Monday, January 14, 2019

What happened to "active" transportation?

In Outside:

I’m continually shocked at how much disdain and vitriol e-bikes—especially the mountain variety—elicit. If you raise the topic among a group of cyclists, as I did recently at Outside’s annual bike test, you’re sure to get an earful about how pedal-assist bikes are making the world a lazier place, causing all manner of trail conflicts and trail closures, and generally just ruining cycling. My position: Calm down, people. We’re talking about bicycles, not Satan...

But what about the moral superiority cyclists claim for cycling as exercise as opposed to the "passive" reliance on motor vehicles? Same question arises on the popularity of electric scooters, which is another reason that cycling has actually declined here in San Francisco. 

Alas, scooters raise the same safety issues as bicycles.

The Bicycle Coalition welcomes, more or less, the advent of electric scooters. After all they aren't cars, which, like bikes, makes them morally superior. But the coalition's director implies that scooters and bikes have the same safety issues and, interestingly, that scooter users and cyclists should share the bike lanes. 

I wonder what SFBC members think about that?

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HIgh-speed rail and housing

Tom Meyer

UCLA management professor Jerry Nickerson thinks he has found a solution to California’s housing affordability problems: high-speed rail. Based on years of data, he has concluded that some Japanese who work in Tokyo and other expensive cities make long commutes on high-speed trains to more affordable cities elsewhere in the country.

What a fantastically dumb idea. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped private land right next to the Los Angeles and San Francisco-Oakland urban areas. Most of these acres have little agricultural value and those around San Francisco are currently being used as pasture or range land, meaning they support a few head of cattle, while many of the undeveloped acres around Los Angeles probably don’t even support livestock.

So, to protect these lands from development, California should spend $77 billion to $100 billion or more building a high-speed rail line to the Central Valley, which has some of the most productive farm land in the nation, so that houses can be built on that farm land rather than on the range lands around Los Angeles and the Bay Area...

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Donald Trump: Traitor

Image result for trump pictures
From the Washington Post:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson.

The constraints that Trump imposed are part of a broader pattern by the president of shielding his communications with Putin from public scrutiny and preventing even high-ranking officials in his own administration from fully knowing what he has told one of the United States’ main adversaries.

As a result, U.S. officials said there is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with the Russian leader at five locations over the past two years. Such a gap would be unusual in any presidency, let alone one that Russia sought to install through what U.S. intelligence agencies have described as an unprecedented campaign of election interference...

See also Why the FBI thought Trump could be working for Russia

Rob's comment:
Trump is not only a lying sack of shit and a contemptible human being, he's also a traitor. That's apparently okay with the Repugnant Party, whose political base not surprisingly is mostly in the old Confederate South. His followers hate and fear people of color, gays, women, and liberals so much they will continue to support him.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Okay for conservatives to like AOC?

Image result for alexandria ocasio-cortez pictures
Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine:

Am I allowed to say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is likable?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. She has an easy, open demeanor, fun-loving smile, stunning good looks, and an ability to make arguments few others are brave enough to make. She’s manifestly sincere, charismatic, and, despite her occasional factual overreaches, engaging the issues that really matter. She can dance! She once went by “Sandy.” 

And when conservatives like me — or even Ann Coulter — are revisiting the question of tax redistribution in a society that is being torn apart by late capitalism, she makes a kind of sense. 

She is still a little wet behind the ears, and will doubtless mature in office, but her energy, good humor and, yes, charm are integral to her appeal. They help her persuade people of her arguments. 

There’s a reason some Republicans are owning themselves with their AOC obsession: They can recognize a deadly talent when they see it...

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thanks to

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Hillary Ronen plays the gender card---again

Hillary Ronen District 9 landing image
Of course uber-prog Tim Redmond likes Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who apparently fancies herself a revolutionary: “I want to use my position to fundamentally shift the wealth and power from the super-rich to the working people of this city.”

Ronen also said “This has been a sexist process.” She made that argument on Medium.

Chronicle columnist Heather Knight plays the gender card for Ronen:

But overall, Ronen is clearly ambitious, smart, confident and determined. Oh, wait. Those are only good qualities in male political leaders. “The only reasoning I’ve heard from my colleagues is I’m temperamental, passionate, emotional, that I don’t get along well with my colleagues and might have a hard time bringing both sides together,” Ronen said...Sound familiar? It’s the kind of wording used again and again when women dare to seek higher office.

Bullshit. True, misogyny is a political factor in the Land of the Free. It surely helped defeat Clinton in 2016, but so did a long campaign of conservative anti-Hillary slander that goes back to when she was first lady, not to mention racism and the anti-Hillary Russian campaign.

Supervisors Fewer, Mandelman, and Peskin are sexists for voting against Ronen for board president? The same Rafael Mandelman (aka, Roboprog) who Knight threw a big bouquet earlier this year?

Maybe Ronen is just a pain in the ass.

Redmond was impressed by the number of people who spoke for Ronen before the vote:

Ronen was clearly the underdog, from the start. But she didn’t accept the likely outcome quietly...For more than two hours, Ronen supporters---at least 100, from community groups, neighborhood groups, and labor---spoke in favor of her candidacy. Perhaps half a dozen spoke in favor of Yee...It was by far the longest public comment on a board president election I’ve ever seen.

But this kind of "activism" is not the same as politics, which requires forming coalitions, not to mention getting along with the other supervisors.

Knight enlists Rebecca Solnit in the battle on behalf of the Sisterhood:

San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit, a supporter of Ronen’s work, called it “infuriating” that female politicians must be likable — that usually means deferential and nonthreatening — while nobody ever talks about male politicians’ likability. “Here in our town that’s supposedly so progressive and woke, we still have that. Excuse me, San Francisco, do you remember Chris Daly?” Solnit said, referring to the former supervisor who notoriously vowed to use the f-word in every meeting and was known for his temper...

Chris Daly? Ah, those were the days when giants strode the streets of Progressive Land! 

Actually, a lot of us guys didn't find Daly particularly "likable." I blogged critically more than 90 times about Supervisor Daly.

Unless you have clear evidence to back up the sexism charge, it's a bad idea, like playing the race card (Playing the race card in San Francisco).

Supervisor Peskin is quoted in the Examiner about the sexist claims:

Peskin said before the vote that “There are many narratives. There are narratives around gender, there are narratives around race, there are narratives around age and experience,” he said.

There are "narratives" and there are also truths. Sherwood Anderson put it best in Winesburg, Ohio:

There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful. And then the people came along...It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

"I always danced"

Aileen Passloff
From the NY Times:

Why did you start studying ballet?
I always danced. I would be set out in the backyard to play and to play was to dance.


Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Pic of the Moment

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Monday, January 07, 2019

Clueless, distracted pedestrians

In today's NY Times:

To the Editor:

Pedestrians are a danger to themselves. Jaywalkers appear out of nowhere when they dart into the street between cars and trucks. Many will cross against the light if they see no immediate approaching vehicle — or if they just happen to be in a hurry.

Intersections with left-turn signals render many pedestrians clueless that vehicles have the right of way (hint: that’s why the “walk” icon is not lit up). 

The worst offenders are those who cross streets looking at their phones, including mothers pushing strollers. Just as we’re taught to drive defensively, it is equally important to walk defensively.

And let’s not forget the bicycle couriers who move in a state of anarchy unto themselves.

Thomas P. Roberts
New Jersey

Rob's comment:
Pedestrians and motorcyclists are most likely to die in traffic accidents in San Francisco (See pages 26-30 in the last Collisions Report) than motorists or cyclists:

The annual number of collisions resulting in fatalities has also remained relatively stable in the past four years at around 30 (Figure 2). In 2015 20 people were killed while walking, 4 while cycling, 6 while riding a motorcycle, and one while driving a motor vehicle. Motorcycle riders constitute a high percentage of deaths (19 percent in 2015). Like with overall injury collisions, the long-term trends are positive but the short-term trends in the past decade are discouraging as the annual totals appear to have stagnated. It is San Francisco’s goal under Vision Zero to eliminate all fatal collisions by the year 2024 (page 5). 

For historical perspective on traffic fatalities in San Francisco, see New York City’s Pedestrian Safety Study and San Francisco Data of 2010. As recently as 2006, there were 55 traffic fatalities in the city (page 7). 

But the city's Vision Zero chart below shows only 30 traffic deaths that year, which suggests the city's count has to be approached with skepticism: Traffic fatalities/injuries in SF and Vision Zero.

Last year City Hall crowed that Vision Zero was responsible for the low number (20) of traffic fatalities in 2017, but that number was back up over 20 in 2018.

SF Vision Zero

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George Russell

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Are Americans ditching their cars?

The answer to that question in City Lab is "no":

...Research that I summarized in my report “The New Automobility” last summer showed that ride-hailing growth has led to more traffic and less transit use in major American cities—not the reverse that we all hoped for.

Uber, Lyft, and advocates for new shared mobility services have pushed back against this analysis. Declaring that we are still at the “earliest stages” of a major shift in travel habits, they look to the day that people ditch their car in favor of a combination of these services and old-fashioned public transportation. Their vision is that diminished car ownership and fewer miles in privately owned vehicles will more than offset added mileage from ride-hailing vehicles...

Increased car ownership in America’s most walkable and transit-oriented cities is a deeply worrisome reversal from what came before. From mid-2000 to 2012, transit ridership increased while car ownership grew slowly, if at all. But now car ownership is expanding faster than population. Add in ride-hailing services, and the glut of motor vehicles makes it more difficult to give buses, bikes, and now e-scooters the road space they need to be speedy, safe, and comfortable...

...In San Francisco, a study released in June[2018] found that on a typical weekday ride-hailing drivers make more than 170,000 vehicle trips, about 12 times the number of taxi trips, and that the trips are concentrated in the densest and most congested parts of the city.

   And a survey released in October of more than 4,000 adults in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C. also concluded that 49 to 61 percent of ride-hailing trips would have not been made at all — or instead by walking, biking or public transit — if the option didn’t exist...

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Betsy DeVos breaks bone in bike accident

Image result for picture betsy devos on bike
Daily Caller

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Saturday, January 05, 2019

Bike revolution is over in SF---and nationwide

USA Today
From USA Today:

...After rising for several years, the percentage of commuters turning to bikes declined for the third year straight, U.S. Census Bureau figures show.

Nationally, the percentage of people who say they use a bike to get to work fell by 3.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, to an average of 836,569 commuters, according to the bureau's latest American Community Survey, which regularly asks a group of Americans about their habits. That's down from a high of 904,463 in 2014, when it peaked after four straight years of increases.

In some cities, the decline was far more drastic. In Tampa, Florida, and Cleveland, cycling to work dropped by at least 50 percent, although in some cities, cycling to work was up just as dramatically...

Rob's comment:
There has been other evidence recently that the bike revolution has peaked in SF as I pointed out a few months ago (SF's bike revolution is over). Apparently it's a national phenomenon.

The bike movement here peaked with the $26 million Masonic Avenue bike project fiasco (Masonic Avenue bike lanes: Gaudy monument to wishful thinking).

But the fantasy that people will give up their wicked motor vehicles and turn en mass to bicycles will no doubt live on as what Paul Krugman calls a zombie idea: "America’s political landscape is infested with many zombie ideas — beliefs about policy that have been repeatedly refuted with evidence and analysis but refuse to die."

That is, San Francisco will continue to take away traffic lanes and street parking to create bike lanes, making traffic here a lot worse than it has to be in pursuit of what has always been essentially a fantasy.

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City and County of San Francisco: Some numbers

Howard Epstein's comment to this SF Examiner story:

This comparison of spending by combined cities and counties originally appeared in the Nov. 2018 SFGOP Newsletter.

San Francisco’s budget grows and grows every year. The budget passed by the mayor and the supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco for 2018-2019 is $11.1 BILLION. That’s a 9.3% increase over the previous budget. Over the last 12 months, the Bay Area CPI increased 4.3%. The estimated 2017 population, the latest available, is 884,363 This means that San Francisco will spend about $12,500 per resident this budget year. 

When asked why the budget is so high, The City officials always say it’s because we are a combined city and county, have an international airport and a seaport. 

But San Francisco isn’t the only combined city and county in the USA. Below are a few examples of other US combined cities and counties for comparison. You be the judge.

Philadelphia, PA is also a combined city and county with an international airport and a seaport. Their 2018 budget is $4.7 billion. Philly’s population in 2017 was 1,580,863. They will spend about $1000.00 per resident.

Indianapolis/Marion County, IN is another combined city and county with an international airport and a seaport. Their budget is $1.1 billion. Their 2017 population is 863,002. They will spend about $130.00 per resident this year.

Nashville/Davidson, TN is yet another combined city and county with an international airport and a river port. Their budget is $2.23 billion. Their population as of 2017 is 684,410. Their spending per resident is about $3260.

Kansas City/Wyandotte County, KS yet another combined city and county with an international airport and a river port. Their proposed 2019 budget is $359 million. Their 2017 population is 165,288. They will spend an estimated $2170 per resident.

Rob's comment:
As of 2017 San Francisco also had 40,247 employees.

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A cartoon in the cartoon carousel
Monte Wolverton

Mother Jones

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President Know-it-all


Friday, January 04, 2019

Appreciating Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi takes oath as Speaker of 116th Congress surrounded by children of Representatives-elect

On Thursday, the best House speaker of modern times reclaimed her gavel, replacing one of the worst. It has taken the news media a very long time to appreciate the greatness of Nancy Pelosi, who saved Social Security from privatization, then was instrumental in gaining health insurance for 20 million Americans. 

And the media are still having a hard time facing up to the phoniness of their darling Paul Ryan, who, by the way, left office with a 12 percent favorable rating. But I think the narrative is finally, grudgingly, catching up with reality...

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Republican Congressmen Boo Ocasio-Cortez as She Votes for Pelosi

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Thursday, January 03, 2019

Anti-Semitism in San Francisco

January 3, 2019

Manny Yekutiel recently opened up a cafe and public space in the Mission District of San Francisco. 

In an Op-Ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, Manny detailed the shop’s purpose:

The kitchen is staffed with formerly homeless individuals and run by the nonprofit Farming Hope. We’ve already given free or low-cost space to more than 25 nonprofits such as Mission Graduates, Indivisible, Citizen’s Climate Lobby and the Instituto Familiar de la Raza, who need to spend their money on programs, not expensive rental fees. Our coffee is $1.75 and you can have a healthy square meal for $6.

We’ve had elected officials and advocates in the space, artists and poets and change-makers coming in to teach and to learn. The space is fulfilling a real need.

Sounds like the kind of place that would fit well within the political and social milieu of San Francisco. What’s the problem? 

Manny is a proud Jew and that brought scorn from corners of BDS movement. While Manny’s has been the site for Democrats, Black Lives Matter and various liberal activists to gather, it also brought protesters who accused Yekutiel of being a “Zionist gentrifer.” 

From Aiden Pink at Forward:

“Zionists out of the Mission!” one marcher yelled on Wednesday, Dec. 26, as about 20 members of the Lucy Parsons Project and allied groups gathered outside Manny’s.

The Lucy Parsons Project claims that Yekutiel is furthering gentrification in their neighborhood and criticized him for posting things like “Happy 70th Birthday Israel!” and “I am so proud of Israel and its people” on his personal Facebook page. They also wrote that he is “pinkwashing and blackfacing his gentrification and Zionism” by bringing in minority and LGBT guest speakers. (Yekutiel is also gay.)

He grew up in Los Angeles, the son of an American Ashkenazi Jewish mother and an immigrant father whose family fled persecution from Afghanistan to Israel. “I’m proud of their story and proud to be Jewish in America,” he said. 

At Manny’s, there’s a mezuzah on the door...

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We're all stuck in the bar

Chris Hayes: "It's like we elected the guy at the end of the bar to be president, and now we're stuck in the bar with him."


Bullies love ass-kissers

Thanks to Salon.

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Thanks to Daily Kos

The lesson from California: Why Republicans should support immigration.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Big Tech: Involved in "every aspect of your life"

Apple's headquarters (Noah Berger/Reuters)

From today's NY Times:

...“Much as people are now wary or even unhappy with the outsized power held by Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc., they are simultaneously quite dependent on the services they provide,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

“The government doesn’t have a good clue,” said Mr. Bajarin, the consultant. “They’re not even asking the kind of questions that would drive to regulation.”

Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

“For Facebook to have a better year in 2019, it needs to be more upfront and transparent,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer. This was also the advice Facebook got for 2018, to little avail.

All this could change if the anti-tech mood continues to swell or the economy hits a really rough patch. On the other hand, the last recession tended to work in Big Tech’s favor by giving smaller competitors even more to worry about.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Amazon’s North American media sales increased 20 percent. Borders, one of its biggest book-selling competitors, saw revenue drop 9 percent, reported a record loss and was soon defunct.

With so little to really worry about, Big Tech is planning for a future far beyond any present-day turmoil. Google, which has 3,500 job openings, says it is too early to say what the thousands of employees will do. But Jonathan Taplin, director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, has a good idea: everything.

“They’re in the transportation business, the medical business, every business,” said Mr. Taplin, a frequent critic of how Big Tech took over a decentralized, independent internet. “There is no aspect of your life that they will not be involved in”...


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Trump trashes the country

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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

The Steele Dossier: A Retrospective

PHOTO: Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who set up Orbis Business Intelligence and compiled a dossier on Donald Trump, shown in London in this March 7, 2017 file photo.
Christopher Steele
From Lawfare:

...we thought it would be worthwhile to look back at the dossier and to assess, to the extent possible, how the substance of Steele’s reporting holds up over time. In this effort, we considered only information in the public domain from trustworthy and official government sources, including documents released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office in connection with the criminal cases brought against Paul Manafort, the 12 Russian intelligence officers, the Internet Research Agency trolling operation and associated entities, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos. 

We also considered the draft statement of offense released by author Jerome Corsi, a memorandum released by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff related to the Carter Page FISA applications and admissions directly from certain speakers.

These materials buttress some of Steele’s reporting, both specifically and thematically. The dossier holds up well over time, and none of it, to our knowledge, has been disproven...

What You Need to Know About the Trump 'Pee' Tape

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Philip Johnson and Donald Trump

From the NY Times book review:

...He and Trump needed each other: Trump wanted a famous name, and Johnson was desperate to stay in the game. Johnson produced a few lousy buildings for Trump, who probably didn’t know the difference; all he cared about was being able to claim that they were designed by Philip Johnson. And Johnson got to stay in the public eye.

The Trump chapter of Johnson’s long career seemed just a bizarre footnote when it happened in the 1990s. Now, it is a little harder to dismiss. 

Outwardly, the two men could not have been more different: Johnson could talk circles around anyone, and Trump is verbally inept. Johnson had contempt for Trump’s vulgarity and lack of intellectual curiosity, and Trump had no understanding of Johnson’s cultivation. 

The beautiful little study at the Glass House would have been a prison to Trump. But now that we know Trump as more than a real-estate developer, it is hard not to think back to Johnson’s infatuation with dictators, his snobbery, his obsession with being noticed, and wonder if they did not have a little more in common than it seemed back then.

[Mark]Lamster’s timing is excellent: He has written the story of Philip Johnson for the age of Donald Trump, and it makes us see a side of Johnson that is, at the very least, sobering. 

Johnson, like Trump, made himself impossible to ignore. Lamster’s most important contribution may be to show us that, however electrifying the ability to command the spotlight may be, it does not confer the lasting qualities of greatness.

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I'll be happy to vote for Warren, but then I'll be happy to vote for anyone nominated by the Democratic Party.

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The District 5 election: A preview

From the SF Examiner:

The election to choose the next representative for the Fillmore and Haight on the Board of Supervisors is nearly a year away, but candidates are already raising money and pitching voters in 2019’s only supervisorial race (Attention turns to D5, where SF’s only supervisorial race of 2019 is underway).

The three candidates are raising money and "pitching voters" long before they've made a serious attempt at telling us what they stand for:

For tenant rights attorney and progressive candidate Dean Preston, it’s nothing new. He ran in 2016 against then District 5 supervisor and board president London Breed, who is now mayor, and picked up 47.6 percent of the vote, losing by only 1,784 votes. His volunteer team has remained active since then with efforts around neighborhood projects and political measures.

Preston's strong showing in 2016 was more about Breed's weakness than his strength, as I pointed out after the election. Preston had a strong ground game, with volunteers who helped him get name recognition in the district. But as I pointed out during the campaign, he was timid on the issues and ran an essentially one-issue campaign:

Some suggest Preston’s strong showing in 2016 gives him the edge over current Supervisor Vallie Brown, who Breed appointed in July 2018 to the seat she vacated after her election as mayor...Brown was a legislative aide to Breed and prior to that, an aide to former District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Working for both Mirkarimi and Breed is not an impressive political resume, since both were awful supervisors (see this and this), though the Murk was a pretty good sheriff before City Hall destroyed his political career based on political hysteria over a rather innocuous domestic dispute:

During the District 5 contest, Brown’s independence from the moderate Breed could be an issue in the left-leaning district. But there’s plenty of time for Brown to become “embedded in the community” as the supervisor and distance herself from Breed by having her “own record, if she does it right,” according to [Jim]Ross. After six months on the job, Brown is seemingly hitting the right notes. “I’m voting what I think is right,” Brown said. “I had the progressives tell me I’ve been voting more of a progressive agenda.”

What about Brown's record? Presumably Brown was intimately involved in the Masonic Avenue fiasco. And can we have some names of "progressives" who approve of her voting record? Brown's "independence" is not the issue. Instead it's about how she helped both Breed and Mirkarimi be awful supervisors:

She[Brown] toted[sic] her ability to pass once stalled legislation to permit greater housing density along the Divisadero corridor in exchange for making 20 percent of the units below market rate. She said that was the “highest affordability without developers walking away.” Her secret? “I went out and talked to everyone,” Brown said. “I also talked with developers.” In the end, she believes she was able to gain 90 percent of residents’ support for the proposal.

What exactly does "affordability" really mean in gentrifying San Francisco? And where/when did Brown get "90 percent of residents' support"? Brown and Preston will both need to tell us what they think about the "density" issue, particularly Scott Wiener's ongoing attempt to allow the state to control how California's cities create housing.

All three candidates need to be questioned about development in general in the city, including on Treasure Island, the Market and Octavia Plan, and 19th Avenue:

“A lot of the issues are really similar now,” Preston said. “I don’t think anything’s changed — homelessness, fear of displacement, lack of affordable housing.”

Those issues are all about housing, which of course is the most important issue facing the city. But Preston has never taken a stand on the Masonic Avenue bike project or the Geary BRT project. Apparently he doesn't think development and transportation are closely related.

And what exactly does Preston mean by calling himself a "socialist"? Seems like a clumsy attempt to capitalize on the advent of Bernie Sanders in 2016 (Defining "socialism" for District 5 and San Francisco): 

Shanell Williams, a City College of San Francisco trustee who was born and raised in the district, is also running and recently held a fundraiser that drew around 40 residents...Williams wants to put community health at the center of her platform, which means a focus on services around mental health and substance use and affordable health care. Employed as a UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative community engagement specialist, she entered the race after Preston and Brown and is currently “developing a policy platform.”

Declaring yourself a candidate before you have done some serious thinking about the issues puts the cart before the horse. And does District 5---or the city, for that matter---have serious issues on health care? Perhaps, but Williams needs to also tell us where she stands on housing, development, and transportation.

Maybe we'll find out this year how left-wing District 5 really is.

See also The Examiner and District 5.

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

...The fear of betrayal by superior powers is written into the Kurds’ DNA. Their birth as one of the world’s largest nonstate nations from the wreckage of the Ottoman empire derived from a broken promise by the victors of World War I, or this is how the Kurds see it. Divided over four states—Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria—since then, they have fought and died in search of freedom and nationhood. Their successes invariably proved short-lived; each time, a vacuum they had exploited disappeared. Powerful allies on whose support they thought they could rely abandoned them.

They had pressed for advantage in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which allowed Iraqi Kurds to establish a federal region; and again following popular protests in Syria in 2011, which evolved into a civil war, thereby creating a vacuum in the northeast that Syrian Kurds were quick to fill. When the Islamic State emerged on the scene in 2014, the Kurds in both Iraq and Syria readily joined the U.S. alliance forged to fight the group, which posed a direct threat to them. They had hoped that loyal support for the United States would translate, at war’s end, into Washington’s backing for steps toward Kurdish national objectives...

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Friday, December 28, 2018

The war against nature

Image result for wolf 926f pictures

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