Posts Tagged ‘review’

Whoo Boy: “LEGAL REVIEW FINDS PROP. F LAWSUITS MAY RESULT IN $435,000 AWARD FOR MINOR, ALLEGED VIOLATIONS”

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Airbnb is pulling out all the stops here.

Let me just say that first of all, no “minor” violations of San Francisco’s short term rental laws will result in anything like a $435K award. Sorry. And also, by the time any “awards” are handed out, said violations are no longer merely “alleged,” but actually proven.

And now, on with the show:

“Noted Law Firm Browne George Ross LLP Provides Review of Legal Impacts of San Francisco’s Prop. F

Proposition F creates a profit-motivated private right of action even if the City and County of San Francisco finds no violation.

WELL, LET’S SEE HERE. A PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION ALREADY EXISTS, RIGHT? YEP. WHAT PROP F ADDS ON TOP OF THIS IS AN ADDITIONAL PENALTY OF $250-$1000 A DAY, ASSUMING THAT THE RESIDENTS BRINGING SUIT ACTUALLY WIN. THE REASON THAT THIS ACTION WOULD BE ALLOWED INDEPENDENT OF WHAT SFGOV DOES IS THAT SOMETIMES SFGOV LIKES TO SIT ON ITS HANDS AND DO NOTHING, SIMILAR TO THE WAY THAT IT’S DONE VERY LITTLE TO REGULATE SHORT TERM RENTALS THE LIKES OF WHICH WE’VE BEEN SEEING THE PAST TEN YEARS, AND, IN FACT, THE LITTLE THAT SFGOV HAS BEEN DOING LATELY WAS SPURRED ON BY THE PROSPECT OF PROP F. SO ACTUALLY, PROP F IS GOOD BECAUSE IT’S ALREADY PAYING OFF. AND, AS FAR AS “PROFIT-MOTIVATED” IS CONCERNED, SOMETHING SIMILAR IS ALREADY IN CALIFORNIA LAW REGARDING LANDLORD REFUNDS OF RENTAL DEPOSITS. SO IF A LANDLORD IMPROPERLY RETAINS AN APARTMENT SECURITY DEPOSIT, THE TENANT CAN SUE FOR NOT ONLY THE WRONGFULLY RETAINED PART BUT ALSO AN AMOUNT DOUBLE THE DEPOSIT AS A KIND OF SPECIAL DAMAGES. SO A LANDLORD’S MOUTHPIECE COULD ARGUE THAT THE TENANT SUING IS “PROFIT-MOTIVATED,” BUT THAT WOULDN’T ACTUALLY BE TRUE, RIGHT? AND IN FACT, THIS RENTAL DEPOSIT REFUND LAW SCARES LANDLORDS INTO DOING THE RIGHT THING, SO THAT NO LEGAL ACTION EVER NEEDS TO GET KICKED INTO ACTION. SEE HOW THAT WORKS?

In other words if someone wishes to sue their neighbor even after the city and County of San Francisco has determined there is no violation, an unscrupulous individual can still file a lawsuit and simply claim damages amounting to as much as $435,000 plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

WELL, THIS LOS ANGELES-BASED LAW FIRM IS SIMPLY ASSUMING THAT THE PROPERTY OWNER USING AIRBNB OR WHATEVER TO VIOLATE OUR LAWS WOULD BE A NEIGHBOR OF THE SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENTS AFFECTED. BUT LOTS OF AIRBNBERS DON’T EVEN LIVE IN SF, RIGHT? SO IT’S RATHER MORE RESIDENT SUING AIRBNBER AS OPPOSED TO “NEIGHBOR SUING NEIGHBOR,” RIGHT? AND HEY, HOW CAN AN “UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUAL” GET AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE, RIGHT? AND HEY, “NOTED” LA LAW FIRM WHAT I’VE NEVER HEARD OF AFORE, HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER REPRESENTED AN “UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUAL?” HMMM… THAT’S SOMETHING TO THINK ON. IN ANY EVENT, UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUALS  WITH WORTHLESS CASES WON’T WIN AT COURT SO THEY WON’T GET ANY DAMAGES AT ALL, RIGHT? AND LET ME JUST SAY, ANY AIRBNBER WHO ACTUALLY ENDS UP PAYING $435K PLUS HAS REALLY REALLY REALLY SCREWED UP. THESE WILL BE UNIQUE PEOPLE, CERTAINLY.

Because litigation is so incredibly expensive, time consuming and stressful many people will pay to get out of suits even though they have done nothing wrong.

BOY, WHAT A PITCH FROM A LAW FIRM – YOU DON’T NEED US, JUST PAY ALL THE MONEY ANYBODY EVER ASKS FOR AND THEN WAIT FOR THE NEWS TO SPREAD AND THEN GET SUED AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND NOTE HERE, I’M NOT ARGUING THAT PROP F IS GOOD FOR AIRBNBERS (ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE GOOD FOR SOME) – I’M SAYING THAT PROP F IS GOOD FOR SAN FRANCISCO. AND ACTUALLY, PROP F WOULD BE GOOD FOR LOS ANGELES LAW FIRMS, POSSIBLY, IF LA-BASED AIRBNBERS GET SUED IN SF AND THEY WANT TO HAVE A LOCAL ATTORNEY, THEN MAYBE EVEN THIS LA FIRM COULD GET IN ON THE ACTION.

Proposition F will exponentially exacerbate the problem by encouraging an untold number of new lawsuits, thus delaying even more those who appropriately seek justice through San Francisco Superior Court

WELL LET’S SEE HERE. PROP F WILL BE BUT A DROP IN THE BUCKET AS FAR AS SF SUP CT IS CONCERNED. IT’S NOT GOING TO EXPONENTIALLY DO ANYTHING.

FIN.

OMG, It’s the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus – A Great Show at the Cow Palace – Eight Performances Through Labor Day

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Yesterday was media night at the circus (all the deets here). So I got tickets and you now get to see these photos and my impressions – that’s how it works.

I know some people/families who are planning on going on this long three-day weekend and I know others who aren’t interested at all. Me, I’d never been to a circus, except the deconstructed “human-only circus” known as Cirque du Soleil. So here we go.

Man, the 101 South had multiple accidents near Hospital Curve during yesterday’s Evening Drive? Sure seemed that way. The alternate route to the Cow Palace (camera right) was a hilly adventure in itself.

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An actual Showman:

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Man, this is one big road show – lots and lots of performers:

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I didn’t spot one tattoo. Amazing

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What’s this, Critical Mass? Lots and lots of BMX bikes

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If you like camels, this is the event for you – lots and…

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…and lots…

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…and lots of time with double-humped camels

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Bam, your high-wire act. This is impressive:

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Seats on the right side (I don’t know what to call it – the south side?) of our Cow Palace are particularly close to the action. They’re jumping around up there. For me, this was the highlight.

I’ve only seen this kind of thing in cartoons. Boom:

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What am I looking at here, is this real life? Some surreal scenes:

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Oh, a live orchestra in the pit? Didn’t expect that.

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And, ballerinas galore:

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And on and on.

Last night was the first show – they had $15 tickets available. The next eight shows start at $20. I paid $15 for parking, which I’d recommend paying for. If you see a free spot on Geneva right out front, you might want to go for that, but unless you show up way early, you’re not going to see that. They also have a more expensive lot close in but I wouldn’t recommend that.

Have fun!

A Hater’s Guide to the San Francisco Geography of Pixar’s “Inside Out” – Realistic Enough, But a Sort of Generic SF

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Did I say “hater?” Nah, that’s not the case, as Inside Out is a fine film. But as far as far as portraying a realistic San Francisco, it’s no Big Hero Six.

Let’s get the Lloyd Bentsen-style sanctimony out of the way – let me school this new movie:

Inside Out, I served with Big Hero Six.

I knew Big Hero Six.

Big Hero Six was a friend of mine.

Inside Out, you are no Big Hero Six.

(Big Hero 6 is awesome – it’s geographically correct, for the most part. Check it.)

Now we’ll deal with IO’s moving-to-Frisco scenes.

1. Golden Gate Bridge seen from Marin County – This view is all kinds of messed up, IIRC, and I do.

2. Looking up at GGB from its roadbed – Perfect, almost photorealistic.

3. Foot of Market Street near the Ferry Building. – Perfectly fine.

4. 1000 block of Lombard Street – Cars are too small – it’s never that crowded, actually.

5. Red cable car #25 on Hyde Street? – A generic view, but pretty good.

6. 21 Royal Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 – Well, if you’re on the unit (000) block of an alley that goes up a hill and across a regular street to continue on to the 100 block of the very same alley, well, I think we’re out of luck.

Here’s the alley. The telephone pole and blue Recology garbage / recycling can are true-to-life:

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Now here’s the real-life 21 Allen – it’s as close as I can find.

(Let’s not get into driving and parking – the driver does about average, considering he just blew into town.)

So that’s it – Inside Out shows SF well, but it’s not up to the level of other efforts.

(And oh, speaker of haters, they unloaded gallons of Hater-Ade upon poor, poor Cars 2:

The (mostly false) narrative after that was that Pixar got sequel happy and the quality dipped. Cars 2 was as much a passion project for John Lasseter as a merchandising cash cow, and the film did earn $559m worldwide despite lousy reviews and a low (for Pixar) $191m domestic total.”

Cars 2 is awesome, compared with what people say about poor poor Cars 2. Oh well.)

SFMTA’s Polk Street Parking Space Removal Plan has Spawned a Yelp War – A Five-Star Counterattack – Poor Dr. Hiura, Poor Other Dr. Hiura!

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

All right, get up to speed here.

And now, the latest salvo – if you’re an earnest Yelper who feels that Drs. Hiura & Hiura have been treated unfairly in the whole SFMTA Polk Street Parking Space Removal Plan, well all you can do is post a five-star review, you know, to help out:

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Except that this doesn’t help – the last thing that Hiura To The Power Of Two or Yelp need is a political debate carried out on Yelp.com.

Speaking of which, here’s something new from the Hiuras themselves:

I’m confused – whom’s this video for? IDK. Is it for patients so they’ll post five-star reviews? Or is it for potential patients? But who’s going to see it? (And who’s that woman in front of the green screen? Are we meant to think she works there? IDK.)

And I’ll tell you, at this point, no YouTubers have seen this video, like literally nobody.

Hey, did you see that storefront in the background of this clip? Look at all that metal security grating! That’s a reminder that this is Polk Gulch – an area that’s still “in transition,” as they say.

Oh, did I write Polk Gulch? What I meant to write was “Polk Village,” as that’s what some millionaire small-biz owners tried to rename the area a few years back. (I’m not sure how that turned out – certainly, I haven’t heard that term in a while.)

In any event, all that grating sure would be helpful if you’re ever battening down the hatches, like in preparation for another San Francisco Giants World Series riot, or if you were expecting ever more unwelcome visits from the StreetsBlogSF crowd, right?

Well guess what, the hatches have been battened – that means that the Hiuras no longer have anti-SFMTA propaganda posted in their window and the iconic red PEOPLE LOVE US ON YELP storefront sticker – well, that’s now gone as well, almost as if the Hiuras don’t want transit activists thinking of this bidness and the Yelp at the same time.

So on it goes. Perhaps this YelpWar will settle down after today’s big vote at City Hall*

*OMG, these people use so many buzz-phrases and “framing” words, I wonder if they’d even be able to translate their NewSpeak into regular English. Let’s have a try here, an “improvement” as any change that SFGov has ever made and/or something that it wants to spend tax or fee-payer money on, whether that change turns out to actually be an improvement or not IRL. And a “complete” street is one that has had tax or fee-payer money spent on it recently, as best I can figure. IRL, Polk Street was “completed” about a century and a half ago, right? And an “investment” is any spending done by SFGov, like the way my cousin used to invest his money at the slot machines inside the big airport in Vegas. Hey, how would a cosmetic surgeon propose to “improve” your body? How could s/he “complete” yourself? IDK, an “investment” in breasts implants? Hey, that’s what you should do, you should give me your money and you’ll be lifted and enhanced. Except sometimes that’s a bad choice, and other times it’s a meh choice, like whatever. And certainly, your life wasn’t “transformed,” as promised by those who literally make money off of selling an idea that may or may not be a good idea. Hey, is the SFMTA all about safety? Oh, Lord no, not really. IRL, it’s an inefficient organization that makes some good choices but also some bad choices in the name of “safety,” that’s what it is. Oh well. 

The Empire Strikes Back: Comments on Yelp from the More Rabid Elements of the StreetsBlog Mob Stricken – Drs. Hiura on Polk

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: Oh, Peter Lawrence Kane asked Yelp about these matters just this morning, so that prolly played a big role in Yelp’s very fast response.]

Oh, it’s all good – all the recent negative reviews for Drs. Hiura & Hiura Optometrists have been shuffled down the memory hole as of lunchtime today.

I’m a little surprised at the speed of the deletions.

From what I learned about Yelp from the famous SoMA Legacy Lunchtime Restaurants vs. New School Food Trucks Battle of a few years ago, it can take a long time for demonstrably false or self-serving Yelp postings to come down, if ever.

And I distinguish between reviewers who have brand-new accounts with just one review vs. reviewers with longer histories, and I thought Yelp sort of did as well, but no, they’re all gone.

Oh, here they are, right here, at the bottom of this page.

So I suppose that the penalty for speaking out against the plans of the SFMTA has just dropped, by a whole bunch.

So, Yelp wins once again…

One Reason Why You Shouldn’t Speak Out Against Any Big Plan the SFMTA Wants To Do: The Risk to Your Yelp Rating

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: The offending posts have already been TWEP – terminated with extreme prejudice. And, inevitably, fans of the Hiuras are now chipping in with five-star reviews…]

Drs. Hiura & Hiura Optometrists have done very well on the Yelp, but our ineffective and meretricious SFMTA’s recent push for the Polk Street Streetscape parking space removal project is not good their business.

Not good at all!

Check it, from the past few days:

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So, what will end up happening is your hard-earned, hard-to-get 5 star rating will come down a notch or two, or three, if you sign your John Hancocks to a letter like this – the blowback will be a brace of one star reviews from noncustomers.

The Grand Battle of Polk Gulch is well and truly joined.

Brace yourselves for March 3, 2015

Yelp vs. Lucky River Restaurant at 700 Monterey Boulevard – Rating Drops Due to “Sidewalk Steak” Viral Video

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Via KRON-TV’s Stanley Roberts comes news of this

Here’s the story:

San Francisco Sidewalk Steak – My buddies and I were walking up to the side door to Lucky River Restaurant at 700 Monterey Boulevard in San Francisco for lunch on Friday, November 21, 2014, and we saw this guy tenderizing or trying to break apart frozen meat. Yes, that appears to be frozen, raw meat that he’s slamming on the sidewalk. Maybe it’s what makes their Mongolian beef taste so good? Would you eat here after witnessing this?

And here come the Yelpers with some fresh one-star reviews:

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On It Goes…

Now You Can Protest Your Unfair SFMTA MUNI DPT SFBC Ticket Online – One Weird Trick – Here’s Your Link

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Via SF Bay’s Transportation Writer Jerold Chinn, here’s your link, Baby!

https://wmq.etimspayments.com/pbw/include/sanfrancisco/dispute_request.jsp

It’s New, it’s You. It’s Now, it’s Wow.

Of course, most of the citations handed out by the SFMTA MUNI DPT SFBC (oddly, the SFMTA/SFGov gives a lot of money to our local San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, so it acts as an arm of the government these days. Oddly) are handed out “fairly.” And I would even go as far as to say that most of the tickets protested as “unfair” were handed out fairly as well.

OTOH, there are some SFMTA employees who do bad things – they steal multiple $6 cable car fares each and every day or they say you parked for more than two hours in an RPP zone when you didn’t. And then the official SFMTA spokesmodels bend over backwards to say that no SFMTA employees ever do anything bad ever. EVER!

(And considering how often these spokesmodels get their facts wrong, well … oh well. Bygones.)

Here’s your screenshot:

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Good luck, Offenders!

“Online Citation Protest

Step 1 of 6

This website allows you to protest one citation at a time.
As part of the review process, you will be allowed to upload 3 documents to help us in our decision-making process.
Do not use your browser’s back arrow to navigate or you will need to start over.

Citation Number: where to find

Per the California Vehicle and Public Utility Code, you may have only one review per citation within the statutory time limits.
While in the process of protesting your citation, additional penalties will not be added to the violation.

Technical Support for Online Services
If you need help or have questions about this service, please complete this form or call 311 (415.701.2311).”

What It’s Like to Stay at a Mid-Market Hotel for $60-Something per Night: “Budget Inn,” 1139 Market Street

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Well, here’s an upbeat take:

Hotel Tour : Budget Inn San Francisco CA by DieselDucy:

Compare that with Yelp – a very low one-star rating:

“I want to leave, but it’s already 1am and we are both too afraid to leave our locked room. We get 4 hrs or interrupted sleep (the walls are paper thin and the doors have cracks in them), pray that we didn’t get exposed to tuberculosis, hepatitis and/or herpes and book it out of there. Trust me folks, this place isn’t worth the $60. I’ve stayed in $15 hostels while traveling though Europe that were both cleaner and safer than this place.”

And there’s this:

” If you have less than $150 night for a decent place to stay, youre actually safer just camping at golden gate park than any of these SROs…”

And there’s the bedbug allegations, natch.

Choose wisely…

Introducing the “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – What It’s Like to Ride an Amphibious Vehicle on the Bay

Monday, July 14th, 2014

IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:

Taking the Kids: Quacking up and around the city by the bay

I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – it starts at 7:30 PM.

Here’s Captain John:

Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:

So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.

So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…

…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…

…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…

…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.

I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.

So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:

And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.

This was the late-starting 7:30 PM sunset cruise so things were getting darker as we made our way past AT&T Park:

You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.

This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.

Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.

Looking back at the Bay Bridge through Doris and Don Fisher’s Cupid’s Span skate park / tourist hiking platform – plenty of oohs and ahs at this point here:

Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…

…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:

These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?

And there’s your trip:

So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.

And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.

If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.

This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.