Monday, October 08, 2012

Former girlfriend defends Mirkarimi

Nieves and Mirkarimi in 2004

Mirkarimi's former partner, Evelyn Nieves, defends him:

For months I’ve watched as Ross Mirkarimi has been slandered as a “wife beater”—by the Mayor of San Francisco, no less—and vilified in the press based on lies, half-truths and innuendo. It has been heart-breaking, nauseating, to witness. I know for a fact that Ross is no abuser. He and I were a couple for eight years. For most of that time, we lived together. Not once did Ross even come close to making me feel unsafe in his presence. He never threatened me. He would walk away or cry “uncle” rather than argue. He simply had no stomach for it. When the news broke last January that Ross, newly elected as San Francisco’s Sheriff but not yet sworn in, might be arrested on domestic violence charges, I was sure the accusation wouldn’t stick. Not once people knew the facts. I was naïve...

Read the rest at Larry Bush's CitiReport and on Debra Saunders' blog.

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Questioning the Panhandle bike lanes

A local resident writes:

Hi Rob,

I read the recent post on your blog regarding the Oak and Fell Street bike lanes and wanted to send you a quick note. I live in multi-unit building on Oak Street between Baker and Broderick Streets, which is one of the blocks that would be impacted by the proposed bike lanes.

While I'm not happy about the neighborhood losing a lot of parking spaces, I've come to accept that fate. I'm both a biker and a car owner and while I appreciate additional bike lanes, I think there are alternatives other than installing separated bike lanes on Oak and Fell Streets that could accommodate bikers.

However, I do have another concern regarding the impact the bike lanes will have on residents living on Oak Street, especially those that do not have garages. If the separated bike lanes go in, we will have no way to access our homes for loading/unloading groceries, etc and for dropping off/picking people up (especially a concern for elderly or disabled people).

I have asked Luis Montoya about this a few times and the only response I got was that a few months ago he said we may be able to get temporary permits in advance to park for a few minutes. I followed up again saying this was impractical and did not receive a response from him. If the bike lanes go in, we would have to either 1) park 1/2 block away in front of a fire hydrant for a couple minutes or 2) search for a parking space which could be several blocks away. As I mentioned to Luis, double parking on Oak Street for a couple minutes, which happens on many streets throughout the city, is not an option. I can also foresee clashes between bikers and car drivers if cars are legitimately parked in the bike lane for even a couple minutes.

I saw on your blog that Mary Miles, an attorney, has been working on the Oak and Fell Street bike lane issue. I'm wondering if removing access to our homes is in violation of any city or state codes?

I know bike lanes that are going in on Masonic Avenue that remove a significant amount of parking. However, it appears that all the residential properties on Masonic Avenue have garages so access to peoples' homes is not taken away.

Finally, we have not received any notice that the SFMTA vote is going to be held on October 16th and there are no notices on telephone poles in the neighborhood. We received both of these forms of notice prior to the public hearing regarding this issue that happened in May. Wondering if they are required to give notice to people in the neighborhood letting them know the final vote on the project is happening in a couple weeks?
Rob's comment:
Whether this project is practical and/or legal---or even if local residents oppose it---is not relevant to Montoya and the bike zealots in MTA. They're going to do it anyhow.

And I don't know where you got the idea that drivers who live on or near Masonic have garages. There's a ruthless class system for drivers in San Francisco between those who have a garage and/or a parking place for their cars---including mostly those who can afford that---and those who have to park on the street. While City Hall sees all motorists in San Francisco as primarily a source of revenue to support its bloated bureaucracy, those who have to park on the streets are treated with special contempt and disregard.

In short the bike lobby and its enablers in City Hall are going to do these projects just because they can on behalf of this small, obnoxious minority.

What the city should do is allow residents of the neighborhood to vote on the bike lanes, like the vote on the Page Street traffic circles back in 2004. City Hall won't make that mistake on the Panhandle bike lanes, since Page Street residents rejected the traffic circles: "It wasn't close," said [a]department spokeswoman...

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