Friday, March 19, 2010

The Murk, the Harding, and the parklet

"You look at change throughout history, from civil rights to environmental justice, and it wasn't politicians who got it done. It was the activists. Today is about more than just policies and agendas---it's about the beginning of a revolution."

You have to give Supervisor Mirkarimi points for chutzpah. The other day he was praising the Divisadero makeover across the street from the Harding Theater, the eyesore he created five years ago, when he "saved" the derelict, undistinguished building from being turned into condos and retail space:

Mayor Gavin Newsom hailed the installation of the sidewalk extension as well as the nearly completed Divisadero makeover with the new landscaping, median, lighting, and street paving. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi recalled that when he first took office in 2005 he predicted that Divisadero would be the "comeback kid corridor" and now that appears to be the case. "This 44 foot template is a pilot for projects that others will want in their neighborhoods," Mirkarimi suggested, establishing a new prediction with its fulfillment already in the works. Another parklet is expected to be completed in three weeks in the Mission district.

The Murk is always on the lookout for new "templates." Back in 2005, right after he saved the Harding, he was lauding the new and awful Octavia Boulevard as a "gateway to a new template" for the rest of the city. Other neighborhoods probably saw Octavia Blvd. as a cautionary tale. Why would they want 45,000 cars a day coming through the middle of their neighborhoods? Mirkarimi probably thought his mixed metaphor and rhetoric were justified. After all, the Planning Dept., the Bicycle Coalition, his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors, and all good progressives---even Mayor Newsom---thought Octavia Blvd. was going to be a huge success once the wicked Central Freeway overpass was gone. What could possibly go wrong? In fact I predicted what would---and has---gone wrong.

Membership in the Green Party is one template the Murk rejects, since it clearly isn't a gateway to higher office.

As the errand boy for the Bicycle Coalition for more than five years, the Murk of course loves the new "parklet" installed in front of the bike nut coffee house on Divisadero, since it takes away three parking spaces. Eliminating parking spaces always makes the bike people happy. Interesting that only a bike-oriented coffee house is allotted this privilege by City Hall. Are other coffee houses on Diviz going to be allowed a parklet, too?

It makes sense for that business, since it provides more space for the bike nuts to park their bikes. But one wonders about the attraction to coffee drinkers ("Honey, let's go drink our lattes on the parklet next to the traffic noise, the carbon monoxide, and the diesel fumes.") But cyclists evidently already have developed a high tolerance for the pollutants emitted by the hated Death Machines.

The latest horror story on the Harding Theater.

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