We don’t need CalTrain for bullet trains, says HSR

California’s High Speed Rail Commission, the agency tasked with getting bullet trains running up and down the state sometime this century, says CalTrain’s “staggering deficit” and possible collapse will not keep it from proceeding with its plans.

Just because the local transit agency, which runs trains from San Francisco to San Jose (and Gilroy, at commute times), is facing drastic cuts to its schedule, even a possible shutdown, doesn’t mean the bullet train project can’t go forward. High speed rail would share the CalTrain right-of-way from Gilroy north (click for a Google map overlay of the bullet train route), and if CalTrain can’t hold it together in the decade or two before the bullet trains arrive, the High Speed Rail Commission might just take over CalTrain. At least that was the idea “floated” by HSR board member Rod Diridon, long-time transit mandarin. After all, they’re both essentially state agencies.

The map shows some details of the HSR plan on the Peninsula, where some sections would be in a trench, some on an elevated way, some at grade level.

Meanwhile, the threat of a lawsuit forced the CalTrain board to put on hold the long-planned electrification of the line. Inexplicably, the lawsuit is from an environmental group, even though electrification would make the line less polluting. Right now it seems CalTrain can’t do anything right.

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Feds approve $$$ to scuttle Mothball Fleet

The Mothball Fleet, a collection of several dozen rusting military ships left over from wars of the past that has been mouldering in an upper reach of San Francisco Bay, will be finally removed soon under a plan just approved by federal government officials.

The collection of ships, tethered together in several rows in Suisun Bay off Benicia, have been there for decades; some of the ships last saw service in World War II. See this 2008 news story from KPIX channel 5, which points out that their lead paint made them a toxic hazard and that it cost $5 million a year just to keep them there.

Click the picture below to go to a Google satellite map of the ships.

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Sidewalk actions today

I found out about this late, but you may still have time to catch some of the sidewalk activities being organized against the proposed sit/lie ordinance. The activities, from lemonade stands to sidewalk sales to a comedy show, are happening throughout the city to protest the proposed ordinance, which would enable police to cite people who are sitting or lying on city sidewalks.

The ordinance was proposed following a series of columns in the Chronicle by C. W. Nevius fomenting against bullying street punks in the Haight who were said to be intimidating shoppers and merchants.

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Mission Street Food needs backers

A few days ago Mission Mission broke the news that Mission Street Food, the weekly happening where a chef takes over a crummy little Chinese takeout kitchen and produces a strange and wonderful gourmet meal, is getting its own place, to be called Commonwealth.

But it’s not all in place. They are looking for backers so they can buy kitchen equipment. Using the Kickstarter micro-granting site, you can donate a small amount which, combined with donations from hundreds of others, will fully equip their hearth. Plus, they promise to donate half of what they get through Kickstarter to charity after they’ve been open a year. Plus, the whole restuarant project is a non-profit charity-benefitting thing. You can’t go wrong.

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San Francisco: Vintage Fashion Expo

Finding that one of a kind fashion piece which makes a statement can be a challenge. The Vintage Fashion Expo offers vintage clothing, textiles, and accessories for women and men. Styles are available from Haute Couture to Hot Couture, and from Edwardian to Mod.

Vintage Fashion Expo

March 20th and 21st at the Concourse Exhibition Center
635 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 490-5800

Show Hours:
Saturday March 20th Early Buy: 9am – 10:30am ($20)
Regular Admission 10:30am-6pm ($10).

Sunday Regular Admission 11am-5pm ($10)
Sunday admission FREE with Saturday ticket purchase.
Students FREE on Sunday with ID

$2.00 off Coupon

Concourse Exhibition Center

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Free Cab after St. Patrick’s Day Binge

San Francisco or East Bay residents who have had that ‘one too many’ can get home free and safely by calling for a taxi.

The Safe and Sober program will run from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Wednesday, March 17.

Remember, rides will be given from a bar or restaurant to a residence, not to other drinking locations.

Let the operator know that you need a “Safe and Sober Free Cab Ride Home ” and mention Berg Injury Lawyers when requesting a free ride.

For a free ride home within the city of San Francisco, call Luxor Cabs at (415) 282-4141.

For a free ride home within Alameda, Oakland, and Berkeley city limits, call Veterans Cab at (800) 281-4488.

Thanks to the Berg Injury Lawyers Safe and Sober Program

Or:
AAA is offering a free five-mile tow home (make sure your bar of choice is within 5-miles from home) for you, or your tipsy friend.

Obviously a tow truck will not hold all your friends, so keep it to two.

Call the AAA operator @ 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and say, “I need a Tipsy Tow”.

Note: You or your tipsy friend need not be a AAA member!

Where: The San Francisco Bay Area

When: St.Patrick’s Day – March 17th

6 PM to 6 AM on the morning of the 18th.

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The Mission through British eyes

The Mission district of the city: it’s like Camden only with wider roads and more second-hand bookshops.

She means a U.K. Camden, not the one in New Jersey (but I don’t know if she means Camden Town or the London borough of Camden; I’m thinking the former). Anyway, that was Rachel Cooke, writer for the Guardian (U.K.), in a feature on Dave Eggers in which she visits the writer and publisher’s lair on Valencia and finds him warm, modest, and soft-spoken. She covers his entire career, then visits the pirate store, where “I fall into a swoon of happiness.”


Carlos Santana: Mayor’s Art Award Winner

Carlos Santana at SFO

In January of ’09 I spotted Santana at SFO near a baggage carousel. Without hesitation I walked up to him. Handing him a Metblogs card I asked, “What would you like our readers to know?’ Graciously he spent time talking with me. I learned of his commitment to children, and that Carlos and his family established “The Milagro Foundation”.

On Thursday, March 18, 2010 Mayor Gavin Newsom will present Carlos Santana with the Mayor’s Art Award: “Carlos Santana is without a doubt one of San Francisco’s most beloved icons,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “When he burst onto the scene with his extraordinary new sound he solidified San Francisco’s position as one of the main stages in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. His music transcends not only musical genres, but also cultural, geographical and political boundaries, and he has brought millions of people together through his art. He is also an artist who gives back to his community. It is my great honor to present the 2010 Mayor’s Art Award to Carlos Santana for his commitment to improving the lives of others and for his tremendous contributions to music.”

Unfortunately, the event which is sponsored by the San Francisco Examiner is private. I believe that the city missed an opportunity. By opening the event to the public some serious money could have been raised – possibly for Mr. Santana’s foundation.

Santana

The Milagro Foundation (with sound)

Supernatural Santana: A Trip Through The Hits


San Francisco Airline Memorabilia Show

Grosvenor Best Western

The 12th semiannual “San Francisco Airline Memorabilia Show and Sale” will be held at the Grosvenor Best Western.

Aviation aficionados will be hoping to find advertising paraphernalia, posters, playing cards, timetables, pamphlets, postcards, pins, china, flatware, and glass.

Grosvenor Best Western
380 S. Airport Blvd. South San Francisco.
March 13, 2010
Hours: 9am to 3pm
Admission: $5.
Details: 650-281-4486.
Elsie said that parking (for non-guests of the hotel) should be free.

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Our Visit to Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant


We were on 280 north approaching Ocean Ave. when I remembered a show that I had seen on The Food Network. Guy Fieri (Diners Drive-ins and Dives) stopped in at “Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant“. Ten minutes later we were ordering burgers from our waitress, Savannah.

Our freshly ground steak beef burgers were just as good as Guy had described them on TV,  but my husband thought that they were overpriced for the quantity.

Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant
4320 Mission Street @ Silver
San Francisco

Open: 11am – 11pm
7 Days a Week
(except announced holidays)
Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant flickr set

SAVANNAH


Babatunde Lea presents Umbo Weti: A Tribute to Leon Thomas

After Yoshi’s celebrates St. Paddy’s Day with the unlikely Gil-Scott Heron on Mar 16th & 17th, another unique event comes to town the next night. Master Percussionist Babatunde Lea brings an all-star jazz virtuoso quintet feat. vocalist Dwight Trible, saxophonist Ernie Watts, pianist/vocalist Patrice Rushen & bassist Gary Brown to town.

The night of March 18th promises to be a musical meeting of the minds @ SF’s Yoshi’s when these 5 veterans hit the stage to celebrate their new CD release ‘Umbo Weti: A Tribute to Leon Thomas’. The album was recorded right here in the Bay Area live at Yoshi’s in 2008 and is a 2 disc tribute to the late ‘spiritual bop’ vocalist Leon Thomas who passed in 1999.

To read more about the lineup, download a sample mp3, see a video etc, and show times & details read more here @ the complete entry
read more below the fold

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Mission Graduates’ fundraiser: trip to Costa Rica

One of my favorite charities, Mission Graduates, helps reinforce basic skills for kids in the Mission District and prepare them for college. Now they’re having a fundraiser where the grand prize is a trip to a Costa Rica resort. Mmm, looks romantic.

In other fundraising news, have you seen Kickstarter? People put their project proposals online and ask people to donate small sums. Projects range from the artistic (films, books, other art projects) to small businesses like these three women starting a cake bakery. And your donation is only accepted if the whole project is supported by tens or dozens of people and reaches its fundraising goal. What’s really fun about Kickstarter is that it combines the thrill of internet shopping with the thrill of helping others. Cool idea!


Let’s (Vegan Food) Party!


Bay Area Vegetarians are having a party for vegans. It will be a community event, rather like a potluck.

Where: Pacifica
When: Sun. 2/28 @ 12noon
Location: Sharp Park Library, 104 Hilton Way at Palmetto, Pacifica (15 minutes south of SF)
Parking: Free Lot and Ample Free street parking.
Cost: A vegan dish to share. (a real dish not just a bag of chips)
RSVP Requested: RSVP, contact the event host by clicking on their name to send an email to them.

See the site for more information and guidelines.

Welcome to BAVeg

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East Bay protesters trash Telegraph Ave. — again

A “protest and party” against university student fee increases turned into a riot last night, as a mob trashed Telegraph Avenue businesses, breaking windows, overturning garbage cans, and indulging their incoherent rage against adults. The riot followed an invasion of of the university’s Durant Hall, which was closed for renovation. There protesters broke windows, sprayed graffiti, and otherwise made a mess.

This happens with relative frequency, the shops along Telegraph Avenue being some sort of symbol of “capitalism” to East Bay radicals. Read, for example, this account of a Feb. 2008 “action.”

Flickr photos from last night’s rampage are here.


Catch Him If You Can: The Heartbreaking Jimmy Scott

A master balladeer is in town Tues Feb 23rd & Weds Feb 24th, and although he is well past his prime at age 85, and only 4 ft 11” tall, he’s a true giant, and just being in the room with him is well worth the pittance Yoshi’s is charging this week at the door. He is known for infusing songs with so much pathos, pain and beautiful angst it’s hard to take it all in… and if you’ve never heard of him…sadly, you are not alone.

Fortunately, you still have time familiarize yerselves with his saga, and a musical legacy that was obscured by bad business breaks, pride, and deep prejudice, the kind that was not only racial, but sexual & medical …

Almost strangled to death by the umbilical cord at birth in 1925, Jimmy Scott was soon orphaned by a car crash, along with his 9 other siblings in depression era Cleveland. If the odds against him were not bad enough, they were further stacked by a strange genetic pituitary hormonal defect known as “Kallman’s Syndrome”. This medical disorder accounts for his somewhat effeminate looks & unnaturally high singing voice. Basically Scott’s pubescent development was stunted, causing his arms to appear longer than the rest of his torso while the diminutive singer never developed facial hair.

Finding solace away from the bleak foster homes on stages, he sang in combos of the post war R&B era, notably as a featured singer with band leader Lionel Hampton, with whom he made his recorded debut in 1950 (although his name did not appear on the label). After the chart making & touring stint with Hampton ended, Scott began dividing his time between night spots in Cleveland, New York and Newark, New Jersey.

Unable to secure proper record deals, or even respect on the road from fellow musicians due to his androgynous appearance, Jimmy Scott’s show biz career was a hard road. That road hit a brick wall by the late 1960’s when tight fisted Herman Lubinsky of the Savoy label refused to release Scott from a long dormant contract, and legally prevented comeback albums for Atlantic & Ray Charles’ Tangerine label from being released purely out of spite.

Jimmy’s numerous shots at stardom had been so hampered by fiscal mismanagement & bad business dealings, it lead to failed relationships, drinking and drugging, and a career ending downward spiral that took him away from the limelight for decades, until a break finally occurred when he was well into his 60’s.

Strangely enough, it appears death is something he won’t take sitting still, and is actually the catalyst that has brought Jimmy Scott’s career back to life…

read more about the show, plus detailed info on his life & career accomplishments below the fold
more on little-jimmy-scott

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