Posts Tagged ‘Menlo Park’

Corporate Buses Have Few Places to Legally Park in San Francisco, So They Illegally Double-Park, Like This – The Problem with “Staging”

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Get up-to-speed on “staging” here – just keep reading down.

So, our SFMTA is giving out favorable reviews of its corporate shuttle bus trial these days? Is that so surprising? Not really.

But one question remains: Where are these big buses going to wait before the next run starts? Obviously, the slow lane of Masonic Avenue between Fell and Oak isn’t going to work, but what about the wide streets of West NoPA?*

7J7C8980 copy

Actually, this isn’t all that bad a place to hang out – this is a pretty out of the way place, and yet it’s very close to the designated stops for this particular bus.

Anyway, I don’t work for the SFMTA kicking back and making hundred of thousands of dollars per year (we’re talking TCOE (Total Cost Of Employment) here), so this isn’t really my thing to worry about.

BUT, it’s an issue for The Future, just saying.


*Here’s how this works. Go to the Panhandle. Then go east, to Divisadero. Then go north, IDK, up to Hayes or someplace. Then go back, go west. Now, you’re in “West NoPA.” What new name will our area realtors** come up with next? IDK. “North of NoPA” is already with us, I’m afraid. Hey, how about “South of West NoPA,” you know, to describe the Panhandle? Sure. Go east then north then west then south and you are back where you started…

**Always with a lower-case “r.” It’s kind of semi-genericized term now, like champagne or something…

Facebook Buses are, Once Again Improperly “Staging” in SFMTA Bus Stops – Zuckerberg vs. the 21 Hayes – Idle, Idle, Idle…

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

To review, corporate shuttles aren’t allowed to “stage” (hang out, idle around, wait for the next run to start) in MUNI bus stops. Here is staging in action, just yesterday:

7J7C1063 copy


Arguably, the whole SFMTA Commuter Bus Pilot Program does not comply with CA state law. Arguably.

Having said that, this Facebook vehicle isn’t in compliance – disallowed staging and no green SFMTA Pilot sign front and rear.

And what’s this, homemade-appearing Florida license plates – looks legit!

Of course it’s good for drivers to take a break to walk around sometimes, but there’s no official place for these buses to do so.

Astonishingly, FB drove these drivers into becoming fully-unionized Teamsters. I understand the distance that Zuck wants to keep from liability – from accidents and the sometimes-crazy actions of workers, but man, there’s been a signif. cost to its corporate image. Couldn’t FB have said it wants the lowest bidder but that the drivers must be paid like $50 an hour? IDK.

Oh, really this is a Loop Transit bus? Well no, it’s a Facebook bus, you know, IRL

7J7C1066 copy

7J7C1062 copy


On It Goes…

Cold Busted: Facebook Buses are “Staging in a Travel Lane” in the 94117 Again – “Hayes Valley-MPK” Idling on Ashbury, Again

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Get up to speed on corporate bus “staging” right here – just keep going down.

So a couple months ago, the Facebook got busted by blithely staging its buses on Masonic. Then all of a sudden the buses went away – you could still see them moving but you wouldn’t see them sitting around at a makeshift bus terminal on Masonic complete with a supervisor standing about in the Panhandle, fine.

So where do all these buses sit around these days? Well, all over. The Facebook Bus Teamsters are trying to hide out around the neighborhood for 10-15 minutes at a time. And, through trial and error, they’ve found some better places.

Like here on Ashbury, as seen yesterday AM. This location is much less disruptive than the slow lane of Masonic, certainly. But I don’t think this routine is SFMTA-approved either.

unnamedfff copy

Anyway, this idling bus bothered at least one person, who took a snap and sent it over to me.

I’ll tell you, I’ve seen more buses about lately, but I can’t ID them very well from a distance, oh well.

Now to some, this isn’t a Facebook bus, to them it’s a Loop Transit bus or a WEDRIVEU or whathaveyou. But I don’t look at things that way. IMO, this is a Facebook bus, because it’s a Facebook bus, right? Tell me if I’m wrong.

Anyway, where should these giant buses stage?


Here’s How the SFMTA’s COMMUTER SHUTTLE PILOT is Going – Corinthian IPS “Staging” in a Bus Stop – Leather vs. Pleather

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Here’s a snapshot of our SFMTA’s corporate bus 18-month pilot deal.

It’s a “Corinthian International Parking Services” truckvanbus blocking a 21 Hayes MUNI bus (and even though this might look like one vehicle with an articulated bend in the middle, you’re seeing two different vehicles parked nose-to-tail):

7J7C6164 copy

Sort of blocking, anyway.

(Now I’ll tell you, I’m in my 40’s, so I know all about Corinthian and its soft leather courtesy of Ricardo Montalban – this truckvanbus has gotta be totally pimped out on the inside with a name like Corinthian on the outside. Compare that with the MUNI bus with its pleather (at best!) driver’s seat and hard plastic surfaces for the passengers. And any wood you see inside a MUNI is unlikely to have been claimed in the first place, much less reclaimed.  MUNI buses aren’t baller at all.)

Now, where was I? Oh, here we go, it turns out that the Corinthian IPS driver was “staging,” you know, just chilling out waiting for the time to move on. You can see the Windex he’s holding as he TCBs shortly after the MUNI bus moved on:

7J7C6167 copy

Point One: I, for one, would be afraid of getting a parking ticket via MUNI’s forward-facing video cams, so I would have gotten in the trackvanbus and then simply have driven around the block with a quickness, in deference to America’s Slowest Big City Transit System.

Point Two: Also, it just seems rude to sit there blocking the stop, so I would have gotten in the trackvanbus and then simply have driven around the block with a quickness.

Point Three: Staging in a designated MUNI stop is specifically against the rules. [See below.]

So, on it goes with the pilot program, which sure as Heck seems to me to be agin current California law.

I’m not calling 311 to report the SFMTA pilot number to be put on hold forever the way The Man wants me to, I’m just updating you, the Gentle Reader.

(And I’ll tell you, this is small potatoes compared with Facebook double-parking on Masonic day after day.)

And BTW, our SFMTA is in complete denial about whose employees /contractors are riding around in which bus – I guess they’re under a lot of corporate pressure…

Read on for all the rules of this game:


So Sure, the SFMTA Regulates Corporate Buses, But What About the “Staging” Problem – Where Should They Park in SF When Idling?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

This was the problem a few weeks back, when Facebook buses would “stage” on Masonic by double-parking in the slow lane.

Staging means buses sitting and waiting for the next run to start. (It’s a necessary part of running a reliable “transit” system.)

But where to stage has pretty much been left out of the SFMTA’s vaunted 18-month corporate bus stop “trial” – it’s pretty much up to the drivers / on-scene dispatchers on where to park buses for breaks / waiting time. (Contrast that with when are where the buses pick up workers – that’s highly regulated now.)

Oh look, here’s some staging as it’s currently practiced, by a non-Facebook* bus:

7J7C4627 copy

This is Fell in the 94117. This is a great place to stage for like 15-20 minutes, cause cars have cleared out for the SFMTA’s weekly unnecessary $treet $weeping program. If the meter maids come, the driver will simply move along, plus s/he isn’t blocking any driveways. This is a great place to stage, but only on Tuesday mornings. Where do drivers stage on other days? I know not.

Here you go, a Google contractor bus chilling out by the infamous Fell Street DMV. The next day at the same time, it will be at another place:

7J7C4628 copy

I’ll tell you, the Teamsters** who make the buses run on time are at their wits’ end trying to find places to stage without blocking traffic or pissing off residents.


Anywho, the particular problem on Masonic involving FB got solved in about 30 hours last week. Due to a lengthy construction project at Fell and Masonic, the slow lane of Masonic southbound was blocked, like for months. So the Teamsters made that lane their staging place and nobody complained. But when construction ended and the lane was no longer blocked by sawhorses and whatnot, they didn’t adapt the way they should have. Only after having this issue pointed out to them did they adapt. And to their credit, the Facebook bus operators cleared out tout de suite – they’ve found other places to stage in a matter of hours and they haven’t come back.***

And here’s the result, the return of native species to the area. Here’s a #43 Masonic cruising through the #3 lane, exactly where the FB buses have been blocking MUNI and everybody else for months:

7J7C4621 copy

File this small issue in the RESOLVED file.

Ey yo the government is lies, son
United States of Google, Verizon
They all spies son,
I’m Pisces, risin’

And you ain’t Hoover, you suck like James Dyson
Google the devil but I feel lucky
Extreme Home Make-Over couldn’t touch me
Backyards, kittens, puppies, 401k’s, libels, yuppies
Yeeah, I’m talkin’ bout wine drinkers
Bald-head men, Klux Klan

*Is is a Loop Transport or a WEDRIVEU, or an SFO Airporter bus? That doesn’t matter. IRL, this particular one is a Google bus.

**Some of them aren’t Teamsters, not yet. 

***I’ll tell you, I was literally in the room when issues like these came up eight freaking years ago. The corporate reps seemed to know what they were doing. Somehow, things fell apart a few years back, IDK why. Millions of dollars donated to SFGov and the relatively recent hiring of insider Rebecca Prozan seem to have fixed things. JMO.

UPDATE: Facebook is Routinely Double-Parking Its Buses on Busy, Busy Masonic Avenue’s “NO STOPPING” Zone

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

[UPDATE: This sitch got fixed in about 30 hours after the first post on this tiny WordPress. The office of Supervisor London Breed handled this within an hour after being contacted.]

Get up to speed here.

And now for an update since that last post.

Here’s a 43 Masonic using the #3 southbound lane of Masonic to get from its Hayes stop to its Oak stop, with no interference from any Facebook double decker buses:

7J7C3989 copy

But Here Comes The Zuck, down Fell, about to turn left to double park for ten minutes or so:

7J7C3990 copy

With all the recent changes to our corporate bus bus routes, I thought that maybe this was a legit, SFMTA-approved staging area for the Facebook, but no, it’s still a NO STOPPING ZONE:

7J7C3991 copy

Oh, here’s the next stop for the #43 – this is what Zuckerberg et al is blocking:

7J7C4012 copy

Now it could be worse, of course, as a Teamster just told me on Friday. And I’ll concede that point. But we can’t just have FB contractors deciding on their own to double park on a bus line all the live long day.

The Teamsters, they covet a staging area in the 94117. They’ve already gotten kicked out of the other places they’ve tried. I’ve suggested the already-existing area on Fell near Alamo Square, the one that the tourist buses use. Just an idea.

Oh, here we go – sometimes the 43 needs to wait with the blinkers on, to beg drivers in lane #2 for, you know, a little help. Isn’t that sad? Anyway, our sad-sack SFMTA navigating around a company worth nine figures:

7J7C4048 copy

Oh what’s that, really this bus is a WEDRIVEU or a Lux or a Loop Transportation and who the fuck knows who’s inside? Yeah, right. [Sarcasm.] MPK = Facebook, non?

I’ll tell you, I don’t know who is the Facebook analog for Google’s Rebecca Prozan* in the 415. If I did, I already would have contacted him/her. As it was, I simply shot a note to London Breed’s office.

7J7C4049 copy

So yes, Facebook, I understand why you were able to get away with this for a while, owing to the fact that this lane was blocked already due to all the recent construction. But FB, you have no idea how much you stick out when you park on Masonic like this.

And yeah, the cops don’t care and no millionaire homeowners are around to complain at you, but this bus standing area will not stand.

*Appointed Mayor Ed Lee, who, really, is lucky to have his gig, and really, is nobody special, thinks he’s REALLY REALLY SPECIAL. So when the Googlers came to town to meet with him a few years back they’d say stuff like, oh, good idea Mr. Mayor – we’ll get back to you on that, that kind of thing. Well, our Dear Leader, who bruises easier than a Cavendish banana, hit the ceiling and ended up all sore, due to the fact that Google sent some, some underling up to Frisco, an underling who couldn’t make a deal with SFGov. Well, G learned its lesson after that – it hired Rebecca Prozan and it gave $6.8 million to the SFMTA and it did a host of other good deeds, you know, to ease the pain. Of course, G was stupid to allow its contractor drivers to make such a low hourly wage. Why? Because it invites the Teamsters to move on in, right? What G should have done was say to the bus contractors, OK, what’s your lowest bid assuming that you’re going to pay your drivers extra for split shifts and that you’re going to pay them, IDK $40 per hour, something like that. Now what’s happened is that the Teamsters are fully activated and a begrudging 20% pay bump to fight off further unionization, and more and more “work rules,” isn’t going to help, IMO. Google went hog-wild outfitting these buses, but it forgot about some pretty basic stuff. IMO. IMO, based upon observing this GBus program for the past nine years…

Uh Oh, FaceBook’s Corporate Buses are Using Busy Masonic Avenue as a Staging Area? Double-Parking to Block MUNI Buses

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Here’s a FaceBook corporate shuttle bus idling(?)/waiting on busy southbound Masonic betwixt Fell and Oak during the busy morning drive afore taking FB’ers on down to (MPK) Menlo Park:

7J7C3933 copy

So that means that it’s blocking the slow lane of Masonic, as here on Saint Patrick’s Day 2015

7J7C3857 copy

At first I thought, oh maybe it broke down, but no, this is where it was waiting to pick up more people in the Upper Haight area, at the assigned MUNI stops FaceBook has. If the drivers come back to SF early, they need a place to hang out, right?

When I see this situation, there’s always the driver plus a, IDK, let’s call him a starter, a handler, a scheduler – a person who makes the trains run on time.

So I thought, mmm, this isn’t a MUNI bus stop – perhaps the FB drivers got used to this lane being blocked at Fell the past few weeks? IDK.

But look, it’s the same thing yesterday too:

7J7C3928 copy

So the #43 Masonic needs to merge into the middle lane from the stop at Hayes and then get back into, let’s call it the FaceBook Lane after passing the Big White Bus in order to get into the stop on the other side of Oak:

7J7C3930 copy

So what’s the deal here, does this guy just hang out all morning waiting for more buses to double park?

7J7C3929 copy


But this lane just got freed up after all that lengthy construction, so it seems a shame that MUNI drivers now can’t use it…

Telemetry Transceivers, Baker Street, Western Addition, San Francisco

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

No these aren’t brand-new ShotSpotter gunfire detectors, as I initially thought.

They’re telemetry transceivers to give MUNI vehicles signal priority, per the Richmond District Blog:

7J7C9411 copy

Now here’s a shot from 2011 on Scott Street in the Western Addition – I don’t know what all this stuff is:

I don’t think any of them have anything to do with signal priority…

Gloria Allred’s Second Press Conference About Meg Whitman’s Former Housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Here’s the response to this morning’s presser from Meg Whitman about former housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan.

Gloria says that there will be no statement from Nicky today because it was emotionally-challenging for her to speak out yesterday.

And off we go:

Statement from Gloria:

An April 22, 2003 letter from the Social Security Administrationshows that the SSN provided by Nicky was problematic. The letter tells recipients to ask the employee for the employee’s SSN, but Meg didn’t do that. Meg’s husband partially filled out the SSA form and then handed it to Nicky with a note saying, “Nicky, please check this.” The Whitmans wanted an undocumented worker because undocumented workers are easier to manage.

Meg Whitman lied to the press and the public when she said that, “We never received that letter and  notification.”

Meg is exposed as a liar an a hypocrite. She should apologize to Nicky the press and the public. 

Nicky is a hero. She is the Rosa Parks of the movement to gain respect for Latinos and all those who work so hard in households today.


Blowups showing the letter and quotes from Meg including handwriting from Meg’s husband: “Nicky, please check this. Thanks”

Q and A:

1. Let’s see if Meg will continue to deny knowledge of the letter.

2. Nicky says she only got the mail when the Whitmans were on vacation.

3. Nicky asserts that the handwriting is from Dr. Harsh. If the Whitmans would like to deny that, I’d like to know. Let’s see what they say. Nicky says she knows his handwriting.

4. I think this evidence speaks for itself. If Meg wants to take a lie detector test, that’s fine. I won’t tell Meg what to do.

5. My client doesn’t need to take a lie detector test. That’s irrelevant.

6. Many people hold onto documents for a long time. I’m glad Nicky did so.

7. Nicky knew she wanted to do something about what she suffered. Nicky was terminated in June 2009 because Nicky was gathering legal documents.

8. Nicky contacted a lawyer and that lawyer contacted me. That’s how I came to represent Nicky.

9. People who aren’t rich and powerful deserve to have representation.

10. I have had no contact with anybody in the Jerry Brown campaign.

11. I don’t know how Jerry Brown’s people knew two weeks ago about this issue. Maybe they knew something, I don’t know.

12. I don’t know why Meg would wait months after declaring her run for Governor to fire Nicky.

13. I think Meg saying “we” didn’t know is significant. Meg chose that word. I’m a former English teacher, I think words matter.

14. Let’s just see if Dr. Harsh will deny that this is his handwriting. If he denies it then we might offer more proof. I have no comment on any other evdience we  have.

15. I won’t say the name of the attorney who referred Nicky to me.

16. Nicky is not working at this time.

17. Nicky’s taking an enormous risk. She’s demonstrating more courage than anyone I’ve met during the decades I’ve been practising law. We shouldn’t underestimate how bright many housekeepers are.

18. We haven’t offered Nicky any money.

19. Nicky’s worked more than 15 hours per week and was told by the Whitmans that she wouldn’t get paid for anything more. Her back wages are probably not a significant sum.

20. I’m here to support Nicky and provide the truth about what happened to her.

Gloria might come back with another press conference soon if the Whitmans want to deny today’s allegations.

Now we’re off to the Spanish language part of the program.

To Be Continued…

Meg Whitman Doesn’t Do All That Well at Her Press Conference About Housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Here’s Meg Whitman’s presser about her housekeeper problem – it was just broadcast live at [UPDATE: Here’s coverage from CBS San Francisco, just posted.] 

(Frankly, I don’t see how Meg can win her race after seeing this. Say hello to Governor Jerry Brown, the Once and Future King. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria. You know, Meg would have been better off saying that she would donate $150,000,000 to the state treasury early nect year rather than just spending all that dough on consultants and ad buys. IMO)

Anyway, Meg showed up about 15 minutes late and began by saying how former housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan was an “extended member of our family.” Then she asked about Jerry Brown:

 “What does he think I should have done instead?”

Then it was off to questions and answers, below.

1. Nicky came to work for us for 15 hours per week. Sometimes she worked ten, sometimes eight. Nicky never asked for mileage reimbursement for running errands around Menlo Park.

2. We didn’t receive a letter from the Social Securtiy Administration. We never saw any such letter.

3. We didn’t want to turn Nicky in to law enforcement due to our ten-year relationship with her.

4. I comported with the law. The law doesn’t require employers to turn employees in. I fired her as soon as I found out she was illegal. Every employer needs to make his or her own decision about how to handle such a situation.

5. It’s very possible that Nicky intercepted any possible letter that came from the Social Securtiy Administration. The Nicky I knew was not the Nicky I saw at Gloria Allred’s presser.

6. These days we have one housekeeper, plus a landscaping and pool service.

7. We play by the rules. We were explicit with the people at the employment. We told the agency that we wanted legal employees only.

8. I never asked Nicky directly about her immigration status. We got a copy of the I-9 from and Social Security card from the agency.

9. Nicky signed her I-9 form under penalty of perjury. Nicky lied.

10. I have not contaced the SSA to ask for any letter that they might have sent out.

11. Nicky was my employee directly. We left a check for her on the counter every Friday.

12. I haven’t talked with Nicky since she left the house on the Saturday afternoon when she confessed to us.

13. I was heartbroken. I had to tell Nicky that we couldn’t continue to employ her.

14. This is classic smear politics. This is how career politicians like Jerry Brown operate. This is Brown-motivated.

15. Until we can be assured that we can get our arms around securing our borders, I don’t think we should alter our immigration laws. A first step would be a temporary guest worker program.

16. I didn’t want to discuss Nicky in the press. I didn’t want to make an example of her. I feel badly for Nicky for her involvement with Gloria Allred.

17. If I was going to let Nicky go for political expediency, I would have done it in February 2009 when I announced my run for Governor, not in June 2009.

18. It’s absolutely false when people say I knew about Nicky’s illegal status before he confession. I didn’t.

19. Town and Country Resources of Menlo Park was the employment agency involved.

20. We don’t owe Nicky any money. We paid her less when she worked less than 15 hours a week. We even paid her during Christmas vacation.

21. My lawyer said that there was nothing that we could do for her after we found out about her status.

22. I didn’t talk about Nicky because I didn’t want to make an example of here. I don’t know who is paying Gloria Allred.

23. This issue has nothing to do with my character.  

24. I want this state to get back on track. There are 2.3 million Californians without jobs. This is a distraction from what Californians ought to be talking about.

25. I feel badly about the situation. But the law is the law. I don’t know what ICE will do.

26. It’s absolutely false the statement Nicky made about me saying to her, “I don’t know you and you don’t know me.”

27. I would absolutely take a polygraph test about whether I knew about her immigration status. I was stunned when Nicky told us.

28. If it comes to that I will absolutely take a polygraph test.

29. We were misled. Our country needs an E-Verify system in place.

30. We were given copies of a CA-issued driver license, an SSN card and an I-9. We relied on all these documents.

31. My campaign is doing very well with Latinos. I will work very hard to earn the vote of Latinos.

32. This is totally predictable. Nicky is being used. This incident could backfire on the Jerry Brown campaign.

33. I had a very cordial relationship with Nicky.

34. It’s not right what Nicky did.  

35. It’s very hard to know if Nicky should be deported. Nicky can’t see what is about to happen here. She is being manipulated.

36. She did normal kind of housekeeping duties. She drove one of the boys to school sometimes. She was not responsible for the children.

37. I don’t know if Nicky had a legitimate driver license. I’ve heard that it was a real driver license.

38. We comported with the law. I’m new to politics. I’m just getting used to smear politics.

39. Nicky would get the mail from the mailbox and then put it on the kitchen island.

40. I didn’t know that Nicky was illegal until June 2009.

41. I think I behaved correctly under the circumstances. I wouldn’t behave differently if I had to do it all over again.

42. We only have one employee now. We hired her through the same agency. She is legal. My mailbox is locked know. I get my own mail now.

43. It’s important to get back to the issues Californians care about. The budget is 100 days overdue. We are about to go to IOUs to pay vendors to the state of California. I need to turn my attention back to my campaign.

 44. I believe that this is linked to the Brown campaign, 100%

45. I can’t criticise the agency. They had the proper documents.

46. We had a very good relationship with Nicky. Her boys played soccer in our backyard and played with our mini-schnauzer.

47. I don’t think we abused or took advantage of Nicky. We paid her $23 an hour. If she had a parent-teacher conference or some kind of appointment, we let her go early.

I have to run. Thank you for coming. Let’s move on to solve the problems facing California.

And that’s it. This presser ended at 11:32 AM.