Friday, January 06, 2006

$283,313.18 for Katherine Roberts' lawyer?

Fees Not Trees: Thomas N. Lippe, the lawyer for Katherine Roberts and Trees Not Cars, has filed a "Motion for Award of Attorneys' Fees" for the great public service he performed by taking on the anti-garage, anti-MLK widening litigation. Since attorney's fees are awarded to the "prevailing" side in this kind of litigation, exactly what victory did Lippe win for the people of San Francisco? Good question. 

I hope Judge Warren agrees, but I don't see why Lippe should get a dime of the public's money, since he lost on every single issue, except for the "dedicated" entrance to the new underground garage on the Concourse of Golden Gate Park. 

But even his client, Katherine Roberts, didn't like the idea of widening MLK Blvd. to create entrance and exit lanes to and from the garage. Neither did the voters of San Francisco, who voted overwhelmingly against widening MLK---to not create lanes dedicated to the garage entrance---by passing Proposition G last November. So why should Judge Warren award Lippe the astonishing sum of $283,313.18?

Lippe's argument should get an award for chutzpah, if nothing else:

The result[of the litigation] has conferred significant benefits on the public by not only ensuring that their elected officials comply with the law, but by ensuring that the carefully crafted citizen initiative known as Proposition J, which conditionally permitted an underground parking garage in Golden Gate Park, is strictly obeyed. In this case, the Court found that the City violated Proposition J by approving an underground parking garage design that includes an entrance/exit inside Golden Gate Park without dedicated access from outside the park.

But, except for the entrance to the garage issue, Judge Warren, in his Statement of Decision of August 10, 2004, did in fact find that the city was complying with Proposition J in every other way, rejecting all Lippe's arguments to the contrary. 

And everyone except me hated the idea of widening MLK, a proposal only made by the Concourse Authority after Judge Warren's order in his 2004 Decision. Lippe argued in court last June that the "dedicated" entrance to the garage should really be a tunnel, another terrible idea that everyone---even me---hates, since digging a tunnel from Lincoln Ave. to the garage entrance on Academy Drive would do untold damage to both the park and the neighborhood on the southern side of the park. 

Lippe and Trees Not Cars did nothing for the people of San Francisco except try to stop the construction of the garage they voted for under Proposition J in 1998.

To view Judge Warren's Aug. 10, 2004 Statement of Decision, and the June 16, 2005 Statement of Decision, go to and enter the case number, 427163 after clicking on "Case Number Query."

See also the Interview with Mike Ellzey.

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Stephen Willis: insomniac

Stephen I'm worried about you. I notice that your latest message was sent at 2:58 a.m. Maybe you aren't getting enough sleep. A well-rested brain would surely do better than this. I repeat my arguments for two reasons: they are sound, fact-based arguments; and you and your allies in the anti-garage jihad still haven't addressed them. So it's all about dealing with the city's potential liability if the garage doesn't make enough money? Since Judge Warren, the city's voters, and I have demolished all your other arguments, it has come down to crocodile tears about the city's potential financial liability?

I note that in your latest message to PROSF, you ask Rec. and Park for a July 11, 2005 study done by one of your anti-garage allies, Howard Strassner. Why don't you just ask Strassner for a copy? If they won't give you a copy, I can make one for you, though my copy is riddled with red marks denoting all the typos and grammatical errors---commas strewn about at random---I marked in the document. When a document is so flawed on that level, it makes it harder to take its argument seriously. And Strassner's argument, such as it is, is simply that the garage may not make enough money to service the bond. Given the huge crowds that are already turning out to visit the new de Young Museum, that seems unlikely.

Which of your issues haven't I addressed? I'm still waiting for you to show me and my readers where I have lied. The word "lie," by the way, Stephen, refers to a deliberate untruth, not just something that you disagree with. Speaking of lies, last year you wrote the following paragraph, which, as I pointed out at the time, packs five untruths into two sentences: "A private corporation---the Music Concourse Community Partnership---has taken control of Golden Gate Park, abandoned their deal with the voters, and recklessly destroyed all three 108 year-old tunnels. They also added an illegal second garage entrance INSIDE the Music Concourse, and have ignored a Court order since last August to correct their illegal garage design." Wrong on all counts, Stephen. I won't repeat my refutations here; interested parties can scroll through my blog archives and read our earlier exchanges.

You denigrate my blog now, but recall that last year you complimented me on my coverage of the garage/MLK issue: "We want to give credit to Mr. Anderson for his exclusive interview with Mike Ellzey, executive director of the GG Park Concourse Authority. Rob's 'District 5 Diary' has succeeded where the San Francisco Chronicle is missing in action."

To view Judge Warren's Aug. 10, 2004 Statement of Decision, and the June 16, 2005 Statement of Decision, go to and enter the case number, 427163 after clicking on "Case Number Query."


You really seem to enjoy regurgitating your old arguments. I challenge you to find one person whether it is Mike Ellzey, Nancy Conner, Harry Parker, or Warren Hellman himself, or any of the members of the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, the City Attorney's office, the Mayor's Office of Public Finance, or the Democratic County Central Committee, JUST ONE of these public officials who supported or expedited the private 35 year leasehold on the Music Concourse, to come forward in a public hearing and explain the public benefit that has been provided, and how the City has been indemnified from any financial liability to the private bond holders if the garage fails financially. JUST ONE. But three or four would be better, to get a cross section of project proponents who are proud enough to come out in public and explain these things.UNTIL then, I reassert that you and Mike Ellzey are the liars enmeshed in disinformation.And you are most certainly a coward, because you fail to address any substantive issues that I have raised, but only come back with the cheap ass rhetoric of a Don Solem PR flack, no ethical concern for the truth in reporting, while posing as an authority on the issue. You may regurgitate more of your past lies, if it makes you more comfortable than addressing this challenge. But the fact remains, you are a pathetic liar and a coward and you don't have the balls to carry your lies outside of this obscure blog.

You and Ken Garcia,
stephen willis / ndmedia