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Archive for the ‘San Francisco Bay Area’ Category

Fuck the Super Bowl!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 5, 2016

Huffpost Impact article:

Protestors Want San Francisco To ‘Tackle Homelessness’ Before Super Bowl
“You can spend $5 million on a big half time party. You can spend $5 million on a big show. But you can’t feed homeless people?”

Krithika Varagur
Associate Editor, What’s Working, The Huffington Post

A woman holds up a pair of signs as police look on during a protest to demand city officials do more to help homeless people outside Super Bowl City, a pro-football's weeklong theme park near the famed Ferry Building in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Dozens protested what they say is San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's plan to push homeless people out of the scenic bay-front Embarcadero, where Super Bowl festivities are being held. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

A woman holds up a pair of signs as police look on during a protest to demand city officials do more to help homeless people outside Super Bowl City, a pro-football’s weeklong theme park near the famed Ferry Building in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Dozens protested what they say is San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s plan to push homeless people out of the scenic bay-front Embarcadero, where Super Bowl festivities are being held. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

As the host of this weekend’s Super Bowl, San Francisco has spared no expense, erecting a huge “Super Bowl City” compound for the event.

This perceived excess angered homeless advocates in the Bay Area, a few hundred of whom protested at the compound on Wednesday afternoon, according to KTVU. They asked the city to spend more money on its thousands of homeless residents.

“You can spend $5 million on a big half time party. You can spend $5 million on a big show. But you can’t feed homeless people?” asked a protestor named Joshua Shrader, according to Time.

The protesters set up a “tent city” outside the Super Bowl City compound and were fairly orderly. The organizers, led by the Coalition on Homelessness, met with police to set its parameters beforehand, according to SF Gate. They called for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to invest $5 million, the approximate cost of the Super Bowl, in housing and social services for homeless people.

Lee has become unpopular among homeless advocates for saying, with regards to homeless people during the Super Bowl, “They are going to have to leave.”

The city has been accused of moving homeless people out of sight to keep up appearances before the Super Bowl. In response, city officials say they are only trying to help the homeless during severe El Niño rains.

“Our only goal is to help people in out of the rain, and it has nothing to do with the Super Bowl,” Trent Rhorer, head of the city’s Human Services Agency, told SF Gate.

But Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, told Time that homeless people are being illegally searched, cleared from encampments, and ticketed for arbitrary offenses like “sitting or lying.”

By the protest’s end, many homeless people left to find places to sleep for the night, according to SF Gate. One 61-year-old homeless woman, Cynthia Lee, told the news outlet, “I think if San Francisco has money to throw at the Super Bowl — even if it brings in tax money — they should give us places to live.”

INDEPTH SUPER BOWL ARTICLE
from 48Hills by Tim Redmond

Posted in Bay Area, homeless, life, poverty, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, SFGate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Aroma Tea Shop, San Francisco

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on February 3, 2016

Aroma Tea 6th Ave

I can’t imagine how I missed this place until now.

Aroma Tea Shop inside

Aroma Tea is a quirky—inside and out—tea shop on 6th Avenue in the Inner Richmond. The owners are eccentric yet extremely knowledgeable, traveling often to China to select and buy the teas they sell.

Colorful Teas Multiple Varieties

It’s “all tea all the time” here, with the varieties of tea in wildly packaged tins. The selection is outstanding; black/red, oolong, jasmine, green, white, pu-erh, even herbal. They have daily tea tasting during business hours where you can sample the teas you wish to buy, which also means looking over and smelling the leaves.

Aroma Tea owner

They have two locations:

302 6th Ave @ Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
415.668.3788
Everyday 11am—7pm

845 Washington St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
415.362.6588
Everyday 10:30am—6pm

Tea Tasting

The first time I visited yesterday I purchased 2 ounces of premium white tea. I’ll be back for more.

Posted in Bay Area, life, Paris of the West, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Struggling with mini-chain stores

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 18, 2015

Here’s an article in Berkeleyside about mini-chains, covering among other stores my personal fave, Top Dog.

Family-chain-photo
FROM MOM-AND-POPS TO MINI-CHAINS

By Jessica Kwong

August 11, 2010 7:10 am

Bongo Burger and Brazil Cafe are two of Berkeley’s family-owned mini-chains.

When Berkeley folk think food — even in the order of grab-and-go — their palates usually paint a picture of small, family-owned places unique to the city’s borders.

Favoring independent, locally owned businesses has been characteristic of the city since its inception and through its evolution, according to the city’s economic development project coordinator Dave Fogarty.

“Some of the chains that have attempted to come into Berkeley have really not been successful and they decided they didn’t want to be here because people weren’t [spending] there,” he said.

While chain restaurants have generally been resisted, at least half a dozen mom-and-pops have entered into a gray zone by expanding into “mini-chains” within the city.

Top-Dog
Perhaps the eatery that started the chain reaction among some family-owned businesses is Top Dog.

Rewind to fall 1966: the original Top Dog on Durant Avenue began in true mom-and-pop fashion. Dick Riemann, 76, still the owner today, opened Top Dog with a business partner on Saturday morning when “the paint on the floor was still a might tacky.”

Within 10 minutes, there was standing room only. However, it wasn’t the appeal of the business but the fact that a hot dog seemed like the most logical food to eat en route to the UC Berkeley football game.

“The place was absolutely mobbed,” Riemann said. “It was a very fearful moment but we learned from it and many people got to know us.”

Three years later, Riemann and his wife opened a second Top Dog on the other side of the university on Hearst Avenue. About eight years ago, a third store appeared near downtown Berkeley on Center Street. “It was a matter of having a presence on the other sides of campus,” he said. “The east side had nothing by the way of foot traffic so there was no business opportunity there but the other three sides seemed naturally fitting for the university trade.”

Another family-owned business that shares a similar story is Bongo Burger. The first one also opened on the southside of UC Berkeley on Dwight Way in 1968. Because “it was successful,” owner Alireza Hamid, 63, opened two more stores, one on Euclid Avenue in 1982 and another on Center Street in 1992.

Apart from having a great presence, Hamid expanded in the places he did as a matter of convenience. Food is made daily at a Berkeley-based store and distributing to three stores within the city makes sense. “We are preparing fresh food everyday. It’s not like a fast food chain store,” he said.

Other ethnic family-owned eateries have also grown to be Berkeley mini chains.

La-Burrita
The founder of the first La Burrita that opened on Euclid Avenue in 1986 helped the owner of the second store, Sal Naser, 49, start up next to the flagship Top Dog on Durant Avenue a couple of years later.

Although the stores are still managed by different families, the owners are good friends and agreed to maintain the same menu and even advertise and accept the same coupons.

“In general they are almost the same, so when people have a good experience at one La Burrita they combine both together,” Naser said.

A family-owned eatery that was named one of the top 10 cafes in the United States by National Geographic in 2005 has chosen to remain humble and local. The first Brazil Cafe — a “barraca,” or a small shack — appeared on University Avenue 10 years ago.

Lease complications led owner Pedro Rodin, a 42-year-old Berkeley resident, to open a larger, restaurant-style Brazil Cafe on Shattuck Avenue. “I have a good reputation, good name, good food, and wanted to stay in the business,” he said. “In case they closed my [first] place, I would be one block away and people would follow me.”

Both locations are still operating, and Berkeley residents including Wesley Hamel, 30, aren’t complaining. “There are two and it’s different from a big chain, it looks authentic,” he said. “This is a nice place and I would enjoy hanging out at another one.”

Thai-Noodle
The opposite direction of expansion occurred for Thai Noodle. The first restaurant opened on Shattuck Avenue in 2000 and Thai Noodle II appeared on Telegraph Avenue a year and a half ago. Both are doing “really, really well” and experienced only about a 5 percent decrease in business since the economic downturn, according to manager Piyanuch Phettun, 26. “We’re looking to open number three next year,” he said.

While the recipe for success for some family-owned businesses has been expanding around UC Berkeley, operating on the campus itself is another option that has been tapped. Brazil Cafe is exploring the possibility.

Nine years after establishing his first business on Oxford Street, the owner of Yali’s Cafe, Ayal Amzel, 43, won two separate bids and opened locations on campus in 2008.

In the midst of negotiating for a fourth location in the Downtown, Amzel said he does not feel threatened by the few corporate chains that do exist in Berkeley.

“When new mom-and-pop’s open up they usually have new ideas because they care, so the competition is more fierce,” he said. “It’s easier for me to compete with Starbucks because I can move faster and use my creativity and put it in place faster than a corporation that is limited by its own size.”

Expansion of small businesses into family chains drew mixed reactions among community members. A frequent customer at mini chains including Top Dog, UC Berkeley senior John Lee, was “torn between the idea of convenience and monopolizing around campus.”

“I think Berkeley is unique because there are so many different mom-and-pop shops but if they keep expanding it kind of loses its flair for being a place for mom-and-pop shops,” the 22-year-old sociology major said.

While waiting for his usual burrito, Berkeley resident Richard Banegas, 25, said he didn’t think La Burrita should open any more locations. “That is when it starts losing its respect to customers,” Banegas said. “People don’t see it the same way, they [would be seen as] in it for the money.”

Still, the city’s economic development manager Michael Caplan saw expansion in a positive light, noting a difference between a locally owned chain and a national chain that sometimes doesn’t always have a longstanding connection to its customers.

“When one small business expands to a new location it’s a testament that there’s a lot of demand for the product,” he said. “Sometimes businesses outgrow their existing location and they can’t expand where they are but one way to grow and serve more people is to find another location.”

While some family chain business owners have their sights set on having a greater presence in the city, many of them are proceeding with the city’s Buy Local philosophy — certainly a mindset that puts them more in line with mom-and-pops than with corporate chains.

“I have a great interest in this city being successful and economically viable and have enough commerce in it to keep it alive, so it was natural and important for me to stay close to home,” Amzel said of his expansion plans.

Jessica Kwong is a trilingual freelance journalist whose work has been published in Spanish- and English-language publications in the Bay Area, Southern California and Latin America. She served as city news editor, investigative reporting instructor and business beat reporter for The Daily Californian while at UC Berkeley. A 2010 Hearst Fellowship recipient, she will begin working as a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle in the fall.

Photos by Jessica Kwong

Posted in Berkeley, capitalism, life, San Francisco Bay Area | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It was a burger joint for the ages

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 2, 2015

I started patronizing Oscar’s in 1991 when I first moved to Oakland. Below is Jon Carroll’s column in the SF Chronicle; part eulogy for what we are losing and part paean to simpler times. Sad, indeed.

oscars3

It was a burger joint for the ages
By Jon Carroll
June 1, 2015 Updated: June 1, 2015 1:48pm

Oscar’s on Shattuck Avenue is closing down. I always assumed it was eternal, a lodestar to guide all the other restaurants in the area — a lodestar now largely ignored by entrepreneurs who have found other means of navigation. But for those really in the know, for those who were Berkeley before Berkeley was a thing, it was Oscar’s.

Oscar’s has an aquamarine logo and an off-pink sign. It has Formica tables and a large counter at one end for your hamburger needs or hot dog needs or milk shake needs or french fry needs. Even your chicken sandwich needs — although anyone having a chicken sandwich at Oscar’s is sort of missing the point.

I started going to Oscar’s when my daughter was young. Sometimes harried parents don’t have the energy to shop and cook, but they don’t have many options, because of budgetary restrictions. There was always Oscar’s, though, three minutes away by car, with a very fine auto takeout window.

The takeout window had no speakers or microphones. You yelled at the guy in the window, and he yelled back, and your order was ready, well, in good time. Because, really, what’s your hurry? There’s one guy with a grill, and he works as fast as he works. Maybe there’s something on the radio.

Berkeleyside broke the story of Oscar’s imminent closure, and tried to get the current owner, Scott (no last name given), to comment. He declined. “I’m not a warm and fuzzy guy,” he said.

That was the attitude at Oscar’s. They weren’t going to bother you with “Have a nice day” napkins or smiley-face logos. The menu board was going to contain no useful information besides the name of the item and the price. It did not care whether anything was sourced. There were no Italian-made products.

Oscar’s is going to be replaced by Sweetgreen, a “seasonal fast-food chain,” which means: “lots of salad.” It currently has 30 locations on the East Coast and one in L.A., and is coming to Berkeley to promote the kind of menu that Berkeley basically invented — as if North Berkeley needed any more vegetarian restaurants. Heck, there are restaurants on University (four blocks from Oscar’s) that are purer even than vegan.

Asparagus that’s been sung to.

I have to say, traitor to my bioregion as I am, that life certainly was easier when we didn’t have to think about what we ate. Get a burger, scarf it down, then it’s time to dance. Have some ice cream, because why not?

At Oscar’s, you could get a big sloppy burger, a burger where the ketchup was always in danger of dropping onto your pants, a burger that would squeeze out the other side when you bit into it, a burger that left your hands greasy and your fingers prone to stick together.

I understand that we should have had a higher consciousness all along, and we should be aware of animal cruelty and pesticides and sustainable land use and gray water irrigation systems. And we need to fight for transparent information. Really, we’re better for it. I’m just saying, subjecting the waiter to a cross-examination is not the Oscar’s way.

Currently, Park Burger in Oakland serves a real good burger, and it is grass-fed and every other kind of good thing. It’s a nostalgic experience and a contemporary one, too. But the meat is less gray than the ideal, and the burger is not slathered with some kind of secret sauce.

The secret at Oscar’s was: Don’t ask about the secret.

Oscar’s was open late, and students would gradually take over the place, replacing the couples with toddlers and the solitary workers. The kids were powered mostly by fries and colas, and they seemed to find endless amount of gossip in mundane events.

The closure of Oscar’s leaves very few hamburger joints open, at least not in my geosphere. There are funky chain places, but a homegrown, home-owned, one-location-only place — not so many.

The Smokehouse on Telegraph remains standing. It, too, remains a great hangout for almost everybody, unemployed dads and PG&E workers and people who need a hangover cure and people who are in a pre-hangover condition.

The Smokehouse is an outdoor place with picnic tables. It has heat lamps, and customers have been known to huddle when the fog blows through. The people who run it — an Afghan family, last time I checked — know every variety of burger on the large menu — triple with cheese, hold the pickles — and produce it efficiently, unless there’s a line. But hey, sit on a bench and meet your neighbors. Talk about burgers you have known.

Or talk about how many years you’ve been coming to the Smokehouse. Some people who are only 35 will say, “Twenty-nine years.” And yet: no special favors for regulars. So it has that Oscar’s vibe, but it ain’t Oscar’s. Goodbye, old friend.

“How do you like the Queen?” said the Cat in a low voice. “Not at all,” said Alice, “she’s so extremely jcarroll@sfchronicle.com.

Posted in Berkeley, life, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

From MDC to MDBC?

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 13, 2014

There’s a punk band called MDC, one version of their name being Millions of Dead Cops. You get the idea.

Train Station Shooting
BART police’s latest tactic targets vulnerable people
By Jennifer Friedenbach

If in hearing about the latest attempts to clear out evacuation routes at BART stations, you smelled a rat, you may be closer to the truth then you realize. BART police have been gearing up for months to clear homeless people who are doing nothing wrong or illegal out of BART stations, and some cynical pencil pusher came up with a perhaps not-so-perfect cover story.

When BART police officials first announced their intentions of clearing out travelers trying to catch a wink under the guise of clearing evacuation routes, my first thought was: “In an emergency, wouldn’t the well-healed alongside the down and out be evacuated together?”

Add to that a close look at the areas they are clearing people out of — open plazas and 20-foot-wide hallways, and the yarn falls apart.

The BART Police Department has been embattled almost since its inception, with bad publicity flowing directly from poor decisions and horrific incidents. In 1992, BART Officer Fred Crabtree, who was white, shot and killed 19-year-old Jerrold Hall, who was black, near the Hayward station after receiving reports that a BART passenger had been robbed. Hall was unarmed and shot in the back, and the department initially reported he was shot in the chest, and tried to hide the truth. Hall’s father asked for civilian oversite for BART police, but they didn’t bother putting that together for more then a decade later after Oscar Grant III was killed on New Year’s Day 2009.

BART police made precedent in the U.S. by being the first government agency to shut down cellphone service when activists gathered to protest the fatal police shooting of Charles Hill, a homeless man in psychiatric crisis. Then there was the well-known shooting of Grant, which was caught on numerous cellphones, and which BART police attempted to suppress. More recently, BART police were caught on film literally torturing a nonviolent black passenger by repeatedly tasering him as he cried and begged them to stop. Let’s not forget an earlier shooting that occurred of Bruce Edward Seward, a naked mentally ill man who had gotten a hold of the officer’s billy club at the Hayward station. See a pattern? Each of these victims were poor, and either black or mentally ill.

Let’s recap. Fatal shootings of black and mentally ill people, suppressing evidence, trampling free speech, no oversight, torture and, as if they just can’t stop this downward spin into the dark sinkhole of immorality, they are now citing and arresting often black or mentally ill destitute people seeking shelter from the elements.

We are facing an unprecedented housing crisis in San Francisco. Mothers with their children are being forced to sleep at the Civic Center station while waiting six months for proper shelter. People are so desperate for a place to sleep, free of harassment, they are sneaking into elevator shafts and down train tunnels, literally risking their lives to get some rest. Last year, homeless father David Thomas was crushed to death by the elevator, and another poor man was killed by a Powell Street train when trying to get his belongings from below the platform.

We have one shelter bed for every five homeless people in San Francisco. People working three jobs cannot afford housing. We have passed laws making it illegal to sit or lie on sidewalks, closed down our parks at night, power-hosed down public areas under freeways that offer shelter, and just generally kicked and shoved people to the point where they have nowhere to simply exist. Instead of recognizing the crisis and coming up with effective solutions, BART has chosen the tried and failed route of rousting, citing and arresting. These latest efforts by BART to displace poor people from the stations will only drive them deeper into the tunnels, and even more deaths will occur.

BART police’s latest move is unconscionable and follows right along that same old path of fear and intolerance of our poor communities. It is long past time for that train to stop.

Jennifer Friedenbach is executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness.

August 11, 2014 San Francisco Examiner opinion
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Posted in life, militarizing police, police, police brutality, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Examiner | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“The Last Bookstore” in Los Angeles

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 3, 2014

I feel lucky to live in the Bay Area. We have a wealth of riches with regard to independent bookstores in the region, and I do my bit to shop at them every chance I get. I witnessed the proliferation of Barnes & Noble in New York City during the 80s and 90s and how that decimated the indie bookstores there. While I lived in Southern California, I studiously avoided having anything to do with Los Angeles, so I didn’t see firsthand the obliteration of small local bookstores there, other than the demise of the lefty Midnight Special bookstore in Santa Monica. So here’s The Last Bookstore, located at 453 S. Spring St, Ground Floor, in downtown LA:

The Last Bookstore by Bryan Frank
DSC01696-e1359062224156
The Last Bookstore, currently in our third incarnation, began in 2005 in a downtown Los Angeles loft. That was when owner Josh Spencer decided to take his decade of experience selling everything from cars to clothes on eBay and focus entirely on his first love: books. Our online business grew quickly along with the revival of downtown LA. When a small location in the Old Bank District at 4th and Main became available Christmas 2009, we jumped in and opened our doors to the public. The support from the community was overwhelming. Thanks, everybody!

People seemed to especially enjoy selling their used books to us, as one of the last places in LA still buying books. Our inventory quickly overflowed the shelves, and at the end of our lease June 2011 the Last Bookstore moved to the 10,000 sq. ft location at 5th & Spring St. A record shop and coffee bar filled out the ground floor September, 2011. Most recently, we expanded another 6,100 sq. ft. by opening up the Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore on our mezzanine level, with over 100,000 books all priced at one dollar each! Now we’ve become the largest independent bookstore in California buying and selling used & new books and records.

The name was chosen with irony, but it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as physical bookstores are dying out like dinosaurs from the meteoric impact of Amazon and e-books. With our constant turnover of stock, regular musical and literary events, vinyl LP and graphic novel shops, and the Spring Arts Collective sharing our space, we book-lovers at the Last Bookstore hope to last as long as we can in downtown LA’s vibrant new community. Join the cause! Buy, sell, trade, and above all read real books…before they’re gone.

Here’s a great KCRW feature that says what we’re all about even better!: KCRW
artworks-000039093329-j2jyya-t200x200Kipenv2Last%20Bookstore4PEN1

Posted in independent bookstores, life, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The land that the 60s forgot

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 12, 2014

My wife and I have been taking day trips to enjoy the Bay Area we live in, starting with a brief jaunt through western Marin County on March 16. Playing tourist was enhanced by the definite 60s vibe of the tiny towns we visited.

POINT REYES STATION

We ate lunch at Osteria Stellina, a modest Italian restaurant with decent although not outstanding food. Then we walked about the town, and I took the following photos.

Flower Power Home and Garden
This was from the garden patio in back.
GAM_gardenstore1GAM_gardenstore2

Totemic Art
These totems of abalone shells topped with various bird decoys caught our eye.
GAM_totemic1GAM_totemic2GAM_totemic3

Nearby Shrine
This looked like a shrine to the Virgin Mary involving ships. Perhaps a Catholic shrine to sailors?
GAM_shipmary3GAM_shipmary2GAM_shipmary1

OLEMA

Sight of a famous 60s commune comprised of Diggers fleeing San Francisco, or more properly going back to the land, we didn’t stop very long here, except to snap this photo of a cabin decaying into the underbrush. Note the abalone shells.
GAM_olemashack

FAIRFAX

The hippie influence seemed strongest here, with the business loop to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard lined with lots of little shops, stores and eateries. Overall fun, although by the time we got here it was overwhelmingly hot and we had decided to head on back to the big city (San Francisco). Here are photos of a:

Sidewalk Mosaic Bench/Wall
GAM_fairfaxwall2GAM_fairfaxwall3GAM_fairfaxwall4GAM_fairfaxwall1

I’ve been remiss here. During these day trips, I’ve been preoccupied with taking photos of my surroundings (mostly the sights) without paying attention to the people. I will rectify that with the next day trip, the one after the one we took to Santa Cruz in April.

Posted in California, life, Marin, San Francisco Bay Area, The Diggers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“San Francisco’s Class War, By the Numbers,” by Susie Cagle

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 21, 2014

This is a fucking excellent comic. Enough said.
Susie Gagle 1
Susie Cagle 2
Susie Cagle 3
Susie Cagle 4
Susie Cagle 5
Susie Cagle 6
This comic, “San Francisco’s Class War, By the Numbers,” by Susie Cagle, can be found in its entirety here. Fucking brilliant!

Posted in Bay Area, class war, gentrification, life, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, tech industry, techies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Defend the Bay Area: March 28-April 5: Direct Action Gets Satisfaction

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 20, 2014

Anti-Gentrification
Here’s a week long series of events targeted toward defending the Bay Area and fighting back against the big tech takeover. I suspect this is being organized by the usual leftist suspects, but I think it behooves everyone in the Bay Area to start taking action against the tech incursions and gentrification of our communities. Below is the 4-1-1:

DEFEND THE BAY AREA!

Evict the Evictors
March 21 @ 11:45 am – 12:45 pm
After 20 years of successfully evicting Bay area tenants, BORNSTEIN & BORNSTEIN are now in need of support as they face their own eviction. Join Project Lawyer Connect, a new network for lawyers in need. Help us help them access the life saving social services they have become accustomed to, including sealskin manicures, diplomatic immunity, cocaine fondue, and Michelin rated dinners at Sheriff Mirkarimi’s palatial compound. With community support they can get back on their feet and continue holding their “eviction bootcamps” for the countless landlords who are held captive by renters throughout San Francisco.

Anti-Tech Movie Night: Das Net
March 27 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Das Net: The Unabomber, LSD and the Internet

A marvelously subversive approach to the history of the internet, this insightful documentary combines speculative travelogue and investigative journalism to trace contrasting counter-cultural to the cybernetic revolution.

Free screening.
Some food and drink will be provided.

Kick-off week of action
March 28 – April 5
Kick-off week of action
Week of loosely coordinated actions against gentrification, real estate speculation, surveillance, invasive technology and displacement. Link to call here.

Faces of the Mission, Faces of Bernal Heights
March 29 @ 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Faces of the Mission, Faces of Bernal Heights
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT AND TOWN HALL MEETING
Come hear from long-time Mission and Bernal residents about the issues they are facing in their daily lives and in their communities. From the displacement of our neighbors to new businesses that don’t cater to the surrounding communities, our neighborhoods are changing around us. Come see some of the “faces” of our neighborhoods in person and in photograph, and discuss how we can band together for the changes we need.

Anti-Tech Movie Night: startup.com
April 3 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friends since high school, 20-somethings Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman have an idea: a Web site for people to conduct business with municipal governments. This documentary tracks the rise and fall of govworks.com from May of 1999 to December of 2000, and the trials the business brings to the relationship of these best friends. Will the business or the friendship crash first?

Free screening.Some food and drink will be provided.

Assembly of Bay Area Residents
April 5 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Assembly of Bay Area Residents
An assembly of residents from across the Bay Area, coming together to discuss resistance to the current wave of financial speculation and tech development.

come to find others taking action
meet other tenants fighting displacement
resist the proliferation of surveillance
combat racist “redevelopment”
plan actions with others

Development Without Displacement
April 7 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC) is excited to announce the release of Development without Displacement: Resistance against Gentrification in the Bay Area. This report is a culmination of a year of work with the Alameda County Public Health Department. The report digs in to the root causes of gentrification and displacement and calls for urgent policy changes and using a different paradigm of human development. As tenants in both San Francisco and Oakland reel under the highest rents in the nation, new development and investment is causing tremendous market pressures destabilizing everything from housing to health to political power. On April 7th, CJJC will release our nearly 100-page report on Displacement and Gentrification and we want to celebrate it with you.

Click on the above links for more details re: dates, times, venues, organizers, and relevant websites.

It’s about time to take direct action to defend our communities…
Anti-Capital

Posted in Bay Area, Bernal Heights, gentrification, neighborhoods, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, tech industry, techies, The Mission | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Still no plan

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 10, 2007

There’s still no plan for how the city hopes to deal with Halloween in the Castro. It’s like watching a train wreck, in slow motion. You know it’s going to be mayhem, yet you can’t help but watch the disaster unfold.

Posted in Bay Area, Castro Street, Citizens for Halloween, Gavin Newsom, Halloween in the Castro, Halloween party, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco mayor, SFPD, The Castro | 1 Comment »

Saving Halloween in the Castro

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 20, 2007

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A community group, Citizens for Halloween, is attempting to save the Castro Halloween party both from Mayor Gavin Newsom and from a potential riot. For further info, check the above website, or come to the C4H meeting this Saturday, September 22, at 1 pm, in the Eureka Valley Recreation Center, 100 Collingwood St.

Posted in anti-suburbanization, Bay Area, Bevan Dufty, Castro Street, Citizens for Halloween, Eureka Valley, Gavin Newsom, gay, Halloween in the Castro, Halloween party, LGBT, life, news, NIMBY, NIMBYism, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, The Castro | Leave a Comment »

Recipe for disaster or party organizing opportunity

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 9, 2007

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This report in the SF Chronicle details the ongoing trainwreck of city government efforts to deal with the infamous Halloween party in the Castro. After last year’s shootings and stabbing, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Bevan Dufty promised to convene a task force to look into how to make the Castro party safer this year. But the task force never met because the consensus in city government was to cancel the event altogether. Then, an effort was made to set up a diversionary event on the waterfront to draw people away from the Castro and give them a party to go to on Halloween. The promoter for that event cancelled however, and now the city insists that there will be no Halloween party in the Castro, and no alternative party anywhere else.

The problem with this, of course, is that people are going to show up in the Castro on Halloween anyway. Many of those who attend might even be a little pissed off at Newsom’s and Dufty’s bad faith in all of this. The police won’t block off the streets or provide porta-potties for the Halloween party, but that won’t stop thousands of people from showing up and taking over the streets. The perfect scenario for a riot.

I propose that people consider this the perfect opportunity to organize Halloween in the Castro against the wishes of San Francisco’s city government instead. Here’s how it could be done:

1) Get together all the pro-party/pro-entertainment forces in the city, from folks like SF Party Party to promoters of other SF events shut down or hassled by the city (How Weird Street Fair, Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, etc.) to like-minded individuals and organizations in the LGBT community. Put together a statement openly defying Newsom and Dufty that calls for people to come to the Castro on Halloween to celebrate. Publicize this statement, and the ongoing debate about Halloween in the Castro, in sympathetic local media like the SF Bay Guardian. Maybe get a few of the mayoral candidates (Josh Wolf, Chicken John, Chris Daly) to endorse the statement.

2) Organize outreach to businesses in the Castro asking them to defy Newsom and Dufty, and to stay open late on Halloween. Reward them with increased patronage before, during, and after Halloween.

3) Use sympathetic local media, email, websites, word-of-mouth, etc. to publicize that there will indeed be a party on Halloween in the Castro, and give those who wish to attend suggestions on how to deal with problems, to include gang and police violence.

4) Ask for volunteers to help with security on Halloween, then have a number of training sessions to organize and prepare these volunteers. Give them something distinctive to wear, and make sure they can cope, not just with crowd problems, but with a potentially hostile police force.

5) Organize alternative entertainment for Halloween in the Castro. This might require highly mobile, guerrilla events that stay one step ahead of the police. It also might involve enlisting willing local merchants to provide venues for acts and events. From portable streetcorner stages to roving DJs, all of this entertainment will be strictly DIY.

The only way people are going to be able to save Halloween in the Castro is to take it away from SF city officials and the SFPD and run it themselves.

———

PS — Here‘s SF Party Party’s take on Newsom cancelling Halloween in the Castro. A touch rabid, but a voice worth listening to nevertheless.

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Posted in anti-suburbanization, Bay Area, Bevan Dufty, Carnaval, Castro Street, Chicken John, Chris Daly, City Living, Eureka Valley, Fillmore Jazz Festival, Gavin Newsom, gay, gentrification, Giulianism, Haight Street Fair, Haight-Ashbury, Halloween in the Castro, How Weird Street Fair, Josh Wolf, LGBT, Matt Gonzalez, NIMBY, NIMBYism, police, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco mayor, San Francisco Party Party, SFPD, The Castro, Tom Ammiano, yuppie | 1 Comment »

City living

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 8, 2007

I couldn’t have said this better myself. You can find the original commentary here in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

———

CITY LIVING

By Steven Jones

City living isn’t for everyone. It gets messy, crowded, stinky, loud, scary, and downright weird. Sometimes people block your car even when you have a green light and pound their fists on your hood if you honk. They wear outrageous costumes, play silly games, and follow ridiculous trends. They yell and laugh too loud right outside your window when you’re trying to sleep. Occasionally they pee in your doorway, graffiti your wall, grab your ass, or barf on your shoes.

But that’s city living, and I love it.

If you want clean and orderly, there are plenty of small towns and suburbs to choose from. You can probably even get front and back yards and a roomy house big enough for 2.5 children and assorted pets for what you’re paying for your apartment here. Tempting? Then you should do it. Really. We’ll all be very supportive of your decision to leave if it comes to that, no hard feelings. I might even help you pack and find a new occupant for your place.

But if you want to shut down our party or expect us to dance around your delicate sensibilities, we’re gonna have to fight. And guess what? We’ll win. There are more of us in this crazy town than there are of you … and we aren’t afraid. We dodge SUVs on bicycles, brush past ranting lunatics, stand tall against cops in riot gear, pierce painful parts, bring strange people home to do unspeakable things, cavort with revolutionaries, and take way too many drugs. So there’s no way we’re caving in to the NIMBYs, the conservatives, or the complainers who want to banish our beloved chaos.

The Guardian
has long embraced true city living, from the Summer of Love and its hordes of hippies to the summer of 2007, when our glorious urban messiness is being threatened by the forces of gentrification, corporatization, homogenization, normalization, and stagnation. Once-radical neighborhoods like the Castro and the Haight are increasingly filled with aging homeowners, some of whom have grown frustrated with aspects of city living they once embraced.

Increasingly, however, these tragic naysayers are being confronted by groups such as the San Francisco Party Party, which was created to oppose the forces that are suburbanizing our great city. Last Halloween I donned a beard and stovepipe hat and joined the Party Party’s Abe Lincoln brigades as they cruised the Castro. Why Abe? Why not? Two dozen Abes strolled past the phalanxes of cops on overtime whose presence the nervous Nellies had urged (and who couldn’t stop violence from breaking out anyway), whooping it up until the party was shut down at the ridiculously early hour of 10:30 p.m. and city water trucks chased the partyers away, a sight that almost made us weep – and provoked the crowd into a state of restless frustration.

City living is about keeping the party going, not ending it. It’s a massive pillow fight in Justin Herman Plaza. It’s placing your body and bike in front of the angry guy in the Hummer who wants to cut through Critical Mass. It’s the drunken decision to get another tattoo or the hungry impulse to try an unfamiliar taquería. It’s wearing a chicken suit to confront a cowardly mayor. It’s watching Willy Wonka or the World Cup on massive screens in Dolores Park that somebody set up just because they thought it would be cool. It’s a bonfire on Ocean Beach, a blog argument over the latest city hall scandal, a giant purple head suddenly appearing in Golden Gate Park, street dancing at the late, lamented How Weird Street Faire, a bunch of wasted Santas bar crawling through North Beach, a sunny afternoon at Zeitgeist, a shopping trip to the Haight for a good pair of Burning Man goggles.

Or maybe for you it’s something else, something I’ve never thought or heard of, just some eccentric thing you and your freaky friends like to do. San Francisco has thousands of dynamic social pockets, big and small, each with its own passions, routines, and language. And not all civically spirited events are exotic, either. I’ve felt the abstract joy of the Bay descend during the most pedestrian of tasks, like when this great old guy in the Mission fixed the loose soles on my combat boots (bought used on Haight for $20 a few months ago and walked down many wild paths since) and made me a new key for my dog walker, a woman whose control over a large and combustible crew of canines borders on the miraculous.

Whatever our ideas of city living may be, there’s a reason we’re all living in the city, making San Francisco what it is. Some of the corporate-owned publications in town seem to enjoy mocking the free-living, forward-thinking sensibilities we embrace, dismissively deploying their “only in San Francisco” eye roll or casting progressives as somehow floating outside the country’s political spectrum.

Don’t let them put a ding in your wa, as my DJ friend Syd Gris likes to say. We know that it’s the rest of the country that’s the problem, not us. Luckily, there are a million things to do in this beautiful and bountiful city while we wait for the rest of the world to catch up

Posted in anti-suburbanization, Bay Area, City Living, gentrification, Giulianism, Haight Street Fair, Halloween in the Castro, hippie, hippies, How Weird Street Fair, life, NIMBY, NIMBYism, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Party Party, Steven Jones, Summer of Love | 3 Comments »

Coyote ugly

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 26, 2007

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Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Personal issues got the better of my time, but now I’m back with a followup to the shooting of two coyotes in Golden Gate Park. All the stories come from the San Francisco Chronicle.

First, there’s this about the fact that city dwellers often must share their urban space with a lot of wildlife, not just coyotes but raccoons, skunks, squirrels, bats, opossums, foxes, etc. Frequently, there are clashes between this vestigial wildlife that’s just trying to survive, and the humans who presume to have dominion over everything. Needless to say, the wildlife loses out most of the time.

Then, there’s this story that coyotes get underfoot in many urban settings, from southern California to Chicago, and not just San Francisco. An interesting side story is that the supposedly wild geese around Oakland’s Lake Merritt have become such a nuisance, or to be exact, their shit has become such a health hazard, that city officials are looking for ways to control the birds, to include importing coyotes as predators.

SF Animal Control officials speculate that the Golden Gate Park coyotes that supposedly attacked two leashed dogs were being regularly fed raw meat by humans, in violation of park regulations. The regular feedings made them more aggressive, it is claimed. Finally, a female coyote pup was found dead, apparently run over by a car, near where the two other coyotes were shot and killed. This seems to support the claim by pro-coyote folks that the two coyotes that were shot were simply protecting their young.

Posted in Bay Area, coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, life, Nature in the City, Oakland, racoons, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, urban wildlife, wildlife | 1 Comment »

Coyote killings defended

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 18, 2007

The followup story in the Chronicle about the killing of two coyotes in Golden Gate Park. The comments are also worth reading, including one from Peter Coyote.

Posted in coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Nature in the City, Peter Coyote, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle, urban wildlife, wildlife | Leave a Comment »

Urban coyote saga continues

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 16, 2007

A pair of coyotes in Golden Gate Park attacked two leashed dogs on Saturday. Today, US Department of Agriculture officials shot and killed the two coyotes. “City officials and wildlife researchers estimate that about five to eight coyotes live in San Francisco. These include at least two in Golden Gate Park and one on Bernal Hill. There have also been sightings in McLaren Park, Lake Merced and the Presidio.”

Scratch two from Golden Gate Park, which means three to six city wide.

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Posted in Bernal Hill, coyotes, coyotes in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced, McLaren Park, Nature in the City, Presidio, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, urban wildlife, wildlife | 1 Comment »

Neva again!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 16, 2007

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One of the few reasons to pick up and read the San Francisco Chronicle, Neva Chonin’s column “Live! Rude! Girl!”, is no more. Her last column appeared in yesterday’s Pink Section. The Chron is currently losing $50 million a year, and is in the process of axing 25% of its staff. There won’t be much left of the print edition once the cuts have gone through, and speculation is rife (here and here) that the Chron will stop printing altogether, and rely solely on its web page. Neva can be found on myspace, here.

Posted in Live! Rude! Girl!, Neva Chonin, news, pink section, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Chronicle | 1 Comment »

Chicken John for Mayor

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 8, 2007

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Here’s the SF Chronicle‘s story on Chicken John’s bid for the mayor of San Francisco. It also mentions other “fringe” candidate like Josh Wolf. I didn’t knew that, because of Jello Biafra’s run for mayor in 1979, Chicken John will have to use his real name, John Rivaldi, on the ballot.

Posted in Bay Area, Chicken John, Gavin Newsom, Jello Biafra, John Rivaldi, Josh Wolf, Mayoral election, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area | 1 Comment »

New Deal in the East Bay

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 8, 2007

I’m often stunned by the turn to the right that politics in this country has taken in the last twenty-five years. And I lived through Nixon’s presidency. It’s been said that Richard Nixon was our last great liberal president, in that he still had a fundamental commitment to the policies and principles of the New Deal. The turn to the right I’m talking about is the one that began with Ronald Reagan, a turn away from the New Deal and all it represented in government planning and intervention, towards the fool’s paradise of free markets. The social infrastructure of the country has been deliberately underfunded and allowed to crumble, providing the justification for increased privatization of social services and government functions. So successful has this conservative counterrevolution been, there are proposals to replace Franklin Roosevelt’s portrait on the dime with that of Ronald Reagan.

Which brings me to this story in the Berkeley Daily Planet, about the not-so-hidden New Deal legacy to be found in the East Bay.

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A recent wedding party at the Berkeley Rose Garden, one of the many local New Deal projects. Photograph by Gray Brechin.

Posted in Bay Area, Berkeley, Berkeley Daily Planet, East Bay, Franklin D. Roosevelt, life, New Deal, Oakland, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, San Francisco Bay Area | Leave a Comment »

Mayor Josh Wolf?

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 7, 2007

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Josh Wolf, the journalist who refused to hand over DVR outtakes of a 2005 anti-G8 riot in SF to a grand jury and was jailed for his efforts, announced on July 4 that he’s running for mayor. He attended the Progressive Convention last month and was apparently dismayed that no major SF progressive stepped forward to take on Gavin Newsom. Without further comment, here is his platform:

1) Open Government: As mayor I will wear a mounted streaming camera while working on all official business so that the public can take part in a truly open and transparent government. It may be possible that city codes dictate that certain meetings be confidential, in which case I will have a notice posted explaining why I am offline.

2) Crime: The homicide rate in San Francisco is out of control, and the Board’s plan for neighborhood policing is vital towards staving off this deplorable trend. I would like to adopt the Board’s plan and will work to expand it further to make foot patrols the dominant form of policing in the city and county of San Francisco.

3) Homelessness: There are far too many people in this city living without permanent shelter and something must be done to support these residents as they struggle to put their lives back together. As mayor I will work to develop a series of city beautification and beatification programs which will provide employment for those able to work. Unfortunately some significant portion of the homeless population is not physically or psychologically fit to join the work force, and I will be calling for the scores of homeless support organizations in San Francisco to join me and The City for a caucus to discuss how we can best work together to solve homelessness in San Francisco.

4) Public Transportation: Muni needs to be free for city residents, and I would like to see it free for visitors as well. I will look into passing on the additional cost to downtown business interests as well as exploring possible approaches towards taxing those who elect to use automobiles in The City. This could be done by establishing a fee for driving into the city or perhaps attaching fees to all vehicles registered within San Francisco.

5) Federal Funding: I will work to establish a ten-year plan to sever all federal funding from the city budget. While this is obviously an economically uncertain approach, the federal government’s money creates an unfortunate means for the Feds to intervene in all sorts of city business. My own incarceration is one such example, but far more pressing concerns include the mandates established under No Child Left Behind.

6) Gay Marriage: It is a shame that San Francisco is no longer offering marriage license’s to gay and lesbian couples. I propose that San Francisco look into offering a county marriage license to supplement the state documents The City now provides. Although the state of California refuses to support and honor gay marriage, the city and county of San Francisco should provide a way for people who love each other to formalize that love through marriage.

7) Medicinal Marijuana: The people of San Francisco have come out in support of medicinal marijuana in previous elections and it is of critical importance that The City continue to respect the voters’ wishes. San Francisco must make every effort to prevent Federal Law enforcement from interfering with state and local law and work to stop the harassment and intimidation of patients, their caregivers, and the dispensaries that serve our community.

8 ) Biking: I will partner with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to see that bike lanes are constructed on all major traffic thoroughfares.

9) Halloween: The annual Castro celebration has grown too large to safely accommodate the partygoers who gather each year. I will propose a plan to encourage every neighborhood that’s interested to host their own Halloween celebration. Doing so will decrease the massive crowds in the Castro and allow each neighborhood to develop an event that fits its own character. While this approach will certainly increase the demand on police resources I am convinced that it will actually result in safer and more enjoyable revelry for all.

10) Independence: As an avid supporter of a free and independent San Francisco, I will introduce a city ballot measure to provide an opportunity for the people of San Francisco to attain city sovereignty which I hope to derive from the ballot measure I helped draft three years ago. The residents of our city have united around at least three issues that are in direct contradiction with US policy (Iraq, gay marriage, and medical marijuana) and we should be given the opportunity to divorce ourselves from federal intervention on these and other issues of vital importance to our community.

His blog can be found here.

Posted in Gavin Newsom, Josh Wolf, politics, progressives, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco mayor | 1 Comment »

San Francisco Mime Troupe, LaborFest announcements

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 5, 2007

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The San Francisco Mime Troupe always begins its new season on July 4. The schedule for the current play, “Making a Killing,” can be found here.

The LaborFest film series begins today. An annual labor cultural, film and arts festival, the schedule can be found here.

Posted in Labor Festival, Labor Films, LaborFest, life, Making a Killing, politics, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Mime Troupe | Leave a Comment »

Giuliani time by the bay

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 4, 2007

After some thought, I don’t believe suburbanization is the right word for what Mayor Gavin Newsom has in mind for San Francisco. Newsom fancies himself a “new democrat,” someone who is moderate, centrist, and capable of creative solutions to social problems that are business-friendly at the same time. He has repeatedly cast his eyes toward New York City, and in particular, Giuliani’s time as its mayor. He has emulated NYC’s efforts to clean up Central Park with respect to problems in Golden Gate Park. Newsom has asked New York officials for advice on how to handle the homeless. And his latest idea has been to propose setting up special courts for “quality of life” crimes. Gavin Newsom wants to Giulianize San Francisco.

Newsom’s special courts idea has hit a snag with the SF Board of Supervisors. Board President Aaron Peskin reduced the proposed court’s budget from $750,000 to $500,000, then agreed with other supervisors on the Budget Committee to put the money on reserve. This has increased tensions between the Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors, as well as split the Mayor’s own people as to how to handle the Board.

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That “quality of life” crimes are committed by folks with little quality of life should be apparent to all. There needs to be more of an effort to debunk the myths of Giulianism. Jennifer Roesch’s excellent piece “The Mussolini of Manhattan” is a start, as is Robert Lederman‘s vendor and artist news from New York City. That Giuliani might be our next president scares the bejesus out of me.

Posted in Aaron Peskin, Central Park, Gavin Newsom, Giulianism, Giulianize, Golden Gate Park, homeless, new democrat, New York City, news, nuisance crimes, quality of life, quality of life crimes, Rudolph Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Board of Supervisors | Leave a Comment »

Fillmore Jazz Festival

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 30, 2007

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We walked around the Fillmore Jazz Festival for several hours today. It’s still a lively, two day, twelve-block long party with at least three large, live stages, a half dozen corner venues like Marcus Books, lots of artist/merchant booths, plenty of unhealthy food, and beer and wine aflowing. The stores, restaurants, and bars along the street are brimming with customers, there’s a staggering amount of unsanctioned booze around in brown paper bags, and the friendly crowd is something rare for San Francisco — racially mixed.

I wonder what hoops the Festival organizers are jumping through to keep this tradition alive?

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Posted in Fillmore Jazz Festival, Fillmore Street, jazz, life, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area | Leave a Comment »

Oaktown revisited

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 22, 2007

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People talk shit about Oakland: poverty-stricken, crime-ridden, gang-plagued, drug-infested, with a brutal police department and a corrupt city government. I moved to Oakland when I came up to the Bay Area in 1991, and I thoroughly enjoyed the eleven years I lived in the city. I spent many a “dark night of the soul” walking about downtown or around Lake Merritt, grieving after my parents died. Not once was I mugged or robbed or even harassed. I liked Oaktown’s racial diversity and pleasant weather and radical history and the fact that I was only a BART ride away from Berkeley or San Francisco.

I didn’t like Mayor Jerry Brown much. I considered him a faux progressive and a crass opportunist. I have a soft spot for Ron Dellums ever since the Vietnam War years, but he seems to be struggling to find his stride as the new mayor. He is criticized for being an absentee mayor, a charge that he denies. His website features a report of his accomplishments in his first six months in office. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I’m willing to give Mayor Dellums a little more time to prove himself.

Posted in Bay Area, Jerry Brown, life, Oakland, Oaktown, politics, Ron Dellums, San Francisco Bay Area | 1 Comment »

Grains of salt

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 21, 2007

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The previous post, in particular the quote from the SF Party Party website, isn’t quite accurate. There was a 2007 Haight Ashbury Street Fair and How Weird Street Fair. I do know that, thanks to Newsom, fees have gone up for street fairs, the sale of beer and wine — often the only way these events make any money — has been restricted or eliminated, and live music has been scaled back and made to end earlier.

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Posted in Gavin Newsom, Haight Street Fair, Haight-Ashbury, How Weird Street Fair, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area | Leave a Comment »