Friday, October 21, 2016

Jane Kim, Scott Wiener, and Ross Mirkarimi

From a mailed hit piece on Jane Kim paid for by a group supporting Scott Wiener:

2012: Jane Kim votes to allow sheriff convicted of domestic violence, Ross Mirkarimi, to keep his job. Just one day later: Jane Kim says she supports recalling the same abusive sheriff from office, but fails to take action.

The charges against Mirkarimi were grossly inflated from the beginning, and the campaign to destroy him and his family quickly turned into a political lynch mob.

Kim's vote allowing Mirkarimi to remain sheriff was actually reasonable (at 7:15 in the video above)---that anyone elected by the voters should only be removed by the voters. After the vote she was quoted as supporting a recall election. I disagree with that, but the mailer is typical political dishonesty.

Millionaire Ron Conway is pouring $200,000 into the anti-Kim campaign because of her Mirkarimi vote. 

Recall that Conway's meddling in the 2011 campaign for sheriff resulted in electing Mirkarimi in the first place!

Ron Conway by Cody Pickens

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Hillary roasts Trump

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Thursday, October 20, 2016



Bias against Hillary

Free online version of this book

Now that it's clear that Hillary
will be our next president, we should start dealing with the media bias against her. I hear it said over and over on TV---even on PBS---that Hillary still hasn't provided voters with a compelling reason to support her---or a "vision" of what she would do as president.

Good to see this commentary today after last night's debate:

Clinton articulated her position on SCOTUS nominees, defended the 2nd amendment and common sense gun safety, defended Roe v Wade, offered a clear plan for how to grow our economy, reiterated her commitment to comprehensive immigration reform, discussed the importance of retaking Mosul from ISIS and then move on to retake Raqqa in Syria, defended her support for a no-fly zone in Syria, articulated the importance of working to stop home-grown terrorism, reiterated that her investments in economic growth will be paid for by having the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share, alluded to her plan to raise revenue for the Social Security Trust Fund and committed to no reduction in Social Security or Medicare benefits. Whether you agree or disagree with her, she gave us pertinent information about her proposals.

People can't complain that she hasn't given them a reason to vote for her if they can't even look at her website---she gave the audience the address in the first two debates---which lays out in some detail her dramatically liberal agenda.

Even the non-Breitbart right has some grudging praise for her debate performances:

National Review editor Rich Lowry just tweeted that Clinton “never made a major mistake” in the three debates. I think this is correct — she managed not to have any moments along the lines of “you didn’t build that” or “basket of deplorables.” She’s not noted as a particularly brilliant or moving communicator, but it seems like people on both sides agree that she’s been competent and clear. This is a change after the charisma of her husband, the soaring rhetoric of candidate Obama, and the folksy charm of George W. Bush. Whether that matters, I guess, remains to be seen.

Historically, this is like Harry Truman, who was widely derided in the media as an unworthy successor to FDR. Over time Truman's reputation grew, especially after his stunning 1948 election victory. Politically Hillary will be Harry Truman in drag

A prediction: Once she's been president for a while, her favorability ratings will go up significantly. Recall that only two years ago she was the most admired woman in the country.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Subway fantasies

San Francisco Subway Vision Heat Map

Actually, "fantasy" is not the best way to describe the subway exercise, though it is entirely fanciful. First, it's a political ploy by Scott Wiener in his campaign for the state senate: he's a man of vision! And it's a PR stunt by City Hall deployed by some of the MTA's many employees.

From the MTA's blog:

To ensure our city remains vibrant and livable, under the direction of Mayor Ed Lee, the SFMTA, the Planning Department and the San Francisco County Transportation Authority have been working hard to make sure our transportation system keeps pace. The Subway Vision is just one piece of a new effort to create a broad, long-range plan for all aspects of transportation called Connect SF, which is meant to lay the foundation for an effective, equitable and sustainable transportation network for the city’s future.

Though fantasizing about trains isn't as cool as the bike fantasy, Streetsblog likes this campaign because trains aren't cars, which is why it supports another fantasy: the high-speed rail project.

Curbed likes the campaign but injects vulgar reality into the discussion:

Of course, the awkward subject of precisely how we’d pay for all of this inevitably came to rain on the collective parade eventually. The final proposal will probably be much less ambitious than everything talked about now, but why not let the people dream?

Yes, there will apparently be a final subway "proposal" by the city later this year, which will presumably have some numbers about what it will cost: $1 billion a mile to dig a subway anywhere in the city.

The hed on SocketSite's story: Here’s Where San Franciscans Most Want New Subway Lines. In fact only 2,600 people participated in the subway PR stunt---in a city of 866,583 people.

Your tax dollars at work:

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Lincoln Atheists


On the ballot: Dumb rail projects

Image result for train crash pictures
Montparnasse derailment

From the Antiplanner:

If you think the presidential election is stupid, just get a look at all of the cities that are voting on stupid rail transit projects. Los Angeles wants $120 billion; Seattle $54 billion; San Diego, $7.5 billion; San Francisco, $3.5 billion; San Jose, $3 billion; Atlanta, $2.5 billion, Kansas City, $2 billion; Virginia Beach, $310 million; and Tigard, Oregon, which has the chance to kill a $2 billion project in Portland. 

That’s nearly $200 billion worth of stupidity that has rail contractors salivating.

Voters from these cities should look at the experiences other cities have had with rail. Portland opened a new light-rail project a year ago that was supposed to carry 17,000 people a day in its first year. Actual ridership is more like 11,000

Rail apologist Jarrett Walker says he isn’t surprised as rail lines “are designed to encourage denser and more sustainable development in addition to serving people who are there now,” so initial ridership is “almost always disappointing.” 

C’mon, Jarrett: planners took this into account when they made their projections (or if they didn’t they should have). By the way, the article also says the project came in “under budget,” but it doesn’t say that the budget was almost twice as much as the original projected cost, just one more way transit agencies lie about rail transit...

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Repugs invented myth of rigged elections

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Cratering in the polls, besieged by sexual assault allegations and drowning in his own disgusting rhetoric, Donald Trump has been reduced to hollering that November’s election is “rigged” against him. His proof? It looks like he’s going to lose.

Senior Republican leaders are scrambling to distance themselves from this dangerous claim. But Trump’s argument didn’t spring from nowhere. It’s just one more symptom of a long-running effort by Republicans to delegitimize Democratic voters, appointees and leaders. For years this disease has infected our politics. It cannot be cured until Republican leaders rethink their approach to modern politics.

Anyone with children knows that whining about imaginary cheating is the last refuge of the sore loser. But GOP leaders have served up such a steady diet of stories about imaginary cheating that an Economist-YouGov poll shows that 45 percent of Republican voters believe voter fraud is a “very serious problem,” and 46 percent have little or no confidence that ballots will be counted accurately. 

They hold these views even though there is literally no evidence — none, zero, zip — that widespread voter fraud is a factor in modern American elections. A recent study looked at around a billion ballots cast in the United States from 2000 through 2014 and found only 31 instances of impersonation fraud at the polls.

Republican leaders — and even Trump’s running mate — have tried to tiptoe out of the room when Trump makes ever-wilder claims of a rigged election. But as much as these Republicans would like everyone to believe that this is a Trump-only problem, it’s not.

For years, Republican leaders have pushed the lie that voter fraud is a huge issue. In such states as Kansas and North Carolina, and across the airwaves of right-wing talk radio and Fox News, Republican voters have been fed exaggerated and imagined stories about fraud. Interestingly, all that fraud seems to plague only urban neighborhoods, minority communities, college campuses and other places where large numbers of people might vote for Democrats. The purpose of this manufactured hysteria is obvious: to delegitimize Democratic voters and justify Republican efforts to suppress their votes.

The voting-fraud lie has been used to justify the passage of dozens of voter ID laws, typically rammed through state legislatures by Republican partisans. A study by political scientists at the University of California at San Diego recently concluded that strict photo-identification requirements disproportionately suppress turnout by Democratic voters — especially blacks and Latinos. 

Meanwhile, after a key provision in the Voting Rights Act protecting minority voters from discrimination was unceremoniously declared defective by a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court in 2013, those same Republican leaders who seem so concerned about threats to the integrity of our elections have largely remained on the sidelines.

Trump also didn’t invent ominous appeals for partisans to patrol “certain areas” and “go and watch these polling places” where citizens often vote for Democrats. More than three decades ago, the Republican National Committee was caught orchestrating expansive efforts to intimidate individuals at polling places in minority neighborhoods. Federal courts have barred the RNC from engaging in poll-watching activities relating to “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud” in minority areas ever since.

It’s not just voters, either. Trump’s effort to delegitimize federal officials and political opponents also shares a long-standing Republican pedigree.

After Trump was sued for fraud over Trump University, he attacked the legitimacy of the federal judge with Mexican heritage presiding over the case, claiming that Trump’s own bigotry undermined the judge’s neutrality. Paul Ryan tsk-tsked, but Trump was simply joining a long line of Republicans in Congress who have spent years assaulting the federal courts. 

For years, the Republicans have blocked scores of nonpolitical lower-court nominees who haven’t pledged their allegiance to the financial interests of the rich and powerful. These attacks culminated in a national campaign of slime against the president’s highly respected choice to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat. It’s no surprise Trump would conclude that federal judges are fair game.

Similarly, some Republicans pretended to be shocked when Trump asserted that he would follow two-bit tyrants such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and imprison his political rival after the election. 

But for years, congressional Republicans have focused most of their resources on finding some way to brand Hillary Clinton a criminal. A party that wastes millions of taxpayer dollars on eight separate Benghazi investigations — and shouts itself hoarse attacking an FBI director who served as a senior political appointee in a Republican administration when he concludes that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Clinton over her emails — shouldn’t feign astonishment when its presidential nominee echoes their efforts to criminalize American politics.

Democrats and Republicans disagree about a lot of issues. We both fight hard to win elections. But winning isn’t everything. Al Gore understood that when he stood down after the 2000 election. Now Republican leaders seem increasingly concerned that when Trump loses, he won’t follow that example. But Trump’s words and deeds are merely the latest — and loudest — examples in a long line of Republican tactics that are poisoning our political system.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

C.W. Nevius: Rooting for the home team

C.W. Nevius swears that he's leaving.  Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Paul Chinn, SF Chronicle

Too bad that C.W. Nevius is retiring. It's not that he was so good at what he was doing but that he was the only one doing it. He was wrong on almost everything, except for his early columns on homelessness (like this) that so annoyed city progressives.

I can't think of a single important City Hall program or initiative that Nevius wrote critically about. That his column began when he came over from the sports page may explain his approach. He always rooted for the home team, which in his mind was apparently City Hall.

He never seemed to read anything. Instead, he often relied on conversations with people who essentially agreed with him.

I.F. Stone's approach in I.F. Stone's Weekly:

Go into the bowels of government where the really good sources are. They are good public servants, very often breaking their hearts with frustration.They're the best kind of source...I made no claims to inside stuff. I tried to give information which could be documented, so the reader could check it for himself.

Documenting your sources is easier than ever online; people can check it for themselves when you provide links.

But one can sympathize with the problem columnists like Nevius have in making policy writing interesting. 

Policy reporting is just a tough nut to crack. It's inherently fairly boring. It requires both time and real expertise to dive into it properly. It produces lousy visuals. And it doesn't change, so after you've reported it once, there are very few hooks to justify reporting it again.

And there's not necessarily any payoff for policy reporting, particularly if your reporting goes against conventional wisdom. I was tagged as a bore and a fool when I insisted on writing about that UC study that revealed the city's flawed method of counting cycling accidents. There's even a laborious, witless Rob Anderson parody that mocked my writing on the subject as somehow comical and obsessive (Click on "UC Study" below).

Even though I linked the online abstract of the study and, since it was behind a paywall, transcribed it for my readers, the bike community in SF tried to turn the reality that the city failed to count more than 1,300 serious cycling accidents into a joke. 

But none of my critics ever wrote about the subject. And the SF Chronicle, the SF Examiner, SF Streetblog, and the now-defunct Bay Guardian have never even mentioned the study, though the NY Times found traffic safety in our city newsworthy.

Streetsblog and the Chronicle---including of course C.W. Nevius---also didn't do a story earlier this year on the last bicycle count report, since it showed an actual decline in the number of cyclists counted. 

Readers beware: only the news that supports the city's pro-bike, anti-car ideology will be reported.

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Donald Trump's campaign: A dumpster fire


The first reference I saw to the dumpster fire meme: Today in ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Is a Garbage Fire’

Thanks to Kevin Drum at Mother Jones.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Water rationing: How low can SF go?

Image result for hetch hetchy pictures
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

From an op-ed in the Chronicle:

Do you think you could reduce your water use by 40 percent? What if we asked for even more than that? This is the type of rationing we can expect during a severe drought if a new proposal from the State Water Resources Control Board is implemented.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is the retail water provider for San Francisco and the water provider for 26 wholesale customers in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. Today, 85 percent of the water we deliver to our customers comes from the Tuolumne River. The state water board’s newly released draft update to the Bay-Delta Plan to balance California water uses — drinking, irrigation and fisheries — has potentially serious effects for the 2.6 million people who rely on our water system. It recommends diverting less water to increase the flow on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers in the range of 30 to 50 percent of unimpaired flow from February to June...

Customers throughout the commission’s service area are already some of the most efficient water users in California (see below). Despite outperforming nearly every other place, this proposal means we would have to fundamentally rethink where we get our water in drought years and how we consume that water. We can’t conserve our way out of this. Water is our lifeblood. The consequences of these cutbacks potentially could cripple our Bay Area economy...

Comparing water use in S.F. and California

Average residential use (weighted to take into account population):

41 gallons per day, San Francisco water users

54 gallons per day, SFPUC service area water users (includes customers in Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara counties)

82 gallons per day, statewide average

Source: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, State Water Resources Control Board

Wasting water in the Central Valley

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

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No right turn


Jack Kerouac in San Francisco, 1952

From Carl Nolte's column in this morning's Chronicle:

Written back in 1952 or so when Kerouac was in San Francisco and worked as a brakeman on the railroad and lived in a flophouse hotel on Skid Row, Third and Howard. “October in the Railroad Earth” is a minor classic from the Beat Generation. Kerouac was experimenting with writing in a stream of consciousness, no punctuation, trying to catch life in the city. This was before “On the Road,” before he was famous, when he was a nobody living in San Francisco’s equivalent of nowhere.

“Nobody knew or cared who I was,” he wrote.

Gerald Nicosia, who wrote an acclaimed biography of Kerouac, thinks “October in the Railroad Earth” should be read aloud to catch the sound of it. “If you read it aloud, it’s incredible, like a jazz piece. It has amazing rhythms,” Nicosia said.

It’s possible to hear it read aloud, by Kerouac himself, with Steve Allen on piano. It’s on YouTube...

From Retracing Jack Kerouac about the events described in Dharma Bums:

...When Ray returns to California he joins Japhy, who in the meantime is living in another cabin in Corte Madera, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco in Marin County with Sean Monaghan (real-life Locke McCorkle) and his family. There they resume their former routine, having a few little parties, but are mainly engaged in preparing for Japhy’s big farewell party as he’s supposed to leave for Japan in the next few days. The party is turning out to be a big, 3-day long affair, but neither Japhy nor Ray are enjoying themselves all that much, and Japhy wants to go on a last hiking trip with Ray, who is more than happy to join him. This time they go hiking in the backcountry of Corte Madera up Mt. Tamalpais and onwards down to the Pacific Ocean at Stinson Beach (Stimson Beach in the book). The trip turns out to be a long and tiring one, but both are glad to be doing it, although Ray is so exhausted after returning he exclaims ‘no more hikes for me forever’...

Rob's comment:
I grew up in Corte Madera. If Gary Snyder and Kerouac hiked from Corte Madera to Stinson Beach, they would have been exhausted, since that's a very long hike. As kids my brother and I once hiked over the hill to play at the Mill Valley golf course, which was a lot harder than we expected. I don't remember, but I bet we got a ride back. We often hiked up The Huckleberry Trail on the Corte Madera hill---it even has a sign identifying it now---where, yes, we picked Huckleberries. But that's a short hike.

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lenny Bruce in San Francisco

Lenny Bruce was a “sick comic” from the 1950s and early 1960s who was arrested for drugs and obscenity and was appealing a four-month jail sentence when he died in 1965[Actually, he died in 1966]. He was a genius. One of his bits, about a comic who plays the London Palladium, perfectly sums up what has happened to Donald Trump in the fall election. It’s about Frank Dell, a third-rate comic who plays Las Vegas lounges, but who tells his agent he wants to play a “class room” like the London Palladium. The agent tries to discourage him, but Dell insists---“I’m going to murder these people”---and the agent gets him booked there.

Dell goes on stage after a torch singer has wrapped the audience in her hands, and he totally bombs. He finally starts insulting the audience...

Rob's comment:
As a young guy in San Francisco in the early 1960s, I had the great pleasure of seeing Lenny Bruce perform twice in North Beach at a couple of different clubs---Basin Street West and, if memory serves, The Jazz Workshop. Before that I had enjoyed several of his comedy albums.

It's hard to imagine now, but Bruce was arrested in San Francisco for using obscenities in his act, like "cocksucker." And for drug use, though making the drug charges stick was tough for prosecutors, since he always apparently had legal prescriptions from friendly doctors. Hence, obscenity was used instead to bust him.

There was also the suspicion that his routines on religion that mocked Catholicism didn't go over well with city authorities---Bruce was Jewish---as San Francisco has always been a more or less Catholic city.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ranked Choice Voting: A bogus "good government" idea that refuses to die

Voting in general is getting easier and more convenient, unless you live in a red state where Republicans are trying to make it harder for Democrats to vote. Here in Progressive Land there's early voting and few obstacles.

Once you're registered, however, the artificial complication begins with the dumb, delusional Ranked Choice Voting system. From a recent story in BeyondChron:

In San Francisco, ranked choice voting will help voters choose among the many candidates running this November. There are nine candidates vying for the open seat in District 1 (currently held by Eric Mar); five candidates in District 7 (currently held by Norman Yee); four candidates in an open seat race in District 9 (currently held by David Campos); and five candidates in the open seat in District 11 (currently held by John Avalos).

No, RCV won't help you choose, since you can only make three choices after you have already gone through the process of sorting out the candidates and finding three you find acceptable.

Like a lot of people, I often find it hard-to-impossible to find even one acceptable candidate, let alone three. This was the case in the November, 2011, campaign for Mayor of San Francisco, when there were 16 candidates

Public Defender Jeff Adachi was the only candidate who was even minimally acceptable to me, so I simply chose him three times. If he's eliminated in the first round, so be it. My candidate loses and someone else wins. But that's what elections are about: there's always only one winner in the end.

The only good thing about RCV: it saves money, since the city doesn't have to pay for run-off elections.

But run-off elections should be an important part of the process; they force a debate between the two leading candidates on the issues. As it is, during campaigns candidates now play down their policy differences to woo support from other candidates so that they can get voters' second and third choices.

The city's Advisory Committee on  Elections warned about this when RCV was on the ballot in 2002:

...there could be collusion between various candidates to be listed on each other’s campaign literature as their second or third choices. The cost of that collusion would be to reduce the level of meaningful debate on the issues and to hide ideological differences. The losers would be the voters and the media who would be unable to discern one candidate from another.

That's the way it works now, with the bland leading the bland and the least offensive candidate winning in the end. That's what happened in District 5 in 2012, when there were 12 undistinguished candidates---politically indistinguishable, actually---for District 5 Supervisor. I couldn't bring myself to vote for any of them. 

We ended up with London Breed, who didn't know much of anything and was quickly co-opted by City Hall on all important issues. A run-off election between Breed and Christina Olague might have revealed that reality.

City voters don't like the RCV system, as the last poll that asked about the issue showed.

For some historical/political context on RCV in San Francisco see Ranked Choice Voting: Another prog fiasco from 2011 and London Breed's leadership.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Coming soon to downtown San Rafael

The Novato City Council will press SMART for assurance that a countywide quiet zone would be in place before rail operations begin. At the same time, the city plans to move forward with a joint application with San Rafael for a quiet zone that includes both cities. The Novato council’s agreement Tuesday came after the San Rafael City Council on Monday expressed a willingness to help establish a single comprehensive quiet zone, as long as it does not put its residents at risk of enduring the trains’ horns when service commences. <a href="">Read more about this topic</a>. (George Russell - Special to Marin Independent Journal)
Marin Independent Journal

A reader's comment to an earlier IJ story:

BTW - was driving in San Rafael yesterday heading west on 4th street just east of the rail crossing when a "practice" train came thru. The gates went down way in advance of the oncoming train which was moving very slowly. In the middle of the day, traffic backed up behind me east of the underpass toward Whole Foods before the gates went back up. Just imagine what it will be like during rush hour.

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Hillary versus The Creep

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Buffett responds to Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14:  Warren Buffett participates in a discussion during the White House Summit on the United State Of Women June 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. The White House hosts the first ever summit to push for gender equality.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Some Tax Facts for Donald Trump

Answering a question last night about his $916 million income tax loss carryforward in 1995, Donald Trump stated that "Warren Buffett took a massive deduction." Mr. Trump says he knows more about taxes than any other human. He has not seen my income tax returns. But I am happy to give him the facts.

My 2015 return shows adjusted gross income of $11,563,931. My deductions totaled $5,477,694, of which allowable charitable contributions were $3,469,179. All but $36,037 of the remainder was for state income taxes.

The total charitable contributions I made during the year were $2,858,057,970, of which more than $2.85 billion were not taken as deductions and never will be. Tax law properly limits charitable deductions.

My federal income tax for the year was $1,845,557. Returns for for previous years are of a similar nature in respect to contributions, deductions, and tax rates.

I have paid federal income taxes every year since 1944, when I was 13. (Though, being a slow starter, I owed only $7 in tax that year.) I have copies of all 72 of my returns and none uses a carryforward.

Finally, I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited. I have no problem releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump---at least he would have no legal problem.

Thanks to Daily Kos.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Heroes: "Only people who sometimes do heroic things"

Historian H.W. Brands in today's NY Times:

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?
In life I don’t believe in heroes, only people who sometimes do heroic things. And the same people inevitably do unheroic things. That’s what makes them human — and far more interesting than any heroes. This belief informs my biographies, and it’s why my favorite fictional characters are not heroes or protagonists but supporting characters. Jim in “Huckleberry Finn.” Queequeg in “Moby-Dick.” Duke’s attorney in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” The best villain: Madame Defarge in “A Tale of Two Cities.”

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Worse to come?

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 18, 2016.   REUTERS/David Becker - RTX2GYKG

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Saturday, October 08, 2016


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Gavin Newsom and high-speed rail

Fog City Journal

From last week's story in the LA Times on the high-speed rail project:

...[Governor]Brown’s successor will likely come in with a different agenda that will affect how the[high-speed rail] project progresses—or if it will even survive. 

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for the office, has signaled that he has some grave concerns about the project’s execution and has raised expectations that he could possibly kill the entire project.

Legislative leaders this summer made clear that they are not willing to commit additional state money, despite a shortfall triggered by lower greenhouse gas fees that the state has raised for the construction.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said in a recent interview that the legislature had already taken care of the project with the existing appropriation, despite the funding problem.

“They will have to do something,” Rendon said. “The reality is that some things have to be cut when revenues aren’t what was expected.”

Rob's comment:
Newsom is concerned about more than "the project's execution." He understands that more money for the project from the federal government is unlikely. He also understands that every high-speed rail system in the world gets government subsidies to operate, which is/will be illegal for the California system. 

The legislation enabling this project forbids any public subsidy to operate the system if/when it's ever built, which is increasingly unlikely (See (J) on page 8) and (D) on page 9.

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Mayor de Blasio and the NY Post

2012 New York Post

...In the interview, Mr. de Blasio’s remarks went further by saying the tabloid was unlike other mainstream news outlets and engaged in “racial dog whistling"...He described the paper as “a negative force in this city” that engaged in “coded imagery” on race.

That included the cartoon of Ms. McCray, who is black, which ran during Mr. de Blasio’s nascent mayoral campaign and appeared to have soured him to the paper...

Rob's comment:
It's understandable that de Blasio found the cartoon above objectionable, but it's not racist. 

No dog whistle or coding on the cartoon below early in Obama's first administration. If a major newspaper in the country does this sort of thing, it's a public issue, not a "private feud."

New York Post cartoon

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From Daily Kos:

What effect this new news of the Republican presidential nominee bragging on tape about committing sexual assault and getting away with it will have on the race is—not kidding on this one either—still hazy. 

Because the Republican Party has fallen just that very far, to the point where it's not at all clear that a presidential candidate bragging about getting away with sexual assaults would be a deal-breaker. There are still tax cuts to be had, after all. There are still anti-abortion laws to write...

Honestly, I think we can just stop there. There's no point in even covering the rest of it. You're sick, I'm sick, we're all completely sick of talking about the great orange human shitstain that the Republican Party base decided was the perfect man for making America great again...

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Friday, October 07, 2016

Information request: Van Ness BRT and the Polk Street bike project

From: Mary Miles []
Sent: Friday, October 7, 2016
To: Edward Reiskin (
Cc: Caroline Celaya (; SFMTA Sunshine Requests

Mary Miles (SB #230395)
Attorney at Law
San Francisco, CA 94102

Edward Reiskin, Director
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
One S. Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

DATE: October 7, 2016


Having attended the Polk and Van Ness Construction Open House October 5, I request the following pursuant to the California Public Records Act and the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance:

1. A list of all the City staff, consultants, and contractors, including MTA, DPW, City Attorney, Walsh, Barbary Coast, and any others who attended the Open House, by name, title, and entity.

2. A list of the collateral materials distributed at the Open House or produced for the Polk Street and Van Ness BRT projects, including coloring books, crayons, earplugs, hand sanitizers, flashing lights, pens, sunglasses, and other items, the quantity purchased, and the cost of each item, including imprinting them with the MTA logo. 

3. Are the MTA-logo-imprinted earplugs supposed to be MTA's "mitigation" of the noise impacts on residents, businesses and travelers who will endure several years of 24-hour construction on Van Ness Avenue and the surrounding areas? Or are they MTA’s idea of a joke? Please provide the full name and title of the person or persons who came up with the earplugs idea. 

4. The cost of the photographer who attended the Open House and the number of photographs taken. 

5. The specific Van Ness construction schedule, including the date that the Van Ness median trees will be removed. 

6. Records related to implementing the recent Board of Supervisors resolution urging the SFMTA "to fully explore the costs and technical feasibility of reuse as well as replication of the Van Ness Avenue Historic Streetlamps, including feasibility of retaining the cast iron fittings and lamps mounted on compatible replacement poles," including the cost and design of the currently planned replacement lamps and poles, and all plans to rehabilitate and/or replicate the existing Historic Streetlamps. 

7. The number of accidents, including deaths, on Polk Street and Van Ness Avenue since 2005, categorized by mode, date, the number of people hurt, and the party at fault, including all of the following:

a. accidents involving automobiles or other vehicles since 2005, including the date, the number of people hurt, and the party at fault;

b. accidents involving Muni buses since 2005, including the date, the number of people hurt, and the party at fault;

c. accidents involving bicycles since 2005, including the date, the number of people hurt, and the party at fault; and

d. accidents involving pedestrians since 2005, including the date, the number of people hurt, and the party at fault. 

8. Current mitigation plans for construction of the Polk Street and Van Ness projects, since it appears that both projects are now planned to be constructed concurrently, including the Traffic Management Plan approved in July 2016.

9. The approval action, body or person approving, and date of the approval action to construct the Polk and Van Ness projects concurrently, along with any approved revision of mitigation measures and the mitigation monitoring report. 

10. The budget, contract, scope of work, and/or task order to Barbary Coast for work on the Polk and Van Ness BRT projects.

I'll let you know if I need anything further. Please mail me the requested materials on a CD. If you will not immediately provide the requested records, please state in your response which record(s) you are providing, referring to the specific item numbers in this Request, and provide the exact date when you will provide the items not immediately provided referring to the specific item numbers in this Request. 

If reference is not made to the Item numbers in this Request in all of your responses and on the disc, I will deem that a denial of this Request. Please advise me if the cost of providing copies of these records will exceed $10. If I do not receive a response to this Request by 4:00 p.m. on October 10, 2016, I shall deem this Request denied.

Thank you for your attention to this IMMEDIATE DISCLOSURE REQUEST.

Mary Miles

cc: Caroline Celaya, Custodian of Records

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