Posts Tagged ‘2014’

Bad News for Amazon Whole Foods: “Court rules that ‘corrective education’ scheme is extortion – Herrera wins on two key issues in case”

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

(So IDK. I thought that this exact kind of “corrective education” was “offered” to alleged shoplifters at the Whole Foodses of San Francisco, but I don’t know that this Corrective Education Company was the one involved.)

Anyway, I saw this scene at one of my rare visits to the Haight Street WF…

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…and then posted this and this.

And now here comes this, just released:

“Court rules that ‘corrective education’ scheme is extortion – ‘This is textbook extortion,’ court finds. Herrera wins on two key issues in case.

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 15, 2017) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today hailed a key victory against Corrective Education Company after a court ruled that the private, profit-driven business was engaging in extortion and false imprisonment in its “diversion program” scheme.

“We should all be concerned about privatizing our justice system, especially when a business like Corrective Education Company uses the threat of criminal prosecution to intimidate and extort people,” Herrera said. “This ruling goes to the heart of their predatory business model, which is predicated on threats, deception and falsehoods. CEC is enriching itself on the backs of others, and many of the people they prey upon have limited means and are just barely getting by.”

Herrera sued the company in November 2015 over its “corrective education” scheme, asserting that the company’s practices amount to extortion and false imprisonment. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of the People of the State of California.

Corrective Education Company contracts with major retailers, and when someone is suspected of shoplifting, they are taken to an isolated room and threatened with arrest and criminal prosecution unless they agree to watch a video created by CEC. In that video, CEC threatens to have suspects criminally prosecuted unless they sign a confession, agree to pay CEC up to $500, and undergo a six-hour “cognitive restructuring” and “behavioral modification” program. Faced with this Hobson’s “choice” between criminal prosecution and participating in CEC’s program, 90 percent of CEC’s victims — upwards of 13,000 Californians — “consent” to enroll in CEC’s program. After obtaining the forced confessions, CEC follows up with phone calls to the victims, again threatening them with criminal prosecution unless they pay CEC hundreds of dollars. CEC has also sent over 2,000 debt-collection letters in which it cloaks itself with prosecutorial authority in further efforts to enrich itself.

CEC operates in more than 25 states across the country.

In a ruling issued Monday afternoon, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn found Corrective Education Company engaged in extortion and false imprisonment.

“The undisputed facts … establish that CEC’s diversion program runs afoul of California’s extortion laws,” Judge Kahn wrote in his ruling granting summary adjudication on the two central issues in the case. “This is textbook extortion under California law, and has been so declared for at least 125 years.”

Numerous jurisdictions in California, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, offer legitimate, pretrial diversion programs that are overseen by district attorney’s offices. CEC operates entirely outside of the criminal justice system and without the approval of local prosecutors.

In his ruling, Kahn ruled that each iteration of CEC’s diversion program in California constitutes extortion and false imprisonment and that Herrera was entitled to an injunction halting the unlawful practices. CEC’s clients have included Walmart, Bloomingdale’s, Ralph’s, Abercrombie and Fitch, Burlington Coat Factory, and Kroger’s.

In the ruling, Kahn wrote: “By the quid pro quo of asking for money in exchange for forbearance in calling police, the retailer and CEC are acting in concert and are jointly liable for the extortionate conduct.”

The specifics of the injunction are still to be fleshed out, as is restitution and monetary civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation.

The case is: People of the State of California v. Corrective Education Company, San Francisco Superior Court Case No. CGC-15-549094 filed Nov. 23, 2015.

A Brief History of Some San Franciscans’ Attempts to have us Host a Summer Olympics – Plus, a Glimmer of Hope for 2028

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

From the Big Bang to 1999:

Nothing much happened AFAIK.

In the year 2000, in the year 2000:

A half-assed attempt was begun to host the 2012 Olympics in San Francisco. It failed around 2003.

2003:

The same people started trying for 2016. It involved Mayor Gavin Newsom and a new stadium for the then-San Francisco 49er’s. It didn’t work out. (Then the Niners moved to Santa Clara – things haven’t worked out Down There either, not yet.)

Sometime later:

The same people tried for 2024. It looked like this:

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But it didn’t work out yet again. Frisco made it to the Final Four (as far as the U.S. bid people were concerned), but then ended up coming in third place. So yeah, Boston got the nod, but then the people of Boston weighed in. So then Boston looked to be out. Then there was talk of a joint hosting by Los Angeles and San Francisco, but where would you have all the pomp / circumstance – in L.A. of course, right? Well, official Frisco didn’t like that. So then the USOC gave L.A. the right to be the sole American bid for 2024.

Then the Frisco people were all sore. So they even wished that Los Angeles would lose. Why? Well, it was going to be a loooooong time before the IOC even considered coming back to Cali if Los Angeles hosted in 2024. The Bay Area Olympics people would simply try again for 2028 after Paris won for 2024.

Then all the other serious international contenders for 2024 dropped out, so it became obvious that Paris would host. Then, all concerned (NBC included – it really wanted another U.S. Olympics before its contract runs out) cut a tentative deal that had Los Angeles host in 2028. This is the worst result possible for Frisco’s chances of a future Olympics. I’m thinking maybe the year 2060 would be about as soon as this could happen.

Nowadays:

So now the talk is about having San Francisco host a few events at the soon-to-be-new Mission Bay arena of the Oakland Warriors, or someplace like that. And I’m sure that they’re pondering which other sports would be appropriate for the Frisco Bay area. This would allow for the tiniest amount of Oly Fever, but nothing like the raging infection we’d have if we were hosting or even full-on co-hosting a Summer Olympiad.

So that’s it. You can debate whether San Francisco hosting would have cost us 10 or 11 figures, you know, somewhere around there. But, fortunately for the People of the City and County of San Francisco, we are OUT of contention, at least until most of you Gentle Readers are dead.

DEAD DEAD DEAD!

At this point I’ll attest that I have no beef against Sport in general and/or The Olympics in particular. It’s just that it would have cost us billions and billions to host the 2024 Olympics, so I’m very happy that we got off of this carousel after Area Millionaires were only able to get SFGov to spend mere millions and millions on all these fruitless efforts.

In closing Plus Dur, Meilleur, Plus Rapide, Plus Fort

Frisco Bay Runs on Oil – Tankers All Over – And More are Coming

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Count them, in Anchorage 8/9:

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This is where the Exxon Valdez used to hang out, before it got banned from the Bay Area. Then its sister ships took over.

Anyway, here’s the news:

Phillips 66 Seeks Huge Increase in Tanker Traffic to Rodeo Refinery

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Just saying…

Golden Gate Park’s Lily Pond Should be Renamed Algea Pond – But at Least the Clawed Frogs are Gone, I Guess

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Get up to speed here.

I don’t know why there’s so much green atop these days. I don’t know if this has anything to do with its history as the Quarry Pond, you know, the former name. Anyway, no lilies to be seen.

But there is a funky chicken in the lower left:

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Oh, here it is:

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And here’s RPD’s Attention Comrades sign, so that the frogs won’t get dumped here again:

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That’s your lily pond update for 2017.

SFGov Invites YOU to a FREE DINNER at the Park Branch Library Tonight – New Panhandle Playground – Bring the Kids!

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Here’s the news from a few years back and here’s what’s going to happen tonight at our SFPL’s Park Branch Library at 1833 Page near Clayton at 5:30 PM:

“Panhandle Playground Project – Planning Workshop – May 31 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

A workshop to discuss future improvements to the Panhandle Playground as part of the Let’s Play SF! Initiative – a partnership with the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Food provided! Children and youth welcome as we will have planning activities geared towards them!

For more information about the Panhandle Playground Project, please visit tinyurl.com/PanhandlePlayground or contact Project Manager Melinda Stockmann at Melinda.Stockmann@sfgov.org or at 415-581-2548.”

But oh, there are a few issues.

1 So who’s paying the millions of dollars SFGov is proposing to spend? Well, they don’t get into that. I assume it’s local tax- and fee-payers. So that’s one of the costs of this project, right?

2. I mention that because destroying the current setup, the popular Kid’s Kingdom playground what’s the current Panhandle Playground, and then putting in a replacement will take, what, months, years? I mean, delays are baked into the cake, right?

Oh, here it is. “WELCOME TO KID’S KINGDOM – DONATED BY YOUR LOCAL SATURN DEALER.” Or at least it used to say that. But area residents didn’t cotton to this kind of marketing, so chop chop:

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3. One way to take care of this lengthy shut down issue would be to build the new playground someplace else nearby. THIS IS ONE OF THE CHOICES THAT YOU MIGHT POSSIBLY HAVE INPUT ON TONIGHT. Frankly, I don’t think Rec and Park would really be into moving the site JMO. The current location has a bunch of exotic trees around it, which many find appealing, but given the half-assed way RPD conducts its bidness, there’s a heightened risk of a big old branch coming down and killing somebody someday. Anyway, our RPD seems to think nothing of shutting down playgrounds for basically no reason for like a year, so I don’t think it cares oh well.

Getting rid of the rats should be high on the agenda regardless:

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RPD’s hands are tied about getting rid of rats. They can cull the herd, but getting rid of them altogether, well that’s a gonna be hard. They have some helpers though, to swoop down and carry away the poor little rattus rattus:

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4. But here’s the thing: Once you wrap your head around building the new playground while keeping the current one open, then who’s to say that people would prefer the new one? In fact, the current Kid’s Kingdom Panhandle Playground is remarkably popular, drawing in kids from all over the city. Why? Well mostly it has to do with all the tons of sand. People love the sand. And these days it’s a rare thing in Frisco. You know who hates sand, or at least hates taking care of sand? That’s right, your RPD. Speaking of which, RPD isn’t all that popular and yet the current playground is. So why not get a new RPD and leave the current playground alone?

5. Or better yet, take the money set aside and use it to take care of the Panhandle Playground better – is that so crazy? Ask people who are there and they are shocked that RPD and associated non-profits run by millionaires consider this place a “failing” playground. What makes it a “failure?” Its popularity? The current playground is a beat up Toyota Land Cruiser with 100,000 miles, which means that if you take care of it, maybe spruce it up a bit, then it will last for decades more, right?

6. But, RPD is already set upon getting rid of Kid’s Kingdom, without asking anybody. (Our SFMTA once made the mistake of actually asking if people wanted the crazy, I mean just crazy traffic circles they randomly put on Page, among other places. And the answer was no, we want our stop signs back, by a three to one margin. So this kind of thing is on RPD’s mind when it considers asking people what they want.) And they’re already paying a project manager and they’ve selected the main contractor, so RPD would think it “sad” if they had to give back the millions of dollars set aside.

7. Oh well.

8. And let’s see, is all that sand what’s there bad because of parasites? Well that could be true but it’s not because we don’t have no cats around, at least the way the ‘burbs do.

9. And is there arsenic in the wood at the playground now? Oh, yes there is. But it’s not all that big a deal. Typically, if there’s arsenic in your kid, then it’s going to be from something other than CCA wood. And you’re supposed to wash your hands after leaving, at least that’s what an RPD sign says what’s posted near the eastern entrance.

10. Oh, what’s that, playgrounds have changed so so much in the two decades since (Old) General Motors simply gifted us $100k to put in Kid’s Kingdom? Noooooope! You’re wrong, RPD.

11. But you have a new Theory of Playgrounds that you’re happy to share and discuss? Well, that’s fine, but the people who made Kid’s Kingdom also had theories and I’ll bet if you put them together, cut them up and then presented them to RPD employees, they wouldn’t be able to distinguish betwixt the bad old theories and the great new theories.

12. Oh well.

13. So the current playground is “failing” but the current users don’t have the foggiest idea of what that means, so why doesn’t RPD face up to this?

14. Anyway, you’ve paid for this project, so you deserve some free food at the library. They’ll ask you about your feelings about this and that, like what color should this be kind of thing. One supposes.

15. If the food’s not to your liking, Mickey D’s on Haight has 2 for 1 Happy Meals today, via their app.

16. Adieu Kid’s Kingdom. Many people will miss your ocean of sand, especially the Little Ones. Expect a playground geared more for Big Kids. For Better or Worse. Eventually.

17. OIOW:

“long-suffering playground” [IRL, it’s an extremely popular playground. Its current Yelp rating is 4.5 stars, which is the very definition of almost perfect, right? And hey look, what about the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Yelp rating – it’s much lower, it’s actually just 2.5 stars, right? Is RPD “failing?” Should we simply fire everybody and start over? Hey, why don’t we start using objective measurements, like asking the playground’s existing customers what they think? Is that too radical a notion?]

“finally” [This “framing” assumes 100% of what the millionaire-run Parks Alliance nonprofit says is accurate]

“Victim to time” [Well sure, you could replace this or that at this location, but what’s so wrong with it? What makes it a useless tear-down?]

“frequent wear and tear” [Because it’s popular? We’re going to change it because it’s popular and it gets used?]

“grown-up play” [Turns out it was sixth-graders who busted the slide, per the word on the street]

“the playground pales in comparison to other high-tech kids’ play areas in the city.” [What on Earth could  make a playground “high tech?” Like, “sure this playground is great, but I feel it doesn’t employ the most recent application of science?” Like, who says that? IRL, it’s perfectly fine.]

“failing playgrounds” [But the Panhandle Playground isn’t “failing,” right? Ask all the people who use it and try to find one person who would give it a letter grade of “F“]

“low household income” [Is this area a low household income area? WTF to that. In fact, the 94117 is an extremely high household income place, right? It’s off the charts, actually, nationally speaking. And even locally, it’s anything but a low household income area.]

“low Parks Alliance Report Card grades and rankings.” [Oh, here we go, here’s the problem. What’s the PARC and why does it matter?]

“an early holiday gift to District 5.” [London Breed is thinking “CHRISTMAS” but she says holidays – good for her. But who’s paying for this gift? Oh, we are? So it’s not really a gift, is it, London Claus?]

“high-tech play matting” [I have no fucking idea what this means. Currently, the joint is basically a giant sand box. Is this a bad thing? One supposes that some think so, but one doesn’t know.]

“What would you like to see improved upon in our small neighborhood playground?” [Keeping it the same, except for maintenance, which, if it’s lacking, then whose fault is that? Cough RPD, cough]

Wouldn’t it be ironic, dontcha think, if the Yelp ratings of the Panhandle Playground go down after we spend all those millions of dollars on this simple, functional playground?

We’ll see.

 

Frisco’s Funniest Parking Ticket – It’s Just $23 at a Time When $100 is About the Average

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Here’s how you’d get it. See the problem?

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It’s called “parking on the grass” (even if you’re merely parking on dirt due to all the others before you parking in the same place).

Now what’s funny is that the cost of this ticket (it was just $23 back in 2014, and the ticket giver thought it was $26 at that time, and who knows how much it is now, prolly still comically small) obviously hasn’t kept up with inflation, for some reason.

Why this ticket isn’t $300 is a mystery to me.

Anyway, parking on the curb should be A-OK, but this driver went a little too far…

(d) No person shall park any vehicle on any
lawn, or planted area, or unimproved area or on
any pedestrian or equestrian lane, or on any
access road or unpaved service road or firetrail
or in any manner so as to block access to or exit
from any service road or access road or firetrail,
or in any other place in the park where the rules
and regulations of the Recreation and Park Com-
mission prohibit vehicular parking, unless al-
lowed otherwise by permit; (more…)

Is the Number of Driver Licenses in Frisco 1) Going Up; 2) Staying The Same; or 3) Going Down? LET’S TAKE A LOOK!

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Oh DMV statistics – what could be more exciting?

But here you go:

DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES DRIVER LICENSES OUTSTANDING BY COUNTY AS OF DECEMBER 31 OF YEARS LISTED.

And those years listed are 2011-2015. (We’ll prolly get 2016 stats this month, but I can’t wait for that.)

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2011: 543,209

2012: 552,388

2013: 559,430

2014: 568,210

2015: 579,941

OIOW:

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(And that’s what you call an honest y-axis.)

Just saying.

Cars and car driving appear to be more popular than ever, despite what some people at the SFMTA might tell you…

Oh, and for 2016 the number of licensed drivers in the City/County of SF will be .. IDK, let’s guess 588,392.

Prove me wrong, DMV. Prove me wrong.

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2014 Flashback: “FORTY Fuckin’ NINERS”

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

2014 seems such a long long time ago these days:

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And speaking of flashing back, the ribald T-shirt is Joe Montana-approved, so there’s that.

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Meet the New Frisco, Way Out in the Avenues, Complete with a Mirror Finish

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

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Does this sayBMW i8 hybrid say, “Look at me,” or what?

Here’s the competition, also seen West of City Hall:

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Wonder if these two know each other…

Our Heretonow Unleaseable Hibernia Bank White Elephant Now Marketed as ONE JONES – Let’s See If This Helps

Monday, February 27th, 2017

It’s not my job to spin all news about the historic Hibernia Bank into something positive and uplifting, so I won’t.

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