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Inner Sunset ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge Sunday 14 Sept 2014

September 13, 2014

bucket[Sorry, sent out a draft with the wrong date. Here's the correct version.]

We’ve all been reading about the ice-bucket challenge – where you agree to have ice-water poured over you in exchange for a donation to the ALS Association. Inner Sunset neighbor Barbara Oleksiw asked me to let everyone know about the Inner Sunset one, tomorrow.

 Take the Inner Sunset ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge *THIS* Sunday, 1-2:30p at the Big Lunch, 9th & Irving

If you’d like to participate but don’t have funds to contribute, please come.

If you’d like to participate and make a donation, please come.

If you’d like to simply watch these ice-crazed stalwarts, please come.

We have a sponsor who’ll donate $50 to *each* person willing to get dunked, but who can’t contribute.
Plus, we have a sponsor who’ll match the funds of *each* person who gets dunked and also contributes.
We’re planning to make this as fun, water-conserving and creative as possible. And, if you’re not interested in getting wet or donating, we invite you to simply cheer us on!

If you haven’t heard of the ice bucket challenge, here’s what Wikipedia says about it:
people small rt“The Ice Bucket Challenge, sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. It went viral on social media during July–August 2014. In the US, many people participate for the ALS Association, and in the UK, many people participate for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, although some individuals have opted to donate their money from the Ice Bucket Challenge to other organizations.

“The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then nominating others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated participants have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.”

September Supermoon Series

September 10, 2014

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Last Sunday wasn’t a full moon night, but it was close. I found myself on Treasure Island at sunset, viewing the rising moon above the new bridge. The old bridge, with a gap where a span’s been removed, lay behind. I wasn’t the only one who was fascinated by the sight; there were perhaps half a dozen photographers out there, mostly with fine cameras, large lenses, and tripods.

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My camera is my trusty Nikon Coolpix. It lives in my pocket or my purse. But whatever the camera, it was hard to go wrong on such an exquisite evening.

pics49 012a In fact, in some ways it’s easier to get a moon shot on a not-quite-full moon night. It’s a little less overwhelming for the camera.

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The next night was the Supermoon – and the clouds rolled in to San Francisco. But still, I got a shot from nearby Twin Peaks.

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I’d hoped to get one behind Sutro Tower, but the alignments didn’t work out. Another night, another time.

UCSF Meeting Report: Aldea Update, Sutro Forest, Other

September 5, 2014

ucsf CAG meeting sept 2014I attended the UCSF quarterly Community Advisory Group meeting on Sept 3, 2014.  The two topics of immediate interest to the Forest Knolls neighborhood are Aldea Student Housing and Sutro Forest.

ALDEA

Recently [Aug 12, 2014], UCSF had a meeting specifically to discuss removing Aldea student housing  from the Space Ceiling. I reported on that HERE.  At this meeting [i.e. the Sept 3rd meeting], they said they will go ahead.

Here’s the background:

In brief – following UCSF’s massive conflict with neighbors about its expansion plans, in 1976 the University of California Board of Regents passed a resolution that introduced a “space ceiling” that prohibited UCSF from expanding to more than 3.55 million sq feet of space in the Parnassus campus. The ceiling (which has been exceeded years ago, but still serves as a target and benchmark) does not apply to housing. However, Aldea Student Housing, which is next to Forest Knolls along Clarendon Avenue, was specifically excluded from the exclusion, meaning that it does count toward the space ceiling. UCSF wants to remove the restriction on Aldea Student Housing.

In Aldea housingAt the August 12th meeting, nearly everyone present opposed removing Aldea from the Space Ceiling. Here’s why:

  • Removing Aldea Housing from the space ceiling could trigger an expansion, limited only by funding availability. (Technically, UCSF as a state organization doesn’t even have to follow city codes – though they usually do try to comply.)
  • It would set a poor precedent in which the Board of Regents could remove any restrictions despite prior agreements with the community.
  • It ignored earlier commitments. When UCSF built the Stem Cell Research facility, it used about 0.5 acres of the Forest; it was going to demolish two dorms in Aldea Student Housing and return the area to the forest in compensation. Under the new proposal, this would not happen.

As Rick Osmon said in a comment to my earlier report:

“I was at the meeting on August 12. After it became clear that the neighbors who were at the meeting were in agreement that the Aldea housing should not be removed from UCSF’s overall space limits, Lori Yamauchi proposed adding language to the LRDP [Long Range Development Plan that would restrict any increase in density of units at the Aldea housing site. The biggest fear expressed by those at the meeting is that UCSF would embark on intensive development of the Aldea site. The [Associate] vice-chancellor’s proposal was welcomed by everyone I heard speak.”

At this CAG meeting, Associate Vice Chancellor Lori Yamauchi said they will ask the Regents to remove Aldea from the space ceiling. They think only a minority of the community oppose it. However, they were not asking for the repeal of the space ceiling as a whole.

They also said they would not increase the density of units at Aldea beyond existing levels. They only wished to retain the buildings they had earlier undertaken to knock down.

I found this reassuring. However, I met Lori later as we were leaving the building, and mentioned I’d be writing a report to the neighborhood on this website.

“You can say the LRDP has no plans to build more housing at Aldea,” she said.

No plans to build isn’t the same as will not build,” I said. “Can you give a letter saying will not build?”

“I’m not prepared to negotiate that with the neighbors,” she said. (In all fairness, it was reasonable she wouldn’t give an undertaking then. It was an informal chat, as we were leaving the meeting.)

“But,” she added, “You can write a comment from the neighborhood.” She said they would be taking comments on the LRDP to the end of this month, and on the Environmental Impact Report until October 14, 2014.

You can email Damon Lew at dlew@CGR.UCSF.EDU and Lori Yamauchi at lyamauchi@planning.ucsf.edu

CREDIBILITY

One issue that was discussed was UCSF’s credibility. We’re all supporters of this great medical school. However, we have had numerous occasions when we thought we had a commitment… and found we didn’t.

I don’t think there’s a huge problem with retaining the dorms as they are. But I do think there’s a problem when UCSF undertakes something, and then pretty much decides to waive its decision. Situations do change, and there may be reasons to revisit earlier decisions. But it has to be done in consultation with the broader community.

OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED

  • UCSF presented their ten-year capital plan (2014-15 to 2023-24), which included projects greater than $750,ooo in size. It totaled $1.6 billion, and included $460 mn of seismic safety work as well as some major building projects.  (The presentation UCSF made, including these details, is HERE.)
  • They discussed minority hiring goals, and the EXCEL program that trained people from areas surrounding Mission Bay campus. There was concern about the African-American hiring goals specifically, and whether UCSF was doing enough.
  • They hope to build a new building behind SF General Hospital (which is not seismically upgraded) to move staff currently in the old building.
  • They discussed the new helipad at Mission Bay, which will be commissioned in October/ November.
  • They are in talks about the Warriors planned stadium, which will be right behind the Mission Bay campus (and close to the pediatric Emergency Room), regarding traffic flows and security issues.

MOUNT SUTRO FOREST

  • ForestThere’s been another evaluation of the trees for hazard. They said they do a hazard evaluation every two years, and they will be removing trees by year end. They did not know how many trees they would remove. (This would be in addition to around 1200 trees removed in the last 13 months.)
    • Why this is concerning – go HERE.
  • They will putting in signs for mountain-bike riders, informing them that they must yield to hikers and joggers.
  • A new trail – “The Sunset Trail” is being included in the capital budget. (I think that’s the black line near the top of the map.) It will likely be built this year or next. They did not say how many trees (if any) they would remove now – or later, in consequence of the trail’s existence.

UCSF will be holding a meeting on September 22nd, 2014, to further discuss the Long Range Development Plan.

UCSF LRDP Feb 2014 -1

Earthquake Quick and Easy Plan

September 3, 2014

I don’t usually post twice on one day, but I think this is something people may find useful – especially after the recent wake-up call of the Napa Valley earthquake. I was browsing the NERT newsletter, and they had this 6-day preparedness plan for earthquakes.

No one can plan for every eventuality, but it’s reassuring to know one has made a good start. So here it is:

Start small. Just do one thing to get yourself prepared.
Every day!

Box of stuffDAY 1: put an old pair of comfortable shoes under your bed

DAY 2: Get a cardboard box to start your supply gathering

Day 3: House hunt, in your own house. Got a flashlight? Some bottled water? Extra roll of toilet paper? Maybe a radio? Think “what do I need if I get to stay in my home after an earthquake?” Put it in your box.

Day 4: Review this kit list, [shown below as a picture but also available here as a PDF you can print out]: Home-Work-Car-kit lists for earthquakes

Day 5: Buy one thing that you don’t have to make yourself more prepared after an earthquake.

Day 6: Start your personal plan [here's an outline, shown below as a picture and here as a PDF]: FamilyDisasterPlan for earthquakes

Easy, right!!?

earthquake kit listI was here in Forest Knolls when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit, with small kids at home. The children were watching Sesame Street or something similar. Suddenly, there was a quake. Then the power went out…

Knowing what to do (because it was part of the children’s training!) was valuable.

Family disaster plan

Prepare for Emergencies! NERT Training Sept – Nov 2014

September 3, 2014
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seismic house from NERT flyer

Earthquakes happen!

I received this letter from Diane Rivera, Coordinator Chair of the San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), asking me to spread the word about NERT training.

Please join Mayor Edwin Lee, the Department of Emergency Management and the SFFD Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) in our efforts to reach all the people who live and work in San Francisco to learn about and register for the NERT training.

We find that citizens will take the NERT training outside of their neighborhoods as it fits into their schedules. Please publish all training dates if possible.

The San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) is free training from the San Francisco Fire Department in how to help you, your family and your neighbors prepare for and respond to a disaster by working together. The 20-hour training taught by First Responders includes personal preparedness, light search and rescue, disaster medicine, shutting off your utilities, and how to participate as a member of a neighborhood response team.

NERT also offers continuing training for graduates and activities that support building robust neighborhood teams. For more information, visit the NERT website at http://www.sfgov.org/sfnert or contact Lt. Erica Arteseros at sffdnert@sfgov.org or 415-970-2022.

UPCOMING TRAINING CLASSES

(The schedule is updated on the NERT website training page whenever a new class is added.)

Numbers 1 and 2 are the full series of NERT training classes: six classes, given as 3 full-day sessions (at Civic Center) or 6 evening classes (at Duboce). Number 3 is a one-time, 2-hour workshop (at Noe Valley).

1)  Civic Center,San Francisco Federal Bldg. 90 7th Street

September 23, 8:30a-4:30p: Class 1 & 2
September 30, 8:30a-4:30p: Class 3 & 4
October 7, 8:30a-4:30p: Class 5 & 6

New Student Enroll – pdf Class Flyer: 14.9.23FedBldg_CivicCenter
Recertification Enroll

2) Castro-Duboce Triangle – Davies, N. Tower Auditorium, Duboce Ave @ Scott St

October 9, 6:30p-10:00p: Class 1
October 16, 6:30p-10:00p: Class 2
October 23, 6:30p-9:30p: Class 3
October 30, 6:30p-10:00p: Class 4
November 6, 6:30p-9:30p: Class 5
November 13, 6:30p-10:00p: Class 6

New Student Enroll – pdf Class Flyer: 14.10.9Castro_Duboce
Recertification Enroll

3)  Personal Readiness for a resilient Community: ONE TIME workshop for you and your neighbors!

Thursday October 23, 2014, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Noe Valley, St.Philip Church & School, 775 Diamond St @ 24th St

What’s in it for you?
You will learn the basics to take care of yourself and others. SFFD NERT and SAFE want you to have skills to be prepared for emergencies big or small, and get to know your neighbors on your block to maximize resiliency after a disaster.

  • Risk Awareness
  • Disaster supplies
  • Personal/Family Disaster Planning
  • NERT Overview
  • Disaster Pre-Planning – building community one block at a time

Enroll – pdf Flyer: PPW_14.10.23Noe Valley

EARTHQUAKES HAPPEN

 Some of us remember the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Little Big One. Many of us felt the recently Napa earthquake. It’s a good idea to get prepared.

Air Mark: Sutro Tower

August 21, 2014

We’ve always known it’s a landmark… but look,  Sutro Tower is an airmark too!

Recently, I made a trip to Seattle. As the plane took off  over San Francisco,  a layer of fog covered the city, and I got these cool pictures through the window.

San Francisco dreaming beneath its fog

Thanks to Sutro Tower, I knew exactly where we were.

sutro tower above the fog

There’s Mount Sutro Forest under there,  functioning as a cloud forest and catching the moisture from the fog. And of course, Forest Knolls, enjoying a typical San Francisco summer.

 

 

Report on UCSF’s Aldea Meeting (Aug12, 2014)

August 13, 2014

About a month ago, I’d posted  about a UCSF meeting regarding its plans for the Aldea San Miguel student housing. (This is the UCSF area off Clarendon Avenue  just up the hill from Forest Knolls – see map at the bottom of this post.)

I attended the meeting, in the beautiful Spanish-revival UCSF Faculty Alumni Building. The gathering was relatively small. Damon Lew of UCSF said they had sent out 2,000 postcards notifying people. I guess it’s summer.

BACKGROUND

At present, Aldea is currently included in the overall “space ceiling” that restricts UCSF from expanding over 3.55 million square feet in the Parnassus area. (I wrote about those details in an earlier post, HERE.) Now UCSF wants to remove the 130,000 sq feet of Aldea housing from the 3.55 mn sq feet space ceiling. It argues that other university housing is not included in the space ceiling, and Aldea is an anomaly that could be rectified. (UCSF has actually exceeded the space ceiling for years, but seems to  use it as a sort of benchmark and target.)

UCSF Damon Lew presenting new plan for Aldea

From what I understood, UCSF wants:

  • Initially, to preserve 3 dorm buildings it was scheduled to demolish by 2024  in order to reduce square footage and bring it closer to the space ceiling. It represents 42 units of housing.
  • Later, it could replace them (and others of the 12 buildings at Aldea) with larger and more modern housing units – or, if it’s outside the space ceiling, maybe even with offices or other work areas.

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Here are some of the key comments:

  • Dennis Antenore, a UCSF Community Advisory Group member, said he didn’t support removing Aldea. However,  he thought if the community fought it, there was a  real threat that the UC Board of Regents could decide to abolish the Space Ceiling altogether.  If UCSF recommended that, the Regents would undoubtedly vote in favor.
  • Walter Caplan of the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization pointed out that our neighborhood would be directly impacted by anything that was done at Aldea, and he opposed removing Aldea from the space ceiling. He considered removal essentially giving UCSF a blank check for expansion in that area.
    • UCSF’s Lori Yamauchi responded by pointing out that even with the space ceiling, it didn’t limit Aldea to its current size; they could demolish elsewhere and expand in Aldea.
    • UCSF’s Barbara Bagot-Lopez said that when UCSF built housing elsewhere, it did so in consultation with the neighbors. As a state institution, they are not bound by city regulations about height limits, but they did observe them anyway out of respect for the community. So if they did decide to expand in Aldea, they would do the same thing.
  • Craig Dawson (Sutro Stewards, and also a member of UCSF’s Community Advisory Group -CAG) opposed removing Aldea from the space ceiling for several reasons. First, it would affect UCSF’s credibility; Aldea was included in the space ceiling for a reason, even when other housing wasn’t. Moreover, the demolition of 2 Aldea buildings were specifically included as an offset to the new Stem Cell research building, which took in 0.5 acres of the Forest.  Finally, he said, it’s not a suitable place to expand housing, with no public transport or neighboring community. He also felt UCSF had not kept to the undertakings made in the previous Long Range Development Plan of 1996.
    • Lori Yamauchi disagreed vehemently; she said UCSF worked in good faith with the community, and though they may not have done everything they said (mainly demolition of some buildings), they were working to achieve the same goals.
  • Serena, a student of UCSF who lives at Aldea, emphasized how important housing was to students. She left a well-paid Federal job and came to San Francisco a full three months before her course started, only to ensure she got into housing. She pointed out that medical students make good neighbors, and add value to society. We should be supportive.
    • Several in the group agreed with her on both counts.
  • Bob (didn’t get his surname) asked what UCSF meant by “community.” Did it consider people like him, who were just residents of the area?
    • I thought that was an excellent question. UCSF calls the Community Advisory Group the “backbone” of its community engagement – but that’s a hand-picked group, many of whom have been on the CAG for years if not decades. It also refers to neighborhood organizations, but those often have the same structure. It’s important, in my opinion, to get the voices of the broader community – people who may not have the time to attend numerous meetings over many years, but nonetheless care about and are impacted by UCSF decisions.
  • Another person whose name I didn’t catch thought UCSF should keep its promises to neighbors, and consider the ripple effects of its actions on the neighborhoods – for instance, making parking impossible to get.
  • I am fine with delaying the demolition of the 3 dorms and preserving the 42 units beyond year 2024, but removing Aldea from the Space Ceiling is too open-ended of a change. From UCSF’s viewpoint, it probably is not worth the loss of credibility nor the potential conflict with the neighborhood. I also think it’s probably true that the Regents would agree to whatever UCSF proposes. But in my opinion, it’s for UCSF to avoid proposing something the community opposes. It shouldn’t be our responsibility to calculate whether the Regents would or wouldn’t support us.

UCSF aldea presentation using pic from Forest Knolls website

I was surprised (and rather flattered) to find the photograph from our Forest Knolls site used on the opening page of UCSF’s presentation! For the record – I have no objection to their using this image.

 SENSE OF THE MEETING

This is my sense of the meeting as it ended:

  • In Aldea housingAlmost everyone was opposed to removing Aldea from the space ceiling; even Dennis Antenore, who said the community should not oppose it, was not in favor. He just thought it might be a compromise.
  • Everyone understood the need for housing, especially below market-rate housing,  for students and faculty near their place of work. Post-docs and doctoral students are paid between $32,000 and $45,000 annually – not enough in San Francisco’s rental market. It also reduces the need for commuting and thus reducing congestion and energy needs.
  • There was little opposition to retaining the 3 dorms scheduled for demolition.
  • There were concerns about UCSF and its undertakings to the community.
  • UCSF should not rely only on the CAG for its definition of “Community” but should broaden the viewpoints represented.

SEND COMMENTS AND OPINIONS

UCSF is in the process of making its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), about which I posted HERE and HERE.  It covers all the physical changes they plan for the Parnassus area (including of course the Aldea segment). The EIR is due out this Friday, Aug 15th, 2014. The UCSF website with all the LRDP information is HERE.   They will be accepting comments on the LRDP and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on it to October 14, 2014. 

You can email Damon Lew at dlew@CGR.UCSF.EDU and Lori Yamauchi at lyamauchi@planning.ucsf.edu

UCSF LRDP Feb 2014 -1

Forest Knolls would be impacted by changes at UCSF’s Aldea San Miguel housing

 

 

 

 

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