Posts Tagged ‘Changes’

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!

Here You Go, Here’s the SFMTA’s Entire 244-Page “2015 IMPLEMENTATION WORKBOOK” – What’s in Store for YOUR Route?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Here’s your REVISION HISTORY, complete with an acronym list, the better to talk MUNI.

And here’s the rest

1-21 Intro, with index at the bottom

44-65 Proposals By Route + E Embarcadero to L Taraval

66-90 M Oceanview to N Judah + 1 California to 5 Fulton

91-115* 6 Parnassus to 12 Folsom/Pacific

116-150 14 Mission to 24 Divisadero

151-188 27 Bryant to 37 Corbett

189-244 38 Geary to 67 Bernal Heights

And moar? I know not.

Read all you want. (Imagine you’re an SFMTA fat-cat getting paid over $1000 a day to go through this stuff, if that’ll make it easier on you.)

*Sadly this part, she is missing. Send me a link if you find one.

The Evolution of Color in the Lights of Civic Center’s Christmas Tree and City Hall – This is How SFGov “Works”

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

This is how the Christmas Holiday Tree in front of San Francisco City Hall was lit at night back in the aughts:


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

Do you see a problem? All those gaudy lights in the tree offended certain rich white ladies of San Francisco! They felt all that colour was “not appropriate.” So they imposed their values on the RPD, as they are wont to do, and RPD spent five figures to correct the “problem.”

So that left us with this:

O.K. fine.

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

So then came this:


Via Julie Blaustein

And now Mayor Willie Brown wants ever more color.

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

Were these changes “improvements?”

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

Oh well…

A Minor Rebellion Against the SFMTA’s Plans to Slow Down Masonic

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Our SFMTA has certified that there’s no opposition to its plans to slow down Masonic by putting in a median and a bunch of trees.

And yet, ppl in the area are putting up home-made signs, thusly:

7J7C4541 copy

Something doesn’t add up…

Beverage Update: Say Good-Bye to Those Fruity Forties, Those Ubiquitous 23.5-Ounce Cans of Four-Loko

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The upshot of last week’s big news is that the FTC wants you all to treat 4-Loko as something you’d be pouring into cups to share instead of you bogarting a huge can just for yourself.

These cans, which actually have more alcohol than a forty, aren’t resealable, so they’re destined for Hell:

Click to expand

All the deets:

“FTC Requires Packaging Changes for Fruit-Flavored Four Loko Malt Beverage – Marketer of Supersized, High-Alcohol Beverage Agrees to Stop Allegedly Deceptive Claims to Settle FTC Charges

The marketers of Four Loko have agreed to re-label and repackage the supersized, high-alcohol, fruit-flavored, carbonated malt beverage, to resolve Federal Trade Commission charges of deceptive advertising.

The FTC alleges that Phusion Projects, LLC and its principals falsely claimed that a 23.5-ounce, 11 or 12 percent alcohol by volume can of Four Loko contains alcohol equivalent to one or two regular 12-ounce beers, and that a consumer could drink one can safely in its entirety on a single occasion.

In fact, according to the FTC, one can of Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four to five 12-ounce cans of regular beer and is not safe to drink on a single occasion. Consuming a single can of Four Loko on a single occasion constitutes “binge drinking,” which is defined by health officials as men drinking five (and women drinking four) or more standard alcoholic drinks in about two hours.

“Deception about alcohol content is dangerous to consumers, and it’s a serious concern for the FTC,” said David Vladeck, Director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Four Loko contains as much alcohol as four or five beers, but it is marketed as a single-serving beverage.”

The 23.5-ounce Four Loko cans are the size of about two regular beer cans and are non-resealable. The FTC complaint alleged that on one company website, consumers were encouraged to enter a “photo contest” in which they posted many photos of people drinking directly from the 23.5-ounce Four Loko cans. In stocking instructions, Phusion urged merchants to place the cans where other refrigerated, single-serve alcoholic beverages are displayed.

The administrative settlement requires Phusion Projects to include disclosures on containers of Four Loko, or any other flavored malt beverage containing more alcohol than two and-a-half regular beers, stating how much alcohol – compared to the amount of alcohol found in regular beer – is in the drink. The order also specifies the location and appearance of the disclosure. For example, the disclosure for a 23.5 ounce can of Four Loko with 12 percent alcohol by volume would state: “This can has as much alcohol as 4.5 regular (12 oz. 5% alc/vol) beers.”

Starting six months after the settlement takes effect, Phusion Projects is required to use only resealable containers for flavored malt beverages that have more alcohol than the equivalent of two and a half regular beers.

Also, the settlement bars Phusion Projects from misrepresenting the alcohol content of any beverage, and from depicting people drinking directly from the container of any product containing more alcohol than that found in two and a half regular beers.”

Ever more deets after the jump.