Tuesday, July 30, 2013

C.W. Nevius's quest for the non-existent "middleground"

Photo by Luke Thomas for Fog City Journal

C.W. Nevius concludes in today's column (below in italics) that the latest MTA/Bicycle Coalition proposal for Polk Street is "a compromise," even though the Bicycle Coalition asked for everything and, and, with this version of the project, will get half of what they asked for. The small businesses and residents of Polk Gulch lose half their street parking on Polk Street, and in return they get bike lanes, some suburban landscaping, and other pseudo-"improvements" to the street.

Shilling for City Hall projects is not a new role for Nevius. He didn't like the litigation on the Bicycle Plan, which he knew nothing about, except what he learned talking to the Bicycle Coalition's Andy Thornley

Nevius sees himself as representing a middle path between extremes, but in practice he ends up supporting whatever City Hall wants. 

But on Polk Street it's City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition that are the extremists, as they relentlessly remodel neighborhood streets on behalf of a small, obnoxious minority against the interests of the overwhelming majority that uses city streets.

Nevius has a poor record in the last few years: wrong on Mirkarimi, wrong on Olague, wrong on the Americas Cup, wrong on Parkmerced, and wrong on the anti-Jihad ads on muni buses. He's hitting worse than the Giants.

The ongoing controversy over bike traffic along Polk Street will probably never be solved to the satisfaction of everyone. But there are signs of progress.

Polk is a primary north-south route to and from the Marina for cyclists, has a relatively gentle slope and isn't as clogged with high-speed traffic as nearby Van Ness. Bicyclists wanted two separated lanes on both sides of the street, but merchants complained that the plan would wipe out too much parking and kill business.

At present the plan---which is expected to be presented to the Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors in the fall---has a little bit for everyone. There is a separate bike lane on one side of a steep stretch between California and McAllister, with a raised "cycle track" on the other side of the street. That would mean removing almost all parking spots on one side of the street.

However, farther up, between California and Union, there would only be a painted bike lane on one side and shared lanes of bikes and cars on the other. That would retain most of the parking, although there would be a tow-away zone for a short time early in the morning. Cyclists don't think that plan goes far enough.

In other words, as an insider said, "Everybody's unhappy."

Perfect. Both sides get some of what they want and think the other camp is getting too much. It's called a compromise.

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At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Chronicle Media said...

Dear Mr. Anderson -

The article you have reprinted, verbatim, in your blog, is subject matter which lies behind a for pay firewall on our website, and reprinting it here does not lie under fair use.

Please remove the copy or we will follow up with DMCA.

Thank You

Jenny Ho
Chronicle Media

At 7:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Actually, it was only part of the Nevius column, if you want to get technical. You want to litigate "fair use"? And who is "DMCA"? If you're going to threaten me, you have to be more specific.

Seems to me that allowing my readers to visit your website with a link would be good for your business, more clicks for your advertisers, etc.

Why don't you have your lawyer write me a threatening letter so that I can post it here. This will be a learning experience for everyone.

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think you have rights, putz?

All the chron has to do is email google and google removes the content.

YOU have to prove fair use to get it back up.

Fucking dinosaur.


At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice response to Chron. Stand your ground! I really enjoy reading your blog, at least there is still some sanity in the world!

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Another reader comments:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), description at Wikipedia, is a US copyright law that was implemented with the digital age. It prohibits people from creating ways to circumvent protection of copyrighted material.

The Chronicle staff is using this trump card (DMCA) to say somehow you were able to read the Chronicle that requires paid subscription.

You could have bought the Chronicle at the newsstand, found it at the library, Starbucks and retyped the section by CW Nevius on your blog.

I'm not a lawyer. I believe you can add Fair Use to postings when you copy portions of articles. Or in the future describe an article and tell people were to go for the original article.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I'm an old-fashioned guy who gets home delivery of the Chronicle, which also allows me access to the paywalled online content.

Since I linked their paywalled site, it seems odd that the Chron got their knickers in a twist. After all, how can they get new customers for that service if potential subscribers are never offered that choice? Click on the link I provided for the Nevius column and readers arrive at that site, at which time they can then decide whether to become subscribers.

When you click on the links to my old posts hammering Nevius, readers are provided still more links to previous Nevius columns, thus providing still more traffic for SF Gate.

Seems that the threat reveals some insecurity at the Chronicle. Are they really so desperate to make their paywall system pay off that they think they have to go after bloggers? Or is it my systematic hammering of their columnists and editorialists that rankles?

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One does not need a Chron subscription to access that "article" (actually one does not need a Chron subscription for any reason); it's linked here for anyone with web access:

Nevius on Polk St

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you could legally post up to four paragraphs of an article if it is being discussed in a forum such as here? The same threats were made against the political forum "Democratic Underground" by one newspaper group in particular because a PORTION of their articles were sometimes posted. Democratic Underground was able to win in Federal Court and numerous articles are again linked, partially quoted and discussed on that site. I believe the newspaper group was forced by the judge to pay all of Democratic Underground's legal expenses.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Late Friday, the federal district court in Nevada issued a declaratory judgment that makes it harder for copyright holders to file lawsuits over excerpts of material and burden online forums and their users with nuisance lawsuits.

The judgment – part of the nuisance lawsuit avalanche started by copyright troll Righthaven – found that Democratic Underground did not infringe the copyright in a Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper article when a user of the online political forum posted a five-sentence excerpt, with a link back to the newspaper's website."

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For crying out loud people - there is nobody employed by the Chronicle by the name of Jenny Ho.

At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, I pose the question to you about Polk St.: How many on-street spaces are routinely used by owners/employees of the small businesses who feed the meters all day?
I say it's worth looking into, because I think their opposition to the elimination of spaces is because they want spots for themselves and their (especially family member) employees. There are several garages n the area--including multistory, in the Bush/Pine and Washington Street areas (Next to Lombardis)If you don't know what I am talking about, then you should not be commenting about Polk St. plans. Answer the question--don't go off on tangents--answer the question!

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No "tangents" allowed? Dang! Parking for business owners and their employees seems like a legitimate use to me, though there's no way of calculating how many spaces are used that way. As someone who once owned a storefront business---though not in SF---I assume that's what business owners on Polk Street are worried about, since anything that can possibly discourage potential customers is what they worry about.


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