Posts Tagged ‘2014’

The Kubb Bros of Golden Gate Park – Jeux Sans Frontieres – From Scandinavia, With Love

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

More dudes, relative to gals, this year:

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It’s a knockout.

Kubb Fever – Catch It!

What, No More Christmas Trees in Front of SF City Hall? – Annual Tradition Lost – A Brief History of “Holiday Trees”

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

All right, I promised a history of the giant Christmas trees of San Francisco Civic Center in front of City Hall (aka the highest classical dome in the Western Hemisphere, believe it or not.*)

Here we go, from the mid to late Aughts, complete with a Star of Bethlehem atop. A shot from my office:


You know, keeping with Christian Tradition, as they say.

Well that didn’t go down good. So, in part due to some of my photos on SFist, back when Blogging Was King, and due to complaints of City Hall / SFGov workers objecting to having Christmas sort of imposed upon where there work – look it up on SFGate, Matier and Ross were on it – bye-bye Bethlehem star and bye-bye other overt displays of Christianity in and around City Hall.

But the tree stayed, and each and every year it came back, starless of course. And it was labeled a “Holiday Tree” in case there was any worry about it being a Christmas tree. Fine


Via Steve Rhodes, who, like Visa, is Everywhere You Want To Be.

And then, oh no, the garish lights on the tree! All those colors! Well, some rich white ladies about town thought they looked tacky, so away they went.

So that left us with this:

O.K. fine. Matier & Ross also had this story, about how the new, classier, white lights for white people cost RPD five figures, but that was OK, they said, because the colored Christmas tree lights would be able to be used in Golden Gate Park on Stanyan and perhaps they’re still in use, IDK.

Except this lack of color just wasn’t jazzy enough for other certain people.

So then came this:


Via Julie Blaustein

So, the colors came out of the tree in front of City Hall and they went into City Hall itself.

And then Mayor Willie Brown wanted ever more color.

Were these changes “improvements?”

No. But that’s what they were called at the time.

Oh well…

Anyway, that takes up to 2014, when we didn’t get any giant tree at all? NEWS TO ME! Did I not notice it wasn’t there? I forget. I tend to notice new things, I don’t tend to notice things what should be there and aren’t.

A Commenter just hepped me to the ABSENCE OF GIANT TREE, and I can see these photos from last year proving her point – no tree.

Here’s her beef:

“Hello. I was online trying to find info on why there was no Christmas tree outside of SF’s city hall in 2014, and I came across your post about the lights’ history during recent years. Regardless of any decor inside of city hall, i just don’t see why the tree was not part of last Xmas. I looked around online for info about the tree going up again this December, but any info on SF lighting ceremonies did not include a city hall plaza tree. I suppose the mayor’s argument for no tree is cost cutting and that people can go inside city hall to see some festive decor or head down to Union Square to join the tourists, but I find it pretty stunning that a major city has nixed its plaza tree. If you have an answer on this subject, I’d greatly appreciate hearing it.

Thank you,


It’s a Christmas Mystery!


*No no, the dome you’re thinking about (US Capitol Building) aint actually higher, OR it (San Jose City Hall or SuperDome) aint classical, OR it (St. Peter’s Basilica or Dome des Invalides) aint in the Western Hemisphere. Sorry. Look it up!

Hey Look, All the Invasive Frogs are GONE from Golden Gate Park’s Lily Pond – Now Back to Normal – Photos

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Here it is, looking pretty normal, or about as normal as you can expect for a quarry pond in human-created Golden Gate Park:

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Now here’s your background:

Lily Pond in Golden Gate Park overrun by Vivian Ho

And here are the troublesome critters themselves – never seen one myself:


Poor little feller. Michael Linnenbach (

And this was the proposal, from a half-decade back:

Let’s just drain the Lily Pond and kill the frogs by Matt Smith

Clearly, it was time to call in the Frog Doctors:


It was time for some rehab. Yes yes yes.

Or, in the words of Rec and Park, “adjusting the PH level” was called for.

“Another example of biological controls to manage pests is the collaboration between the Department and the California Department Fish and Wildlife, in this case, the partnership has eradicated the invasive African Clawed Frogs by adjusting the PH level in the water in Golden Gate Park’s Lily Pond”

By that, they meant this – going to the sto’ and then pouring in some motherfucking bleach, man:


Chemicals were everywhere:

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Parks Chief Phil Ginsberg et. al. cooked up a batch of white powdery stuff…

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…and they went to town:

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It was a powdery wonderland, filled with all kinds of urban flotsam and jetsam…

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Check this one-minute video of the place at that time:

PETA, well PETA was NOT happy about any of this:

“According to media reports, the California Department of Fish and Game and the city of San Francisco are considering draining Lily Pond at Golden Gate Park in order to kill thousands of African clawed frogs who reside there. Reportedly, the frogs were released from research laboratories only to be deemed “invasive” through no fault of their own. Once the pond’s water levels drop, these animals will slowly suffocate to death. PETA apprised officials of our concerns, and while they stated that other methods were on the table, they did not guarantee that this cruel initiative would be stopped. Now it’s your turn to weigh in! Please urge the California Department of Fish and Game and city officials to halt all plans to drain the pond while aquatic animals remain at the location. Also, ask them to mercifully euthanize the frogs rather than subjecting them to agonizing deaths if alternative methods of control are impossible.”

I don’t know how all that worked out, but this was the scene a couple months back, via Tony T – ‘dozer and digger:

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And that brings up up to present day, what you can see from the first photo up above.

You can’t visit just yet, as RPD is behind sked, oh well:

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And there you have it.

Nous salouns le retour, Lily Pond!

May you remain frog-free forever…

Frisco Finally Gets Around to Fixing the Hanging Lanterns Above the Great Southern Entrance to Japantown – Here’s What They Look Like

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

First, it was all like this, like for a looooong time:

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But now it’s all like this, all fixed (except for the tagging, which might qualify for Landmark status at this point, but oh well):

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So that’s good.

(Hey, how’s the seismic safety for all what you can see in the background there, on Geary and Post from Fillmore to Laguna and including the big ugly Peace Pagoda [L]andmark? Oh, not good? Uh oh.)

Now what’s the next step? Hopping lanterns, Miyazaki-style, natch:

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Interim Mayor Ed Lee Stars as a Menacing Celestial Body in This “Yes On Prop G” Flyer

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Hadn’t noticed this one before:

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Take it away, BALLOTPEDIA:

“A City of San Francisco Transfer Tax on Residential Property Re-Sold in Five Years, Proposition G ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of San Francisco, California. It was defeated.

Proposition G imposed an additional tax on the sale or transfer of multi-unit property that has been owned for less than five years. Details about the tax are in the San Francisco Ballot Simplification digest.

Election results

City of San Francisco, Proposition G
Result Votes Percentage
Defeated No 117,887 53.91%
Yes 100,776 46.09%

Election results via: City and County of San Francisco Registrar of Voters

The San Francisco Ballot Simplification Committee provided the following digest for Proposition G:[1]

THE WAY IT IS NOW:The City collects a transfer tax on sales of most real property in San Francisco. The tax rate depends on the sale price of the property. The lowest tax rate is 0.5%, for property sold for $250,000 or less. The highest tax rate is 2.5%, for property sold for $10,000,000 or more. The tax rate is not affected by how long a property is owned.THE PROPOSAL:

Proposition G would impose an additional tax on the total sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transfer. The following table shows the tax rates that would apply:

Length of Time Seller Has Owned Property – Tax Rate:

Less than one year – 24 percent
One to two years – 22 percent
Two to three years – 20 percent
Three to four years – 18 percent
Four to five years – 14 percent

This additional tax would apply to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2015.

This additional tax would not apply in the following circumstances:

  • The property is a single-family house or condominium and does not include an in-law unit;
  • An owner of the property, including a tenancy-in-common unit, has used it as a primary residence for at least one year immediately before the sale;
  • The property contains more than 30 separate residential units;
  • The property is sold for an amount equal to or less than what the seller paid for the property;
  • The property is sold within one year of a property owner’s death;
  • The property is legally restricted to low- and middle-income households;
  • The property is newly built housing;
  • The property meets the following criteria: it contains no more than two dwelling units; the seller applied on or before July 1, 2014, for a building permit for a project with a total construction cost of $500,000 or more; and the last permit was issued no more than a year before the sale of the property; or
  • The sale of the property is exempt from the existing transfer tax.

This measure would also authorize the Board of Supervisors to create additional exemptions from both the existing transfer tax and this proposed additional tax for properties that are subject to affordability-based restrictions.

A “YES” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “yes,” you want the City to impose an additional tax of between 14% and 24% on the total sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transfer, subject to certain exceptions.

A “NO” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “no,” you do not want the City to impose this additional tax.

Five Seconds of Masonic: How Trader Joe’s Shoppers Play a Deadly Game of Frogger Every Day – And No One Cares

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

From west…

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…to East:

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And here’s the caboose of this jaywalking / jay-running train:

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I’ve been tilting at this windmill for a while now. At first on SFist back about 2007 or so and then on this tiny blog. The first TJ’s shopper death came a few years back. The next will come tomorrow or next year or in another five years, something like that.

What’s that, the speed limit here is 25 MPH and cars come through “speeding” all the time? Well, not really. Average speed for southbound traffic is fairly low. And for northbound, it’s not all that fast either. And oh, the limit on this stretch of Masonic is 30 MPH.

What’s that, Planning and DPW and the all-knowing, all-seeing SFMTA have a plan for Masonic and it’s coming soon? Well, not really. The project wasn’t as “shovel-ready as promised so they’ve loaned the Masonic-designated pork for other stuff. A “new” Masonic will eventually come, but not above Geary and TJ’s and all the photos you can see are all from north of Geary.

That’s the update for 2015.

SFMTA Spokesmodel Paul Rose Costs Us Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Per Year, But He Sounds Like a MUNI UNION Flack

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Yes, over $200,000 in his Total Cost of Employment (TCOE). (You want to get into this, well, we can get into this.)

Here’s the new stuff:

It does not appear the bicyclist was traveling in a bike lane,” said Paul Rose…

I’d expect this kind of sophistry from a MUNI operators attorney, but not a spokesmodel from the SFMTA.

Hey, is this the same Paul Rose who committed this? Yep. Oh what’s that, Paul, you acknowledged your mistake and you didn’t want to get into why you committed such a boner? But that’s how you learn, right?

Let’s move on, to the SFPD:

Bicyclists are supposed to travel in the bike lane,” reminded SFPD Officer Grace Gatpandan…

This statement is 100% non-operational, and I don’t know how many words you’d need to add to fix it.

Do I expect better from SFMTA / SFPD?

Yes I do.

Should I.


BTW, I’ve “gone around” MUNI vehicles thousands of times, both inbound and outbound, on Market Street since the 1980’s. It’s not illegal, is it? Tell me how I’m wrong here.

Show me the police report and I’ll tell you who was at fault here, except 1) it doesn’t exist yet and 2) the SFPD holds onto its PRs really really tight so I’ll never see it even after it comes out.

Hey, is the SFPD part of the SFGov “City Family” known to favor SFMTA operators when it comes time to assess fault when SFMTA operators get into accidents, or, in the words of the SFMTA, when SFMTA operator commit “traffic violence?” Yes. Yes it is.

Oh well

The Old-Tyme Cars at the End of Turk Street – They Just Keep Coming and Going

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

These old cars are new, or these new cars are old – take your pick.

What will we see next?

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Twitterloin Update: How Do I “Live NeMa?” – I’m Glad You Asked, New Market Building! – SF’s City Part of Town

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Here’s the question, from the new NEw MArket Building on Market in our Twitterloin / Mid-Market /South of Market / Tenderloin Adjacent area, you know, The City Part of Town:

How do you #liveNEMA?

And here’s the answer – like this, via The Lofts at SoDoSoPa:

And here’s your catchphrase:

NeMa: 24 months old and still no rent control.**


* NEW YORK TIMES: The prospective changes to the Tenderloin — a noirish haunt of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and arguably the central city’s last working-class neighborhood — have given rise to a new nickname: the Twitterloin.

* FORTUNE: Welcome to the Twitterloin, where tech-savvy cool meets gritty hood

**After 10 months of living in the NeMa, you just might ask yourself why you’re getting hit with a rent increase what’s 25 times more than most of your coworkers are facing, just saying…

Boy, Our SF “City Family” is Really Counting on Stealing the Oakland Warriors from Oakland – “LET’S GROW WARRIORS?”

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Is there anything wrong with leaving the Golden State Warriors in Oakland?

Anyway, here’s the scene in Golden Gate Park – I can’t imagine this arboreal/sports clothing line program “makes money” for our City Family, but rich like having fun too, and this is one way for them to do it:

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What’s next, “Let’s Grow Niners?”