Posts Tagged ‘chronicle’

Once Again, We The People Have Failed Our Mayor, Willie Brown – What “Crushed” His Spirits Will Amaze You

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Hey, is this new, this OPINION header for Shadow Mayor / professional SFGov lobbyist / San Francisco Chronicle columnist Willie Brown, you know, for his columns? IDK.

Anyway, check it:

OPINION

Hillary Rodham Clinton and the perils of being early front-runner

By Willie L. Brown, Jr.March 6, 2015

“What a mess. The public and the press love to slam Gov. Jerry Brown and me for holding up the building of the new span, but in hindsight, maybe we should have held it up even longer.

“On the subject of the bridge: I was at the ceremony Thursday night commemorating the light show on the western side going dark for repairs. Speaker after speaker got up and praised the lights, praised the generous folk who made them possible, praised the generous folk whose money will bring them back next year — and not a single person referred to the span by its proper name: the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge. 

“I was crushed.”

So:

1. Somebody held a ceremony to turn off some decorative lighting project on part of a historic public works fiasco? OK fine!

2. And is Willie serious here? The proper name of course is the Western Span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, right?

3. And I think the NAACP got things wrong here, because it’s properly called a span and not a bridge. So even though the new bore of the Caldecott Tunnel is a tunnel itself, ’cause it certainly meets the definition of a tunnel, we call that bore a bore. That’s why we would call the so-called Willie Brown Bridge the Willie Brown Span, except…

4. Except nobody that calls it Willie Brown anything IRL. We call it the western span, to distinguish it from the eastern span. I mean, what does he want, does he want the Cosco Busan to come back and hit the delta tower of the western span and spill 50,000 gallons of bunker fuel again so that headlines will read “Container Ship Strikes Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge?”

5. Speaking of which, that expensive tower on the eastern span is merely decorative, meaning that it wasn’t necessary, right? We don’t need big ships going under the eastern span, right? Meaning that we should have gone the cheap and easy route of retrofitting what was already there or gone with the cheaper, easier “freeway-on-stilts” option. Willie now seems to be trying to blame his massive bridge failure on others. Moving on…

6. To this! Here’s Willie’s sandwich board from when he was shilling for renaming the entire length of Third Street to honor … the honorable Willie Brown, natch:

7. And then there was the time back in the 1990’s when Willie had a push to rename SFO, the whole thing, not just a terminal, after, wait for it, Willie Brown, of course! No no, not Harvey Milk, me, Willie Brown!

Oh well.

National Media Embraces the Term Twitterloin – First the New York Times and Now Fortune: “Welcome to the Twitterloin”

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Here’s the latest from Fortune:

Welcome to the Twitterloin, where tech-savvy cool meets gritty hood by Michal Lev-Ram

And that comes on the heels of this recent bit in the NYT:

As Wealth Changes the Tenderloin, a Move to Preserve Artistic ‘Gems’” by PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN

So what are the borders of the Twitterloin? Well, it depends.

For some, this portmanteau dating from 2009 means the Tenderloin itself, and others think it refers to a place at the southern* “edge of the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood.”

And then there’s this map of the “Twitter Tax Break” zone – it’s sort of shaped like the number 7:

Twitter-Tax-Break-Map copy

(Oddly, an unelected mansion-dwelling white man from the east bay played a signif role in creating the borders of this map. Isn’t that strange?)

And here’s a little more on the history of the Twitterloin:

Prospective Twitter Landlord Gave Newsom Rent Deal by Gerry Shih

Oh, does this information challenge your notions? Sorry.

And, Heaven forfend, this Forbes bit is coming after “we” agreed to put the term Twitterloin “to bed once and for all” just a few months back.

Sorry.

(Oh hai! You’ve worked in SF media for “years and years” and yet you’ve never even heard of the term “Twitterloin” until you saw it in The Grey Lady in 2015? Whoo boy, you don’t get out into the field all that much, huh?)

Oh what’s that, you’re from SFGov or a taxpayer-funded org and you don’t like seeing auslanders use the T-word because EVERYTHING IS AWESOME under the regime of WillieBrownGavinNewsomEdLee? Well here’s your map then:

Now there’s a T-word you can get behind, huh?

And, more seriously, if you’re new in town, then this semi-recent (and perfectly legal!) pizza delivery no-go map is your lodestar:

Basically if you’re looking for trouble, start at 6th and Folsom, you know, on foot, and then head northwest and then take Eddy west all the way to Divisadero in the North of NoPA area. I’ll add, Gentle Visitor, that you’re not going to get killed or anything if you wander throughout the aspirationally-named “Uptown Tenderloin*” but it might go a little something like this.

Or here’s a safer way to get about the Twitterloin.

In closing, here’s the latest from Italy:

“Da Tenderloin a Twitterloin: con i “techie” cambia lo storico quartiere

È storicamente il quartiere più malfamato di San Francisco, dove convivono homeless e gira droga, ma che è vissuto anche da graffitari, gallerie che propongono i lavori di artisti indipendenti, ‘food trucks’ (i camioncini che vendono cibo di strada), teatri leggendari e case di riposo che il comune destina alle persone con il reddito più basso, disoccupati e agli invalidi. Da quando sono arrivate le compagnie del “tech boom” che hanno scelto di stanziarsi dentro la città e lontane dalla Silicon Valley, il Tenderloin è stato però ribattezzato il “Twitterloin”: qui hanno sede le compagnie di Jack Dorsey, Twitter e Square, il quartier generale di Uber, e anche Yahoo! sta a poca distanza. L’arrivo delle grandi società sta cambiando rapidamente il volto del quartiere, spazzando via l’arte di strada e anche il carattere vibrante che per anni ha animato la zona. E, naturalmente, facendo aumentare in brevissimo tempo il prezzo degli affitti (testi e foto di Viviana Devoto e Kegan Marling).”

There’s your Twitterloin Update 2015.

*Cf. Tendernob, at the northern edge close to Nob Hill. 

Is David Chiu Really This Orange? The Challenges of White Balance at the Chambers of the Board of Superviors – Desaturation = Win

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

The offending photo, reposted today.

That’s over the line, IMO.

Here’s a two-step fix – tone down the Saturation by sliding left and then brighten up the remaining sunburned-looking patch on the forehead using Replace Color:

920x920 copy

JMO.

Is this impermissible photo manipulation?

IDK, but it’s certainly closer to IRL than what I started with…

The San Francisco Chronicle’s CW Nevius Pushes Advocacy Journalism Beyond Its Limits: Rent Control en la Mision

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Is this bit here from CW Nevius at all persuasive to you? It’s not to me. And probably it’s not to most people.

And you know, there’s not a whole bunch of “tenant activists” in the bay area either. Yet CW seems to think the world is divided into two sections:

1. Right-thinking, right-side-of-the-aisle activist people such as himself; and

2. Tenant activists

But IRL, most people aren’t activists.

And the reason why it seems that CW Nevius works hand-in-hand with local pols who despise rent control is that CW Nevius actually is working hand-in-hand with local pols who despise rent control. Except CW doesn’t have to worry about losing future elections, so he’s free to speak out on behalf those pols who are terrified of being depicted as anti-rent control. So that’s your symbiotic relationship. I’m unaware of anybody else at the SF Chronicle who has this kind of relationship with local pols. I’m saying, from an outsider’s perspective, the writings of CW Nevius really stand out. He’s an outlier.

Leave us begin:

Through no fault of their own, the married couple has been displaced from their Mission District home by tenants who refuse to move unless they receive a payment of well over $100,000.

UH, NO THEY WEREN’T “DISPLACED.” WHAT HAPPENED WAS THEY MOVED OVERSEAS AND THEN RENTED OUT THEIR PART OF A TIC TO A COUPLE OF TENANTS IN A RENT-CONTROLLED CITY. THE OBVIOUS SOLUTION IS AN OMI PROCEEDING. SO, IN FACT, THEY CAN MOVE BACK “HOME.”

…an eviction would violate the terms of a TIC-to-condo conversion ordinance and they — and the other two co-owners of their building — would never be able to convert their tenancy-in-common unit to a condominium.

TICs AREN’T FOR EVERYBODY, RIGHT? LOTS OF THINGS CAN GO WRONG WITH A TIC, RIGHT?

“We may lose control of our home for the rest of our lives,” Rumpler said. “They must have been instructed that they are sitting on a gold mine. They’re dug in, and we’re stuck.”

AGAIN, YOU DO AN OMI OR YOU DON’T DO AN OMI – CALLING UP CW NEVIUS ISN’T GOING TO HELP WITH THIS SITUATION.

When the condo conversion ordinance was passed in June 2013, it seemed like relief for thousands of San Franciscans.

THOUSANDS OF WEALTHY SAN FRANCISCANS WHO WERE TAKING A CHANCE ON AN INHERENTLY RISKY TIC INVESTMENT, RIGHT?

They were buyers who purchased tenancy-in-common units and then spent years on a waiting list, hoping to be one of 200 chosen in the conversion lottery each year.

HOW IS THIS NOT LIKE ROULETTE?

“In this case the tenants were able to take advantage of the rules that were probably not designed to work this way,” Meirson said.

THIS IS RENT CONTROL IN ACTION. THE RULES WERE EXACTLY DESIGNED TO WORK THIS WAY. EXACTLY.

“It is a very real possibility that these tenants will remain with a lifetime lease and the owners may never be able to move back home. Is this what the law was meant to do?”

THIS IS RENT CONTROL IN ACTION. THE RULES WERE EXACTLY DESIGNED TO WORK THIS WAY. EXACTLY.

The irony, of course, is that if the roles were reversed and an older, married gay couple — one of whom has ALS — were being asked to leave a rental unit…

WHOA NELLIE! THE NEVIUSNESS OF THIS SENTENCE IS QUITE HIGH ALREADY, SO LET’S SLOW THINGS DOWN HERE. ALL RIGHT, IS IT REALLY A SMART IDEA TO “ASK” A TENANT TO LEAVE A RENT CONTROLLED UNIT? I SURE AS HECK DON’T THINK SO. THERE ARE POTENTIAL LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF DOING THAT, RIGHT? WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT WALNUT CREEK HERE, RIGHT? WE’RE TALKING SAN FRANCISCO, HOME OF SOME OF THE MOST EXTREME PRO-TENANT LAWS IN AMERICA, RIGHT? SO, IF YOU’RE NOT CUT OUT TO BE A SAN FRANCISCO LANDLORD, WHY WOULD YOU PICK THIS PLACE, OF ALL PLACES, TO BECOME A LANDLORD? AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T TAKE LANDLORD-TENANT ADVICE FROM CW NEVIUS, THE SAN FRANCISCO NEWCOMER STRAIGHT OUTTA THE 925.

…by a young, financially well-off couple in their 20s, there would be an uproar from tenant advocates.

WELL, NUMBER ONE, THERE WOULDN’T BE AN UPROAR. AND NUMBER TWO, WHERE DOES THE “OF COURSE” COME FROM, WHERE’S THE “IRONY?” THIS IS RENT CONTROL IN ACTION. IT SOUNDS LIKE CW NEVIUS DOESN’T LIKE SF RENT CONTROL.

Instead, this turns the whole scenario on its head.

I’M STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND HERE. IT WOULD BE NICE IF CW NEVIUS COULD FIND HIS WAY DOWN TO THE RENT BOARD TO SEE HOW THE RULES WORK IN HIS NEW-FOUND HOME. I DON’T THINK HE UNDERSTANDS.

The tenants, who declined to be interviewed, are in their early 20s and hardly impoverished. Rumpler says both of them work in the tech industry.

HERE’S A NEWS FLASH FOR CW NEVIUS: RENT CONTROL ISN’T MEANS-TESTED IN SF. IMPOVERISHMENT ISN’T A FACTOR. WHAT INDUSTRY THE TENANTS WORK IN IS NOT A FACTOR.

“My understanding is that they work in a high-income profession,” said Meirson. “They probably make more than the landlords in this case.”

OH “PROBABLY.” AND THEY PROBABLY HAVE LESS WEALTH TOO, RIGHT? I’M FAILING TO SEE HOW THIS ISN’T A RUN-OF THE-MILL RENT CONTROL SITUATION, SIMILAR TO OVER 100,000 OTHERS IN SF.

“We would be very happy to settle with them for a reasonable amount of money. We said, ‘We can give you $25,000 and they said, ‘Not even close.’”

ALL RIGHT, $25K. LET’S REMEMBER THIS FIGURE.

The quirky part of this story is that Rumpler and Scovern are victims of bad timing.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING IN REAL ESTATE, RIGHT? BUYING A TIC HOPING TO “WIN” A “LOTTERY” WHEN THE RULES ARE NOT AT ALL STABLE IS EXPOSING YOURSELF TO POLITICAL RISK, RIGHT?

When Scovern got a short-term job offer in Melbourne, Australia, in September 2012, Rumpler says they “pretty naively entered into the rental market.”

“NAIVELY?” DING DING DING DING DING DING! AND HEY, SPEAKING OF SCOVERN, GUESS WHO HAS AN INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING DEGREE? SO NEVIUS RELIES ON A SECOND-HAND SOURCE FOR THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE TENANTS, BUT IGNORES THE “TECHIE” LANDLORD IN THIS CASE. THAT’S SO RAVEN NEVIUS!

They used a rental agent to find tenants, with the idea that they’d be back in two years.

IN A RENT-CONTROLLED UNIT. SOUNDS LIKE A BAD IDEA.

Because they are less expensive than an outright condo purchase, they have been a gateway to ownership in a city where housing is incredibly expensive.

TICS HAVE A LOT OF BAD ASPECTS. IS OWNERSHIP SUCH A GOOD IDEA IN SF? IT WORKS OUT FOR MOST PEOPLE, BUT THERE ARE RISKS. ALTERNATIVES INCLUDE DALY CITY AND … WALNUT CREEK. SRSLY.

At this point the two sides are at stalemate.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. IF THIS LL/TENANT COMBO IS AT STALEMATE, THEN SO ARE MOST LL/TENANT COMBOS IN SF. WHAT MAKES THIS UNIT SPECIAL?

Rumpler says the first suggestion by the tenants for a payout to move was based on the idea that they would have to pay an additional $1,500 a month for 10 years. That’s $18,000 a year for a total of $180,000. “It might as well have been a million,” Rumpler said. “We’re not paying the ransom.”

SO YOU’RE WILLING TO PAY $25K IN RANSOM BUT NOT $180K IN RANSOM BUT THE $25K ISN’T RANSOM? MMMM…

WHAT NEVIUS DOESN’T SHARE WITH HIS READERS IS THE DOLLAR AMOUNT SPENT FOR THE TIC AND THE VALUE OF IT NOW AND ALSO THE VALUE OF IT AFTER CONDO CONVERSION. THESE NUMBERS ARE PRETTY KNOWABLE BUT THEY MIGHT TURN OFF SOME OF THE READERS THAT NEVIUS IS TRYING, FOR SOME REASON, TO PERSUADE.

AND YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE BOUGHT REAL ESTATE IN 2006, AND, “THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN,” ENDED UP UNDERWATER. WHERE’S THEIR NEVIUS COLUMN?

IF I WERE THE NEVIUS, I WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP ON THIS STORY.

SOME FISH YOU SHOULD JUST THROW BACK.

Here’s What San Francisco Chronicle Writer CW Nevius Gets Wrong About Our Failed Bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics

Friday, January 16th, 2015

I guess this will close out SF’s attempt to host the 2024 Olympics.

The weird thing about San Francisco’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics was that the local committee was this close to pulling off a terrific plan.

The vote was Boston 15 and San Francisco (and the other two) 0, was it not? That’s not all that close, huh? Or does he mean that the bay area’s bid was sub-terrific, like it was just one unit below being terrific? One can’t tell what the Nevius is trying to say here. San Francisco always was a long shot, right? And if SF got picked by the USOC, then it would have been a long shot to get picked by the IOC. And if the corrupt IOC had selected SF, then there was always the chance of things not working out anyway, ala the inchoate Denver 1976 Olympics. So, was this thing “close” or actually far far away? I’ll tell you, if I were the USOC, I’d tell all the boosters from all the cities how close things were and if I were the spokesmodel for SF2024, I’d tell Larry Baer how close he almost came. (“We were this close Lare-Bear!) But I’m not so I won’t. OTOH, CW Nevius got paid by the Chronicle to publish, more or less, what Nate Ballard wanted published, so here we are. “So close!”

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you thought a temporary, pop-up $350 million Olympic stadium in the Brisbane wind tunnel was a good idea? 

The IOC doesn’t want any more images of white elephants haunting them through the decades. So, in their opinion, which is the only one that matters, pop-ups might be a good thing. As far as Brisbane vs. Oakland is concerned, how could it matter? Our hosting would have ended up costing 5, 10, 15 billion dollars more than the “official” bid, right? Isn’t that the real issue?

More on Oakland:

It would not only have been a terrific solution for the Games — better weather, easy access, waterfront views — it would have penciled out financially.

This is the same Nevius who moved to town and then a few months later determined that the failed America’s Cup would come “without a downside.” But it did come with a downside, or two or three or four, right? Moving on.

And, by the way, don’t think the United States Olympic Committee wasn’t hoping to make San Francisco work. Conventional wisdom was that Los Angeles had the facilities, Boston and Washington had the East Coast bias, but San Francisco was “the sexiest.”

Why does the Nevius use the term “conventional wisdom” here? What does he mean? Is he suggesting that this view wasn’t accurate? I don’t think so.  And what’s “East Coast bias?” Have the Summer Olympics ever been held on the East Coast of the United States ever in history? Nope. So there doesn’t seem to be too much bias there. Our Summer Olympicses have been held in the West (twice), the South and the Midwest. So WTF. Now, time zone-wise I can certainly see how advertisers worldwide would strongly prefer the EDT for live events, and that certainly was a factor favoring Boston. And I’ll say, that DC had no chance at all, as the IOC hates DC and all it stands for. And then the Nevius puts quote marks around “the sexiest?” Is this a an actual quote or is it merely the conventional wisdom? Hmmm

So what happened? Well, San Francisco happened. Or more specifically, the Bay Area, and particularly the fractious shenanigans in Oakland, made everyone nervous.

So, nothing happened, right? The USOC did its own polling and figured out that we don’t really want the Olympics here. That’s what happened. I wouldn’t describe that as San Francisco happened since this was and is a known known, right?

Every time someone touted the Bay Area as a location, someone else cued up the video of the Oakland protesters trashing a Christmas tree.

Whoa, Nelly! Is this literally true? Like “every time?” No, so who was actually doing this at all? Like, even once? Is the Nevius aware of the non-disparagement agreements that all the bid cities signed on to? Is he suggesting that somebody from the Boston bid “cued up” some video literally or is this a Nevius tone poem? I can’t tell. Not at all.

As one local Olympic insider suggested: “We are like the hot, crazy girl that everyone wants to sleep with. You never know what you’re going to get when you wake up in the morning.”

This quote is from Nate Ballard but he doesn’t want to own up to it? Weak. I’ll note that Nate Ballard isn’t quoted anywhere else in the Nevius bit. And did Larry Baer’s money go to somebody getting paid to talk about hot, crazy “girls” everybody wants to sleep with? That’s amazing. Anyway, this came from Nate Ballard – prove me wrong! I won’t disagree with the sentiment though. Yes, SF was the most “appealing” bid city, the city that the corrupt IOC would have the warmest feelings for, most likely.

Now make no mistake. It wasn’t just Oakland. Accounts of the years of debate and acrimony over the harmless Beach Chalet soccer fields in Golden Gate Park made the national news.

OK, so what are you saying here, Nevius? That spending money and effort trying to get the Olympics to come here is/was a bad idea, you know, considering? Is that what you mean to say, Nevius?

Nor was it helpful to hear that collecting enough signatures to get an initiative on the San Francisco ballot is incredibly easy.

So, CW Nevius from Walnut Creek doesn’t want the people of SF to be able to weigh in on spending 10, 15, 20 billion on an Olympic-sized boondoggle? Mmmm…

Suppose, for example, an initiative was passed that said no public money could be used for the Games.

Yep, that was what was coming, no doubt.

Would that mean no increase in funding for public transportation, which would be stressed for the Games? Or police and emergency services.

The answer to this question is that it doesn’t matter as such a vote would be more than enough to scare away the corrupt IOC and why would you continue along the boondoggle path after the People voted thumbs down? I mean, what kind of monster would do that? Here’s the thing – this is the IOC:

Capturesfffs

That’s in terms that CW Nevius, that white, wizened, wine-drinking, Walnut Creekian Downton Abbey fan can appreciate. In fact, the IOC is like 10-15% royal blooded, like literally. The IOC has lots of ideas about how best to spend Other People’s Money on projects to glorify the IOC. But the IOC itself can’t afford to put on the show. That’s why it forces cities to guarantee the games with taxpayer money. There’s no way ’round this. So the IOC will not grant the Games to any city that doesn’t have a guarantee that the bill for the inevitable overruns will get sent to taxpayers. This is the Denver 1976 situation. It doesn’t take all that much to scare away the IOC.

Would we ever be able to get this together? Sure. It’s possible. The timing couldn’t have been much worse this year to put something together.

So, our bid was All About Oakland? I don’t think so. Perhaps this notion is comforting to Larry Baer, but I don’t think so. Perhaps SF bidding on the Olympics is fun, but it’s a bad idea? Perhaps?

But don’t think Boston is a slam dunk to win the international bid.

Who thinks Boston is a “slam dunk?” Where does this come from?

If anything, the anti-Olympics political forces in Boston — there’s a “No Boston Olympics” coalition — are more organized and more vociferous than the little band of naysayers here. 

Well, Nevius, the USOC did its own polling and it concluded that the political environment was worse here in SF. The reason why Boston’s citizen effort had a higher profile is that the bid in Boston had a higher profile, for whatever reason. And if a “little band” of naysayers would have had a very easy time winning its no-taxpayer-funds-for-the-Olympics vote, then they aren’t such a little band, right? Maybe SF doesn’t want to pay for the Olympics to come here – is that a possibility?

So now Nevius is rooting for Boston to lose the 2024 Olympics so that we can get the 2028 Olympics – that’s what Larry Baer and Nate Ballard are thinking?

OK fine, but I don’t think that’s going to work either.

CW Nevius should be able to do a better job than this.

Well, Here It Is, The Richmond District’s New Academy: The SF Baseball Academy – Inside of the Old Bridge Theatre

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Here it is, this mothership is fully operational – the open house was last month.

The marquee, oddly, used to sing the praises of Supervisor Mark Farrell, until recently:

7J7C2077 copy

Read all about it from this bit in the San Francisco Chronicle. Noteworthy:

“He hit a bit of a rough patch while in college. On a visit home for the holidays in 2007, he got embroiled in the infamous “Baker’s Dozen” incident, in which a group of visiting Yale students got into a fight with some hometown boys at a New Year’s party. Though he was a latecomer to the fisticuffs, Aicardi was named in a civil suit seeking damages, along with his brother Richard. In the end, no charges were filed against him and the matter was settled privately...”

In other words, settled privately for big bucks. I’ll just add that the straight-shooting Matier and Ross team had a different take on the “I’m 20 deep and my boys are coming” incident, where jelly and beer were mixed in a quite unappealing fashion. If somebody wanted to say, well, I’ve made a public apology and I’m struggling to move on, ala Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, well, it’s never too late to do something like that, whether you claim you’re barred from doing so or not. Moving on…

I used to turn the lights on at an old Landmark theatre and the all the fuse panels looked a little like this – I’ll tell you, the monthly electricity bill was through the roof, it was a major expense. I’m sure it was similar at the Bridge. Like, even if somebody gave the building to you for free, would it be worth the time and money to operate it as a theatre? I don’t think it was.

So maybe this academy will make money or maybe it’s more a labor of love. We’ll see.

Point Counterpoint on the 2024 Olympics, Since San Francisco’s Bid Will End Tomorrow, Probably

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Let’s start here:

“I truly believe this will advance our long-term interests,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said. “We believe that San Francisco’s 2024 vision of the Olympics is 100 percent aligned with our priorities as we see them today, both as a city and as a region.”

Yeah, sure, hook Ed Lee up to a lie detector and you’d see that he actually believes this statement. Except that it’s not true. Unless he thinks that the 2024 Olympics are worth $10 billion or so of cost overruns. Some would benefit from those overruns but most would not. This process of exaggerating benefits and minimizing costs is what got us in trouble with the disastrous, expensive, deadly, scandal-marred America’s Cup, which, of course, San Francisco declined to repeat.

And I can’t help but think that “2024 vision” sounds a lot like Vision Zero 2024*, another promise that hasn’t a chance in the world of coming true.

“Our mantra really is, ‘Can we host an Olympics and leave the Bay Area better off for having done that?’ ” Strandberg said. “If we can’t, you should hold us to the standard. That’s what we think about every day as we lay out our plans.”

How on Earth would we be able to hold Mr. Strandberg “accountable” post 2024, when we’ll be billions and billions over $4.5 billion? How much skin does he have in the Game? Not much, not much at all.

“It’s not relevant to include Games that were put on by sovereign states like Russia or China and compare them to how you would do something in the United States,” he said. “We’d never look at the Chinese economic system or the Russian political system and say, ‘That’s how we do it here.’ So, why would we assume that is how we would do an Olympic Games here?”

(Sovereign states? Is that some kind of insult? Not really. I wonder what phrase he’s thinking about when he says sovereign state.) In any event, the better comparisons are with London 2012, which overran by about $10 billion and Chicago 2016, which would had overrun by a similar amount. Or Greece? Can we talk about Greece? No, all right. And the reason to include Russia and China has more to do with the IOC, which has a real problem dealing with democracies.

So that’s the SJMN bit. It’s well-written, by Elliott Almond and Mark Emmons

Moving on, to SF Moderates, which used to be called Plan C, which used to be a right side of the aisle political group for gay property owners. It’s expanded its membership lately, but it’s still decidedly on the right side of SF’s political aisle. Begin:

But what if we could defy the naysayers and make it happen? Mayor Ed Lee has initiated the effort, emphasizing that the $4.5 billion price tag will come from private donors. I learned from the Miracle on Ice and from the 2010 Giants and Ashkon that you don’t stop believing just because someone says you can’t win.

So why didn’t we sign up for another America’s Cup? Perhaps the naysayers were absolutely correct? Yep.

The issue for anti-Olympics lobbyists appears to be possible cost overruns, which have averaged over 200 percent per Olympics according to a recent study. The assumption is that taxpayers will be on the hook for the extra $9 billion in average cost overruns. That’s a fair concern.

Oh OK, well, yes, that’s the “concern.”

The requirement is a guarantee of public money to cover cost overruns. There are ways to deal with that if the final bill is the sole concern.

Uh, no there’s not. Are you talking about cost overrun insurance from that Aon company? That’s never going to work. If everybody thinks the taxpayers will be on the hook for $10 billion, then the premium for such a policy would be about $10 billion, right? And if it’s not, then it has a host of exceptions and deductibles and caps and then let’s have future taxpayers pay off the bill.

But, let’s consider another view. There are private donors ready to pump in $4.5 billion into our local economy. How often does that happen? If we say no to this money, are we in a better position to reduce poverty or curb homelessness?

Yes, without the 2024 Olympics, we’ll be in a better position. Were you born yesterday?

While the anti-Olympics lobby eagerly points to the America’s Cup as proof that the Olympics will be bad for San Francisco, what about the San Francisco Giants?

But that stadium was privately financed, right? The IOC would never allow a privately-financed 2024 Olympics.

I hope it doesn’t get derailed by another just say no campaign.

No no no no no. This deal will never work out in the long run. Let’s hope San Francisco loses tomorrow.

*With an admirable goal, but it’s never going to happen. Transportation deaths are a people problem, not an infrastructure problem. Fundamentally.

Hilarious: SF Olympics Boosters Register “NoSF2024″ URLs to Suppress Debate – But Opposition Simply Uses “SFNo2024″ Instead

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Oh man, this is something.

So, local Olympics boosters are more or less contractually obligated to register URLs like SF2024.org if they want to have any hope of having a costly Sumer Olympics come to town in 2024. But they went further – they went and registered URLs that could be used by citizen opposition to having an expensive Olympics come to town.

I’ll tell you, Boston citizens use NoBostonOlympics.org without any interference from the Boston boosters. But SF boosters registered NoSFOlympics .org and .com because they didn’t want the USOC in Colorado Springs to see the opposition.

Isn’t that sad?

Anyway, they must have registered a bunch of URLs, cause look, they also registered NoSF2024 and other names they could think of. See?

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But they didn’t think to register SFNo2024.org and so that’s what the citizens ended up using.

And now guess what site all the USOC people are looking at now?

So what was the point of all this registration fooforall?

2024 Olympics Roundup: San Francisco “increasingly looking unlikely” – USOC Appears Skittish About Local Opposition

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Well, here you go:

Local opposition to San Francisco 2024 Olympic bid grows as USOC prepare to announce choice

A decision on which American city will be chosen to bid for the 2024 Olympics is set to be announced on Thursday (January 8) but it is increasingly looking unlikely that it will be San Francisco.

Bay Area activists have formed a coalition opposing a bid for the Games, which is sure to be a factor when the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is due to meet at Denver International Airport to choose a city from a shortlist which also includes Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. 

The SF No 2024 Olympics group, which includes SEIU Local 1021, San Francisco activist Tony Kelly, and former San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly…”

And now you ask, “What about Boston – they have a bigger citizen opposition movement, right?” Maybe so, but the one that the United State Olympic Committee frets about over in Colorado Springs is San Francisco’s. Let’s get the update from last month:

“San Francisco likely is the candidate the USOC would prefer under ideal circumstances, but the city’s fractious political atmosphere, venue questions and the number of other large Bay Area municipalities that would probably need to be involved diminishes the chance for that to happen. Public opposition in San Francisco is expected to be substantial.”

Does the USOC similarly cite the fractious political atmosphere or the public opposition in Boston? No, not at all.

Hey, do you know that the USOC has been conducting opinion polling of bay area residents? Yep. So the USOC knows on its own about the dangers of playing piñata with the giant hornet’s nest that is San Francisco politics.

This political risk is a bigger factor than, say, where are we going to build the big stadium, right? Right.

And you know what else the USOC is up to these days? It’s scouring the Web looking for public opposition to pop up in Frisco. So if, let’s say, a tiny local blog has a new post about, say, mounting opposition against hosting the 2024 Olympics, look who comes a running, all the way from Colorado Springs, 80903:

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So it doesn’t matter what spinmeister Nate Ballard tells anybody, the USOC has its own independent information.

And what did the USOC find just recently? They found SF No 2024 Olympics. Ouch.

And speaking of the Internet, look who’s paying Google to get at the top of your search page when you search for something like “No SF Olympics.” That’s right, it’s Larry Baer and all the other Olympics boosters:

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Is this an effective use of Larry’s money? IDK.

And speaking of wasting Larry’s money, what’s up with this?

Rumor has it San Francisco is a front-runner for the American bid.

WTF to that. Did Nate Ballard just trick Heather Knight here? I can’t tell. And what’s “a” front-runner? Like top three out of four? So, odds-wise, LA’s got the best shot, then Boston, and then SF and so only poor, poor DC isn’t a front-runner? OK fine. But IRL, SF is not the front runner and SF is not a front runner.

And hey, did you know that Olympic Dreamers, the Olympics Movementarians bought up URLs like NoSFOlympics so that the citizen opposition wouldn’t be able to use them? Yep. They did this at the end of October. But the opposition simply used SFNO2024.org instead, right? So, the dreamers end up looking like assholes and there was zero percent chance that this scheme would work. (Let’s hope the person who reg’ed the URLs for cheap didn’t send a bill to Larry for $5000 marked Opposition Suppression.)

Hey speaking of Larry Baer, his name is mud in the all-important South Bay, right? You know, where the Bay Area’s biggest city is, right? Take a look:

“Consumer tip: Do not start saving up money to buy those tickets for a 2024 Bay Area Olympics just yet. In fact, by my estimation, odds are 99-1 against the games ever happening here. Admittedly, those are unscientific odds. They are based solely on my four decades of covering the Olympic landscape. The actual odds could be much worse.”

And then, what, would San Jose residents get to vote on their participation? And Oakland too? How would we divvy up the overrun risk? It seems like an impossible task.

This just in: an artist’s conception of the dartboard in Larry Baer’s den:

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Poor Chris Daly!

So, the Dream is dead. (Or if you paid Nate Ballard enough money to switch sides, he’d come up with something like, “Just like Sean Penn, SF2024 is a Dead Dream Walking.”)

And really, we shouldn’t compare our bid with those from autocracies like Russia (Sochi) or China (Beijing). I mean it would be impossible to spend more than $40 billion on the 2024 games in America. No no, the proper comparisons are with London 2012 and Chicago 2016. Let’s take a look.

London 2012, like SF 2024, had an initial bid of $4 billion something. Then it overran like a son of a bitch, something on the order of $10 billion. So, for SFGov officials to claim that the London Games ended in “surplus,” well, that’s just a fantasy. If London is the modern-practices lodestar, then would SF overrun by a similar amount?

And then Chicago. Well, the Mayor there also said he wouldn’t put taxpayers on the hook, but then he changed his mind when he finally figured out that the IOC insisted upon the taxpayers of Illinois being on the hook. Was Mayor Daley lying? That’s your call, but there was no way that the no taxpayer money commitment was ever going to happen. And then the Mayor of Chicago tried to fix things with an insurance policy from Aon? Yep. The problem with that was that the innocent taxpayers were still on the hook IRL. Oh, the policies had big deductibles and they had low caps? Well, how would that that have helped? And now, SF wants to use Aon for the same purpose? OK fine, whatevs.

All right, that’s your update.

(You know, what the Olympic Dreamers should do is make the case that it would be worth $10 billion in potential overruns to have the Olympics here. That would be the honest approach…)