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Archive for the ‘San Francisco Chronicle’ Category

Ed Lee urges homeless to self-deport

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 1, 2015

A brilliant little op-ed piece, written by San Francisco Chronicle’s columnist Jon Carroll:

Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle Mayor Ed Lee stopped to talk with residents of the Raman Hotel on Howard Street where he made the announcement Wednesday May 13, 2015. Mayor Ed Lee and members of the Board of Supervisors announced $28.9 million in new funding over the next two years to support the homeless in San Francisco, Calif. including the addition of more than 500 supportive housing units for chronically homeless seniors, expand medical care and continue the new Navigation Center.

Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle
Mayor Ed Lee stopped to talk with residents of the Raman Hotel on Howard Street where he made the announcement Wednesday May 13, 2015. Mayor Ed Lee and members of the Board of Supervisors announced $28.9 million in new funding over the next two years to support the homeless in San Francisco, Calif. including the addition of more than 500 supportive housing units for chronically homeless seniors, expand medical care and continue the new Navigation Center.

Ed Lee urges homeless to self-deport
By Jon Carroll
August 31, 2015 Updated: August 31, 2015 7:11pm

So this happened: Ed Lee told homeless people on the Embarcadero that they will “have to leave the street” before the weeklong waterfront-spanning Super Bowl carnival of cross-promotional opportunities that will precede the 2016 game.

“OK,” said the homeless people, “we’ll go to our second homes in Tahoe.”

So many questions! The first, I would think, is “Why is Ed Lee pimping for the NFL?” The NFL is a gigantic corporate entity, zealously guarding its brand while doing everything possible to degrade it. The league came very late to the notion that beating up women was a bad idea, and is now in an utterly dumb and maddening fight with one of its star quarterbacks over deflated footballs.

It’s just like when Lee tried to pimp for the Olympics, a known money loser that leaves behind a lot of infrastructure and no money to pay for its upkeep. Residents of the Bay Area were all “Can we think about this?” while Lee was going, “It’ll be great!” Lee lost that fight, so he transferred his allegiance to another rapacious entertainment cartel.

So the idea was: Get out, you filthy people, because we need a postcard-ready city for media executives to stroll around in.

Then there’s the larger pesky problem of what to do about the homeless. Many words have been expended recently on the deepening problem of San Francisco residents forced to encounter urination and defecation in public places. I hold no brief for those activities, although I do point out that they are a predictable consequence of being alive.

It should be mentioned that a fair number of the urinators and defecators are, to use the clinical term, crazy. We don’t believe in mental hospitals anymore (because they are too costly, unlike homelessness, which is, wait, even more costly), so the crazy people walk among us and, guess what, act like crazy people.

And there’s no street-level policy that can deal with that. Either kill ’em or move ’em out or deal with ’em. San Francisco has made a morally courageous decision to deal with the problem. That decision has to be made again and again, because the problem is intractable.

That decision comes with consequences, one of the least of which is bad smells and disgusting sights. Caring enough about human misery to risk discomfort is a virtue; caring together is a civic virtue.

A large subset of the crazy people are also addicts of various kinds. They’ve been offered the programs; they didn’t want them. Or they couldn’t stay with them. Or whatever. Addiction kills people by convincing them they don’t need help.

Most homeless people are not crazy addicts. They would experience great shame and humiliation if they were forced to do their business in the streets. Like any experienced urban resident, they have a very good idea where the publicly available bathrooms are. If that alternative were somehow not feasible, they would do their best to go deep into the most secret corners of the landscape.

Homeless people are not animals; they are very poor people, is all. Poverty is not an infectious disease; you can’t get it even by brushing past a homeless person on your way to the Nike Gatorade Punt Like an All-Star Celebrity Game.

Homeless people are sort of like me and you. They have mothers and fathers. They’ve known love and heartbreak. Maybe they never had a chance; maybe they had a chance and then stuff went wrong.

How far are you away from homelessness? How many multiple bad things have to go wrong before you run out of your last couch to surf on? Suppose financial reversals plus death of a partner plus debilitating costly disease — how’s your cushion? Maybe all that would be so depressing you’d seek escape in a bottle. And then you’re at a bus station and you’ve got $2.30 in your pocket. And, hey, how about a civil war? You a refugee yet?

It could happen. It could even happen to Ed Lee. Everything is mutable; status comes and goes. We’re all human. Which is sort of the point. We treat other people the way we would want to be treated ourselves. I think that’s some kind of Rule.

So maybe there’s something better than urine-shaming as a social philosophy. Maybe there’s trying to be useful. The problem will be with us as long as there are people, so the only approach that makes some kind of sense involves finding your place in the social fabric. There are dozens of useful volunteer groups; find one.

You may find homeless people offensive. It may also be that some of them find you offensive, you resource-hogging, water-swilling, ocean-warming, sweatshop-clothes-wearing, vacation-in-Bali-taking human placeholder. It’s all a matter of perspective.

“And the moral of that is — ‘Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.’” “How fond she is of finding morals” in jcarroll@sfchronicle.com.

Posted in capitalism, homeless, life, San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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.

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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 »

A techie walks into a bar…

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 15, 2014

…And the whole thing is a joke!

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On February 22, 2014, tech worker Sarah Slocum walked into Molotov’s, a punk dive bar in the Lower Haight, wearing a pair of Google Glasses. Trouble immediately followed as bar patrons didn’t take kindly to possibly being recorded by someone wearing Google Glasses. Verbal abuse was exchanged and supposedly an assault on Slocum followed. Accounts differ as to the exact details, with this version in the SF Bay Guardian and this other one in the SF Chronicle. According to the SF Chronicle article: “When a woman at the bar told Slocum, ‘You’re killing the city,’ a reference to a larger backlash against tech workers in San Francisco, Slocum announced that she wanted to ‘get this white trash on tape.’ A man then ripped the device from her face.” Rather than quote hearsay, let’s just review the available YouTube video, conveniently recorded by Slocum herself. (Here’s Inside Edition reporting on the same incident.)

This incident was the basis for a delightfully hilarious takedown of Google Glass “Explorers” by Jason Jones of The Daily Show entitled “Glass Half Empty (6-12-14).” Take note that Slocum calls the incident at Molotov’s a “hate crime.”

Forgetting JamesOKeefe_mugshot_OnlyCriminalfor the moment that Sarah Slocum has a troubled history, this Daily Show segment reveals the narcissism, vulgar voyeurism, sense of entitlement, and inability to grasp reality that seems to ooze from the very pores of these techies. Combine this with a penchant for cutting, pasting and deceptive editing of what is digitally recorded in order to manipulate the truth to produce propaganda and you get a questionable character like rightwing “sting” con artist James O’Keefe. Frequently painted as a narcissistic, self-absorbed, quasi-paranoid fringe nut job, is it any wonder that O’Keefe is subject to charges of racism and “death threats” that he describes as “hate crimes?” From Mike Spies’ “hit piece” on O’Keefe: “In his [O’Keefe’s] world, everyone outside of his orbit is a potential threat. It’s a difficult place to live. He’s fighting the masses in a quixotic battle, chiding them for not recognizing his great virtue while begging them to recognize his great talent. There’s no place for fun, and human connections are distorted. By the time the video ends, it’s hard not feel sorry for the guy.”

Boo fucking hoo for intentional assholes like O’Keefe and frivolous idiots like Slocum.

(Here’s a more sympathetic take on “Glassholes” from Gary Shteyngart, “O.K., Glass,” in The New Yorker.)

Posted in life, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, tech, tech industry, techies, The Haight | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Give me liberty!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 14, 2014

And give me hot dogs!

Renie Riemann closes her trunk as she packs up Top Dog where she has worked for more than 24 years in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, June 13, 2014. The CVS, which was previously a Payless, was a place where you could buy a hot dog, repair your shoes and buy household items in one stop. Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle

Renie Riemann closes her trunk as she packs up Top Dog where she has worked for more than 24 years in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, June 13, 2014. The CVS, which was previously a Payless, was a place where you could buy a hot dog, repair your shoes and buy household items in one stop.
Photo: James Tensuan, The Chronicle

My wife pointed out this article in the daily SF Chronicle about the closing of the CVS drug store in the Safeway shopping center at 51st Street/Pleasant Valley and Broadway in Oakland. When I was living in Oakland, the location was a Longs Drugs, and it went through several transformations before ending up a CVS. But at every stage this pharmacy/variety store was always a commercial hub for this part of Oakland, with a mom-and-pop feel to its ownership and a super friendly staff to help customers find what they were looking for.

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One aspect to the CVS that was enjoyable for me was the Top Dog hot dog stand inside the entryway to the store. Top Dog is a locally owned mini-chain of four hot dog stands in Berkeley and Oakland. Three, now that this Top Dog location has closed. Established in 1966, and open daily, Top Dog tried to make incursions into San Francisco over the past several years, only to have various retail attempts in the City ultimately fail. The menu continues to offer a delicious variety of sausages grilled to order and served up with a variety of side dishes and condiments.

reflectdogOne notable feature of Top Dog is the extreme libertarian propaganda freely displayed around each Top Dog stand. When the flagship eatery was established just off Telegraph Avenue a few blocks from UC Berkeley, it was the heyday of Berkeley radicalism, so I’m sure that the shop and its philosophy were often a center for lively political discussion and debate. After all, the RCP’s Revolution Books was just down the street. grillI’ve made my utter disdain for libertarianism known on my other blog. But the bockwurst, well, that was something to be taken seriously. I suppose the famous quote (attributed either to Otto von Bismarck or John Godfrey Saxe) that “[l]aws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made” can be taken a number of ways. Personally, I don’t have a lot of regard for most laws. The sausages grilled up by Top Dog, however, are both top quality and worthy of my respect. Below is an image of the mural that hangs in the flagship Top Dog stand in Berkeley. Apparently, it includes a depiction of the owner’s daughter as she appeared when the first mural was painted in 1987.

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Posted in Berkeley, libertarians, life, Oakland, Oaktown, San Francisco Chronicle | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Anti-Techie backlash: bus blockade tactic

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on December 31, 2013

So I’m walking around Market Street, doing a bit of extra exercise between my workout sessions, when I encounter this sticker on a newspaper kiosk near the corner of Church Street.
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Its an old slogan (“Die Yuppie Scum!”) updated for present realities in San Francisco. The techies flooding into the City have become a lightning rod for local frustration, discontent, protest, and worse. In particular, those Apple, Google, and Genentech buses seen cruising the city’s streets have become prime targets. On December 20, four separate incidents involving blockades and/or attacks on tech buses occurred in Oakland and San Francisco, according to the SF Chronicle. People peacefully surrounded and briefly detained buses at MacArthur BART Station in Oakland and the 24th Street and Mission BART Station in San Francisco. At 7th and Adeline streets near the West Oakland BART Station, violence greeted another bus, rocks and bottles were thrown, and window was shattered and tires were slashed.
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Video can be found here. These protests, nonviolent and violent, follow a bus blockade on December 9 in the Mission, covered here. The folks staging this protest called themselves the San Francisco Displacement and Neighborhood Impact Agency, and sighted the following reasons for their protest:

[W]e’re stopping the injustice in the city’s two-tier system where the public pays and the private corporations gain.

Rents and evictions are on the rise. Tech-fueled real estate speculation is the culprit. We say: Enough is Enough! The local government, especially Mayor Lee, has given tech the keys to shape the city to their fancy without the public having any say in it. We say, lets take them back!

Tech Industry private shuttles use over 200 SF MUNI stops approximately 7,100 times in total each day (M-F) without permission or contributing funds to support this public infrastructure. No vehicles other than MUNI are allowed to use these stops. If the tech industry was fined for each illegal use for the past 2 years, they would owe an estimated $1 billion to the city.

We demand they PAY UP or GET OUT!
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Those tech workers temporarily trapped on the buses in question were furious about being “held hostage” by the protestors blockading the means of transportation to their jobs. These techies have demonstrated a profound myopia over their own part in gentrifying San Francisco and in engendering the hostility among the locals to their intrusion. All the while tech workers are safely ensconced in their buses with tinted windows, air conditioning and wifi without thought one about giving back to the neighborhoods and the city they’re blithely destroying.

Business leaders narrowly argue that the backlash against the tech buses makes no sense, because the buses take solo drivers in individual cars off the roads. These business interests deliberately ignore the wider damage done to San Francisco by the tech industries relentless encroachments. And they conveniently look the other way as Mayor Ed Lee and other corporate complicit local politicians provide $14.2 million annually in tax breaks to stimulate growth in tech, biotech, and cleantech, most prominently to keep Twitter in San Francisco and to stimulate economic growth around its mid-Market Street headquarters.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian has provided a much needed critical counterbalance to the Chronicle’s pro-business cheerleading that simultaneously bemoans all the fuss being made over tech workers and the tech industry. Along with the YouTube of the December 20 bus protests below, SFBG continues to cover the bus blockages and other anti-techie protests.

Posted in capitalism, evictions, gentrification, Google buses, life, Oakland, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, tech industry, techies | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Sage advice from an asshole laureate

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 24, 2013

I never thought I’d be quoting advice from Willie Brown, former Speaker of the California State Assembly and ex-SF mayor, who once praised Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones and then feared that he might be assassinated when Jones went rogue, and whose response to having the Bay Bridge named after him is “aw shucks.” The man has an ego that can’t be contained by his city of residence, yet this cautionary bit from his regular SF Chronicle column (11-23-13) is worth repeating. Under the title “Techies must nip growing scorn in bud:”

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There’s a war brewing in the streets of San Francisco, and a lot of people could get caught up in it if the tech world doesn’t start changing its self-centered culture.

Every day in every way, from rising rents to rising prices at restaurants to its private buses, the tech world is becoming an object of scorn. It’s only a matter of time before the techies’ youthful lustre fades, and they’re seen as just another extension of Wall Street.

And when that happens, tenant advocates, community activists, labor unions and Occupy types are going to start asking why we’re giving away the city to all these white-male-dominated businesses that don’t even hire locals.

At which point, the politicians will do what they always do – count votes. And by my last count, for all of their hype and money, tech types were still a decidedly small part of the vote. If they even vote at all.

What the tech world needs to do is nip this thorny plant in the bud. They need to come off their high cloud efforts to save Africa or wherever they take adventure vacations and start making things better for folks right here.

They need to start helping in Hunters Point and in Chinatown.

Most of all, they need to start hiring locals.

Otherwise, the next time it comes to a tax measure or a vote at the Planning Commission, they could find themselves getting skinned.

The tech industry’s utter lack of empathy for the city that has become its “home away from home,” indeed, its willingness to befoul its own nest so to speak, not only is unsound in an ecological sense, it speaks to the monumental hubris of what SF Chronicle business writer Andrew S. Ross calls “new money.” In his article “Old money winning face-off over Presidio museum,” (11-23-13) Ross opines: “Here’s what Lucas’ supporters need to get, not to mention Lucas himself. It’s what one critic called “an aroma of hubris” surrounding the project. Or what others have more generally described as Silicon Valley “arrogance,” which Conway’s letter smacked of.”

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Whether specifically in the battle between George Lucas versus old San Francisco money over what will become of San Francisco’s Presidio, or more generally in the battle between tech interests versus the rest of San Francisco over the reshaping of this city, the arrogance and hubris of “new money” or the tech industry or what have you is stunning. You can see it in the techies and hipsters who wander about the Mission, oblivious to their surroundings as their influx raises rents and gentrifies the neighborhood. Its time for the rebels to strike back.

Posted in gentrification, hipsters, life, San Francisco, San Francisco Chronicle, tech industry, techies, The Presidio | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From $4 toast to $1 billion plus Warriors arena

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 9, 2013

The price of living in San Francisco has always been high. But lately, the cost has been escalating rapidly, and guess who’s getting stuck with the bill?
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Jolie O’Dell wrote a humorous op-ed piece for Venture Beat based on having a $6 coffee and toast breakfast at The Mill in San Francisco. The toast alone was $4! She argues that the tech industry is ruining San Francisco, and offers the following cycle for how the tech community is fucking up the City:

Here’s the cycle:

1) Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of superior taste. It might be a physical good, like toast; it might be a service, like black-car, chauffeured rides.
2) Tech folks, being one of the largest demographics in the city with ample disposable income, patronize, promote, and even invest in said business. (See: Blue Bottle coffee.)
3) Aforementioned business prospers and grows its profile.
4) People both within and outside the tech community are inspired to create more bourgie businesses that cater to the bored and overprivileged, peppering their descriptions with buzzwords like “organic” and “fair trade” and “artisanal,” the most meaningless of them all. Rarely are these goods and services truly accessible and affordable.
5) San Francisco becomes saturated with overpriced crap that is comparable in quality to less overpriced crap.
6) Middle class and working class families and individuals in the community find themselves priced out of goods and services. Small businesses in those sectors languish.

Jolie makes an excellent point, one that Eddie Kurtz of Courage Campaign translated into a housing petition to demand that Mayor Ed Lee stop catering to the 1% at the expense of the rest of San Francisco: “Sign on and tell Mayor Lee: San Francisco became one of the greatest cities in the world because it valued the working class. Unless you change course, our vibrant, diverse city will become a memory. Mayor Lee please stop catering to the 1% and start fighting for an affordable San Francisco.
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Not that the petition will do much good. Mayor Ed Lee has made securing and building the Warriors arena for San Francisco the primary task of his administration. But the proposal for the Warriors arena is not only evolving, it’s costs are piling up. The cost for rehabilitating the aging piers upon which the arena will sit is estimated to be $170 million. And the cost for building the actual arena will likely top $1 billion. Sports stadiums always require subsidies from the taxpayers in order to be built and operated. They rarely make money. They are not a good deal, all the way around, for the city in question or the taxpayers of that city. C.W. Nevius, who was a stooge for the 8 Washington developer, is now toadie and apologist for the promoters of the Warriors arena proposal. While the Warriors are playing hardball, opposition is beginning to mount against the arena. You can check out an opposition Facebook page here, and a change.org petition against the arena can be found here. The arguments accompanying the anti-arena petition are as follows:

Uniqueness

The Warriors Project should not be built on Pier 30-32 because Pier 30-32 is a very unique piece of property. Pier 30-32 belongs to the state land trust. Pier 30-32 should therefore serve all Californians as public access to the SF Bay. The proposed Project will strip this part of waterfront of its uniqueness.

Traffic

The Embarcadero cannot support any more traffic. The Embarcadero is already congested due to Giants games, The Ferry Building Farmers’ Market, the cruise ship terminal, the Exploratorium and Pier 38 (once open for business). The Embarcadero is the only access to all of those waterfront locations, and it has reached its capacity for traffic.

Views

The Warriors Project will greatly obstruct both San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge views. The Warriors Project does not need water access. Other acceptable sites to build this project are available.

Pollution

Noise is also a form of unacceptable pollution, and we are already enduring noise coming from loud fans, fireworks, ground and air traffic during Giants games, concerts and other events. Another arena in such close proximity would most likely double the already unacceptable noise pollution.

Given the amounts of unacceptable levels of plastic and garbage that end up in the SF Bay after every Giants game, it is clear that the adverse environmental impact on our Bay would only increase.

Posted in 1%, C.W. Nevius, life, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, tech industry, Warriors arena | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Millions of Dead Hipsters!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 8, 2013

Millions of Dead Hipsters!

Millions of Dead Hipsters!


Its official. According to Forbes, the Mission in San Francisco is the second best hipster neighborhood in the country. Huffington Post concurs.
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But there’s trouble in the burgeoning hipster paradise of the Mission. San Francisco columnist Carl Nolte writes with a touch of sadness that tensions are mounting between the Latino population already in the neighborhood and the invading hipsters, who bring with them artisanal coffee shops, pricy restaurants, and higher rents. There has already been vandalism and outright protest against the influx of hipsters. Oh my, can’t we all just get along?
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Gabriela Sierra Alonso writes, in an article in El Tecolote, that tensions in the Mission are high and about to reach the boiling point over “pent up frustrations about gentrification—for longtime Mission residents and newcomers alike.” The changing demographics of the Mission have claimed another victim, the city’s dwindling black population. Driven out of the Fillmore by urban renewal (called “negro removal” by the black community) in the 1950s and 60s, Jimmy Falls has started an occasional series in New American Media called “San Francisco’s Black Community — Where Did We Go?” where he writes “During that time, I would sometimes come back to my neighborhood to hang out with old friends, and I began to notice the same thing happening to my new neighborhood in the Mission — there seemed to be less and less black people.”
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There is something folks can do. Fight Back! Gentrification by more than just hipsters is now on the agenda for the Mission, according to the SF Chronicle and the SF Bay Guardian. In response, there are growing protests to the Mission’s corporate gentrification, as exemplified by the eviction of local families and small businesses. But, more can be done.
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BuzzFeed FWD recently posted “When San Francisco Rebelled Against The Techies” offering a brief history of the “city’s anti-tech backlash.” Inspirational posters from previous uprisings against yuppie/hipster invasions can be viewed there, as well as here. Take heart, a solution to the hipster infestation and corporate gentrification of the Mission may be just a cocktail away. A Molotov cocktail…
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Posted in El Tecolote, gentrification, hipsters, life, Millions of Dead Hipsters!, New American Media, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, The Mission | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

San Francisco or Manhattan? The future of San Francisco.

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on November 7, 2013

“The developers always win in the end.”

Taneyhill’s Rule

The voters of San Francisco soundly defeated Propositions B and C on November 5, 2013, thereby preventing the construction of the 8 Washington condominium development on the waterfront. At least temporarily. I give this caveat because of the above famous rule, propounded by an equally famous pundit. The proposed 8 Washington development called for the construction of 134 luxury condos, selling for up to 5 million a condo, surrounded by parkland with nominal public access. I use the term nominal because, depending on who one referenced, the parkland around 8 Washington was to be “as good as” public space, or a fiefdom owned, controlled and policed by the condo development. The 8 Washington site can be found here, but the link probably won’t be up for long given the ignominious defeat of this project. This is what 8 Washington would have looked like, according to models, plans and artist renditions:
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8 Washinton 2013
8 Washinton 2012-thumbsiteplan_popin
The plan to develop 8 Washington immediately provoked local opposition by various individuals, groups and segments of the population. The whole proposal was quickly dubbed “The Wall,” and resistance quickly consolidated into an organized movement (No Wall on the Waterfront). I will not pretend to objectivity regarding 8 Washington, which I also called The Wall. I was against it. There’s plenty of information out there on the web to be had backing up my side. Here’s a list of links you can explore:

THE ALT-MEDIA OPPOSITION

The San Francisco Bay Guardian was one of the leading opposition voices against 8 Washington. This link details the blow-by-blow efforts by the developer to push 8 Washington through the SF Planning Commission, and then through the SF Board of Supervisors, as well as the fight against it, through scores of Bay Guardian articles and editorials. And this link hints at the dirty tricks the developer used to try and stop the efforts to put Proposition C on the ballot.

There were other opposition voices as well. The Bay Guardian’s sister publication, the San Francisco Examiner editorialized against 8 Washington here. And an archive of SF Examiner articles and editorials on 8 Washington can be found here.

THE BLOG MEDIA OPPOSITION

BeyondChron‘s archives on 8 Washington can be found here. Fog City Journal‘s archives are available by typing “8 Washington” into their search engine. The SFist had a few articles here, here and here. And Tim Redmond’s San Francisco blog had these archives.

CORPORATE MEDIA SUPPORTERS

The San Francisco Chronicle (via SFGate) offered this article and this editorial about the defeat of 8 Washington, after its incessant, year-long boosterism for the project. And the Los Angeles Times covered the defeat of 8 Washington with this article and this news story.

SOUR GRAPES

Finally, we come to C.W. Nevius, the SF Chronicle’s own “conservative suburban twit” …er… columnist. Here‘s where Nevius vents his outrage over the scare tactics used by the opponents of 8 Washington, and here‘s where Nevius pretends no longer to care that his beloved 8 Washington project failed so miserably on election day.

MANHATTANIZATION

The real issue, after the crash-and-burn of the 8 Washington project and its supporters, is the ongoing efforts to Manhattanize the city of San Francisco. Here are some:

Classic San Francisco Skylines
San Francisco Skyline from the Bridgeskyline
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Now, here are some models and artist renditions of proposed San Francisco developments, from a website called SkyScraperCity, a site full of developer porn with a thread devoted to San Francisco. These skyscraper porn fantasies aren’t even everything that developers have planned for San Francisco. Much the same information (from a different angle, in greater depth, with neighborhood and human implications) can be found in the November 2013 issue of San Francisco magazine (digital edition)

Projects Under Construction

Transbay Center & Tower

Transbay Center & Tower

Crescent Heights Apartment Tower (10th & Market Sts.)

Crescent Heights Apartment Tower (10th & Market Sts.)

SFPUC Headquarters - 525 Golden Gate Ave.

SFPUC Headquarters – 525 Golden Gate Ave.

One Rincon Hill (Tower Two)

One Rincon Hill (Tower Two)

Trinity Place, Phase 2 (Corner Mission & 8th St)

Trinity Place, Phase 2 (Corner Mission & 8th St)

55 Ninth St.

55 Ninth St.

333 Harrison St.

333 Harrison St.

The Madrone (Condominium) - Mission Bay

The Madrone (Condominium) – Mission Bay


Approved Projects
535 Mission St.

535 Mission St.

350 Mission St.

350 Mission St.

350 Bush St./500 Pine St.

350 Bush St./500 Pine St.

45 Lansing St.

45 Lansing St.

375 - 399 Fremont St. (aka "The Californian")

375 – 399 Fremont St. (aka “The Californian”)

1036 Mission St.

1036 Mission St.


Projects Proposed and Pending Approval
181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

181 Fremont St.

201 Folsom St.

201 Folsom St.

222 2nd St.

222 2nd St.

Mission Rock Project (Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48)

Mission Rock Project (Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48)

Treasure Island Redevelopment/Towers

Treasure Island Redevelopment/Towers

OOOPS!

In a case of premature ejaculation, the SkyScraperCity site listed the 8 Washington project as approved. Perhaps its time to use the defeat of 8 Washington to build a broader resistance to the further gentrification and Manhattanization of San Francisco. Otherwise, San Francisco’s skyline might look like this, in the near future.

FUTURE SAN FRANCISCO SKYLINE

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TwinPeaksDoloresPark
PotreroHillSFrumoredshrp
futuresf_video4639719_640
skyline3

Posted in 8 Washington, BeyondChron, C.W. Nevius, Fog City Journal, life, Los Angeles Times, Manhattanization, Manhattanization of San Francisco, No Wall on the Waterfront, Proposition B, Proposition C, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco magazine, San Francisco skyline, SFist, The Wall, Tim Redmond, Tim's San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

You know you’re in the Twilight Zone if…

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 28, 2013

SF_Bay_area_USGS
…You post about the Haight on your blog, and the SFGate blog (Internet Portal for the SF Chronicle) posts about the Haight the very next day. Spooky, huh? Or maybe its just the proximity to Halloween.

Anyway, You know you’re a real Haight resident if you… appeared today (10-28-13), a sometimes amusing take on life in the Haight-Ashbury in pictures and text. Previously, they did the Mission neighborhood You know you live in the Mission if… as well as the entirety of San Francisco in You know you’re a real San Franciscan if you…

Other whole communities covered: Marin, the Peninsula, Berkeley, and Oakland. Sometimes interesting, sometimes goofy, generally entertaining tidbits of trivia can be found in these respective blog posts. I hope they continue to do the San Francisco neighborhoods.
sf_bay_area_re_information

Posted in Berkeley, Haight-Ashbury, life, Marin, Oakland, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay, San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate, The Haight, The Mission, the Peninsula | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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 »

Recipe for disaster or party organizing opportunity

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

ba_halloween_castro.jpg

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 »

Coyote ugly

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

ba_urban_coyotes2.jpg

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 »

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 »