Posts Tagged ‘county’

Oh, It’s Here! – The Anti San Francisco Olympics Movement Has Arrived – “SF No 2024″ Comes to Save Us Billions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Here it is, The Letter, from SF No 2024 (TwitterFaceBook):

Dear Members of the United States Olympic Committee: With one week remaining before your committee votes to select a United States candidate city for the 2024 Summer Olympics, we wanted to introduce our coalition and its goals.

For some reason, SF No 2024 seems to think that the USOC will vote on January 5th, 2014. The USOC might end up doing that, but I don’t know why SF No 2024 is so confident that the decision will come today. [This means I think that they’re wrong wrong wrong.* JMO.]

And here it is, a letter from a coalition to the USOC in opposition to SF’s bid. The USOC has been waiting for this, wondering when opposition groups would start to develop. And here it is. This is bad news for local Olympics boosters, like Larry Baer, and the poeple who feed off of the boosters, like Nate Ballard

“As you know, San Francisco is planning to spend $4.5 billion to bring the
2024 Summer Olympic games to the Bay Area. We believe that money would
be better spent addressing our region’s most pressing social and
environmental priorities, such as…”

Well, San Francisco is “planning” on spending a lot more than $4.5 billion. I mean, area boosters know that it will end up costing us far more than that, so I wouldn’t give any credence to that figure, which is the generic bid amount, more or less, that the USOC wanted for all U.S. cities

And the other thing is that if we’re going to give credence to the $4.5 billion figure, then the official word is that we’ll get all that money back from our share of the IOC pie, from broadcast rights and from Coca Cola and from ticket sales. And then maybe we’ll end up with a “surplus,” or so they say. So, you can’t say that we should cancel our bid and instead spend the $4.5 billion on a host of other things. There aint no $4.5 billion to spend on local housing and transportation and whatnot without the Olympics coming to town.

No no, the danger is SF and the bay area being on the hook for cost overruns, which could amount to something like $10 billion on top of the $4.5 billion. So it’s that $10 billion extra that would rob money from whatever else people want SFGov to spend money on.

…our region’s progressive history or values….

Let me just say here, that the people who signed their John and Joan Hancocks on this letter to the USOC are wingers for the most part, like they’re definitely from the left side of the aisle and they’re not from San Francisco’s dominant right side of the aisle political faction. Compare that with No Boston Olympics, which appears to be more broad-based. (So like, you won’t have any of the core members of SF No 2024 defecting to the pro-Olympics side the way somebody just did over at No Boston Olympics. No no, any Benedict Arnolds who get bought off by SF2024.org would have a high price to pay. I mean, they’d get ostracized, right?)

…above market rate housing … gentrify … waterfront property…

Well, here you go, here’s what we’ll be hearing about for the next ten years if the USOC and IOC pick the bay area for the 2024 Olympics.

The 2012 America’s Cup cost our city over $11.5 million, despite rosy
promises that the event would generate more than $100 million in revenues,
among other unfulfilled promises.

Yep yep yep. Well, except for the 2012 part – it was actually 2013. Not that that matters too much, but I’ll bet the person who made this error doesn’t live in San Francisco, just saying. And come to think of it, lots of people who signed the letter to the USOC live outside of SF in the North Bay. Mmmm…)

If your committee selects San Francisco as the U.S. host city for the 2024 Summer Games, we are prepared to take political action to ensure that Bay Area voters have a say in ensuring that no public funds are spent to host the 2024 Olympics in our region.

Bam! Is this threat credible. Oh, yes it is. Could such a vote win? Yes. Could that kind of thing spook the IOC. Yes. And actually, I could see even some Olympics boosters voting yes.

I’ll tell you, there’s no way the IOC will agree to a deal that doesn’t leave taxpayers on the hook for overruns. No way. So, if SF can’t make that kind of deal, then we’re looking at an embarrassing Denver 1972 situation. Which means that the IOC won’t want to pick SF, right? Which means that the USOC won’t want to pick SF, right?

So, to repeat, bam!

Oh, in other words:

…selecting San Francisco as the United States 2024 Summer
Games host city would jeopardize your efforts to bring the Olympics back to
the United States.

Yep. This kind of political risk will be highest in San Francisco. Then Boston And then Los Angeles. (Sorry, DC, you’re drawing dead. You’ll never get an Olympics. Sorry.)

Hey, who wants another threat to close things out? Here you go:

….the actions that we are prepared to take, in the event that the USOC selects San Francisco as its host city.

And I’ll just say, again, that this is a credible threat, coming from these people, backed with a little service worker money, and that’s all it would take to get a vote against SF2024 on the record.

(And yeah, some of these people are union activists, but they’re not construction union activists.)

And here they are, for the record:

Chris Daly, former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
SEIU Local 1021
Ed Kinchley, Co-Chair of SF Committee on Political Education (COPE), SEIU
Local 1021’s political action committee
Tony Kelly, southeast San Francisco community activist
Stephen Burdo, San Anselmo, Organizer, No SF 2024 Olympics
Kathleen Russell, San Rafael, Organizer, No SF 2024 Olympics
Dr. Elizabeth Fromer, President, Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association, Mission District
Matthew Kaftor, San Francisco, Co-Founder, More SF
Paul Taylor, San Francisco
William Mandell, San Francisco
Javier Briones, San Francisco
Richard Stone, San Francisco, The Zeitgeist Movement John Graham, San Francisco, Director, BetaCorp
Zhenya Spake, Mill Valley
Ann & Gene Spake, Mill Valley
Mark Coleman, Sausalito
Deborah Rose, Novato
Devin Hartnett, Oakland
Zachary Beachem, Hayward
… and a growing number of concerned Bay Area residents.

*UPDATE: Oh, now they’re saying January 8th will be the date of the vote. Well, that makes more sense. One assumes that the USOC has issued a release for the MSM and that an MSMer told the citizen opposition of the bay area.)

Know Your Giant 400-Foot Tall Windmills of Solano County: Presenting Bud and Bud Light

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

These things are huge.

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First there was just one giant billboard extolling the virtues of Budweiser, and now there are two.

Well played, Budweiser.

UPDATE: The Quasi-Unconstitutional Prayer Book Cross is STILL on Public Land in Golden Gate Park

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Our four-star Yelp-rated Prayer Book Cross doesn’t really belong on public land.

Here’s a repost from 2009. I haven’t kept up on things, but I don’t think much has changed. It’ll take somebody to sue SFGov to have a chance to change this situation, the way things happened with the big cross atop Mt. Davidson.

Just look at this monstrous cross, complete with rune grafitti, on govmint land in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park:

“The Prayer Book Cross was erected in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1894 as a gift from the Church of England. Created by Ernest Coxhead, it stands on one of the higher points in Golden Gate Park. It is located between John F. Kennedy Drive and Park Presidio Drive, near Cross Over Drive. This 57 ft (17 m) sandstone cross commemorates the first use of the Book of Common Prayer in California by Sir Francis Drake’s chaplain on June 24, 1579.”

Didn’t the City have to sell off the similar Mount Davidson Cross (Yelp-rated) after a lawsuit back in the 1990s? Yes it did.  So, do you think the Prayer Book Cross creates an “appearance of governmental endorsement of religion” as well, particularly considering that we’re living in a post-Everson world?

Do these trees help to make this cross kosher, cause fewer people see it? Potentially, yes. Click to expand:

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In other words, does the City’s ownership and maintenance of Prayer Book Cross violate the No Preference Clause and the Ban on Aid to Religion Clause of the California Constitution and the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution?

Or maybe it’s all good, because the  cross communicates “primarily non-religious messages” ala the shorter Mount Soledad Cross down in Fun Diego County? This is a close call.

Read all about the Mount Davidson case here, where the  United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit lays down the law. It’s pretty accessible.

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You see it on the right here, as seen back in the day, during the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. Electric Tower at Night, with Search Light on Prayer Book Cross in Golden Gate Park:

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The PB cross was a big deal back in the 1800’s, even making the New York Times.

But should it be on government land today?

Just asking…

Presented to Golden Gate Park at the opening of the Midwinter Fair, January 1, A. D. 1894, as a memorial of the service held on the shore of Drake’s Bay about Saint John Baptist’s Day, June 24, Anno Domini 1579, by Francis Fletcher, priest of the Church of England, chaplain of Sir Francis Drake, chronicler of the service. Gift of George W. Childs, Esquire, of Philadelphia. First Christian service in the English tongue on our coast. First use of the Book of Common Prayer in our country. One of the first recorded missionary prayers on our continent. Soli Deo sit semper gloria.”

The Boston 2024 Olympics Committee has a Citizens Advisory Group, But San Francisco Does Not – Why’s That?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Here you go, you can try to join the official Boston 2024 Olympics Citizens Advisory Group by clicking here.

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Hey, does the official San Francisco bid committee have such a citizen’s group?

No, not at all.

And here’s another thing that’s better about Boston – the Olympics backers over there didn’t go around registering URLs for websites that citizens could use to offer a non-official point of view, like NoBostonOlympics.org for example. Compare that with our local boosters, who went out and registered NoSFOlympics website URLs to prevent anyone from using them. (This kind of URL squatting is a tad cheesy IMO.)

You know at this point, the bids from all the cities have ended up looking pretty much the same:

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Obviously, the bid groups have received pressure and guidance from elements of the USOC on what their bids should look like. But one difference is that Boston has a citizens advisory group and San Francisco does not.

In this sense, Boston’s bid committee is better than San Francisco’s.

Only In Marin: Presenting the MCRC (Marin Coupe & Roadster Car Club) on the GGB – A 1957 Chevy Coupe

Friday, December 19th, 2014

58 years young:

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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. 

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…

He’s Ba-aack! Did Infamous Wife Swapper Stephen Fowler Just Buy 38 Liberty for $2 Mil?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Brace yourselves, Liberty Hill, brace yourselves, Castro / Noe Valley. Here’s what could be in store for you:

“Applicant: Stephen Fowler  – 38 Liberty Street (3608/044A); Project Review meeting to discuss the following: Property is part of the Liberty Hill Historic District. Applicant would like to raise building, add a garage, and add a vertical and horizontal additions as well as restore Victorian facade. Applicant is requesting a preservation and environmental planner.”

Hey, didn’t Stephen Fowler just wear out his welcome in Noe Valley just a few years ago, before decamping to the ‘burbs of Marin? I think so. Remember that whole deal, when the denizens of Noe went down to City Hall to argue with the San Francisco Wife Swapper et ux. It was a fiasco. Hey, remember when octogenarian Mr. Hanamura, who got “evicted” in World War II, as a Japanese American, had somebody drop a dime on him to SFGov to get him out of his illegal in-law unit? (Hey, who made that call, I wonder.)

And then up in Marin, there was the Tree Topping Issue, but I won’t get into that.

All right, I’ll show my “work.”

Welcome to the City and County of San Francisco’s Citizen Portal
San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspections and Planning are pleased to offer our citizens, businesses, and visitors access to government services online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

And then.

And then.

And look, does he still want to “restore” the front – a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down? IDK.

Who knows what’s in store…

Anyway, that’s the update on our infamous Wife Swapper /  House Flipper / attemptive Victorian Lifter

Here’s Why SF’s Effort to Host the 2024 Olympics Will (Probably) Fail: “Public opposition is expected to be substantial”

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

I’ll tell you, I’m less optimistic about the San Francisco Bay Area’s odds of landing the 2024 Olympics than, say, Messrs Matier und Ross:

“What’s going to matter most is who can play best at the global level against the likes of Paris and Berlin — and on that point, the Bay Area has the lead.”

(Oh, and Rome, don’t forget about Rome, Italy and all those other Euro megacities which also are in the running for the 2024 Summer Olympics and which have a tiny bit more “European flair” than the fourth largest city in California.)

(And you know, sometimes I think our local Olympic “Movement” is a mechanism to separate Larry Baer from some of his money, is a way to allow Lare Bear to dream a little Dream.)

In any event, per Phil Matier [whoo boy, I think Phil’s been spun on this one, big-time, by the usual suspects] we have “the lead” in “what’s going to matter most” at today’s big USOC meeting down in San Mateo County?

I think not.

Let’s now read the news and turn the pages of the Chicago Tribune to get the real handicapping, direct from the source:

USOC chairman says odds good for 2024 Olympic bid, with single city

Let me read between the lines, if necessary.

BOSTON: A viable choice, but there’s lots of citizen opposition already.

DC: They’ll never get picked by the IOC so there’s no chance they’ll get picked by the USOC. They’re drawing dead. (Will it be a good experience sending a delegation across the country on behalf of DC? Sure, for the people that go on the junket. They’ll talk about it for years.)

SF Bay Area: Here you go:

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.”It is a city that resonates with the IOC membership,” Probst said.  “There is this magical appeal about San Francisco people find compelling.” Public opposition in San Francisco is expected to be substantial.

These are problems that simply can’t be fixed in a few weeks. Hey, you know what the USOC spends a lot of its time doing over in Colorado Springs? It scans the Web looking for opposition to the Bay Area bid, it ponders how big the opposition will be, ’cause the USOC surely knows it’s coming. Now, one of the reasons we haven’t heard much opposition is that the Olympic Movement is squatting on URLs it thinks the opposition might use. Is that kosher? I think not. SF2024 talks a big game about “dreaming big,” but when the rubber meets the road, it plays hardball. Isn’t that a tad inconsistent? Similarly, Larry Baer says fuck you to the South Bay by blocking any attempt to have the A’s move down there and, all of a sudden, he’s all let’s do this thing, San Jose? Larry’s name is mud in SJ, so why should SJ sign up for its pro-rated share of the cost overruns, like a billion dollars – how’s that going to work?

LA: Front runner, babe.

(Of course, the Chairman, the Dear Leader, is also signaling to the potential US Host Cities what their weaknesses are, the better for them to offer reassurances at the big beauty contest down south this AM. It’s a dynamic situation, of course.)

Hey, how’s that $50 billion Sochi Olympics working out for Russia these days? Oh, the whole country just lost $80 billion but the Russian People are so so happy to have funded a big party for Vladimir Putin? Really?

(And that’s what the IOC did to Russia this year, the year of the IOC’s “Great” Reform.)

All right, here’s hoping that we’ll be out of the Olympic race tout de suite. Let’s hope we don’t send a bill to The Future of $10,000,000,000 in cost overruns.

That’s my Olympic Dream.

San Francisco Opposes the Feds Killing Off Mice on the Farallon Islands? Fear of Dead Seagulls Scaring Tourists?

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Well, this is news to me.

All the Feds want to do is kill off the mice of the Farallones and San Francisco is standing in the way?

Check out how our Federales scored a “rip-roaring conservation success” exterminating vermin up in Alaska at Hawadex Island, which was known for centuries as “Rat Island.”

I’ll tell you, I can’t name any of the “visionary policies and innovative programs” created by SF Environment that Director Deborah Raphael boasts of.

Can you, Gentle Reader?

One down, a million to go – here’s the big version, via nature photographer Jenny Erbes.

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