Friday, September 24, 2010

San Francisco's Tea Party, Part 2

It's ironic that I begin this post the day after Iran's president addressed the United Nations accusing the United States of engineering the 9/11 attacks, since I was about to link one of the city's primary leftist websites, Fog City Journal, that evidently agrees with the claim. Earlier this year Fog City ran a press release from the Asian Law Caucus protesting how the FBI infiltrated a criminal enterprise disguised as a mosque. 

To our local Tea Party---they call themselves "progressives"---the US government is the enemy, which is why no progressive media outlet even mentioned the intimidation of the world's media by Islamic fanatics several years ago.

On the local level, the progressive Tea Party supports legalizing prostitution, wants to throw JROTC out of our schools---our young people must be discouraged from serving in their country's military---calls graffiti/tagging art, and thinks convicted cop-killer, Mumia Abu Jamal, should have a new trial because, well, he's black and a Moslem and shot a white cop and therefore presumably innocent.

And Josh Wolf, who refused to give the federal Grand Jury a copy of a video he made of an anarchist demonstration, during which a city cop's skull was fractured, is a First Amendment hero. Peter Shields, the cop who was injured, is never mentioned by our Tea Party. District Attorney Kamala Harris even wrote an editorial in the Bay Guardian supporting Josh Wolf that didn't mention Shields. The issue was supposedly only about Wolfe's imaginary right, as a member of the media, to withhold possible evidence of a crime from the Grand Jury.

And then there are the city's bike people, who are now the activist wing of our Tea Party movement. They are saving the planet! They are fighting big oil! They are trying to get cars---aka, "death monsters"---off our streets! Critical Mass is of course an important part---and monthly rallying point---of our Tea Party movement.

SF Streetsblog is the best source for monitoring the bike wing of our Tea Party, since this is where the bike people talk to each other, struggle against the dominance of wicked motor vehicles, and make a note of every cyclist injured in a collision with a motor vehicle, much like the Newshour on PBS notes every American casualty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peter Smith is my favorite bike nut. He used to do a bike blog, and I was sorry to see him stop, because he provided me with so much material. Smith is a ranter and a foamer-at-the-mouth, whose extremism goes unrebuked on Streetsblog. The city's recent approval of a shopping complex on the most derelict block on Market Street inspired Smith to rant about how evil it is to allow any more parking spaces in San Francisco:

adding any parking in the area is really an absurdity---it’s not even worth talking about. that we’re getting so much new parking added is really a crime against the City and its residents. it’s not yet actual assaults being carried out against residents right now/today, but as soon as the garage is operational we will be assaulted with/by cars/trucks/SUVs physically and psychologically.

Never mind that, as I say, the location of the project is on one of the worst blocks on Market Street, that the city is fortunate that anybody, in the deepest recession since the Great Depression, is willing to do something---anything---with that property. Allowing the developers a 188-space garage---accessible only from Stevenson Alley behind, not from Market Street---seemed like a small price to pay to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors, but not to Smith:

these are real assaults that will be carried out, probably with impunity, by real people driving real, big motorized vehicles. and these assaults have now been granted legal status/sanctioning. that, to me, has to be a crime against humanity, by definition. even if Cheney didn’t order the smashing of some kid’s testicles, he created the conditions that made it possible, and so he should be held responsible. our Supervisors just created the conditions that made it possible for us to be assaulted/humiliated/terrorized/killed/murdered. i’m fine if our Supervisors and The Developer get lawyers, but they should all be arrested and tried in a court of law. someone has to be held responsible.

Allowing this major development parking for its customers is like Vice President Cheney's creating conditions that allow the smashing of testicles! Iraq? Afghanistan? The Patriot Act? Doesn't matter, the folks on Streetsblog know exactly what he means, because the bike people are victims of an oppressive traffic system that assaults, humiliates, terrorizes, kills, and murders them every goddamn day! Our leftist supervisors---who, by the way, have given the bike people everything they've asked for---should be arrested and put on trial! But Smith, struggling to simulate evenhandedness, will let them have lawyers, the bastards.

Smith will continue the struggle for justice for cyclists on city streets:

and we shouldn’t give up the fight. we should block development/use of the garage just like protesters are blocking the entrance to the Fell Street Arco Gas Station. we have to resist as much as we can, however we can. it’d be best to file a lawsuit now, in the early stages, before the assaults can even begin. I’d be interested in hearing more about any potential lawsuit. I got $50 for that effort. At a minimum, we have to increase the cost of harming the city. The lesson will be learned by developers quickly — cross us, and we’re going to Lawsuit City, regardless of whether or not the entire political establishment signed on or not.

Peter Smith throws down! Woof, woof! Here's his $50, dammit! The rest of you wimps, pay up! Of course that kind of litigation would cost tens of thousands of dollars, and Smith's anti-car comrades are unlikely to litigate over CityPlace, which has already done an EIR, been approved by the Planning Commission, and the Board of Supervisors just rejected an appeal. Arthur Levy might do a quick, pro bono appearance for Tom Radulovich and the anti-car folks at a hearing, but even he, the savior of the Harding Theater, wouldn't take the case without a lot of money out front.

But Smith tells us where the city's progressive Tea Party movement is going---toward more anti-car activism, with the Arco station at Fell and Divisadero as the current focal point for the city's Tea Party movement.

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At 7:16 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

Excellent post. I have supported 100% the new mid-market retail complex from the very beginning, including installing the below grade parking for customers. Many people will depend on that parking to shop there, and thus, make the project viable for the owner. So, yes, it's a great thing than ANY developer is willing risk a lot of money and time to build in that location. It can only make Market St. and the City better.

As for the bikes only blog Streetsblog, they are very much into censoring ANYONE who dares question their loyal followers. The editor made it clear to me that he would be "watching" to make sure I didn't try to log on with another name, because, after all, he would be watching my IP address. How lame is that?

Scary, huh? or maybe he's just plain stupid.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"The editor made it clear to me that he would be "watching" to make sure I didn't try to log on with another name, because, after all, he would be watching my IP address."

Email thread or it didn't happen.

At 8:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I walked by Fell and Divis at 5:30 PM yesterday and there were no "protestors" being ignored. I guess Fell is officially fixed, or the bike nuts are on a more leisurely schedule.

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

Rocky's dad, if you contributed to the conversation I'm sure they'd keep you around. But you came in guns blazing against Murph with nothing more to say then slander. Oh wait, I think I've only read one comment by you that seemed to posses an ounce of thoughtfulness. I'm sure deep down you have decent ideas, but I've yet to see more than 1 sentence out of 100 that backs that up.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger rocky's dad said...

oh, dear. poor mikesonn, hope I didn't upset you or cause you to think a little outside your narrow box.

Fact is on streetsblog, you either completely agree with the groupthink of the chorus...or one is branded a badboy. Calling an idea lame or stupid is hardly slander. It's called expressing an OPINION. I suspect that poor little murph went crying to the editors.

The editors there are wimps and a bunch of kiss ass babies. Deal with it.

Here on D5 Diary, rob allows for a multitude of opinions and he even allows haters and opposite opinions. Much more than the Streetsblog has the balls to do.

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

rocky's dad, think what you want but you weren't saying anything of substance - regardless of what opinion you were advocating. In all actuality, your "opinion" comes off as anti-murph more than for or against any policy issue.

Thankfully, you hold little sway and your antiquated "opinions" are getting left on the side of the road as the rest of the world moves on.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Antiquated opinions"? In fact Rocky's Dad was right and Murph was wrong on the aborted plaza scheme. The anti-car movement lost on that one, but, yes, let's move on to the next fiasco.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous kwk said...

The classic study is McClosky and Chong (1985),"Similarities and Differences Between Left-Wing and Right-Wing Radicals" Br. J. Political Sci. which indicates that both Far Left and Far Right view "society as dominated by conspiratorial forces working to defeat their respective ideological aims," "see political life as a conflict between 'us' and 'them'," and "resemble each other in the way they pursue their political goals."

Daly/Ammiano and Bush/Cheney are in many ways mirror images of one another, one pair raises their right and the other pair raises their left.

At 7:05 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

Rob, how you can assign right and wrong to the Noe Valley Plaza debate is beyond me. Winner/Loser, Loudest/Loud - maybe, but right and wrong - not so much.

And as long as developers continue to push for obscene amounts of parking in new developments, then we'll continue to have "fiascos" to try to fight.

At 10:43 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"In fact Rocky's Dad was right and Murph was wrong on the aborted plaza scheme."

Judged by the fact the plaza got killed.

"In fact the SFBC was right and Rob Anderson was wrong on whether the bike plan is good"

Judged by the fact the paint is going on the pavement.

You can't cherry pick.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You mean it's all about winning and losing? This isn't a bike race, Murph. It's about good public policy and bad public policy. On the Bicycle Plan: it was simply bad public policy---and illegal---for the city to begin implementing that ambitious Plan without doing any environmental study. Now that the city finally got the injunction lifted and is beginning to implement the Plan, it's still bad public policy to deliberately make traffic in the city worse based on the fantasy assumption that people will abandon their cars and start riding bikes.

The Noe Valley plaza: this idea, too, is bad public policy, win or lose. The assumption of this aspect of anti-car movement is simply wrong---that somehow our streets are wasted on, well, traffic, that they would be put to better use if we instead blocked them off and/or removed street parking so that people can lounge around drinking lattes in lawn chairs.

Just trendy, PC nonsense like the Bicycle Plan.

Other issues I write about that you bike people take no interest in: city progs---led by Supervisor Mirkarimi---allowed UC to hijack and raze the extension property on lower Haight Street for a massive housing development. UC won on that one, but the city lost property that had been zoned for "public use" for 150 years previously.

The Market/Octavia Plan: I "lost" on this one, too. The city is changing zoning regs in a large chunk of the middle of the city to encourage population density, including 40-story highrises at Market and Van Ness. This Plan will bring another 10,000 people into an area that is already trying to digest the new and awful Octavia Blvd, which is bringing 45,000 cars a day through the heart of the Hayes Valley neighborhood, another "victory" for city progressives and another loss for good public policy.

And the two-mile subway to Chinatown from the train depot, another victory for boondogleism in Progressive Land.

And the city's determination to screw up traffic on Masonic Ave.---32,000 vehicles a day and 12,000 passengers on the #43 line---so that you bike people will feel comfortable riding on it. Chalk up another loss for me on the scoreboard.

City progressives are scoring a lot of points against people like me, but they are doing more damage to San Francisco than the 1906 earthquake.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

"they are doing more damage to San Francisco than the 1906 earthquake"

This made my week and it is only Monday!!

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Samson said...

If only we were more like LA with massive freeway infrastructure going through neighborhoods. We all know how much of a car utopia it is there and how quickly and efficiently everyone gets around.

Your earthquake comment is just as ridiculous as people who claim bikes are going to save the world. You're just a different flavor of nut.

But hey, you keep my attention and I read your blog because of it, so all is good.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

What's the point of making a comment if you have nothing specific to say about the issues I raise? No one is talking about building more roads in SF. The issue is how to handle existing and future traffic on the streets that we have. The UC development, the M/O Plan, and the Bicycle Plan will all make traffic worse in SF. Both the M/O Project and the UC project restrict the amount of parking developers are allowed to provide with the new housing units. Think the traffic is bad in that part of town now? Wait until these two projects are completed. The Central Subway will just be a massive waste of taxpayers' money.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Bauer said...

The UC development, the M/O Plan, and the Bicycle Plan will all make traffic worse in SF, but this will be more than offset by the number of new restaurants that come into the neighborhood due to the new residents.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, good point. And imagine how many more bikes there will be. And maybe some more pilates studios and shoe boutiques. And more "community" gardens can be created on those empty freeway lots. Here's a suggestion for an entrepeneur: how about using one of the empty storefronts to sell Hayes Valley residents oxygen tanks and masks to deal with the diesel fumes and carbon monoxide emitted by the traffic in that "vibrant" neighborhood?

At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe we can get Darryl Cherney to blow up all the cars so we don't have to deal with their exhaust. He certainly has the expertise and experience blowing up cars.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

Yes, Rob. Why can't the city just be for cranky old guys?? Damn the world!

I can't comment on Octavia Blvd though because I don't use it. People bitch about it, but wouldn't a freeway still be backed up because the cars are getting dumped onto the same streets these cars are getting dumped onto.

And as for the M/O plan, where else would you suggest we put density? The city is going to experience infill regardless of your stick-in-the-mud mentality, so where would Rob have it go?

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Even the morons in Boonville don't think Cherney had anything to do with that bomb. Maybe you could provide us with some evidence that Cherney ever had any experience with bombs.

At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you Rob - I doubt the M/O plan will bring in the much needed Pilates studios because the City has not had the foresight to place this development in an area more accessible to cars. Women wear spandex outfits to Pilates and cannot be expected to take public transit in spandex.

Instead all we will get are the community gardens you speak of, because the "prog" type that takes transit thinks nothing of trying to grow vegetables in sooty diesel exhaust.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"I can't comment on Octavia Blvd though because I don't use it. People bitch about it, but wouldn't a freeway still be backed up because the cars are getting dumped onto the same streets these cars are getting dumped onto."

The Central Freeway used to carry all that traffic over the neighborhood. Now, according to the city, 45,000 cars a day were coming through the heart of Hayes Valley on Octavia Blvd. a few months after it opened. Is that better? What's galling about Octavia Blvd. is the denial that it now presents a problem for the neighborhood. John Kind insists on thinking that it's a "triumph," though that's surely a minority opinion.

"And as for the M/O plan, where else would you suggest we put density? The city is going to experience infill regardless of your stick-in-the-mud mentality, so where would Rob have it go?"

The M/O Plan involves a lot more than allowing for population "density." According to the Plan's DEIR, without the Plan that area's population will grow by 2,225 by the year 2025. With the Plan, the area will grow by a minimum of 7,620 residents. Why isn't 2,225 more people enough for that area? And then there's UC's massive housing development on the old extension property, which means another 1,000 people in the area. Neither the M/O Plan nor UC's development makes any provision for transportation for all these new residents. I guess they're all going to ride bikes.

At 5:20 PM, Anonymous mikesonn said...

Geary BRT, Van Ness BRT and no vehicle traffic on Market (in effect created a BRT). But if I were a pessimistic old man like yourself, then yeah I'd be scared shitless too.

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I'm not scared, shitless or othersie, Mike. This is about public policy, which is not a life-and-death issue for me. I just hate to see my city degraded by crackpot policies, however well-intentioned.

Actually, I don't oppose the Geary BRT, because we don't really even have a specific proposal yet. We're waiting for the EIR that will sort out the alternatives in how we go about it. It may turn out to be a completely reasonable idea.

The Van Ness BRT may be a good idea, too, but we haven't seen any specifics yet.

I like BART, though I don't have occasion to ride it much.

And I like Muni, which I rely on to get around the city, since I haven't owned a car in more than 20years.


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