Posts Tagged ‘recreation’

Our Long Parochial Nightmare is Over: The Vandalized Slides at Panhandle Playground 94117 have been Replaced by RPD

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Well the slides at the Panhandle Playground have been replaced after three months of absence.

20140906_113412 copy

1. Perhaps the RPD spokesmodel meant that the entire slide complex was being repaired, as opposed to the $2000 plastic slide itself. I don’t think it would have made sense to repair the slide itself, due to liability issues for starters. This is a brand-new slide, one that’s similar enough to the original.

2. So some wealthy, non-profit people came by with clipboards to say that this particular playground currently earns a “D” grade? Well, OK fine, but if you talk to the people who actually use the place, they, more or less, give it an “A” grade, you know, except for the slide that wasn’t there all summer long. Mmmmm… What’s up with that?

3. Supervisor London Breed’s office was unresponsive to the email contact sent by a group of concerned parents, apparently. So she gets an “F,” or an Incomplete perhaps. (I’ve worked at two similar offices, with about ten or one hundred times as many constituents, and if the elected in charge found out about something like this then there’d be a 20-minute yell-fest and/or a passive aggressive note sent to a (lower-case “s”) supervisor to “fix this.”) So, obvs, a “communication issue” occurred, I just don’t know how common this is with her office.

4. RPD has a policy to not repair anything in a playground if it’s due to be revamped in the next two years? That’s my understanding. Does that mean that this playground won’t get revamped anytime soon? That’s my understanding. Why’s that? Read on, Gentle Reader.

5. What RPD really wants is area parents to get together to raise something on the order of [bites right pinkie finger] one million dollars, you know, the way they do things in rich areas of SF, like Sea Cliff (ala the new Mountain Lake) and Presidio Heights. Only then will RPD put your playground at the top of the fix-it list? OK fine. The funny thing is that most of the money that gets used to refurbish existing playgrounds is paid for by the non-rich, from some bond. But all this doesn’t matter for the playground at hand, because:

6. The slide vandalized in May 2014 has been replaced in September 2014 and the users are now satisfied. No $5,000,000 modernization from the RPD is needed, frankly. [Oh what's that, RPD - this old-school playground costs you a lot of coin to maintain? Well, then why don't you fix it up, RPD, you know, using the money we give you?]

And that’s the end of this story.

An Eye-Opening Lecture for Recreation and Parks Employees About the Importance of Not Driving On The Grass

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Let’s take a peek through the open door:

The part of this lecture that I overheard appeared to do a good job about hammering home the rule about RPD workers not driving* park vehicles on the grass.

Here’s your context, from last year:

Woman killed by SF truck identified as outrage grows - Vivian Ho and Kurtis Alexander

*There might be an exception if there’s also a spotter in the cab of the pickup, IDK.

Well, Here It Is – Here’s Your Newly-Repaved Kezar Drive, July 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

For the life of me, I can’t tell the difference between the bad, terrible, bumpy old Kezar (seen in the background) and the new, wonderful, freshly-paved Kezar (seen in the foreground), you know, except for the color.

Click to expand

Instead of an Orange-and-Black Hoodie Saying “Go Giants,” How About a Orange-and-Black Hoodie Saying “Grow Giants?”

Monday, June 30th, 2014

As seen at the former Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park:

Click to expand

And oh yes, rest assured that this pullover was “PRINTED IN THE HAIGHT ASHBURY.”

A mere $45…

Vandalized Panhandle Playground Slide Crisis Enters Its Second Month – Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Amy Stephenson of Hoodline (fka uppercasing) has the deets on the The Case Of The Missing Panhandle Slides

Now here’s how the purple slides looked back in happier times, before The Attack of May 2014:

But then, sometime at the end of May, I’m guessing May 30th or May 31st, you know, the weekend, some vandal(s) (I’m guessing “young punks” or “hippies”) put a giant hole in the leftmost slide. Ouch!

So, first it was all like this…

…and then it was all like this – an even bigger hole:

But then on the following Monday (June 2nd), somebody from SFGov (DPW? RPD? SFPD?) came along and added some red DANGER tape:

And then soon after that, up went the plywood and then somebody came along and did a more permanent fix and so that’s how things look today, near the end of June.

Now I’m just assuming that the hole was the result of vandalism, but I don’t figure how else it could have happened.

(Can I blame SFGov for the hole? Nope. Not at all.)

(Can I find fault with how SFGov was/is handling the issue? Nope. Not at all.)

IMO, fixing these slides proper would be a big job, so simply getting another big old piece of plastic might be the best course of action. And that might take a while. I’m figuring a resolution by the end of July is reasonable – sorry kids.

In mitigation, the playground still has one working slide.

In the meantime, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

So Yeah, Kezar Drive Will Be Closed Until July 3rd Starting Today, But Only at Night – From 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

[UPDATE: Here's a FaceBook posting from June 20th, from a less-than-reliable-source, one that earlier stated that this job already would have been done by now, that I don't think you could find even if you searched for it, that's designed mostly to take credit for a "job well done" (as opposed to informing the affected public (most of whom don't even live in District Five)), that doesn't even mention the terms SFMTA or DPW, that I suppose is a kind of official notice.]

Earlier, I read this sign as Kezar Drive Closed From June 23rd to July 30th, so I was baffled as to why there was nothing posted online on this topic.

So now, after taking a photo and looking at it, I see that the closure is for just 11 scheduled days and only at night.

See?

Click to expand

I’m still baffled as to why no SFGov entity has posted anything about this online, oh well.

Anyway, this thing kicks off tonight – here’s the foreperson getting ready for work.

WINTER IS COMING to the Sunset District: “FULL ROADWAY CLOSURE” for Kezar Drive Begins June 23rd – Grinding and Repaving

Monday, June 16th, 2014

[UPDATE: The mystery, she is solved - this closure will be at night only.]

Uh, is Kezar Drive going to be totally shut down 24-7 for weeks starting next week?

I think so. Here’s the ominous sign:

Click to expand

So here’s something I didn’t know:

Kezar Drive is scenic, but bumpy

Actually, it’s not scenic at all, but no matter, ’cause apparently it’s “bumpy?”

So who’s the poster child for this particular issue? Comes now Sunset District resident Wesley Dere:

“Sunset District resident Wesley Dere watches cars navigate bumpy Kezar Drive. Dere says his car has been knocked out of alignment twice.” 

So this is nice because we’ve got the word “says” in there. (Like, “Fisherman Buford McGee says he was abducted by Martians.”) But, oh man, if the alignment on your Impala has gotten “knocked out” twice by Kezar Drive, then there’s something wrong with you, the owner-operator of said Impala.

Who, oh who, will solve this problem for us? Well guess what - London Claus is coming to town with a grand gift for the residents of the western reaches of District Five, Supervisor London Breed is Fixing Kezar Drive:

“I am very happy to report that after some rather insistent lobbying from our office, the Department of Public Works has identified funding to grind and repave Kezar Drive, the street that connects Lincoln to Oak and Fell. This is a major East-West artery that has been left crumbling for years. My office navigated a bureaucratic maze to see this project through (the road is technically Rec and Park’s responsibility and is somehow ineligible for most paving funding sources). Now it looks like we will have a smooth road by the end of June.”

Well, substitute “July” for June, but this thing is a “go.”

So, who deserves the credit for this grand gift? IMO, credit should go to the little elves, all those tax- and fee-payers who did the work that got taxed and fee’d enough to provide the funding to pay for this project. OTOH, in the opinion of the Office of London Breed, credit should go to London Claus. As always, You Make The Call, Gentle Reader.

Now I suppose it’s good to pave roads, but this looks like a Cadillac solution to a Chevy kind of problem, this looks like weeks (or months?) of trouble for Our Neighbors In The Sunset, those poor souls out there in San Francisco County, all for sake of letting Wesley Dere’s Chevrolet slide.

Of course I don’t really care about all this, not really, as I’m not likely to be affected and I wouldn’t care even if I had to deal with this each and every day. I’ll note that the grid’s ability to recover from temporarily losing the use of this choke point has been degraded over the recent years, so Waller’s not going to be an option and “cutting through” the Music Concourse isn’t going to be an option and yada yada.

Perhaps Kezar really is in bad bad shape and I just don’t notice because my aging Toyota had unfashionably small wheels even when it was new and, you know, the City and County should go out of its way to accommodate drivers with 22 inch wheels and 30-profile tires.

Perhaps. I just don’t know how a regular town, one without district elections, would handle* something like Kezar Drive…

*And I also wonder if other towns would try to post something on the Internet once it’s decided to do something, as this electronic sign was my only clue about this big news.

STINGER:

Alvord Lake Bridge is not a bridge, it’s a pedestrian tunnel. Discuss. Oh, I’ll start – it’s wider than it is long, so how many bridges fit that bill?

Alvord Lake isn’t a lake, it’s a very small pond, smaller than some koi ponds people have in the backyard. Discuss

Inbound Kezar Drive should have two lanes instead of just the one in the area of Alvord Lake Bridge. Make It So. Oh, what’s that? No, I don’t care, just make it so.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association Puts Out a Bizarre Video Called “ASIANA AIR” – Here It Is

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Here it is, from the police union:

Who staged this cheesy recreation of the Asiana 214 crash landing?

And who chose the old-school narration style?

I don’t know what you’re doing, POA.

Certainly, the populace considers this PR campaign odd.

Oh well.

Oh and here’s the concomitant billboard - let’s strike a pose in front of a crashed jet?

There are a million ways of doing better than this, POA.

Well, As Expected, the $7 Fee at the Strybing Arboretum is Going to Become Permanent – A Little History

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Boy there’s a lot of overhead involved with the whole process of charging people $7 to walk through the former Strybing Arboretum, it sure looks like.

Anyway, here’s a little background on how we’ve gotten to this point:

LMA-BOS-Supporter Talking Points-6-4.21.13 Budget Hearing

Arboretum Contract Critique

And here’s a post from 2010:

“Not sure how many people were at last night’s “workshop” to discuss the idea of charging admission at San Francisco Botanical Garden (aka Strybing Arboretum) in Golden Gate Park ’cause I left before it ended. But the hand-count totaled 225 souls, so let’s call that a gentleman’s 250 altogether for the crowd.

Here’s the thing - people on both sides all seem to know each other and care deeply about The Garden. This conflict seems a kind of civil war (hence the Antietam name check, yes it rhymes exactly), a family squabble. It’s plant-loving Brother against plant-loving-but-other-stuff-too Brother. Get up to speed on this dispute here.

Now, once more into the breach, dear friends.

The mise-en-scene last night. It’s Recreation and Park Commission President Jim Lazarus taking individual questions from a hostile crowd, split up unnecessarily, it turned out, into three sections. This is what the bulk of the meeting looked like. Click to expand:

But let’s start at the beginning. Below, it’s the organized neighbors! They taped up hundreds of small signs to draw attention to the meeting. Did workers from DPW spend a lot of time taking down the unofficial notices? Apparently. Were any official notices put up, like last time? Not that I could see.

Inside, the fellow on the left, (didn’t get his name, someone called him The Kid) tried to get things started, but vocal members of the crowd didn’t like the agenda that was handed out, particularly they didn’t like being split up into three groups.

The guy with the ponytail went off, and the Eli in the Yale jacket on the right pleaded for calm. Thank Gaia for Yalies:

After a couple go-arounds like that, The Kid threatened to cancel the meeting. (Arboretum staff appears to view hosting public meetings like these as doing a favor to Arboretum visitors, and truth be told, if San Francisco officials are dead-set on allowing the charging of admission, they can do it regardless of what regular Arboretum visitors want.) Here’s a ten-minute video of the action.

But after a brief huddle, redolent of a friendly car salesperson taking your low-ball offer to the Big Guy…

…out comes lawyer Jim Lazarus calling an audible to change the meeting’s format. He seemed every bit the experienced pol he is.

The new agenda that got worked out with leadership elements from the masses: an uninterupted 10-15 minute “general presentation” of the plan. “Then you can decide how much you want to beat us up after that,” said Jimbo. “You can shoot us all when it’s over.”

This Lazarus Effect resuscitated the meeting. So, let’s hear The Proposal.

The Arboretum would set up pre-fab ticket kiosks at the Main Gate and the Friend Gate (near the Japanese Tea Garden) for $65K and then hire four part-time cashiers, a manager(?), and also a part-time accountant for $148K per year. San Francisco residents would enter for free after showing some sort of ID. Those useless freeloading parasites known as Everybody Else in the World would pay $7, or $4 (students and seniors), or $2 (kids) each time they go in. They’d have the option of getting a $75 annual pass that would also allow entry at the Japanese Tea Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers – something like that.

The projected 100,000 in paid admissions would have a “blended average” of $5.50 per, resulting in a gross take of $550K. Take away $150K for expenses and you end up with an annual net of $400K, of which $100-150K would go into the Rec and Park kitty and the rest could go into whatever, like hiring more gardeners at $68K salary (plus 25% more in benefits).

The goal would be to eventually get up to a full complement of 16 gardeners, which will “never happen” without some new source of Arboretum-specific cashola.

That’s it.

“KEEP THE ARBORETUM FREE”

What about residents of neighboring counties in the Bay Area you say? It doesn’t matter, all auslanders gotta pay.

What about the rumoured $1.3 million cost of building the kiosks and other related expenses? That was just a “Cadillac proposal” dreamed up by somebody or other – the bare bones approach discussed last night would not be as nice, but it would get the job done.

This charismatic-messianic type got lots of applause for questioning the whole idea of charging anybody anything, regardless of the numbers:

Mr. Lazarus acknowledged the fear San Francisco residents have of being the next in line to be charged, the fear that admission prices would then increase after that. No promises on that front. Que sera sera.

But I’ll let the Keep the Arboretum Free people delve into these issues more. When I left, Lazarus was answering questions one by one, Phil Donahue-style.

“FREE means NO FEES, NO I.D.s”

Oh yes, the “next terrible meeting” promised by Jimbo will concern paid parking in Golden Gate Park. (Do people really plant their vehicle in the park for free and then run all over town all day? People do.)

Random observations:

The estimate of $148k annually to pay salaries for  the paid admission scheme sounds low. Way low, particularly in light of what cashiers at the Japanese Tea Garden get paid.

Park and Rec knows how to notice a public meeting but, for whatever reason, it appears to have done a bush-league job of noticing last night’s workshop.

Next up next month in June: the action will move over to City Hall and the Board of Supervisors. When will our civil war end?

Public Workshop – Botanical Garden

When: May 28, 2009 – Thursday 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: County Fair Building, 9th Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, San Francisco
What: In response to the feedback received on the proposed admission program at Botanical Garden, the Rec & Park Department decided there will not be a fee for residents. The revised proposal does include a $7. fee for nonresident visitors. Public workshop is to take feedback regarding revised proposed admission fee and will be seeking topics including:
Implementation of the new fee for non-San Francisco residents.
Amenities at the Garden.
Potential new revenue sources.

To Be Continued…

OMG, It’s Another New Sport in Golden Gate Park: “Footbag” Hacky Sack – Memorial Day Tourny in Peacock Meadow

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

All I know about this is from FunCheapSF – see below.

A quick scrimmage before yesterday’s big final in GGP: 

Click to expand

Cf. Hooverball.

All the deets:

“Footbag is an alternative to alternative sports, combining volleyball nets with tennis-like scores, and balls like hacky sacks you play with your feet.

Monday, May 27, 2013
Final Day & Awards | 2013 Green Cup: “Footbag” Hacky Sack Tournament

2013 Green Cup Schedule | May 27, 2013
Peacock Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

  • 11am – Open Doubles 5-8 Playoff
  • Noon – Semi-Final – Open Doubles – 1 vs 4
  • 1:15 pm – Semi-Final – Open Doubles – 2 vs 3
  • 2:30 pm – Bronze Medal Match – Open Doubles
  • 3:45 pm – Championship Match – Open Doubles
  • Green Cup Presentation and Awards
  • 8 pm – Player Party (location TBD)

Upcoming 2013 Green Cup: “Footbag” Hacky Sack Tournament Events