Sunday, July 29, 2007

Marathon Sunday

It is yucky outside which is good for the Marathon runners going by my window. I almost admire more the people on the sidelines clapping and encouraging the runners - it is early and almost always cold out there. The Marathon last's a long time (still going two hours later).
MAYOR'S COMMUNITY MEETING - Park and Rec - Saturday at Jefferson Elementary School at 18th Avenue and Irving. Anti-Ed Jew people and signs outside. Mayor Newsom brought in Starbucks coffee. Room is full of activists from all over the city and staff people. Not only do you learn a lot about the city, it keeps City government people on their toes preparing for these meetings. Gavin Newsom once again is amazing, he is a true wonk with all the figures in his head - especially since the budget just passed he was on top of everything . The director of Park and Rec - Yomi Agunblade is clearly a leader and is setting up a system long needed. He has been with the department for 14 years so he knows how things work. Police Chief Wong spoke talking about new police coming on board. Items that came up:
Restroom Task Force
Park Patrol
Fields Program - Soccer and softball program with matching funding from the three Fisher brothers (Gap).
Playgrounds - by October lst all playgrounds will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Golden Gate Park - Encampments - being taken care - will not be thrown out - each person will be helped to see what the City can do.
Police - SF has 750 new police (interesting information - after Vietnam many veterans joined the policy department - they are now retiring leaving a gap).
311 - if you have problems call 311 - 24 hours a day - seven days a week - average response to call 10 seconds (I wonder if this cuts down on the Supervisors work load?).
Softball - 1,400 teams. Using synthetic fields (question came up about leaking petroleum?)
Trees - trees that are cut down are replaced with new tree.
Portsmith Square - problem with development across the street
Pine Lake - Stern Grove - want no parking on meadow.
Dogs off lease - Acknowledged that there is no enforcement (but new patrols will help )
Gardeners - need 226 - not possible. But will have mobile crew on call to help with trouble spots
Employee Hours - Changed 16 hours (available on weekends now).
Coyotes - Mayor against shooting coyotes - was decision of State Authority because of safety - Coyotes all over the City.
Animal Control has 10 people for the whole city. San Francisco has 120,000 dogs (more dogs than kids).
Natural Areas Act - 10 years in the works.
Unions - Question of accountability. All city employees now have performance reviews - 27,000 employees. (this is a "duh factor"- why this wasn't before????)
Work Plans - Not exactly sure what this means but Department Heads are to have them done by this October (there will be two day off premises gathering to make sure this gets done). Acknowledged that this has taken too long.
COIT Tower - don't want to make this into a "tourist trap"
Close parks at night - discussion couldn't enforce it and some people really do use the park at night.
Recylcing - 69% of San Franciscans recycle.
Summer Programs - Latch Key name will be changed.
Golf - $35,000 study being made - done within six months about privatization.
Swimming Pools - costs $3,000,000 a year.
Estimated 2,771 homeless in parks - 33% lower than last year
Gavin Newsom apologized for the condition of the parks. He says he feels like a failure (has does his staff and employees) when they read the press (but need to get over it and move on).
Needle Exchange - a problem. But needle exchange is necessary.
Crime - Car break ins up, violent crime down.
Two tons of garbage every day.
Camp Mather - will try and come up with outside support - San Francisco tradition.
Probable 2008 Bond initiative regarding parks
19 new motorcycles - can tell what speed you are going from all sides without speed guns
Water Wasting - Just completed report to deal with problems of overuse and leakage.
Gavin Newson said he wrote a cook book (I tried to find it on Amazon - couldn't find it).
Gavin did a great job of chairing the meeting. This meeting was better than the muni meeting (not as much spin - but Muni is a bigger problem.)
As Gavin was leaving he was talking to the press and the anti Ed Jew people (mostly young people) - asked a young kid what gel he used for his spiked hair - very charming.
I personally would like one of these meetings every month. Just like at Board of Supervisors meeting and police commission meetings you realize that these departments deal with all kinds of issues - and even though San Francisco is a small city it is very complicated.
Gave out a colored map of the whole city which shows all the parks. The city is broken up into Neighborhood Service areas (different from supervisors districts).
It was nice to see so many people care.
Some attendees: Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, Jim Lazurus, Larry Martin, Betty Landis, Lynn Newhouse, Sharon Everhardt, Ron Dudium
Neighborhood Parks Council - 451 Hayes Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, Ca. 94102
Phone: 415-621-3260
RAYKO PHOTO CENTER - went to photo exhibit "San Francisco Politicos, People and Places 1960's to 1970's. Not a lot of pictures - all in black and in white - came in the back way so I did not realize there was a description for each photo so I was trying rack my brain recognizing people. George Moscone, Gina Moscone, John Burton, Mayor Shelley, Willie Brown with an afro, Judge Ertola, picture of a beautiful young Angela Alioto and pictures of Mayor Alioto, Angie Alarcon. Ronald Reagan and Princess Margaraet . I remember meeting the photographer Jimo Perini long time ago around the cable car barn- you probably would recognize is famous picture of the cable car at the top of the hill. A number of pictures are for sale - but they are $250 each. The exhibit is over. 428 Third St. San Francisco, Ca. 94107 Phone: 415-495-3773.
THE LAST MRS. ASTOR - Francis Kiernan. Biography of Brook Astor. I was so looking forward to reading this book. I have been reading New York Magazine for over 20 years and I wanted to learn (okay I admit - I wanted the gossip) regarding Brook Astor and New York Society. This book was very basic and talked about her good works including art, schools, public housing including a safari in Brooklyn. She was married four times. Douglas Dillon Cabinet member under the Kennedy administration wanted to marry her. There is some scandal about taking the power away from her son to take care of her because he was using up all her funds.

Afterwords walked down Irving Street to get a cookies and cream ice cream and visit the three gift shops in that neighborhood (there are very view gift shops left in this city) - bought a Hillary Clinton dog toy). Walked in Golden Gate Park - it was a beautiful day and the park is beautiful.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Board of Supervisors

Jake McGoldrick - Spoke for an hour. I know because I kept looking at the clock! I know that the muni proposal was given to the supervisors at the last second - that is part of the problem - but part of the problem is the way the Supervisor talks and speaks into the mike. It sounds garbled and you really can't hear what he is saying. He must have made some good points- because there were someclose votes. But he does go on and he repeats himself. What was so sad there was a huge group of people that sat there for almost three hours to speak on a Bay View Hunters Point issue (I left after three hours) when they were about to start talking. They had a whole bus of people that came and left. They looked so upset and frustrated. The problem was yesterday was the only day to get the muni issue proposed Tom Ammiano spoke and voted yes but he wondered if all the time was worth the final draft. I am totally confused about some of the issues, one was parking and a question that Alioto asked which brought out that the mayor specifically asked that a portion of the agreement be left out off the press release. Sandoval was concerned about a set aside and it not being legal to move forward. Peskin worked so hard on this. Muni is so important. I don't have a problem with the Muni being separate - just so something works.
What is interesting is watching the "dance" while this is going on. Lots of smiling while Jake McGoldrick was talking. Supervisors get up all the time, go into the lobby and make cell phone calls, talk to the press. They seem to get along with each other. Then there is the moving around because Peskin needed to step down and go to one of the other supervisor's desks to speak and then one of the supervisors had to go up and be President of the Board. Back and forth.
Other comments:
You can bring in water, but not coffee and cokes. James Bryant walked in with a coke and had to walk right out.
Did you know you can go on and get the video for the last month of any board meeting?
John Taylor - the retired Clerk of the Board was there.
Other Items
Gough/Franklin -Stores are closing around Gough and Franklin because street was changed to One Way because of the new freeway.
Push Polling Issue was brought up for the ethics commission regarding reporting push polling information.
Newt Gingrich "Current GOP presidents field are a pathetic bunch of pygmies"!
Muddy Waters -Church and Market changed to Church Street Cafe (looks the same). Just Desserts just closed next store and Sparkys is changing to a diner and pizza place.
West Portal -
Waldenbooks is closing down. Finally. Awful store, Small and very dark - did not do a good job of presentation. (Stacey's does a good job of presentation. )
Double Rainbow changed to Cafe for All Seasons Deli (still have ice cream). Didn't realize that Shaw Candies has ice cream. Great street. Back in time - greeting cards stores, bakery, taverns, stationery store, antique store.
Street crossings: Near City Hall you push these buttons and there are crossing signals to let you know when to cross. However the sound is like tommie guns - war toys it's kind of disturbing. In Berkeley the sound is like twerping birds. (my Herb Cain moment). Change the sound.
Gay Talese - "A Writer's Life - Disappointing. I usually enjoy journalist's memoirs because they are so well written and generally span a large amount of time so you learn a lot about history. But this book is basically is notes taken over his lifetime of books he didn't write. Which is okay when the subject matter is interesting. i.E. Bloody Sunday - Selma but also goes on forever on about John and Lorena Bobbitt!
The book did not go into much about himself or how he writes (he doesn't like computers. )He is really interested in restaurants. Loves Elaine's.
Things I didn't know.
During the march at Selma there was an ambulance waiting in case Martin Luther King was injured to send him to Walter Reed hospital!
Did you know that George Wallace use to be a judge!
The Head Coach at the University of Alabama said the integration of the football team did more for civil rights than Martin Luther King.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Presidential Debate

Interesting. The format made the candidates pay attention, the format was faster. Questions were tough
Baracka Obama - His best. He is inspirational.
Hillary Clinton - Strong. You can see her thinking, under control. Impressive.
Chris Dodd - Love his voice. I have a feeling that he feels that he has been forgotten. Not sure why he is running?
John Edwards - Gay weddings. That is a no no. Something about him makes me feel uncomfortable. Is he real?
Dennis Kucnich - I liked was he said last night. The people that support him are true blue.
Joe Biden - I like him. Very smart and knows the issues. You just don't when her will say something not appropriate.
Bill Richardson - Not my favorite. Would make a good vice president.
Mike Gravel - Go home.
Andersen Cooper - Still learning. He seemed unhappy when people didn't do as he said.
The remark he said at end at Dennis Kucnich is a no-no.
Enjoyed the videos. The Republican debate will be different. Will CNN be able to show the videos and still be non-Bias?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jeff Adachi

Attended SPUR meeting with Public Defender Jeff Adachi. A very elegant, gracious, engaging person. Obviously cares about justice. He explained that his parents were interned in California during WW II for four years. Did not know about this until he heard about it in school. Ask his parents if any Germans had been put in jail at the same time. As a teenager for seven year's worked with others to get someone off Death Row and won. Jeff Adachi had just come from a meeting opposing gang injunctions stating that it would unjustly include non-guilty people in these injunctions. Public Defender helps 25,000 people a year (not all just homeless, poor people). He explained the history of the Public Defender's office including the first Public Defender going to jail for murder!!!! Talked about the office not having computers until 1997! He believes in aggressive defense and not always settling ahead of time. There were more murders in the 1990's because of crack (we just don't remember this). One of the reasons for the increase in deaths he said might be generifacation with different communities ending up in the BayView in a smaller area. Jeff Adachi believes in more police but that they should be well trained with increased morale. Applauds community police. Over a 1,000 applicants are received every year to work in the Public Defender's Office. They have over 100 interns every summer. 55% of the staff are women. Adachi believes in community courts but wants to make sure that the person involved does not have to say they are guilty before the court is put into effect (the New York model). He talked about the Clean Slate Program where people can apply to have their records expunged (2,500 last year). This way people have a easier time obtaining a job. Have a program called Magic to help kids in BayView including handing out backpacks. Have helped increase Computer Labs in the BayView. People in the audience were very interested, the discussion was not boring and Jeff Adachi thanked people for their questions. San Francisco Public Defender's Office, 555 7th Street, San Francisco, Ca. 94103 415-553-1671
The Emperor's Children- Claire Messud - Novel - 30 year old's in New York just before 9-11. This book received rave reviews. I always go to Amazon to see how other people felt about the books I read. Many people mentioned that they had a hard time getting through it. Which I agree. Too long. It reminded me of Thomas Wolfe's Bondvit of Vanities. But this book was more serious and made me unhappy and dreading the 9-11 part. But actually this part was at the end of the book and well written. A different type of ending then what you expect. It was one of those books that you were glad that you were finished because there is so much angst but that lingers on and keeps coming back to you and you realize you are still thinking about the book and understanding what the book was about. Every once in a while some big words are in the book that I didn't know. Usually this doesn't bother me because you can usually understand what the meaning is by how the word is used. But in this case I couldn't figure them out. I started writing them down. None of them seem very important - sort of descriptive: insalubrious, detrictus, amanuensis, helitropicaly, urnormel, benison, anorak, prelapsarian, prosecco.
Down Town - beautiful evening, hot, lots of tourists walking around - all looked very rich. Around 7 0'clock there were sounds of construction with loud machines (I guess they start after people get off work) - strange sounds - echoing off the streets.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Big meeting. Passed budget. Since most of the drama had already happen things went pretty smoothly. Chris Daly is amazing. He really toned down his remarks, but made his point. Talking about diversity (World War II 40% Black community - now 6%- only major City where Latino community is not increasing). But he did talk to the full Board that some of them were not brave enough to oppose the mayor. But what is amazing is that Chris spoke with no notes. He is very smart .No one took his bite - but Sean Elsbernd looked unhappy (Elsbernd is a very honorable guy). No one was perfectly happy with the budget. Aaron Peskin is also amazing- extemely smart. But the big part of the meeting was planning issue for 3400 Cesar Chavez Street. Sue Hestor spoke against. Speaker Line outside the meeting back to the end of the building .I Left before everyone spoke. But again the story is rich versus the poor. It looked like there was going to be negotiation regarding the price of the low cost housing. Tom Ammiano did not back down and kept asking questions of the Planning Commission about the project . Tom has been around a long time and knows all the planning commission verbage.
One thing I have noticed that there is "government speak". You have to ask the same question more than one way. You will get a response "no layoffs" but then you ask again and government acknowledge that there was "unfunding". In other words you have to pay attention to what is being said.
Sue Bierman - San Francisco's Recreation and Park Commission voted to honor the late Supervisor Sue Bierman by giving her name to the block which once provided entrance and exit to the Embarcadero freeway that was wrecked by the 1989 earthquake.
Mickey Cohen - Read Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster by Brad Lewis. Growing up in Southern California I remember Mickey Cohen being on the news all the time. Mickey Cohen was a mobster but also one of the first celebrities with connections to many famous people including Billy Graham. I did not realize that there was that much crime and collusion between the Los Angeles Policy Department and gangsters. I didn't realize that Mickey Cohen was at Alacatraz and while he stayed there he had food delivered from Paoli's (which I use to go to) - it was a dark, dark restaurant located I believe were the current ugly Bank of America building is on California Street. Later on Mickey Cohen bought Paoli's!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday thoughts

I am still trying to get over watching Lady Bird Johnson's memorial service. What a wonderful service. Everyone that spoke was so wonderful, from Bill Moyer who wanted to make sure that everyone knew Lady Bird did things on her own and was very strong, to her grandchildren (10) to Lynda and Lucie. The dignatories! I know her name was mentioned but there was no mention on tv or on the internet about Tricia Nixon Cox being there. I guess everyone in the tv and internet business is too young to remember who she is. But I am pleased that she was there to complete the list of the Clintons, Carters, Nancy Reagon, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Ford's daughter, Caroline Kennedy. Amazing. I kept crying and crying - so beautiful and then they brought out at end the Texas University Band to play the fight song. Could not have been better. You just realize how long ago the 60's were. Lynda Bird being 63!
JESSICA MITFORD-Finished reading "Decca - The Letters of Jessica Mitford. " Very interesting. Long. This book would probably be difficult to read if I had not read six other books on Jessica Mitford and her sister's. What an amazing family! The best part of the book were the footnotes which were at the bottom of each page where I found new information about California history, especially in the Bay Area.
AT&T versus Comcast-added a land line and started with AT&T and after struggling with AT&T and their website and awful voice mail found out seven days later that my rate was going up from $33 to $40. I was so upset I called comcast and comcast said they could add a phone at no extra charge because I already had Cable TV and DSL. Not only that but there is voice mail and if you are not there the voice mail message prints out on your voice mail page on the computer. That is so cool!
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency - New address July 9th.
11 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, Ca 94103
Hours: 8 to 5 Monday - Friday
Customer Service: 415-701-3099
Pay by Phone: 415-701-3099
Tow Hearings: 415-701-5401
On Line Sales of meter cards and fast pass:
On Line Citations:
Citations, hearings, parking permits, meter cards, maps, Muni Passes,
1380 Howarad St office has been relocated to 11 South Van Ness. Parking validation available for City Park Garage next door.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pretty tame. I am impressed by supervisors. I think they work hard. Aaron Peskin does a great job. He really concentrates. I know most of the work is done behind the scenes before the meeting begins. Everyone is very careful. I am beginning to understand the "dance". Regular observors show up early. It is really smart to go to to the Board of Supervisors room and pick up copy of the agenda before hand and figure out the what, why and how. . Street and parking changes indicate changes in rhe city and then there is the long process regarding planning issues which indicates growth.. Depending on the issue people walk in looking like city attorney people,department heads, lawyers, lobbyists layers in and out (like football). Huge group of people. It is so touching when people are given a commendation and the famlies are there and pictures are taken. It is easy to take politics for granted. Real things are being done and not reported because we really don't have a local paper.
We shouldn't take this for granted.
Michela Alioto-Pier - Seems to be the mother (but in a good sense) dealing with kids, schools. Gives a welcome smile to everyone. Very comforting. Actually she is a very beautiful woman. But tough (I.e. Standards for supervisors - not backing down from Chris Daly.)
Aaron Peskin -Clearly in charge. Must spend an incrediable amount of time keeping everything in line. Probably doesn't like people mucking his plan up. Treats every one with respect. I haven't figured out how he keeps on top of everything in the meeting. . I think people are impressed with him but I don't see the loyalty that some elected officials have.
Tom Ammiano- I admire Tom so much. He has been around for so long, he knows how to do everything. Tom has true loyal supporters. He votes right but doesn't have to show off. It is time for him to move to the Assembly and wake them up!
Chris Daly - I can't figure him out. When you watch him with constitutents he is wonderful and caring. . But there is the other side - like a warrior not afraid of anyone. He is his own worst enemy. He has friends on the board - but people are leary of his "actions". I wish he had someone to work with.(Phil Burton?) He is very knowlegeable and cares about people that others leave behind.
Bevan Dufty - . He knows how the city is run. How does he really feel about rent control? I can see him running for higher office.
Sean Elsbernd- I really admire. I know he works very hard, I am not sure if I agree with all his politics but when he voted against a neighborhood group on a planning issue he turned around and faced them and explained why. That's integrity.
Ed Jew - Watching him at the board of supervisors he sits right by where the public makes their comments, he really listens and looks at them. He probably takes care of his constitutents. The other stuff - that is another story.....
Sophie Maxwell - So regal. Very quiet. She has a tough district, tough issues.
Jake McGoldrick - He has things he cares about. He has loyal friends. But sometimes he comes off scattered.
Ross Mirkarimi - This man works hard. You can tell by reading the agenda, dealing with the small stuff but also not afraid to get up and ask questions.
Gerardo Sandoval - Smart. You can tell by his votes. You can also tell when you see him really listening to the discussion.
Public Comments - Truly embarassing. People come every week and do not add to the discussion. Singing, ranting and wasting time. If someone wants to bring something to the board this is not the way to do it.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Taking a Walk

All-Star Game. San Francisco is so beautiful! Baseball people are so happy! Especially the Dads!
Not only does the All-Star game bring in money - Muni has done a great job of identifying the different stops and explaining how to get around. (this will help everyone). Had an incrediable urge to have a hot dog. I can't help it I am a National fan.
Copland's sports Store across from Nortsrum closed down. Not surprised. I was wondering who bought that golf equipment? Now maybe Radio Shack can move into this spot away from their new location down the street (smells like urine!)
Kenneth Cole Ad: You are on a video camera over 20 times a day. Are you dressed for it?
Just Desserts closed down at Church and Market. So sad, used to be the busiest bakery in town!
Herb Caen moment: Burlington Coat Factory wouldn't let me in with my purse (okay it is big).
I don't mind them looking in my bag' but taking it away yells "thief". The guard said don't take it personally. But I do. I live in San Francisco so I don't have to go a mall.
Church and Market: Person was sitting on a bench shaving his face with a mirror. Didn't seem to mind everyone walkng by.