San Francisco

The Cost Of A Bus Ticket.

A local news item caught my attention yesterday, on San Francisco’s CBS5 television station. It concerned the city’s municipal transport system, or ‘Muni’.

While the transport organization rumbles on with a $21 million deficit, new ticket kiosks are being built at two locations. Looks  like possibly a good idea at first glance. Sell more tickets, more passengers, more fares, more income to cut the deficit.

These are not the common or garden type kiosks though. The sort that look like either a burger trailer or Uncle Henry’s shed. They are state-of-the-art contraptions, constructed of stainless steel with bullet proof glass. The cost for the pair… $829,000!

Has the Muni gone loony? Well, perhaps not. You see, it’s not their money that they used to purchase these hi-tech boutique des billets. Neither is it funded from the city coffers… if there are any left, that is. It’s another wonderful investment, courtesy of the federal stimulus program. In other words, you bought them.

The terms of the grant insisted that Muni build new structures (with all the expensive bureaucratic procedures associated with anything ‘new’ in San Francisco), rather than perhaps ‘stimulating’ an existing empty office or retail unit, of which there are plenty.

This is just one of the ludicrous earmarks that are hitting every American in the pocket. The ‘use it or lose it’ excuse doesn’t vindicate the recipients of these giveaways, either.

While businesses and individuals are trying to make ends meet, don’t they feel any shame at using taxpayers’ money for projects that would still be highly questionable if it was their own money during an economic boom? Perhaps not.

(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)

Delusion.

It must go down in history as one of the most delusional celebrations in history, ranking up there with the White Star Line directors hailing the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic as a success, or Napoleon claiming that Waterloo was his finest hour.

How Nancy Pelosi could celebrate the achievements of the 111th Congress, while keeping a straight face, is a total mystery to me. Going one incredulous step further, she announced her intention to remain as Minority Leader.

Historically, incumbent leaders have usually done the honorable thing after such a shellacking. Given that her Congress was possibly the most unpopular ever, perhaps she thinks that the disapproval of the public aimed at everyone else except her. After all, she does retain a lot of support in her own district. Uh… Nancy, it’s San Francisco. As my mother used to say, “You could put a donkey up there and they’d vote for it”.

Soon to be gavel-less, it will be interesting to see how things unravel from January. Her election as Leader draws me to one of two conclusions. Either the majority of the remaining Democrats intend to carry on attempting to push their agenda as if nothing had happened, with no hope of getting enough votes to proceed to the Senate, or they have given up the ghost entirely and don’t care who is leading them.

Pelosi’s overwhelming desire to hold on to authority is a classic example of the dictatorial Marxist philosophy that once you have power never relinquish it, regardless of the consequences to anyone else.

Her ideology, and that of her cohorts, is demonstrated by her reverse logic approach to Congressional proceedings. “You can see what’s in the bill after we pass it”. Similarly, Obama’s statement that we’ll see the benefits of Obamacare further down the road. Well, we have seen the evils contained in Pandora Pelosi’s box, and we don’t intend getting that far down the road to discover the hidden delights (not) of Obamacare.

I shouldn’t be griping about her, or Obama for that matter. We have now re-taken the House and they don’t have the ability to drive through their socialist plans any longer. Besides, the more they cling to their blindfolded ideologies, the easier it will be for us in 2012.

(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)

The New Barbary Coast.

Oakland, California was a place of refuge for tens of thousands of badly frightened San Francisco residents, in the days just following the 1906 earthquake. Arriving in just about anything that would float in those pre-bridge days, they were welcomed as best the people of Oakland could manage. Many decided to stay and build homes there. For years, Oakland existed as a bucolic community in the shadow of her garishly dramatic neighbor across the bay.


The 'Barbary Coast' - Pacific Street in 1913.

The San Francisco of the 1850s was a wild and dangerous place for the unlucky or unwary. The influx of gold seekers had caused an explosion in the population of what had been a sleepy Spanish village. From 1847 to 1870, the population of San Francisco increased from 500 to around 150,000. “Follow the money”, and that’s exactly what hundreds of thieves, murderers, prostitutes, confidence men, purveyors of opium and just about any other vice you could imagine, or pay for, did. Sometimes you paid with your life. This ‘anything goes’ district on the waterfront, in what is now the downtown district, came to be known as the ‘Barbary Coast’.

It was an area no self-respecting citizen of San Francisco would frequent. Corrupt city officials ran interference for the well-heeled criminal king pins of the day. When the situation became intolerable, the ‘solid citizens’ of San Francisco rose up and formed ‘The Committee of Vigilance’ in 1851 (about the time of my own family’s arrival in San Francisco, overland). After a few hangings and forcing some corrupt officials to resign, in addition to arresting and deporting a few dozen undesirables and turning others over to city authorities, the Committee that had formed for a ‘term’ of three months disbanded, as agreed.


Vigilance Committee members.

Numbering some 700 men, they showed remarkable restraint. In addition to causing the city’s underworld population to step lightly and keep a very low profile, they walked street patrols, keeping watch for fires and other disorders. In time, the rats returned to their nests and the committee was revived again in 1856, this time with an approximate 6,000 members. The old Barbary Coast is a dim memory now and the subject of walking tours through downtown San Francisco.

Oakland had no Barbary Coast. Most people know Oakland as the home of the Raiders football team, and know little else about the city. The Oakland police force has to deal with a number of high crime areas. At full strength, it should be fielding between eight and nine hundred officers. Police numbers have suffered, as do most critical services under successive liberal administrations, going all the way back to former Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown, who became Oakland’s 44th Mayor. Now, with the impending firing of eighty police officers, things on the streets may reach critical mass.

I’ve spent my entire career in emergency service in the private sector. I can tell you for a fact that there are neighborhoods and entire areas in Oakland we would not go into. Certainly not after dark, in any case. I’m not advocating vigilance committees, but residents in some of these neighborhoods may have to band together as armed responsible citizens to protect themselves, their families, homes and property from the influx of crime which is sure to result from the OPD’s just-published list of crimes it will no longer be able to dispatch units to… which seems to cover just about everything except assault, rape, mayhem and murder.

There is an axiom which has proven true, despite all the statist spin to the contrary: “An armed society is a polite society.” Let’s hope that Oakland does not indeed become the ‘New Barbary Coast’.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

435 districts: Libs Give Us Priceless Organizing Tool in California

So, a bunch of liberal thugs put together a list of everyone who donated money for Prop 8.

This can be a priceless organizing tool for GOPers in Cali.  Make sure you check out both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Feel free to forward this to the relevant authorities.

435 districts: How to Win in San Francisco

One can dream. Promoted. -Patrick

Update: As many people have pointed out, the surname Wong is inherently Chinese.  That said, I chose a Korean deliberatey.  Thus, I'm changing the candidate's name to Rob Ho Park.

This entry is intended to illustrate the type of Republican that could win a House seat in San Francisco.  It is not intended to describe a real person.  Imagine this as a future Weekly Standard/National Review profile.

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Who is he: Rob the Custom Bicycle Store Owner.

Rob Ho Park is a second generation Korean American whose parents immigrated here in the 1950's during the War.  He is married and has three children.  Growing up in San Francisco, he was the first person in his family to go to college, graduating with honors from Cal in 1991.  That fall, he enrolled at a Masters Program at Stanford only to drop out six months later to join a Silicon Valley start-up.  After 5 1/2 years of 90 hour weeks, the company went public and Rob became wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.

Rob survived the dot com bubble intact but shaken.  He decided to return to work only to learn that steady work is less available.  He accepted several consulting jobs and continued with his life.

Then came 9/11....

Rob was in the 7-11 in Palo Alto the first time he heard it.  About six hours after the attacks he was in line paying for his gas and coffee when the woman behind him said "we sponsored bin Laden in the 1980's so this is really our fault."  Rob was flabbergasted and sickened, yet he chose to write it off as an isolated incident.

Rob moved on with his life only to find consulting unsteady and inconsistent.  This became even truer in 2002 when Congress passed (and President Bush signed) the Sarbanes/Oxley act, which drove technology venture capital overseas.  Rob was once explaining this to a friend  when the friend said: "Yeah, that [censored]hole Bush can't do anything right."  Rob was shocked by this, even though he didn't say anything at the time.

In 2003, Rob landed a 2 year consulting contract that put him back on easy street for the first time in several years.  This time, however, Rob decided to save most of the money so he could start the business he's dreamed of owning since he was a small child.  This decision infused him with a new passion as he threw himself back into his work.

In 2005, Rob's diligence allowed him to finish his project a month early.  At this point, Rob sold the house in Palo Alto (for a surprisingly large profit) and moved the family back to San Francisco where he planned to open a custom bicycle shop.  For the rest of the year, the bike shop consumed Rob's life.  He was surprised by how difficult it was to open a business in San Francisco (not to mention the rents...), but he was determined.  He jumped through every hoop and cut through every piece of red tape the city and state could throw at him.  He even took out a loan when his savings proved insufficient.  Finally, in March 2006, Rob opened his store!

2006 and 2007 were, by most measures, the best years of Rob's life  Running the bike shop was better than Rob had ever imagined and his wife gave birth to their third child.  At the same time, several things beneath the surface troubled Rob deeply.  San Francisco had changed since he moved away twenty years before.  While he'd always considered San Francisco's cultural foibles amusing, they'd now crossed an unspoken threshold of decency.  Aggressive homeless people started living in front of his store and in the parks where his children played.  Rob tryed to take this in stride, but can only take so much public consumption of HARD drugs and public fornication.  Making matters worse, the Mayor seemed more concerned with Gay Marriage than doing anything after his store was broken into in March 2007.

2008 was the final straw for Rob.  Rob had survived a recession and prepared early to weather another one.  He prudently ordered less overhead and installed solar panels (at an out of pocket cost of $10,000) to take advantage of a loophole in California's tax code.

It wasn't enough.  In March, Rob let his first of five employees go.  Then, the city raised his taxes.  This forced Rob to lay off two more workers.  Then the state ended up even deeper in the red than people had thought and the state threatened to raise his taxes.  While the tax hike isn't official yet, Rob is terrified because he knows this next tax hike will be his last.

At the same time, this Gay Marriage stuff has gotten under Rob's skin.  While he has gay friends, and doesn't really have a problem with Gay Marriage, he was appalled by the arrogance of the CA supreme court decision and quietly voted against Prop 8.  He thought that was the end of it.  He was wrong.  Nothing prepared him for the circus following Prop 8.

All this has left Rob Ho Park livid and ready to take it out on the incumbant leadership in his home city.  He's decided to run for the House and he needs your help.

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Again, Rob is not a real person (or, if he is, I'm WAY better at this than I thought).  He's meant to represent the type of person we should seek out if we want to seriously contest a U.S. House seat in San Francisco.

Podcast: Attacking the Dead for Political Gain

Podcast Show Notes

Conservatives and liberals alike go after the late Jesse Helms for political gain.

Why a Democratic-led Congress will most likely be re-elected despite a 9% approval rating and what that shows about the success of purely negative campaigns.

Obama still using seal imagery. Forget about Balancing the Budget under a President Obama, despite a massive tax increase proposal, he doesn't even know if he can reduce the deficit. That's his real change.

Common sense citizens stand up against one a radical school board crusade against JROTC. (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin.)  

Is it getting time to leave Iraq? (Hat Tip: Crunchy Cons.)

An abortion doctor claims to be doing God's work.

Pro-Life members of the NEA ask the national leadership to stop focusing on abortion and other issues not related to education.

Hypocrisy on the march: homosexual dating site discriminates against transsexuals. (Hat Tip: Pam's House Blend.)

Click here to listen, click here to download.

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