Posts Tagged ‘sfgov’

Assignment Desk: What If SFGov Held a “Free 3-Month Culinary Job Training Program” and Nobody Showed Up?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

You tell me, babe, is this official?

Sure looks official

How’s the attendance these days? I don’t know, actually.

What’s that, they’re promoting it through new channels, they’re still doing outreach for it even after it’s begun?

OK fine.

Does the San Francisco Unified School District Have an “ADA Tiger Team?” Yes, Here’s Its Big Old Truck

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Let’s review:

tiger team is a group of experts assigned to investigate and/or solve technical or systemic problems. A 1964 paper defined the term as “a team of undomesticated and uninhibited technical specialists, selected for their experience, energy, and imagination, and assigned to track down relentlessly every possible source of failure in a spacecraft subsystem.”

So our school district employees drive around the 415 to put the beat down on noncompliant handicapped ramps and whatnot?

Yes, yes they do.

See? 

Click to expand

But why doesn’t the van have tiger stripes painted on the side? This seems like a missed opportunity…

Why on Earth Does the SFGov.Org Website Concern Itself with Censorship in China – Isn’t This Off-Message?

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Take a look:

Click to expand

Answer: Yes, it sure as Hell is off-message.

“smeraldolacr821
Basic Info
The search engine is one particular of the most popular sites in the planet and its Chinese language version was widely utilised in the nation. Beijing routinely blocks access to websites run by the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, human rights groups and some foreign news organisations like the BBC.”

Incredibly, Official San Francisco Celebrates the Destruction of Hetch Hetchy Valley – 100 Years of Raker Act

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Here’s the real story.

And here’s today’s feel-good press release from SFGov:

“The Pen That Changed the Bay Area Forever

Bay Area Leaders Celebrate the Centennial of the Raker Act with a New City Hall Exhibit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, Bay Area leaders joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to celebrate the centennial of the signing of the Raker Act into law at a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall.  The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a new City Hall exhibit featuring the pen that President Woodrow Wilson used to sign the legislation 100 years ago today.

“The Raker Act enabled the construction of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System and Hetch Hetchy Power System,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly. “Once President Wilson signed the act into law, the San Francisco Bay Area began to construct a public water system that now serves 2.6 million people across four Bay Area counties. It also allowed for construction of a public power system that provides clean hydroelectric energy for San Francisco city services like public buses, schools, firehouses, and more.”

The Raker Act provided the rights of way to construct water and power facilities over federal land in Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest. Named after its chief sponsor John E. Raker, Congressman from Manteca, the bill granted the rights to build O’Shaughnessy Dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley, and construct water-collection and power-generating facilities stretching from the Sierras to the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The communities and businesses in the Bay Area were able to develop and thrive because of access to high quality water,” said Nicole Sandkulla, Chief Executive Officer of the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA). “A true engineering marvel, this system supports the health and economic vitality of nearly 7% of California’s population.”

Despite, countless earthquakes, fires and other natural disasters, each day, 2.6 million people in the Bay Area turn on the tap and quench their thirst with Hetch Hetchy Water – some of the most pristine, cleanest water found anywhere in the world. While this water is delivered to its customers, the system also generates on average 1.7 billion kilowatts hours of clean, greenhouse gas-free electricity for San Francisco and its electricity customers. With no carbon footprint from its electricity supply, the SFPUC is considered one of the cleanest electric utilities anywhere.

The City Hall exhibit features a redwood plaque with a silver facsimile of the letter President Wilson wrote which explained his reasoning for signing the Raker Act. Mounted on the plaque is the actual pen the President used to sign the bill into law.

The plaque was originally presented to former San Francisco Mayor James Rolph, Jr. at the dedication of O’Shaughnessy Dam in 1923. Governor Rolph passed this heirloom on to his son, James Rolph III. Rolph was close friends with SFPUC Commissioner Oliver M. Rousseau, and because of this friendship he gave the plaque to Commissioner Rousseau. In 1970 Commissioner Rousseau officially presented the plaque to our commission as the logical and permanent home for such an historic piece. Until a few years ago, the location of the pen was lost to all.  Curators have now refurbished the piece in time for its public debut in City Hall.

Passage of the Raker Act met with a great deal of opposition at the time, having more to do with protecting states and local water rights. Its most well-known opponent was John Muir, environmentalist and founder of the Sierra Club. The merits of the Act are still debated by some today.

“Love or hate the Raker Act, it is undeniable that its passage was truly historic for the San Francisco Bay Area,” concluded General Manager Kelly. “The Hetch Hetchy Regional Water and Power Systems  have reliably served the region well for nearly 100 years.”

Ouch: Membership Dues Have [Fallen] at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

[UPDATE:  Per the SFBC, "...you should have read Part VIII, lines 1b and 2a, of the 990s for both the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Education Fund."

So, here's 2010:

1b makes sense but 2a is not membership dues so adding them together doesn't help.

And 2011:

Again, 1b makes sense but 2a is not membership dues so adding them together doesn't help.

And here's 2012:

(And the Bicycle Coalition Education Fund 990's don't really factor in all that much, like $10 or $20 grand each.)

So IDK, would you, Gentle Reader, suppose that different strategies were applied for 2010 and 2011 vs. 2012? I would. Because the "non-contribution portions of membership dues" went from $0 in 2010 and 2011 all the way up to $135,933 in 2012. Is there any explanation for this? Did the accountant(?) for 2011 and earlier fill out the 990 forms incorrectly? IDK. Is this kind of a thing a big deal, worth amending a bunch of other recent returns? IDK.

(Did IRS laws on this topic change the past several years? I don't think so, as this guide from 2008 remains unchanged.)

Now when I say "membership dues," what's actually written in there for 2012 is "memberships." Now memberships is a different thing, IMO. Memberships is what the SFBC spent a lot of time crowing about when memberships were actually increasing. But these days memberships are decreasing. Why is that? I ask.

So, what the SFBC is now calling it a 3% "membership income change" I'd call it a 3% membership dues decrease. And this comes at a time when the population of San Francisco is increasing and at a time when SFGov and the SFBC officially "expect" a sixfold increase in the number of trips made by bicycle in San Francisco by 2020, all the way up to 20%. ("20 by '20" or something.) I don't think anybody believes in this fantasy, you know, actually, but, well, there you go.

So, membership dues at the SFBC have decreased more like 3% year over year, rather than 40-something percent.

But if I were running the SFBC and I were as sensitive about giving out my 990's as this...

"The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's annual reports discuss our biggest successes and challenges, and present a broad picture of our income and expenses. If you have specific questions about our finances, please contact Leah Shahum, Executive Director, 415/431-BIKE x306."

...I'd amend my returns so that they would be self consistent, at the very least. END UPDATE]

And by the past year, I mean let’s use the most recent Form 990, the one* that was filed about four months ago, and compare it with the one what was filed for the year before.

Check it. Here’s the 990 for 2011 - $344,663 in reported membership dues:

Click to expand

And here’s the 990 for 2012 – just $185,921:

Now, what could explain this sudden and dramatic drop in “support?”

Well, we had the Chris Bucchere accident in the first quarter of 2012 and some members didn’t exactly approve of the way that SFBC officers dealt with the issue. Perhaps revenue went down in the following quarters?

And we had the shocking SFBC endorsement of Republican-backed Mayor Ed Lee near the end of 2011 – I doubt that paying members would have approved of that had they been given the opportunity.

You know, this guy, the one who always looks up to the formerly-despised Willie Brown:

Of course, people can always do a Barter Membership, but you’d think that dues-paying members would volunteer anyway, right?

Take a look at the numbers on the tax returns, it seems as if the SFBC is just another arm of the SFMTA or, indeed, of SFGov. (Except it’s an agency that can officially endorse Ed Lee for Mayor.)

Oh well.

Anyway, this is why the SFBC no longer boasts of increasing membership anymore.

[UPDATE: Did the 10% discount for SFBC members at Rainbow Grocery really make that much of a difference? IDK. See Comments.]

*There’s also something called the Education Fund, which also gets membership dues – $10k for 2011 and $20k for 2012. But if you throw those numbers in you’re still looking at a 40-something percent decline year over year.

Back in the Day, Fire Escapes / Wooden Decks Like These Would Collapse a Lot – But Not Anymore

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

For some reason.

A couple decades back, people at house parties would overload these decks and then come crashing down, due to dry rot people would say.

I suppose SFGov is doing a better job regulating things nowadays.

Introducing the “Front Yard Ambassadors Program” – All Stick, No Carrot – Will It “Transform” the Sunset District?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Here’s the thing. “Planners” back in the day had no freaking idea how many cars would populate the Sunset District.

They also had no idea how much public transit in the West Bay would degrade over the decades.

So it’s hard to park way out there.

So people improperly pave over their front yards for more “driveway” parking, don’t ask don’t tell.

Thusly:

Anyway, here’s what appointed Supervisor Katy Tang has for Fog Country – it’s the FYAP!

But if you participate, it’ll cost you $245 and you’ll have to listen to what SFGov tells you to do.

This is the kind of thing that will end up pissing off some of the people living out there.

This is a program for the sake of having a program. It will “transform” nothing. And it will not “change” the “pedestrian experience.” Sorry.

But, if you want to try this out, by all means:

“The Front Yard Ambassadors Program gives Sunset District residents the opportunity transform their front yards into vibrant, ecologically friendly and easy to maintain spaces in order to accomplish the following:

  • Change the pedestrian experience and demonstrate neighborhood pride
  • Provide permeable surface to take pressure off our combined sewer system and recharge our underground aquifer
  • Educate the community about what plant species are suited to our microclimate
  • Build relationships with neighbors and encourage the community to work together

Our Partners & Sidewalk Landscaping

Sidewalk landscaping programs exist in several organizations. To learn more about why increasing green space and permeable surfaces is important in San Francisco, visit the websites of our partners in the Front Yard Ambassadors Program below:

Apply to the Front Yard Ambassadors Program

Download the Fact Sheet Here
Download the Fact Sheet in Chinese
View Photos of Sunset District Gardens Here (Coming Soon)
Download the Application Here
Download the Application in Chinese

Questions?
Call our office (415) 554-7460 or email ashley.summers@sfgov.org

Front Yard Ambassadors Program Fact Sheet

How do I apply?
Apply by submitting an application, answers to the supplemental questionnaire and photos of
your front yard. You must ensure that a minimum of five residences on your block also submit
an application to be considered for the program. The application can be found on our website at
www.sfbos.org/tang under the “Front Yard Ambassadors Program” tab.

What is the cost?
Residents chosen for the program will pay a nominal permit fee, depending on how many
residents apply. Permit fees can range from $182 – $245.

How do I get my neighbors to participate?
This is a great time to meet your neighbors! Knock on their door and find out if they are
interested. You must have a minimum of five neighbors on your block to apply.

Who maintains the yard after installation?
Program participants will sign a Letter of Agreement that they will maintain the yard as long as
they reside at their current address. We hope that neighbors will get together for a work day each
year to help each other. Additional support will be provided by Friends of the Urban Forest.

What types of plants and landscaping will be installed?
Once chosen, residents will be able to sit down with professional landscape architects to discuss
their ideas. We have included photos of yards in the Sunset on our webpage for inspiration at
www.sfbos.org/tang. All landscaping will be low maintenance, drought tolerant, and able to live
in our coastal conditions.

Other questions can be directed to our office at (415) 554-7460.

Message From Our Corporate Coffee Overlords: We Own the Sidewalk at 225 Bush Street, More or Less

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

 As was foretold, the newly-approved bench and table and chairs at 225 Bush are kind of a mess. What’s the point in having a super wide sidewalk in the 94104 Financh if there’s going to be a bottleneck betwixt a giant 17 foot tall ad (a former newspaper kiosk long since closed down) and all this?

Check it:

I cry foul.

Actually, I didn’t cry foul afore the deadline to do so passed by in June 2013. As I’m not a NIMBY. And now that we can see the bench but also the table and the chairs, we can see that all this stuff takes up too much space and leaves like three feet of space for the peds to squeeze by.

Even Coffee Culture lovers / customers were appalled by these cheesy plastic chairs when they first appeared.

IDK, maybe this sitch has fixed itself the past few weeks, but this system of having a trial and putting up a sign for people to complain to SFGov doesn’t work if corporations do a bait and switch deal with the layout.

Again, I cry foul.

Oh, and speaking of corporations:

Here’s coffee dude’s website, srsly.

Dude, do you think you leased the sidewalk too?

Approve not I do.

News from Inside the America’s Cup: SFGov “is very unhappy with the promised financial bonanza being anything but.”

Friday, July 5th, 2013

So let’s hear from America’s Cup 2013 Safety Committee member Jim Farmer, QC [Her Majesty's Counsel learned* in the law]:

The City of San Francisco is very unhappy with the promised financial bonanza being anything but.”

Heretofore, everything that could have gone wrong with the 2013 America’s Cup has gone wrong. All we can do now is hope that no one else dies for the sake of Larry Ellison’s ego.

Oh well.

And is this America’s Cup going to be the last big thing Larry Ellison does before he dies?

Oh well.

So there’s this – it’s the kind of thing called Harsh Reality Time:

“Much of the vision, it is now apparent, has turned to custard.  Larry Ellison’s prediction that there would be a dozen or more challengers (up to 15 perhaps) looks absurd with only 3 challengers making it to the start line and one of them not yet ready to race.   The City of San Francisco is very unhappy with the promised financial bonanza being anything but.  The tragic death of Andrew Simpson when the first (and so far only) Artemis boat disintegrated as it collapsed has cast a pall over the Event from which even the spectacular speed of these boats is unlikely to clear away.

And there’s this:

“One has to hope most earnestly that there is no further disaster.  So far these boats have not yet raced in anger and that has to be the major concern.  Two boats, each sailing at over 40 knots and closing from opposing tacks at a mark at an effective combined speed of 80 knots, is not for the faint-hearted.  Getting crew down safely or out of the water from a boat that has capsized remains a serious challenge even for sailors who are well equipped, fit and trained to deal with that situation as best they can.  Fortunately, sanity prevailed with one of the Regatta Director’s safety recommendations being a prohibition on corporate guests sitting on the back of one of these racing machines.  How crazy was that idea in the first place?”

Oh, and there’s this:

“…it will be economics that will prevent the next edition of the Cup under Ellison’s control being a success.   Three challengers this time.  It is hard to see any of those challengers continuing with the same model of the Event next time.  Yes, there will be others who will be happy to do the A45 thing, as there were this time, but the question will be whether (billionaires aside) more than one or two will be able to go to the next stage – which is the America’s Cup after all.  And even the viability of the AC45 circuit must be uncertain.  The existing model of cities paying all the costs of each mini-event, including the cost of getting the 45s there, just didn’t work this time, with a number of planned events being cancelled because of lack of financial support.”

Anyway, the point is that Appointed Mayor and Willie Brown butt-boy Ed Lee knows that this venture is a big flop, but he’s afraid to say or do anything about it.

Oh well.

Monstrous Big Red, a ticking time bomb that went off a couple months ago:

*Pepe: “Wow, Papa Homer, you are so learn-ed.” Homer: “It’s pronounced “learned.’”

The Crowded Sidewalks of Bush Street: Is There Room for Chairs Betwixt “Curry Up Now” and “Coffee Cultures?”

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Uh, no, there’s not.

See?

Click to expand

Ah, here’s a quieter time between the most popular food truck in the bay area and the new cawfee shawp inside of the Standard Oil Building at 225 Bush:

Now I’ll tell you, I couldn’t care less* about this issue, but you? You have a lot of time on your hands…

If I were in charge, I’d probably say thumbs down on the street furniture, but I’d allow them some signage.

Of course, I’m not in charge and, as stated, I don’t care.

Super don’t care.

As always, I’ll find a way** to navigate the Streets of San Francisco regardless.

Courage.

*Obviously, things are going to be a bit crowded at lunchtime, ’cause that curry truck is uber popular. OTOH, passersby might not ever realize that’s there’s a new upscale coffee place there unless they see people hanging about sipping away. (This reminds me of parklets, which some business owners think they own because the process for getting one is so costly.) 

**But I don’t use a wheelchair…