Posts Tagged ‘heather knight’

Uh Oh, the SFPD’s Vaunted “Focus on the Five” Enforcement Program Focuses on the Wrong Five

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Work with me here, people.

Here you go:

“Focus on the Five – Using multi-year collision data, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is focusing on enforcing the five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking. The goal is to have half their traffic citations be for these five violations.”

All right, well let’s look at the stats for last year, via Heather Knight / the District 5 Diary.

And then let’s extract all the five-digit CVC section numbers cited in the official SFPD report, plus let’s also throw in a CVC number for the pedestrian who died last year after getting hit by a MUNI bus on Geary around Baker.

(And let’s ignore all the the lower-case subsections like 21950(b) and the like, treating 21950(a) and 21950(b) as the same violation, for example.)

And then lets throw all the extracted numbers into Excel for a Sorting.

And then let’s eyeball the numbers to separate them out:

Capturefsfssfggg copy

So those are your top “five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking (and bicycle riding, but I don’t think that affects the numbers too much.)

Here they are, in order of frequency:






So how does that compare with this list from politicians?

“Focus on the 23 Five” campaign to target the top five causal factors of pedestrian crashes – running red lights 24 (California Vehicle Code 21453(a)), running stop signs (California Vehicle Code 22450(a)), violating pedestrian right-of-way (California Vehicle Code 21950(a)), failing to yield while 2 turning (California Vehicle Code 21801 (a), and speeding (California Vehicle Code 22350)…

See how that works? 21950 and 22350 are in there, but CVC violations on the part of pedestrians, like 21456, 21954, and 21955 have been omitted from the list.

Is the official “Focus on the Five” about pedestrian safety or “pedestrian rights?”

I’m thinking it’s about pedestrian rights, like the right to jaywalk, that kind of thing.

Is SFGov serious about SF Vision Zero 2024, a “program” that has the goal of ending all transportation deaths in San Francisco long after all the pols who voted for it have termed out?

Well, how can it be if it’s afraid to enforce traffic laws for political reasons?

If you want safety for pedestrians, wouldn’t you want them to be afraid of getting cited for jaywalking?

No? All right, well then keep on doing what you’re doing, but you’ll never ever achieve Vision Zero 2024 the way you’re going about it, SFGov.


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

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Let’s start here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Oh man, this is something.

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

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

Isn’t that sad?

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


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

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

So what was the point of all this registration fooforall?

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

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Well, here you go:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capturedfsf copy

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

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

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

Capturefdfddd copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Poor Chris Daly!

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

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

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

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

All right, that’s your update.

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

Is It Really a “Stereotype” That Homeless People in San Francisco “Come Here From Somewhere Else?”

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Here you go:

Ad blitz in transit hubs designed to break homeless stereotypes by Heather Knight

Starting Monday, there will be even more. A new ad campaign produced by the Coalition on Homelessness will go up in public transportation hubs and on Muni buses with the intention of breaking stereotypes about homeless people. You know, that they’re freeloaders who come here from somewhere else…

So, aren’t most homeless people in San Francisco (and, of course, most non-homeless people as well) “from somewhere else?”

The answer to that question is yes, yes they are.

So, does lying about facts help to “break” “stereotypes,” Coalition on Homelessness?

I think not.

And that means that asking convoluted poll questions designed to get a desired  answer, well I don’t see how that helps.


But what this kind of thing does do is reinforce stereotypes about certain non-profits in San Francisco…

Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ: More Money Laundering Found in Ed Lee Campaign – Meet CitiApartments’ “Eviction Goon”

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

[UPDATE: Senator Leland Yee is on the case this AM – he’s doing a presser involving this latest allegation. (I guess it’s too late to call this an October Surprise, and frankly, it’s not all that surprising neither. Let’s call it a November Expectation. Brace yourself for more.) Oh, and Leland is onto some Chinatown voting sting operation as well.

And there’s this: “Statement from Chiu Campaign on Money Laundering Allegations – SAN FRANCISCO (November 2, 2011): Addisu Demissie, spokesman for the David Chiu for Mayor campaign, released the following statement about a San Francisco Chronicle report of potential money laundering by supporters of Mayor Ed Lee:

“This is now the fourth allegation of illegal conduct by Mayor Lee’s supporters, and it should be investigated fully by the District Attorney and appropriate authorities,” Demissie said. “With six days to go before Election Day, it will be up to the voters to decide whether this kind of bullying, pay-to-play politics is what they want to see at City Hall for the next 4 years. David is going to spend the last 6 days of this race talking about why he represents a new generation of leadership for San Francisco that will stand tough against the special interests and shake things up at City Hall.

Paid for by David Chiu for Mayor 2011, P.O. Box 641541, San Francisco, CA 94164, FPPC##1337108]

Well, it looks like early-rising City Attorney Dennis Jose Herrera is the first one out of the gates to follow up on today’s piece from San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writers John Coté and Heather Knight.

Testify, DJH:

“Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law — on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more — and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it.


Earlier this year, Ed Lee was picked unanimously to be an Interim Mayor. He wasn’t picked to be a Reformer. He’ll never be a Reformer.

In Ed Lee’s world, the notorious Willie Brown Administration deserves an A+, Rose Pak is not a cancer on Chinatown, and corner-cutting PG&E (“KABOOM!“) is simply “a great local corporation” and a “great company that gets it.”

Oh well.

Is Ed Lee Breaking Bad? Has the City Family corrupted him? Or has he corrupted the City Family? A little of both?

Click to expand

All the deets:

“Herrera calls on FPPC to join D.A. in investigating new Ed Lee campaign money laundering charge – CitiApartments’ former eviction goon led reimbursement-for-donation scheme, suggesting political payback for City Attorney’s 2006 tenant-protection lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (Nov. 2, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera this morning called on the state Fair Political Practices Commission to join District Attorney George Gascón in reviewing new allegations reported in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign received donations that appear to have been illegally laundered to skirt San Francisco $500 per donor contribution maximum.[1] Andrew Hawkins, a property services manager whose harrowing tenant intimidation tactics were central to Herrera’s lawsuit five years ago against the Lembi Group landlords’ once high-rolling CitiApartments empire, promised reimbursements to at least sixteen employees in exchange for maximum contributions to Ed Lee’s mayoral campaign at an Oct. 18, 2011 fundraiser, according to the Chronicle.

It is the second major allegation of campaign money laundering to benefit Ed Lee’s campaign. The first, involving GO Lorrie’s airport shuttle, is the subject of separate investigations by Gascón’s office and the FPPC, the state commission responsible to investigate and impose penalties for violations of the California Political Reform Act. Such schemes have been prosecuted as felonies in California for conspiring to evade campaign contribution limits, and for making campaign contributions under false names.

I think San Franciscans have now seen enough,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “Too many of Ed Lee’s supporters act as though they’re above the law — on money laundering, on ballot tampering, and more — and Ed Lee isn’t strong enough to stop it. If this is how they behave before an election, just imagine how they’ll behave after the election, if Ed Lee wins. This scheme is clearly a bid for political payback by CitiApartments henchmen for my litigation to protect tenants five years ago. It is patently illegal, and I call on the FPPC to join the District Attorney in investigating.”

Hawkins is listed in Ed Lee’s campaign disclosures as the owner of Archway Property Services. As the one-time head of CitiApartments’ “tenant relocation program,” the gun-carrying Hawkins is reported to have coerced more than 2,500 tenants out of their rent-controlled units, and once boasted in civil court testimony, “I run people out of their apartments for a living. It’s what I do.

Several recipients of Hawkins’ email invitation to an Oct. 18 event on Russian Hill made contributions to Ed Lee’s campaign on the same date. All contributed the maximum $500.

Herrera sued the CitiApartments residential rental property behemoth in Aug. 2006 for an array of unlawful business and tenant harassment practices, which sought to dispossess long-term residents of their rent-controlled apartments. The coerced vacancies freed the company to make often-unpermitted renovations to units, and then re-rent them to new tenants at dramatically increased market rates. The illegal business model enabled CitiApartments, Skyline Realty and other entities under the sway of real estate family patriarch Frank Lembi to aggressively outbid competitors for residential properties throughout San Francisco for several years — before lawsuits and a sharp economic downturn forced the aspiring empire into bankruptcies, foreclosures and receiverships.

A 2009 San Francisco Magazine feature story on the Lembi real estate empire[2] described Andrew Hawkins as “a burly former nightclub bouncer who headed up CitiApartments’ relocation program.” Hawkins reportedly led teams as large as 14 full-time employees, according to the report, and the company estimated that “Hawkins relocated more than 2,500 tenants.” An earlier exposé in 2006 by the San Francisco Bay Guardian[3] cited civil court testimony in which Hawkins boasted to one tenant’s family member, “I run people out of their apartments for a living. It’s what I do.”

# # #

[1] Source: “Ed Lee donors face money-laundering allegations” by John Coté and Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 2, 2011,
[2] Source: “War of values” by Danelle Morton, San Francisco Magazine, Nov. 19, 2009,
[3] Source: “The Scumlords: Part One of a Three-Part Series” by G.W. Schulz, San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 8, 2006,

OccupySF: Is Capitalist and Mayoral Candidate Joanna Rees Part of the 99% or the 1%?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Here’s the news from Dan Schreiber:

Occupy SF gains support from Joanna Rees

And here’s how close the 99% will ever be able to get to her abode (assuming they don’ t want to risk getting tased with extreme prejudice).

Don’t tase me, bro: 

Click to expand

[And once you make it past the security guards, you’ll still have to deal with the legacy of this street’s famous restrictive covenants.]

Actually, some of the 99% get paid what I assume to be something close to minimum wage to carry signs and otherwise sing the praises of Joanna Rees. And you know who pays for that? The taxpayers of the City and County of San Francisco, for some reason:

Somehow this all makes sense…

Joanna Rees Can’t Afford Her Mayoral Run But She CAN Afford a Security Guard To Keep People Off Her Street?

Thursday, September 1st, 2011


Ms. Rees’s problem is money. She has it. (She and her husband, her partner in a venture capital firm that is now being dismantled, live in Presidio Terrace, a gated enclave with uniformed guards.) But she has, as yet, refused to spend it. Though she stands to collect as much as $900,000 in public financing by agreeing to campaign-spending caps, Ms. Rees herself has not yet contributed a single dollar. And under the campaign-spending caps, none of her well-heeled contributors can give more than $500.”

You Shall Not Pass

Click to expand

Ah yes, Presidio “restrictive covenants” Terrace.

Now, shouldn’t every “community” be gated?

Sure, why not?

Why are the Taxpayers of San Francisco Subsidizing the Mayoral (and Related ) Ambitions of Joanna Rees?

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Click here to see Heather Knight’s report on what it’s like to be on the trail with mayoral candidate Joanna Rees.

I don’t know, this campaign stands out as the biggest ego trip out of all the dozen or so “serious” candidates.

I say that for two reasons.

1. We’re paying for it. Hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of our money goes to her campaign, which then goes into people carrying her name all over town. I think Joanna likes having her name all over town whether or not she has a chance of winning this race. Of course other candidates are getting a piece of the millions being given out this cycle as well, but Joanna is the standout. Did she have to fill out a form or something to claim that she needs the money? (Isn’t that what campaign financing should be all about? I mean, if you commit a crime, the govt. will provide you with a public defender for free, if necessary, but you at least have to claim that you need the help. What the govt. doesn’t do is say, “Oh, you’re a millionaire, but no matter, go out there and hire any lawyer in the world to defend you and then we’ll pick up the bill.”) Based upon what I’ve seen, without public financing she wouldn’t be running. But prove me wrong, Joanna, by giving back our money.

2. Our money isn’t being spent effectively – now that’s the other thing. Those Rees’es Pieces, those kids who are all over the place. What do they make, minimum wage? Sure seems that way. Let’s take a look, below.

“All right, strike a pose to ensure you’re ignored for the entire AM drive, log into FaceBook (or I guess these days it’s Google Plus) and ACTION.”

“OK, that’s a rap, go see payroll.”

“Now, I want you to distribute these fliers in the Western A. But don’t just leave one leaflet as a piece of garbage on the ground – no no, leave five at a time, that way you’ll quintuple your productivity. Hurray!”

And be sure to show up to the mayoral forum two hours early, you know, to get the word out:

Now, let’s hear from JR herself:

“‘I’m not a Meg Whitman in no way,’ Rees said flatly…”

That’s right: Meg had a more effective campaign because she was spending her own money.

Plus, Meg had a chance of winning.

So let’s look forward to hearing from more college kids getting paid (all, most, some – how much per hour, I don’t know) to hold up signs (and not just one, get an extra long stick and then staple an extra four JOANNA! signs down the shaft) to stand outside of forums and think of ways to amuse themselves.

Sometimes, you run for office not to win but just to “get your name out there.” Well, Mission Accomplished, perhaps over budget (mostly our budget) but ahead of schedule. I got it – high functioning, go-getter alpha female with very good genes, but what else do you have? You gotta give the people something. What, you’re “not an insider?” Well, you’re going to need to do more than that, is all I’m saying.

Where JR’s path will lead to down the road in 2012 and beyond, I know not.

Oh well.

All in the Family, the “City Family” – Even Recology Showed Up at Today’s Run Ed Run Rally at City Hall

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Let me tell you, if you ever get a chance to visit Recology at 50 California, well, their offices are fantastic.

And everybody’s so friendly – you’ll have gaggle of attractivas in the their 20’s and 30’s coming up to you to just say hi, just like you’re a rock star or a Nordstrom’s customer or something.

And the party swag, don’t get me started on the party swag.

Anyway, guess who showed up at today’s Run Ed Run rally at City Hall. It’s the melon-farming Recology garbage truck! See?

Click to expand – via Suzanne Ruecker


“In the summer of 1999, Lee, who had been tapped by Brown to head the Department of Public Works in 1996, came under public criticism after proposing a 44 percent rate hike for residential garbage collection. Although the rate was lower than the 52 percent hike proposed by Norcal (as Recology was then known), it was substantially higher than the 20 percent increase recommended by his staff, said Quentin Kopp, a former supervisor and state senator and a retired judge who advocated against the rate hike at the time.”

Doesn’t Recology know enough to not to have their trucks roll down Polk Street during an Ed Lee rally, you know, at this particular juncture?

Apparently not.