Posts Tagged ‘california’

So the San Francisco 2024 Olympics Bid is Based on London 2012, Which Ended with a “Surplus?” – Here’s Why That’s Wrong

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Well, here’s your set-up, from the San Francisco Chronicle:

“…San Francisco is trying to apply the model used in London in 2012. The games there were concentrated primarily in existing, temporary or shrinkable facilities and ended with a surplus…”

But that’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

Let’s travel back to 2007, via BBC News:

“The overall budget for the London Olympics submitted in the bid to the International Olympic Committee was £2.4bn.” [In Yankee Dollars, that’s $4 billion-something.]

Now let’s look at the official total of the actual cost, via BBC News:

£9.29bn  [In Yankee Dollars, that’s in the area of $14 billion-something.]

So, how can the boosters of London 2012 claim to have come in “under-budget?” Well, it’s because they simply boosted the budget almost 300% to get it above what they ended up spending, you know, Hollywood accounting* style:

“The budget was revised upwards after taking into account previously overlooked costs such as VAT, increased security… Addressing the original bid budget of £2.4bn, Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said there was a “recognition right from the word go that figure would have to change dramatically on the basis of delivering the Games”

Now let’s hear from San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, to explain things for us:

“News that the Transbay Terminal is something like $300 million over budget should not come as a shock to anyone. We always knew the initial estimate was way under the real cost. Just like we never had a real cost for the Central Subway or the Bay Bridge or any other massive construction project. So get off it. In the world of civic projects, the first budget is really just a down payment. If people knew the real cost from the start, nothing would ever be approved. The idea is to get going. Start digging a hole and make it so big, there’s no alternative to coming up with the money to fill it in.”

Also, how is building temporary stadia (stadiums?) cheaper than building permanent structures? Oh, it’s not, but at least the IOC won’t have to deal with crumbling infrastructure as an icon of the 2024 Summer Games? So, you build a white elephant, then tear it down, and then it’s like it wasn’t even there? OK fine.

I’ll tell you, there’s no way the IOC will agree to an Olympics in the Bay Area without taxpayers being on the hook for overruns. No way. The last time an Olympic City made a good deal was 1984, when Los Angeles didn’t really have to compete with a host of other potential host cities around the world. Just look at what the Mayor of Chicago had to agree to in order to just be considered for the 2016 Games. (Yes, he talked about insurance policies, actual policies from insurance companies, but those wouldn’t have worked out either, for various reasons, the taxpayers of Illinois would have been on the hook for billions, had Chicago “won” the right to host.)

Do you know what SFGov considers leadership to be? Something like this, something like what Chris Columbus showed on his First Voyage:

“Columbus kept two logs of the distance traveled. The one he showed to the crew showed they had not gone as far as Columbus believed. He did not want them to think that they were too far from home.

See how that works? If you’re honest with people, then you’ll never get anywhere So that’s why lying is necessary, the SFGov people feel. The problem is the question of whether The Journey is a good idea in the first place. IMO, they should say, sure, this will cost us an extra $10 billion or so in cost overruns, but here’s why it’ll be worth it.

Oh, and this is just in, here’s Mike Sugerman:

Vegas Odds Makers: Los Angeles, Boston Have Better Shot Than San Francisco To Host 2024 Olympics

If you do the math, our odds of “winning” the title of sole potential U.S. host of the 2024 Olympics are about 17%. (These Vegas odds certainly square with my understanding. IRL, the IOC hates, just hates, the idea of having Washington DC host, and IRL, the USOC is frightened, is horrified, of fractious Bay Area politics, and, frankly, Larry Baer is the last person you want herding cats, if said cats include any city in the South Bay, where, frankly, his name is mud.)

That’s your 2024 Olympics Update.

*In Hollywood, the goal is to make a profitable venture appear to be unprofitable, the better to lower costs for the studio. OTOH, in the world of the Olympics, the goal is to show a “profit” even though expenses exceeded income. 

Best MUNI Bus Ad Ever: “Have a Compassionate Holiday Season” – Be Kind to Turkeys” – UNITED POULTRY CONCERN

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Turkeys – Who Are They?

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The Animal Print Twins of the Western Addition Take Time Out to Berate a Prius Driver

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

In this case, the Prius driver appeared to be a worse than average Prius driver, so they made a good call:

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Balto-Slavs, FTW.

Strut, Western Addition

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

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Here It Is: The Infamous Line of Double-Parked Cars in Front of Rainbow Grocery – How Do We Solve This Longstanding Problem?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

I don’t know, but SFGov is powerless, it appears.

Here’s some history on the issue.

And here’s how things look in 2014 – nothing’s changed:

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Oh well…

What Should Be the Speed Limit for Bicycles on Golden Gate Bridge?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

I don’t know. Some consultant came up with 10 MPH a few years back, but that idea wasn’t good for business, or something like that.

Now here’s a sign that tells you how fast you’re going, anyway:

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Sometimes, I just don’t know…

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.)

Four College Degrees (I’m Guessing) Play Frogger with 30 MPH Traffic on Masonic to get to Trader Joe’s #100

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

This crossing was particularly arduous for those involved – it took about 90 seconds of waiting and sprinting.

The speed limit is 30 MPH, but of course some cars might be going faster. If you want to get into mean, median and mode, well, an average speed would be in the single digits, due to all the stalled traffic waiting to get into the notorious TJ’s Masonic parking lot.

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Let’s talk about Human Nature. These humans already know what they’re supposed to do – that’s heading south to Geary, waiting a while for a green and then heading back up north in the sidewalk to get to the gro sto. But once they’ve spent 30 seconds scanning for cars and then starting to run and then stopping to go back and then scanning for traffic again, they are accumulating SUNK COSTS of time and effort. So even if crossing legally would end up taking less time, THESE JAYWALKERS NEVER GIVE UP by walking down to the Geary intersection.

Anyway, there’s a happy ending to this story – the jaywalk back across the street with groceries in tow went much better, as these naughty peds used the stalled southbound traffic to their advantage, and northbound traffic is usually easy to negotiate. Hurrah! For this particular day…

(The reason why people park on the wrong side of Masonic and then go to TJ’s is that it’s much easier than doing things the legal way. It’s human nature to imagine consistent patterns, in this case patterns of traffic, even when they don’t exist IRL. The problem with the deadly game of Frogger on this particular block is that there’s no safety area, there’s no place to hide if you, the ped, make a mistake. Then it’s game over, man.)

Bitchin’ ‘Maro, Masonic

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Chevrolet Camaro, that is:

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That’s what people at my high school would have called this car, anyway…

YOLO Dude Illegally Jogs Down Busy Gough Street, in the Fast Lane, ‘Cause, You Know, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I’ve never seen this:

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