Short Cuts

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Political Visits

President Barack Obama made a fundraising visit to the Arkansas Street home of Steve Phillips, former president of the San Francisco Board of Education, and his wife, the philanthropist and heiress Susan Sandler.  Preschoolers waited on the sidewalk to see the commander in chief go by, as did nearby residents.  “We were really lucky,” said 80-something Marjorie Marie-Rose, who lives next door to the Phillips/Sanders, and waited two hours to greet the president.  “For four days I had wanted to make a soup,” said Marie-Rose, who is related to Bonnie Raitt, “and I wasn’t sure I could make it, I was so tired…But I put on some lipstick – that’s vanity – and joined a group of my neighbors to wait.  You couldn’t get on the block unless you lived there.  After Obama got out of the car, he walked right by where I was standing.  He shook my hand, and I told him I made the best chocolate cake ever, with Belgium chocolate, and took it to the senior lunch to celebrate when he was elected.  He thanked me.”

Political Gifts

Last month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen was gifted a roughly $10,000 six-day trip to Israel, courtesy of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  “With the number of Jews we have living in San Francisco, developing a relationship with the state of Israel, I think that’s a worthwhile trip to make,” Cohen was quoted as saying.  Jews represent a couple percent of San Francisco’s population; there are far more Irish- and Mexican-Americans in the City.  But perhaps those groups don’t pay for free trips.  Likewise, the AIPAC junket would appear to be Cohen’s second tour of the Holy Land; she previously journeyed there on the Jewish Community Relations Council’s dime.  Cohen claimed that the excursion was valuable given her role on the San Francisco Retirement Board, alluding to efforts to pressure municipalities to divest from Israeli investments.  But if that’s the case, going on multiple trips paid for by pro-Israel organizations would seem either to be more like a shakedown of these entities – provide a trip or I’ll vote against you – or an odd way to conduct some kind of neutral investigation.  Hypocrisy in politics?  Say it isn’t so… 

Sandwich Open

The Sandwich Shop reopens this month at 2071 Third Street…The View’s distribution boxes have been tagged, stickered, trashed, and spun-around.  In March came a new insult:  arson. According to Officer Steven Filippi, “At approximately 0235 hours Officers Castenada…and Ramoso…broadcast that they viewed a fire at the location of 18th…and Connecticut streets in the Bayview Police District.  Upon arrival…Officers…stated the following…They observed a cloud of smoke emerging from The Potrero View…newspaper distribution box in front of 1469 18th Street.  Officer Ramoso stated he opened the distribution box and observed approximately the top ten newspapers had been set on fire.  Ramaso stated he reached into the distribution box and took the burning newspapers out before they could engulf the box.  Based on my investigation, I formed the opinion that an unknown suspect lit the newspapers on fire and used them as an accelerant in an attempt to destroy the distribution box and a violation of arson had been committed.”  Perhaps a disgruntled reader didn’t like one of the paper’s articles…

Angel Takes Flight

Last month a new park, Angel Alley, opened on Tennessee Street between 22nd Street and Tubbs. The half-block long dead-end alleyway serves as a pedestrian and bicycle shortcut to Dogpatch’s main commercial street, as well as to the Pennsylvania Street Caltrain station and T-Line, but it was previously uncared for. The alley is an ‘unaccepted’ street, meaning it’s not maintained by the City.  Nearby residents and businesses collaborated with the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association and successfully secured a Community Challenge Grant for the beautification project.   The alley includes a glow-in-the-dark retaining wall, palm trees, succulents, benches and water fountain. All materials are recycled; lights are solar powered. Angel Alley’s upkeep will be funded by the Green Benefit District, which collects a special ‘property tax’ like fee to help pay for maintenance of community-led greening projects.  “Angel Alley preserves the original flavor of the area,” said Park steward Kristin Swanson. “As Dogpatch develops and the neighborhood’s needs evolve, it was essential to beautify this pedestrian pathway to 22nd Street.”

Unpaved Parking Lot

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department broke ground on a new park locating on a former parking lot at 17th and Folsom streets in March. The $5.2 million project, principally funded by a $2.7 million California Recreation and Parks Department Statewide Park and Community Revitalization Grant, will create a 31,850 square foot neighborhood park – about the size of a medium-sized grocery store – that’ll feature an outdoor performance and classroom space, lawn, children’s play area with interactive water feature – with the water recycled for subsurface irrigation – adult fitness equipment, community garden, native landscaping/drought tolerant shrubs and trees, wildlife habitat and educational gardens, and accessible pathways and lighting.  It’s the delightful reverse of “paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” woo-woo-woo-woo.

Art Intensifies

The Untitled art fair, which has been held in Miami Beach during Art Basel since 2012, is expanding to San Francisco. The inaugural edition of Untitled San Francisco will open January 2017 at Pier 70.  Upwards of 60 galleries are expected to participate, less than half as many art vendors as appear at Untitled Miami Beach.  Pier 70 is being redeveloped by Forest City Enterprises, a $10 billion real estate investment firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Untitled is part of a wave of art activities flowing Southside, including Altman Siegel, a prestigious gallery for conceptual art and large-scale painting.  In August, owner Claudia Altman-Siegel will move from her 1,900-square-foot space on 49 Geary Street to 5,000 square feet in the Minnesota Street Project, a three-building arts cluster.  “I have a young gallery, but I always have this dream and vision of having a big gallery,” said Altman-Siegel. “This is the perfect space for that kind of thing.”  Formerly a parking garage for an electric company, 1150 25th Street is about half the size and a short block from the project’s cornerstone building, 1275 Minnesota Street, which opened in March, attracting 6,000 visitors on its first weekend to 13 galleries.  The 25th Street structure will be divided into three galleries, each with 40-foot ceilings and multiple skylights.  “There is so much natural light and so much huge dimension that it is easy to imagine doing super-ambitious art projects here,” said Altman-Siegel, who arrived seven years ago from New York, where she’d been the senior director of Luhring Augustine, a blue-chip Chelsea gallery dealing in contemporary art.

Taco Bluto

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is recommending approval of the Third Street Taco Bell’s liquor license, if proposed conditions are met, including limiting sales and service of alcohol to between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, going to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant would be prohibited from selling and serving alcohol through the pass-through window and vending alcohol for consumption off-premises. It’d be required to limit noise, clear trash around its premises, prevent loitering, and post signs at conspicuous points at entrances and exits declaring that alcoholic beverages are prohibited beyond those positions. ABC will hold an administrative hearing to hear any concerns about its recommendation on May 25, 9:30 a.m., Milton Marks Conference Center, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Lower Level, Benicia Room.


It should have been “PlayGround” in the headline and throughout the article in “Playground Takes Over Thick House,” in the March issue, and contrary to what’s implied in the story, Jim Kleinmann left the Berkeley Symphony in 2011…And the name is “Mirkarimi,” rather than the misspelled moniker in last month’s April Fool’s issue.