Posts Tagged ‘column’

The Most Beautifullest Freeway Support Column in San Francisco – Where Skies are Always Blue – Physical Graffiti

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

[UPDATE – Per Lee Springer: “That pillar is in Portola where San Bruno Ave meets Alemany Blvd.”]

Somewhere in South Central SF, as seen from the 101:

Click to expand

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi – Comments

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Off we go:

“San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has arrived at the first moment of truth for his still-fledging administration – what to do about Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

OK WILLIE, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED TO USE YOUR WORDS. THIS IS HIS FIRST MOMENT OF TRUTH BECAUSE… BECAUSE WHY? HE COULD LET THE WHOLE THING SLIDE AND THEN THAT WOULD BE THAT, RIGHT? THERE WOULD NO “MOMENT” OF ANYTHING.

The plea bargain that was struck in Mirkarimi’s case, in which he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment of his wife rather than a clear charge of domestic violence, has dropped the mayor into “the barrel,” as we say in politics.

“BARREL? I’VE NEVER HEARD THAT TERM USED IN THIS CONTEXT. BUT IF YOU SAY SO…

The mayor has to decide whether to try to force Mirkarimi’s removal from office – a tough call under any circumstances, but one made doubly tough by the politics surrounding the decision.

TOUGH CALL? PLEASE EXPLICATE.

For one, the false-imprisonment conviction [sic] lets Mirkarimi keep his gun, so the mayor can’t try to remove him on the grounds he can’t perform his duties.

UH, HOW WEAK AN ARGUMENT IS THIS? SHERIFF OF SAN FRANCISCO IS A ELECTED, POLITICAL JOB. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GUNMANSHIP OR WHATHAVEYOU. (RIGHT? OTHERWISE, THE CANDIDATES WOULD DEBATE BY SIMPLY MEETING AT THE SHOOTING RANGE INSTEAD OF THE GENTEEL COMMOMWEALTH CLUB.

Second, the person Lee is largely relying on for legal advice is City Attorney Dennis Herrera – who just ran against him for mayor and might do so again in 2015.

OK, BUT HOW DOES THIS HELP US?

If the mayor does seek to oust Mirkarimi, it will be up to Herrera to press the case – so Herrera has to be thinking about winding up in the barrel as well.

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? THAT DENNIS WILL BE TEMPTED TO GIVE BAD ADVICE TO SAVE HIS OWN SKIN? REALLY?

Third, should Lee pursue this, he’ll be putting all the supervisors on the hot seat, because they’re the jury that decides whether the sheriff stays or goes.

MOST OF THE SUPERVISORS WOULD NOT BE IN THE “HOT SEAT.” THEY WOULD JUST VOTE AS THey’re TOLD BY THE WILLIE BROWN POLITICAL FACTION, AS PER USUAL.

It would be especially uncomfortable for Mirkarimi’s fellow progressives who are up for re-election in the fall.

I THINK IT WOULD BE MORE UNCOMFORTABLE FOR THE “PROGRESSIVES” WHO ARE NOT UP FOR RE-ELECTION IN THE FALL… THINK ABOUT IT WILLIE.

They are not going to be happy about being put in the barrel, either.

BARREL, WTF? OH, I REMEMBER NOW WHAT THAT MEANS. I THINK. (DID YOU JUST MAKE UP A WORD, WILLIE? I THINK SO.)

On the other hand, if the mayor doesn’t pursue Mirkarimi’s removal, he and he alone will have to answer to critics as to why the sheriff was allowed to stay on after being convicted.

WELL, BECAUSE IT WAS EXPEDIENT HE COULD SAY. ED LEE NEEDS TO BALANCE THE PROS AND CONS OF HOW SUCH AN ACTION BENEFITS AND HARMS HIS (AND ACTUALLY, WILLIE, _YOUR_) FACTION.

At the very least, if Lee opts not to pursue the case, he should make the city attorney’s opinion public. At least that way, he could point the finger elsewhere.

WOW, NOW THERE’S SOME SOLID ADVICE.

No matter what the call, if I were Mirkarimi, I would be really worried about July. That’s when recall petitions can begin circulating to recall the sheriff. And given the mood of the women in the anti-domestic violence network, I’d say a recall is inevitable.

WHAT’S THAT, A RECALL IS INEVITABLE? WELL, THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK.

ACTUALLY, I’M NOT EVEN SURE THAT A SERIOUS RECALL _ATTEMPT_ IS INEVITABLE.

UH, IS THIS THE KIND OF MATERIAL THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY THEY SHELLED OUT $2 FOR A PHYSICAL CHRONICLE?

OK FINE…

Willie Brown flying over JHP, as free as a bird:

What’s This? For the First Time Ever, San Francisco Chronicle Columnist/Writer CW Nevius Shows Some Backbone

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Where the Hell did this come from? Long-time WillieBrownGavinNewsomEdLee lickspittle CW Nevius came up with this yesterday, on the topic of Mayor Ed Lee and OccupySF:

“…Lee lacks credibility. The tents were cleared out once on Oct. 8, and he let them come back. He was still saying there were no tents at the camp when the plaza looked like an Everest base camp. He said Tuesday that no action was planned, then his officers staged a raid in the wee hours Wednesday morning, taking down tents and arresting seven people. For someone who said he wasn’t going to run for mayor and then did, that sets off alarm bells.”

As a long-time scholar of Neviana, I can tell you that this is unprecedented. Which is not to say that CW would never criticize, let’s say, maybe, let’s say, a former Mayor’s incessant petulance, but those comments from back in the day seemed more of a tough-love, straighten-up-and-fly-right, we-love-you-so-this-is-an-intervention kind of thing, right?

OTOH, yesterday’s graf quoted above shows actual criticism of Mayor Ed Lee.

Here’s an artist’s conception of the vertebral column (backbone, spine) of CW Nevius. The red color shows the areas of suspected growth:

Of course, this nascent spine is probably sort of spongy like cartilage, like an elk’s antler’s in the springtime. But who knows, if this keeps up, C. W. Nevius could become a full-fledged vertebrate within a year or two.

Now, speaking of OccupySF, leave us review.

The first Mayor of the current 16-year-old administration, Willie Brown, popped up at Justin Herman Plaza to deal with a “leaderless group back in 1997. Willie was “disappointed” with their attitude.

Next thing you know, it was go-time, and a bunch of people from Critical Mass got arrested and their bikes got confiscated. (Willie wanted the City to destroy the bikes as punishment but some silly “fundamental right” got in the way of that idea.)

Now, as reported above, the third Mayor of the current 16-year-old administration, Ed Lee, popped up at Justin Herman Plaza to deal with a “leaderless group” back a few days ago. Ed was “disappointed” with their attitude.

Next thing you’ll know, it’ll be go-time, and a bunch of people from OccupySF will get arrested and their tents will get confiscated. Just you wait.

Beware the Mayor who pops in to visit your leaderless group, beware the Mayor who makes a field trip to your operation only to later report on the “disappointment” he purposefully came to experience.

Forget About Rob Anderson, the StreetsBlog Crowd Now Has a New Public Enemy #1: It’s Writer Scott James of the Bay Citizen

Friday, July 15th, 2011

[UPDATE: Right on scheduleBay Citizen’s Scott James Tries to Drum Up Opposition to Fell and Oak Bikeways”]

Back in the day, Rob Anderson was The Most Hated Man In Town, ’cause he tied the City and County up in knots by insisting upon an Environmental Impact Report for the San Francisco Bicycle Plan. He instigated a slam-dunk lawsuit (really, he was pretty much guaranteed victory) owing to the City trying to go around CA state law by just pretending that an EIR wasn’t necessary.

But eventually, after years, the required report got finished and that was that. IMO, he should have quit while he was ahead, but no, he and his lawyer said the EIR wasn’t good enough – they ended up losing on that issue. Still, you’d have to say he was one of the most successful NIMBYs in CA history.

Remember when he was on the front page of the national edition of the Wall Street Journal? Good times:

But that was then and this is now, so forget about Rob Anderson.

Comes now Scott James of the Bay Citizen - feel free to set your sights (sites?) on him:

Why?

Well, because of stuff like this. People didn’t like that bit, not at all.

And now, today, ooh boy, that’s not going to go down well, no sir.

I was pleasantly surprised by how there’s not a ‘no way, this is crazy, don’t do it’ feeling out there,” [Mike] Sallaberry said, according to Streetsblog.org, a pro-cycling website. But the bike coalition research, obtained using the open-records law, surveyed only 14 businesses — and it actually reveals very serious objections, which some survey respondents later reiterated in interviews.

To annoy drivers “and make it worse of a pain is not the solution,” Miloslavich said.

Robert Williams, owner of Panhandle Guitar, said: “Fell Street is dangerous to have bike lanes on.”

[SFMTA Spokesmodel Paul] Rose said he was not sure whether Sallaberry’s remarks had been correctly reported. Sallaberry was not available for comment.”

Wow, that’s all you can come up with? You’re “not sure whether the remarks had been correctly reported?”

Wow. That’s the last arrow in your quiver that you should be using, right? Oh, it was the only arrow you had?

Wow.

Obviously, when the SFMTA and its affiliates decide to do a program, it’s the job of the SFMTA to push that program through come Hell or high water. If the program gets executed then the manager succeeded and if the program doesn’t get executed, then the manager failed – it doesn’t matter a whit whether or not the program itself is good or bad for the commonweal at that point. Not at all. What matters is that the SFMTA decided to do something. It’s the job of SFMTA employees to cheerlead and mislead and lie to get any particular program through.

Remember the traffic circles of the lower and upper Haights? Boy, they took out stop signs on Page Street and Waller and then you’d just have to guess at what drivers were going to do when they came upon the intersection. You see, drivers didn’t have to stop. Anyway, that crazy idea got voted down – it lost five times out of five – but all the people behind the stupid traffic circles could say is how “sad” it was that the traffic circles were such a failure.

The fact that they weren’t a good idea never seemed to occur to the people behind the traffic circles.

Fixing the eastbound Panhandle-to-Wiggle connector shouldn’t be that hard. Mostly, it’s about taking out some parking spaces or otherwise freeing up some more room. It’s not about “completing” Oak Street, it’s not about being the next “win-win” from the SFMTA. It’s about making compromises, it’s about winners and losers, it’s about costs and benefits.

Lying to people about the costs doesn’t benefit the people of San Francisco.

Of course.

OMG, Today You Can Read Willie’s World For Free! Matier and Ross Too! Police Chief Gascon for DA?

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

The pay walls are all fall down today for Matier & Ross and Willie Brown at San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate, San Francisco’s Online Newspaper.

See?

(Hey, does Willie have a heretofore unknown skin condition or something?)

Wonder if this is a one-time deal or a permanent, Mr. Gorbachev-tear-down-this-wall! kind of deal. You could say that these particular columns this week  might lose their effectiveness while waiting to get published but that’s true pretty much all of the time anyway, right?

And there’s blowback already:

Willie Brown has named 4 or 5 people as the “next San Francisco mayor” over the past several months–and none of them were Ed Lee.  Yet today Willie writes a self-congratulory column boasting Ed Lee was “noted here 1st”!  Yeah, sure, whatever you say, Willie. The truth is Willie wrote his prediction AFTER word had already started circulating thru San Francisco on local radio and other non-newspaper outlets about Ed Lee as next mayor.”

Oh well.

You know, I’m thinking the portrait photos used at the Chron are generally not meant to be seen 300 pixels wide. Speaking of former Mayors, check out this obscenely magenta “photo” / illustration / image the Chron uses:

(You’d be better off with a cell phone shot.*)

And speaking of the hair-gelled:

Anyway, the other news of the day is that frustrated San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon is a fully-licensed California attorney eligible to become our next District Attorney. Did not know that. (See below.) Thanks, M&R!

Hey, maybe the idea of having a paywall and a two-day publication delay for these columns was a bad idea?

Just asking, bro.

George Gascon – #182345

Bar Number: 182345

Address: San Francisco Police Dept, 850 Bryant St #525, San Francisco, CA 94103

Phone Number: (415) 553-1551
Fax Number: (415) 553-1554
e-mail: Not Available
County: San Francisco
Undergraduate School: California St Univ Long Beach; CA
District: District 4
Sections: None Law School: Western State Univ COL; Fullerton CA
Status History
Effective Date Status Change
Present Active
6/11/1996 Admitted to The State Bar of California
Explanation of member status
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law
Disciplinary and Related Actions
This member has no public record of discipline.
Administrative Actions
This member has no public record of administrative actions.”

*I don’t know where to begin with the issues this image has. A longer lens was called for, for starters. And the hair, what’s up with that? And here’s a tidbit: “90% of all you need to know is that you can never let the yellow % fall below magenta % on anyone’s skin unless you’re trying to show sunburn. Your camera may capture images with less yellow than magenta in skin; unfortunately, unless you fix it they won’t print without customers complaining. Nor will magazines accept them for publication.”

New York Times Writer Tom Friedman Gets All Excited About Electric Cars – Here’s Why We Shouldn’t Listen to Him

Monday, September 27th, 2010

New York Times writer Tom Friedman visited a battery factory in China and then took a test ride in a Coda Automotive Sedan listening to an electric car CEO all the while.  Now he’s so excited, he wants you to give more money to the United States electric car industry.

Basically, Tom thinks we need to have the government spend money to keep up with the Euros and the Reds, just like back in the 1960′s when we paid Boeing to waste money building supersonic aircraft, because it was The Future, because the Euros had the Concorde and because the Russians had the TU-144, because Everybody Else Was Doing It.

Should we trust the CEO from this company when he asks us for more money?

Now, here’s a bit of the reaction to Tom’s op-ed so far, and here’s my reaction, bit by bit. Let’s let Tom go first:

China is doing moon shots. Yes, that’s plural. When I say “moon shots” I mean big, multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing investments. China has at least four going now: one is building a network of ultramodern airports…

Not exactly sure how building airports is a “moonshot”  but oh well. Anyway, he goes on about high speed rail and stem cells and then gets to electric cars:

Beijing just announced that it was providing $15 billion in seed money for the country’s leading auto and battery companies to create an electric car industry, starting in 20 pilot cities.

This is industrial policy, this is government picking winners and losers. This is automatically, necessarily a good thing? Really?

In essence, China Inc. just named its dream team of 16-state-owned enterprises to move China off oil and into the next industrial growth engine: electric cars.

That’s a big assumption, right – Tom knows what the “next industrial growth engine” is going to be? 100% sure about that?

Not to worry. America today also has its own multibillion-dollar, 25-year-horizon, game-changing moon shot: fixing Afghanistan.

America plus about four dozen other countries, right?   

Moving on:

The electric car industry is pivotal for three reasons, argues Shai Agassi, the C.E.O. of Better Place.

Shai “Music Man” Agassi is a nut. He’s another rich guy wants to change the world. It’s not a foregone conclusion that his battery-exchanging scheme will function as planned, right? I mean, A Better Place might not work out even with all that government money he’s getting.

First, the auto industry was the foundation for America’s manufacturing middle class.

So what. What’s so magical about building cars as opposed to refrigerators and whatnot? Was there ever a time when the average middle class worker worked in the auto industry or anything associated with the auto industry? Nope.

Second, the country that replaces gasoline-powered vehicles with electric-powered vehicles — in an age of steadily rising oil prices and steadily falling battery prices — will have a huge cost advantage and independence from imported oil.

Petroleum produces the electricity that powers the cars, right? Oh, what’s that, we’ll need some more moonshots to get solar and wind power going? Yes we will. 

Third, electric cars are full of power electronics and software. “Think of the applications industry that will be spun out from electric cars,” says Agassi. It will be the iPhone on steroids.

Spin-offs? Now we’re talking. That’s just like the Apollo program – it’s Whitey on the Moon! The point of Apollo was to make spin-offs, is what some people think. Why not just build iPhones  and “power electronics and software” if that’s what you think we need. What’s magical about building electric cars?  Weren’t the Apollo missions cancelled when people realized what a big waste of money they were? Wasn’t the entire Space Shuttle Program a c0lossal waste of money as well? Wouldn’t a manned mission to Mars be an even greater waste of money? That might be a good program for Morton Thiokol or whomever, but would it be a good program for America? Shouldn’t moonshots have a raison d’être before we start writing checks?

Europe is using $7-a-gallon gasoline to stimulate the market for electric cars…

Lot’s of luck with that one. First of all, “Europe”  had $7 a gallon gasoline long before the electric car companies started to lobby the influential writers of the New York Times. But anyway. And didn’t Hillary Clinton just run for President saying how we needed a cut in gas taxes? Might she do that again? Yep. So, that’s a tough row to hoe, raising gas taxes. I’m with you, Tom. Let’s raise gas taxes if we can. But we should do that independent of what they do in Europe, right? Otherwise we’d get most of our electricity from nuclear power the way they do in France and we’d have a nuclear waste dump in Napa County the way do in their Champagne region.  

China is using $5-a-gallon and naming electric cars as one of the industrial pillars for its five-year growth plan.

Boy, that’s what we need, a five-year plan?

Sure, the Moore’s Law of electric cars — “the cost per mile of the electric car battery will be cut in half every 18 months” — will steadily drive the cost down, says Agassi, but only once we get scale production going.

There is no “Moore’s Law of electric cars.” Sorry. Shai Agassi sold you a bill of goods, Tom. He feels it’s his job. That means that he’s the last person in the world people should listen to to learn the truth about electric cars. People have said the same thing about Telsa and its use of 7000-whatever AA-sized (or whatever, close enough) industrial batteries but we’re not seeing anything like this kind of improvement in this part of the battery market.

U.S. companies can do that on their own or in collaboration with Chinese ones. But God save us if we don’t do it at all.

“God” save us? Thanks NYT, I learned something new about you today. GM can build an electric car is it wants to. Nissan is doing so right now. Why do electric cars need to be from U.S. companies? Why do we need more corporate welfare for building cars in America?

Two weeks ago, I visited the Coda Automotive battery facility in Tianjin, China — a joint venture between U.S. innovators and investors, China’s Lishen battery company and China National Offshore Oil Company.

No, Tom. You visited a Tianjin Lishen Battery facility in Tianjin, China

Kevin Czinger, Coda’s C.E.O., who drove me around Manhattan in his company’s soon-to-be-in-production electric car last week, laid out what is going on.

KC is yet another smart guy on a ego trip running a crap electric company, so let’s immediately buy into everything he has to say, shall we?

The backbone of the modern U.S. economy was locally made cars powered by locally produced oil.

Tell me in which era this mythical time was and I’ll tell you how you’re wrong.

It started us on a huge growth spurt. In recent decades, though, that industry was supplanted by foreign-made cars run on foreign oil, so “now every time we buy a car we’re exporting $15,000 of capital, paying for it with borrowed money and running it on foreign energy sources,” says Czinger.

So Kev, you don’t like foreign things, huh? Let’s make a note of this. Oh and BTY, the top two suppliers of foreign oil are, can you guess, Canada and Mexico. That’s not all that foreign, is it?

“We’ve gone from autos being a middle-class-making-machine to a middle-class-destroying-machine.”

Autos are not a “middle-class-destroying machine.” Sorry.

A U.S. electric car/battery industry would reverse that.

Ooh, I’m an millionaire NFL football team owner. Now, build me a stadium and pay for it and then all sorts of wonderful things will happen. No no, even better, I’m a bored former Goldman Sachs partner and now I’m a millionaire Chinese electric car company CEO. Now, build me a battery factory and pay for it and then all sorts of wonderful things will happen. Promise.  

The Coda, 14,000 of which will be on the road in California over the next year and can travel 100 miles on one overnight charge, is a combination of Chinese-made batteries and complex American-system electronics — all final-assembled in Oakland (price: $37,000).

Whoa, slow down Tom. 1) 14,000 of might be on the road in California over the next year. Never ever trust what the CEO of an electric car company says, right? Maybe Coda will unload 7000 units to the govmint as promised (the state of CA has changed its mind about buying electric cars before, right?) and 7000 units to consumers of the next 12 months or maybe they won’t.  2) Final assembly will take place in Oakland? First I’ve heard of this. First it was L.A. County, then it was going to be in Benicia and now you say it’ll be Oakland? Is this a scoop, Tom? But does anybody know about this in Oakland yet? Nope. Oakland is either a scoop or an error - Only Time Will Tell. 3) The price, she is $44,900.

It is a win-win start-up for both countries.

Again, Only Time Will Tell.

If we both now create the market incentives for consumers to buy electric cars, and the plug-in infrastructure for people to drive them everywhere, it will be a win-win moon shot for both countries. The electric car industry will flourish in the U.S. and China, and together we’ll tackle the next challenge: using auto battery innovations to build big storage batteries for wind and solar. However, if only China puts the gasoline prices and infrastructure in place, the industry will gravitate there. It will be a moon shot for them, a hobby for us, and you’ll import your new electric car from China just like you’re now importing your oil from Saudi Arabia.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t we importing new electric cars from China right now? I think so. The Coda Automotive company is doing it, right? Helloooo, Tom? Lot’s of luck putting gasoline prices “in place” (or, in other words, raising federal gas taxes sky high), Tom. I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. And haven’t we thrown too much money at American auto companies the past few years? Making cars is nothing special, despite what CEOs tell you when they’re driving you around Manhattan, Tom.

What’s next? Maybe a CEO from Big Corn could drive Tom around on a John Deere somewhere in the Midwest and then he could write about how we need to throw more money at corn ethanol?

What do you think, Tom?

The Camera Setup that San Francisco Society Reporter Catherine Bigelow Needs

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

That Catherine Bigelow, you know, she’s Everywhere You Want To Be. But she is probably taking photos for Social City using one of them stylish little digicams with the flash just above and to the side of the lens. That leads to red-eye, which needs to get fixed, as here (unless I’m mistaken and this fellow just naturally has coal-black, Simpsons cartoon eyes), and there are other issues as well.  

Let’s get started, credit card at the ready:

Canon digital SLR – any type, it doesn’t matter. How about a Rebel XS (aka 1000D) for $449? Take off the kit lens and sell it on the craigslist or throw it at somebody you don’t like - just get rid of it.  

Canon 35mm 2.0 lens – $320. (I paid $100 for mine, but it was used.) 

Canon 580EX flash – $399

It will all look like this:

Then here’s what you do:

Put the camera in Manual Mode and leave it that way forever.

Set it for 1/100th of  second exposure at f/2.5 with ISO sensitivity of 800, something like that.

Carry the camera and flash separately and then put them together at the event, making sure to lift up the white card thing on top of the flash.

Get your people together, hold the camera horizontally and press the shutter button - it will focus (with a gentle red light assist, if necessary) and take three shots, all within a second or two.

Then when you’re done, just take the flash off of the camera and they’ll both turn themselves off, ready to wake up as soon as you couple them again.

So yes, this approach is going to cost four figures and use stuff that’s a lot bigger and heavier than a $200 digicam. But it will produce images that complement the subjects and it will produce images that look good all the time, as opposed to just some of the time.

The primary benefit is having a soft flash coming from above the lens, as opposed to a sometimes-harsh flash coming from right next to the lens.

That’s my two cents.

Larry King’s USA Today Column Resurrected by Willie Brown, San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Before, you had to get your fix of Willie Brown by showing up at trials or waiting for someone to ask his opinion about “cows and chickens and goats and other things.” But no longer. Willie Brown has resurrected Larry King’s USA Today column!

Back in the day, it was only Larry who could give us a definitive “weekly offering studded with plugs, superlatives and dropped names.” But Larry’s been busy doing other things lately, so he’s passed the baton to Willie.

Quién es este hombre? 

2436041537_2f5007b6b0_o2.jpg

So which mots of the debut column are the most bon? How about:

 

“‘Looking for a movie? Pass on ‘Hancock.’”

That’s so Larry, it’s scary.

Look forward to more pearls of wisdom soon.