Friday, November 21, 2008

John King's "long views and uncertain plunges"

If the Chronicle can relegate Mark Morford to SF Gate, why not do the same with Big Thinker John King? Curbed SF (http://sf.curbed.com/) gets it right on his fatuous recent column about how SF allegedly lacks grand public spaces, an imaginary problem that King noticed after watching Obama address 100,000 people in Grant Park on election night:

But Obama's victory reminds us that sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. As special as residential neighborhoods might be, they're small pieces in a big puzzle. We gain by immersing ourselves in a thing larger than ourself, taking the long view and the uncertain plunge. And a city open to that sort of vision makes room for that sort of place.

As commenters to Curbed pointed out, there were a number of spontaneous celebrations on election night all over the city. When was the last time 100,000 city residents even wanted to gather in one spot? Many years ago, when protests against the US attack on Vietnam brought crowds like that onto the streets of the city, we made do very well by gathering at the Civic Center or in Golden Gate Park. King is clearly in sync with the spendthrifts and philistines in City Hall, since the city is evidently going to pay yet another consultant to look into this non-issue.

King's other "visions": residential highrises, like at Rincon Hill. And there's his bizarre infatuation with the awful Octavia Blvd. that now carries 45,000 cars a day through the heart of Hayes Valley. (Click on "John King" below for more on his "long views")

City to John King: Chill Dude, We Got This

Tuesday, November 18, 2008, by Andy J. Wang
So do we or don't we need a new space— a civic center, if you will? (Including, possibly, the actual Civic Center.) After bringing up John King's
initial point that San Francisco failed to bring election-night fever to a full-on boil in the form of a rally/mob/mosh pit, Curbed readership seems divided at best. Says commenter Castro Condo or Town in Kansas?: "Only a city such as San Francisco filled with Veruca Salts would anyone fret over such a ridiculous non-problem." Others pointed to possibilities that lay dormant in Union Square or the Civic Center. But, as King says, the Civic Center is dead and blighted, and it's not where people "instinctively want to be." Ahem. Unless they're protesting, right? As it turns out, the city set aside $100,000 this year to figure out whether we could build ourselves a new communal space. Location? The Embarcadero, from Mission to Broadway. The brainstorming begins now. And boy, if this happens, the N-Judah has got its work cut out for it.


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