Posts Tagged ‘filed’

Ooh Nice One, Goldman Sachs! CODA Automotive in Bankruptcy Today – The Bay Area’s OTHER Electric Car “Factory”

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Read the news and turn the pages.

I remember seeing CODA Automotive’s first SFMTA bus stop ad back in 2010. I thought, “Man, what a turkey.” That’s the year I started the DeathWatch.

This whole CODA concept appeared to be another big fat loser from Goldman Sachs and that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

Oh well.

Ah memories, memories from 2010:

Whatever You Do, DON’T Put $499 Down on the $45K, Mostly Chinese, All-Electric Coda Sedan

I’ll tell you, the Mitsubishi Carisma didn’t exactly slay the European market when it went on sale a decade and a half ago. Simply, it wasn’t popular. Then a regional car maker in China tried to take the design from Mitsu and make a version to sell to the Chinese in 2005. It wasn’t popular there neither, even at a price of just $10,000. It, as they say, “lacked quality to make a mark” in the Chinese market. O.K. then.

Well, they went and took out the gas engine and fitted it with a big heavy battery and a lightweight motor and that’s how we’re getting the 2011 Coda Automotive Sedan at a price of, wait for it, Holy Toledo, $44,900. That’s the news of the day, 45K, officially.

Should California and the feds give you tax credits to buy this thing if all Coda Automotive is going to do is raise the price sky high?

What a POS this thing is. Just look at it. In some ways better, and in some ways worse than your sister’s ’94 Honda Civic:

Now, they’re going to have a showroom in the bay area soon and they’re going to let you take a test drive starting next month. Fine, test drive the thing, I don’t care. But don’t give them a deposit, don’t encourage them.

All right, what about the all-electric Nissan LEAF, the Coda Sedan’s arch-rival? The LEAF is better and cheaper.

Here’s what an overly-excited CODA fan was saying about the LEAF last year:

“It’s an alien-looking buggy with small wheels and no nose that won’t look like a real car to American buyers”

Uh, no, that’s incorrect. Sorry.

via NissanLEAF

Hey, here’s a question:

Why is the LEAF so much cheaper than the CODA?

Yes the CODA has a big trunk that the LEAF lacks but so what. (The CODA  has small rear seat area because of that big trunk, so oh well.)

Uh oh:

“More ominously for the company, the sedan is more expensive than the Nissan Leaf, which will retail for $32,800 before incentives. Put another way, the Leaf is almost as cheap before incentives as the Coda is after incentives. And Nissan has a well-known brand name and  years of automotive experience.”

Here’s another question:

Why does the CODA cost so much more than the Chinese design it’s based upon?

Here’s another question:

How on Earth can people call the CODA an American car if the bulk of it, the glider (basically the entire car except for the battery/transmission) is made in one factory in China and the giant battery is made in another factory in China? What’s that, you wait for the boats to arrive in L.A. County Contra Costa? Solano?, Alameda? (one of them counties anyway) and then slap the battery and various whatnots inside the glider and that’s your “final assembly” in America? I cry foul.

Let’s face it, the Coda Sedan is a Chinese car, whether you like that or not.

Maybe a $45k electric sedan seemed like a good idea last year, but this thing is looking like a clunker already. That’s why people are saying that it, “may be a tough sell.”

Now, speaking of tough sells, let’s look at some of the marketing we’re getting from the CODA people. Go ahead, click and read along:

Electric agility

“The CODA might be the most agile car you’ve ever driven.”

Nope!

“Do you know the feeling of stomping the pedal and waiting for the car to build speed? Those days are over. The experience of driving a CODA is completely different.”

Well, I know what a Chevy Chevette Diesel automatic is like. It’s slow, with a o-60 time of 20 seconds plus. I know your CODA is quicker than that, but is the experience of driving the thing “completely different” from other cars? Nope.

“It’s small, energy-dense UQM PowerPhase® electric motor packs a punch, and weighs hundreds of pounds less than internal combustion engines.”

How can a motor be “energy-dense?” Shouldn’t you be talking about the energy density of the battery instead? Speaking of which, how much does the battery weigh? Isn’t that the more salient aspect?

“So whether you’re standing still or moving at a good pace, you’ll get instant torque and acceleration when you need it.”

You’re selling an electric car on this basis? Isn’t the CODA slower than the average car being sold today? Yep.

All right, caveat emptor.

All the deets, after the jump

(more…)

OMG, It’s On! An Appeal Has Been Filed Against the Oak and Fell Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements Project

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Via the District 5 Diary of Rob Anderson.

It’s an alphabet soup, 94117-style – NIMBY ADA CEQA EIR, for starters.

Enjoy:

“Mark Brennan
San Francisco CA 94117

Howard Chabner
San Francisco, CA 94117

Ted Loewenberg
San Francisco, CA 94117

TO:

Angela Calvillo, Clerk
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Room 244, City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

Bill Wycko, Environmental Review Officer
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission St., 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

DATE: November 2, 2012

NOTICE OF APPEAL TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, REQUEST FOR STAY and REVERSAL OF IMPLEMENTATION, and REQUEST FOR REVIEW

This is a Notice of Appeal of the October 16, 2012 actions of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (“MTA”) Board of Directors approving the Oak and Fell Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements project (the “Oak-Fell Project” or “the Project”). The approval of the Project was an abuse of discretion and a failure to proceed as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) (Pub. Res. Code §§21000 et seq.). This is also an appeal of the San Francisco Planning Department’s October 4, 2012 Categorical Exemption of the Oak-Fell Project.

The Project is also a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 USC Section 12101 et seq (“ADA”) and California disability rights laws, including California Civil Code Sections 54 et seq. (The ADA and California disability rights laws are sometimes referred to collectively herein as the “Disability Rights Laws.”)

This is also a Request for Review of the October 16, 2012 MTA Board actions pursuant to the San Francisco Charter §8A.102 (b)(7)(i).

Appellants request an immediate STAY of implementation of the Project and every part of it, pending final determination on this Appeal and Request for Review, and pending full compliance with CEQA and other applicable laws. Also, because MTA has already begun implementing the Project before the time to appeal the actions described in this Appeal and Request for Review has ended, appellants also demand REVERSAL of all implementation of the Project and restoration of pre-Project conditions on all affected streets and sidewalks.

Copies of the MTA Board’s October 16, 2012 Resolution #12-129 and the Planning Department’s October 4, 2012 Categorical Exemption (Exemption from Environmental Review for the SFMTA Fell & Oak Streets Bikeways Project–Case No.E011.0836E) are attached.

Grounds for this Appeal lie within, but are not limited to, CEQA, the Disability Rights Laws, and other applicable statutes, regulations, and ordinances that may apply, including the following.

1.The categorical exemptions invoked under 14 Cal. Code Regs. (the “Guidelines”) Sections 15301(c) and 15304(h) do not apply to the Project, since the Project: (1) has the potential to degrade the quality of the environment; (2) has possible effects that are cumulatively considerable; and (3) will cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly. (Pub.Res.Code Section 21083(b).) Therefore the Project cannot be classified as “categorically exempt.” There is evidence supporting a fair argument that the Project could cause direct, secondary, and cumulative impacts on parking, traffic, transit, loading, air quality, public safety, and emergency services. Among other things, the Project will cause substantial adverse effects on people who need to park near where they live or work.

2. The claimed mitigations do not effectively mitigate the Project’s impacts, and, in any event, cannot be used to claim a categorical exemption.

3. The Oak-Fell Project is part of a larger project, the San Francisco Bicycle Plan (the “Bicycle Plan”). If it applies at all, a categorical exemption must apply to the whole Bicycle Plan project, not just the Oak-Fell segment. The Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) on the Bicycle Plan did not specifically analyze the Oak-Fell Project.

4. The Oak-Fell Project has not received specific environmental review as part of the larger Bicycle Plan or at any other time.

5. The Project does not qualify for an exemption under Guidelines Section15301(c), which consists of the “operation, repair, maintenance, permitting, leasing, licensing, or minor alterationof existing public or private structures, facilities, mechanical equipment, or topographical features, involving negligible or no expansion of use beyond that existing at the time of the lead agency’s determination,” (emphasis added) and (c) “Existing highways and streets, sidewalks, gutters, bicycle and pedestrian trails and similar facilities…”

The existing conditions are parking lanes, not Class I or Class II bicycle lanes. A parking lane, as defined in the California Streets & Highways Code Section 5871(c), is “a paved area adjacent to the curb which is used exclusively for on-street parking. It does not include any portion of the street used for through traffic or as a bicycle lane.” (Emphasis added) The “facility” does not meet this basic definition, since it would completely remove the parking lane and change its use to a separated bicycle lane for exclusive use of bicyclists. (S&H Code Section 890.4(a).) These definitions are mutually exclusive and involve a complete change of use. The Project, therefore, does not fall within the existing facilities exemption under Guidelines Section 15301.

The Project does not consist of mere maintenance or minor alteration, but makes major changes by, among other things: (a) entirely removing the existing parking lanes on City streets; (b) removing around 100 existing parking spaces on Oak and Fell; (c) constructing concrete and other solid structures in the streets next to moving traffic (raised, landscaped traffic islands); (d) impeding visibility and access to driveways; (e) eliminating, reducing or making dangerous and more difficult streetside, emergency, and loading access to residences and businesses on Oak and Fell; (f) constructing numerous concrete bulbouts that impede traffic by making right turns difficult; (g) adjusting traffic signals to reduce traffic speed on a major East-West traffic corridor in San Francisco; (h) eliminating one traffic lane on Oak Street during morning commute hours; and (i) constructing bicycle lanes where they do not now exist.

6. For the same reasons, the Project does not qualify for an exemption under Guidelines Section 15304(h), which consists of “minor public or private alterations in the condition of land, water, and/or vegetation which do not involve removal of healthy, mature, scenic trees, except for forestry and agricultural purposes,” and “creation of bicycle lanes on existing rights-of-way.” (Emphasis added.) There is no existing right-of-way in the parking lanes on Oak Street and Fell Street for bicycle lanes, since the right-of-way in parking lanes is exclusively for vehicles. (See S&H Code Section 5871(c).) Nor is the Project a “minor” alteration in the condition of land, water, and/or vegetation. Rather it is a major alteration and change of use from a parking lane for exclusive use of parking vehicles to a bicycle lane for exclusive use of riding bicycles.

7. The Project is an exception to any categorical exemption, because substantial evidence supports a fair argument that the Project will have significant impacts on parking, traffic, transit, loading, noise, air quality, public safety, emergency services, and human impacts on two major East-West traffic routes carrying a combined more than 60,000 vehicles per day. (And since many vehicles carry more than one person, the number of drivers and passengers affected will be more than 60,000 per day.) (Guidelines Section 15300.2; and see Pub. Res. Code Section 21083(b).)

8. Impacts on humans require a mandatory finding of significance, including impeding access to streetside parking, affecting disabled people, seniors, children, families, workers, and emergency, maintenance, construction and delivery services. Loading impacts also affect commercial and passenger loading. The Project will also affect public safety by impairing visibility from driveways.Bulbouts also impair visibility and delay traffic by making right turns more difficult. Asserted mitigations do not mitigate the Project’s impacts and cause more impacts that require analysis.

9. Cumulative impacts on parking, traffic, air quality, noise, public safety, and emergency services also exclude the Project from any categorical exemption.

10. The Disability Rights Laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in, among other things, programs of local government, use of streets and sidewalks, and transportation. California Civil Code Section 54(a) provides that “Individuals with disabilities or medical conditions have the same right as the general public to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways…public facilities, and other public places.” Title II of the ADA requires local governments to provide people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services and activities. Sidewalks, streets and parking are programs provided by ADA Title II entities, and therefore are subject to ADA requirements.

Although the loss of parking would be a hardship for the large numbers of people who live, visit and work in the neighborhood, it would disproportionately impact people with major mobility disabilities, such as wheelchair users and slow walkers. Many people with mobility disabilities rely heavily on private vehicles. Disabled people park in regular street parking spaces far more often than in designated accessible street parking spaces (blue zones). Many people who use wheelchairs or scooters rely on accessible minivans and vans that have ramps or lifts on the passenger side. In effect, all street parking spaces (except perpendicular and angled spaces, those on the driver’s side of a one-way street, and, sometimes, those with sidewalk obstructions such as garbage cans or trees in the exact location of the ramp or lift) are accessible spaces.

The Project would remove all street parking on the South side of Oak, which means that all of the disabled accessible parking spaces would be eliminated for those three blocks. The parking spaces on the North side of Oak would remain, but it would be extremely dangerous for disabled people to use them because the ramp or lift would be deployed into the moving lane. The project includes mitigating the parking loss on Oak and Fell by converting parking spaces on some of the side streets, which are currently parallel parking, into perpendicular or angled parking spaces. This also would eliminate spaces that are currently usable by disabled people, thereby adding to the parking loss on Oak instead of mitigating it. Not only wheelchair and scooter users, but people who walk slowly and with difficulty would also be harmed by the loss of parking spaces on Oak and by the elimination of parallel parking on the side streets.

The Project would also make it more difficult, dangerous and stressful for disabled people, including wheelchair/scooter users and people who have difficulty walking, to be picked up and dropped off in this area, whether by private vehicle, taxi, paratransit or shuttle service.

These effects violate the Disability Rights Laws.

REQUEST FOR STAY and REVERSAL OF IMPLEMENTATION

This is also a Request for an immediate stay of implementation of the Project and any part of it pending final determination on this Appeal and Request for Review, and pending full compliance with CEQA and other applicable laws. Also, because MTA has already begun implementing the Project before the time to appeal the actions described in this Appeal and Request for Review has ended, appellants also demand REVERSAL of all implementation of the Project and restoration of pre-Project conditions on all affected streets and sidewalks.

REQUEST FOR REVIEW PURSUANT TO SAN FRANCISCO CHARTER SECTION 8A.102(b)(7)(i).

This is also a REQUEST FOR REVIEW pursuant to the San Francisco Charter Section 8A.102(b)(7)(i) of the MTA Board’s Resolution #12-129 of October 16, 2012, approving the Oak-Fell Project. This Request for Review incorporates all of the grounds stated in the foregoing Appeal, and additionally requests Review by the Board of Supervisors of the City’s substantive violations of CEQA, the Disability Rights Laws, and other statutes, regulations, and ordinances.

The Board’s action was an abuse of discretion and a failure to proceed under CEQA, since it will cause significant impacts on the environment, including impacts on parking, loading, traffic, transit, and emergency services. The Project also affects accessibility and safety of people with disabilities, and is therefore contrary to the Disability Rights Laws.

The Project also creates public safety hazards by impairing the safety and visibility of drivers accessing driveways. The bulbouts also adversely affect visibility and safety by impairing visibility of oncoming traffic, bicyclists and pedestrians. Bulbouts also worsen congestion and delays.

REMEDIES REQUESTED

1. Set aside all approvals of the Oak-Fell Project, and the October 4, 2012 Categorical Exemption.

2. Declare that any future proposal to implement the same project must be preceded by an environmental impact report fully analyzing all impacts and proposing effective mitigations for each of the Project’s possible impacts on parking, traffic, transit, noise, air quality, emergency services, public safety, and human impacts. Cumulative impacts must be analyzed taking into account all past, present, and reasonably foreseeable projects that will also affect traffic, transit, parking, noise, air quality, and public safety on Oak and Fell Streets and the entire area. Spillover and secondary impacts from removal of streetside parking must also be analyzed, along with any impacts caused by mitigations, including traffic congestion caused by signal timing. The analysis must include real-time on-ground traffic counts during AM and PM peak periods taken at a variety of representative days of the week and times of the year.

3. The EIR must propose effective mitigations that eliminate each of the Project’s impacts, including consideration of avoiding each impact altogether by not implementing the Project.

4. The City must implement effective mitigation before Project implementation.

5. The City must propose a plan to effectively comply with the Disability Rights Laws, provide an opportunity for meaningful input and comment on such plan, and incorporate such plan in a revised Project.

6. Further consideration of the Project must be stayed until City has complied with CEQA, the Disability Rights Laws and other applicable statutes and regulations.

7. Such other remedies as may be appropriate.

Appellants will submit more detailed comment and/or briefing in support of this Appeal, Request for Stay and Reversal of Implementation, and Request for Review at or before a hearing by the Board of Supervisors.

With this appeal, appellants do not waive the right to present any and all issues and other public comment in further proceedings on the Project.

Please notify the undersigned of the date of the hearing, all actions on this Appeal, Request for Stay and Reversal of Implementation, and Request for Review, and all actions regarding the Project. Please schedule the hearing not earlier than 30 days from the date of this document.

DATE: November 2, 2012

Mark Brennan
Howard Chabner
Ted Loewenberg

FROM:

Mark Brennan

San Francisco CA 94117

Howard Chabner

San Francisco, CA 94117

Ted Loewenberg

San Francisco, CA 94117

Showing How STRAVA, Inc is Dealing with Its Legal Challenges: Here’s What the “Hyde Street Bomb!” Looks Like

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Take a look at this segment created by the “Strava Community” of troubled Strava, Inc. owners, managers, and/or users.

See? This is a bike trip down Nob Hill through the Tenderloin to the Mid Market:

Click to expand

Note the innocuous-sounding title: Hyde/Market st.

But also note the URL up there. The name of this segment used to be “Hyde Street Bomb!” But that doesn’t look so hot when you’re in the national news for getting sued.

Oh, here it is, have a go on the YouTube – will the cyclist beat all those cagers in Priuseses what stop for red lights? Hells yes:

Now, do you think that the “Strava Community” might have had an effect on the behavior of this cyclist?

You Make The Call.

And oh, here’s how that Strava webpage looked before, was it just a day ago? Two days ago? I don’t know. But this is quite a recent change. Alls I know is that somebody in the “Strava Community,” be it an owner, manager, legal advisor, person following instructions from a legal advisor, cyclist, or, really, anybody in the entire world, created this segment and/or edited it.

The people at Strava, Inc. aren’t what you call transparent, so it’s hard to tell.

Anyway, here’s your Hyde Street Bomb!

Does registering for Strava and racing down Nob Hill in this fashion make you an “athlete?”

Again, You Make The Call.

So Let’s Hear From Michael Horvath, CEO and Co-Founder of Troubled, SF-Based STRAVA, Inc. – Lawsuit Blog Post

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Well here’s The Statement, from a few days back:

“Stand with Us”

UH, “STAND WITH US” WHILE WE GET SUED INTO OBLIVION? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ON THE EVE OF THE NEWS OF YOUR BIG WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT? OK.

“Posted by Michael Horvath on June 17th, 2012″

JUNE 17TH – LOOK AT THE TIMING, JUST BEFORE THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. MMMM…

Each and every day we strive to improve Strava for you,­ the athlete. We are athletes too, just like you.

LET’S SEE HERE, SIGNING UP FOR STRAVA = BEING AN ATHLETE. GOT IT. YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME TWICE. OH,  WELL I GUESS YOU JUST DID. UH, ALL RIGHT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL ME _THREE_ TIMES.

As the Strava community grows, we all need to follow a few simple guideposts to ensure that Strava’s impact is positive.

GUIDEPOSTS AND NOT RULES? ALL RIGHT.

This is what we, the Strava community, stand for:

NOW WAIT A SECOND, AREN’T YOU THE FOUNDER AND CEO, MICHAEL HORVATH? I THINK SO. BUT ARE YOU A PART OF THE “STRAVA COMMUNITY?” REALLY? BUT _YOUR_ COMPANY IS GETTING SUED THOUGH, RIGHT? NOT THE “ATHLETES” WHAT MAKE UP YOUR USER BASE. I THINK YOU ARE CONFLATING THE OWNERS/MANAGERS OF STRAVA WITH THE USERS OF STRAVA, JUST SAYING. ALL RIGHT, OFF YOU GO THEN…

We know the rules. Laws and rules are created for our protection. Cycling, running and swimming are inherently dangerous and following the law, and common sense, when it comes to traffic, weather, or conditions, reduces our odds of getting hurt or hurting others. It’s as simple as that.

SO, I’LL STILL BE ABLE TO HAVE MY TIMES POSTED SHOWING ME GOING 20 MPH OVER THE LIMIT? CAUSE, YOU SEE, THAT’S NOT FOLLOWING THE “LAWS,” RIGHT? BUT I GUESS, AFTER YOU TALKED WITH A LAWYER OR TWO, YOU’RE TELLING YOUR USERS, THE SAINTED “ATHLETES” YOU WRITE ABOUT, TO FOLLOW THE LAW? OK FINE.

We rest. We listen to our bodies to avoid injury and we inspire in ways other than by being #1. We don’t burn ourselves out. We enjoy our recovery days because they too tell our story on Strava.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH YOU BEING SUED? DOES THIS EVEN BELONG HERE?

We kudo sportsmanship. We all want to get kudos by being great at our sport. We are courteous and treat others with respect. We earn our spots on the leaderboards through clean competition.

UH, KUDO IS NOT A VERB, RIGHT? OK YOU KNOW THAT BUT YOU’RE BREAKING NEW GROUND, OK FINE. UH, IS BIKE-RIDING A SPORT? I THINK I’M SEEING THE PROBLEM HERE. WAS CHRIS BUCCHERE ENGAGING IN SPORT WHEN HE WAS GOING WAY TOO FAST ACROSS MARKET STREET? SHOULD HE HAVE BEEN? IS DRIVING A CAR DOWN MARKET STREET A SPORT? SHOULD IT BE? I DON’T THINK SO. AND IF MEMBERS OF THE “STRAVA COMMUNITY” AREN’T COURTEOUS AND RESPECTFUL, DO THEY GET COUNSELING OR SOMETHING? OR DO THEY JUST GET KICKED OUT? CAUSE  I CAN THINK OF A FEW OF YOUR MEMBERS WHO HAVEN’T KILLED THEMSELVES/OTHERS, SO, YOU KNOW, THEY’RE NOT AS WELL-KNOWN AS SOME OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE STRAVA FAMILY, BUT THEY DON’T MEET YOUR STANDARD AS STATED HERE – THEY AIN’T COURTEOUS/RESPECTFUL AT ALL. AND LASTLY, DOES “CLEAN COMPETITION” INCLUDE RUNNING RED LIGHTS? I’M NOT SURE.

We think ahead. We showcase a lot of awesome data about where we go, who we work out with and how hard we push ourselves. If we don’t want everyone to know what we’re up to, we take the necessary privacy precautions before we upload, like setting privacy zones and choosing who can follow us and what they can see.

UH ISN’T THIS A MISH-MASH OF THREE DIFFERENT CONCEPTS?

We’ve got each other’s backs. We watch out for one another. The community does what it can to keep things safe for everyone by looking out for potentially dangerous situations and flagging segments as hazardous.

SO, SELF-POLICING IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY AT STRAVA? HEY, DIDN’T THE “SOUTH PARK DESCENT” GET FLAGGED AFTER KIM FLINT’S DEATH? I THINK IT DID. BUT DIDN’T IT COME BACK, COURTESY OF THE “STRAVA COMMUNITY?” YES IT DID, AND WITH HIGHER SPEEDS THAN WHAT KIM FLINT “ACHIEVED.”

If you want to be part of the Strava community, we’d like you to stand with us and take these guideposts to heart.

SO, YOU’RE GOING TO START KICKING PEOPLE OUT? ALL RIGHT. I DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU AND YOUR LAWYERS ARE SAYING HERE, BUT ALL RIGHT.

AND YOU STILL HAVE NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT KIM FLINT OR CHRIS BUCCHERE?

ALL RIGHT.

Now, let’s hear from Paul Kapustka of Mobile Sports Report:

“Something tells us that if lawyers are getting involved, it’s not going to be as simple as a statement on a blog to prove that Strava.com’s competitions didn’t cause harm. Or that the bad apples aren’t a part of the Strava.com community. There are going to be many who decry the lawsuit as some part of a nanny-state weirdness, but there is probably some legitimate question to be asked whether or not a site that promotes virtual competitions on real streets and trails is responsible for the participants’ actions, much in the way a 10K race must take out insurance to cover its runners. I have a feeling this may be the tip of the iceberg for such sites like Strava.com.”

Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake Struck UC Berkeley at 2:41 PM, October 20th 2011 – 3.8 Aftershock at 8:16 PM

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

[Or rather, make that a 4.0 on the Richter, final answer. That was for the afternoon earthquake. This evening's aftershock at 8:16 PM was a 3.8.]

People in the West Bay could definitely feel this this one today, the one centered beneath UC Berkeley.

It felt like a succession of sharp bumps for a few seconds and then there was some generalized shaking – perhaps it all lasted about six seconds.

The Did You Feel It Map:

The initial estimate was a 4.2:

Magnitude 4.2
Date-Time
  • Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 21:41:04 UTC
  • Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 02:41:04 PM at epicenter
Location 37.864°N, 122.249°W
Depth 9.8 km (6.1 miles)
Region SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIFORNIA
Distances
  • 2 km (2 miles) ESE (112°) from Berkeley, CA
  • 5 km (3 miles) NE (47°) from Emeryville, CA
  • 5 km (3 miles) NNW (341°) from Piedmont, CA
  • 8 km (5 miles) NNW (346°) from Oakland, CA
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.4 km (0.2 miles)
Parameters Nph= 90, Dmin=2 km, Rmss=0.18 sec, Gp= 22°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=3
Source
Event ID nc71667366

Potrero Hill’s Potrero Power Plant To Go Offline in Early 2011?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Rebecca Bowe has the story of the coming end of San Francisco’s 362 MW Potrero Power Plant early next year.

Perhaps we should rename the PPP’s iconic red tower “Coit Tower South” and charge tourists admission to take rides to the top?

It’s a landmark now, right?

Click to expand

Cutout, 2 levels:

Cutout, 3 levels:

Cutout, 4 levels:

Cutout, 5 levels:

Cutout, 6 levels:

Cutout, 6 levels, version 2:

Cutout, 7 levels:

“Avoid the 8″ DUI Checkpoint at Pine and Montgomery a Huge Success

Monday, December 21st, 2009

This was the scene over the weekend in the Financh where eight (or four, whatever) local police agencies teamed up for a DUI checkpoint on southbound Montgomery at Pine Street. Never seen one of these before – let’s take a look.

Click to expand:

Not all the traffic coming down from North Beach to SoMA last Friday night had to stop – lots of cars were directed straight on through. But those that weren’t had to pull over to the right for a brief convo with a peace officer of some stripe.

Like the driver of this Mercedes E350, for example. Don’t think she was a drunkie, but she had some sort of registration hassle it appeared (and that’s not all that uncommon in this age of shut-down, furloughed DMVs.) Stop sign holder graciously provided by PG&E:

Oh well. But let’s say you fail your field sobriety test on Montgomery Street.  This is what’s in store for you – a trip into the huge mobile command post  parked on the same block. No waiting:

Meet your breathalyzer, the Intoxilyzer 5000 infrared spectrometry breath alcohol measurement tool. (This is important, cause if your shyster is going to get you off, well, however that ends up being, it will most likely have something to do with attacking the procedures used to record the .15 BAC score you blew. Again.) Speaking of mouthpieces, you’ll get your own 28-cent plastic disposable mouthpiece to blow on. (Always wondered how that worked.)

Most people didn’t seem to mind, and the way that Montgomery is set up with three-way lights (to let the throngs of imagined evening-hour financial district peds scramble across Montgomery any which way they want) being picked to be a part of the checkpoint might not actually have slowed the journeys to the nearest freeway onramp:

Check out Friday’s tally of arrests and tows from CBS5. And here’s the scorecard from a another recent checkpoint at Geary and Steiner, and here’s another from Monterey near San Jose.

So, hurray. There’s not a lot to object to here, unless you’re a mouthpiece for the American Beverage Institute that is.

Look for more checkpoints in the coming weeks…

Mirant’s Potrero Generating Plant is Always With Us – When Will It Go Away?

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

See the tower of the Potrero Generating Plant down Seventh Street on a recent rainy day?

Will it be here a year from now?

Who knows. But, on it goes, day in and day out:

IMG_1023

Click to expand

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Sues for Seismic Safety Upgrades at Mirant

Monday, April 27th, 2009

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued Mirant Corporation for potentially life-threatening building code violations at the Potrero Generating Plant. Says Mr. Herrera:

“To the list of corporate lawlessness that includes polluting our air, ground and water, we can now add Mirant’s defiant refusal to address safety risks to its own employees.”

Read all about it, below.

Herrera blasts Mirant’s ‘deplorable corporate citizenship’ with seismic safety lawsuit

Code violations at controversial Potrero plant mark the latest in list of threats to public health, safety and the environment

City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against Mirant (NYSE: MIR) for potentially life-threatening building code violations at its controversial Potrero power plant, blistering the Atlanta-based energy giant’s “deplorable corporate citizenship” for long disregarding human health and safety in San Francisco.  The 17-page complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court charges the company with persistent violations of a City ordinance that requires seismic safety upgrades to unreinforced masonry buildings, whose structural failures in major earthquakes can cause significant loss of life and injuries.  The aging diesel-fueled plant has been a flashpoint for neighborhood and environmental justice advocates for decades because of the facility’s longstanding air, ground and water contamination problems, and their suspected link to atypically high rates of asthma and cancer in neighboring communities.  Today’s lawsuit comes after years of failed negotiations between Mirant and City leaders to address environmental, public health and safety issues — including seismic retrofits — and a series of letters over the past few months from Herrera and other City officials threatening to challenge the extension of Mirant’s water permit for the plant because it continues to pollute San Francisco Bay.

“To the list of corporate lawlessness that includes polluting our air, ground and water, we can now add Mirant’s defiant refusal to address safety risks to its own employees,” said Herrera.  “City leaders have worked for years to shutter this filthy and dangerous facility — which has no business operating in the 21st Century, let alone in a major population center.  But it increasingly appears that our good faith efforts to work with Mirant have been exploited and mocked.  The imperatives of public health and safety in San  Francisco prevent us from continuing to tolerate this deplorable corporate citizenship.  I intend to pursue a court order to force Mirant to live up to responsibilities it has too long ignored.  Mirant is at the end of its rope.”

Unreinforced masonry buildings, or UMBs, are masonry or concrete buildings constructed without the benefit of reinforcements.  UMBs can be gravely hazardous in earthquakes, with a strong likelihood of failure in serious seismic events, including collapsing walls or the “pancaking” of entire buildings.  In 1992, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted the UMB Ordinance to require: (1) all owners of UMBs to be notified of potential hazards; (2) all owners to retain a licensed civil, structural engineer or architect to identify the hazard class of UMB buildings; and (3) all owners to seismically upgrade the buildings within specified requirements and time frames. 

While the ordinance established Feb. 15, 2006 as the deadline for most building owners to complete structural seismic alterations, the City, like other regulatory agencies, extended numerous accommodations to Mirant in the expectation that the closure of its environmentally injurious power plant was imminent.  Today’s civil action details the history of the City’s enforcement efforts at the Potrero facility, and alleges that Mirant is operating a public nuisance in violation of the California Civil Code (Sections 3479 and 3480) and San Francisco Building Code (Sections 102 and 103).  Herrera’s lawsuit additionally charges Mirant with unlawful and unfair business practices, in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17200. 

If successful, Herrera’s case on behalf of the City and People of the State of California could result in sweeping injunctive relief, disgorgement of all profits derived from the company’s unlawful conduct, civil penalties, and costs and fees associated with the action. 

The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Mirant Potrero, LLC, San Francisco Superior Court, filed April 27, 2009.