Saturday, August 30, 2008

Punks on bikes in Berkeley 2

From the Berkeley Daily Planet:

Editors, Daily Planet:

I am fed up with bicyclists who act as if traffic laws don’t apply to them and ride as if they’re only ones who have the right to be on the road. There have been countless times when I have nearly been hit by bike riders while walking across the street in a crosswalk. Around 7 yesterday evening, for example, I was crossing Telegraph at Oregon. All four lanes of car traffic came to a gentle stop, respecting the crosswalk. However, as usual, a bike rider refused to slow or even alter his path and came within a few inches of hitting me. I had always thought that being environmentally responsible was about looking out for the greater good. Apparently these riders are so wrapped up in their own egos and arrogance that they forget traffic rules also apply to them; especially the laws protecting pedestrians from harm. I have to say there’s something perverse about pedestrians feeling safer around cars than bicycles.

Steve Berley

More Punks on Bikes here.

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The Milk Club: "Use both sides of the paper"

Milk Club PAC Endorsement Questionnaire (District Supervisor)

Name: Rob Anderson
Day Phone:
Evening Phone:


Please complete this questionnaire and return on or before 4 PM Thursday, September 4, 2008. The PAC interview will be Saturday, September 6 from 1PM-4PM. To return the questionnaire using e-mail, contact Margot Reed ( Make sure that the questionnaire is in Word or text format. Contact for electronic version of questionnaire.

Please bring 50 double-sided copies of your completed questionnaire to your interview with the Milk PAC on September 6. We request that all hard copies of the questionnaire and attachments sent use both sides of the paper.

Should you have any questions, please contact Margot Reed @ (415) 717-7943.

In order to schedule an interview, contact: Margot Reed @ (415)717-7943 or You must have completed the questionnaire in order to be interviewed.

Labor for the production of this questionnaire was donated.

GENERAL (no more than 100 words per answer)

Are you a registered Democrat?

Are you seeking the endorsement of the SF DCCC?

Are you a member of the Harvey Milk Club? If so, how long?

Will you be part of any slate? If so, which ones and who will be paying for them?

Have you sought the support or endorsement of the Harvey Milk Club in the past? If so, when?

Who is/are your campaign consultant(s), if any?
I'm running my own campaign.

Please include a listing of your qualifications for the position you seek. Please list the civic committees, commissions, or boards on which you have served. Please also list any past involvement with the Milk Club.
My main qualification: I am not a San Francisco progressive.

Please list any endorsers, including organizations or elected officials.
No endorsements

Do you support or oppose the November 2008 State Proposition 4, (Waiting Period & Parental Notification/State Constitutional Amendment)? Why or Why not?
Nobody should be able to make a woman---or a girl---have a baby.

Whom do you support and/or endorse for President November 2008 and why?
Barack Obama, the Democrat. I've never voted for a Republican for president.

Who have you supported/endorsed for San Francisco Supervisor within the past 5 years?
No one but myself

Who are you supporting for election to the Board of Supervisors in November 2008?
No one but myself, but Carmen Chu is also worth supporting.

Whom did you support in for Mayor in 2007? Why?
Gavin Newsom because he's not a SF progressive, and he's been good on the homeless issue.

Whom did you support for the DCCC in 2008? Why?
Scott Wiener because he was supposedly a moderate, as opposed to Chris Daly and the ultra-left.

Do you support a Real Estate Transfer Tax increase?

Do you support the JROTC public high school participation “Declaration of Policy” on the November 2008 ballot? Why or Why not?
I support the program. The opposition to JROTC by city progressives is nothing but political posturing at the expense of students, with the implication that any association with the US military is somehow sinister and/or disreputable, which is nothing but thinly disguised anti-Americanism.

What is your position on the Enforcement of Laws Related to Prostitution and Adult Sex Workers ballot measure?
You mean the Pimp Protection Act of 2008? I'm against it.

What programs or services do you support for the physically and developmentally challenged residents of San Francisco?
Sounds like a Good Thing, but I'm not familiar with these programs.

Will you support the privatization or contracting out of work currently performed by City and County employees? Why or why not?
Yes, I will, when appropriate. Progressives and the unions seem to think city government is primarily a jobs program. The city already has more than 27,000 employees, which is too many.

Do you support a wage equity plan for services currently contracted by the City to non-profit organizations?
Maybe. I'd have to see a specific proposal, including the cost to the city.

Do you support employee free choice? Why or Why not?
I don't know what that means.

Do you support providing full medical and dental benefits for temporary or as-needed City & County of San Francisco employees? Why or Why not?
Maybe. I'd like to see a specific proposal, including the costs to the city.

What do you view as the role of the Supervisor in setting San Francisco Department’s policies and procedures?
The Supervisors and the Mayor make city policy.

What will you do to support professional development opportunities for staff employed by the BOS?
Is it necessary? I'd have to see a specific proposal.

How will you bring more resources (state, federal, and private investment) into San Francisco?
I have no such plans, but the city needs to continue to deal humanely and firmly with our homeless population, since tourists---tourism is our main industry---often complain about the derelicts and panhandlers on our streets. The city should also stop punishing people who drive in the city, since almost all of the 15 million tourists who visit the city drive here. We need to put the brakes on the crackpot bicycle/anti-car movement that wants to redesign city streets for that small minority, while making it as expensive and difficult as possible to drive here. SF has 465,150 registered motor vehicles; millions of tourists drive to the city every year; 35,000 people drive into the city every weekday to work; and there are 1000 Muni vehicles on city streets, along with taxis and emergency vehicles. If we continue down the anti-car path, we're going to damage our economy by making traffic a lot worse than it has to be.

Which of the current solutions being utilized to address the problem of homelessness in San Francisco do you think are effective and why?
Mayor Newsom has initiated a number of effective programs to deal with homelessness, including Care Not Cash, Homeward Bound, Project Homeless Connect, and an emphasis on supportive housing.

Do you support and encourage increased and expedited processing of applications for citizenship, family reunification and naturalization?
Yes, more or less.

What concrete solutions do you have to address issues surrounding homelessness in San Francisco?
See above answer on homelessness. We also need to begin enforcing Laura's Law on city streets to deal with those people who are unable to take care of themselves.

What are the challenges you see to improving SF Public Schools?
The Board of Supervisors has only a minimal role to play on city schools. I'll leave those issues to the school board.

What will you do to improve traffic safety on San Francisco streets and thoroughfares?
I have no such plans. In fact the streets of the city are getting safer all the time.

What steps will you take to alleviate the City’s fiscal deficit?
The city has too many employees, which makes our chronic budget problems a systemic problem.

What is your position on Proposition 6 and why?
I support it.

What is your position on the SF General Bond Obligation Election–General Hospital and Trauma Center?
I support it.

What is your position on San Francisco Affordable Housing Fund ballot measure?
Putting this big ticket item on the same ballot as the SF General bonds was a bad idea. I'm undecided on this, since I haven't seen any reliable numbers on what it's going to cost the city.

What is your position on Raising the Number of Signatures Required to qualify a Recall Petition for Member of the Board of Supervisors?
I'm against it, even though if lightning struck and I was elected, progressives in the district would probably try to recall me immediately.

What is your position on the November SF Tenant Rights ballot measure?
I'm not convinced that it's necessary yet.

What is your position on the November SF Decriminalization of Prostitution ballot measure?
I'm against the Pimp Protection Act of 2008, which is really a dumb idea.

What is your position on the November SF Payroll Expense Tax ballot measure?
I don't know anything about it yet.

What is your position on the November San Francisco Clean Energy Act?
I'm against it.

What is your position on the proposed SF Transportation Authority Efficiency Measure?
I don't know much about it yet, but the title alone makes it sound like bullshit.

What is your position on the November SF Treatment on Demand Act?
I'm not convinced the city can afford it.

What steps will you take to support and improve long-term care for the elderly in San Francisco?
Does it need improving? I'm not familiar with the city's programs. I am now the caretaker for my 92-year-old mother, so I have a personal interest in the issue.

What do you think should be San Francisco Juvenile Probation’s policy towards undocumented youth in the system?
I don't know.

How will you address the high cost of living in San Francisco? no more than 250 words
What I won't do is support luxury highrise condos, like the Rincon Hill projects supported by Supervisor Mirkarimi. Ditto for the awful Market/Octavia Plan and UC's proposal for a massive housing development on lower Haight Street, both of which Mirkarimi supports. These projects are not only too big, but they involve primarily market-rate housing, which is not what we need.

Do you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender?
My sexual orientation is none of your business.

Why should the Harvey Milk Club endorse you?
Maybe you shouldn't. Naturally, I think I'm the best candidate, and I am a Democrat, but I dislike the kind of identity politics your group represents.

Do you support an inclusive version of ENDA? What role do you see for the SF BOS on this issue?
I don't know what ENDA is.

What will you do to support or improve the working, recreational, and educational experience of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults, seniors, and families within San Francisco?
I'd have to see some specific proposals.

Do you support or oppose the same sex marriage amendment proposed on the November ballot (Proposition 8)? Why? District Specific (no more than 250 words per answer)
I oppose it. What does "District Specific" mean? And why would anyone need 250 words to answer this question?

What will you do to support or outreach to the ethnic and racial minority, communities in your District?
Nothing. I'll be available to everyone.

How will your election benefit and/or support District residents who happen to be medicinal marijuana patients?
My election will have little effect one way or the other, but neighborhoods should be able to veto proposed pot clubs or get clubs shut down if they are bad neighbors. We already have too many clubs. If Oakland can get by with four, why do we need 30?

What will you do to stabilize and secure funding for community projects in your District?
What projects? You need to be specific.

What opportunities will you develop and support to provide childcare services for low and moderate-income families in your District?
I have no such plans, though that seems to be a worthy endeavor.

What will you do to improve, renovate, and expand municipal recreation facilities in your District?
I don't know that they need to be improved, renovated, or expanded.

What will you do to support new immigrants living in your District?
Do they need support? What kind of support do they need? Is it the city's role to provide such support? I'd have to see some specific proposals.

What will you do to increase affordable housing opportunities in your District?
I have no idea.

What steps will you take to increase public safety in San Francisco, especially in your District?
Our main public safety issue in District 5 is what I call the Punks with Guns issue, which involves mostly young black men shooting each other. The city should initiate a public dialogue on the corrosive effects of the ugly rap/hip-hop culture on our more vulnerable young people. Why do these young men---and it's always men or boys---think it's okay to shoot each other over relatively trivial issues? This is a national/international problem that will involve a long cultural struggle on all levels of society.

What will you do to improve the business climate in your District and help retain our existing local businesses while attracting new ones?
The city needs to keep doing what it's been doing under Mayor Newsom on homelessness, which is terrible for small businesses. And it needs to keep trying to find an effective approach to the difficult Punks with Guns problem. Most of all the city's small businesses don't need any more city mandates requiring them to spend money on progressive programs, however well-intentioned.

What the neighborhoods in my district really need is for the city to pave the streets, which are in terrible shape.


"Better Streets" is worse for traffic in the Mission

Rob's note: This public comment was submitted to the city's Better Streets program, another front organization for the city's anti-car movement:

----- Original Message -----
From: Marc J. Zilversmit
Sent: Friday, August 29, 2008
Subject: Comment on Cesar Chavez

Dear Sir/Ms,

I want to compliment you on the aesthetics of your designs for Cesar Chavez. Any of them would look very nice, but I fear that they will not be functional.

There are many of us in the Noe and Bernal neighborhoods who use Cesar Chavez and worry about the clogged traffic. We also worry about the traffic impact and spill-over into local neighborhoods. When the C.C. Puede group started meeting, they kept voting us down and politely rejecting all of our suggestions.

I know that there have been meetings, but I don't think drivers on the street have been adequately notified. I've driven on Cesar Chavez frequently in the last few weeks. I didn't see any visible signs inviting drivers to comment on the plan. If there were signs, they were too small for drivers to see and were apparently aimed at pedestrians. So I think any sample of feedback is skewed. You should attempt to place large signs on the street to invite input from drivers before you proceed. The signs should be as large as the signs that you put up after you are done changing the street (e.g. "Your tax dollars funded these improvements").

Additionally, I notice that you suggest that left-turn pockets might improve traffic flow. I have tried to work with the San Jose-Guerrerro Coalition to mitigate the impact of the un-noticed changes that were implemented on that street. Every time I suggest dedicated left-turn pockets, they reject the idea. If dedicated left-turn pockets are a viable option to improve traffic flow on Cesar Chavez, they should also be included in the San Jose-Guerrerro projects. Turn pockets just seem like a convenient argument that are used to get rid of lanes and then later discarded.

If your traffic studies indicate that traffic flow is improved by turn pockets, why can't they be put in place on San Jose-Guerrerro?

Also, since the next freeway exit south of Cesar Chavez is San Jose-Guerrero, I think that people traveling into the Mission and Noe Valley areas will start using the San Jose-Guerrero exit more frequently. That street is already congested because of the lane removal and because the street is shared with the trolley cars South of 30th Street.

Please consider the effects of your decision on San Jose Guerrero.

Please do a better job of notifying drivers of your proposals.

Thank you again for your attention to this matter.

Marc J. Zilversmit
Noe-Bernal Drivers

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