s in the red zone already?

Anywho, you can read what he has to say about a test-run after the jump.

In view of this dysfunction, let’s run a Masonic “streetscape” trial of our own, shall we?

Let’s start here, northbound, on the 3000 foot stretch of Masonic that will soon be changed: 

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See the bus? It’s stopped at a bus stop, let’s imagine. That means that Masonic will be down to one lane inbound, you know, temporarily, during the morning drive. How will this affect traffic, do you suppose? How many minutes will it add to your commute each way, each day? Mmmm…

Since we’re imagining, imagine a large median filled with trees on either side of the double yellow line. Now is that for safety or for aesthetics? The answer is that it’s for aesthetics. Compare that with the SFMTA’s disastrous, expensive, deadly 105-foot-wide Octavia “Boulevard” / I-80 on ramp. Yes, it’s has a vegetated median as well. So, is “safety” the SFMTA’s “number one goal?” No, not at all. Its real goal is expanding its payroll and spending ever more money. So of course if you pressure it to do things you want done, like planting trees in the middle of the street, which, of course, has nothing to do with safety, it will happily comply.

Will any commuters benefit from these soon-to-come “improvements?” No, not at all. These changes are going to slow the commute way down and that will impede people in cars and MUNI buses. Did the SFMTA do any “outreach” to / with commuters? Nope. It didn’t feel like it. The SFMTA prefers to host meetings packed with “urbanists” and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition employees and members. Do these people represent “the public?” No, not at all. Yet the SFMTA claims do have done public outreach.

How will these changes to Masonic, the Great Connector, affect the surrounding area? We’ll just have to wait and see. If, later on, you raise any issues with the SFMTA about the negative effects of all their changes, they’ll be all, well, expand our budget even more and we’ll redo the project again to fix this and that.

Of course, the way to run the trial run would be simply take away all the parking spaces for a day or so, right? So what you’d do is just simply shut down the slow lanes as a test. This alternative would satisfry (mmmm, Satisfries…. R.I.P) at least some of the objections that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, mentioned.

Would Ed Reiskin want to try this alternative trial? No, not at all. (See above.) Mr. R will be happy to ignore all the complaints only after the tens of millions of dollars have been spent.

Do I think that a bunch of people riding MUNI and driving cars every day, tens of thousands of people, are going say, wow, my commute has really slowed down after all these changes so I’m going to join the handful of souls on bicycles huffing and puffing up this big hill? Nope. Some might, of course, but it won’t be any kind of meaningful number.

And do I think it’s honest for SFMTA employees to tell higher authorities that’s there’s no public opposition to these changes? Nope. Oh well.

All right, that’s the thought experiment. It looks like this one’s going to go like a bunch of other SFMTA-created initiatives, you know, like the ideologically-driven traffic circles,  the absurdly-wide Octavia “Boulevard,” the crazy re-striping of the east end of JFK Drive – they’ll just look at them all and then pat themselves on the back and hand each other awards for these “accomplishments,” these “successes.”

[UPDATE: Oh yeah, a couple people asked me if I approve of this project. And like, I live a block away, but it won’t really affect me, myself, I don’t think. Seems selfish to think now-hey-what-about-me, anyway. What ended up happening  with Octavia is that they really biased the lights in favor of Octavia, so people have to wait to a long time to get across the whole 105 foot width. So maybe it’ll be a 90-second wait to get across Masonic when all is said and done? IDK, it’s hard to predict how much the SFMTA is going to mess things up with this arbor project, this tree planting diversion. So, what will the affects be? Will commuters abandon Masonic? How will they get around instead? IDK]

On It Goes…

Now, as promised, a note from Ed Reiskin, after the jump

(more…)

Here’s a Clue About How Uber / Uber-X was Evil Going Back Two Years Ago – Marketing on Market Street

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Here’s why I’m not an employee of the Uber:

Cause like every day I’d be saying, “Can we do that? I don’t think we can do that. Can we say that? I don’t think we can say that.”

I’d be a big Captain Bringdown / Jiminy Cricket.

Like here, a couple years back, on Market. I passed by this scene and so then I contacted the Uber people by email on my cell…

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…and I was all, “Can you do that? I don’t think you can do that.”

Why? Because it’s a chalk ad on a Frisco sidewalk and that aint kosher.

I mean, I didn’t know for sure, maybe somebody had approved this and the Uber people had permits, who knows. I was simply “issue-spotting,” as they say.

So then, a half-hour later, the Uberers had these ads hastily obliterated, more or less, as best they could.

Ah, memories…

“Pixar Canada?” – They Terk Our Jerbs! – How Hollywood-Style Tax Incentives Didn’t Work for Vancouver, British Columbia

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Here’s Exhibit A how about tax incentives for video productions don’t work:

“Disney was drawn to Vancouver by tax incentives, and this closure comes in the wake of British Columbia incentives falling behind those offered by Ontario and Quebec.”

So three years of Pixar Canada were subsidized by Canadian taxpayers and then everybody’s laid off from Pixar Canada. How could anyone spin this fiasco into some kind of victory? IDK

Without subsidies, you’d expect these Pixar jobs to be in Emeryville (where Pixar is the city’s #1 employer) or Los Angeles.

Anyway, this is all news to me. Perhaps it’s news to you…

Viking Games in the Panhandle: Look at All These People Throwing Wood to Play “Kubb” in Golden Gate Park

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

This was the call:

We want a Kubb tournament & picnic during the NOW! festival.

And here’s the result, as seen in the Panhandle – look at all them people:

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Click to expand

It’s Kubb, baby!

ATTENTION RESIDENTS OF THE NEW “NEMA” BUILDING: A Massive Rent Increase is Coming Your Way – ‘Cause No Rent Control

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

But don’t take my word for it, listen to one of your neighbors at 8 Tenth Street, 94103, via the Yelp:

“Please read this if you are considering any non-rent control building in San Francisco. I wish someone had told me this when I moved to the city and chose Nema. Please consider this advice.

If you have visited Nema, you probably can tell that the management, amenities and staff are outstanding. You may also notice that everyone living in the building has just moved from another city or state. Here’s why:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you rent in a non-rent control building, unless you can sign a multi-year lease. Could you afford a double digit rent increase? 50% rent increase? Is your income doubling next year? It seems far away now, but you will probably want to renew your lease. Now is the time to make a good decision about housing, not next year because you will be paying much more then.”

So basically, buildings built AFTER rent control came to San Francisco in 1979 don’t have no rent control. (The relevant date is printed on your landlord’s Occupancy Permit, but if your crib went up in 1980 or later, don’t even bother checking.)

That means that your friends renting units in older buildings will face a maximum annual rent increase limited to 60% of a certain Cost of Living Index dealing with the Bay Area. That means one-something percent per year.

OTOH, if you moved into the NeMA at $1950 per month last year (as some did, 2nd or 3rd floor, lousy view* – Unit 324, for example**) and your lease is coming up, consider that there are no units available now for less than $2800 (I’m srsly – some studios go for $4000+)

Are you, the NeMA renter, looking at a 40% rent increase soon? 

If not this year, what about the next year too? How long will it take to have a 40% increase for your unit, you know, cumulatively?

Sooner than you think Auslander.

Sooner than you think, Outlander.

Why don’t websites aimed at tourists and newcomers tell you this? Well, because they’re on the take from … The NEMA!

I assign this story to the San Francisco Chronicle – this one writes itself. (This would be a good CW Nevius, I’m seriously.)

*Compared with the rest of the units in the Nema.

**This was not a BMR (Below Market Rate) unit reserved for those people making less than $38,000 per year, no no. Those places went for around $950 per month. I’m talking about market rate units back when market rate was $1950 per month for the least desirable apartments at NeMA – that was all the way back in 2013.