Posts Tagged ‘City Hall’

Game of Thrones: Ed Lee’s Handler’s Ignore Advice from Jim Ross – A Photo Op in the Iron Throne

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

First there was this, from a couple years ago:

And then yesterday, there was this warning, from political consultant Jim Ross:

 If any elected official sits in this, their staff should be fired.”

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And then a couple hours later, there was this, via Villy Wang:

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Oh well.

Scenes from the Tibetan March 10th, 2015 Protest Against Chinese Communist Party at SF City Hall

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Attended by Nancy Pelosi, Ross Mirkarimi and John Avalos.

(In years past, protests like these have taken place at the Chinese Consulate at Geary and Laguna. I wonder how Nancy Pelosi’s cell phone(s) would have done against a Man In The Middle (MITM) hack attack coming from inside the consulate, which of course is the locus of spycraft in Northern California. My GMail got hacked several hours after I checked out a Tibetan protest while carrying a Galaxy S1 years ago – this was the only time Google has ever contacted me about its concerns over possible hacking. Coincidence or not, I take out the battery of my new(er) phone when I’m walking about the area, which isn’t all that much these days, since, you know, there are fewer protests there these days. Even at this one yesterday, I was just passing through and happened to notice all the commotion. Needless to say, this kind of thing is very off-message for area “friends” of the Consulate, such as Ed Lee and the powerful and influential Rose Pak.)

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Just For The Record, the Reason Why There’s No Old-School Traffic Light at Polk and Fulton is 100% SFGov’s Fault

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

There are some gray areas in how the SFPD enforces CA’s Failure To Yield Vehicle Code section upon drivers, certainly, but take a look here to see a case of black and white. The white Nissan on the right failed to yield to the ped on the left, smack dab in front of the Main Entrance to City Hall:

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Fundamentally, this is Fulton and Polk, and I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a traffic light here. Of course City Hall takes up two city blocks and that’s why Fulton disappears here, but wouldn’t the driver compliance rate be orders of magnitude higher with a simple red-amber-green light?

Did I say simple? What I should have said was stupid, because all the SFMTA and the DPW does is “smart,” right? Smart this and smart that. And that means that basic design, the likes of which drivers generally understand the world over, must be stupid, right?

So yeah, that tour bus operator blew though crosswalk and SFGov lost a retiree/contractor and it’s hard to see how the SFPD could write a police report placing the blame upon anyone other than the driver.

But…

But what if the NTSB took a look, what would it say? Would it say, yeah there should have been a light here from the get-go? I think so. I’m saying it would parcel out some of the blame to SFGov, right? As with the pilots of that Asiana flight at SFO, yes, sure, pilot error, of course, but also some blame for SFO operations, some blame for Boeing perhaps as well, and some blame for the SFFD.

But SFGov don’t see things that way. SFGov’s solution is to ban tour bus drivers from yakking to passengers and, oh yeah, let’s put in a non-smart red-amber-green stoplight, but we only have enough money to put in like five traffic lights per year, please give us the SFMTA more money.

So are you “all about safety,” SFMTA? I don’t think so.

Oh what’s that, this is the Great Hall of the People we’re talking about so peds shouldn’t ever have to wait at a red light or at an “upraised hand” signal? Mmmmm…

So really, you all aren’t all about ped safety, you’re about pedestrian rights, right? Like “I’m the NRA, except for pedestrians” or “I’m the NRA, ‘cept for bike riders?”

Here’s a quote:

“…less inviting. Plus pedestrians have to wait at red lights before crossing, slowing down walking. Given that Haight is a commercial corridor the pedestrian environment is key for business.”

None of this “advocacy” against what’s altogether a quite-sensible plan for Haight Street from the SFMTA has anything to do with safety, with keeping peds safe from others but also safe from themselves.

Oh what’s that, you want to cite safety as your goal, but you actually have quite different goals? OK fine.

SFMTA’s Polk Street Parking Space Removal Plan has Spawned a Yelp War – A Five-Star Counterattack – Poor Dr. Hiura, Poor Other Dr. Hiura!

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

All right, get up to speed here.

And now, the latest salvo – if you’re an earnest Yelper who feels that Drs. Hiura & Hiura have been treated unfairly in the whole SFMTA Polk Street Parking Space Removal Plan, well all you can do is post a five-star review, you know, to help out:

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Except that this doesn’t help – the last thing that Hiura To The Power Of Two or Yelp need is a political debate carried out on Yelp.com.

Speaking of which, here’s something new from the Hiuras themselves:

I’m confused – whom’s this video for? IDK. Is it for patients so they’ll post five-star reviews? Or is it for potential patients? But who’s going to see it? (And who’s that woman in front of the green screen? Are we meant to think she works there? IDK.)

And I’ll tell you, at this point, no YouTubers have seen this video, like literally nobody.

Hey, did you see that storefront in the background of this clip? Look at all that metal security grating! That’s a reminder that this is Polk Gulch – an area that’s still “in transition,” as they say.

Oh, did I write Polk Gulch? What I meant to write was “Polk Village,” as that’s what some millionaire small-biz owners tried to rename the area a few years back. (I’m not sure how that turned out – certainly, I haven’t heard that term in a while.)

In any event, all that grating sure would be helpful if you’re ever battening down the hatches, like in preparation for another San Francisco Giants World Series riot, or if you were expecting ever more unwelcome visits from the StreetsBlogSF crowd, right?

Well guess what, the hatches have been battened – that means that the Hiuras no longer have anti-SFMTA propaganda posted in their window and the iconic red PEOPLE LOVE US ON YELP storefront sticker – well, that’s now gone as well, almost as if the Hiuras don’t want transit activists thinking of this bidness and the Yelp at the same time.

So on it goes. Perhaps this YelpWar will settle down after today’s big vote at City Hall*

*OMG, these people use so many buzz-phrases and “framing” words, I wonder if they’d even be able to translate their NewSpeak into regular English. Let’s have a try here, an “improvement” as any change that SFGov has ever made and/or something that it wants to spend tax or fee-payer money on, whether that change turns out to actually be an improvement or not IRL. And a “complete” street is one that has had tax or fee-payer money spent on it recently, as best I can figure. IRL, Polk Street was “completed” about a century and a half ago, right? And an “investment” is any spending done by SFGov, like the way my cousin used to invest his money at the slot machines inside the big airport in Vegas. Hey, how would a cosmetic surgeon propose to “improve” your body? How could s/he “complete” yourself? IDK, an “investment” in breasts implants? Hey, that’s what you should do, you should give me your money and you’ll be lifted and enhanced. Except sometimes that’s a bad choice, and other times it’s a meh choice, like whatever. And certainly, your life wasn’t “transformed,” as promised by those who literally make money off of selling an idea that may or may not be a good idea. Hey, is the SFMTA all about safety? Oh, Lord no, not really. IRL, it’s an inefficient organization that makes some good choices but also some bad choices in the name of “safety,” that’s what it is. Oh well. 

The Empire Strikes Back: Comments on Yelp from the More Rabid Elements of the StreetsBlog Mob Stricken – Drs. Hiura on Polk

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: Oh, Peter Lawrence Kane asked Yelp about these matters just this morning, so that prolly played a big role in Yelp’s very fast response.]

Oh, it’s all good – all the recent negative reviews for Drs. Hiura & Hiura Optometrists have been shuffled down the memory hole as of lunchtime today.

I’m a little surprised at the speed of the deletions.

From what I learned about Yelp from the famous SoMA Legacy Lunchtime Restaurants vs. New School Food Trucks Battle of a few years ago, it can take a long time for demonstrably false or self-serving Yelp postings to come down, if ever.

And I distinguish between reviewers who have brand-new accounts with just one review vs. reviewers with longer histories, and I thought Yelp sort of did as well, but no, they’re all gone.

Oh, here they are, right here, at the bottom of this page.

So I suppose that the penalty for speaking out against the plans of the SFMTA has just dropped, by a whole bunch.

So, Yelp wins once again…

One Reason Why You Shouldn’t Speak Out Against Any Big Plan the SFMTA Wants To Do: The Risk to Your Yelp Rating

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: The offending posts have already been TWEP – terminated with extreme prejudice. And, inevitably, fans of the Hiuras are now chipping in with five-star reviews…]

Drs. Hiura & Hiura Optometrists have done very well on the Yelp, but our ineffective and meretricious SFMTA’s recent push for the Polk Street Streetscape parking space removal project is not good their business.

Not good at all!

Check it, from the past few days:

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So, what will end up happening is your hard-earned, hard-to-get 5 star rating will come down a notch or two, or three, if you sign your John Hancocks to a letter like this – the blowback will be a brace of one star reviews from noncustomers.

The Grand Battle of Polk Gulch is well and truly joined.

Brace yourselves for March 3, 2015

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:

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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:

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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…

News Flash for Willie Brown: SF WAS NOT IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE the Sister City of Paris – The Real Sister is Rome, Italy

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Here’s Willie Brown (Mayor of San Francisco, 1996 to Present) going on about:

…our sister city Paris…

The problem with that is that Paris only has one (1) sister city and it’s not San Francisco.

It’s Rome.

They even have a saying about this:

Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris.

Seule Paris est digne de Rome; seule Rome est digne de Paris

Solo Parigi è degna di Roma; solo Roma è degna di Parigi.

Ergo, San Francisco is not “worthy” of being the Sister City of either Paris or Rome.

Sorry, Mayor Brown.

The fact is that Paris is in an exclusive sister-city relationship. It’s an “elaborate cultural partnership,” as they say.

Now, here’s our real relationship with The City of Light. We’ve signed a few of these things:

“Pacts of friendship and cooperation signed by the City of Paris.”

Les pactes d’amitié et de coopération signés par la Ville de Paris

Which, IRL, is rien de bien grave* (no biggee).

All right, TTFN. But remember:

We’ll Always Never Have Paris.

*Paris, France is pals with just about everybody:

2014: Rome 
2014: Seoul 
2014: Mexico 
2013: Montevideo 
2013: Amsterdam 
2011: Yerevan 
2011: Dakar
2011: Sao Paulo, signed an amendment to the Cooperation Agreement of 2004 
2011: Yerevan 
2011: Rio de Janeiro 
2011: Ramallah, signed a pact of friendship and cooperation inauguration, the Garden of Nations, a bust by French sculptor Emile-Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), including Ramallah to Paris 
2010: Doha 
2010: Tel Aviv-Jaffa 
2009: Istanbul 
2009: Quebec 
2009: San Francisco  
2009: Rio de Janeiro 
2009: Quebec 
2009: Jericho 
2009: Istanbul  
2007: Phnom Penh 
2006: Montreal  
2006: Cairo  
2006: Beirut  
2005: Copenhagen  
2004: Tunis  
2004: Sao Paulo 
2004: Rabat  
2004: Casablanca 
2003 St. Petersburg 
2003: Quebec 
2003: Algiers 
2002: Geneva 
2001: Porto Alegre (joint statement) 
2001: London 
2000: Madrid 
2000: Athens 
2000 (updated in 2004): Washington 
1999: Warsaw 
1999: OVA (Arab Towns Organization) 
1999: Mexico 
1999: Buenos Aires 
1999: Amman 
1998: Sydney 
1998: Sofia 
1998: Lisbon 
1998: Yerevan 
1997: Tbilisi 
1997, Santiago  
1997: St. Petersburg 
1997: Riyadh  
1997: Prague 
1997: Beijing 
1996: San Francisco 
1996: Quebec 
1996: Chicago 
1995: Jakarta 
1993: Beirut 
1992: Moscow 
1991: Seoul 
1987: Sanaa  
1987: Berlin 
1987: Amman 
1985: Cairo 
1982: Tokyo 
1958: Kyoto 
1956: Rome (Twin Exclusive)

San Francisco City Hall: The Largest Classical Dome in the Western Hemisphere

Monday, November 10th, 2014

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What’s that – what about x, it’s larger? Yeah, but that one’s not in the Western Hemisphere.

What’s that – what about x, it’s higher? Nope, it’s not. City Hall is relatively new, just 99 years* old, due to the Big One in 1906. So they said, well, let’s make this one just a little bit taller.

What’s that – what about x, it’s way bigger? Yeah, but that’s new-school dome, not in the classic tradition.

*Hey, the 100th birthday is coming up in 2015. I’m sure that there will be a celebration. An extremely boring celebration

The Empire Strikes Back: Board President David Chiu’s AirBNB Legalization Proposal Gets Opposed by the SFAA, Tenant’s Groups

Monday, April 28th, 2014

A fresh press release:

“NEWS RELEASE: SAN FRANCISCO CITYWIDE COALITION SAYS NO TO PROPOSED CHIU LEGISLATION – Board of Supervisors trying to convert residential housing to short-term rentals

Press conference Tuesday April 29, 2014 Steps of City Hall at 10:00 am

San Francisco — Organizations representing usually divergent interests ranging from tenants to landlords, and from hotel workers to the hospitality industry have joined forces with neighborhood and homeowner associations to oppose legislation introduced by Supervisor David Chiu to legalize the short term rentals of residential property throughout San Francisco.

“In the face of an unprecedented housing crisis, Supervisor Chiu’s legislation to legalize the short term rentals of residential property will only exacerbate the housing crisis. This practice is detrimental to our rent-controlled housing stock”, said Janan New, Executive Director of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

“Our studies have shown that with over 10,000 units of housing being rented out over Airbnb, HomeAway and other websites this practice is having a negative impact on hotel workers and San Francisco’s hospitality industry”, said Mike Casey, President of UNITE HERE Local 2.

“The proposed legislation would rezone the entire city from residential zoning to commercial zoning in one fell swoop. We hear complaints from almost every neighborhood about the detrimental effects of short term rentals on the quality of life of tenants and residents”, said John Bardis, former President of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and former San Francisco Supervisor.

“Supervisors Chiu’s legislation would repeal hard won controls on Single Resident Occupancy housing, threatens current affordable housing provisions for over 30,000 permanently affordable units, would transform newly approved “in-law units” into high priced motel rooms and make “below market rate” units lifetime luxury hotels. It is the single biggest threat to affordable housing ever proposed by a San Francisco Supervisor” stated longtime affordable housing advocate Calvin Welch.

“Airbnb and other hosting platforms owe the City millions of dollars in unpaid hotel taxes. It is high time that the City collect these taxes which pay for the arts and vital city services and programs. The proposed legislation does not clearly hold Airbnb and similar organizations responsible for collecting and remitting the hotel tax”, said former Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

All of these organizations are calling for Supervisor Chiu to withdraw his legislation at a press conference on Tuesday April 29 on the steps of City Hall at 10:00 am.”