Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cop cameras working in San Diego



Sheriff Mirkarimi is putting them on deputies in the county jail. They are working in Oakland. Coming soon to San Francisco.

Thanks to Cal Watchdog.com.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Wiggle ref quits, game goes on

San Francisco Citizen reports that the Wiggle referee publicity stunt yesterday was a bust. What exactly was the bike guy ref going to publicize? Apparently he thought he was going to reveal how awful motorists behaved on the Wiggle, but of course the Wiggle is famous as a city-sanctioned bike route wherein cyclists speed through that residential neighborhood, running stop signs and scattering pedestrians in their wake, on their way downtown or wherever they're in such a hurry to get.



Below is the kind of reporting by Stanley Roberts that bike guy Morgan Fitzgibbons doesn't like:



Morgan Fitzgibbons of the Wigg Party

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Passenger rail in the US: More insignificant than bicycles


Always good to check in with Randal O'Toole for a reality-check on the country's transportation system:

Why can’t America have great trains?” asks East Coast writer Simon Van Zuylen-Wood in the National Journal. The simple answer is, “Because we don’t want them.” The slightly longer answer is, “because the fastest trains are slower than flying; the most frequent trains are less convenient than driving; and trains are almost always more expensive than either flying or driving.”

Van Zuylen-Wood’s article contains familiar pro-passenger-train hype: praise for European and Asian trains; selective statistics about Amtrak ridership; and a search for villains in the federal government who are trying to kill the trains. The other side of the story is quite different.

For example, he notes that Amtrak “ridership has increased by roughly 50 percent in the past 15 years.” But he fails to note that the biggest driver of Amtrak ridership is gasoline prices, which 15 years ago were at an all-time low (after adjusting for inflation). Now that prices are falling, so is Amtrak’s ridership.

He also ignores the fact that Amtrak’s ridership is minuscule compared with flying or driving. Whereas highways moved around 87 percent of passenger travel and airlines around 12 percent in 2012, Amtrak’s share was just 0.14 percent. While that is an increase from 0.11 percent in 1999, it is a decrease from 0.15 to 0.16 percent in most of the years from 1975 through 1993, when gas prices were high.

Trains are great for moving large volumes of goods from point A to point B. America’s freight railroads are the envy of the world, but they make most of their money moving coal from mine to power plant; grain from elevator to port; and containers from port to inland distribution center. The railroads conceded less-than-carload shipments, the freight equivalent of passengers, to trucks and air freight back in 1975 when the Railway Express Agency went out of business...

Rob's comment:

That's why Warren Buffett invested in freight rail, not passenger rail.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The education of Ben Affleck


Sam Harris and Bill Maher schooled Ben Affleck on Islam above (also see this). Now we learn of Affleck's admittedly foolish attempt to delete part (below) of the Finding Your Roots TV program where he learned that he had an ancestor who owned slaves. He would have gotten away with it if not for Wikileaks republishing those Sony email messages.

One almost sympathizes with movie star Affleck, who, unlike the rest of us, must in effect undergo his education in public, especially since my understanding is that there were slave owners in my family on my mother's side.

GATES: This is the slave schedule of the 1850 Census. In 1850, they would list the owner of slaves in a separate Census.

AFFLECK: There’s Benjamin Cole, owned 25 slaves.

GATES: Your third great-grandfather owned 25 slaves. He was a slave owner.

GATES (in voiceover): These holdings put Benjamin Cole among the southern elite. Only about 10 percent of all slave holders owned 20 slaves or more.

AFFLECK: God. It gives me kind of a sagging feeling to see, uh, a biological relationship to that. But, you know, there it is, part of our history.

GATES: But consider the irony, uh, in your family line. Your mom went back fighting for the rights of black people in Mississippi, 100 years later. That’s amazing.

AFFLECK: That’s pretty cool.

GATES: That’s pretty cool.

AFFLECK: Yeah, it is. One of the things that’s interesting about it is like we tend to separate ourselves from these things by going like, you know, oh, well, it’s just dry history, and it’s all over now, and this shows us that there’s still a living aspect to history, like a personal connection. By the same token, I think it’s important to recognize that, um, in looking at these histories, how much work has been done by people in this country, of all kinds, to make it a better place.

The edited version of the program below:



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Climate change and San Francisco Bay





Thanks to KRCB.

Completing the play: Fans and foul balls



One of the pleasures of watching the Giants on TV is watching foul balls go to into the stands, but it's frustrating if the camera cuts away too soon because the play isn't really over until we see who got the ball.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bikeshare customers: Young white guys who make good money



In general, bikeshare users did not mirror the adult population of the Washington metropolitan region. More than nine in ten bikeshare survey respondents were employed, while the U.S. Census reports that only about seven in ten Washington metropolitan region adults are employed. But bikeshare survey respondents also differed from the general employed population. Compared with all commuters in the region, they were, on average,  Considerably younger  More likely to be male  More likely to be Caucausian 

Thanks to CityLab. 

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The comma queen

     

More comma queen here. Mary Norris works on commas and other punctuation issues for the New Yorker and is the author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.

 

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Marina Community Association meeting tonight


A reader writes:

Plans to redesign Chestnut Street, which could include the addition of a transit only lane, traffic signals, and other traffic calming measures, along with the loss of parking, have Marina residents riled up. Or in the words of a reader who attended yesterday’s open house to discuss the project: “I’ve seen more polite crowds at a witch burning.”

A piece of the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency’s "Muni Forward" program, the proposed Chestnut Street redesign would shave 4 minutes from the travel time for the 30/30X through the corridor, in part by removing a number of existing stops.

The Marina Community Association is slated to address the project at its spring meeting on April 21. Don’t forget your matches or extinguishers...

[From the Marina Community Association website:

"The Annual Spring General Meeting will be at the Claire Lilienthal School at 3630 Divisadero Street Tuesday from 6pm to 8pm. We hope to see everyone there!"]

In other parking news:

Following the collection of over six months of data tracking the utilization of bike racks installed in the 18 parking garages managed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the agency’s Parking Division has requested a reduction in the required number of racks to be installed in at least seven (7) of the garages due to “significant slack capacity” for the racks which are already in place.

The Union Square, Sutter Stockton and Civic Center garages are among those facilities for which reductions in the number of bike parking spaces required to be installed have been requested, with observed average daily utilization rates of 26.5 percent, 48.1 percent, and 14 percent for their existing racks respectively.

Keep in mind that businesses and buildings which have installed private racks, such as Twitter, Dolby and City Hall, have impacted the demand for publicly-accessible bicycle parking.

A City ordinance adopted in 2013 upgraded and increased the number and quality of bicycle parking spaces required for City-owned buildings and parking garages based on expected demand.

Rob's comment: Why use the clunky, four-syllable "utilization" when good old one-syllable "use" would do the job better?

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Archbishop Cordileone and "cafeteria Catholics"

"Gravely evil"?

I'm not a Catholic---or even a Christian, for that matter---but it seems like Archbishop Cordileone is right and city Catholics who put the full-page ad in the Chronicle the other day asking the Pope to remove him are merely "cafeteria Catholics."


“People are free to complain to the Vatican about bishops, but there is no formal process for removing them,” said Patricia Miller, an author who writes nationally on Catholic issues. “You can lobby it, and if you have the Vatican’s ear because you are a big donor or someone with big influence, you might get heard some. But the Vatican is not a democracy. It is literally a feudal court, a monarchy. “There is no expectation of transparency there,” Miller said. “Pope Francis is trying to open it up ever so slightly — he’s created a layperson committee now looking into sex abuse in the church — but in the end, he makes all the decisions.” So does that mean he has heard the cries from San Francisco and is ready to act? “The short answer is no,” said Miller (emphasis added).

Even unbelievers like me have always known that the Catholic church opposes birth control, adultery, and gay sex---even all sex outside of marriage.

The church's moral teachings have always been tough for Catholics, like on masturbation: All the boys pictured above with Cordileone presumably indulge in a "gravely evil" practice?

Surely being a Catholic---or even a Christian---involves in the first place believing, like Alice, "six impossible things before breakfast."

Catholics who oppose Cordileone are like the Muslims who claim that jihadists have hijacked the true Islam, when in fact the terrorists can easily cite the Koran and Islamic tradition to support their murderous behavior, like Archbishop Cordileone can cite scripture and church tradition to support his views.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Meditation for atheists: Killing the Buddha


Philosopher Sam Harris, an atheist, practices a form of Buddhist meditation:

...In many respects, Buddhism is very much like science. One starts with the hypothesis that using attention in the prescribed way (meditation), and engaging in or avoiding certain behaviors (ethics), will bear the promised result (wisdom and psychological well-being). This spirit of empiricism animates Buddhism to a unique degree. For this reason, the methodology of Buddhism, if shorn of its religious encumbrances, could be one of our greatest resources as we struggle to develop our scientific understanding of human subjectivity.

Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of bloodshed. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians),Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades...

There is a reason that we don’t talk about “Christian physics” or “Muslim algebra,” though the Christians invented physics as we know it, and the Muslims invented algebra. Today, anyone who emphasizes the Christian roots of physics or the Muslim roots of algebra would stand convicted of not understanding these disciplines at all. In the same way, once we develop a scientific account of the contemplative path, it will utterly transcend its religious associations. Once such a conceptual revolution has taken place, speaking of “Buddhist” meditation will be synonymous with a failure to assimilate the changes that have occurred in our understanding of the human mind...

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Vision Zero, the MTA, and Leah Shahum's career move


A reader writes:

Rob,

Vision Zero SF has lots of graphs, maps. Under High Injury Network: "In San Francisco, more than 70 percent of severe and fatal traffic injuries occur on just 12 percent of city streets."

Under WalkFirst it says: "WalkFirst was a two-year public process that identified the 6% of San Francisco streets that are responsible for 60% of pedestrian collisions."

Vision Zero SF can say that either 6% or 12% of SF streets are dangerous.

Rob's comment:

Okay, find the city's high injury traffic corridors on this map. See how easy it is!

The city can say whatever it wants, but until it analyzes the accidents on those streets and then releases those analyses to the public---like Commander Ali did on last year's fatal traffic accidents and the Collisions Reports used to do on city intersections---the city has no credibility about accidents on city streets. 

Since the SFMTA has 5,359 employees, surely it can spare a few to analyze every injury accident on city streets and then publish a report showing what it has done to avoid future accidents. 

Many---perhaps most---injury accidents on city streets can't be prevented by anything the city can do by re-designing streets and intersections. Almost all injury accidents are caused, as Commander Ali put it, by "really bad behavior" by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

After UC busted the city for the grossly incompetent way it counts cycling accidents, it pounced on Vision Zero as a new, comprehensive---and diversionary---strategy. It's no accident, so to speak, that Leah Shahum is using Vision Zero as her next career move to pursue her anti-car agenda:

The Vision Zero Network will ensure that “each of our cities is not re-creating[sic] the wheel” as they commit to new pedestrian safety practices, Shahum said...“There is tremendous power at the local---and state---levels to make the changes we need to save lives,” Shahum said. Last year in San Francisco 17 pedestrians died in car collisions, mostly on streets The City long identified as the most dangerous to walk on. As The Examiner reported Thursday, many projects to re-engineer these streets to be safer have been long delayed, or cancelled outright (National pedestrian-safety organization Vision Zero Network launches in SF).

The Examiner story was by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, who the now-defunct Bay Guardian once called "a good but overworked reporter who doesn't have the editorial freedom to truly speak truth to power." Rodriguez's idea of speaking truth to power---or to anyone else, for that matter---is his story that used Walk San Francisco, the Bicycle Coalition, and Streetsblog as sources. That's the balanced reporting he learned at the Guardian! (Advocates blast SF mayor for backlog of pedestrian-safety projects)

As Commander Ali's analysis of those accidents found, negligent behavior by the pedestrians themselves caused half those deaths.

One of the Vision Zero links at least admits the city's failure to even accurately count injury accidents on city streets:

A significant number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries are not captured in police data, creating an incomplete picture of street safety. The San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center is working with city partners to develop a comprehensive system to ensure accurate, coordinated and timely monitoring of injuries and fatalities for safety project prioritization, evaluation, and reporting.

A couple of earlier, unofficial admissions here and here.

We need to see all those "evaluations," not only like the intersection analyses we used to see in the city's annual Collisions Report but for every injury accident that happens on city streets.

And anyone who uses "priortization" shouldn't be writing for the city.

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Where's the bicycle count report 5: "Finalizing the data"

Paul Rose: MTA media relations

Rose, Paul
8:24 AM (2 hours ago)

Just an update...We are still finalizing the data. I don’t have a release date yet, but getting closer.

From: Rob Anderson [mailto:rmajora@gmail.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 11:19 AM
To: Rose, Paul
Cc: Holland, Kristen; Lyles, Robert A
Subject: Bicycle Count Report

Will the bicycle count report be released this week?

Regards,
Rob Anderson

Rob's comment:

Yes, apparently data can sometimes be hard to "finalize," even if you've already had six months to do it. If, as we suspect, the numbers are down from last year, the MTA's problem is about how to present/spin the report, not with the numbers themselves. That's what "finalizing" means in this context.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pavement on city streets is only "fair"

Not Jason Henderson's fight

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission gives the pavement on San Francisco's streets only a "fair" rating:

...streets with PCI scores in the “fair” (60-69) range are becoming worn to the point where rehabilitation may be needed to prevent rapid deterioration. Because major repairs cost five to 10 times more than routine maintenance, these streets are at an especially critical stage.
Seems like we're always voting for more money to maintain city streets (here, hereand here), but the money is supposedly never enough to bring them up to a "good" condition.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Traffic deaths nationwide and in SF



Soon after motorized transport entered city streets, fatal crashes rose. In the face of appalling and rising death figures, many adjustments occurred over a 30-year period. None of these changes involved urban form; they were inevitably operational and regulatory (e.g. lane markers, stop signs, driving rules, etc).

In the U.S. during the first decades of the automobile’s presence on city streets, car accident rates fell rapidly even though car travel tripled between 1920 and 1955...

Rob's comment:

You can see this trend verified in the history of San Francisco traffic deaths in New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Study and San Francisco Datapages 5-7, though there were some dramatic spikes, when more than 100 deaths a year on city streets were common. 

One reason for a decline in accidents in SF: red light cameras at intersections. See page 7 in the last---and apparently final---Collisions Report by the MTA.

Last year was typical of recent years: 28 deaths, 16 of which were pedestrians, which is also typical. Typical too: pedestrians are often responsible for their own fatal accidents; peds themselves were responsible for 8 of the 16 deaths last year. All three cycling deaths were due to the negligence of the cyclists themselves. 

See pages 19 and 20 of the Collisions Report on pedestrian fatalities.

One reason San Francisco has a lot of pedestrian deaths: people walk a lot more in San Francisco than they do in other cities. See page 11 here.

As Commander Ali said earlier this year, traffic deaths in SF are because of "really, really bad behavior” by motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

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How stupid are cops?


You might think that after the Rodney King case way back in 1991 cops would be more careful about beating and/or killing people. The guy who made the Rodney King video was using an old-fashioned video camera. Except for a minority of techno-fogies like me, almost everyone now carries a device that can take pictures and videos.

The bullies/assholes in the above video must assume that the helicopter hovering above their cop riot and beat-down is recording what they're doing. 

Note the asshole in the white shirt who arrives late but still gets in some licks on the defenseless perp. Note too that the woman narrating the early part of the video shuts up when the beating begins. 

The cops---I count at least eleven---are clearly unconcerned, probably because they know they'll get away with it.

Later: The county quickly awarded the perp $650,000 to avoid litigation it would surely lose.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Mayor Lee threatens Peskin supporters


Mayor Lee's remarkable threat to potential Peskin political donors, as reported Sunday by Matier & Ross:

“I am paying attention,” the mayor told the assembled guests at a closed-door meeting Tuesday at the Hanson Bridgett law offices, according to people who were there. Just to drive home the message, Lee had his chief of staff, Steve Kawa, standing by his side. The bigwigs could be forgiven if they picked up an unspoken message that city favors would be scarce if they contribute to Peskin...The mayor grew a set of fangs last week, warning a collection of the city’s business, labor and tech leaders that there would be consequences if they help the former Board of Supervisors president’s bid to unseat Lee’s handpicked District Three incumbent in November, Supervisor Julie Christensen.

Does the mayor mean that he now routinely gives "favors" to "business, labor and tech leaders," like tax breaks and contracts? Not exactly a great sales pitch for Supervisor Christensen's political independence, since Mayor Lee clearly is counting on her to help him continue to give favors to "bigwigs" and special interests:

Kawa, who told us he had attended on personal time and wasn’t on the city clock, told the gathering that they should “not live in fear and let Aaron Peskin scare people into supporting him,” those in attendance said.

Kawa punched out on the time clock in the mayor's office before coming to the meeting? Ridiculous. Like every chief of staff everywhere, Kawa is always on the clock. 

Rather than let "Aaron Peskin scare people into supporting him"---a preposterous idea in the first place---people should instead fear City Hall! 

This just makes the mayor and Kawa look dumb, not tough, which is unlikely to endear the mayor's candidate to voters in District 3. A couple of possible campaign slogans: "Bigwigs support Christensen!" and "Support Christensen or you'll be sorry!"

And tech investor Ron Conway, one of the mayor’s biggest backers, urged the business community to step up to the plate for Christensen — saying there would be a backlash if he and his tech friends wrote the checks for the mayor’s candidate...

Conway, who inadvertently helped elect Mirkarimi sheriff, has already let the backlash cat out of the bag: he and other city "bigwigs" support Christensen and oppose Peskin. 

With his goofy chest-thumping, the mayor provides the Peskin campaign with an issue.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bill Maher fights fundamentalism

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Hillary is getting started




I hope he's right.

Chait:

The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics. There is only one choice for voters who want a president who accepts climate science and rejects voodoo economics, and whose domestic platform would not engineer the largest upward redistribution of resources in American history. Even if the relatively sober Jeb Bush wins the nomination, he will have to accommodate himself to his party's barking-mad consensus. She is non-crazy America’s choice by default. It is not necessarily an exciting choice, but it is an easy one, and a proposition behind which she will probably command a majority.

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Kurt Vonnegut: What it's all about


Kurt Vonnegut: "I tell you we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different."

Thanks to Daily Kos.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Evil in our time



"The blindfolded victim is led into a field in Homs, Syria, with his hands tied behind his back. Behind him a crowd of more than a dozen men hurl rocks at him from behind, many not wearing any kind of disguise."

Thanks to Jihad Watch

Shot for being black

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Where's the bicycle count report? 4

Past NYC numbers

Reader Mark Kaepplein sends this in:

"NYC 2014 cycling stats also not out yet. Last year Streetsblog leaked them before they were released in June!"

Mark provided a link to yesterday's Streetsblog NYC story: It’s April. Where’s the NYC DOT Bike Count From Last Year?

Rob's comment:

From the Streetsblog story: "DOT has not responded to Streetsblog’s requests for the 2014 bike count, so for now, we’re in the dark."

Sounds like SFMTA, though I at least got a response from Paul Rose when I asked last week if the report---which I was told earlier would be released at the end of last month---would be released last week. His reply, "I do not believe so."

Seems like the NYDOT and the SFMTA have this in common: If the numbers aren't impressive enough for a trumpeted press release or a self-congratulatory press conference, they aren't eager to release the reports.

I just sent this message to Ed Reiskin. Maybe the boss knows:

Mr. Reiskin:

Mr. Rose won't tell me when the bicycle count report will be issued. Can you provide that information?

Regards,
Rob Anderson

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

How the city bureaucracy grows: A case study


George Wooding and Nancy Wuerfel provide a case history in the Westside Observer of how San Francisco's bureaucracy continues to grow (Played for a Fool).

Some context: The City of San Francisco now has 35,771 employees. The Environment Department has 145 employees and, as Wuerfel and Wooding point out, hopes to have more on the city's general fund gravy train:

Funding is the name of the game for San Francisco’s ambitious Department of Environment (SFE) which is now maneuvering to get the Mayor to allow the agency to draw funds directly from the City’s already over-committed discretionary General Fund.

The SFE currently is a City enterprise agency. This means that it has to be financially self-sufficient, generating its own revenue without subsidies from the General Fund. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the San Francisco International Airport, and the Port of San Francisco are all enterprise agencies.

If SFE becomes a “General Fund department” and annually takes a cut from the City’s shrinking discretionary money, other City agencies such as the libraries, Recreation and Park, Human Services Agency, Public Health, Children Youth and Families, plus several more departments will start to receive less annual funding. The City services that people depend on will foot the bill to pay for SFE.

SFE grew from its creation in the revised 1995 City Charter with a budget of $281,000 in 1997 to presently a $20 million operation. It employs over 100 people and occupies a rented 24,400 sq ft space at 1455 Market Street.

Unlike other City enterprise agencies, the SFE is empire building, and refuses to cut back on employees, expenses or projects even though its revenue does not cover its costs. The result is currently a budget shortfall and SFE wants a City bail out...

To understand the department’s mismanagement, one needs to know that SFE grew from its creation in the revised 1995 City Charter with a budget of $281,000 in 1997 to presently a $20 million operation. It employs over 100 people and occupies a rented 24,400 sq ft space at 1455 Market Street in order to house everyone...

SFE could curtail some financing problems by stopping the practice of hiring long term costly City employees with short term grant funding. For example, last July SFE got the Mayor’s approval to convert four staff from temporary employees to permanent status with all the benefits that includes. Now SFE is advertising for another new permanent employee in the salary range of $84,000 - $102,000, knowing this adds to its deficit.

Grants can be used to hire independent contractors without City benefits to perform SFE’s work, instead of hiring employees with benefits. When the grant money ends, so does the need to pay somebody. Problem solved.

The rest of the $20 million budget comes from other City departments who contribute 9% ($1,752,000) to SFE in the form of work orders, and from the Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) for 45% ($9,323,000). The SWMP money is a fee added to the residential garbage rates renegotiated whenever the Recology rates are periodically increased. SFE tells Recology how much money to collect on behalf of the City, and this sum is then part of the rates. The Refuse Rate Board always approves whatever SFE asks.

At the same January 27th meeting where the budget was approved, the Commission heard a presentation by a Mayor’s Budget Office staff member on the Controller’s 5 year financial plan to the year 2020. It projects a shortfall of $15.9 million for next year’s budget, and that expenditures are continuing to grow faster than revenue. Because the 5 year plan is presenting a “recession scenario,” the city proposes to curb growth and increase revenues.

The Commissioners heard these words of warning, ignored them, and decided that now is the ideal time to get on the City’s gravy train, before the financial picture gets any worse. Then they discussed various strategies for convincing the Mayor to make SFE a General Fund Department. Since the Mayor referred to SFE programs in his recent State of the City speech, they decided he could be manipulated into providing funds for them...

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Civil War ended 150 years ago today


The Daily Beast posts part of one of the last chapters in the late Shelby Foote's great narrative history of the Civil War. The Grant/Lee meeting at Appomattox that ended the Civil War took place 150 years ago today. Foote was the best talking head in the Ken Burns Civil War documentary.

Money quote from Grant: 

I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought.

See also this.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Secretary of State Kerry explains the Iran deal



Kerry makes a stout defense of the deal. The only incredible thing about Kerry has always been his hair. An old white guy with hair like that? But I suppose the Republicans have always known that the hair was real. Getting caught wearing a rug would have been more damaging to Kerry than the Swift Boat lies.

See also this.

The US Fact Sheet on the deal.

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31 homeless people died in SF in 2014
















Based on the Department of Public Health's Homeless Death Forms, these 31 homeless people died in San Francisco in 2014 (The previous year's count was 23):

Name: Alfred Jeter
Date of Death: 1/03/14
Place of Death: Southbound 280
Circumstances of Death: Ped vs. Auto
Birthdate: 5/06/14
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: Antonio Flores
Date of Death: 1/08/14
Place of Death: I.F.O. 1200 Hollister Ave.
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 10/02/73
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic

Name: Lou Ellen Bass
Date of Death: 1/11/2014
Place of Death: Friend’s Residence
Circumstances of Death: Poss. Drug Rela
Birthdate: 10/02/53
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Charles Stevens
Date of Death: 1/13/14
Place of Death: IFO 1680 Bay Street
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 7/27/46
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: John Doe #6
Date of Death: 1/18/14
Place of Death: IFO 3550 16th Street
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: John Doe #8
Date of Death: 445 O’Farrell Street
Place of Death:
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate:
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Tilmon Brooks Jr.
Date of Death: 1/27/14
Place of Death: CPMC
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 4/11/42
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: Jacob Boatright
Date of Death: 3/15/14
Place of Death: Outside, Western Addit
Circumstances of Death: App. Hanging
Birthdate: 12/24/81
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Phat Sin
Date of Death: 4/05/14
Place of Death: St. Francis
Circumstances of Death: Unknown
Birthdate: 1/07/50
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Asian

Name: Donald Smith
Date of Death: 4/06/14
Place of Death: I.F.O. 2505 3rd Street
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 3/26/1959
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: Rene Hilton
Date of Death: 4/15/2014
Place of Death: IFO Storage Unit
Circumstances of Death: 
Birthdate: 2/06/59
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: Salvador Vargas
Date of Death: 4/17/2014
Place of Death: Potter Hotel
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 6/09/66
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Other

Name: David Winn
Date of Death: 4/17/2014
Place of Death: VA Hospital Heli Pad
Circumstances of Death: Unknown
Birthdate: 12/03/64
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Wendy Thomas
Date of Death: 4/21/14
Place of Death: IFO 150 Valencia Street
Circumstances of Death: Jumper
Birthdate: 1/25/64
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Adam Erb
Date of Death: 5/04/14
Place of Death: Great Highway and JFK
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 12/08/70
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Joseph Woods
Date of Death: 6/21/14
Place of Death: SFGH
Circumstances of Death: Fall
Birthdate: 7/21/56
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: De Audry Carr
Date of Death: 6/25/14
Place of Death: 5th Street Exit of Interstate 8
Circumstances of Death: MVC
Birthdate: 4/13/71
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: Ian Muraguri
Date of Death: 6/05/14
Place of Death: UCSF Medical Center
Circumstances of Death: 
Birthdate: 7/03/64
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Other

Name: Mark Vellez
Date of Death: 8/31/14
Place of Death: Mission Inn, 5630 Mission
Circumstances of Death: Unknown
Birthdate: 10/03/58
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic

Name: Ivory Walker
Date of Death: 9/07/14
Place of Death: 140 Jones Street #509
Circumstances of Death: Possible Drug Relate
Birthdate: 4/29/56
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: Ryan Flint
Date of Death: 9/18/14
Place of Death: Galindo Avenue and Ch
Circumstances of Death:
Birthdate: 12/16/79
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Joseph Briones
Date of Death: 9/24/14
Place of Death: 865 Market Street
Circumstances of Death: App. OD
Birthdate: 12/06/81
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic

Name: Cynthia Nowicki
Date of Death: 10/01/14
Place of Death: Across from 88 King St.
Circumstances of Death: 
Birthdate: 11/13/74
Sex: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: John Doe #82
Date of Death: 10/10/14
Place of Death: Lake Merced
Circumstances of Death: IPV
Birthdate: 
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Gerardo Usi
Date of Death: 10/24/14
Place of Death: 165 Turk Street 1st floor hall
Circumstances of Death: Sudden Collapse
Birthdate: 4/19/68
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Asian Filipino

Name: Guillermo Alamo
Date of Death: 11/02/14
Place of Death: CPMC, St. Luke’s
Circumstances of Death: Drug Related
Birthdate: 4/26/1950
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic

Name: Donald Felton
Date of Death: 11/04/14
Place of Death: Sidewalk @ 400 block
Circumstances of Death: Unknown
Birthdate: 1/12/75
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White

Name: Henok Ayele
Date of Death: 11/05/14
Place of Death: IFO 34 Turk Street
Circumstances of Death: Ped vs Auto
Birthdate: 8/02/79
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Black

Name: John Doe #92
Date of Death: 11/11/14
Place of Death: Pier 22
Circumstances of Death: Floater
Birthdate: 
Sex: Unknown
Race/Ethnicity: Unknown

Name: Roger Cruz
Date of Death: 11/15/14
Place of Death: SFGH
Circumstances of Death: Stabbing
Birthdate: 10/08/89
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White Hispanic

Name: Tai Lam
Date of Death: 11/24/14
Place of Death: IFO 130 Sutter Street
Circumstances of Death: Blunt force
Birthdate: 11/20/47
Sex: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Asian

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