Posts Tagged ‘redwood city’

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 an Olympic City made a good deal 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.

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:

chi-20141209-001 copy

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

OMG, It’s NerdProm! – The “Silicon Valley Ball” Featuring Kathy Griffin is Coming to Redwood City December 13th

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

From the D-List to Redwood City – what a journey for Kathy Griffin:

7J7C6371 copy

Nesting Snowy Egrets of 2013 from Bay Area Nature Photographer David Cruz

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Down in sunny San Mateo County:

Click to expand

David Cruz explains:

“On a quiet marsh road adjacent to the San Francisco Bay in Redwood City, Snowy Egrets feed their newly hatched young:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alchemicalnature/9006479901/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alchemicalnature/9006468053/

Notes:

-Snowy Egrets are the smallest of local egrets.

-The begging sounds the chicks make reminded me of Donald Ducks voice flutter

-Nesting in the same tree were Black Crowned Night Herons and a Great Egret

-I estimate over 50 Snowy Egret nests in this colony”

Well That’s It: The Bay Area’s Formerly-Secret U.S. Navy “Sea Shadow” Stealth Ship Auctioned for Scrap Today

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Just like it was on eBay.

But back in the day, this ship was all that.

See?

The auction ends on Friday May 4, 2012. The buyer will be required to cut up this stealth ship for scrap. Current bid is $300k.

Oh well.

This boat was built here in the Bay Area and now it’s about to die here.

All the deets, below.

Remember  back when Bay Areans could espy the straight-outta-Redwood-City $200-million Sea Shadow stealth ship bobbing about in San Francisco Bay? Check this video from down Fun Diego way over at Telstar Logistics to see this baby in action.

Say it aloud: Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship! This project was so secret that it didn’t make the Bay Area newspapers up until 1999, when this boat was identified as an airplane three times by the San Francisco Examiner.*

But lately, the ex Sea Shadow just sits around in the mothballed Ghost Fleet of the East Bay over in Benicia. Check out these great photos from Amy Heiden. Pretty boss, huh?

Now the first time the Navy tried to get rid of this historic boat, in 2006, they had all sorts of rules. Then they tried again in 2009 with more flexible rules. But the problem is that you can’t just take the Shadow, you also have to take the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), a floating drydock boat that was developed as part of Project Jennifer. (That was the semi-successful, top-secret effort mounted by the Central Intelligence Agency to salvage the remains of the Soviet submarine K-129 from the ocean floor.)

Here’s a shot of  them together, ignore the two conventional warships in the background:

But wait, there’s more. Here’s how the Sea Shadow is laid out on the inside:

The bridge of Grant Imahara’s future evil lair. (Boy, talk about a glass cockpit, huh?)

And here’s how she looks from the outside:

You want. However, nobody set up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and take these things off of the Navy’s hands. So now an important piece of Bay Area military history (and film history what with it inspiring the bad guys’ floating lair in Tomorrow Never Dies) is a gonna get scrapped.

Here’s what came next, after the Shadow got mothballed – it’s the all-aluminum Sea Fighter, as seen back in 2006:

via Telstar Logistics

The point being is that the aging Sea Shadow is the ur-ship, the JetFire of the stealth boat world. Why didn’t anybody save her?

Check out the owner’s manuals - pretty soon, that will be all that’s left…

Ever more deets, after the jump.

*From 1999: “The combined Navy-Marine exercise included overflights of the Bay Area by the Sea Shadow, the Navy equivalent of the stealth bomber.” No, this thing can’t fly, it just floats. Veteran SF Chronicle writer Henry K. Lee got that right but others did not. Nevertheless, SFGate.com, San Francisco’s online newspaper, remains an invaluable resource.

(more…)

Meet Your San Francisco Bike Sharing Program – 500 Bicycles and 50 Stations Coming Next Year to FiDi, SoMA, Civic Center

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I guess they have the money now and they’re working on figuring out who’s going to run the thing.

Appears as if the SFMTA has given up on a giant Parisian Velib-style program with 5000 bikes strewn all over town – they’re starting small. Regardless, some of this free advice still applies.

The deets:

“…the pilot service area will be centered in San Francisco’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals.  This area is notably flat, has the densest bikeway network coverage in San Francisco and enjoys the highest levels of cycling, yet those who commute by transit from cities to the east and south encounter difficulties bringing a bicycle with them on BART or Caltrain.”

El Mapa:

Click to expand

So the stations might end up looking a little half-assed, owing to CEQA:

“Heath Maddox, senior planner for the Livable Streets Subdivision of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), says the defining characteristics of the service they’ve outlined in an RFP draft is that the bike system be solar-powered with no need for external AC power and no requirement for excavation that would turn the installation process into a construction project.”

Remember, sharing is caring.

All the deets:

“The map of the pilot service area presents northeast San Francisco. The highlighted area in the map is the bicycle sharing pilot service area bound by South Van Ness Avenue and the Ferry Terminal along Market Street. To the north, the service area boundary includes the Federal Building at Turk Street, Union Square at Post Street, the Broadway and Columbus Avenue intersection, and The Embarcadero at Sansome Street. To the south, the highlighted service area includes the Embarcadero to Mission Bay, Townsend Street and Concourse Exhibition Center.”

Bike Sharing

Bike sharing is coming to San Francisco! A regional pilot program led by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in partnership with the SFMTA will bring approximately 50 bike share stations and 500 bikes to San Francisco’s downtown core beginning in spring 2012. The SFMTA is working with a regional team to implement this pilot along the Caltrain corridor in San Francisco, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City and San Jose and shown in this Regional Bike Sharing System map. The project is funded through a combination of local, regional and federal grants with major funding coming from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Innovative Bay Area Climate Initiatives Grant Program (BACI).

What is bike sharing?

Similar to car sharing, bicycle sharing is a term used to describe a membership-based system of short-term bicycle rental.  Members can check a bicycle out from a network of automated bicycle stations, ride to their destination, and return the bicycle to a different station.  Bicycle sharing is enjoying a global explosion in growth with the development of purpose-built bicycles and stations that employ high tech features like smartcards, solar power, and wireless internet and GPS technologies.

Who is involved with launching the San Francisco bike sharing system?

The BAAQMD is the overall regional project lead, coordinating the planning and implementation efforts of the local partners: the City and County of San Francisco, the Cities of San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto in Santa Clara County and the City of Redwood City in San Mateo County. The SFMTA is leading the project in San Francisco, and we are working in cooperation with our City and County partners, including the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the Port of San Francisco. The regional partners will be selecting a contractor in fall 2011 to install, operate, and manage the system.

Where will bike sharing be located in San Francisco?

As the San Francisco Bicycle Sharing Pilot Service Area map (PDF) presents, in San Francisco, the pilot service area will be centered in San Francisco’s employment- and transit-rich Downtown/SOMA corridor between the Financial District, Market Street and the Transbay and Caltrain terminals.  This area is notably flat, has the densest bikeway network coverage in San Francisco and enjoys the highest levels of cycling, yet those who commute by transit from cities to the east and south encounter difficulties bringing a bicycle with them on BART or Caltrain. Much of San Francisco’s densely urbanized northeastern quadrant is similarly well-suited to bicycle sharing.

When will bike sharing launch in San Francisco?

The regional partners will be selecting a vendor to install, operate, and manage the bike sharing system in 2011 with the goal of a system launch in Spring/Summer 2012!

Further Information

If you have any questions, comments or feedback about bike sharing, contact the SFMTA at sustainable.streets@sfmta.com.

Well That’s It: The US Navy is Scrapping the Bay Area’s $200 Million Super Secret Stealth Ship – R.I.P. Sea Shadow

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

The United States Navy has given up on the idea of giving away to a good home the formerly spr sekrt stealth ship Sea Shadow. That means that this expensive piece of Bay Area military memorabilia will soon be cut up for scrap.

Oh well.

Good bye, IX-529.

But we’ll always have memories, like right here – check it out, from back in the day last year.

All the deets:

Remember back in the day, back when Bay Areans could espy the straight-outta-Redwood-City $200-million Sea Shadow stealth ship bobbing about in San Francisco Bay? Check this video from down Fun Diego way over at Telstar Logistics to see this baby in action.

Say it aloud: Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship! This project was so secret that it didn’t make the Bay Area newspapers, excepting for 1999 when this boat was identified as an airplane three times by the San Francisco Examiner.*

This is what she looked like, coming out in the daytime when she was no longer so very supr sekrt:

Guess what, the U.S. Navy wants to give her away for free! The problem is that there are no takers as of yet, so the ex Sea Shadow just sits around in the mothballed Ghost Fleet of the East Bay. Check out these recent photos from Amy Heiden. Pretty boss, huh?

Now the first time the Navy tried to give away this historic boat, in 2006, they had all sorts of rules. Then they tried again in 2009 with more flexible rules. But the problem is that you can’t just take the Shadow, you also have to take the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), a floating drydock boat that was developed as part of Project Jennifer. (That was the semi-successful, top-secret effort mounted by the Central Intelligence Agency to salvage the remains of the Soviet submarine K-129 from the ocean floor.)

Here’s a shot of  them together, ignore the two conventional warships in the background:

But wait, there’s more. Here’s how the Sea Shadow is laid out on the inside:

The bridge of Grant Imahara’s future evil lair. (Boy, talk about a glass cockpit, huh?)

And here’s how she looks from the outside:

You want. Why don’t you start up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and take these things off of the Navy’s hands? Otherwise an important piece of Bay Area military history (and film history what with it inspiring the bad guys’ floating lair in Tomorrow Never Dies) is a gonna get scrapped.

Here’s what came next, after the Shadow got mothballed – it’s the all-aluminum Sea Fighter, as seen back in 2006:

via Telstar Logistics

The point being is that the aging Sea Shadow is the ur-ship, the JetFire of the stealth boat world. Won’t you save her?

O.K., first things first. Check out the owner’s manuals and start writing your business plan. (And, oh yes, while you’re at it, scrape up some cash. Lots and lots and lots o’ cash.)

Happy sailing!

The Navy’s announcement, after the jump.

*From 1999: “The combined Navy-Marine exercise included overflights of the Bay Area by the Sea Shadow, the Navy equivalent of the stealth bomber.” No, this thing can’t fly, it just floats. Veteran SF Chronicle writer Henry K. Lee got that right but others did not. Nevertheless, SFGate.com, San Francisco’s online newspaper, remains an invaluable resource.

(more…)

They Rank Bay Area Hospitals, Don’t They? Yes, U.S. News Does That Now – UCSF Tops the List for 2011

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Well here’s the debut list from U.S. News (and World Report):

Of all 44 hospitals in the San Francisco, California metropolitan area, the 14 listed below are the top-ranking. This metro area, also called the Bay Area, includes Oakland and Fremont.

1. UCSF Medical Center — San Francisco, CA
2. John Muir Medical Center — Walnut Creek, CA
3. California Pacific Medical Center — San Francisco, CA
4. John Muir Medical Center — Concord, CA
5. Alta Bates Summit Medical Center — Berkeley, CA
5. Seton Medical Center — Daly City, CA
7. Kaiser Foundation Hospital — Antioch, CA
7. Kaiser Foundation Hospital — Walnut Creek, CA
7. Kaiser Foundation Hospital — Oakland, CA
7. Kaiser Permanente San Francisco — San Francisco, CA
7. Mills-Peninsula Health Services — Burlingame, CA
7. San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center — San Francisco, CA
7. Sequoia Hospital — Redwood City, CA
7. Washington Hospital — Fremont, CA

Click on over for all the deets. They look like this:

Click to expand

And UCSF Benioff Children”s Hospital is tops in its field in the Bay Area.

This whole thing is a national deal with many more urban areas covered, including:

AtlantaBaltimoreBostonChicagoCincinnati,

DallasDenver,DetroitHoustonLosAngeles,

MiamiMinneapolisNewYorkPhiladelphia,

PhoenixPittsburghRiversideSan Diego,

SeattleSt. LouisTampaWashington DC

And you people down in San Joser haven’t been left out – you all have your own list. It’s topped by Stanford Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and the Regional Medical Center of San Jose. South Bay in the hiz-ouse.

Anyway, read what UCSF has to say about all this, after the jump

(more…)

Nissan Brings Furries to Civic Center: The All-Electric Nissan Leaf Makes Its Worldwide Debut

Monday, December 13th, 2010

A little surprised at how the MSM went all-out at the debut of the all-electric Nissan Leaf over the weekend, traveling all the way up to Petaluma, but anyway, read all about it right here.

I do have some notes. First off, check out this howler from Nanette Asimov:

“In the 1990s, car makers General Motors and Toyota leased such cars out – then destroyed them as they grew in popularity.”

Well, yeah, I see what you’re talking about there, but I have a 55-gallon drum of nuance to dump on that quote. Or, rather, had, as the cold light of day reveals the above zinger done went poof down the memory hole – you can’t find it at SFGate anymore so it must have been edited out recently. Moving on…

Oh, here’s another:

“…turned the fancy key that started the Leaf’s quiet engine.”

Uh, the Leaf doesn’t have an engine, right? Isn’t that the whole point? Now, the upcoming GM Volt has an engine, and a couple of big motors and a bunch of small ones to boot probably, but the Leaf, she has no engines. And turning the key doesn’t “start” the Leaf’s (primary) motor neither. Oh well. It is quiet though. Very very qwiet. (And I won’t even get into whether “the plug” is on the car or in your garage back at home…)

Anyway, it’s refreshing to see an electric car program get developed by a crew not dominated by egomaniacal  crooks, thieves, and charlatans.

As promised, furries in Civic Center:

Click to expand

Quite a wintry scene with an Arctic White Nissan, a polar furry and the Great Christmas Tree of Civic Center:

And then, the Arrival of the First Pilot of the First Nissan Leaf

(And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear)

Bon Courage, Olivier Chalouhi de La Ville du Séquoia!