"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan." (Kevin)
"Your blog is always on point, and well researched!" (Nina Decker)
"Everyone's favorite volunteer public policy consultant..." (Eve Batey, SF Appeal)
"You are doing a great job keeping on top of Translink stuff. Keep up the good work!" (Greg Dewar, N Judah Chronicles)
"...I don't even bother subscribing anywhere else for my local public transportation info. You have it all..." (Empowered Follower)
"If anyone at City Hall wants to make public transit better for all San Franciscans, it would be wise to follow Akit religiously...
or, better yet, give him a job." (Brock Keeling, SFist)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
It is not just the residents surrounding Golden Gate Park (the Richmond, Sunset, and Panhandle), but all the people who experienced the nightmare known as Muni and those who had to walk miles to hopefully catch the last BART and even Caltrain back home.
Also, Jack Johnson headlining? I'm going to puke. Jack Johnson sucks. They used to play his crap on one of my favorite radio stations and I called the station to tell them to kill off his songs! And you know what, they did.
So let's look at the final comments after the entire event from the Chronicle/SFgate:
From shastasky of SFgate:
"What a difference than any other concert in GG Park?! Sound out at RadioHead a few times, trampling at the fences, long lines, over-priced items, trash inside the venue and in the nearby neighborhood, a few cars broken into, one big fight (Friday)-- missed Sunday-- I could hear the music on Sunday from a half mile away. Good music-- very poor planning. Not again next year! APE should go back to Oakland! One of the promoters owns the Independent-- let's trash that place like what happened to the park! I like one day concerts in the park. This was overboard; not like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or Green Apple. Supes Carmen Chu and Jake McGoldrick-- was it worth it to your districts and the park? 3 day events-- go to Pier 30 - 32 where the X games were held. 150,000 fans-- don't think so. Rothbury, High Sierra, etc. were better this year. Again, the planning was horrible! I'll point fingers at Another Planet, first and foremost, then Supe Chu and McGoldrick and Parks and Rec. Never again!"
From norcalguy101 of SFgate:
"Gosh...if there were only 6,000 porta-poties and 150,000 in attendance...that works out to 25 people per porta-potty...now I'm even happier I didn't "go" there..."
From wesquire of SFgate:
"WOW - way to insult my neighborhood innerrichmond - go F yourself and thanks for giving me one more reason to complain to the City about this event. The patrons were rude, walking in the middlke of the streets where there were not cross walks, doing drugs outside my house, leaving trash everywhere in the park and in the street. What pigs people are. You may be trendy, but you have no substance."
From anderthalneal of SFgate:
"GREENWASH--eco-friendly event my a$. Thousands of pounds of plastic cups, thousands of plastic wrist bands and plastic badges, tons of plastic plates, plastic forks, spoons, knives, hundreds of dorks driving in circles for hours trying to find a place to park. Tour buses idling for HOURS. Gotta get a buzz from that diesel exhaust. How much energy was used to amplify the crappy music? The only thing organic about this festival was the hippy poop."
From shastasky of SFgate:
"this is not the first concert in GG Park-- many that came before were much better planned and executed. the music was good at Outside Lands.... APE has a lot of experience, but missed this one in a big way. i think they are the 10th or 11th largest production company for these events. can you believe that?! it was deplorable considering their experience. where was the coordination with the City and MUNI-- this was on the producers as it normally at venues. most of the crowd was fine-- but there were scores of people trashing the neighborhoods both in the Sunset and Richmond. Let's see how APE responds and cleans. It is not an event for GG Park-- so many over the years have been "stellar" and a few have missed the mark-- this one was well off base. i was there Fri. and Sat. and live in the neighborhood. bad for the park, the neighborhood, and likely the city. just saying a one day gig usually works out. this one didn't; too problematic for too many people. many on these posts were there"
From dwjsf of SFgate:
"It was noisy. There was a lot of traffic. Lot of rude folks. Hope it doesn't come back next year."
In summary of this whole fiasco, the organization of the festival was poor, Muni was not prepared for the masses (screw the union), and residents of the affected neighborhoods were not notified of park road closures or received very little information (the morons of inaccurate information at 311 and the supervisor's office, and no information posted on the event's website).
The blame and my MIDDLE FINGER goes to Outside Lands, SFMTA/SF Muni, 311, 511, Mayor Newsom, Park and Rec department, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and anyone else who played a role in this event.
To the organizers of the Outside Lands Festival (concert):
Bye bye! Never come back!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The Outside Lands festival (concert) is getting some really negative reviews for its Friday evening concert, from complaints about packed Muni buses and trains, loud noise, and 30 minute waits to go to the bathroom.
First of all, I am going to post the complaint information. This is from SF 311's event calendar:
Outside Lands has a community hotline to respond to any issues that might affect the community during the festival which will be available 11 am to 11 pm on festival days (415) 387-1935.
Now, since this complaint line is private and more than likely the data they collect won't be released to the city government, here's some more information to complain:
- To complain about Muni, call: 311.
- To complain to your city supervisor: http://www.sfgov.org/site/bdsupvrs_index.asp and click on your supervisor for contact info.
- To complain to the Park and Rec department who issued the permit: (415) 831-3700.
NEW! PHOTO EVIDENCE OF THE INSANITY:
Now readers, let us view the comments from SFgate, Curbed SF, and SFist about how the event is going. This is sorted out by categories:
For Muni's terrible service:
From Fsharp of SFist:
"I just got back from the Outside Lands festivals. DO NOT RIDE THE N JUDAH TO THE SHOW THIS WEEKEND.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Well here comes the new Outside Lands festival (concert) event that is consuming a huge part of Golden Gate Park. So this billionaire thinks of this great idea and gets the necessary permits to do it, I say, well a good idea there.
Then the residents don't get told about how this will hurt them. For this event, people who live in the Sunset, Richmond, and Panhandle areas will be greatly affected, especially if you take the bus or drive.
The festival's website DOES NOT have any information about street closures in the park. I noticed one sign saying that Chain of Lakes will be closed, but I noticed that when I was driving home last week Friday.
I checked the SFMTA's website about closures, and there is barely any information.
I checked the 511 website about closures, and they just tell you to expect heavy traffic and take the bus.
Then there's the folks at 311. The first time, I get this guy who immediately says that he will transfer me to the 511 call center. Well the 511 automated system does not have any information at all. Then I call back and speak to another person and ask the same question, and she puts me on hold for ten minutes, and says there are "no street closures." I asked her what her source of information is, and she says it's from the SFMTA website. Yeah, that's very accurate when I know that at least one park road is closed and one park street entrance is shut down.
And just to insult the folks at 311... here's a comment left on SFgate's comment section about their promotion of the concert:
"Getting around the park to get out of the Sunset and to work was hell this morning. The concert organizers didn't even bother to notify the locals of street closures in advance. They could've suggested an alternate route. I've not experienced this kind of GGP take-over before, not even with those free concerts. Who do these people think they are? Oh, and the city quickly patched up some potholes on Fulton to make the ride a bit smoother. The rest of the year, they don't care about the Outside Lands..."
I did not want to do this, but now I'm waiting for a reply back from Supervisor McGoldrick's office because at least they have more power than the average citizen to get the information what we all need. It always seems that when 311, SFMTA, SFPD, and other local agencies can't get their information straight, McGoldrick's office is always on top of it getting the most accurate information for the folks (like me) in the Richmond.
This blog will be updated with closures as soon as possible.
UPDATE 6:23PM: Did not receive any e-mail from McGoldrick's office. Looks like we are going in this event blind people.
UPDATE 7:09PM: Why don't we grind our axes? Here's some more quotes from local residents from my favorite place, SFist:
"The chainlink fences went up around the event perimeters early this week, and cars were already being denied access into the park at 41st and 25th Avenues on the Sunset side at 10:00 a.m. this morning. Private enterprise in public places?..."
Shibi's comment about Muni being a much worse hellhole (than it already is):
"I'm home now and I've washed the funk off, guzzled some wine and I've pretty much recovered, but at 4pm all of the Market/Haight Street buses were ALREADY packed hell-rides."
Also to add, it is not just first-time festivals, but also first-time marathons. I had an ax to grind with the first Nike marathon when my neighborhood turned into a virtual prison with the marathon route going on the west side (Great Highway), north side (covering Pt. Lobos and other streets), east side (27th avenue) and south side (the entire Golden Gate Park). It got so bad that I lodged a complaint at Supervisor McGoldrick's office and he called a HEARING AT CITY HALL and I spoke out arguing that it was not just the event organizers, but the city as well for not having consistent information to all their agencies. When I called the Richmond SFPD station about the marathon, it resulted in an "I don't know" answer. I wonder, if there is a serious incident and the cops need to get through a marathon, and have a lack of knowledge about what's going on, they'll be very late in saving my butt. I remember talking to a police officer on the phone and said that lack of information is total bullshit (yes, I said "bullshit"), he totally agreed with me.
Lastly, kudos to Curbed SF and Eye on Blogs (KPIX/CBS 5) for spreading the news.
UPDATE: 7:24PM: Yep, the complaints keeps coming in.
Howardwasright on SFgate says:
"Just walked the dog through the park and was astounded to see the entire west end of the park closed to traffic...except VIP pass holders who can park inside the park. Add to that the fact that the park is gonna be TRASHED--literally and figuratively. Already the roads in and out of the park are covered with garbage. Yuk. And you think there was pee-pee after the marathon??"
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Outside of the Japanese American media, I am especially greatful to the folks at Curbed SF and SF Citizen for their efforts to spread the word.
Reading Curbed SF's comments, I came around to reading this very hurtful comment left by an anonymous poster (comment #15):
What a group of losers! Your street fairs stink and your know it. I live on Bush and Laguna and look at those pathetic festivals as the last gasp of a gang of out-of neighborhood activists who don't even live in the 'hood. What's Vietnamese BBQ, the SFPD and sellers of cruddy womens clothes have to do with this neighborhood or its heritage. Sorry dudes, trying to save those lousy malls with their tired businesses will never make it. Time to put a Whole Foods/Trader Joe's in there -- something people actually want. Time for you to move on since none of you live here -- suspect most of you are mostly bridge and tunnel anyway with your parents parked in their segregated retirement ghettos.
Here is my reaction that I posted about one hour after it was posted (comment #16):
This is all I have to say for now. If you get a chance, subscribe to my RSS feed or sign-up for e-mail updates on Akit.Org and on the upper left side of the page for the subscription links.
Friday, August 8, 2008
First of all, Japantown being threatened by a condo association and developer:
- I'm generating a lot of heat (the good kind) by spreading the word around where I can. I've received a few e-mails from community leaders and members of the public, and received wide exposure through Yelp's "Talk" pages (click here to view).
- It is becoming a consensus around the Yelp area that although the festivals may be the same, the food might not be the world's best (although I argue that it is good food for a good cause (the J-town community organizations)), it is an annual tradition to hold two festivals in Japantown. There is also the argument going around about the letters written by the president and developer of 1600 Webster saying that they went a little too far in their letter. In my opinion, I think they are trying to bully an event that started 35 years ago to bring the community together, and now they want to rip us apart. It is much more respectful to write a kinder letter while still making your requests (not demands), and not going off topic about the look of our malls, the food, the gifts, etc.
As for Muni, or what I like to call it, "the dumbest system on earth:"
- Today was my most recent visit to the Giants game since I last reported that Muni's Judson True promised that BART to Muni transfer tickets would be accepted at AT&T park for the ride home, and was caught red handed by me on video of them messing up after their promise.
- The good news is that this time, they did take the ticket and I got to pay the discount price. And it was the same guy I previously recorded on my camera!
Do you ever wonder? If a Muni operator causes an accident, injuries, or even kills someone, the chances are good that their union will keep them on the job. Hey Muni union, you better remember that the local taxpayers RULE YOU and we can find a way to make you wipe your own ass instead of the taxpayers doing that right now. And we have the basic right to treat you like shit if you treat us like shit.
I've thrown Muni to a brand new low when I caught them breaking a promise and capturing it on video. Now, this happens and I should have caught it on video too. Damn, I had my camera on me.
Lastly, there was also a fistfight on the Muni metro platform at Embarcadero. Some lady on the same train I was on, accused a guy behind her of hitting her (or maybe just an accidental shove), then they exit the train. I'm walking to the opposite escallator when I hear screaming and I turn around and say "holy shit" and see two people fighting each other. They go up past the fare gates, and I'm talking to the booth lady to get the cops. So BART police arrive, turns out that they think that the fight happened on the BART platform and stops all the trains going in and out, delaying everyone for at least five to ten minutes when the damn incident happened on Muni's platform and the confrontation continued on the faregate platform!
Dang, what a day.
Correction: "Muni to BART" transfer ticket, not "BART to Muni"
Thursday, August 7, 2008
As many of you have known, the Japantown Bowl was sold to a development company, the old building was abandoned and stayed up for a year, and was eventually torn down and built into very expensive condos and two business spaces. The community did not want condos and even offered their own funds to purchase and preserve the alley. The community was also offended with Starbucks moving into the large business space because it would hurt the local businesses (such as Cafe Hana), and was able to have the company pull out of its quest to open an establishment.
Today, the condo association President and the Developer of the 1600 Webster condo development threatened the Japantown community by arguing that the community festivals (Cherry Blossom and Nihonmachi Street Fair) saying that we have too many festivals that impact them. They claim that we have " schlocky souvenirs, mediocre food stands..." Oh give me a break, yeah we sell souvenirs, but it's just part of our community, and those food stands are NON-PROFIT COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS TRYING TO MAKE SOME MONEY (how can you hate on them?) and it is GREAT FOOD (people come back every year to eat it again).
I need to make myself clear on this: I am only talking about the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Nihonmachi Street Fair, but not the Asian Heritage Festival. If you have a problem with the Asian Heritage Festival, talk to Mayor Newsom and AsianWeek. The Asian Heritage festival is not have any official relation to Japantown's community and its people because this festival is organized around going to different neighborhoods every year and hosting it there.
Then they argue that the food booths create a mess in the neighborhood. To be honest with you, yes, we do make somewhat of a mess, but we clean-up the mess after the event is over. Both Cherry Blossom and Nihonmachi have volunteers that go around the food areas to change garbage bags, and sweep the streets. After cleaning up the booths, a more thorough cleaning is done by the city and the event organizers, especially the grease issues. One thing I wonder about is, why do they (the condo association) feel like they need to pay out of their own pockets to sweep the sidewalks and take care of the trees after the festival? If we use the area for the festival, it is our job to clean-up the mess that people leave.
We have never been threatened or received such a complaint like this EVER in the history of this neighborhood. The people who organize this event has BENT OVER BACKWARDS for the condo people by letting them have access to their underground garage during festival days, even if there is a huge mob of people on the closed street for the food fair, and we have put fencing around the building to keep people from perching or encroaching on their property. We have other people who live directly in the path of our festivals and they have never complained, not once, not even a peep. And all they do is move their car out of their garage and park it somewhere nearby.
If the association president is reading this, please tell us about the vote? How many were absent? How many voted in support of writing this letter to the community, and who voted against it?
And I've been a hard worker at the festival for over ten years, and my father and "uncles" (Hawaiian term for family friends) have done this for OVER 30 YEARS. If the association president and the development manager have the guts, come meet us, talk to us, and explain your concerns to us. We want to see you make your argument in front of the people who make this community the way it is today, the hard working volunteers who get paid nothing to do something to support their community, and its fine organizations.
Don't go on the chicken route of just writing a letter.
All of you readers should come on out and support our community festival. It is this Saturday and Sunday, August 9-10 from 10AM to 6PM with live music, food, and arts & crafts (some of them are handmade by seniors). A petition will be passed around the area and we can use your support by signing it and enjoying our festivities for this 35th year anniversary of the festival.
Below are excerpts from e-mails from the President and the Developer of the
As you are aware, this Association (along with other members of this neighborhood) must tolerate what seems to be an endless use of Post and Webster Streets for a series of look-alike street fairs with the same purveyors of schlocky souvenirs, mediocre food stands and exhibitors who have absolutely no relationship to the community. There is no other neighborhood which is asked to put up with these sorts of disruptions, and that, of course, doesn't include the disruption presented by the
Thus, we find it astonishing that the Fair organizers would propose an event that would leave the neighborhood in worse condition than you found it and then impose your clean-up costs on this Association and other property owners. The streets and sidewalks of this neighborhood are usually filthy, especially those that surround that appalling mall, and 1600 Webster already devotes part of its yearly budget to the maintenance of its sidewalks and street trees from which this neighborhood receives a direct benefit.
We want to make it very clear to you that if the neighborhood sidewalks are not cleaned in an adequate fashion this year, this Association will file a protest with the City when you seek a permit for next year's street fair.
David H. Zisser
This is real simple. You want to put on an event; you take responsibility. In this instance, you make a mess, you clean it up. You don't get the benefits (proceeds), without the liabilities (expenses). If your event doesn't make money, you should rethink it's usefulness. In any event, if we have to clean up afterwards, we will not only oppose the event next year we will look to small claims court to reimburse us for clean up costs. We don't need a bunch of emailing back and forth on this. It is not a negotiation.
Dear Mr. Zisser,
Thank you for your email regarding the upcoming Nihonmachi Street Fair.
After thoroughly reading your reply I am very troubled by the response you presented.
The Nihonmachi Street Fair (NSF) like the many other community events held in and around Japantown has always worked with our neighbors both residential, community organizations and businesses to make sure that we keep our streets clean and that the event is a successful one especially for the many non profit organizations that participate.
We have never received any negative comments like this and it puts a damper on what we hope will attract many visitors to the area. The Nihonmachi Street Fair has always done our best to keep the streets of Japantown pristine after the event closes each day. Our committee knows how important it is to not only represent the NSF in a positive manner, but that our actions also reflect our organization and more importantly our community.