Monday, March 31, 2008

Middle Polk Neighborhood Association March 17 Meeting Notes

Central and Northern Police Stations Report

Both stations have been running regular prostitution stings against Johns and prostitutes. Prostitution activity has been far less visible on Polk Street. Unfortunately, this usually just means that the trade has moved elsewhere.

Both stations are also running regular traffic watch actions which target expired registration and give the police the option of impounding the autos. Red light runners are also targeted.

Dawn Trennert asked about the recent rash of daytime crimes, including drug dealing, assault (an anonymous man walked up to Dawn and punched her in the face), and a few daytime incidents of women being mugged in their doorways.

The officer responded that they have been doing a lot of homeless outreach, getting more folks in touch with services to help them get off the streets. He also said that it is important for everyone to be good witnesses. Call in any suspicious activity. It helps to make a running commentary as the event is happening so that you will remember details. Call any crime in progress in to 911.

An apartment building owner asked what could be done about the people who repeatedly try to steal the metal guards he installed around the trees in front of his building. Usually, the perpetrators are only successful in pushing the metal guards over.

The officer said he should call in if he sees anyone behaving suspiciously around the trees. He is also going to set up a "passing call" for the issue. A "passing call" is when they make the beat and sector officers more aware of the problem and they respond by making extra passes by the property.

Supervisor Sandoval
Supervisor Sandoval came by to stump for his proposed liquor store restrictions. There are more liquor stores per-capita in San Francisco than any other city in California. State guidelines say there should be no more than 1 liquor store per 1250 residents. We currently have 1 per 800 residents. The restrictions would include the following:
  • No further liquor stores would receive permits for a location within 500 feet of an existing liquor store.
  • Maximum of 15% of shelf space can be devoted to alcohol
  • Maximum of 5% of shelf space can be devoted to fortified liquor
  • No single servings of liquor of a size smaller than 6 oz

Contact your supervisor to weigh in.

DPW Report from Mohammed Nuru

The MPNA thanked Maurice Sullivan, the neighborhood ambassador from DPW for the excellent work he has done.

Dawn Trennert asked why the Ambassador program was cutting back from 40 to 30 hours. The program was begun partly as a way to develop young workers' skills. Once an ambassador has completed a certain number of hours, they graduate from apprentice to journeyman. The funding for the program is the same for both years, so once an ambassador achieves the journeyman status, their hours go from 5 days a week to 3 days a week so that the program can still afford them. Since this is a two year program, it is assumed that these workers are using the other two days off to secure other work from the city or private contractors.

We are one year through the two-year ambassador pilot program. When the program expires, it will be up to the neighborhood to fund the program. Most communities pay for the service by forming a benefit district and taxing themselves.

There is another pilot program being tested on Polk Street.The city has contracted with a private graffiti removal service to remove graffiti from private buildings. Call 311 to report any graffiti problems and the city will either send a clean up crew or give the property owner a notice to clean up the graffiti.

The Giants gave the city $200,000 to place trees in empty tree basins. Additionally, there have been 21,000 trees planted in San Francisco in the last four years.

A MPNA neighbor asked if the city has funds to maintain the trees it is planting. Nuru said that the city has a 3-year contract with a private contractor to care for the trees for three years. In the mean time they are devising a plan for the continued care of the trees. The planting process has taught them a lot about what kinds of trees work best and where. DPW also learned they have to plant larger trees, as the 15 gallon trees were lost quickly.

Another neighbor asked what is done about sidewalk damage caused by root systems. Nuru responded that the city will repair any damage caused by city-owned trees. Just phone the report to 311. In the instance of privately owned trees causing the damage, the DPW will notify the owner to fix the sidewalk. If the owner is unable to afford the repair the city will work out a payment plan or possibly even fund the repair from an emergency fund. When there is a large stretch of sidewalk damaged by trees of many owners, the city will coordinate the contractors for the whole block - one permit etc.

Dawn asked about efforts against littering and dog waste. Dawn made dog litter signs available for those who have a place to post them. Nuru said that the most effective tool they have is educating kids grades 1-8 about litter.

A neighbor asked about the newspaper racks that seem to generate a lot of trash and graffiti. Nuru said that the city has a newspaper rack guide with standards that each vendor has to adhere to. If you see a stand that is problematic, report it to 311 and the city will cite the vendor, giving them 10 days to repair the stand or it will be removed. 500 new stands have been installed downtown that are maintained by a contractor. These standardized stands will be rolled out to other neighborhoods.

Wylie noted that she had seen nice new trashcans on Divisidero. Nuru said that the city purchased 50 new trash cans to test. These new cans were designed to address some of the problems with the old cans - the locks were too easy to pick and the recycling parts were ineffective. Another 50 have been ordered and he will see to it that some of them are placed on Polk.

One outcome of the corridor programs was that DPW was able to establish standards of what city facilities should look like. The guidelines can be found online. Nuru recommended that neighbors take a look at the guidelines and walk the neighborhood, then report on what needs work. (by calling 311 naturally)

Saturday, April 19 - One Year Anniversary Clean up of Polk Street

The next clean up day marks the one-year anniversary of the clean up program. Nuru pledged one city worker for every 5 volunteers who turn out to clean up the neighborhood, and will supply any equipment needed, such as a steam cleaner.

Meet April 19 at 9:45 am at Its a Grind coffeehouse on Polk. All equipment will be provided.

District 3 Supervisor Candidates' Debate - June 16

MPNA is looking for volunteers to help organize the debate. Contact Dawn at to volunteer.

Next meeting is Monday, April 21, 7pm at It's a Grind on Polk.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Food Delivery from Polk Street, The Search Begins

The city dweller's nightmare - waking to find one's self in a remote location so desolate that no food is delivered except via Fed-Ex.

I get such a kick out of opening the take-out menu drawer (yes, we have one) and riffling through the stack, calling out, "what-do-you want-tonight-Thai-Chinese-Turkish-Pizza-Afghani-or-Indian?" (I get tired and can't name all the options.)

In celebration of food delivery, I want an exhaustive list of all delivery options on Polk. You will help me, won't you?

What is your favorite Polk Restaurant that delivers? What do they do better than anyone else
I will soon be in food delivery heaven - Manhattan - where darned near every restaurant delivers.

Photo Credit: edgeplot on flickr

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lower Polk Neighborhood Association - Meeting Notes, March 4

The March 4th LPN meeting kicked off with a report from an SFPD officer, whom I can't name (not for his protection, mind you, but because I was late).

Police Report:

SFPD has been running undercover prostitution sting operations to catch both prostitutes and johns. These operations serve an additional purpose, training the many newer officers in undercover operations.

SFPD is ramping up DUI checkpoints to enforce drunk driving laws.

Vice ran 3 narcotics sting operations, including one at Polk and Eddy that resulted in arrests.

The neighborhood feedback about increased beat cop presence has been positive.

1219 Polk - Poeisis for Hair - New Merchant

Poesis for Hair opened on Polk between Bush and Sutter where Skates on Haight used to be. Neighbors are invited to stop in for a cup of coffee. Ask about the Polk Neighbors discount.

Fire Truck Siren Update

LPN has been in dialog with the Fire Chief regarding the use of air horns. David Chiu, LPN Chair, discussed the most recent letter from the Fire Chief which seemed to water down or disregard some of the agreements that were arrived at in the previous meeting.

Most notably, the letter states that the Chief is willing to analyze studies on the issue, rather than committing to producing the studies and omitted any mention of intersection pre-entry warning strobes.

Other neighbors added the following from their research -

The Chief cites regulations that require their horns in a code 3 emergency. However, the cited regulation only requires the use of air horns "if reasonably necessary". The horns may not be necessary for entering intersections on a green light, for instance.

Code 3 categorization may be overused. A 2004 report said that there were 2,000 calls at Station 3 from call boxes. 85%of these were false alarms. Of the remaining 15%, only a handful were related to fire, most were medical emergencies, and every vehicle that was sent was sent under a code 3.

Air horns operate at 120 decibels. Permanent hearing loss can occur at 7 seconds of exposure to this level. The loudest traffic noise is 85 decibels. There may be a lower level that would be appropriate for the equipment.

Cathedral Hill Hotel

CPMC (California Pacific Medical Center) purchased the Cathedral Hill Hotel with plans to build a hospital on the site.

The California Legislature has imposed a 2013 seismic safety deadline for hospitals to comply with seismic standards or cease inpatient care. CPMC has retrofitted its Davies campus, but did not feel they could upgrade the Pacific and California campuses and maintain services. The project representative who spoke at the meeting would not comment on whether St. Luke's has a seismic compliance issue or not.

With a February 22 filing at the planning department, the environmental evaluation kicked off. The evaluation will look at the impact on traffic, business, and health care in San Francisco, among other issues. The evaluation is expected to take two years to complete and then the plan begins the approval process.

Neighborhood Emergency Response Training (NERT)

In a city-wide emergency, it could be days before official response teams reach you. The NERT training started witha group in Los Angeles that responded to an earthquake in Mexico City. 85% of the people who were rescued, were rescued by freinds and neighbors. 50% of the helpers who were not trained became casualties themselves.

San Francisco is going to need a lot of citizens to pitch in after a major disaster. For instance, it is estimated that the financial district streets will be under several feet of glass in a major earthquake.

The training is implemented in two phases. First, individuals are trained in first aid, triage and personal preparedness. Once a critical mass of individuals are trained, then the next step is to coordinate teams.

LPNA is organizing a training.

David Chiu announces his candidacy for District 3 Supervisor

LPNA will greatly miss David's guidance when he leaves his position of Chair to run for city office.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Delicious at Studio Gallery


by Toshiko Kamiyama

paper sculpture

I am so going to crib off Jennifer's website for this one. All of this text is straight from Jennifer's site for Studio Gallery (It is cool that they have now been around long enough to see trends in the material as the years pass).:


art inspired by food+drink
Wednesday, March 12th - Sunday, April 13th
reception: Saturday, March 15th, 4-8 pm

It's spring, and in California that means asparagus, artichokes and, for us, art. Delicious, our show of work inspired by food & drink, is in its fourth year, and the gallery is bursting at the seams with work from 72 local artists. We're starting to see trends in the work: last year there were lots of cupcakes; this year, it's meat, alcohol and donuts What does it all mean? You tell us...Whether you're looking for a beautiful portrait of produce, a view of a vineyard, or that perfect little hot dog painting--hold the mustard--it's here. We hope that you'll come by to see the work and spend some time contemplating art, food and what it is that makes the Bay Area so special.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tiny at Studio Gallery & Tree Planting with FUF

"Green Hills"

by Mina Reimer

Mixed media and resin

"Tiny" is probably my favorite recurring show at Studio Gallery. In this third incarnation, Jennifer hangs 225 paintings at a time and when one sells, it is replaced by another. Besides being small in size, all the artwork is small in price - everything under $400, and the little gem pictured above? just $80.

The show is up now, and the reception is this Saturday from 4-8. It will be a scene because so many artists are represented. It is no accident that this show will run through December 23. All you holiday shoppers are fully expected to get out there, support your economy, local artists and your country, dammit!

Most likely, you will be very tired from planting trees at 9:00 am with the Friends of the Urban Forest. Just go home, take a shower and a nap and put on your party frock for a 4:00 appearance at the opening. Volunteers can show up Saturday, November 10, at 9am rain or shine at 1465 Washington between Leavenworth and Hyde. We will start off with instruction and get all the equipment necessary and then move on to the planting sites.

See more art bits and get Studio Gallery particulars at their website:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Notes from Middle Polk Neighborhood Association Meeting 10/15

Dawn Trennert opened the meeting at Its a Grind coffeehouse and introduced Sergeants from Central and Northern police stations for neighborhood updates.

Sergeant Vanderbilt from Central Station reported that they are staffing a prostitution abatement detail 3-5 times a week.

If you need to report suspected prostitution, call the non-emergency line at 415-553-0123. It is important to report incidents because this line also records statistics that are used for resource allocation decision making. When phoning in a report, give as full a description of what you saw as possible including what activities transpired, physical descriptions of the suspects and any vehicles involved. The report can be anonymous, but giving your name will increase the effectiveness and probable cause.

Auto burglary enforcement teams are operating and are also training incoming officers for the detail.

Sergeant Ford of Northern Station gave us the names of the Sector Sergeants responsible for Polk Street: Sergeant Flaherty on the early shift, Sergeant Pena on the swing shift, and Sergeant Cruz on the late shift.

Polk Street Merchant of the Month, Elizabeth Shypertt of Velvet Da Vinci (2015 Polk near Pacific), shared information about their current show of earrings from 100 artists from around the world. Items in the show range from $50 to $5,000. Elizabeth has been on Polk Street with Velvet Da Vinci for 3 years and enjoys it very much. The gallery moved to Polk after 13 years in Hayes Valley.

I have been helping out on the Trees and Beautification Committee and I gave the following update:
-MPNA is helping coordinate volunteers for a tree planting day organized by the Friends of the Urban Forest. Volunteers can show up Saturday, November 10, at 9am rain or shine at 1465 Washington between Leavenworth and Hyde. We will start off with instruction and get all the equipment necessary and then move on to the planting sites.
-MPNA has pledged 100 hours of volunteer service to assist the Russian Hill Neighbors with their Greening the Broadway Tunnel project. These efforts will begin in January.

Frank Cannata gave updates on developments that the MPNA is watching. 1650 Broadway has a proposed 80 foot condo complex with 34 market rate units. 2550 Van Ness at Filbert is slated for a 150ft condo project. The Cala Market at California and Hyde has been sold. The current owners reportedly have a lease on the building until 2010 and plan to keep it open at least until then. There are plans for a mixed-use development on the site which may include the market. The area is zoned for development up to 65 ft tall.

Michael Skoolnick reported that the planning commission voted to support approval of landmark status for 1601 Larkin. The developer has been seeking approval for a 26 unit luxury condo development replacing the existing church structure. The item moves on to the Board of Supervisors for further consideration.

Also at issue is the 1601 Larkin developer's plan to remove 6 mature trees. Arborists have determined that 2 of the trees are diseased and 4 are healthy. After a Sept. 6 DPW hearing, the DPW Director issued a decision that all 6 trees could be removed, and are to be replaced with 8 new trees, but did not specify any date by which the trees must be replaced, leaving the MPNA concerned that the trees may never be replaced. It was suggested that since the previous incarnation of the MPNA paid for the planting of the trees, that they have an additional interest in the matter.

The possibility of the tree removal proceeding when the proposed development is in limbo, pending landmark decision, does not make much sense. Deputy Director of the DPW, Mohammed Nuru promised to look into the conundrum.

Kimberly Bryant reported on the Pacific Terrace development at Polk and Pacific. The committee met with Michael Lee of the Planning Commission on Oct 2 to discuss neighborhood concerns about the height, 65 ft, and girth of the building being out of character for the neighborhood and obstruction of the view corridor. Additionally, the committee is concerned that the developers want to put below market rate housing off-site, which is a housing policy that does not fit with the economic diversity of the neighborhood. It will be 3-4 months before the next public hearing. In the meantime, they are meeting with other community groups.

John Faust reported on 1645 Pacific, a proposed 65 ft, 50 unit luxury condo project, again with off-site affordable units. His committee met with members of the planning commission to walk them through the neighborhood.

Developers have three options for fulfilling their affordable housing quota. They can build the units on-site (which the MPNA fully supports), off-site in some other parcel and even neighborhood, or they can pay an in-lieu fee. The in-lieu fee goes into a pool that has no timing on it - the units will be built sometime in the future.

Judy Junghans and Steve Kendrick of the Russian Hill Neighbors presented details on the "Greening the Broadway Tunnel" project. The RHN put together a proposal for a city grant to plant trees on the ramp up to the tunnel, trees flanking the retaining walls and vines to drape from the top of the retaining walls for cover. The work will start in January and take about 9 months. There is a general meeting November 7 in the Clubhouse at Alamo Park at 6:30 pm to discuss the project.

Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Deputy Director of DPW announced that as a result of the All-Star Game being hosted in San Francisco, the Giants will support the planting of 800 trees in existing empty planting basins. Additonally, the City is planting 1500 trees.

The DPW has been considering a proposal to clean the alley streets from Franklin to Larkin 3 times a week. Due largely to objection by the Senior Housing on Myrtle and Van Ness, the proposal has been altered and will only cover alleys to Van Ness. The DPW has had a difficult time getting a clear answer from the effected neighborhoods about whether they would prefer an afternoon or late evening cleaning.

Hopefully you saw my earlier posting about Lights Out and Polk Street Clean up, both events took place yesterday.

Save the date - December 17th the MPNA will hold a fund raising holiday party at Amelie. The MPNA leadership has been spending about $100/ month from personal funds to keep the MPNA going and could use some help.

Next Meeting is November 19th, 7pm at Its a Grind.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lights Out; Trash Out

Besides being a big art weekend, we also have a couple of great ways to contribute to the community.

Turn off Your Lights is a citwide energy conservation event on Saturday, Oct 20. From 8 to 9 pm everyone in the city is invited to turn off all non-essential lighting and install one energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb.

The goal of this event is to conserve 15% of the energy consumed in an average night in San Francisco and to raise awareness of our ability to reduce the city's appetite for energy and protect out planet from the effects of the climate crisis.

To celebrate this event, Lights Out is hosting an evening of dancing to DJs and live music in Dolores Park.

See for more info.

Clean up on Polk

All of the neighborhood associations for the Polk Street Corridor are coordinating a clean up day this Saturday. I have participated in this event and had a surprisingly good time. It felt great to clean up the street and I met some of our great neighbors.

The Middle Polk Neighbors will be meeting at Its a Grind, 1800 Polk Street @Washington, 9:45 am, Sat, Oct 20. All equipment is provided by the DPW.