Category Archive 'San Francisco'
30 Oct 2022

Hammer Time at Pelosi Manor

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The Good Citizen summarizes the news story of the week.

Tonight at eleven, a spooky story of political rage and right-wing violence has shattered the moral fabric of our completely healthy and stable country.

Husband of the Speaker of the House and third in line to the throne of Oligarch servantry, undefeated stock market picker, part-time drunk driver with unlisted male companions, and lover of Do-It-Yourself home improvement work was assaulted at Speaker’s Manor in the early hours Friday morning.

Run footage of crime tape with FBI agents on the scene.

Paul Pelosi was doing urgent home improvement work at 2 am in his underwear at Speaker’s Manor when an Ultra MAGA intruder smashed through the back patio window of the Speaker’s Manor with a hammer.

The intruder was apparently yelling, “Where’s Nancy?” in reference to Paul’s wife Nancy Pelosi who was out of town.

Paul Pelosi was able to distance himself from the intruder by saying he needed to use the bathroom. The intruder was attempting to tie him up with leather and chains Paul had purchased as part of his home improvement project, but let Mr. Pelosi leave anyway to relieve himself.

From the bathroom, Paul found his phone, where he, like all people living in mega-mansions keeps his main phone charger. From there he was able to phone the police. During the call with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, Mr. Pelosi spoke in codes.

When police arrived they found both men in their underwear holding hammers. At that moment the Ultra MAGA intruder grabbed Mr. Pelosi’s hammer and hit him over the head, cracking his skull. Police quickly subdued the assailant and took him into custody where he definitely won’t be committing suicide at any moment.

The Ultra MAGA assailant has been identified as a professional nudist, drug addict, homeless psychotic, and blogger who lives across the bay in Ultra MAGA country, Berkeley.

We’re looking at a live shot of the intruder’s home now, as you can see the Ultra MAGA paraphernalia with the standard rainbow flag with marijuana leaf in the yard and a Black Lives Matter sign in the house window. The suspect lives in that broken down white school bus in the driveway that says You are beautiful, a common living arrangement for Ultra MAGA violent far-right extremists.

We will have more facts about this story as they become available.

RTWT

08 May 2022

Hunter Thompson Was a Colorful Sort

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Gerard van der Leun remembers partying with Hunter Thompson back in the Day. Good times!

Warren liked to drink and spend other people’s money on himself and writers. Naturally, such a honey pot was going to attract Hunter Thompson. Thompson liked to drink, snort coke, and spend other people’s money on articles he might or might not write. A favorite item from the day was the time Hunter rented a car on Scanlan [Magazine]’s credit card. He then parked it next to one of his North Beach Beatnik bimbo’s apartments and went to and fro with it for a number of months. When the time came to return the car it was discovered that the rental fee would be much much more than Hinkle and Scanlan’s wanted to spend. Their solution? After a night of beer, bourbon, and bongs, they drove the car out to the end of a pier in San Francisco, stepped out, and let it drive itself into the bay. Then they reported it stolen.

Beer. Bourbon. Bongs. Bay. What can I say? Good times.

Sometimes the small staff working with me at Organ and the larger staff working the con with Warren at Scanlan’s would decide to drink together. We liked to drink at our bar of choice up at the end of the alley, Andre’s.

One night, when Hunter was in town, we all went up to Andre’s for a non-stop night of drinking.

Andre was an elegant French-Canadian who ran an elegant bar and restaurant. He was old-school and could mix any drink anyone could name and it was always perfect. He was polished, polite, and a good listener. But he was a pro and usually knew when you’d had enough. Then he politely asked you to leave. If you ignored him, he had a very large mallet with a three-foot handle behind the bar and you didn’t ignore that.

So there we were, eight or ten of us I think, hanging around and drinking with “Hunter S. Thompson, man!” And, as they would, Warren and Hunter got into a drinking contest — sort of like watching a match between Ali and Frazier in their prime.

It went on and on long past the point where I could or would keep up. It was getting late and Andre announced to the assembled cross-eyed drunks, that he was giving us our last round. The regulars took him at his word, but Hunter had to push the envelope. Except with Andre, there was no envelope. Just a polite, “Non.”

The next thing I know there’s a gun in Hunter’s hand and three rounds blasted into the ceiling of the bar. (Did I mention that there were apartments where people were sleeping above the bar?)

Then I think there was a blur of Andre, in suit and tie, coming over the bar with the mallet. Then more blurs and everybody is out on the street dragging a semi-conscious Hunter back down the alley mumbling something about getting his gun back. After that I don’t remember much and, frankly, haven’t thought all that much about Thompson in the nearly 50 years that have intervened.

RTWT

15 Mar 2022

“49 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality.”

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27 Nov 2021

“San Francisco Stores Hold 100% Off Black Friday Sale”

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Babylon Bee:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—In a beloved San Fran tradition, stores across the city are holding their annual 100% off Black Friday sale today, offering shoppers the opportunity to come in, throw as much stuff in a bag as they can fit, and run out of the store.

“Come one, come all, and check out these amazing discounts!” said the manager of one San Francisco Walgreens. “You can get makeup, electronics, Takis, sunglasses, you name it—even prescription medications!”

One shopper said she just had to go check out the savings on designer handbags. “Yeah, I don’t really like going out in the crowds, but for 100% off, sure. I’ll throw on a ski mask and some gloves and grab as many Gucci purses as possible.”

RTWT

23 Oct 2021

Urban Residential Anecdotes

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Johnny Sanphillippo describes some interesting aspects of the operation of the economics of modernity on the residential market of San Francisco.

New York City is slightly different, but shares the same rent control and building permit policies and the same national tax system.

I enjoy chatting with strangers as I walk around the city. People self-select in or out of these conversations, but the ones who chat back teach me quite a lot I’d probably never know any other way. This lady described how she and her husband built this home themselves back in 1953. He had just returned from the Korean War, rolled up his sleeves, bought lumber, and built the place with the help of his working-class tradesmen family members with minimal debt.

Land was affordable, building materials were readily available, and regulations hadn’t yet twisted themselves into the Gordian knot of the present moment. Construction permits were a simple over-the-counter transaction for a nominal fee. I’ve talked to many people of that generation all around the country, including a few of my own relatives, and it was common for people to build their own homes seventy years ago, even in big cities.

Here’s another little tidbit about this house. According to the algorithms, this place is currently worth $1,400,000. Rent for a property like this is assumed to be $4,500, although that number is substantially too low in my experience. Public records show property taxes on this house are $766 per year. That’s a consequence of Proposition 13, a 1978 tax revolt that caps property tax at the value of the house on the day it was purchased, plus a 2% annual increase, rather than present value.

That one law is probably what’s keeping a lot of older folks in their homes as prices reached for the stars over the decades, which is exactly what the law was designed to do. But it had unintended consequences. In order to make up for the lost revenue, the city has found all sorts of alternative income streams, not least of which is to massively jack up the cost of new building permits. This same couple couldn’t duplicate the construction of their own home today largely because the culture and economy that existed in 1953 is entirely gone.

RTWT

HT: Karen L. Myers.

16 Oct 2021

Market Street, San Francisco 1906, Just Days Before the Earthquake and Fire

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A fascinating thing to see. So many automobiles in 1906! High-spirited, active people, not one of whom is still alive today. In fact, of the many people we see, one realizes that some of them, possibly quite a few of them will very soon be killed.

06 Jun 2021

That Over-Priced City By the Bay

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LithHub excerpts Grant Faulkner’s new book repining the technocrafication of San Francisco that prices out creative Bohos like himself.

Our sense of place is as important as the other senses because it provides the sense of belonging, and without knowing it, I belonged in San Francisco in the early ’90s, no matter that I wasn’t quite as hip as the other hipsters (I thought about but eventually balked at getting a tattoo of barbed wire around my bicep), no matter that my leftist politics placed me nearer Jerry Brown than Che Guevara. Whether I was doing yoga in the attic of an old Victorian on Dolores Street (yoga studios were still rare and exotic in the early ’90s) or going on my weekly pilgrimage to Fort Mason on the 49 bus to page through the slim binders of jobs at Media Alliance, desperately trying to find a job that better suited my college education than my gig as a waiter, or walking with hordes of people through Golden Gate Park for a free concert, I belonged to San Francisco, and my Midwestern self was fading away.

And yet, the place I belonged to was just about to depart. To be usurped, really. As the dot-coms rolled in, finally providing those jobs that were better suited to my college education, some of my poor writer friends became digital marketers and content providers and would soon climb the ladder to earn more money, and then more again, because it took more and more to live here. Others left for places like Portland, LA, and Austin, places they hoped would provide an easier and more creative life. The rest were pushed out. Rudely pushed out by escalating rents. We thought the Mission, the city, was ours, and didn’t understand how such a thing could be for sale. We were futurists looking in the wrong direction.

RTWT

20 Oct 2020

SF May Rename 44 Schools

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George Washington High School in San Francisco.

The Malefactors being cancelled include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Diane Feinstein (!). SFGate:

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein have been deemed too problematic to be featured in the names of schools in the San Francisco Unified School District by a panel of 12 community members appointed by the superintendent.

Three weeks ago, the panel found that 44 of the 125 schools in the district might have to change their names after their review. KGO reported that panel members sought to rename schools currently featuring the names of, “anyone directly involved in the colonization of people, slave owners or participants in enslavement, perpetrators of genocide or slavery, those who exploit workers/people, those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer or transgender people, those connected to any human rights or environmental abuse [and] those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs.”

The Chronicle reported Wednesday that parents and principals were formally asked this week to brainstorm potential new names by Dec. 18, a move that was not well-received given the fact that schools are still in distanced learning due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The school board will then vote on any potential name changes in January or February of 2021.

In a statement sent to SFGATE, the SFUSD said, “Any final decision to change school names rests with the elected members of the Board of Education. As part of this process, the committee has requested input from schools by the end of this semester. Schools are not required or mandated to participate in this process. This is a process being led by an advisory committee. The district appreciates that the advisory committee’s timing may be difficult for schools, and has conveyed concerns to the advisory committee regarding the challenges of making recommendations at this time given that we are in distance learning due to the pandemic.”

Schools named after former presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are on the list due to the two presidents’ slave-owning status, and a school named after Abraham Lincoln is on the list because of his treatment of Native Americans.

Dianne Feinstein Elementary School made the list because she reportedly replaced a vandalized Confederate flag flying outside City Hall when she was mayor in 1984. Progressives have recently been irate at Feinstein after her embrace of South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham at the end of the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Also on the list is El Dorado Elementary School, because panel members took issue with the concept of El Dorado.

“The concept of El Dorado, especially in California, had a lot to do with the search of gold, and for the indigenous people that meant the death of them,” panel member Mary Travis Allen said during a September meeting. “I don’t think the concept of greed and lust for gold is a concept we want our children to be given.”

RTWT

09 Sep 2020

VDH Describes Sadly the Suicide of the American Urban Elite

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cole_thomas_the_course_of_e
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1833-1836, New York Historical Society.

Victor Davis Hanson:

No city gets a pass from history, not Athens, not Rome, not Alexandria—not Detroit, Baltimore, or Chicago.

After all, there is no rule that just because Bill Gates and Amazon headquartered in Seattle that its mayor, city council, and state governor will not abandon its signature downtown. What once made Portland great can be undone in a few weeks.

Wall Street may run the world, but it certainly does not run the New York City government. Electronic capital really does still have human legs and when the proverbial suited investor thinks he will be infected, short of toilet paper, or assaulted on the street, he leaves, taking his laptop with him. Bill de Blasio is left to govern, like a horned and bearded Visigoth, over an increasing shell of former grandeur.

To venture into San Francisco is to return in a time machine to 1855, a boomtown based on silicon chips, not gold dust, but one likewise lawless, fetid, and safe only for those with private security guards. To the casual visitor, it appears a lunatic place now recalibrated for the homeless, the looter, the assaulter—and the very rich. Crimes like public defecation and drug use, or shattering the windows of a parked car window to steal its contents are not crimes unless the targets are the well-connected.

The story of all Dark Ages is that when civilizations finally prefer suicide, they do it easily, and the remnants flock to the countryside to preserve what they can—allowing the cities to go on with their ritual self-destruction.

So it has begun to seem this endless summer.

RTWT

19 May 2020

SF Emptying Out of Normal People

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In certain quarters of elite Western Society (Yale University, Columbia University, Oxford, and San Franciso), being the bastard son of a Weather Underground terrorist imprisoned for bank robbery and the murder of two police officers and adopted and brought up by fellow Weathermen Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn constitutes the very best kind of membership in the hereditary aristocracy of the Left which just naturally qualifies any such dynast for prominent public office.

Michael Gibson correctly sees Chesa’s rise as one more key watershed moment in San Francisco’s continuing descent into left-wing insanity.

On January 8, London Breed, San Francisco’s mayor, was sworn in for her first full term. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated her in a tweet, saying, “I look forward to working with you to continue San Francisco’s proud tradition of standing as a guiding light for progress across America.” I don’t know what definition of “progress” Pelosi is using, but any candid observer would rate the city a catastrophe. Mayor Breed was inaugurated on the same day that I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, after ten years working at the cutting edge of science and technology.

Even before the current Covid-19 pandemic, San Francisco was a deeply troubled city. It ranks first in the nation in theft, burglary, vandalism, shoplifting, and other property crime. On average, about 60 cars get broken into each day. Diseases arising from poor sanitation—typhoid, typhus, hepatitis A—are reappearing at an alarming rate. Fentanyl goes for about $20 a pill on Market Street, and each year the city hands out 4.5 million needles, which you can find used and tossed out like cigarette butts in parks and around bus stops. The city’s department of public works deploys feces cleaners daily—a “poop patrol” to wash the filth from the sidewalks.

This is just a brief summary of the lack of hygiene and common decency. A reasonable person might declare an emergency, but in her first official act, Breed swore in Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s new district attorney, before a packed house at the Herbst Theater. “Chesa, you have undertaken a remarkable challenge today,” said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a congratulatory video message. “I hope you reflect as a great beacon to many.” Boudin’s résumé boasts of a stint working directly for the late dictator Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, who turned a once-rich nation back to the dark ages. “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes,” Boudin promised during his campaign. He must have witnessed the success of that policy in Caracas, which was voted the world’s most dangerous city in 2018.

RTWT

05 Mar 2020

SF’s New No Arrest Policy Has Had an Impact

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HT: Vanderleun.

03 Dec 2019

Down and Out in the Bay Area

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Wes Enzinna, in Harper’s, describes the bizarre fringe existence of a millennial bourgeois Bohemian trying to find living space in ever-so-rich, ever-so-f*cked-up Bay Area California.

[T]he year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

Down these same streets, tourists scuttered along on Segways and techies surfed the hills on motorized longboards, transformed by their wealth into children, just as the sidewalk kids in cardboard boxes on Haight or in People’s Park aged overnight into decrepit adults, the former racing toward the future, the latter drifting away from it.

To my mother and girlfriend back East, the “shack situation” was a problem to be solved. “Can we help you find another place?” “Can you just find roommates and live in a house?” But the shack was the solution, not the problem.

As penance for abandoning my girlfriend, I still paid part of our rent in New York, and after covering my portion of our bills, my student loan payment, and car insurance, I had about $1,500 left over each month. That wouldn’t have been so little to live on, except that, according to some estimates, apartments then averaged $3,500 a month in San Francisco, $3,000 in Oakland. That year, 2016, 83,733 low-income San Franciscans would apply for the city’s affordable housing lottery, fighting for 1,025 slots. There were still cheap rooms available in the Bay, to be sure, mostly in ramshackle Victorians or weathered Maybeck bungalows where artists or activists or punks lived collectively and were protected by rent control, but these rooms were in dwindling supply and astonishingly high demand. On Craigslist or by word of mouth, vacancies were often offered exclusively to “Q.T.P.O.C.” (queer and trans people of color) or “B.A.B.R.” (Bay Area born and raised) roommates, a reasonable defensive measure against the ravages of the tech economy, which, block by block, was replacing the weird old counterculture with Stanford M.B.A.s and Google engineers.

For those of us caught in the middle, it meant that to score a bed, you had to have Q.T.P.O.C. friends willing to make an exception for you, or be a member of obscure Facebook groups like (’’’), which served as an underground network for people seeking shared housing. (The page also offered bartered services like massage and childcare and, on at least one occasion, a “free hearse.”) As in other cities under intense economic pressure, marginalized inhabitants had created an alternate, black-market rental economy: the currency may have been cultural capital, but competition was still fierce.

I spent a few weeks on friends’ couches before an acquaintance posted on Facebook about a room opening in his eight-bedroom house in Oakland for $475, a steal, and I messaged him immediately. Thirty people had already written, he said, and his roommates had also received scores of inquiries, so the odds weren’t good. He stopped answering my emails after that. The same thing happened with a few vacant rooms I tracked down at illegal warehouses, cavernous lofts where residents scrimped on such things as functioning plumbing or reliable electricity in order to have space to paint and make sculptures and host bands all night, places like the Dildo Factory, or Heco’s, or Ghost Ship, whose leaseholder posted a roommate-wanted ad on Craigslist that winter seeking

    all shamanic rattlesnake sexy jungle jazz hobo gunslingers looking for a space to house gear, use studio, develop next level Shaolin discipline after driving your taxi cab late at night, build fusion earth home bomb bunker spelunker shelters, and plant herbaceous colonies in the open sun & air.

I didn’t answer the Ghost Ship ad, but I went to a few “auditions” at other lofts. There were so many people vying for the spaces, I rarely got a call back and was never offered a room. I’d squandered whatever cool I once possessed, it turned out, by building a “normie” career as a writer and editor on the East Coast.

RTWT

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