Most of the time, we think of Golden Gate Park as pretty safe, and most of the time, it is. But recently, there were two unusual incidents.
Two dogs, believed to belong to homeless people living in the park, got loose and attacked visitors. One dog was shot by the police, the other was captured. (It happened near Lloyd Lake, Area 1 below.)
In response to this, the police are stepping up their presence in the Park. Here’s the Captain’s Message from the Park Station newsletter:
Park Station is working together with Park and Rec and the Park Rangers to increase patrols in Golden Gate Park. In order to keep Golden Gate Park safe for everyone to enjoy, Park Station and Richmond Station will be doing daily early morning patrols in the park to address illegal camping and sleeping in Golden Gate Park.
Good news from our monthly Compstat meeting this week; our year to date stats for Park Station show a reduction in Part 1 Violent Crimes of 14 percent.
Working together with the community has helped us reduce crime through strategic planning, community information sharing, and teamwork. Thank you for your continued support and input.
Captain Teri Barrett
Commanding Officer Park Station
While the Musee d’Orsay is closed for renovations, we’re getting to see a hundred of its masterpieces in two exhibitions. Yesterday, I was there with friends. They’re marvelous – amazing pictures, beautifully displayed, and arranged. Some of them are so well-known that they’ve become part of the idiom of popular culture. Whistler’sMother. Manet’s Fife Player. Degas’s Dancing Lesson.
But what I especially noticed was a quiet Pissarro, called Path Through the Woods in Summer. It reminded me so much of our own Sutro Forest, it could almost have been painted there. Except for the horse, of course (or maybe it’s a mule).
Actually, when the Legion of Honor had its 2006 Monet exhibition, I noticed how the landscapes resembled the Bay Area – so much so I felt I could have replicated some scenes with photographs from around San Francisco.
This is the first time, though, that the resemblance has been so close to home.
If there’s anything I’m learning from having gotten drawn into neighborhood issues, it’s response times. And implementation times. And that the two are sometimes quite different.
At the Laguna Honda Reservoir, the SF PUC has built a gravel yard where it was supposed to restore the site to greenery, and decided to locate its Dive Team there. When neighbors protested and pointed out that it had Open Space zoning, the PUC promised to put the project on hold. That was on June 9th.
The Dive Team visiting the site on June 15th, unaware that any plans had changed.
PUC trucks and a dump truck on June 29th and 30th.
Loud truck activity from 11.18 and until after midnight, June 30th-July1. When a neighbor investigated, the guard said something about a water main break and asked him to leave the site.
By this time, the neighbors were both suspicious and annoyed. Said one on Facebook: “It is obvious that this site is being used and I think we have all had our fill of lies from the people at the PUC...”
From neighbor Beverly Myer: “…when I was awakened by the beep beep, at first I thought it was a dream. Then I thought, it can’t be, even that PUC would not be that BLATANT, but when it continued I realized it was them, and they don’t care about anything that affects a residential area.”
One of them emailed the PUC, and got this response:
“I apologize for the inconvenience and noise that resulted when the Laguna Honda site was accessed late last evening. There had been a water main break and crews went to that site to get material needed to fill the hole so that the street was safe for traffic after the water main was fixed. Our Dive Team and Operations crews have been advised to stay out of that site until further notice, and I have been assured that for the forseeable future, crews participating in emergency repair work will gather fill materials at a more remote location. We will be setting up another community meeting about this site during the week of July 19, and will confirm the date, time and location early next week.”
Beverly’s reaction: “I like the way they refer to the timing of the gravel trucks as ‘late last evening’ – somehow 11:15 pm and midnight do not constitute ‘evening’ in my book. Evening connotes people still being awake, having dinner, watching TV, reading etc.”
So here you have it: The PUC, after officially deciding to put the project on hold (which itself took more time than it should) has somehow not conveyed that to the operating end of the organization. Delayed response, even more delayed implementation. And even more anger among the neighbors.
If you’re interested, look out for the meeting the week of July 19th. We’ll send out the details.
[Edited to Add: At the Sutro Forest meeting recently, FKNO President Walter Caplan noted that he was working to have the ugly chain-link fence around the reservoir removed. Stay tuned. We’ll update this with whatever Walter is ready to make public.]
Following a heads-up from the neighbors working to preserve the Laguna Honda Reservoir, I attended a meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WTPCC). The WTPCC is a council of councils; its members are the neighborhood organizations from all over San Francisco’s west side. We met in the quaint Maybeck clubhouse in Forest Hill. Nestled under tall redwoods, the place has a charming, almost medieval atmosphere.
After thanking two members of the Council who were retiring (to the tune of “Jolly Good Fellow”!), the chairman George Wooding rapidly got through several agenda items. Some that are relevant to our neighborhood:
Regarding the gravel yard at Laguna Honda Reservoir, he had attended the June 6th meeting with the PUC. He said the PUC had a moratorium in place until July 15th at least. The Home Owners’ Association of The Woods, a residential community adjacent to the reservoir, is joining the WTPCC.
About Sutro Forest, he mentioned that UCSF was having a community meeting on June 30th.
The current owners of Park Merced discussed what was happening there. They are under financial pressure with loans coming due, but hope to negotiate with their lenders for a better payment terms. Meanwhile, they are planning to build new housing and slowly phase out the older buildings. They assured us that existing tenants under rent control would be given comparable-but-new homes at the rent-controlled rate.
The evening’s main issue was the misuse of the Gift Fund of Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH). Apparently, a gift fund described as being specifically for the welfare and happiness of the residents/ patients/ inmates of the hospital, has been utilized for the benefit of the hospital staff. The fund, which had reached around $2 million, has been run down to about $700 thousand. Its oversight structures have been disbanded, so now money can be taken out more easily. Several sub-accounts have been set up under the Gift Fund to utilize the monies for the nurses, doctors, and administrators of the hospital while cutting back on excursions for the residents.
George described WTPCC’s futile efforts to get inputs or explanations from LHH representatives, from various oversight institutions, and from the district supervisor. WTPCC passed a resolution to recommend an independent audit of the funds, restoring any misspent monies, and reinstating oversight structures.
So we’d reported that on hearing the area was zoned as Open Space, PUC had decided to stop all work there. Specifically, they said on their blog: “At the meeting, neighbors asked the SFPUC to verify the zoning for this property. While we do that, Kevin Barry, City Distribution Manager, promised that the SFPUC dive and operations staff will not pursue any further activities at the site.” (Click here for their blog, scroll down to the entry for June 9th 2010.)
They later clarified in an email to one of the opponents that they would still be going ahead to provide power “PG&E will go ahead and make its connection to the transformer as planned tomorrow, June 10. There is no installation necessary but once they make this connection, SFPUC can remove the generator that is located inside the inner fence from the property.”
Okay. So why were members of the Dive Team checking out the area yesterday (June 15th), and why had they heard nothing about the moratorium? Is it PUC’s internal communications at fault, or its external communications?
Doesn’t PUC recognize that “neighbors” means that people are right there on the spot, and they’re keeping track of what goes on?
Edited to Add: There’s been no significant activity since the Dive Team visit. The neighbors keeping tabs on the area, and posting on Facebook.
Edited to Add (July 1, 2010): Trucks have been loading and unloading around midnight last night, with loud beeping that woke the neighbors. The guard said something about a water-main break. When neighbors emailed PUC, PUC said they would get gravel from a different location in future.
The PUC’s gravel yard project we described yesterday is apparently on hold for now, and may be cancelled. Here’s an extract from an update we received from the PUC after the June 8 meeting at Clarendon School. (We subscribed to their blog.)
“At the meeting, neighbors asked the SFPUC to verify the zoning for this property. While we do that, Kevin Barry, City Distribution Manager, promised that the SFPUC dive and operations staff will not pursue any further activities at the site.”
We understand the neighbors have checked and found the Laguna Honda Reservoir is zoned as open space. Presumably, the PUC will have to change their plans. This is excellent news, particularly if the PUC now makes good on their initial commitment to restore the greenery that was removed when they created the staging area.
(We’re a little surprised that the Chronicle’s journalists did not investigate this for their article before stating that since it was PUC land, it was their plans that would count.)
The comment below (on May 13, 2010) was the first we knew of what was happening by Laguna Honda Lake, just off the bottom of Clarendon Avenue.
“Do any members here have photos of the Laguna Honda Reservoir from a few years ago? Specifically, photos that capture the area along Clarendon Ave, to the East of the reservoir?
“The PUC just installed a large (8′high x 6′ wide) circuit breaker at sidewalk level, just inside the gate on Clarendon. They will build a 20 x 20 office on the site, unless we act NOW! In addition, they just informed us that the site will be used as a permanent distribution center for gravel and dirt for City repairs! (See the piles of gravel there today – the PUC wants to keep them).
“Four large, healthy trees were removed to install the circuit breaker and a large patch of flowers and bushes was paved over to make room for the gravel piles. With all of the other existing buildings and paved areas in The City today, it makes no sense for the PUC to destroy green and open space in a residential area.
“Please post any photos of the area you may have to help us illustrate the beauty the PUC has just destroyed.
“Join us in apposing this move by contacting your Supervisor and the PUC (Maureen Barry firstname.lastname@example.org, Suzanne Gautier email@example.com, Ed Harrington firstname.lastname@example.org)”
They noted that the PUC had taken 2500 square yards for use as a staging area for work on nearby pump stations. At the time, the PUC promised to return the area to its original green state.
That was then. Meanwhile, the PUC’s diver team, based at Treasure Island, lost their lease. Now the PUC, without much reference to the community, has decided to base the dive team at the reservoir site, while also still using it as a place to store gravel, sand and stuff. They plan to add a utility shed, a 20X40 trailer, and power lines. The Chronicle article concluded with, “The bottom line, though, is that it’s PUC property and that their plans are the ones that count.”
PUC held a meeting in April, attended by about 30 unhappy neighbors. Another meeting was this evening at the Clarendon School. We couldn’t go, since we were at the UCSF Sutro Forest Agenda Planning Meeting, but we hope to hear from people who attended, including the President of the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization.
[ETA1: One of the neighbors, Anthony Roy, wrote an article for the Westside Observer, summing up the issues.]
[ETA 2: It appears that the neighbors discovered that Laguna Honda Reservoir is zoned as Open Space… this may preclude the gravel yard.]
THE PUMP STATION AT FOREST KNOLLS
The PUC does indeed appear to have a rather cavalier attitude to greenery.
When they rebuilt the pump station at Forest Knolls, they selected a new site where they would have to fell trees, rather than rebuilding on the site of the old pump station. Still, it didn’t look too bad in the pictures in their circular or the billboard outside the project site. It would be a low building nestled under the existing mature trees…
Is that what we got? Not so much.
Here’s the new pump station soon after completion. All the tall trees and dense greenery that screened Forest Knolls from the Aldea Student Housing are gone, and there’s no space to plant more. The huge gap in the trees looks to be permanent, though the brown areas in front of the Pump Station are greening out.
In the past few days, several items arrived in my in-box that probably should be shared:
1. The elections are on June 8th. For people who were accustomed to the polling station in the garage on Oak Park – it’s changed. Precinct 2708, most of Forest Knolls and Galewood Circle will vote at the Clarendon Elementary School on Clarendon. But it’s a good idea to check before June 8th!
ETA (Thanks, LC): Precinct 2707 (on the Devonshire Way side of Forest Knolls) will still vote at the Lobby of Avalon Towers Inc, on 6 Locksley Avenue. There’s a 0.1% slope, accessible to people with disabilities.
2. Dr. Sobol sent a message that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for theCrestmont project should be done by October or November.
“The time for action is obviously approaching: as soon as the EIR is published, our community will have the opportunity to formally respond and we will, as in 2006, mobilize a write-in campaign to challenge any deficiencies in the report and express the entire neighborhood’s opposition to this misguided and inappropriate project. A subsequent public hearing will almost certainly follow and we must plan to attend in large numbers to give voice to our opposition directly to the Planning Commissioners.
“In the meantime, new “STOP CRESTMONT HILLS” posters are going up throughout Forest Knolls and it is important to make our opposition visible to the politicians by placing them in our windows and on our fences. If you don’t have a poster or need to replace one that’s become frayed and faded (after all, this battle has been going on for six years!)
please notify us at the number below and we’ll be happy to provide one – or several.
3. UCSF is building a new community center on Johnstone Drive within the Aldea Student Housing area, scheduled for completion in Spring 2011. (It’s near the entrance to Medical Center Way.) They had to cut down nine trees, none of which was a eucalyptus or a redwood… ” a total of nine trees will need to be removed from the project area. These will include two acacias, one hawthorne and six victorian box trees.” This picture (taken from UCSF’s message) and the diagram accompanying it does not indicate the orientation of the building.
It’s not clear to what extent the Community Center will be available for rental to surrounding communities, but if it is, and it’s not too expensive, it may be a good addition to the amenities of this neighborhood.
I received this email from the organizers of the Irving and 10th street fair:
“On behalf of the Inner Sunset Street Fair (SFF) organizing committee, I want to send a heartfelt to all of you who joined us at the first ever Inner Sunset Street Fair, last Saturday May 15th. Opening up Irving Street and 10th Avenue to the neighborhood was everything we dreamed of and more. Circus entertainers, all-day massage, local arts and crafts, a packed music schedule, outdoors yoga and Tai Chi, and neighbors doing the Lindy hop together… all of that, mixed with neighbors coming together, children smiling, and connections being created, made this a unique occasion.
“Underlying the street fair’s design was our collective belief in the importance of public space for community-building, not just for vehicles; in the value of people as citizens, not just consumers; and in the need to celebrate the many wonderful people, projects, and organizations that make the Inner Sunset. We think opening up the streets to all of this was a big success and we hope you will join us to making it happen more often.
“As this was our first street fair, we learned a lot and we expect next year’s street fair (you heard it – there will be another!) to be even better. However, only with your feedback on this year’s event can we make next year’s occasion really shine. Your input is crucial! To that end, we would be grateful if you would fill out this short anonymous survey: Thank you in advance.
“Lastly, thank you to the wonderful ISSF team – Chris (co-chair), Wendy, Randy, Jason, Tanya, Trina, Walter, Jim, Ellen, Tracy, Jamie, and Blas – for their wonderful work. Without their amazing dedication, this event would not have been possible. Thank you also to the many other supporters and sponsors – from individuals to local businesses and organizations – who also made this possible.
“We will see you next year – and surely long before then. All the best, Adam, Chris, and the ISSF team
Separately, someone gave us a heads-up about a Census of Farmer’s Markets:
HELP THE USDA COUNT ALL THE FARMERS MARKETS:
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JUNE 4
Each year the USDA does a census of farmers markets. It yields critical information about where and when farmers markets are operating, as well as what federal nutrition assistance programs are accepted at which farmers markets.
When you see statistics – in the press, quoted by politicians, or used as a way to chart the local food movement and prove its reach — they come from this census.
The results turn around quickly: this year’s numbers will be released in August.
This website is a good place to let people know about nearby events and activities that might interest people in Forest Knolls. In that spirit, we bring you another Street Fair announcement. This one’s at Irving and 10th. It’s put on by the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors.
Here’s what the notice says:
“Enjoy the music, art, crafts, dance, and food of our neighbors. The California Academy of Science, Circus Center, Sunset Academy of Music, San Francisco Massage Collective, Sutro Stewards, UCSF and many more neighborhood groups will be sharing their skills and talents.
“In conjunction with the San Francisco’s Small Business Week, local merchants will be holding sidewalk sales throughout the neighborhood along with 40 booths displaying local artists and services. Of course the Inner Sunset has over 75 food and beverage establishments to choose a meal from, just a few steps away from the fair.
“Borrowing from Ciclovia of Bogota Colunbia, the fair will start with yoga and tai chi lessons at 10 and 11am. Then at noon the Pearse Connolly Fife Drum Band will kick off an afternoon of live music on the Irving Street stage featuring folk to jazz to blues. At 6pm, “Lindy in the Park” will teach everyone a few new steps and from 6:30 to 8:30 the Sunset’s own Dianne Nola and the 7 against 8 Swing Band will fill the street with song and dance.”
The co-chairs are Adam Greenfield (415-786-2143) and Chris Duderstadt (415-517-2754)
If you want more details including a detailed program and a list of entertainment; or you want to sign-up, volunteer, or sponsor something – they have a website. (Or click on the picture above.)