Proposition E: “Question Time”

October 31, 2007

Requiring Mayor to Appear Monthly at a Board of Supervisors Meeting

Proposition E would amend the San Francisco City Charter to require the mayor to appear in person at one regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors per month.

This proposal differs from a similar measure voters approved in November 2006. That measure was a nonbinding policy statement suggesting that the mayor should pop in on a board meeting now and then, but Proposition E would add a monthly Board of Supervisors appearance to the duties legally required of the mayor under the charter.

The purpose of that appearance, according to the language of the measure, is for the mayor to “engage in formal policy discussions with members of the board.”

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Google map of California fires

October 28, 2007

The Los Angeles Times newspaper has created a Google map showing both active and contained fires in Southern California. Fires that are contained appear in green, and active fires are in red. Since this is a hosted blog I can’t imbed the map for you, unfortunately, but click the cap below to go to the full map.

The LAT also has continuous updates via Twitter.

Taraval Street Fair 2007

October 27, 2007

Just got back from the first Taraval Street Fair, so deep in the Sandy Quarter of San Francisco you could almost hear the surf on Ocean Beach. Not a bad start for a new event, but not particularly exciting. Along with a decent coffeehouse, the establishment of a genuine common cultural event is one of my dearest hopes for the southwest corner of the Sunset District, so I look forward to next year’s fair. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was there for a bit, but he took off before I got a chance to talk with him. Supervisor Carmen Chu, pictured below presenting a commendation to the Taraval-Parkside Merchants Association, was there as well. Best booth at the fair, though, was Young Punks, an outfit that makes sarcastic onesies. How could you not love that?



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To do: Friday, Oct. 26

October 26, 2007


Island portrait: Tonight the renowned hula dance troupe Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu continues its new show “O’ahu, Confessions of an Island” at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco. In signature style, kumu hula Patrick Makuakane ranges freely among ancient hula forms imbued with deep religious context from Hawaii’s traditional beliefs, contemporary styles accompanied by Hawaiian music played on modern instruments, and Makuakane’s own hula mua — which does nothing less than transform hula movements into a fully modern genre of dance capable of partnering with any music, including the aggressively tactile bass of urban nightclubs. The Friday, Saturday and Sunday main shows (Friday and Saturday at 8, Sunday at 3) are sold out, but some last-minute tickets may be available at the box office, which opens an hour before the shows, and it’s sometimes possible to find tickets for Na Lei Hulu shows on Craigslist. On Sunday, a one-hour “Hula for Families” show suitable for children is still available. If you still think of the “Hawaii Five-O” theme when you think of hula, “O’ahu” will be an eye-opener.

Na Lei Hulu is my wife’s halau, to give full disclosure. The photo above belongs to Na Lei Hulu.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s review of the show.

The S.F. Examiner’s review.

Transportation conference: “Bay Area on the Move,” a joint conference of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments, runs from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Too late to attend by now (registration closed a while back anyway), but there’s an audio stream available here. The MTC’s Transportation 2035 Plan is the main topic. More information, including some downloadable presentations, is here for transportation wonks who must be somewhere else today.

“Walls of Sound”: Bruce McClure, the visual artist trained as an architect, premieres some new work at the Exploratorium science museum tonight at 7:30. The Explo’s event calendar uses an annoying popup format for program details, so I can’t link directly to the event, but here’s the full October calendar. If you can’t score tickets for Na Lei Hulu when the Palace of Fine Arts box office opens at 7, this might make an interesting backup plan, as the Exploratorium is at the opposite end of the same building.

Backstories and more on Southern California fires

October 25, 2007

Over at SF Gate, former colleague and San Diego native Marisa Lagos has put together a good collection of information on the Southern California fires as part of the NWZCHIK blog. Of particular interest is a link to a list of burned homes and a collection of resources for people wondering how they can help with disaster relief.

Note to Chronicle editors: You’re underutilizing Lagos. She’s a good reporter who could be an anchor asset in any metro newsroom. Toss her something noteworthy now and then.

Two tips for getting along with editors

October 25, 2007

One of the biggest early-career challenges for many professional writers is learning how to get along with editors. It doesn’t have to be hard — just keep in mind what editors need.

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To do: Wednesday, Oct. 24

October 24, 2007

High-speed rail recommendations: The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is scheduled to vote this morning on a committee recommendation for a dual-route high-speed rail system connecting the Bay Area and Southern California. The meeting starts at 10:05 a.m.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 101 Eighth St., Oakland, Calif., 510.817.5757.

Agenda (look for item 9a)

If you can’t make the meeting, listen to the live audiocast here on the MTC’s RealMedia stream — but note that the link will function only when the event starts, and meetings don’t always start on time.

A group of rail-transportation advocates and environmentalists plan to protest before the meeting, apparently because the MTC would include the Pacheco Pass alignment (roughly near Gilroy) as part of its recommendation.

Geek out with SFDOE: The San Francisco Department of Elections holds an open house today starting at 3:30 p.m. to explain how it will conduct the upcoming election. Room 48, in the basement of City Hall. If you go, skip the elevator and find the stairs. As you descend into the flourescent-lit, linoleum-paved underbelly of city government, note how rounded the white marble steps are, and imagine the number of footsteps of politicians, lobbyists, power brokers and bureaucrats it must have taken to wear them down so well.

Ballots and Brews: The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association hosts a discussion of the measures on S.F.’s November ballot, starting at 5:30 p.m. SPUR’s web site lists staff members and SPUR committee members as the speakers, but I understand that one of the city’s better “quantitative market research” analysts and a sharp observer of local politics probably will be there, too. If you’re behind on your homework as a voter, this is a great way to relax with a beer after work and learn something at the same time. This is an event of SPUR’s “Young Urbanists” membership group, targeted at people younger than 40, but they don’t turn older people away.

Ballots and Brews, 312 Sutter St., Fifth Floor.

Party with Bush: While it’s perhaps not as interesting as a Camp David kegger with Dubya, there is indeed a party with a Bush in San Francisco tonight. It’s the Pacific Research Institute‘s annual fund-raising dinner, and the president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is among the expected guests at the libertarian-minded think tank’s gala, which starts at 6 p.m.

PRI Annual Gala Dinner, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco.

Barry Bonds speaks: Barry Bonds in conversation with Ray Taliaferro of KGO radio at 7 p.m. at Hotel Nikko. An event of the Commonwealth Club.

Western SoMA plan: The Western SoMA Citizens Planning Task Force discusses the development of a Western SoMA  Community Plan — a document to guide the future zoning and physical development of San Francisco’s western South of Market Area. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School, 375 Seventh St., San Francisco.