Posts Tagged ‘lawsuit’

Shakedown 1998: How the Neighbors of Sutro Tower Held Digital TV Hostage for Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars

Friday, July 21st, 2017

[Feel free to boot up (Shakedown) 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins while you read – that’s the reference.]

Here it is, noble Sutro Tower, beloved symbol of Frisco. The vertical part in the middle is an add-on – it brought / brings digital TV to the Bay Area.

Well, two decades ago it caused consternation to certain (and certainly now) millionaire homeowners of Midtown Terrace, Forrest Knolls and basically the whole Twin Peaks area what’s located in the “fall zone.” (Uh, that’s in quotes due to the fact that this phrase was made up by some area attorney homeowner back in the day. But it’s center of gravity is like 16 underground, so as long as it stays together as a rigid body (and, you know, it probably will – I’m not promising you anything though), I don’t think it can fall down.

Anyway, noble Sutro. I think this is as close as I’ve ever been to it at an altitude higher than the base, if that makes sense:

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So, just as area attorneys (and USF law students) banded together back in the 1970’s to deprive us of our landmark, area attorneys banded together in the 1990’s to fight the relatively minor addition of a 100-foot long metal “auxiliary antenna” for digital TV broadcast.

All this digital antenna fooforall was ably covered by INTERESTED PARTY the San Francisco Chronicle in 1998. And look:

“The 977-foot Sutro Tower is owned by four television stations: KRON, KTVU, KGO and KPIX. KRON is owned by Chronicle Publishing Co., which also controls The Chronicle.” 

Hello! (The writer properly put fall zone in quote marks. Good.)

Obviously the fretful homeowner lawyers were threatening to sue, but also obviously we now have this auxiliary antenna, so how did that happen? Well, Sutro Tower Inc. (STI) had to fork over some cold hard cash:

“STI agrees to contribute:

a. $3,000.00 per year to the Midtown Terrace Home Owners Association. The initial contribution payable prior to December 31, 2008. Subsequent contributions to be made on or before July 1 of each year

b. $4,500.00 one time contribution to the Twin Peaks Improvement Association for an open space improvement project.

c. $6,000.00 one time contribution to the Forrest Knolls Neighborhood Organization to replace the Forrest Knolls entrance sign.

d. $ 10,000.00 one time contribution for the benefit of the surrounding area to purchase two drinking fountains one each at the walking paths around two area reservoirs. The contribution will be payable only when the fountains are approved by the appropriate agencies and actually purchased.”

The big winner? Well it’s gotta be the MTHOA, which gets three grand every year from here to eternity, paid for by Channels 2, 4,* 5, und 7.** All that’s gotta add up to a couple hundred thou eventually.

Read the rest of the agreement if you want. (You don’t hear so much about the RF concerns anymore – I guess people have other things to worry about these days. And what else, a few people were complaining about red and white lead paint chips falling down and landing in the soil a while back. I haven’t heard about that issue lately either.)

On the up side, the people who live there have benefited from some nice middle class welfare over the years such as mortgage interest deductibility, Prop 13, and massive massive home price appreciation since the 1970s / 1990’s, the times when the yammering was going full tilt.

It’s pretty much a happy ending. Play us out, Wiki:

Despite the initial revulsion of some residents, Sutro Tower is now recognized by many as a Bay Area icon, it appears in local art, television shows, and movies as one of the architectural symbols of the city. The tower is featured in video games, business logos, on clothing, as furniture and even tattoos. The U.S. band Information Society used it on the cover of their album Don’t Be Afraid. A local entertainment guide, SF Station, uses it as a logo, as does the collaborative art game SFZero and the Expose SF art competition.”

And Don’t Be Afraid, Midtown. Your tower is 100% Pure Energy. It brings us our Information Society.***

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And oh, I just came across this:

Sutro Tower: The Origins of an ‘Eyesore’ By Jessica Placzek

Enjoy.

*Which is no longer owned by the Chronic – it’s master is now Nexstar Media Group.

**I can’t host a Super Bowl party when NBC is doing the broadcast, cause I’m a cutter, a cable cutter since like aught-nine. And no Olympics either. 

***Or Vast Wasteland, your pick. When somebody presses the remote button wrong, the digital TV turns on. Like 16 channels – home shopping network, plus Spanish and Chinese language programs.  

Troubled Anthony Levandowski’s PRIBOT Prius, Last Seen Banged Up in the Western Addition Six Years Ago

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Was reading this…

Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google? Inside the vicious patent fight over self-driving technology. By Max Chafkin and Mark Bergen

…and that reminded me of this, the last time I saw PRIBOT, the ur-car, left forgotten on the mean Streets of San Francisco:

Poor Pribot!

In closing:

“He’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole.”

 

Stop It Hertz: “Herrera Sues Hertz for Bilking Customers with Hidden Golden Gate Bridge ‘Toll Service’ Fees”

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

(Headline from college boy Jonathan Rauch.)

And here’s the press release:

“Herrera sues Hertz for bilking customers with hidden Golden Gate Bridge ‘toll service’ fees

Thousands of unwitting Hertz customers routinely charged $32.25 for a single bridge crossing. Case brought to counter long-standing problem and compensate victims.

SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2017) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today sued the Hertz Corporation and its business partner for misleading customers and engaging in unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices by charging steep fees for a “toll service” to unwitting rental car customers who cross the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hertz is fraudulently and deceptively inducing its customers who drive across San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge to purchase an “optional” toll service called PlatePass, according to the lawsuit Herrera filed Wednesday, March 1, in San Francisco Superior Court.

On other California toll bridges, PlatePass is an optional service that permits Hertz customers to bypass cash toll lanes and use the faster electronic FasTrak lanes without having to establish a FasTrak account.

But on the Golden Gate Bridge, ever since it went cashless four years ago, Hertz customers neither choose the service, nor receive sufficient notice to avoid it. They neither receive its supposed benefits, nor consent to its charges. Instead, by simply driving over the Golden Gate Bridge a single time, as millions of tourists do each year, Hertz customers are charged not only the undiscounted toll rate of $7.50, but up to $24.75 in extra fees. For many customers, that means a $32.25 bill to cross the bridge one time — more than four times the toll rate.

Worse, Hertz does not charge and disclose these fees on the receipt it provides to customers upon the close of the rental, but instead provides its customers’ confidential personal credit card information to a third party who slips in the charge at a later date.

“These practices are not only unfair; they’re unlawful,” Herrera said. “Rather than Hertz putting you in the driver’s seat, they’re taking their customers to the cleaners. I am not going sit back and allow one of the largest rental car companies on the planet to take advantage of a world-renowned San Francisco icon to rip off thousands of California visitors and residents. This lawsuit is designed to put a stop to this illegal scheme and force the companies involved to pay their victims back.”

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It’s On, in Frisco, Feb 16th: Hollywood Fights Back Against Amazon’s IMDb Over Publishing People’s Ages – A Big Court Battle

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

I can’t say I exactly understand why Gov Jerry Brown signed an anti-IMDb law into law last year but oh well.

Anyway, Amazon is fighting back in court in little old Frisco

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This will be big news if Amazon wins.

And Amazon has been winning of late.

(Gee I hope nobody tells anybody how old I am, cause then you all will consider me an old and I don’t want to lose my blogging “job.” If any of you try to do that, man I’m going to sue you and then my age will be a secret for ever, yeah that’s the ticket.)

Cashing In on Paul Walker

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

More trouble for VW.

And yet he’s still making more money than you:

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This case is similar to those against Asiana and Boeing for Flight 214, in that seat belt design might have played a very small role. Perhaps these seat belts could have been designed better, I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll find out after trial or, more likely, this case will settle for a couple million and we’ll never hear about it again…

Press Release: “Asiana suit dismissal vindicates firefighters’ ‘heroic efforts’ in tragic crash, Dennis Herrera says”

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Just released, see below.

I don’t know. The NTSB weighed in and the SFFD certainly DID NOT get an A+ grade, to say the least:

“The overall triage process in this mass casualty incident was effective with the exception of the failure of responders to verify their visual assessments of the condition of passenger 41E.

The San Francisco Fire Department’s aircraft rescue and firefighting staffing level was instrumental in the department’s ability to conduct a successful interior fire attack and successfully rescue five passengers who were unable to self-evacuate amid rapidly deteriorating cabin conditions.

Although no additional injuries or loss of life were attributed to the fire attack supervisor’s lack of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) knowledge and training, the decisions and assumptions he made demonstrate the potential strategic and tactical challenges associated with having non-ARFF trained personnel in positions of command at an airplane accident.

Although some of the communications difficulties encountered during the emergency response, including the lack of radio interoperability, have been remedied, others, such as the breakdown in communications between the airport and city dispatch centers, should be addressed.

The Alert 3 section of the San Francisco International Airport’s emergency procedures manual was not sufficiently robust to anticipate and prevent the problems that occurred in the accident response.”

Here’s some more on Flight 214 from San Francisco Magazine. Some quotes in there from SFFD personnel appeared to show a bit of self deception, IMO.

And there’s this, from the San Jose Mercury News:

San Francisco’s emergency personnel also were criticized. While praising firefighters for rescuing several passengers from the burning wreckage and having more than the required number of personnel on hand, the report said “the arriving incident commander placed an officer in charge of the fire attack” who hadn’t been properly trained. The responders also had communication problems, including being unable “to speak directly with units from the airport on a common radio frequency” and didn’t rush medical buses to the scene, which “delayed the arrival of backboards to treat seriously injured passengers.” In addition, the report said airport emergency officials in general lack policies “for ensuring the safety of passengers and crew at risk of being struck or rolled over by a vehicle” during rescue operations. During the chaotic initial response to the Asiana crash, two firetrucks ran over one of the teenage passengers lying outside the plane. The San Mateo County coroner ruled the girl was alive when she was hit, but the San Francisco Fire Department disputes that finding.

Obviously, this was an aircraft accident that involved pilot error, as most do. Equally obviously, some of the problems on that day showed that the SFFD wasn’t training properly, realistically.

All right, here’s the release:

“Asiana suit dismissal vindicates firefighters’ ‘heroic efforts’ in tragic crash, Herrera says. City Attorney adds, ‘Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives’ in 2013’s Asiana tragedy

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 7, 2015) — Parents of the 16-year-old passenger who was ejected and killed in the crash of Asiana Flight 214 on July 6, 2013 dismissed their civil lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco today. Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorneys appear to have issued a public statement accompanying their dismissal, which was filed in U.S. District Court this afternoon.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement in response:

“Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives in the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214. We’re grateful for a dismissal that will spare everyone involved the added heartache and costs of litigation, which we believed from the beginning to be without legal merit.
“As we remember those who lost their lives in the Asiana crash, I hope we acknowledge, too, the heroic efforts of San Francisco’s firefighters and police who saved hundreds of lives that day. With thousands of gallons of venting jet fuel threatening unimaginable calamity, our firefighters initiated a daring interior search-and-rescue that within minutes extricated trapped passengers, and moved them safely to medical triage. In the face of great danger to their own lives, our emergency responders showed heroism and selflessness that day. They deserve our honor and gratitude.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash of Asiana flight 214 was caused by the Asiana flight crew’s mismanagement in approaching and inadequately monitoring the airspeed of the Boeing 777 on its approach to San Francisco International Airport, according to the NTSB’s June 24, 2014 announcement. The NTSB also found that the flight crew’s misunderstanding of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems contributed to the tragedy.

On July 3, 2014, NTSB Member Mark R. Rosekind issued a concurrent statement that praised San Francisco’s first responders: “The critical role of the emergency response personnel at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department cannot be underestimated. Although certain issues regarding communications, triage, and training became evident from the investigation and must be addressed, emergency responders were faced with the extremely rare situation of having to enter a burning airplane to perform rescue operations. Their quick and professional action in concert with a diligent flight crew evacuated the remaining passengers and prevented this catastrophe from becoming much worse. In addition, the emergency response infrastructure and resources at SFO that supported firefighting and recovery after the crash are admirable, significantly exceeding minimum requirements.”

Asiana Flight 214 struck the seawall short of SFO’s Runway 28L shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, 2013, beginning a violent impact sequence that sheared off the tail assembly, rotated the aircraft approximately 330 degrees, and created a heavy cloud of dust and debris before the aircraft finally came to rest approximately 2300 feet from its initial site of impact. The sheared-off tail assembly and force of rotation resulted in the ejection of five people: two crewmembers still strapped into the rear jump seats, and three passengers seated in the last two passenger rows. All three ejected passengers suffered fatal injuries: two died at the scene, and one died six days later.

With nearly 3,000 gallons of jet fuel venting from fuel lines where two engines detached during the crash sequence, a fire started in one engines that was wedged against the fuselage. A fire also began in the insulation lining the fuselage interior, beginning near the front of the aircraft. The interior fire produced heavy smoke inside the aircraft and posed extremely dangerous conditions given the volatility of leaking jet fuel and its proximity to potentially explosive oxygen tanks. In the face of imminent explosion, the rescue effort safely evacuated and triaged of some 300 people. Asiana flight 214 carried 307 individuals: 4 flight crew, 12 cabin crewmembers and 291 passengers. Three of the 291 passengers were fatally injured.

The case is: Gan Ye and Xiao Yun Zheng, et al v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, case no. C14-04941, filed Aug. 13, 2014. Learn more about the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office at http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

Old White Guy, Old White Guy, Less Old White Guy: A Random Sample of SF’s Supposedly “Diverse” Golf Course in San Mateo County

Monday, July 6th, 2015

So that’s 100% white guys. (Of “course,” our n=3 here, but even so. I mean, the people who take advantage of this golfing subsidy skew white, male, older, wealthier, right? I mean, am I wrong here? Disabuse me, Gentle Reader, if necessary.)

These are the only people I’ve ever seen at the white elephant known as Sharp Park, which, oddly, is operated by San Francisco even though it’s not even located in San Francisco.

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So, why would Interim Mayor Ed Lee go against the Board of Supervisors, who wanted to sell off / give away / otherwise rid ourselves of this light-skinned loxodontine from Way Down In Pacifica? Well, middle-class welfare tends to be hard to eliminate.

And then there’s this constituency:

“City management of the golf course is handicapped by a sclerotic labor contract that has some employees earning six-figure salaries* for work that pays less than half of that on most golf courses.”

Oh well. I suppose our southernmost “run-down” golf course will continue to make us a national laughingstock.

And who’s going to pay for the $20-$30 million* worth of deferred work what this ball-and-chain needs?

I don’t know.

Oh well.

*Practically everything in Frisco is “sustainable” these these days. But what about Sharp Park? And then there’s this, from our drought-addled Year of the Lord 2015:

Dan Noyes:How do you respond to this not being fixed for four years?”
Gavin Newsom’s Jogging Buddy / Political Booster / Lawyer: “Well, that’s probably not exactly accurate. There are a series of leaks in the system and we manage them as best we can.” 

50,000 gallons? That’s a Cosco Busan bunker oil spill-worth of water daily. Oh well.

Dogged Elephant Dr. Hamburger!? – Scenes from the Controversial McDonalds at Haight & Stanyan – SFGov Wants to Shut This Place Down?

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Here’s Camden Avery’s Hoodline update from a couple months ago, and that leads us to this – Stanyan McDonalds owner CC Yin is the “Asian Mr. McDonalds,” a “dogged elephant,” AND “Dr. Hamburger!” Oh my.

Anyway, here are some shots taken since SFGov’s rumblings about shutting down the joint made the news.

What’s this – beat cops?

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And then, as I was passing by again a couple  hours  later, a different set of beat cops:

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I hadn’t noticed as many cops here, you know, historically.

Here’s the famous patio – it looks like a ghost town these days, most of the time, but this is where a handgun ended up skidding along the bricks before an SFPD arrest about a month ago. AFAIK:

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Here’s a shot from the parking lot, across Stanyan. Is Mickey D’s responsible for this as well?

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And look, it’s SFGov itself enjoying the parking lot:

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Speaking of which, it looks like ZipCar has a deal to use this underused lot:

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Le mise en scene – it’s pretty bucolic most of the time, actually:

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A small silver security guard car is over to the right – prolly it itself scares away a lot of hippies these days:

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Two women loitering, I suppose. Is this threatening to area residents?

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And there go the loiterers, cutting through the lot.

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Are you bored? I’m bored.

I’ll tell you, if you can’t handle the Stanyan Street McDonalds, you can’t handle much.

Drip Drip Drip – “SF Archbishop Star of Sea Emotional Abuse Priest Scandal Grows Bigger” – Drip Drip Drip

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Well here it is, a compendium, below.

I’ll tell you, right about now is generally when the board of directors of a typical organization would be holding an emergency meeting to assess, and then take action. But my experience in such matters is limited to non-Catholic orgs. Would these matters indeed go all the way up to the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, Italy? IDK.

On It Goes

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More Trouble for Bay Area Catholics – Unearthed Lawsuit Against Father Illo for Infliction of Emotional Distress

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

[UPDATE: Apparently, we’re talking about Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress [NIED] and not Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress [IIED], so I’ve deleted the word “intentional.”

Here’s today’s allegation:

“The facts of the 2005 lawsuit against Father Illo, which required him to pay $14,000 for therapy for the young girl he traumatized, are as follows:

An 11-year-old girl came to Father Illo in confidence to report an incident of sexual abuse by one of the priests in Illo’s parish in Modesto.

Upon listening to the child’s report of abuse, Fr. Illo responded by yelling at the child, calling her a liar and calling the character of the child’s mother into question.

Fr. Illo then invited the offending priest into his office, where the two of them further confronted the child.

It was only after Fr. Illo invited his secretary in the room and she found the child in a hysterical state that she was removed and the mother was called.

Fr. Illo has a sworn duty to immediately report all allegations of abuse to the police.

As part of the case, church documents detailing an internal canonical investigation were subpoenaed. This report raises questions about Fr. Illo’s leadership and referring to his personality as being “dictatorial, manipulative and insensitive.” The report recommended counseling for Fr. Illo. 

Controversy has dogged Father Illo since he was appointed by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to Star of the Sea Parish and School in late 2014.  After taking charge of the San Francisco parish he banned altar girls, saying only boys can be altar servers. The move sparked criticism along with his statements to parents that he planned on replacing the school’s teachers with nuns from Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist order the same nuns that walked out on students at Marin Catholic High School last week to protest an event to prevent bullying of LGBT youth.”

I’ll tell you, this school must look like a dream come true to a lot of parents who rolled snake-eyes in SFUSD’s kindergarten “lottery,” but signing your kid up there sure seems like it comes with a lot of baggage…