Posts Tagged ‘meeting’

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 something like that occurred 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. 

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.

Absurd MUNI 21 Hayes Bus Stop Situation (7 Stops for 6 Short Blocks) is Now Slightly Less Absurd – Thx SFMTA, Srsly

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Well here’s the official notice, seen in the Western Addition just north of the Panhandle and, I might add, just after election time:

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Mind you, these aren’t big big city blocks the likes of which you’ll find in SoMA or out in the Avenues. These are small blocks chock-a-block full of bus stops. Check it, and remember that Ashbury used to have stops as well.

So hurrah for the SFMTA.

United States Olympic Committee to Meet in Redwood City on December 16th to Consider 2024 Olympics City Choice

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Well, here we go: The United States Olympic Committee is going to meet in Redwood City, CA on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 to:

1. Announce it will* submit the name of a single* American city/region to the famously corrupt International Olympic Committee. This was supposed to happen in 2015 but things are getting pushed up.*

2. Hear the pleas from all the boosters from Boston MA, Washington DC, LA CA, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Like here’s why we’re going to have the best Olympics ever kind of thing.

The invite for low-level media should look something like this*

WHEN: X:XX PM PST, Wednesday, December 16th, 2016. The specific time may change on the day of the teleconference. Please check your e-mails to be sure you don’t miss the start of the call.
WHERE: Electronic Arts, 207 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood City, CA 94059
NUMBER: 1-800-XXX-XXXX
PASSCODE: XXXXXXX
WHO: Larry Probst, USOC Chairman, Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO
TOPICS: USOC Board meeting

Speaking of corruption, here’s Larry Probst toasting “Pooty,” aka Vladimir Putin:

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Yish.

Suspiciously, the boosters from these very different cities/regions are saying the 2024 Olympics will cost pretty much the same amount of money: $4.5 billion or so.

Suspiciously, the boosters from all the bid cities/regions are saying that this whole process is at “its earliest stages” or “in the first inning,” but actually, whichever American city/region that the USOC picks over the next month or so will instantly become the front-runner for getting picked by the IOC to host the 2024 Games. The problem with that is that any area that gets picked will be on the hook for the inevitable overruns. And those should be around $10,000,000,000* or so.

So that’s where we’re at, that’s your 2024 Olympics Update.

*Probably

SMILES EVERYONE! The United States Olympic Committee is Coming to SF Nov 24th or 25th – A Secret “Private” Meeting

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Smiles everyone, smiles. Why? Because we all need to look our best when the United States Olympic Committee road show beauty contest comes to town on either Monday, November 24th or Tuesday, November 25th, 2014. If we “win,” there’s a good chance that we’ll end up with the 2024 Olympiad.

I was thinking we were overdue for a visit and it turns out we were:

“The USOC has already vetted LA, and was due in DC Wednesday. San Francisco will be visited early next week.”

And who will meet with Scott Blackmun and the USOC, that get-fresh crew from Colorado Springs? IDK, it’s a secret! And certainly you yourself, Gentle Reader, ARE NOT invited, ’cause it’ll be a “private” meeting. Of course, you’ll be “invited” to pay for any “overages” (typically, they run into the eleven-figure territory) but that will come down the road a bit.

And where will they meet? IDK, it’s a secret! Oh well.

These IOC people could be anywhere around town and/or the bay area, so make sure to smile at any and all tourists you see.

Now here’s the thing about smiles and here’s why democracies just aren’t into the Olympics all that much anymore, here’s an actual demand from the corrupt International Olympic Committee:

IOC members shall be greeted with a smile when arriving at their hotel.

This is the kind of greeting the Olympics road show beauty contest people want:

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Of course, the USOC isn’t corrupt the way the IOC is, but the question is why we’re even considering hosting the 2024 Olympics in the first place.

Shouldn’t San Franciscans have a vote on this matter? Mmmm…

Shouldn’t smart, skeptical people be invited to this meeting instead of just having the naive boosters who are happy to be on Another Committee? Mmmm…

Boston and D.C. Just Had Private Meetings with Olympic Officials – Will SF Have One Too Today or Tomorrow?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Or perhaps next week?

Check it, Boston just had its big meeting with the USOC, and DC had its yesterday.

What comes next on the list? SF and LA, right?

Now look at how many people were involved with this process in Boston two days ago.

If something similar were to happen in San Francisco, we’d have leaders from Stanford, UCB, UCSF, UCOP, ETC, and a bunch of Mayors from all over the bay area, gathering to meet with USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.

I’m thinking our meeting will have a lot fewer people, as it’s still a secret, AFAIK.

And also, we seem to far behind Boston in terms of a public conversation.

The bogus I’m-the-Mayor-and-I-was-skeptical-at-first-but-now… pivot has already occurred in Boston a while back. Given the reputation of the Olympics process these days, the best way for the PR people promoting this coming fiasco to handle things is to have a kind of campaign like THIS IS NOT YOUR FATHER’S OLDSMOBILE or THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A BUICK.

Anyway, it doesn’t look like the Public, La Raza, will be involved in this process anytime soon.

Oh well.

How to Watch the NTSB Board Meeting on the Asiana 214 Crash at SFO – Today, Starting at 6:30 AM PDT

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Well fundamentally, this accident was due to pilot error, if you had to sum things up in two words. But the NTSB has been looking into everything that led to that error and now it will present its findings, in English, Korean and Mandarin Chinese.

Is it possible that the people who died weren’t belted in for landing? It’s hard to believe, but yes. And how will SFO operations fare in the NTSB’s assessment?

Here’s the link – they are providing many different kinds of connections

(more…)

Judgment Day is Nigh: Signs for the “Oversize Vehicle Overnight Parking Restriction Pilot” Have Been Posted

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

I don’t actually know if they’re enforcing the new RV parking restrictions in the Panhandle part of Golden Gate Park yet, but here are the brand-new signs, anyway:

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Of course, 22 feet is pretty long – that’s enough to cover your Ford Excursions, your Chevy Suburbans and even your Maybach 62‘s. And seven feet is pretty high, so the rules seem fair enough if the goal is to kick the RV liveaboards out of the Panhandle.

But I haven’t heard or seen any RVs getting the heave-ho yet…

The SFMTA’s New “Scott Street Traffic Diversion” Proposal

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Well the SFMTA has a new tack on Scott Street betwixt Page and Fell for this year.

So last year, the SFMTA felt that these particular blocks of Scott were filled with “high speed” drivers “speeding” through the place and the SFMTA felt that the simple four way stop intersection of Page and Scott was “confusing for everyone.” Here we go:

With intersecting bike routes and heavy vehicle volumes, this intersection  is confusing for everyone

In fact, Page and Scott is not “confusing” at all. As stated, it’s a simple four-way stop, about as comprehensible as possible. And in fact, Page and Scott does not experience “heavy vehicle volumes.”

Oh well.

But hey, if you want to say that Hayes and Scott has heavier traffic volume these days, especially during the evening drive, well, we agree on that, SFMTA. Before, this traffic would have been on Divisadero, but recent “improvements” to the DivCo have lessened the DivCo’s capacity.

Here is the result of the “improvements” to Divis:

Anyway

But now it’s 2014 and that was then and this is now. The SFMTA is articulating new rationales for doing what it wants to do. They’re contained in the Scott Street Traffic Diversion.

Let’s check it out:

Motorists who drive through a neighborhood – rather than to a local destination – can cause congestion on residential streets.

WELL GEE, I SUPPOSE THAT’S TRUE. BUT MOTORISTS WHO DRIVE TO A LOCAL DESTINATION – RATHER THAN DRIVING THROUGH – CAN CAUSE CONGESTION AS WELL, RIGHT?

The City proposes restricting traffic on Scott Street to make it more comfortable for residents, bicycle riders and pedestrians.

OK, SFMTA, WHY DON’T WE RESTRICT TRAFFIC ON _ALL_ STREETS TO MAKE _EVERYBODY_ MORE “COMFORTABLE?”

An extra-large bulb-out at Scott and Fell will require all southbound automobile traffic to turn right onto Fell Street; bicycle riders and pedestrians can continue on Scott. This will reduce Scott Street’s appeal as a cross-town route, making it a more pleasant place to walk, bike, and live.

SO YOU WANT DIVISADERO TO BE A _LESS_ “PLEASANT” PLACE?

Access will be maintained to all homes and driveways, and changes will be made to improve Divisadero Street to accommodate diverted traffic.

OH, I SEE, YOU WANT DIVIS TO HAVE MORE GREEN LIGHT TIME AND, LET’S SEE HERE, HAIGHT, PAGE, OAK, FELL, HAYES, ETC TO HAVE LESS GREEN LIGHT TIME. ISN’T THIS KIND OF A ZERO-SUM GAME? WHY SHOULD THE CITY BEND OVER BACKWARDS FOR THE RICH HOMEOWNERS OF SCOTT STREET?

Changes to Scott Street were initially requested by neighborhood residents unhappy with congestion and idling vehicles.

OK, SO WHAT ABOUT EVERY OTHER STREET IN SF? ARE YOU GOING TO POLL RESIDENTS OF ALL THE OTHER STREETS TO MEASURE THEIR “HAPPINESS?”

Restricting southbound traffic would greatly reduce this issue for several blocks both north and south of Fell Street. Residents who live on Scott between Oak and Fell would have to approach their homes from the south when driving, but would still have access to their driveways and would be able to exit the block to either the north or south.

WHY NOT THIS, SFMTA? WHY NOT SAY THAT ONLY SCOTT STREET RESIDENTS CAN PARK ON SCOTT STREET? I’LL BET THAT WOULD INCREASE THE HAPPINESS LEVEL OF THOSE MILLIONAIRES EVEN MORE. ARE YOU GOING TO DO THAT NEXT, SFMTA?

With the proposed traffic diverter, drivers would still be able to park on both sides of Scott Street on the block between Oak and Fell with a U-turn required to reach parking spaces on the west side of the street. The traffic diverter would not remove any parking spaces from Scott Street, though bulb-outs at other locations in the project area will each remove 0-3 parking spaces.

WHY DON’T YOU JUST COME OUT AND SAY HOW MANY PARKING SPACES YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE OUT, SFMTA? OH, THAT’S NOT YOUR STYLE, HUH?

Biking on Scott Street in the southbound direction will be significantly calmer, with fewer automobiles to share the road with.

FEWER BUSES TOO, RIGHT? IN FACT NO BUSES AT ALL. AND YET, HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE RIDE ON BUSES ON SCOTT THROUGH THIS SACRED AREA ON A DAILY BASIS. WHAT ABOUT THEM?

Scott Street will no longer be a convenient route for driving in the southbound direction.

BECAUSE IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE, RIGHT? WELL, WE AGREE ON THAT ON, ANYWAY.

For drivers with destinations within the Alamo Square or Lower Haight neighborhoods, either Divisadero or parallel neighborhood residential streets could be used.

WELL THANKS, CAPTAIN OBV!

For drivers currently using Scott Street for longer stretches, Divisadero will be improved to make it the preferred route through the area.

UH, NO IT WON’T. SIMPLY.

Driving north on Scott Street would not be restricted under the proposal, though raised crosswalks and speed humps will be added.

WHAT’S THE SPEED LIMIT ON SCOTT, SFMTA? HOW MANY PEOPLE “SPEED” ON THESE TWO BLOCKS BETWIXT PAGE AND FELL? OH NONE, ALL RIGHT. BUT YOU’LL PUT IN “SPEED” BUMPS ANYWAY, BECAUSE, BECAUSE…?

Because of improvements the SFMTA will be making to Divisadero in conjunction with this project, neighborhood streets such as Steiner, Pierce and Broderick would not be expected to receive noticeable changes in automobile traffic – in fact, some cross-town traffic on these streets may switch to Divisadero as well.

THIS IS PIE IN THE SKY. THIS IS THE SFMTA’s BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN. IF THE SFMTA WANTS TO FAVOR NORTH-SOUTH TRAFFIC OVER EAST-WEST, IT CAN, OF COURSE, BUT AT THE EXPENSE OF EAST-WEST TRAFFIC, OF COURSE. ISN’T THIS A ZERO-SUM GAME, SFMTA?

Changing the traffic signals on Divisadero Street will ensure that the increase in the number of cars using Divisadero will not slow down the 24-Divisadero, and could even improve Muni service in some stretches.

THIS IS PIE IN THE SKY. THIS IS THE SFMTA’s BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN. OH WELL. HEY SFMTA, WHY NOT CHANGE THE TRAFFIC SIGNALS ON DIVIS RIGHT NOW, IF DOING THAT WOULD BE SO GREAT? SIMPLY, DIVERTING TRAFFIC ON SCOTT WILL NOT IMPROVE BUS SERVICE. SORRY, SFMTA. SORRY TO HARSH YOUR MELLOW, SFMTA.

Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon: Giant RV’s! – Chased Away From Certain SF Streets – Overnight Parking Whac-A-Mole

Friday, February 7th, 2014

So SFGov is banning RV’s from parking overnight on certain streets, but people are worried that the RVers will just set up camp a block or so away.

We’ll see how it goes.

But you might need to prepare yourself for more of this:

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