Thursday, February 08, 2018

Latest PR campaign by the MTA: "Groundplay"


The MTA is now campaigning
for more people to sign up to build parklets in front of their businesses. This is done under the latest incarnation of the old Pavement to Parks department, which has morphed into something called "Groundplay":

San Francisco’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development (OEWD) and the Planning Department’s Groundplay Program have issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to two Neighborhood Parklet Opportunity Grants...OEWD and Planning are seeking proposals from non-profit organizations and small businesses to enhance and support public spaces via the installation of a parklet. Parklets support commercial districts, contribute to the vibrancy of neighborhoods, and provide needed gathering space. Each grant is for up to $20,000, to be matched with a 35 percent contribution by the selected applicant(s).

First: a "vibrant" alert!

If you stumble on the Groundplay website without this kind of intro, you can't tell from all the happy-talk that it's a city project unless you scroll to the bottom of the screen.

Parklets "support commercial districts" by taking away customer parking that local businesses need.

From the website:

Groundplay works with ordinary San Franciscans to build temporary installations that turn underused public spaces into joyful community places. Do you have an idea for transforming an area of your neighborhood? Come play with us. Together, we can break new ground.

"Temporary installations"? If the Divisadero business district is any indication, parklets are permanent, since both the original parklet in front of the bike coffee house that recently went belly-up and another by the defunct Cafe Abir at Fulton and Diviz are still there. 

Will the parking spaces removed to make the parklets be restored? Are the property owners now responsible for maintaining those vibrant "installations"?

Speaking of defunct, by my count there are now 13 empty storefronts on Diviz between McAllister and Haight. The coming recession---the country is overdue for one---will hollow out a lot of other properties.

Hard to understand how property owners can afford to leave storefronts empty.

See also Cow Hollow shops struggle to survive.

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The bad hair life of a phony

Like the train wreck as a metaphor for the state of the Republican Party, this video of his errant comb-over is a good metaphor for Donald Trump as a phony.

...It was the worst hair day of what has been a bad hair life. And it may seem cheap and low to mock Trump’s absurd efforts to conceal his hair loss. But Trump is a man obsessed with image in ways that go beyond the normal human concern with looking presentable. Image is Trump’s moral code. He dismisses his political rivals for being short. He sees his succession of wives as visual testament to his own status. He selects his Cabinet on the basis of their looking the part. He conscripts the military as a prop to bathe himself in an aura of presidential grandeur.

Trump’s absurd hair is of a piece with his lifelong attempt to market himself as a brilliant deal-maker and stable genius. So yes, it is okay to laugh when the ruse is exposed.

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