Posts Tagged ‘7’

Shakedown 1998: How the Neighbors of Sutro Tower Held Digital TV Hostage for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Friday, July 21st, 2017

[Feel free to boot up (Shakedown) 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins while you read – that’s the reference.]

Here it is, noble Sutro Tower, beloved symbol of Frisco. The vertical part in the middle is an add-on – it brought / brings digital TV to the Bay Area.

Well, two decades ago it caused consternation to certain (and certainly now) millionaire homeowners of Midtown Terrace, Forrest Knolls and basically the whole Twin Peaks area what’s located in the “fall zone.” (Uh, that’s in quotes due to the fact that this phrase was made up by some area attorney homeowner back in the day. But it’s center of gravity is like 16 underground, so as long as it stays together as a rigid body (and, you know, it probably will – I’m not promising you anything though), I don’t think it can fall down.

Anyway, noble Sutro. I think this is as close as I’ve ever been to it at an altitude higher than the base, if that makes sense:

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So, just as area attorneys (and USF law students) banded together back in the 1970’s to deprive us of our landmark, area attorneys banded together in the 1990’s to fight the relatively minor addition of a 100-foot long metal “auxiliary antenna” for digital TV broadcast.

All this digital antenna fooforall was ably covered by INTERESTED PARTY the San Francisco Chronicle in 1998. And look:

“The 977-foot Sutro Tower is owned by four television stations: KRON, KTVU, KGO and KPIX. KRON is owned by Chronicle Publishing Co., which also controls The Chronicle.” 

Hello! (The writer properly put fall zone in quote marks. Good.)

Obviously the fretful homeowner lawyers were threatening to sue, but also obviously we now have this auxiliary antenna, so how did that happen? Well, Sutro Tower Inc. (STI) had to fork over some cold hard cash:

“STI agrees to contribute:

a. $3,000.00 per year to the Midtown Terrace Home Owners Association. The initial contribution payable prior to December 31, 2008. Subsequent contributions to be made on or before July 1 of each year

b. $4,500.00 one time contribution to the Twin Peaks Improvement Association for an open space improvement project.

c. $6,000.00 one time contribution to the Forrest Knolls Neighborhood Organization to replace the Forrest Knolls entrance sign.

d. $ 10,000.00 one time contribution for the benefit of the surrounding area to purchase two drinking fountains one each at the walking paths around two area reservoirs. The contribution will be payable only when the fountains are approved by the appropriate agencies and actually purchased.”

The big winner? Well it’s gotta be the MTHOA, which gets three grand every year from here to eternity, paid for by Channels 2, 4,* 5, und 7.** All that’s gotta add up to a couple hundred thou eventually.

Read the rest of the agreement if you want. (You don’t hear so much about the RF concerns anymore – I guess people have other things to worry about these days. And what else, a few people were complaining about red and white lead paint chips falling down and landing in the soil a while back. I haven’t heard about that issue lately either.)

On the up side, the people who live there have benefited from some nice middle class welfare over the years such as mortgage interest deductibility, Prop 13, and massive massive home price appreciation since the 1970s / 1990’s, the times when the yammering was going full tilt.

It’s pretty much a happy ending. Play us out, Wiki:

Despite the initial revulsion of some residents, Sutro Tower is now recognized by many as a Bay Area icon, it appears in local art, television shows, and movies as one of the architectural symbols of the city. The tower is featured in video games, business logos, on clothing, as furniture and even tattoos. The U.S. band Information Society used it on the cover of their album Don’t Be Afraid. A local entertainment guide, SF Station, uses it as a logo, as does the collaborative art game SFZero and the Expose SF art competition.”

And Don’t Be Afraid, Midtown. Your tower is 100% Pure Energy. It brings us our Information Society.***

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And oh, I just came across this:

Sutro Tower: The Origins of an ‘Eyesore’ By Jessica Placzek

Enjoy.

*Which is no longer owned by the Chronic – it’s master is now Nexstar Media Group.

**I can’t host a Super Bowl party when NBC is doing the broadcast, cause I’m a cutter, a cable cutter since like aught-nine. And no Olympics either. 

***Or Vast Wasteland, your pick. When somebody presses the remote button wrong, the digital TV turns on. Like 16 channels – home shopping network, plus Spanish and Chinese language programs.  

As Seen In The Richmond: A BMW’s Last Ride

Monday, October 17th, 2016

I guess it’s a parts car now:

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More car glass gets broken in Frisco than prolly anywhere else in the world…

SFPD Tells Local News Choppers to Buzz Off During Standoff in Chinatown

Monday, June 6th, 2016

This copter for one:

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There were a couple others too.

Cashing In on Paul Walker

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

More trouble for VW.

And yet he’s still making more money than you:

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This case is similar to those against Asiana and Boeing for Flight 214, in that seat belt design might have played a very small role. Perhaps these seat belts could have been designed better, I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll find out after trial or, more likely, this case will settle for a couple million and we’ll never hear about it again…

San Francisco’s Best (If Scariest) Commute: Riding the Elevator Basket Up Sutro Tower

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

As seen a few days back – that square, that’s your elevator car. Haven’t seen it in a while:

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And here’s the close-up color version, from all the way back in 2004:

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(I remember thinking how the workers in the basket should have appeared clearer in this photo. I guess I was super-far away, oh well.)

In closing, take that, Great Pyramid. Pwned:

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Old White Guy, Old White Guy, Less Old White Guy: A Random Sample of SF’s Supposedly “Diverse” Golf Course in San Mateo County

Monday, July 6th, 2015

So that’s 100% white guys. (Of “course,” our n=3 here, but even so. I mean, the people who take advantage of this golfing subsidy skew white, male, older, wealthier, right? I mean, am I wrong here? Disabuse me, Gentle Reader, if necessary.)

These are the only people I’ve ever seen at the white elephant known as Sharp Park, which, oddly, is operated by San Francisco even though it’s not even located in San Francisco.

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So, why would Interim Mayor Ed Lee go against the Board of Supervisors, who wanted to sell off / give away / otherwise rid ourselves of this light-skinned loxodontine from Way Down In Pacifica? Well, middle-class welfare tends to be hard to eliminate.

And then there’s this constituency:

“City management of the golf course is handicapped by a sclerotic labor contract that has some employees earning six-figure salaries* for work that pays less than half of that on most golf courses.”

Oh well. I suppose our southernmost “run-down” golf course will continue to make us a national laughingstock.

And who’s going to pay for the $20-$30 million* worth of deferred work what this ball-and-chain needs?

I don’t know.

Oh well.

*Practically everything in Frisco is “sustainable” these these days. But what about Sharp Park? And then there’s this, from our drought-addled Year of the Lord 2015:

Dan Noyes:How do you respond to this not being fixed for four years?”
Gavin Newsom’s Jogging Buddy / Political Booster / Lawyer: “Well, that’s probably not exactly accurate. There are a series of leaks in the system and we manage them as best we can.” 

50,000 gallons? That’s a Cosco Busan bunker oil spill-worth of water daily. Oh well.

ONLY IN MARIN: Bridgeway Gas Station in Sausalito Charging $8 Per Gallon? Highest Prices in America

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Things were bad before, but I think we’re entering performance art territory here, up in Marin County.

Via Yelper Eddie H:

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The Yelpers, they are not happy.

Suffer Deb:

“I feel like I just got mugged. They are charging $6.97 for regular (other yelpers posted pics). The average price for gas in northern California is $3.43. I will never EVER go here again even though it’s on my way home from work, FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS GO TO BRIDGEWAY GAS.”

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Send somebody, anybody up there to ask, “Hey, what’s the deal with the $8 gas?” Before that, buy a few gallons to see what the experience is like. Also, check for the purported dirtiness. Like “can you believe this is the bathroom of a gas station what charges* $200 to fill your** tank?!” And then you say, hey, I gots to fill up my right rear with air, and then see if Dude makes you pay for the privilege – well that’s agin the law, right? (But don’t send CW Nevius – he’d find a way to get rejected on this slam dunk, like he’d tell this story from the poor gas station owner’s ‘sperective, something like that. SPROOOOING off the rim, that’s what I’m talking about.) Anyway, engage, make it so.

*And call your economist buddy and ask about elasticities of demand for low-margin bidnesses. So let’s say the Shell down the street only makes a few pennies per gallon (and possibly makes more money selling high-margin snacks, you know, the way movie theaters do it), well, maybe it makes sense to cut your business by 95% if you can increase your margins by 10,000%, that kind of deal. Who knows, maybe Dude makes money some other way off of the property…

**I can remember the first time I paid $20 for a tank of gas. It was back in the 1990’s for a rusty Audi 5000 I bought from a doctor in Manoa Valley. And then back in the aughts, I remember paying $100 to fill the tank of a Land Cruiser up in, you guessed it, Marin County. I’ll remember the $200 threshold too, if and when I ever achieve it. (And if I filled up at Bridgeway today, I think I could almost, just almost make it to $200.)

MISSING: Steven Harris – Last Seen at the California Academy of Sciences Jan 6th – Last Ping at Market / Van Ness

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

[UPDATE: “STEVEN HAS BEEN FOUND. He is currently with family.]

OK, here’s the report as far as I know:

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Steven Harris, went missing around 11:00 AM on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015, last seen leaving his job at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. His home is in San Bruno, and his last phone ping was at Market & Van Ness. His family is trying to get any sort of media attention to help bring Steven home.

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SFMTA MUNI Clusterfuck, #5 Fulton – Seven Buses in Less Than One City Block – Just Another Wednesday Afternoon, 2013

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Oh well:

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You see, poor buses tend to group in clusters…

Three Things You Don’t Know About the Bay to Breakers

Monday, May 20th, 2013

1.  THE TOP OF HAYES STREET HILL _ISN’T_ THE HIGHEST POINT OF THE BTOB FUN-RUN. JUST CHECK THE ROUTE PROFILE:

“Here’s your route profile, starting from the SoMA near the bay going all the way to the breakers of Ocean Beach. See that big incline just before mile marker three? That’s the vaunted Hayes Street Hill. (And actually, the highest part of Hayes Street on this part of the course is near Pierce, not “at Fillmore and Steiner” and not “between Fillmore and Sutter.”)

And actually, that part of Hayes peaks at around 260 feet, not 215:

Now, here’s your winner. It’s the 270-something foot high saddle on JFK Jr. Drive betwixt Prayer Book Cross and Stow Lake / Strawberry Hill, where “Kennedy” is written:

2. THE BTOB FUN-RUN IS A 12K, AND YET IT’S NOT A 12K – THE CLAIMED “WORLD RECORDS” ARE NOT, IN FACT, WORLD RECORDS

“Race organizers and media have reported that the course records set by Sammy Kitwara in 2009 and Lineth Chepkurui in 2010 are also world records at the 12 km distance;[31] however, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the international governing body for the sport of athletics/track and field, does not recognize world records or world bests in either an indoor or outdoor 12 km.[32] The Association of Road Racing Statisticians, a non-regulatory group that collects road running data, does recognize world records in the outdoor 12 km provided that the race course meets certain criteria.[33][34] In order to rule-out the possibility of wind assistancein point-to-point courses, the ARRS stipulates that the course must have “not more than 30% of the race distance separation between that start and finish”, or 3.6 km for a 12 km race.[34] Given that the Bay to Breakers is run on a point-to-point course in which the start and finish of the event are approximately 10.5 linear kilometers apart, the ARRS recognizes two other marks as 12 km world records: Kenyan Simon Kigen‘s 33:46 in Portland, Oregon on May 19, 1985 and Chepkurui’s 38:10 at the 2010Lilac Bloomsday Run.[33][nb 2]

3. MOST PEOPLE _DON’T_ PAY THE ABSURDLY HIGH REGISTRATION FEE. MOST PEOPLE YOU SEE ARE “BANDITS”

HERE’S THE OFFICIAL ESTIMATE: “…more than in the hundreds but less than tens of thousands.” THE REAL NUMBER IS TENS OF THOUSANDS.

“The Bay to Breakers is known for the large number of unregistered runners, or “bandits”, who participate in the race. Ross Mirkarimi, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, reported that over half of the 60,000 participants in the 2010 Bay to Breakers were unregistered.[19] San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was among the runners in 2010 who did not pay the registration fee to obtain a race number.[19][22] Registered participation was 24,430 in 2010,[23] 43,954 in 2011,[24] 23,072 for 2012,[25], and approximately 20,000 for 2013.[26]