Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Barack Obama is Tigger and Chinese Leader Xi Jinping is Winnie The Pooh – Most Popular Photo in China Over the Past 24 Hours

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Good times.

It’s been censored in China already but that’s no reason not to take a look:

Click to expand

Anthony Tao explicates.

Winnie the Pooh 
Winnie the Pooh 
Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff 
He's Winnie the Pooh 
Winnie the Pooh 
Willy nilly silly old bear

My Dinner With Barack – Yet Another Trip to the Bay Area – June 6th – Only $64,800 Per Couple!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

[UPDATE: Carla Marinucci has some more deets.]

Just announced:

“Senator Michael Bennet

Chair, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

&

Senator Harry Reid

Majority Leader, U.S. Senate

Cordially invite you to a reception & dinner benefiting the

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

with

President Barack Obama

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reception | 5:00 PM

Home of Marci & Mike McCue

Palo Alto, California

*Address provided upon RSVP

Dinner and Discussion | 6:30 PM

Home of Neeru & Vinod Khosla

Portola Valley, California

*Address provided upon RSVP

*Due to timing restrictions all guests may only attend one event.

Paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, www.dscc.org

and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 | Palo Alto, CA

Dinner Guest: $32,400 per person ($64,800 per couple)
Ticket to dinner at the Khosla home & discussion and photo opportunity

Reception Chair: $12,000 per person ($15,000 per couple)
Ticket to VIP Chairs’ reception at the McCue home and photo opportunity

Reception Sponsor: $5,000 per person ($7,500 per couple)
Ticket to reception at the McCue home and photo opportunity

Reception Guest: $2,500 per person
Ticket to reception at the McCue home

I cannot attend the reception or dinner, but I would like to make a contribution of $__________.
*Due to timing restrictions all guests may only attend one event.

The maximum amount each individual may contribute to the DSCC in a calendar year is $32,400 ($64,800 per couple).

The DSCC will not accept contributions from currently registered federal lobbyists, registered foreign agents, political action committees, or minors under the age of 16 for this event. Contributions from corporations, labor unions, and foreign nationals are prohibited under federal law.

Please make checks payable to “DSCC” and mail with completed form to:
DSCC c/o Emily Sullivan
120 Maryland Avenue, NE Washington, D.C. 20002
For PERSONAL credit card contributions please fax this completed form to: (202) 314-3231.
Federal regulations require that all contributions drawn on joint accounts be personally signed by each contributor.

*A contribution of $32,400 enrolls an individual as a DSCC “Majority Trust” member and, along with other benefits, allows for attendance at the DSCC’s signature retreats.

Contributions or gifts to the DSCC are not tax deductible.

President Barack Obama Picks Paula R. Collins and Alex Mehran as New Board Members of the Presidio Trust

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Here’s the news of the day from our Presidio Trust, or perhaps it was last week’s  - I’m kind of slow on the the uptake sometimes:

“PRESIDENT OBAMA TAPS BUSINESS, CIVIC LEADERS FOR PRESIDIO TRUST BOARD – NANCY BECHTLE RE-APPOINTED BOARD’S CHAIR

Presidio of San Francisco (August 14, 2012) — President Barack Obama has named two prominent Bay Area leaders — Paula R. Collins and Alex Mehran — to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors. The White House also re-appointed Nancy Bechtle as board chair. Ms. Collins and Mr. Mehran are replacing outgoing board members J. Michael Shepherd and Bill Wilson.

Paula R. Collins is the chief executive officer of WDG Ventures, Inc., a real estate development company in Northern California, and president of Portfolio Real Estate Consulting.

Part of the original project development team for the Moscone Convention Center, Ms. Collins is a founder and director of Presidio Bank in San Francisco, a member of the national board of the Automobile Association of America and has served as an appointee to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Visiting Committee for the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In addition, she is co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, a member of the board of the Special Olympics for Northern California and has served on the Board of Directors of the BRIDGE Housing Corporation. Ms. Collins has been awarded the prestigious Silver Spur Award by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research organization, in honor of her dedication to improving the quality of life and economic health of San Francisco; and has been honored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the San Francisco Business Times. She graduated cum laude in urban studies from Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts and received her master’s degree in city planning from MIT. Ms. Collins replaces Mr. Shepherd on the board.

A Bay Area native, Alex Mehran is the president and chief executive officer of Sunset Development Company, a San Ramon based real estate development, investment, construction and management company founded by his father almost 60 years ago.

Mr. Mehran is chair of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership, a trustee of the San Francisco Ballet and a member of the University of California, San Francisco Chancellor’s Associates. In addition, he is a past chairman and current executive committee member of the Bay Area Council and is a former trustee of the Urban Land Institute and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Mr. Mehran received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, where he graduated with honors. He earned a law degree, also with honors, from England’s Cambridge University. Mr. Mehran replaces Mr. Wilson.

“Alex and Paula are joining the board at a very exciting time – the Presidio Trust is now financially self-sufficient and we are seeing the benefits of a decade worth of investments in the park,” said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. “Alex and Paula will be instrumental in helping us expand the public benefit of the Presidio to the local community and the nation.”

A fourth generation San Franciscan, Nancy Bechtle grew up across the street from the Presidio, and, as a child would scale the base’s walls to play in Julius Kahn Park. Once, she was even kicked out for riding her horse on the base. Appointed to the Trust’s board by President George W. Bush in 2008, Ms. Bechtle was first elected chair in 2009. She is chairman of the board of the Sugar Bowl Corporation, serves on the board of directors for the Charles Schwab Corporation and is a former chief financial officer and director of J.R. Bechtle and Company. A past president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco Symphony, Ms. Bechtle has served on the symphony’s board of governors since 1984 and has also served on the board of the San Francisco Opera Association. In addition she has served on the board of the National Park Foundation, holding the board’s citizen chair from 2005 to 2007. Ms. Bechtle recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco and has received a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the California Arts Council and the Investment in Leadership award from the Coro Foundation, among her many other honors.

“I am pleased to welcome these very talented and accomplished people to the board,” said Nancy Bechtle. “The experience that Paula and Alex bring will be great assets as the Trust expands its public-serving programs while continuing to keep an eye on ensuring the park’s self-sufficiency.”

The Presidio Trust is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Six members are appointed by the President of the United States. The seventh is the U.S. Secretary of the Interior or his designee. An executive director reports to the board and oversees a staff with expertise including environmental science, historic preservation, operations and maintenance, landscape design, planning, resource management, real estate development, public affairs and programs, law, and finance.

Biographies of all Trust board members are available at www.presidio.gov

The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site that is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio’s status as a National Historic Landmark District.”

News Release: “San Francisco Democrats elect Mary Jung chair, as newly elected DCCC members take office”

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Should a one-party town have its elected officials reflect “unity and common purpose?”

That’s the Question of the Day.

(I’ll bet PG&E lobbyist Willie Brown would answer in the affirmative.)

Deets below.

Wednesday evening, 455 Golden Gate Avenue:

Click to expand

“San Francisco Democrats elect Mary Jung chair, as newly elected DCCC members take office
Committee reflects ‘unity and common purpose’ in 2012 to re-elect Obama, help Pelosi reclaim Speakership, and make a difference on key state ballot measures
SAN FRANCISCO (July 27, 2012) — California Democratic Party Chair John Burton administered the oath of office to the newly elected members of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Wednesday night at the first general meeting of the local Democratic Party’s governing board following the June 5th Primary Election.  

Veteran Democratic activist Mary Jung was unanimously elected to serve as the San Francisco Democratic Party’s chair, and several DCCC members were elected to fill leadership roles that will be critical to the local party’s success heading into the November 2012 General Election.  Top priorities discussed at the public meeting include re-electing President Obama, returning the Speakership to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi by helping reclaim a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and pushing to expand the number of Democratic voters citywide.  

“I’m honored to serve as Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, and I look forward to working hard with my fellow Democrats in an election year with so much at stake,” said Party Chair Mary Jung.    “San Francisco Democrats elected a terrific team to lead our county central committee, and I think it reflects a spirit of unity and common purpose.  I’m confident in our ability to help return President Obama to the White House, make Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Speaker again, re-elect Senator Feinstein, and pass Gov. Brown’s revenue measure so California can maintain vital public services, restore quality education for all, and support our most vulnerable.”

Other officers elected at the general meeting held at the California State Office Building’s Milton Marks Auditorium on Golden Gate Avenue are: First Vice-Chair (Finance) Zoe Dunning; Second Vice-Chair (Issues) Alix Rosenthal; Third Vice-Chair (Voter Registration) Trevor McNeil; Fourth Vice-Chair (Club Chartering and Development) Leah Pimentel; Recording Secretary Kat Anderson; Treasurer Tom Hsieh; Corresponding Secretary Matt Dorsey; and Parliamentarian Arlo Hale Smith.  Rafael Mandelman will serve on the DCCC’s Slate Card Committee along with the Chair and Treasurer.  A committee tasked with proposing party bylaw changes to incorporate requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act, which assures public access and participation in local government public meetings, will include David Chiu, Arlo Hale Smith, Matt Dorsey and Hene Kelly.  That ad hoc committee will seek to fully harmonize local party bylaws with relevant provisions of state law to address concerns that the election of six members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to the DCCC may occasionally trigger Brown Act requirements. 

The committee also adopted two resolutions: one in support of placing AB 1648, a campaign finance reform measure known as the DISCLOSE Act, on the California ballot; and another expressing the Democratic Party’s support for City College of San Francisco.  

About the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee
San Francisco’s Democratic County Central Committee, or DCCC, is the governing body of the local Democratic Party as defined in California’s Government Code and Elections Code.  The DCCC is comprised of local Democrats elected by voters in each Assembly District, as well as partisan-level Democratic elected officials and nominees who serve as Ex-Officio Officers.  Current members elected from the 17th Assembly District are: John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Malia Cohen, Petra DeJesus, Matt Dorsey, Bevan Dufty, Zoe Dunning, Leslie Katz, Rafael Mandelman, Carole Migden, Leah Pimentel, Alix Rosenthal, and Scott Wiener.  Members elected from the 19th Assembly District are: Kat Anderson, Kelly Dwyer, Bill Fazio, Tom Hsieh, Mary Jung, Hene Kelly, Meagan Levitan, Eric Mar, Trevor McNeil and Arlo Hale Smith.  Ex Officio members are: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, Attorney General Kamala Harris, State Senators Leland Yee and Mark Leno, and Assemblymembers Fiona Ma and Tom Ammiano. 

Additional information is available online at: http://www.sfdemocrats.org/

Waiting to See Obama from a Brick Building on California Street

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

As seen yesterday:

Click to expand

 

OMG, MUNI Sucks Even More Than You Know: Central Subway – Hush-Hush Revenue Bond Vote Coming May 1

Monday, April 30th, 2012

If San Francisco could magically get the “Subway to Nowhere” Central Subway installed today for free it would still be a bad deal for San Francisco, mostly owing the very small amount benefits it would provide to a very small number of people and the very large hole it would put into MUNI”s annual budget.

But unless the Feds help out San Francisco by cancelling funding, politically connected players such as AECOM are all set to make a mint off of this project. Oh well.

Anyway, San Francisco officials are still trying to reassure the Feds about how great this horrible project is going, so, as of tomorrow, we’ll be on the hook for another $100,000,000, or so, to make up for the fact that California doesn’t want to chip in the money.

Check it out, from SaveMuni.com:

“On May 1, 2012, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board will be asked to approve Central Subway revenue bonds, of undetermined amount, to plug a large hole that has developed in the Central Subway budget. This is a very risky course of action.

A shortfall of between $61.3 million and $140 million has now appeared in the project budget. In order to make up for this substantial loss of previously anticipated State of California funding, the MTA staff is asking its Board and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve a revenue bond sale of undetermined amount. On the agenda of the May 1, 2012 MTA Board meeting, the bond authorization is scheduled as Item 10.4 which is unaccountably included under the Board’s consent calendar rather than its regular calendar. In the Agenda packet, the staff attributes the need for the revenue bond sale to “uncertainty regarding HSR in California.” This statement is false and misleading, for the reasons set forth below.”

Here are the deets:

“SaveMuni.com
April 30, 2012

MTA’s Stealth Maneuver to Commit Additional City Funds to the Central Subway

On May 1, 2012, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board will be asked to approve Central Subway revenue bonds, of undetermined amount, to plug a large hole that has developed in the Central Subway budget. This is a very risky course of action.

MTA Board Agenda, Tuesday, May 1, 2012: See Item 10.4.

Particulars

The cost of the MTA’s Central Subway project has ballooned from $647 million to the current estimate of $1.58 billion.i The original plan was for $983 million of this total to come from the federal government, $471 from the State of California and $124 million from San Francisco’s Prop K sales tax fund.

In attempting to sell the subway to the public, MTA has repeatedly called the public’s attention to its “success” in leveraging a mere $124 million City & County contribution into a $1.58 billion subway.ii However, a shortfall of between $61.3 million and $140 million has now appeared in the project budget.

In order to make up for this substantial loss of previously anticipated State of California funding, the MTA staff is asking its Board and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve a revenue bond sale of undetermined amount. On the agenda of the May 1, 2012 MTA Board meeting, the bond authorization is scheduled as Item 10.4 which is unaccountably included under the Board’s consent calendar rather than its regular calendar. In the Agenda packet, the staff attributes the need for the revenue bond sale to “uncertainty regarding HSR in California”. This statement is false and misleading, for the reasons set forth below.

The MTA is caught between a skittish Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) appropriately worried about the MTA’s financial ability to handle the Central Subway project and a huge shortfall in the non-federal share of the project budget. The MTA apparently believes the solution to this problem is to skim millions of dollars a year from already overburdened Muni revenues, in order to sell revenue bonds as necessary to make up for the loss in State capital—all in hopes that the action will reassure the feds and therefore put the hoped-for federal grant back on track.

The best that could be said of the MTA’s plan is that it is extremely risky. By far, the most important element of that risk is that the costs of servicing the revenue bonds, coupled with an indeterminate amount of project overrun (estimated by CGR Management Consultants to be as high as $422 million), could result in unacceptably high Muni fare increases and/or unacceptably damaging Muni service cuts.”

Ever more deets after the jump

(more…)

Look at that S-Car Go! Comments Re: Today’s Bit on “Electric Cars” in the Chronicle – EL CHEVY VOLT NO ES UN COCHE ELECTRICO

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Here we go:

“After a year’s success in casting bankrupt Fremont solar maker Solyndra as the prototype for President Obama’s energy policies, Republicans now are targeting what they have dubbed “Obamacars.”

OBAMACARS? THAT’S A NEW ONE ON ME. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA INDEED HAS A PROBLEM ON HIS HANDS WITH THE VERY UNPOPULAR DETROIT BAILOUT. I’M NOT SAYING IT WAS HIS IDEA BUT HE CERTAINLY SUPPORTED IT AND IT WAS BAD IDEA, IMO. FOR SOME REASON, HAVING SOMETHING TO DO WITH OBAMA, GM MADE WILDLY UNREALISTIC FORECASTS FOR THE VOLT PLUG-IN HYBRID. OBVIOUSLY, THERE’S GOOD AND BAD FOR OBAMA TO BE SO INVOLVED WITH DETROIT.

For some GOP members of Congress, the Chevy Volt, made by General Motors, is a fire hazard and a job loser, while Palo Alto’s Tesla Motors is a crony capitalist purveyor of toy cars for Silicon Valley millionaires.

FIRE HAZARD? NO. JOB LOSER? NO. BUT CRONY CAPITALIST PURVEYOR OF TOY CARS FOR SILICON VALLEY MILLIONAIRES? YES! DING DING DING!

The campaign has tainted Energy Secretary and UC Berkeley physicist Steven Chu and his agency’s renewable energy loan programs, rupturing a consensus under former President George W. Bush, who started the programs to end America’s addiction to oil.

I DON’T KNOW IF THE CAMPAIGN DID THAT. WE’VE WASTED A LOT OF MONEY ON A LOT OF FEDERAL PROGRAMS – THIS IS TRUE WITH OR WITHOUT ANY CAMPAIGN.

But it may not stop the electric car. The assault has enraged General Motors. On March 1, the company opened an unprecedented campaign to re-introduce the Volt in California, the biggest U.S. auto market, even as it temporarily halted production because of slow sales.

THE CHEVY VOLT IS NOT AN “ELECTRIC CAR.” SORRY. IT’S A PLUG-IN HYBRID, IRL.

GM Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson has complained about the political atmosphere that surrounds the Volt.

UH, DOESN’T HE OWE HIS JOB TO THE “POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE?” I THINK SO.

“Sometimes I feel bad for President Obama,” he said this month after an appearance at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

AWW. AND SOMETIMES SMITHERS FEELS BAD FOR MR. BURNS. SOMETIMES.

The automaker accused Republicans and the media of hyping claims that the car caught fire during testing, which forced temporary layoffs at the Volt plant in Detroit.

IF THE VOLT WERE WAAAAAY CHEAPER, IT WOULD SELL SOMEWHAT BETTER. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEWS OF FIRES. GM, FOR POLITICAL REASONS, WAS WAAAAAAAY OFF ON PREDICTIONS OF SALES FOR THIS MODEL.

Tesla, which received a $465 million Department of Energy loan, has dropped pursuit of new federal loans, raised private cash and plans in July to start deliveries of its $50,000 S car, claiming it is on its way to the mass car market.

LOOK AT THAT S CAR GO! OR YOU COULD CALL IT THE TYPE S, AS TESLA DOES. AND HOW ABOUT $57,400 FOR THE BASE PRICE OF THE STRIPPER MODEL S, YOU KNOW, INSTEAD OF “$50,000?”

“We applied during the Bush administration, and we were approved under the Obama administration, so as far as we’re concerned, we at least had a bipartisan relationship for the loan,” said Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes. “We got one of first loans and we used it to build the car that is now going into production in a U.S.-based facility. … I’d like to think we’re pretty much a case study on what the loan program was designed to do.”

THE FEDS SHOULD NOT HAVE PUT ANY MONEY INTO TESLA. SORRY.

Showing photos of a charred Volt, a panel of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), held a hearing in January called “Volt Vehicle Fire: What Did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It.”

NOW WE’RE INTO THE POLITICS. BUT I THINK ELEMENTS OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PLAY THE EXACT SAME GAME, RIGHT?

“Without a doubt, the antics have hurt sales, which has probably contributed to the need to shut down the plant for a few weeks and temporarily lay off 1,300 employees,” said GM spokesman Shad Balch. “It’s just blatantly wrong information. You get some of these folks on national news shows making outrageous statements about batteries catching on fire and cars randomly exploding.”

THE “BLATANTLY WRONG INFORMATION” ABOUT THE VOLT MOSTLY COMES FROM GM. MOSTLY. THE VOLT IS AN UNPOPULAR CAR. DEAL WITH IT, GM. WHAT IF THERE WERE A HEARING SOMEWWHERE IN DC ABOUT EXPLODING APPLE IPADS? DO YOU ALL THINK THAT WOULD MAKE THE IPAD AN UNPOPULAR PRODUCT ALL OF A SUDDEN? THE EXPENSIVE VOLT IS THE EXPENSIVE VOLT. DEAL WITH IT.

An independent analyst at TrueCar.com, a new-vehicle pricing and research firm, said what is slowing Volt sales is GM’s failure to tout its economics as gasoline prices soar past $4 a gallon.

TRUECAR.COM IS A BIG POS OF A WEBSITE. WHY IS IT BEING CITED IN THIS FASHION?

The Energy Department’s loan programs have been plagued by politicization, bankruptcies and bureaucratic bungling.

OH, HEY. HEY, THAT SHOULD BE THE HEADLINE. NOW YOU’RE ON THE TROLLEY!

Electric car maker Fiskar Automotive of Anaheim, which produces the luxury Karma in Finland and is aiming to produce a mass market “Project Nina” car in the United States, was approved for a $529 million loan guarantee. But it has drawn down just $193 million and was blocked in May by the Energy Department from further disbursements for failure to meet project milestones. It has stopped work at its Delaware plant.

WHAT A FIASCO. WHY DO WE GIVE MONEY TO CARMAKERS?

Toprak of Truecar.com said the 18,000 electric cars sold in the United States last year, mostly the Volt and the Nissan Leaf, make up just one-tenth of 1 percent of new car sales.

TO REPEAT, THE VOLT IS NOT AN “ELECTRIC CAR.” REPETICION: EL CHEVY VOLT NO ES UN COCHE ELECTRICO. IT WAS GOING TO BE, BUT THEN THINGS CHANGED.

OH WELL>

What the Chevy Volt looked like back when it really was an electric car. As seen on Market Street in San Francisco back in 2008:

Later on they added in a gas engine and they made it look lame and then they jacked up the price waaaaaay high.

Oh well.

That’s GM for you…

A Plea From San Franciscans to Congressional Republicans: Please Save Us From the Corrupt, Useless Central Subway

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I’ll tell you, I don’t exactly know how San Francisco managed to get (basically) free water and (basically) free electricity through flooding half of the good part of the Yosemite National Park area, but somehow, through bribery, corruption or whatnot, we got a sweetheart deal to take advantage of Hetch Hetchy in perpetuity.

Of course the right thing to do would be to start sharing the benefits of Hetch Hetchy with the rest of California, or at least pay market price for what we’re getting, or just tear down the damn dam altogether. Something like that.

But the single-party state of San Francisco doesn’t want to do anything like that. The single-party state of San Francisco wants to hold on to the Hetch Hetchy deal for as long as possible. Maybe some Republicans can help us find the right path…

Speaking of which, the federally-funded Central Subway [cough, BIG DIG II, cough - and you know, Boston's Big Dig is different because it had a chance to actually benefit people] project is useless and horribly corrupt. It will burden San Francisco for decades, whether it gets used or not.

Why don’t we stop this thing [cough, BRIDGE TO NOWHERE, cough] right now? And Feds, why not just call it even? So we won’t pay you back the $200,000,000 but you all will end up saving big bucks.

It’ll be up to you, Congressional Republicans, to save us from wasting money on the Central Subway [cough, ROAD TO NOWHERE, cough - hey, I bet you didn't know about that one!]

The Central Subway to Chinatown is the replacement for our long-dead Embarcadero Freeway to Chinatown. And somehow, calling the Central Subway the Subway to Nowhere is considered racist and hurtful, but calling the Embarcadero Freeway the Freeway to Nowhere, well, that’s good times. See?

Click to expand

Off we go:

“YOUR TURN!  RE-SCRUTINIZE THE CENTRAL SUBWAY BOONDOGGLE.

Everyone should re-scrutinize the Central Subway—in light of growing Muni deficits and cutbacks.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) hasn’t granted final approvals.  And Congress has a mandated 60-day review period.  Instead, let’s shift hundreds of millions of dollars into citywide Muni.

PETITION:  http://tinyurl.com/No-to-CentralSubway 

The Central Subway means more Muni service cuts and fare/ fee increases. 

The Central Subway Project has drained over $500 million of state and local funding from the citywide Muni system.  Facing a $19.6 million deficit in 2012 and $33.6 million in 2013, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) threatens more service cuts and fare/ fee increases—after cuts/ increases in 2009 and 2010.  SFMTA projects $1.6 billion in budget deficits and $25.4 billion of capital needs over the next twenty years.  While Muni infrastructure crumbles, Muni’s $1.9 billion in deferred maintenance is a ticking nuclear bomb.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/transportation/2012/01/sfmta-identifies-24-billion-long-term-project-needs

Muni wouldn’t have budget deficits—if scarce dollars were used wisely.

The Central Subway Project has usurped over $500 million of state/ local funds from system-wide Muni needs—exacerbating system meltdowns and rider discontentment.  Service cuts, fare increases, parking/ meter rate hikes, painful traffic citations and frustrated Muni riders have subsidized the Central Subway Project.  No degree of service cuts and fare/fee increases will offset Muni’s mismanagement of assets and existing funds.

PROP K 2003 has higher, legally-mandated citywide Muni priorities.

http://www.sfcta.org/content/view/11/27/

Instead of the tiny 1.7 mile Central Subway, hundreds of miles of Transit Preferential Streets can be created with the Central Subway’s existing state/ local funds—benefiting all Muni riders, taxpayers and neighborhoods.

With its uniqueness, character, Mediterranean-scale, geographic beauty and topographic splendor, San Francisco’s northeast quadrant is a natural pedestrian realm.  The distance from Downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf is 1-½ miles.  Columbus Avenue is 1 mile long.  Washington Square is 1 mile from the Powell BART/Metro Station.  Chinatown is ½ mile from Market Street.  As seen in cities throughout the world, these are distances opportune for a pulsating street life.

From an urban planning perspective, robust pedestrian and surface transit assures wider economic vitality—with very efficient costs and more immediate jobs.

The Central Subway’s own reports depict an abysmal project.

http://tinyurl.com/CS-Charts  .

CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) cites pervasive Muni safety Issues. 

In the 3-6-12 SFMTA Board Agenda:  “Conference with Legal Counsel:  Existing Litigation—Investigation into the Operations, Practices and Conduct of the SFMTA Regarding Ongoing Public Safety Issues, California Public Utilities Commission, I. 11-02-017, Issued on 2/24/2011.”

CPUC PRESS RELEASE:

http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/published/News_release/131263.htm :

“The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today began penalty considerations based on CPUC staff allegations of pervasive safety concerns regarding the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA or Muni) light rail system. This action was taken after CPUC safety inspectors found numerous safety violations on Muni’s light rail system in San Francisco. In their report to the CPUC, the inspectors have alleged that SFMTA has been chronically unresponsive to alleged violations and other findings.”

PUBLIC SENTIMENT:

http://www.gjel.com/blog/san-francisco-muni-faulted-by-california-puc-for-safety-violations.html :

“If you’re a regular Muni rider, you know that delays are common on weekday commutes to and from work. You might not know, however, that San Francisco’s transportation agency has routinely fallen short on safety inspections for the past year and a half, according to a report released this week by the California Public Utilities Commission.”

DON’T LET LOBBYISTS OVERRIDE YOUR INTERESTS.

If the Central Subway were truly a sound transportation project, than politicians, public officials and lobbyists wouldn’t be needed to twist the arms of the public and decision-makers.  Instead, a multi-million dollar media campaign has pitched the Central Subway like snake oil and subprime derivatives, using Muni funds to lobby Muni’s own customers, governing bodies and officials.

CITIREPORT:  “Lobbyists Turn Millions into Billions”:

http://www.citireport.com/2012/02/lobbyists-turn-millions-into-billions/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Money+and+Politics+The+Year+That+Ended&utm_content=Money+and+Politics+The+Year+That+Ended+CID_99d18a4d35f8a81996ebeb6e950a1883&utm_source=Email+Newsletters&utm_term=Influence+Peddlers+Make+Millions+at+City+Hall

“Money Follows Controversy

The top ten clients who promised payments for lobbying surfaces some of the most controversial issues at City Hall.

California Pacific Medical Center promised the most in payments for lobbying, at $750,985. Aecom, which is leading the Central Subway and other projects, ranked second at $360,000. Third was Millennium Partners, also at $360,000.”

 NEW YORK TIMES:  “Out Of Office, but Not Out of Things to Say”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/us/willie-brown-remains-a-san-francisco-power-broker.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1330078166-8/XmgibML60WcphWNXyz4g

“His [former Mayor Willie Brown] law firm represents prominent clients, among them Aecom, an engineering firm involved in San Francisco’s central subway project, and the California Online Poker Association.”

EPOCH TIMES:  “San Francisco Mayoral Debate gives Glimpse of Chinatown Politics”:

http://epoch-archive.com/a1/en/us/sfo/2011/10-Oct/06/A3_20111006_NoCA-US.pdf

“CCDC [Chinatown Community Development Center} also gets a juicy subcontract related to the Central Subway project, including $30,000 a month to spend on ‘community outreach’.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL:  “The Billion-Dollar-A-Mile Subway Makes Perfect Sense”:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904583204576542691025904076.html?

NOTE:  Even while the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is evaluating the Central Subway project, the FTA Administrator defended the project in the Wall Street Journal—responding to an Editorial that blasted the Subway Boondoggle. The conflict of interest is worsened by transit data that shows the Central Subway decreasing transit service levels and travel times for tens of thousands of riders.

Instead of Muni service cutbacks, fare/ fee increases and crumbling infrastructure, imagine how the Central Subway’s hundreds of millions of dollars in existing state/ local funds could revitalize the citywide Muni System.  Political leaders do pay heed to well-reasoned arguments of their constituents.

Join with SaveMuni.com in lobbying Washington and Sacramento.

www.SaveMuni.com

And if the blue sky mining company won’t come to our rescue
And if the sugar refining company won’t save us
Who’s gonna save us?

Codename Stagecoach: Barack Obama’s Cadillac Monster Truck Passes By the Ferry Building

Friday, February 17th, 2012

All the deets of yesterday’s drive-by:

A specially designed and outfitted armored vehicle with DTS styling and a high-roof fitted to a GM four-wheel drive chassis was used in the second inauguration of U.S. President George W. Bush. While details of the modified vehicle, codenamed Stagecoach, remain classified, previous such vehicles indicate that it would have been upgraded with advanced armor and safety features in order to protect the president from various threats. 

“Its successor entered service with President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. According to GM, the manufacturer, the “2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine” is the first not to carry a specific model name. The vehicle is a combination of a Cadillac limousine body on the chassis/platform of a GMC Topkick commercial truck and bears styling cues from the CTS and Escalade models as opposed to the DTS.”

Precious memories:

Click to expand

POTUS was worried that he’d get too excited about seeing San Francisco’s new and improved, almost-America’s-Cup-ready “World Class Waterfront,” so he decided to take a nap.

Best of all, it’s a Cadillac: 

Good call, Mr. President.

Here It Is, Your Personal Invitation to See President Barack Obama on February 16th, 2012 – $100 per Ticket, Deadline is Today

Monday, February 6th, 2012

$100 and up, that is:

Click to expand

Anyway, today is the last day for $100 tickets…