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Archive for the ‘SFGate’ 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

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Posted in Bay Area, homeless, life, poverty, San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, SFGate | 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 »

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 »