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Huge Success: Forest Knolls Winter Party 2014

We dropped in on the Forest Knolls winter party on Sunday. Even the approach looked welcoming, with red and green balloons, and a sign saying FOREST KNOLLS.

forest knolls winter party
People were just beginning to arrive. A lot of families showed up, with kids or grandkids. It’s a lovely change that’s happened over the last few years. At one time, there were hardly any children in Forest Knolls; young families had moved in, the kids had grown and flown, and the aging folks stayed on. Now, we have a nice mix, with people from 8 weeks to 80+ years – and many of them came to the party.

kristine signing people in
Kristine Zaback was signing people in and issuing name-tags so neighbors could get to know each other. We talked with Walter Caplan, who had organized the party. “I got money from Sutro Tower,” he told us. The arrangements were great, and the space was really nice. “My Car Club friends decorated it,” he said. They did a lovely job.

lots of food
The party was just getting started when I took these pictures.

people beginning to gather

The Sutro Tower (TM) Public Relations people were there, with a banner that said Sutro Tower TM.
sutro tower cookiesSutro Tower TM
They had red tree decorations with Sutro Tower on it, and quite remarkably, cookies with the Sutro Tower picture on them. I took one, but Walter said, “We’ve got boxes of them,” and handed me three more.

A little label identified the source: Veronica’s Treats. They’re ‘Photo and Logo cookies’ and ‘Party favors and treats.’ Neat idea!

We left soon after Santa arrived. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I’d like to say this photograph is blurred to preserve the privacy of the kids, but they’re blurred because the camera shook. The privacy is a positive result. (I usually get permission for kids’ pics, or shrink/ blur them so they can’t easily be identified.)

I checked in with Laura Bloch, who helped publicize the party. She was totally enthusiastic: “I can report that the party was a huge success – terrific decorations, great attendance by young and old, a fun raffle, a jolly Santa, plenty of food, and a real feeling of merriment.  Walter, Kristine and their helper-elves did a FANTASTIC job!

santa clausHAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!

UCSF Meeting Report: Dec 2014

I attended UCSF’s quarterly meeting of its Community Advisory Group on 3rd Dec 2014. (I’m not on the CAG, I went as a member of the public.)

UCSF’s Long Range Development Plan (2015-2035) has been approved. (This presumably includes removing the Aldea Student Housing from the space ceiling. You can read more about that HERE.)

Right now, there are two ongoing projects on the Parnassus campus (that’s the Inner Sunset campus, on the other side of Mount Sutro from Forest Knolls). The first is demolition and landscaping of 374 Parnassus, where a small building is being knocked down and converted to open space. The larger one is work on the old building, UC Hall which was earlier to be knocked down but is now to be converted to offices and housing.

SUTRO FOREST

sutro-forest-south-view2UCSF staff made two presentations about Sutro Forest recently. One was to the Urban Forestry Council. The Council has a listening series in which they invited a large number of stakeholders to talk about San Francisco’s urban forests. (SaveSutro also made a presentation to them about Sutro Forest.) They expect to issue a report possibly next spring.

The other was to the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Committee (PROSAC). Christine Gasparac, who was one of the presenters, said that PROSAC was particularly interested in recreational access to Mount Sutro.

There was some discussion around Sutro Forest. CAG member Dennis Antenore spoke of the management plan written 14 years ago that embodied Best Management Practices. I pointed out that it didn’t – it was designed to cut down most of the trees. What management is implemented depends on what you’re trying to achieve.  If you wish to preserve the forest – which is a unique and beautiful jewel of San Francisco – then it requires less intervention, not more. If you’re trying to turn it over to native plants, then you would want to cut down trees. Craig Dawson (also a CAG member, Executive Director of the Sutro Stewards, who favors cutting down trees and using herbicides to stop them coming back) said that the opponents of the plan were stopping UCSF from acting to save the forest and it’s dying.

They’ve been talking about the forest “dying” for years. (Here’s an article from the year 2000 – in which Craig Dawson is quoted. It’s based on the erroneous assumption that eucalyptus has a 100-year life-span, which is not true. It lives 300-500 years.)  But experts in forestry, eucalyptus, and  ecology have walked through and seen a healthy, thriving forest. Some trees are in poor condition, but that’s natural. If they are actually hazardous, they should of course be removed. But if they’re not, they’re valuable to the forest’s ecology. To say that the forest is dying because some trees in it are in poor condition is like saying San Francisco is dying because it has some people who are old and ailing.

DIVERSITY

Dr Renee Navarro presentationDr Renee Navarro, UCSF’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Outreach, made an excellent presentation about UCSF’s progress in increasing the percentage of women and minorities among its students and employees. On the whole, they’ve done well in terms of employing women; UCSF staff are about 68% women, and even in the rarefied group of the 20 or so people who are in senior management, 40% are female.

For minorities, staff numbers superficially look quite good: around 58% non-white. There are two issues, though. First, most of this diversity is concentrated among the support staff. Only 36% of managers are minorities, and among the senior management, it’s 15%. Second, when it’s broken down, it shows the percentage of African Americans has actually declined between 2006 and 2014 – meaning growth in hiring hasn’t kept pace with UCSF’s expansion from 13 thousand employees in 2006 to 16.5 thousand in 2014. There’s been a marked increase in the percentage of Asian employees (from 33% to 37%), and some increase in the percentage of Hispanic employees, from 11% to 12.%)

It’s possible this reflects the changing demographics of San Francisco and the Bay Area, but UCSF is also taking measures to make attract and retain minority employees, and to create a multicultural and diverse organization.

She also spoke about community partnerships and early outreach to students in High School or even earlier, and opportunities UCSF is trying to create for its own employees to improve their skills and move to higher levels.

EBOLA

UCSF’s Intensive Care Unit at Mount Zion is their designated Ebola Isolation Unit should it become necessary. They are also encouraging medical workers who want to go fight the epidemic in West Africa to do so, preserving their jobs and seniority. There’s a quarantine procedure in place for when they return, depending on the level of exposure they have had. UCSF focuses on professional quarantine, but will co-ordinate with Department of Health in case community quarantine is appropriate.

 OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED

  • UCSF’s Mission Bay medical center is currently holding community tours and have had an excellent response. The hospital is scheduled to open February 1st, 2015, when a “stream of ambulances” will transport patients from Parnassus to Mission Bay.
  • UCSF has acquired two parcels of land – Blocks 33/ 34 in Mission Bay – and are beginning to plan what they’ll put there. Meanwhile, they are working with the City and the Warriors to figure out how to mitigate the traffic ad parking impact of the planned new stadium, which will be right next to the hospital’s Emergency Room.
  • They’re also proceeding with the plan to divest the Laurel Heights campus via a ground lease. They think the actual move from there will take about 4 years. It’s going to be replaced with housing and possibly some retail.
  • They continue with efforts to hire locally for construction projects. Part of the issue is they use Union contractors, who for skilled trades favor seniority over local residency. They also compete with other projects that seek to hire local workers in the construction trades.

 

 

 

Night walk in Forest Knolls

It was such a clear night that we could actually see the stars – and they were brilliant.  Orion floated right beside Sutro Tower, reminding  me of a quote from Fritz Leiber’s book, ‘Our Lady of Darkness’: “The constellation of Orion was shouldering into his window… its nine brightest stars made an angular, tilted hourglass, challenging the smaller slenderer one made by the nineteen winking red lights of the TV tower… When he’d first seen the tower, he’d thought it worse than grotesque, but now — how strange! — it had become almost as reassuring to him as starry Orion.

sutro tower and stars

Of course this picture doesn’t do it anything like justice. But for a little point-and-shoot camera, stabilized only by resting it on someone’s car – it’s captured something!

We walked up Crestmont to Christopher. The picture below was from the head of the stairs there. (The staircase is actually called Blairwood Lane, as I discovered when I wrote about them here a few years ago – See The Stairways of Forest Knolls )

view from stairs - blairwood lane - forest knollsToday I’m thankful for our friendly neighborhood with the magnificent and mystical Forest above us, and splendid views only a few minutes’ walk from home.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Forest Knolls Winter Holiday Party – Dec 7th, 2014

Neighbors Siobhan, Laura and Walter are organizing a Holiday party for Forest Knollsians (Knollites? Knollers?) on Sunday Dec 7th at 3.30 p.m.  It’s at the City Forest Lodge at 254 Laguna Honda Boulevard.

There’ll be Santa Claus and gifts for the little ones.

FK xmas party flyer 2014Here’s the PDF in case you want to download and print the flyer:Forest Knolls Christmas 2014 leaflet

Halloween, Giants, and Rain

I thought for sure Halloween would be rained out this year, or completely upstaged by the giant Giants Victory Parade being held downtown. But I laid in candy nonetheless, and plugged in a large plastic pumpkin in front of the house. By 5.30 p.m. the weather had cleared. I could see excited little princesses and superheroes running down the street in the Loop.

Thanks to the organizers for this year’s efforts! (And if anyone wants to publish their Halloween pictures here, send them in!  fk94131 at yahoo dot com) [Edited to Add: Here’s a cute ‘Officer E and his sidekick Owl costume picture someone sent me.]

Halloween - Officer E and his sidekick owl

This year, we had a fairy and a princess, a Giants fan and Black Widow (from the Avengers), a tiger-kitty, and a dramatic Voodoo priest accompanied by a large and shaggy bear. They all got candy, except for the bear. “Never feed the bears,” he said, as he declined.

Meanwhile, the parade was a huge success despite the rain.

This picture was actually taken earlier in the month from Twin Peaks, but I figured an orange-lit City Hall is an appropriate one to celebrate with. GO GIANTS!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nearly Halloween…

Here’s a reminder and a new announcement.
First: Laura Bloch is organizing a trick-or-treat loop in Forest Knolls (details HERE). Please email her at LJBloch@aol.com if you want to participate, and you’ll get a free mini-pumpkin and a sign for your house. You can participate even if you’re not on the loop – but I suggest making your sign and lights very prominent!  Participants agree to be home from 5.30-8 p.m. (and of course, have candy!)

pumpkin vultures

And Barbara Oleksiw invites all pre-teens to a Halloween celebration at 6th and Irving – here are the details.

Pre-Teen Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31, 7p, NW corner of Sixth & Irving
Join us for our annual Pumpkin Promenade of more than 60 hand-carved pumpkins, hot cider, mulled wine, cotton-candy, “treats” for the kids, and any other mischief we can arrange. Bring a dessert to share, if you’re so inclined.Barbara: 415/2.46.47.48

Halloween is Coming to Forest Knolls

pumpkin clipart public domainEach year, for the last several years, neighbor Laura Bloch has worked with the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization to set up a Halloween loop where neighbors can sign on to provide candy for trick-or-treating kids. It’s been excellent. Thanks, Laura, Siobhan and Walter for doing this!

Here’s their message:

Halloween is fast approaching and children from all over Forest Knolls are invited to safely trick or treat in “The Loop”! If you will be home from 5:30-8:00 on Halloween evening and would like to participate in the festivities, please e-mail  Laura Bloch (LJBloch@aol.com) to confirm and you will receive a small pumpkin and sign to display, which will alert prospective trick-or- treaters that you are home and handing out candy. Please see the attached for more information.

The Loop includes homes on 1-299 Oak Park, 401-409 Christopher, on 1-201 Warren Drive, and 100-191 Forest Knolls Drive.

(This doesn’t mean that people who don’t live on the Loop can’t participate! Put a pumpkin sign out prominently, and you may get trick-or-treaters.)

halloween map forest knolls 2014[Edited to Add: I modified this to remove a phone number and add a house address to the Loop at the request of the organizers.]

Stow Lake … with Alligator?

I was leafing through a sheaf of pesticide use reports from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, as I sometimes do. It’s mostly about herbicides sprayed on plants. The parts about animals usually relate to rodents and yellow-jackets.

Not this report.  Some people had seen an alligator. In Stow Lake.

stow lake with alligator

I checked the date on the report, just in case it was April Fools. But no, this had a June 2014 date on it.

It wasn’t a very big alligator – two feet, said the report. SFRPD called Fish and Game, and Animal Care and Control. But though they went out to look a couple of days in succession, there was no alligator seen. They closed the case until there’s another sighting.

Do we have our own Nessie in Golden Gate Park?

stow lake alligator sighting

Worrying About Proposition I on the Nov 2014 Ballot

AGAINST PROP I smI don’t consider myself particularly political. But in recent years, I’ve become aware of  various kinds of community activism, and developed a real appreciation of what democracy means.

So I’m especially concerned about one Proposition that will be on the Ballot in November 2014. It’s Proposition I: Increased Usage of Children’s Playgrounds, Walking Trails, and Athletic Fields Act.

Prop I is being talked about as the opposite of Proposition H (opposing artificial turf on the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields),  hence such campaigns as Yes on H/  No on Prop I.

But it’s not just that.

Here’s what I worry about: If passed, Prop I would sharply erode community voices in future decisions made by SF Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD) regarding our parks and open spaces. It tips the scales strongly in favor of SFRPD.

WHAT IS PROPOSITION I?

Proposition I changes the Parks Code so that any major project that SFRPD forecasts will double usage in an calendar year gets the go-ahead once its Environmental Impact Report is certified. Here’s the proposition (as a PDF): Nov2014_ParkCode

Here’s what it does:

  • Applies to any SFRPD project concerning athletic fields, children’s playgrounds, or walking trails – which sounds like it would cover most SFRPD parks and open spaces.
  • Makes “doubles usage in a calendar year” as a benchmark – even if doubling usage isn’t a good objective or usage would fall after one calendar year. (And of course, since it’s about the future, it’s a forecast.)
  • Says that once such a project’s EIR has been certified, it “should be allowed” – presumably cutting off appeals, ballot measures and other community input.
  • It’s also got a “poison pill” for Proposition H. If it gets more votes that Prop H, then it invalidates Proposition H even if Prop H got over 50% of the votes.

Because of the “poison pill” some people are saying Proposition I is ‘the anti-H.’ However, its impact is much broader.

prop i 5
The Anti-Prop H Clause – Prop I – Nov 2014

MUCH WIDER IN SCOPE THAN JUST AN ANTI-PROP-H MEASURE

 It allows SFRPD to proceed with any major project that they estimate will double usage in a calendar year, independent of the community’s desires or priorities. It removes nearly all means of appeal or review. So if this Prop I passes, then for any SFRPD project, they need only:

  1. Pick any project and estimate it will at least double usage within a calendar year;
  2. Hire a consultant to complete an EIR and agree that it will double forecast usage in a calendar year;
  3. As long as the EIR is certified, SFRPD can implement the project without any community input or challenge.
prop i 2
Estimating doubled usage in a calendar year is enough reason?

 

WHAT ABOUT CEQA?

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which is what requires projects to get Environmental Impact Reports, is enforced through lawsuits. There’s no regulatory body.

It’s not clear whether Prop I would take away the right to a legal appeal, or to a ballot measure. But the way it’s worded, it could do so.

Even worse – the language specifies it shall be “liberally construed.” This could mean anything.

prop i 3
“Liberal Construction” – Prop I – Nov 2014

Prop I can also be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the Board of Supervisors with the Mayor’s approval. It doesn’t need to go back to the voters. This means the Supes and the Mayor can change a lot of the wording afterward.

prop i 4
“Amendment” – Proposition I – Nov 2014

WHY THE SUPERVISORS MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND

I know that City Hall is much in favor of Prop I. Seven supervisors signed to put it on the ballot, including Scott Wiener and David Chiu, both people whom I respect. Supervisor Wiener in particular feels it’s wrong for people opposing an SFRPD project to get more “bites at the apple” – after the Supervisors have approved it, and the EIR has been certified. I do understand that it’s frustrating when a multi-million dollar project is held up because a group of people in the community don’t want it.

What that argument doesn’t allow for is that the situation is inherently asymmetrical. The saying “You can’t fight City Hall” exists for a reason. All these rules – the Sunshine Act, the ability to go directly to the electorate via a ballot measure, the ability to take legal action – they all exist to redress the power imbalance, at least somewhat.

Theoretically, “City Hall” represents us. But a lot of things have to be weighed in any decision – from funds to feasibility to desirability of a project. And these can set up things so that what City Hall wants is not aligned with what the community wants.

Taking away avenues of recourse – including putting things on the ballot – feels efficient. But ‘efficient’ decisions are not always the right decisions.

ocean edge poster - yes on H - no on IJUST ABOUT SOCCER FIELDS?

Even though the main campaigners against Prop I are those who support Proposition H (and oppose artificial turf  in Golden Gate Park), the issue is so much broader.

That’s why I hope that Prop I doesn’t pass, no matter what happens to Prop H.

I was talking to  friends who plays soccer, and are willing to accept artificial turf as the price of play.  “I’m voting No on H, No on I,”  they said.

From where I sit it looks like Proposition I muffles the public voice about what happens in our parks.

I’d love to hear your views.

 

 

That No-Mow Fescue ‘Furry Grass’ Again

In 2010, I wrote about the  no-mow fescue planted on the side of Junipero Serra, right where it turns to Portola.  Here’s what it looked like at the time: a dramatic green, with a furry texture.

furry grassA year later, it was dry and looked more like hay, and I wrote about it again as ‘shaggy grass‘ in 2011.

furry grass aug 2011

Since I pass that way a lot, I have often thought of doing a follow up – especially this summer, when the whole thing had an interesting patchy look. It was brown for the most part, but green in the shadow of the big tree growing there.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get round to taking a picture until a few days ago, when the contrast was less dramatic. But it’s still evident. This is the grass where it’s dry.

brown grass no mow fescue

And here’s what it looks like under the tree. I can’t figure if the tree is helping the grass by shading it, or by watering it by harvesting fog, or something else. But within the outline of the tree, the grass is green.

green under the tree

I also found a bunch of mushrooms nestled in the grass, like these here.
mushrooms in the grass

Even at that busy intersection, the scent of the moment was the honey fragrance from the self-seeded sweet alyssum.

sweet alyssum

I love how nature fills in gaps with life and beauty.

Here’s another picture of the grass under the trees. You can see where it turns patchy outside the tree’s dripline.

green grass and patchy grass - no mow fescue

I was delighted to see a row of trees planted all along the sidewalk here.

When they’re grown, they’ll help the homes back there,  fighting the pollution from the heavy traffic on Junipero Serra. They’ll absorb some of the traffic noise. They’ll provide a pleasing visual barrier.

And they’ll shade the no-mow fescue grass and it will be green.

UCSF’s 15-Minute Public Hearing – Sept 2014

UCSF held a meeting for public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) on Sept 22, 2014. About 15-20 neighbors showed up. No one (including me) had any comments ready. The meeting started at 7p.m. and adjourned at 7.15 p.m.

DEIR for UCSF LRDP 2014

I picked up a copy of the DEIR; it’s roughly 2 inches thick. The electronic version on UCSF’s website is HERE.

UCSF are accepting written comments until October 14th.

It was surprising that no one commented. It was such a contrast with a similar meeting last year for DEIR comments about cutting down trees in Sutro Forest. There, 250 people showed up, 50 spoke (with over 70% opposed), and it ran to 9.15 p.m.

WHAT’S HAPPENING ABOUT SUTRO FOREST?

This EIR was for the Long Range Development Plan, which is mainly about construction and changes in usage in Parnassus as well as UCSF’s other campuses. They have said that Sutro Forest is specifically excluded, since it will have its own Plan and will presumably have another EIR.

(As of now, we understand that UCSF has a new plan for Sutro Forest that focuses on fire hazard and commits to not using herbicides. We actually think the plan will increase, not decrease, the fire hazard by drying out the forest and making it windier. Anyway, the only information we have about the plan came from a Powerpoint presentation. There’s no EIR yet, but UCSF has said the new plan would need a new EIR when they can devote resources to it.)

Meanwhile, what UCSF has been doing is cutting down trees first for “fire safety” and then for “hazard reduction. More trees are expected to be felled before year end. This is considered routine maintenance and doesn’t require an EIR.

As far as we can gauge right now, the LRDP still affects the Forest in three ways:

  • A new trail is to be built from the Inner Sunset side, which is good; but it is likely to cost trees, which is bad.
  • They are removing Aldea Student Housing from the space ceiling, with the immediate effect of preserving some buildings scheduled to be knocked down, and a long term impact of – who knows?
  • They plan to knock down two small office buildings in the forest – just off the parking lots. It’s a Space Ceiling issue.

HOW IS FOREST KNOLLS IMPACTED?

We will possibly be impacted by UCSF removing Aldea Student Housing from the Space Ceiling. The immediate effect is that they will keep three buildings they had planned to knock down.

In the longer term, it could mean expansion at Aldea, which would of course impact our neighborhood, since the only thing between the student housing area and Forest Knolls is a strip of trees – which was thinned last August, so the housing is now clearly visible from Christopher.

At present, UCSF has said the LRDP includes no plans to expand in Aldea.

If I figure out any other impacts, I’ll post about it here.

 

Free Fitness Festival at UCSF Parnassus on Sept 25, 2014

UCSF sent around this message to all the Parnassus neighbors (broadly defined). The event is open to all.

aerobic dancerNext week, the fitness center in UCSF’s Millberry Union is hosting a festival with complimentary workout classes and fitness consultations.  The free activities are open to the UCSF community and to neighbors.

September 25, 2014
Millberry Fitness & Recreation Center
500 Parnassus Avenue, Level B1

Body Composition Testing
Personal Trainer Consultations
Event Specials

Mid-Day Schedule
11:00 am-2:30 pm            Free body composition testing and fitness consultations
11:15 am-11:45 am          GRIT™ CARDIO
11:50 am-12:35 pm          ZUMBA®
12:45-1:15 pm                    CXWORX™
1:30-2:20 pm                      BODYFLOW ™

Evening Schedule
4:30-7:30 pm                      Free body composition testing and fitness consultations
5:00-5:45 pm                      ZUMBA®
5:50-6:20 pm                      Motown Moves
6:25-7:15 pm                      BODYCOMBAT ™

For more information, call 415.476.0348 or visit http://bit.ly/UCSFFitnessFestival2014

THERE’S PARKING (FOR A FEE)

Three convenient sites serve our 107-acre Parnassus campus, located south of Golden Gate Park.

  • Millberry Union Public Garage: 500 Parnassus Avenue, located across from the Medical Sciences Building
  • Westside/Kirkham Surface Lot: 707 Parnassus Avenue, located behind the School of Dentistry
  • Beckman/Koret Surface Lot: 5th Avenue at Kirkham

Public parking rates at Parnassus garages are as follows:
0-1 Hours = $3.75
1-2 Hours = $7.50
2-3 Hours = $11.25
3-4 Hours = $15.00
4-5 Hours = $18.75 (24-hour comp sticker rate)
5-6 Hours = $22.50
6-7 Hours = $26.25
7-24 Hours = $30.00 (daily maximum)

The parking rate for motorcycles is a $5.00 daily maximum.

Disabled parking rates are as follows:
0-1 Hours = $3.75
1-2 Hours = $6.00
2-3 Hours = $6.00 (daily maximum)
Weeknight (6:00 pm-7:00 am) and weekend parking is available at the Westside/Kirkham Surface Lot and Beckman/Koret Surface Lot at a rate of $3.00.
– See more at: http://campuslifeservices.ucsf.edu/transportation/services/parking/public_parking#sthash.zZSBtQfS.dpuf

New Yahoo Group for Forest Knolls/ Midtown kids

Midtown Terrace Playground

Lesley Aiken of Forest Knolls is starting a new Yahoo group for families with kids who live in Forest Knolls and Midtown Terrace neighborhoods in San Francisco.

If you have kids and would like to join, here’s the link:  Forest Knolls and Midtown Terrace Kids Yahoo Group

It’s intended to bring families of children together to arrange playdates and discuss issues relevant to children in our neighborhoods. (It’s a restricted group, as it should be since it’s about kids. )

STAYING IN TOUCH WITH OUR NEIGHBORHOOD

neighborhood-housesWhether or not you have kids, if you would like to stay in touch electronically with our neighborhood, we have four ways:

1) Nextdoor group

2) A general Forest Knolls Neighborhood Yahoo Group, and

3) A Facebook group.

4) And of course, this blog/ website. If you’d like to get an email whenever there’s a new post, you can enter your email address in the box at the top right of the page.

This post: Forest Knolls Neighborhood on the Web has all the details, including how to sign on to each one.

Inner Sunset ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge Sunday 14 Sept 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

pics49 034a

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.

pics49 025a
pics49 016a

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.

pics49 037a

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

pics50 001aa

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

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

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

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.