Monday, January 04, 2016

District 5 Diary's Year End Awards for 2015

Jihad Enabler of the Year: Ralph Stone
Stone wins this award for the PC flab-gab after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in his letter to the editor in the Chronicle:

I am not Charlie
Regarding “Massacre at French paper stuns world” (Jan. 8), the killing of 12 people at the French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, is appalling. Hopefully, the perpetrators will soon be caught and prosecuted. The fact that 12 people are dead over cartoons by white, male cartoonists is horrible.
Free speech is an important part of our society and criticism of Charlie Hebdo cartoons is also speech. But no one should be killed over cartoons. However, the statement “Je Suis Charlie” (I Am Charlie) ignores the magazine’s history of xenophobia, racism, sexism and homophobia. I sympathize with the victims’ families, but I will not be Charlie.

Most Fanciful Political Analysis of the Year By a Local Journalist: Joe Eskenazi, SF Weekly:

"City progressives are further hamstrung by the ongoing deployment of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi as a political cluster bomb. Mayor Ed Lee's cruel but ingenious political masterstroke continues to pay dividends. By forcing progressive politicians to vote on whether to boot Mirkarimi from office after the progressive stalwart grabbed his wife by the arm, Lee boxed them into an unwinnable situation: Either capitulate to contrived political pressure and alienate the people who voted them into office, or open themselves up to lavishly funded independent expenditure campaigns accusing them of coddling and enabling a wife-beater. Some $750,000 was poured into such an effort that sank progressive Supervisor David Campos in his Assembly bid versus the more pragmatic Supervisor David Chiu."

There's no evidence that Mayor Lee had that in mind when he tried to force Mirkarimi to resign. Nor is there any evidence that the Mirkarimi issue had a noticeable impact on the Campos/Chiu race.

Least Reassuring Statement of the Year: Governor Brown
When asked where the state was going to get the money to build high-speed rail, Governor Brown answered: "Don't worry about it, we're going to get it."

Profile in Lameness: The Chronicle
The Chronicle published the cropped photo above in solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo victims! Mustn't offend any Muslim terrorists!

Shafer/Breed interview: 1:19 to 9:02

Worst Interview of the Year: Scott Shafer with Supervisor London Breed
Shafer didn't know enough about city issues, let alone District 5 issues, to do a good interview. As usual Breed was in blather mode. See also Shafer's softball interview with Leah Shahum in 2013.

No such thing as an accident

Worst Interview Runner-up: KCBS radio, Jane McMillan and Ed Cavagnaro with the Bicycle Coalition's Noah Budnick
McMillan and Cavagnaro didn't know enough about the Bicycle Coalition, the Bicycle Plan, the MTA, Polk Street or what's happening on city streets in general to do a good interview. In the spirit of equal time, I offered to be interviewed by the clueless duo but my offer got no response.
Gravy Train Award: Kristin Smith, Aaron Bialick
Both Smith and Bialick climbed aboard the MTA's gravy train.

Polk Street Lie Explained

The Lie About the Safety of Polk Street Goes National on Planetizen:
See also Juking the stats on Polk Street.

Anti-Free Speech Award: The SF Weekly
The Weekly praised vandalizing the ads on Muni buses that opposed violent jihad against Jews, which is supposedly a hate crime.

No punishment for this jerk

Risk Free Rebellion Award: BART Protesters
After screwing up the commute for thousands of BART passengers, the demonstrators insisted successfully that they shouldn't be punished.

Truth to Power Award: Debra Saunders
Over the years Saunders is the only journalist on either of the dailies---or weeklies and monthlies, for that matter---who has routinely gone against the grain on important city issues. In part that's because she's a conservative, but I'm a liberal and I often agree with her dissents.

Anti-Climax of the Year: The MTA Finally Released the Bicycle Count Report
Why the delay? Because the annual count of cyclists in Progressive Land was very disappointing to the MTA that sees running the city's transportation system as secondary to promoting cycling.

Worst New Slogan Disguised as a Safety Program: The MTA for Embracing  Vision Zero
Randal O'Toole on the PR/slogan scam:
"The Vision Zero Initiative seeks to reduce traffic deaths to zero–--certainly a worthy goal. However, I looked throughout its web site and couldn’t find anything about how they propose to achieve that goal. Instead, there is a lot of mumbo jumbo along with a few poorly chosen statistics about how safe roads are in Sweden. The lack of specific recommendations combined with the misuse of data leads me to believe that this initiative is no better than a cult trying to get money out of gullible government officials with the promise that, if they pay enough, they’ll get a magic formula to safer streets..."

Best City Cop of the Year: Commander Ali
Ali did what the MTA should be doing: a thorough analysis of every city traffic fatality in 2014. With its massive manpower, the MTA should be analyzing every injury accident on city streets to figure out what, if anything, can be done to prevent them.

Worst City Cop of the Year: Raymond Chu
In the video above, watch Chu pepper-spray and beat a homeless guy.

Worst Police Chief of the Year: SFPD's Greg Suhr
A lot of competition in the US for this award, but Suhr gets it. See the chronology of Suhr's achievements in the SF Weekly.

Worst Bike Editorial of the Year: The SF Chronicle on Bike Helmets

Worst Bike Editorial, Runner-up: The LA Times on Bike Helmets
Photo of the Year: Rip Van Walmart

Demo of the Year by the Cute Movement: Valentines Day Pillow Fight
Those adorable narcissists turn out every year to vandalize Justin Herman Plaza which costs the city thousands of dollars to clean.

Still the Most Unpopular Anti-Car Idea in the City: Congestion Pricing

Most Dangerous American Sport of This and Every Year: Football

Most Unsurprising Answer to This Question: Who Rides Bikes the Most?

Best New Lyrics to an Old Song: "Love me I'm a liberal"

Well, I wept when they jailed Chelsea Manning,
A hero for our time.
And I cheered when Snowden ran to Russia,
Stealing government secrets is fine.
But Charlie Hebdo were bigots and racists,
They should have known that punching down is a crime.
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

Best Cartoon Parody of the Year: The Death of Doonesbury
Intellectually Disabling Malady: The Bicycle Derangement Syndrome
Unfortunately for San Francisco, Ed Reiskin, the city's Director of Transportation, suffers from an advanced case of the ailment.

Lamest City Political Tendency of the Year: SF Moderates

Wishful Thinking of the Year by the Anti-Car Movement: Peak Car
Turns out that people in the US are driving more than ever.

Worst Ending to a Good TV Series: Mad Men

When Smart People Are Dumb Award: The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik

Dumbest Anti-Car Idea: Jason Henderson's Zero Parking Proposal
To deal with traffic congestion in San Francisco, Henderson proposes building more residential highrises in the city that provide no parking for new residents.

Worst Delegated Decision of the Year: Governor Brown to His Wife on High-Speed Rail
"After Brown became governor, he deputized his wife to research the high-speed-rail project and help him decide whether to support it. One of the people whose expertise she sought was Dan Richard, a former Brown aide who had also served on the board of the Bay Area’s bart[sic] transportation system. He was living in Washington, D.C., and recalls several phone calls with Gust Brown over many months — about the High Speed Rail Authority’s much-criticized plan to start construction in the sparsely populated Central Valley rather than in a big northern or southern city, and the projected cost and ridership of the trains. “It was very clear that she was the one getting into the policy issues,” Richard says...

Smartest on the Proposed Warriors Arena: Bruce Jenkins in the SF Chronicle
"In the process of addressing the media before Game 1, Commissioner Adam Silver proclaimed the Warriors “need a new arena. There is no doubt about that.” You figure he can’t say much else, hanging out with co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber as they chart the path to San Francisco, but the Warriors’ East Bay fan base begs to differ. Fenway Park is a structure from some other time, but its treasures are preserved. Wrigley Field didn’t get torn down, just renovated. Oracle doesn’t have that brand of charm or tradition, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, especially now as it thrives in the Finals spotlight..."

The Conspirators

Bogus National/International Scoop of the Year: Seymour Hersh on killing Osama Bin Laden

Best Vandalism Bust of the Year: Pseudo-Artist Shepard Fairey

Best Political Leadership of the Year by a California Democrat: Gavin Newsom
Best Memorial to Progressive Political Failure: The Silly Bunny Statue
The cutesy statue will apparently be installed this year on the old UC Extension property on lower Haight Street. That's a suitable location, since city progressives helped UC hijack that propertyzoned for "public use" for 150 years, for a housing development to fatten that predatory institutions bottom line. UC had title to the property for more than 50 years due to its "education mission." Turns out that expanding its real estate portfolio is more important to UC than education, since that huge housing complex is a lot more profitable than providing university courses for working people.

Prog Nostalgia Story of the Year: On Matt Gonzalez
On the front page of the SF Chronicle! No real reason for the story except to revisit those heroic days of yore when city progressives almost won the mayor's office.

The Attempt to Rewrite City History on the Bicycle Plan Continued
On Planetizen, a so-called smart growth website. See also this.

City Hall and the Wiggle: Having it Both Ways
City Hall panders to cyclists by promoting The Wiggle and then gets the SFPD to sometimes hand out tickets to cyclists to pretend that it cares about pedestrian safety in the neighborhood.

City That Doesn't Know How: San Francisco Can't Maintain its Streets

Best Mass Shooting Cartoon: One of Ours or One of Theirs?

Worst New Look for a National News Program: The PBS Newshour
Anti-car MTA gets the most city cars

Hypocrites of the Year: City Cars Provided for City Employees
See also this.

Worst Two Stories of the Year on Masonic Avenue: Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez in the SF Examiner
Fitzgerald's stories read like joint press releases by the MTA and the Bicycle Coalition, the only sources cited in the stories: see this and this.

Worst Stories on Masonic Avenue, Runners-Up: Jim Herd at San Francisco Citizen and Tim Hickey

Playing the Race Card Award: Randy Shaw in Beyond Chron
Shaw---very white himself---gets this award in perpetuity, since he presumes that he can speak for people of color in San Francisco.

Bike Punk of the Year: Ian Hespelt
Hespelt attacked a car on the Marina with a bike lock during a Critical Mass demo. See also Critical Mass: Bullying SF for more than 20 years.

Least Used Seating in the City: The Octavia Blvd. Benches Where No One Sits

The Phoniest Scandal Expose of the Year: The SF Examiner
Reporters for the Examiner assumed that what Raymond Chow's defense lawyers said in court had any basis in fact. It didn't. Chow's lawyers were just deploying bullshit that might help them later when the case went to trial.

This Year's Nikita Award Winner: Donald Trump
The Nikita was invented by Herb Caen to acknowledge ostensibly English language that reads like it was translated from the Ukrainian. Trump wins it this year for this word salad. Previous winners: Ross Mirkarimi and Sarah Palin

Trying to Be With-it and Failing/Falling: Old Farts on Bikes
See also this.

Housing Deal of the Year in SF

Best Veto Threat of the Year: Mayor Lee on the Idaho Stop Proposal

Best CEQA Study of the Year: Sean Hecht

Dumbest Part of a Dumb High-Speed Rail Project: Tunneling Under the San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountains.

Good Intentions Gone Awry: Helping Homeless Remain Homeless

Supervisor London Breed Fights Sunshine

Least Surprising Story of the Year: Still No Private Investment in High-Speed Rail Project

Biggest Ongoing Moral, Political, Intellectual Muddle: Liberals/Progressives on TerrorismSee also this.

Worst Ongoing Public Art Program: Percent for Arts

Slo-Mo Comeback of the Year: The Bay Guardian
We keep hearing about this comeback in website form, but it still keeps not happening.

Pangloss of the Year: SPUR's Gabriel Metcalf
Metcalf wins for his op-ed in the Chronicle, where he made statements like this about the housing crisis: "Waves of new arrivals have made the Bay Area the wonderful place that it is, and it's going to be OK." We have a right to suspect that Metcalf is in no danger of being evicted.

Crudest Censorship of the Year: Salon of Sam Harris

Jobs Program Posing as a Government: The City of San Francisco
The city now has 36,832 employees, a city worker for every 23 city residents.

Best Initiative Idea of the Year: Putting High-Speed Rail Back on the Ballot
Even Democrats are starting to oppose the dumb project.

Most Interesting Election By a City Special Interest Group: The Bicycle Coalition's Election to its Board of Directors
See also this.

What Terrorists Like the Most About the US: The Lack of Laws to Control Guns
Least Surprising Info About the New SF Streetsblog Editor: He supports the High-Speed Rail Project.

Big Question of the Year: When Did Cops Become Such Cowards?

Prophetic Video of the Year: Gridlock on the Waterfront