Tuesday, January 03, 2012

District 5 Diary's Year End Awards for 2011

Ed Lee: Liar of the Year

Most Implausible Cover Story of the Year: The District Attorney on why no charges were filed before the election against the cyclist who killed a pedestrian:
"According to[spokesman] Talai, the coroner's office didn't finish Cherney's autopsy report until Oct. 31st, which delayed the police department's investigation. Talai said that police gave the D.A.’s office a complete report on the incident on Nov. 9, the day after Gascon was elected to his first full term. Gascon's office made the decision to charge Ang the next day..."

Good News Story Ignored: The increasing safety of city streets
Instead of celebrating this progress---and giving the MTA credit for a job well-done---the SF Chronicle publishes scare stories based on misinformation from the Bicycle Coalition and WalkSF. The latest SF Collisions Report with the numbers on accidents on city streets shows that our streets have been getting steadily safer for years.

Honorary Person of Color: Randy Shaw
White guy Randy Shaw apparently thinks people of color---especially people of Asian descent---make better political representatives than white people. Based on her performance so far, Supervisor Kim, one of Shaw's successful candidates, demonstrates that people of Asian descent aren't necessarily any smarter than, say, Randy Shaw.

The Most Bogus "Preservation" Fight: Prog Opposition to Richard Johns
According to city progs, being president of the Historical Society for years didn't qualify Johns for the Historical Preservation Commission. Progressives would have more credibility on preservation if for years they hadn't been supporting destructive development policies---"smart growth," highrise development, transit corridors, etc., including the Market/Octavia Plan, which failed to do a legally-required historical resources study of the project area until after the Board of Supervisors okayed the project's EIR.

The Vancouverization of SF: A Warning from Vancouver
John King and the Planning Department may be surprised to learn that highrise-dominated downtown Vancouver isn't universally admired in Vancouver itself.

Bogus Multiculturalism: Mirkarimi, Mayor Lee, and Japantown
Supervisor Mirkarimi and Mayor Lee tour Japantown with journalists to affirm that Japantown will be "preserved." According to the Japantown Task Force, only 10% of the residents of that neighborhood are of Japanese ancestry. But why should we preserve ethnic enclaves? Isn't assimilation what the United States is about? During that tour---really just a photo-op---Mirkarimi mentioned again the idea of eliminating the underpass at Geary and Fillmore, which in 2008 the Examiner accurately called "the worst idea of the year."

Democratic Party's Shame of the Year: Support for high-speed rail
Like William Grindley, as a Democrat I'm ashamed of my party for continuing to push a project that would be ruinous for California. Of course the unions are for it because even bad/dumb projects create jobs. Bay Area politicians---all Democrats---continue to support high-speed rail. California's high-speed rail project: Debra Saunders aptly called it the Democratic Party's Bridge to Nowhere.

Anti-CEQA alliance: Republicans, Developers, and Bicycle Coalition
The inevitable alliance of developers, Republicans, and bike fanatics to undermine environmental rules. These folks all have their own reasons for joining this alliance. The Bicycle Coalition finds itself in this dubious company because it's always been narrowly focused on pushing its agenda regardless of the consequences. 

Dumbest Development Project of the Year: Parkmerced
The Parkmerced project will add more than 15,000 new housing units[Later: Wrong! That project will only add 5,679 new units to Parkmerced, which could mean as many as 15,000 new residents there, which is apparently what I meant to say.] to an already dense housing development near an already-congested traffic corridor. The supervisors who voted for the project will be retired before that part of the city is gridlocked with traffic generated by this long-term project.

Dumbest Project, Runner-up: Treasure Island
Treasure Island now has 2,300 residents. Think traffic on the Bay Bridge and in downtown San Francisco is bad now? Wait until this project adds 16,000 more residents to the island.

Elitists of the Year: LA's MOCA for its graffiti/tagging exhibition
What's a little surprising about LA's exhibit is that they beat SF MOMA to the punch, since this form of vandalism gets widespread approval among SF's political elite.

History Rewrite, Foreign Affairs: the SF Bay Guardian
We learn from the Guardian that War is Bad, especially wars involving the United States. Turns out that Osama Bin Laden wasn't in Afghanistan after all, and maybe the 9/11 fanatics weren't trained there, either, since the Guardian doesn't mention it. And the Guardian knew that Iraq didn't have any WMD, but for some reason the president didn't consult Brugmann, Redmond, and Jones before invading Iraq.

Best Execution of the Year: Osama Bin Laden
We finally got the bastard.

Worst City Legislator of the Year: Supervisor Scott Wiener
First Wiener proposes legislation allowing City Hall to tamper with initiatives passed by city voters, even though he couldn't provide a single example showing why that legislation was needed. Then, instead of an ordinance to ban public nudity, he proposed legislation to require the Castro's nudists to put napkins on public seating before they sit down.

Grand Jury Award to C.W. Nevius
For failing to criticize a single important city policy or project in 2011.

C.W. Nevius Award to the Grand Jury
For its report on the Parkmerced project that fails to challenge this dumb project for its inevitable impact on city traffic. The Grand Jury is probably reluctant to challenge City Hall's traffic policies because it would then have to criticize other important city projects, not only Parkmerced but Treasure Island, the Market/Octavia Plan, and UC's massive housing project on lower Haight Street. The Grand Jury couldn't bring itself to criticize how the city handled the Bicycle Plan, but it did do a good job on the shortcomings of the Central Subway project, though it provided a pathetic pre-emptive roll-over on the first page: "The project will proceed." If the project is so poorly designed and such a drain on the city's transportation revenue---which it clearly is---why not call for it to be stopped? Because that might have made some members of the City Family cross.  

Best Exposure of a Lie by a City Department:
MTA's collisions report showing that the Masonic/Fell Intersection is not particularly unsafe. On page 16 we learn that the number of accidents at that intersection have been remarkably consistent over the last ten years. Too bad Judge Busch didn't see those numbers before he lifted the injunction to allow the city to redesign that intersection. Turns out that the City---led by City Attorney Dennis Herrera---lied to Busch to pander to the Bicycle Coalition, since Herrera didn't want to antagonize the city's bike people before he ran for mayor.

MTA's Lie of the Year: Covering windows with ads doesn't obstruct views of the city
That this is a lie is obvious to anyone who rides Muni. The question is, Why does MTA have such contempt for its passengers in our supposedly transit-first city?

Suspicions Confirmed: the Demographics of Cycling in SF
Most cyclists in SF are young, white, transient, and 72% are guys.

Suspicions Confirmed, Runner-up:
People drive to work because it's a lot faster than public transportation, which isn't available for most commuters anyhow: the Brookings Institution and the Census Bureau.

A Trifecta for City Firefighters: Bullies, Crybabies, and Scammers
The union leaders bullied Jeff Adachi when he attended a funeral for firemen killed on duty and whined about pension reform, even though in 2010 the Grand Jury revealed that firemen are the worst gamers of the city's retirement system.

The Unlikeliest Claim of the Year: SPUR's Metcalf is a dissident!
Still waiting to learn about a single important city issue that Gabriel Metcalf has dissented on.

Worst Appointment of the Year: Bike Guy in Charge of screwing up Masonic
Screwing up traffic on Masonic Avenue on behalf of the city's bike people is a terrible idea, but I suppose it's appropriate that a bike guy be put in charge of the project, since he and his comrades will be its primary beneficiaries.

Liar of the Year: Ed Lee

Congratulations to the folks at Save Muni for their consistent, principled, and well-informed opposition to the Central Subway.

Worst Promotion of the Year: Ed Reiskin
The City That Knows How puts someone who wants to slow down city traffic in charge of our transportation system.

Lemmings of the Year: The candidates for mayor
They all pandered shamelessly to the Bicycle Coalition.

Better Late Than Never Award:
Dennis Herrera, Jake McGoldrick, Tom Radulovich, Jeff Adachi, and Aaron Peskin for their belated opposition to the Cenral Subway project.

Not Better Late Than Never Award: Michelle Alioto-Pier
Asked about the impact of the Market/Octavia Plan on transit---which, as a supervisor, she voted for---Alioto-Pier's answer: “I would certainly like to know before we start some of these larger projects that we have an idea of how we’re going to get people to and from them...We didn’t pay as much attention to the types of impacts on our neighborhoods and our communities as perhaps was needed.”

Identity Politics Award: City Hall for UC's massive housing development 
For allowing identity politics to trump the interests of the people of SF. UC played the gay card by including housing for gay seniors in the UC Extension project, even though UC had the property tax-free from the city for more than 50 years only because of its education "mission." City Hall---with Supervisor Mirkarimi leading the way---has now allowed UC to privatize that property to fatten its bottom line with the gay housing as a PC figleaf for betraying the interests of the people of San Francisco. An individual award to Ross Mirkarimi, who talked tough when UC first proposed this bad project, but of course he eventually rolled over.

Admission of the Year: Dennis Herrera
After years of misguided, expensive litigation on the city's Bicycle Plan, City Attorney Herrera told bike guy John Murphy that in the beginning he advised the city to do an EIR on the Plan: "He said that he had told the City to do an EIR, but they were so anxious to get the thing started that they took the shortcut."

Child Endangerment Award: Bicycle Coalition and City Hall
Even though experts agree that riding bikes is dangerous for children, especially the risk of head injury, City Hall joins the Bicycle Coalition in trying to get more children riding bikes in San Francisco. (How will the new state car seat regulations for children impact the parents who put their children in those canvas trailers and haul them around in traffic with their bikes? Not at all, I bet, since for bike zealots everything---even their children---is an accessory to their risky hobby.)

Most Deceptive Ballot Statement: City Auditor on the Street Bond
Compare the forthright statement by the Legislative Analyst in the 2008 voter's guide on the cost to taxpayers of high-speed rail bonds ("State costs of about $19.4 billion, assuming 30 years to pay off both principal ($9.95 billion) and interest ($9.5 billion) costs of the bonds. Payments of about $647 million per year," page 4) to the SF Auditor's murky, unhelpful statement (page 41) on the street bond in last November's voter's guide.

Worst Deal of the Year for City Taxpayers: the Street Bond
The $248 million street bond passed by city voters last November will end up costing city taxpayers $437,249,617 after the interest is included.

Ranked Choice Voting: Another Progressive Fiasco
Ranked-Choice Voting is another "good government" progressive idea that only confuses voters and needlessly complicates election results.

Masochistic Political Party of the Year: SF Green Party
The Green Party endorsed Supervisor Mirkarimi for sheriff even though he dumped them when being a Democrat became fashionable again in San Francisco. The Murk finally understood that being a left-wing Green wouldn't help him get elected to citywide office.

Dead Man Walking Award: California's High-Speed Rail project

Drop in the Bucket Award: Bicycle Coalition's Leah Shahum
Shahum thought that $225 million to put a bike/pedestrian path on the west span of the Bay Bridge was "a drop in the bucket," and she's unfazed by the latest $550 million estimate for that project.

Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry: Ross Mirkarimi
Since 2004 Mirkarimi has represented District 5 on the Board of Supervisors, where he's also represented the worst in San Francisco progressivism, consistently voting for projects that will damage the city for years to come.

Playing the Race Card Award: Rose Pak
Pak played the race card against Aaron Peskin and Dennis Herrera after they came out against the Central Subway, the political deal disguised as a transportation project. Why else would they not support such a great project?

Bike Demagogue of the Year: blogger Michael Helquist
Helquist provided his readers with a steady stream of misinformation on Masonic Avenue and, as a bonus, threw in some bullshit on the makeover of Divisadero.

2005 Awards

2006 Awards

2007 Awards

2008 Awards

2009 Awards

2010 Awards