May 2008

Short Cuts


An early-afternoon shooting at the Potrero Terrace housing complex last month brought the total number of homicides in the City to 28, four more than the same time last year.  Two men in ski masks fired at least five rounds into a minivan, killing Fairfield resident Kelly McGee, and sending the van into the perimeter of the Oscaryne Williams Infant and Toddler Center.  Several children between six months and three years-old were napping at the center when the shooting occurred; fortunately the incident took place during spring break or more children would have been playing in and around the facility.  Two days previously a 71-year-old man was beaten to death in South-of-Market as part of a robbery.  Crime may not pay, but neither does it take a holiday.   

Webster Defines Progress

Rebuilding Together San Francisco (RTSF), a nonprofit previously known as Christmas in April, has made renovating Daniel Webster Elementary School on Missouri Street their lead project this year.  Last month – and in partnership with the Potrero Residents Education Fund, Ernst & Young, Charles Schwab, and Dreamworks – RTSF fielded more than 120 volunteers to paint the school’s exterior as well as the retaining and playground walls.  Kudos to the persistent, insistent, and successful efforts of our neighbors to rejuvenate one of the community’s few elementary schools.

Let’s Eat!

Keeping up with the ongoing baby boomlet in Southeast San Francisco, Axis Café is offering family-friendly dinners on Monday nights, including kids’ menus and activities.  With Goat Hill Pizza’s all-you-can-eat extravaganza on the same night, Monday is the new Thursday (which was the new Saturday) for families…The Maktoub Group has struck again, with the launch of Chez Papa Resto in Mint Plaza last month.  The new eatery, which features an antique chef’s table and outdoor seating, has a relaxed vibe sustained by moderately priced Provençal dishes and an expansive wine list, including 23 by the glass.  The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and brunch, with the latter offering such French favorites as Croque Monsieur, slow baked eggs, and eggs benedicte.

Now We’re Cooking

Molly Fuller’s Dogpatch-based company Hands on Gourmet, which organizes interactive cooking to support team-building efforts, recently sponsored their largest corporate cook-off, with roughly 250 lay cooks and 35 chefs, possibly establishing a Guinness World Record.  The current world record for “most people cooking simultaneously” stands at a 100 people, which spurred Fuller to send in a video and photos of the affair in an attempt to usurp the title.  The private event took place at the Claremont Resort and Spa, with participants cranking out lobster fried spring rolls, polenta cakes, beef meatballs, and chocolate éclairs.  Fuller didn’t realize they’d broken the record until after the cook-off; if her application doesn’t succeed this year, she plans to have the proper media coverage and planning witnesses lined up for next year’s application round.


Planning Appointments and Graffiti Challenges

Mayor Gavin Newsom has appointed Potrero Hill resident Ron Miguel to the powerful San Francisco Planning Commission.  Miguel previously served as the President of the Planning Association for the Richmond and chaired the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition…View contributor and occasional Dogpatch resident Dick Christian’s suggestion that a contest be held to photograph graffiti taggers has been accepted:  the View will pay $25 for the first photograph submitted of a tagger in action in Southeast San Francisco, and $50 for the first photograph of someone desecrating a View newspaper box or removing excessive amounts of the paper to be prematurely recycled.  No staged pictures, please.

Biofuels in Dogpatch

Dogpatch may soon be home to San Francisco’s first retail biodiesel filling station.  The facility, which will include a retail store selling healthy snack foods and locally made sustainable products, is being developed at 765 Pennsylvania Avenue, adjacent to the International Fire Company.   Fill ‘er up!   

There Will Be Giants

The San Francisco Giants celebrated their half-century anniversary on April 15.  On that hallowed day, otherwise famous for more taxing reasons, the team played its first game at Seal Stadium on 16th and Bryant streets, moving to Candlestick Park two years later.  Management says that this year’s team is younger, faster, and more energetic, with no one over 30 years-old on the starting rotation.  That may be true, but it’s unlikely that the Giants will be disrupting their two decade World Series-free record anytime soon…In other giant news, Treasure Island developer Kenwood Investments scored slightly higher than the Giants and their partners in the Citizen Advisory Task Force review of proposals to make-over the 16-acre Seawall Lot 337.  Two other teams, led by Build, Inc. and Federal Development, received far lower scores.  The rating criteria included suggested land use patterns and design features, open space, and the development team’s financial capacity.  Kenwood Investments’ proposal focuses on using the site as an art destination, while the Giants are pitching an entertainment center that would include a 5,000 seat music hall and five acre park.  The two top teams will now submit their final proposals to develop the property, which the port hopes will generate $8 million annually in lease payments.

Choo-Choo Train Dumps Dirt into the Air

South-of-Market residents are none too happy about the pollution caused by Caltrain’s idling locomotives as well as the plethora of diesel-powered construction equipment plying the area.  The fast-growing neighborhood close-by the Fourth and King streets train station has recently added upwards of 3,000 residents, as well as a similar number of workers, including a few hundred children and seniors.  Someday the rail line will be electrified, but until that happens measures need to be taken to clear the air.    

No Place like Home

After almost a decade of wrangling, Home Depot has abandoned its plans to site a store on Bayshore Boulevard.  The chain says their decision was prompted by the downturn in the home improvement market.  But some wonder whether more localized challenges killed the project, including the length of time it took to be approved by the Board of Supervisors; the expense associated with getting anything through the City’s planning and permitting processes; and San Francisco’s generally costly business environment.  Now attention turns to what exactly to do with the long derelict Goodman’s Lumber site.  How about a family entertainment center, complete with skating rink, bowling alley, butterfly or bird sanctuary, and open-ended play spaces?

Busy Bees

San Francisco State University Associate Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn is looking for a few thousands “citizen scientists” to collect information about bees.  The insect, which pollinates the state’s almonds, avocados, and berries, among other crops, is facing hard times, with domesticated honeybee colonies suffering a 35 percent decline last winter.  The Great Sunflower Project will “use information collected by the general public to produce the first real map of the state of bees in the continental United States,” said LeBuhn.  “We’ll do this by giving sunflower seeds to as many people as we can and having them keep records of the numbers and kinds of bees attracted.”  Bee watchers will need to spend a half-hour, twice a month, recording their observations, and will receive a kit containing forms for reporting on bees, a guide to gardening for pollinators, educational materials, and a packet of sunflower seeds.  If you’d like to join the hive check-out or call 847.1716.

Time Traveling

In an attempt to quell people’s economic fears, Los Angeles-based, a networking website for entrepreneurs, proposes to replace the numbers nine and five on clocks with exclamation points.  According to Patrick Gillespie, the site’s Head of Business Development, “The proposed change will constantly remind us there is more to life than working nine to five.”  If the effort succeeds, “many of us will be starting our workdays at !:00.” Perhaps we should also replace 12 with a question mark, and six with symbols indicating expletives to prompt us to question what’s for lunch, and why we’re still up at midnight; and to curse the need to rise, or dine, so early.

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