Archive for August, 2007

Closing Time at You’s

Spare the Air day means that the 30-Stockton through Chinatown is even more intense. The driver had a good attitude, she was laughing and joking with folks. I asked her if it was any different than pay-days. She said it was all the same. She can’t keep track of who comes on without a fare anyways. I stepped off before the tunnel to hit You’s Dim Sum. The shark fin dumpling and pot sticker were barely a dollar, and they threw in a meatball dumpling. Dinner for under a dollar, in such an expensive city.

Things to do while the bridge is closed

Watch the replacement of the 350-foot Treasure Island viaduct live on KPIX’s webcam.

Stephen Beachy reads tonight at Dog-Eared Books on Valencia St. Beachy is perhaps best known for the New York Magazine article (rejected by the SF Bay Guardian) which first raised doubts about the identity of the writer behind the J.T. LeRoy books. (Previously: ‘JT LeRoy’ hoaxer in court)

If you can’t face crowding onto BART this weekend, consider a ferry ride. Here are links to the Oakland/Alameda line and the Golden Gate and Vallejo lines. More bridge closure info.
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Old Unfaithful @ 18th & Guerrero

Out of the blue, I get an email from a friend stating that he’s currently being drenched in a geyser of fluid, in the Mission. I responded, saying I hadn’t logged onto Manhunt in days, so I may not know what the hottest opening ‘gesture’ this weekday could be right now. And that I’m actually tied up ( in a non-hot way). Sorry. Oopsie. Turns out, a truck ran over the fire hydrant in front of the apartment building he lives in. Instant Unfaithful. So like yeah, ta da. Of course, someone clocked it all on YouTube. (Bullseye to the impromtu soundrack btw.)

Cliff Notes: Despite the fact that 800 gallons of water poured onto the roof of his apartment building, nothing leaked through into his apartment. But there is water damage in the rest of the building. Good karma indeed!

GPS in Cabs

Took a taxi home the other night from the Mission ( to North Beach, yes it was $20) by a new cab driver. He’d been on the job for 3 weeks. I found this out when I noticed that while we were on Van Ness, he took a right at Lombard. Yep, his GPS told him to take Lombard over to North Beach. Gotta love it.

More news on cabbies w/ GPS here: Cabbies May Strike To Protest Mandatory GPS Systems. London cabbies have bigger brains.

Aaron Peskin – Our Only Hope ?

Everyone knows that the city’s parks are in need of some help, and while cutting all the shrubs and finally chasing the live-in speed freaks out is a start, there are other issues afoot.

One Cole Valley Neighborhood NIMBY is angry, and getting no where with the folks ensconced in historic McLaren Lodge, he’s been reaching out to Board of Supes Prez Aaron Peskin at City Hall. In fact in a recent open letter, he claims that Peskin, is “Our Only Hope”, giving the nerdy Telegraph Hill dweller a rep more akin to the one Princess Leia heaved on Obie Wan Kenobi.

Perhaps such Sci-Fi dramatics are warranted when you spend hour upon unpaid hour voluntarily analyzing the topsy turvy alternate universe of the 2005-2006 Park & Rec expenditures, something the city doesn’t seem to have time to do. It’s a wacky world where one guy can turn a park patrol gig into a 6 figure feast & make more than 70% of his pay via overttime, and yer average staff gardener or debris truck drivers can literally rake in over $80,000 a year, yet basic services like public restrooms languish.

With the recent California Supreme Court decision that declares gov’ts must release public employee salary information…who knows, maybe something will finally come of this long running ten year fiasco.

After all, it was in a city employee audit in 1996 that this comment was made:
” By providing a culture of unfettered acceptance and opportunity for individuals to increase their salaries substantially over base levels, the City may be inadvertently encouraging its employees to overwork themselves and to manipulate the work scheduling system to achieve personal economic advantage.”

Huh? like G.W Bush said of the effects of Katrina, who could have ever imagined or foreseen such a thing occuring?

Not the folks in charge in McLaren Lodge anyhow… hmmm, maybe the guy in charge of the still fk’d up stables can get a job running FEMA?

The full letter to Peskin about SF tax dollars at work in the parks after the jump…
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If all the damn dirty hippies are at burning man…

…then why does our fair city smell like so much cow ass? I went down to Pier 38 for a NewTeeVee party and when I got off the train it smelled like a wall of manure was marching it’s way across the city. I put it down to the copious amounts of tech industry bullshit that was being slung at the party by wannabe new media moguls. I was proven quite wrong when I got back home to the Inner Sunset and it smelled just as bad! I stopped by the corner store for some cat food and that’s all everyone was talking about. Apparently it’s everywhere and nowhere in our city is safe. Did a cow crap tanker sink somewhere offshore today because the police should really issue tickets for that shit. Quite literally. Or maybe Valleywag was having a party too. That’s enough BS to blanket half the west coast.

Free Wi-Fi Plan Likely Too Costly For Broke Earthlink

While proponents of a locally owned & operated free wi-fi system may rejoice at the news, the story that Earthlink is shuttering it’s SF offices can’t be good news for those, including the mayor, awaiting the advancement of Earthlink’s SF wi-fi proposal.

900 employees are being laid off nationwide, and the struggling ISP founded by Scientologist Sky Dayton ( now with Helio) in Southern California a decade ago has been hemorrhaging cash for awhile, and recently appointed a new CEO this summer.

Among those let go is exec Don Berryman, the head of EarthLink’s municipal Wi-Fi initiative for the last two years since it’s inception, and the company apparently has no plans to replace him. Even if Earthlink’s SF WiFi commitment is solid, it still faces uncertain approval from the notoriously suspicious SF board of supervisors.

more on Earthlink’s woes after the jump
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anyone got a spare $1.43 Billion?

Anyone out there with a spare billion or so?
oh, and no, it’s not simply for a Barry Bonds’ contract extension…

While many Bay Area desert rats congregated to spend hundreds while committing acts of hedonistic arson outside Reno, a local conservation group wants just $4 a year per citizen, for 50 years. Oakland based “Save The Bay” released an estimate of $1.43 billion representing the cost over a half century to “fully restore” some 36,176 acres of shoreline. That’s a large portion of the marshes & muddy tidal areas that are already in public domain and slated for wetland restoration. The environmentalists have a wish list that includes grabbing up to 100,000 acres total including south bay salt ponds, with no price tag mentioned or source of obtaining additional funding in the plan.

Reality checking their eco-dream was a statement by democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, released on Monday saying

“I do my level best to get funding for wetlands restoration every year, and I will continue to do so,” she said. “But there is only so much federal funding. Wetlands restoration is very costly, and additional federal dollars are very difficult because you have to take it from other projects.”

[note: So far the estimates of the Bay Area's collective contribution for the federal project known as Operation Iraqi Insurgent Riling and Oil Liberation is well over 15 Billion ...]

Some links to Bay Area wetland conservation and environmental groups after the jump…
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Wednesday: Spare some air; Friday: Lose your keys

SF skyline from Marin Headlands, Flickr photo by wagtag
Flickr photo by wagtag

As the current heat wave persists, Wednesday has been declared a Spare The Air Day, this time with free transituntil 1 pm.. You may remember that last year we had so many of them, the budget for free transit ran out and they had Spare The Air Days with no incentive… But people still drove less, I recall.

It’s a good time to get in practice for the bridge closure this weekend — 8 pm Friday is the scheduled time. Which reminds me — isn’t that also the monthly Critical Mass ride? Yepper. The monthly mechanized mystery — mess or mitzvah? — commences at 6 pm the same day.

Weird THC just got Weirder

THC in this case refers not to a popular potent herbal compound, but to Tenderloin Housing Clinic, one of the city’s largest “non-profit” housing providers, who claim to have spent 27 years, ( and millions of tax dollars) “Improving Tenants’ Lives”. If you’ve ever been in one of their wonderful buildings, you might just wonder what the THC are smoking.

You may recall a couple posts I made here earlier this month, in which we detailed the experiences of tenant Jeff Webb, who began documenting the strange goings on, threats & violence in his “supportive” environs run by the taxpayer funded THC. Turns out his SRO hotel isn’t the only one out of the 15 run by the THC to have some suspect management practices. Jeff reports today that the “Weird Just Got Weirder…”

The Mission Hotel’s longtime, but now fired manager, had alleged links to the violent Norteno gang, and has been accused of assaulting, threatening, extorting, stalking and harassing not only tenants but THC employees. He has had a restraining order placed against him by none other than Randy Shaw’s own Tenderloin Housing Clinic, the same organization that vetted and hired this guy for a management position overseeing 248 units several years ago.
norteno-thc-hotel.jpg

According to Jeff, who has posted the legal documents on his website:

Carlos Hernandez (aka Carlos Mendoza-Hernandez), former manager of the Mission Hotel recently fired by Tenderloin Housing Clinic is reputed to be a Norteno gang member. This was alleged in a Temporary Restraining Order filed last Thursday, August 23, 2007

more info at Jeff’s blog after linked after the jump…
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