Monday, December 21, 2009

Bucks for Presidio visitors center in latest federal spending bill

I believe that the Presidio is best understood in the out of doors. Still, a high-quality visitors center would be justified, especially if it can be built into the Officers Club in a way that respects and brings forth the history of the building.

From the Chronicle, news about funding that Nancy Pelosi shook loose:

Billions in earmarks inflate defense bill's cost: "'The Heritage Center at the Officers' Club will introduce visitors to a series of exhibits, digital media, classrooms and programs about the Presidio and its role in the development of the American West,' said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

The Presidio expenditure presents an unusual irony. After the Presidio was included in a round of military base closures, Pelosi helped craft a public-private agreement to keep its valuable real estate from being carved up by developers. The congressional requirement promised that the park would be free of federal subsidies by 2013.

The $5 million earmark will fund close to 25 percent of the center's estimated renovation and help leverage other donations from corporations and foundations, said Tia Lombardi, director of public affairs at the Presidio Trust."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gavin just bought us an island!

irene. on Flickr
Our Mayor's paying the Navy $105M for a big pile of rocks in the middle of the bay. Someone in the Navy thinks they're pretty smart to get that agreement for a percentage of "potential profits."

San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom's Blog: Mayor Newsom and U.S. Secretary of Navy Announce Agreement to Transfer Treasure Island to San Francisco: "Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today that they had reached a broad outline of terms for the conveyance of former Naval Station Treasure Island from the Navy to the City’s Treasure Island Development Authority. The terms of the agreement include a guaranteed payment to the Navy of $55M followed by an interim payment of another $50M, plus an additional share of potential further profits."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Climate advocates should build ties with the public-health community | Grist

Climate advocates should build ties with the public-health community | Grist: "The Lancet‘s recent study found that climate policy written without bearing health costs in mind was far more expensive, far less beneficial to communities, and left potential savings of tens of billions of dollars on the table. It found that “the measures needed to make the necessary reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions are those needed to protect and improve global health. Overall, what is good for tackling climate change is good for health.”"

I've also been reading about this in my alumni magazine from UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Prof. Kirk Smith is, I believe, one of the authors of the piece in the Lancet and is articulating the "co-benefits" (to health and to climate) of social changes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We're getting bike lanes...soon!

My bike coalition widget, which currently counts 1,256 days since a bike lane was installed, could be retired from the blog within days, according to news reports. Oh, what a legal system we have here in 21st century California.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

First look at new Buena Vista park

Today I visited Buena Vista park to see the changes made to the southeastern slope. Weeds and fallen trees have been cleared, and hundreds of young plants are in the ground, many of them San Francisco native plants: yarrow, lupine, flowering currant, as well as many I did not know. Also in the ground is a lot of apparatus: jute nets peak through the soil, fat wattles cling to wooden stakes pounded into the slope, and irrigation pipes snake in every direction.

I had so many questions, especially about how long the prolific irrigation system will be needed, if it's going to remain so darn visible, whether the plants are a good match for the sandy soil, and how the community is planning to control weeds.
Besides all the stuff for the plants, there's the heavy-duty construction: for people. A solid path, retaining walls (some cement, mostly wood), hand rails, and new wood stairways.
My friends told me that one of their reactions to the new path, with its waist-high walls on each side for much of its length, was to feel strangely cut off and separated from the natural surroundings.
But nature is there if you look for it. As I sat my bag down to snap a few pictures, butterflies circled around and landed on my bag. And a benefit of these new walls is the abundant places to sit, talk, and zone out looking at the fabulous views of Corona Heights and beyond.
We have a new path to enjoy, and it's ADA accessible. A chunk of the park has less ivy and more native plants. Good reasons to celebrate. It's the biggest investment in the park we're likely to see in a long time. Let's take care of it.
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Watershed of Marshall Beach

Willows and blackberry vines grow in the bottom of this ravine that drains at Marshall's Beach, San Francisco.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New plants for Buena Vista

Plants are lined up and ready for planting in Buena Vista Park. The east slope project has taken quite awhile, but paths have been rebuilt and the end seems to be in sight. Hopefully these fences will be gone within a few weeks or months.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Yay it's Halloween!

Halloween is definitely upon us, coming in just five days. True to form, our October has given us rain showers, and the nights are getting chilly, resulting in Halloween superstores sprouting across the city and polyester cobwebs adorning cypress bushes.

I'll be performing in a show in the Castro on Halloween night. "Yay it's Halloween" is a line in of the songs in the show, a new "horror opera" by Jack Dubowsky presented by the Lesbian Gay Chorus of San Francisco.

"We want to see some gays!" That's another line, delivered by gawkers - some innocent, some not so innocent. Are gays and drag queens still a freak show diversion for straight folks? It can certainly feel that way, but people are beginning to wonder if all that is fading with the proliferation of gay and trans images and in popular culture (not to mention the increasing vulgarity of straight culture).

One thing that is definitely still here is the fear of violence. Fear, more than annoyance over quality of life issues such as pissing in the street, breaking bottles, and noise, helped get our street party shut down a few years ago. There will be no street closures. Yet on Saturday night, as we left the theater at 10:30 pm and walked down 18th St, SFPD had closed and taken all of the street parking on Collingwood, just a short block off of Castro St. A show of force one week before the big event? I have no idea, really. Transparency hasn't exactly been an SFPD virtue while I've lived here.

So is there anything wrong with "home for Halloween", the city's new slogan? If you pay attention, they've make it clear they're not telling you to stay home, they're talking about your "home 'hood". Party there! I'm all for local participation and after 8 years in the Western Addition, have formed solid ties with people in my 'hood. Heck, my partner even pulled together a Street Party earlier this month. And this neighborhood will have an outdoor community party on Halloween, with street closures, though I'm pretty sure it's mostly for kids & parents.

So what else is happening on Halloween? A lot of expensive parties, which will likely involve as much or more alcohol and drugs than our street party did, and considerably more hearing loss. And a lot of cultural events, expensive and not so expensive, at theaters and museums across town. One big party? Definitely not.

Thank you to all who have already been to our show, or are planning to come this week. My message for all of you, is, don't be afraid to do what you want and go where you want to go on Halloween.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall color in San Francisco

We do have some fall color in San Francisco - that's why I love Japanese Maples, which just glow with color and have a few more weeks before they drop their leaves.
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Restoration on Lyon St

I have to admit that I'm impressed by a good house restoration. This Lyon Street house was transformed between August 2008 and yesterday's open house. It's now two, 3-bedroom homes, each going for about $1 mil.
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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Check Bike NOPA for new bike route

seems everyone's reading BIKE NOPA

Today, I'm contributing to Bike NOPA, a neighborhood blog all about bikes and livability. My post contains a detailed bike route (developed on Bikely) for tourists and locals alike to explore both Golden Gate Park and the Presidio.Bike NOPA has developed quite a readership since it went live this summer, so I thought it would be a perfect place to host this route.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's PARK(ing) Day on Friday, and this year the map even comes with a cycle tour. See you out there on Friday!
CommunityWalk Map - PARK(ing) Day 2009 Map

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bike the Block in NoPa on Sept. 27

This bike-themed street party is coming to our neighborhood later this month. I'm helping Michael organize this, and we'd love to have you join us!
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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Trio still together

It's the time of the year for my big succulents to bloom - just like they did this time last year! Compare this photo (from a week ago) with a shot of these three pots two years ago to see how much the tall one on the left has grown.

Last week was also the height of our two strawflowers. I found them at Plant It Earth this spring, and they took forever to bloom! Even if Michael thinks they're freakishly tall for strawflowers, I love 'em.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Blight" on Hayes from the Harding Theater?

The debate over the future of the Harding Theater is heating up again, and there are still some pretty sharp divides between the property owner and some folks in the community. At the Planning Commission last week, the owner presented a new design that conserves the theater (but not all of the backstage).

One neighbor protested against the "blight" from leaving the theater abandoned. I decided to check it out and decide for myself. Here are a few shots from Hayes Street (showing the "fly loft" that would be eliminated and where the eight units of housing would go). With grafitti on not just one but three signs, and the chain link fence, and the hulking Clear Channel billboard, I have to agree that the owner's not taking care of the property.

Then there's the pile of black trash bags and a dusty black truck with flat tires.

Yet no matter how neglected the property, it's still going to be difficult to bring the Harding Theater back to life. Too bad, since performing groups need more mid-sized stages, and the Western Addition is poorly served (notwithstanding the recent renovation of the African-American Arts and Cultural Complex).

The bright spot for my visit was finding that the corner (Hayes @ Divis) has been cleared of a low-hanging Clear Channel billboard (recently wheatpasted by "uppity bike commuters").
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Presidio Parkway underway

The impending transformation of Doyle Drive into the Presidio Parkway has generated a fair amount of local press. Earth-moving and tree-cutting began this month. Starting in early 2010 and lasting for a year, a detour will affect the traffic shown in the center of this picture, where the small, green railing is visible: the direct connection from northbound Hwy 1 to eastbound Doyle Drive. That connection is to be closed, and motorists wanting to make that connection will leave Hwy 1 closer to the bridge and circle around in that area to get back onto Doyle Drive southbound. Marin motorists and Golden Gate Bridge officials are freaking out. This is a $1 billion dollar CalTrans project, and Ghilotti Brothers received a contract for work during the first phase.
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Big trees, small people

Watching these workers in the Presidio yesterday reminds me just how small we are next to a 100+ foot tall tree. In the top picture, a worker hangs from a rope attached to a crane and cuts limbs from a monterey cypress just east of the stables. Below, you'll need to click to enlarge to see another worker, who apparently carried his climbing and cutting gear up this enormous eucalyptus just west of 101/south of Doyle Drive.
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Steven's Creek & Mountain View bike trip

Great weather last week for our bike trip. We took Caltrain to Mountain View and then rode on Steven's Creek trail to the Bay shore trails.
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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Goodbye to neighborhood palm

This big palm tree will be gone soon, apparently, so that the (future?) residents of this Broderick Street house will have off-street parking.
I wonder, does a palm like that go on the market or does it go straight into the chipper?
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ride with us - Portland's social marketing

Originally uploaded by communitycyclingcenter
A campaign by the Community Cycling Center in Portland invites people to "Ride with us." Each image features one or two people from the community telling us why they ride. I like the poster showing Chris.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Presidio Bike Tour

Nice weather and a cool group for today's bike tour in the Presidio. Here we are at Immigrant Point Overlook. This shot, and much tour assistance, by Michael.
Rob took this nice shot of me with Debbie in front of Letterman Digital Arts Center.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Great preview for Presidio Tour

Thanks to friends for coming out for the preview of my Presidio Bike Tour last Sunday. I hope we get half as much sun for next month's tour! I'm cutting back the tour a bit - 10 miles and 11 stops was just a bit too much.
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