"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
"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)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

San Francisco wants CONGESTION TOLLS? Is our city leaders STUPID?

In just the past week, the following "revenue generating" ideas were created by our city government idiots:
And now... our city is proposing that we also include "congestion tolls" within the downtown region of San Francisco.

And have you seen the map of where they want to put the tolls? It's totally screwed up! They want to create a border on the west side on Divisadero and also cut the Castro district in HALF.

What does this mean for our city? It might mean millions, but also pissing off a ton of residents and commuters to our lovely city. Bridge tolls are already $4 and even higher at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Here are some easy examples of pissing people off:
  • Say a commuter lives in Marin county and drives to SF Downtown to do some shopping. They pay $5 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, pay another $2 for the Doyle Drive congestion toll, plus another $3 for entering the downtown zone. If you have to park at a downtown variable rate meter, you might as well get nailed with another $5 per hour.
  • Do you live next to one of the congestion rate borders? What happens if you have to drive to your supermarket to get groceries? You would probably get nailed with a $$$$$ crossing fee every single damn time.
  • On the Divisadero "border," I would not have any trouble getting to Kaiser Hospital for my doctor appointment, but how about when I want to visit JAPANTOWN? It's only a short hop away from Divisadero and IT'S NOT CONGESTED. Hell, I can find parking most of the time.
Lastly, if our city wants to make this congestion toll, how about fixing the infastructure of MUNI? If you are forcing people to get out of their cars and take public transit, are they ready for the influx of THOUSANDS of more paying (or cheating) customers to take the worst public transit system around? Delays, missing buses, and overcrowding... yeah... great idea. It works in LONDON because they have an excellent public transit system. Ours is crap.

I don't have any money, but if someone would like to volunteer some cash, the prize winner would be the one who gives the most headaches to city government officials. Go after the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, and the SFMTA.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

UPDATE - Japantown's Festivals: David Zisser (President Homeowners Association 1600 Webster) Abuses Powers

If you recall my past posting in late August about Japantown's festivals being threatened by a homeowners owners association and the building's developer, I learned about a month ago that the letter that was written by the 1600 Webster's Homeowners Association's president (David Zisser) was not a letter that was agreed upon by the by the tenants.

In fact... the association's president ACTED ALONE.

As the letter states:

To Nihonmachi Street Fair Committee

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 Fillmore Street Fair which is only one block away.

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

President, 1600 Webster Street Homeowners' Association


So the guy literally abused his powers as "president" of the association by MISREPRESENTING HIS ASSOCIATION. Or I think that the guy abused his powers as president. See the RED and BOLD highlights in the letter? These are my supporting arguments of his abuse of powers.


And you may be asking: What is your supporting evidence?

I learned about this through a discussion on SFist, talking about the Mervyn's closure and what will be used for that building. I posted a comment insulting the 1600 Webster building that it's a bunch of NIMBYs (Not in my back yard) for writing those hurtful letters to the Japantown community. One of the tenants wrote back and said:
  • "Akit, please don't characterize the whole Webster building as NIMBYs...most of us are regular people who worked hard to buy housing, and had no idea about the letters that were sent."
I wrote back and asked:
  • "I have to know, you never had any idea that the letters were sent to the J-town community about the street fair in August? That's really screwed up, then the building owner and board president was acting alone."
The commenter wrote back and said:
  • "No, we had no idea. I found out when I read it here or on curbed, I can't remember which. The neighbors to whom I spoke also had no idea. (and these are condos, so there is no one building owner)"

I also provide the following supporting evidence during a brief e-mail discussion with Paul Osaki, Executive Director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC):
  • Hey Paul,

    This is going to sound really screwed up, but I was having a discussion with users of one of the city's popular blog news sites known as "SFist" and someone from the 1600 Webster site noted that the condo tenants didn't even know that the developer and the board president sent out the letter. If this is right, those two acted alone in pissing-off the community, and the board president abused his powers as president by misrepresentation.

    See here: http://sfist.com/2008/10/21/_with_the_mervyns_heights.php
He wrote back:
  • Hi Akit,

    That’s correct, the other owners did not know about the letter as far as I can tell.


So there's my evidence. The owners did not know anything about the president writing such a hurtful, hateful, and disgraceful letter to the Nihonmachi Street Fair and insulting the Japantown community. Many non-profit organizations depends on these festivals so they can provide services such as elderly care, childcare, after school groups, church groups, etc.

Plus, NEVER call our food mediocre. It's good stuff, for good causes, and done by hard working individuals, who in some cases have been doing it for OVER 40 YEARS.

I learned through the Nichi Bei Times that Zisser insulted the community even more, by stating he stands by his letter to the community "100 percent." So... there's no real apology. Thanks for the insults.

Now when a business wants to think about occupying that vacant space at your facility, they'll know that the Homeowners Association and Developer hates Japantown, and will not occupy the space.

Maybe it's time for those condo owners to fight back. Recall (kick) the jackass out of his presidency seat for abuse of powers as president of the association.


Other resources:
A letter I wrote to Nichi Bei Times
AsianWeek: Palate Pleasing Philanthropy at the Nihonmachi Street Fair
Hokubei Mainichi: Street Fair Starts Off With a Bang
Hokubei Mainichi: City Agency Says Festival Permits Can't Be Blocked
Photo credit: Hokubei Mainichi

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Variable Meter Rates - San Francisco's BAD Idea

Are we San Franciscans at the boiling point? It seems to be that our city government thought of this "great" idea to replace our existing parking meter system with a meter program that will have variable rates for parking.

(I put quotation marks over "great" so you can replace it with other fine words like: stupid, idiot, and f***ed up)

The SF Chronicle reports that the meter rates can vary from as low as 25 cents to as high as $18 per hour. The highest rate will be used for areas nearby festivals, large concerts, and other similar large gatherings.

The Chronicle also reports that the SFMTA Board has UNANIMOUSLY given Executive Director Nat Ford the discretion to set rates and the authority to change the price. WHAT THE HELL? You give the guy who can't even control Muni the MASTER KEYS TO THE PARKING METER PROGRAM? The VILLAGE IDIOT should not get the powers to set rates, because all he'll do is mismanage the whole damn program and all that money will just fill-in for raises for his salary and make the Muni union happy that they are getting another raise directly from the taxpayers and meter profits.

There are a lot of doubts and questions to ask:
1. What is the criteria for setting these meter rates? For example, if the city wants to charge the $18 per hour rate, how many city blocks away from a major event will this rate be used? Where is the cut-off?

2. Will there be an independent audit of this new program to monitor fairness of the meter rates?

3. How can citizens get a fair hearing if they notice frequent abuse of higher rates and want to contest for a lower meter rate?

4. If credit cards will be accepted, what guarantees their protection in transmitting data to charge the card?

5. Just how safe are these meters? Will citizens eventually revolt and the expert hackers will hack the machine to cut the $18/hr. rate to a mere 25 cents?

6. Will there be additional enforcement of disabled parking placard and license plate abuse? (Since they get free parking regardless if it is a meter, timed parking limit, or green painted curb).

7. In what areas of San Francisco will generally get the lower meter rates versus the higher meter rates? (Currently: Downtown, Fisherman's Wharf, SOMA (including near the Ballpark), and even SFSU have higher rates versus other neighborhoods. These are well defined with maps showing the boundaries)

8. Will there be an easy way for citizens to find out what the meter rate is currently, and give an accurate prediction on when the rate may rise and fall? I.e. online, automated phone system, web cell phone access.

Citizens, it is your responsibility to also monitor the program's effectiveness. Use your cell phone camera and take pictures of any abuses to the system. Auditors will not always be out there, but the watchful eyes of citizens will. You can't always trust your local city government and the village idiots who run our city.

Readers, just something to think about:
In the Outer Richmond District of San Francisco, there is a pilot program offering the use of cell phones to be used to pay for meters. One would simply text message the meter code number and the money is added. The service will also text you when the meter is running low and give you an opportunity to "feed" the meter.

But thinking about this concept, isn't the chance to "feed" the meter ILLEGAL? It's illegal to park longer than the posted limit on meters, and "feeding" the meter with coins after the posted limit will get you a ticket (especially if the meter maids chalked your tires). So why is the city permitting cell phone users to also break the law?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ex-Supervisor Ed Jew - Pleads Guilty Again! Now for Lying about Residency

Dear Super Shameful, Scumbag, Ex-Supervisor Ed Jew,

I'm so happy that you plead guilty for a second time to charges about lying about your residency. Your career is over! But your career in a maximum security prison is just starting!

What a great moment in San Francisco history for everyone! You never really did live in the Sunset after all. You were just housed in your Burlingame home and driving to City Hall everyday. I don't know why the media just didn't follow you around, but it's so nice you admitted guilt.

You still haven't answered my previous question before: when Kamala Harris got the warrant for your arrest, why did you surrender to police in Burlingame? If you were smart, you would have surrendered with the SFPD or at least in Daly City. But instead, you go to Burlingame? Where your other "home" is located? And let's remember, Burlingame is much farther away than Pacifica, Colma, and Daly City.

So be prepared for prison. That's what the people want. You will be made an example to anyone who wants to pull that kind of crap. You won't get off easy like Julie Lee who got F***ING probation. You are a government official, and the people trust you to do your job legitimately.

Lastly, don't blame the Asian American population that got you in this situation. I'm also Asian American, and it's your own damn fault.

Akit of "Akit's Complaint Department"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey BART - why keep pushing EZ Rider when Translink is coming soon?

A lot of people today complain that BART's trains are a little dirtier, the employees are overpaid, the BART board is a bunch of nutjobs, and the frequent demagnetized tickets.

And now with the future of the all mighty universal transit fare card known as Translink, BART still keeps on developing their EZ Rider program.

OK... so the EZ rider pilot program was the genius idea of BART officials to give RFID fare cards to passengers so they can get through their gates without inserting a magnetic ticket into a machine.

What an interesting program... isn't there something called TRANSLINK that will be taking over this process within the next year?

Now... BART puts out a press release explaining that users of the EZ Rider program can now get a special hang tag to put on their car when they park their car, so all they do is tag their card at the parking payment station and they are registered in the system.

But, with BART officials continuously complaining about budget shortfalls and not being able to run their system with clean cars and whatnot, why are they pushing their EZ Rider program further? Why are they wasting money on this program when Translink is going to be taking over BART's EZ Rider program and making the entire Bay Area Transit system a "one card Bay Area?" BART should stop enhancing their EZ Rider program and use the funds to help test and develop the Translink program so it works well when the program comes to be.

I think BART feels addicted to waste money on these types of projects.

For example:
  • EZ Rider should have never been developed for public use since Translink will eventually take over.
  • Even after installation of new BART vending machines and gates, the plastic fare cards still kept getting demagnetized. So they are trying to invest in thicker, and magnetically resistant fare cards... but the new cards cost money. They could have saved money if they just used the thicker, more resistant fare cards when they first installed the gates and vending machines. Everyone knows that the cards can easily demagnetize, so why piss tons of passengers off?
  • Remember when BART wanted to allow passengers to carry coffee aboard the train cars? BART thought... well let's spend money on a new mug that is spill proof!!! Then Lynette Sweet, BART director, goes around with the SF Chronicle to demonstrate the new mug they spent their money on developing (perhaps thousands of dollars?) and she SPILLS THE DAMN COFFEE, with the SF Chronicle photographer taking photos of her cleaning it up. Yeah... very embarrassing BART folks... then the BART Board realizes that Lynette Sweet screwed-up big time in front of the media with the spilled coffee and cancels the program. Just HOW MUCH MONEY DID THEY HAVE TO WASTE ON THIS BULLSHIT PROJECT?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is San Francisco's Muni Going Cheap on the Lights?

Today, I was riding the 18-46th Avenue towards Stonestown and I noticed that the lights inside the bus (as seen in the photo) are a little different.

It looks like the agency might be trying to cut back on their costs, but um... I don't really think it's a good idea to replace the fluorescent bulbs with LED lights. It doesn't even look like they are even bright enough when darkness falls. Plus, these new lights look ugly.

And what's wrong with the fluorescent lights? They are bright and they are the standard for literally all transit applications in the country.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cool things about Election Day in San Francisco

I have to say that yesterday's election day was historic for not just the United States of America, but also for San Francisco.

Of course, we have a new President-elect and that happened at the stroke of 8PM when I was watching KTVU and Fox News broke the word to me, then I flip the channels rapidly and all the news networks announced it literally seconds apart.

Once thing I did notice, the over-the-air digital TV reception was good during the results, went sour when Obama went on the stage. I wonder if our country's investment in the new digital TV equipment is ready for something extreme like that. It's like cable internet services, everyone gets a piece of the pie, but if there's too many people in the pie, the service goes slow.

Back to San Francisco...

I think it's really interesting that we had an extreme turnout. I work at San Francisco State University and the line at the residence hall community was huge! I heard that SFSU's polling place is the largest precinct (based on population) in the entire city of San Francisco. The line was at least 100 feet long and two to three people wide.

And all those freebies! I got myself some free ice cream from Ben and Jerry's too.

I think the one big thing about our ballots this year is that there was a lot of material to vote on, and that may be a reason why the lines were so long at places like SFSU. I live in the Outer Richmond District, and other than voting for the Presidency, state and local propositions, school and college board members, and a judge; I had to also vote for a supervisor. That's four ballot cards with most of them using the back side as well. That took me at least an hour to do an absentee ballot.

(Big tip: When you get your ballot book, read it, then use the practice sheet inside to fill it out so you can quickly do your official ballot later)

In other news, San Francisco's "George W. Bush sewage plant" won't exist. Rats. I thought that was some amusing stuff. But the 30% of San Franciscan's who voted "yes" can still call it that unofficially. Could we change the Main Library to be named the "George W. Bush "leberry?""

All I can say now is, what a relief that this is all over. No more political bickering over the news, no more political ads on the radio during every commercial break, and no more killing trees to put those hanging ads on my house's gate.

I forgot to mention, I gave the finger to a person holding a "Yes on 8" sign when I was driving towards Costco. Discrimination in this country, and especially laws that prohibit people based on their ethnicity, race, skin color, and sexual orientation is just wrong. If prop. 8 passes, this will be one of the worst human rights issue in this nation in recent history (although many of us acknowledge that the Japanese internment camps was the worst human and civil rights violations in American history).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Can't Wait for Election Day to be Over - No More Advertising!

It is always great that we as Americans can use our constitutional right to vote, especially for the Presidency of our country and for big issues, especially Proposition 8 in California.

But the best part after all the hype... no more advertising of "vote for this" and "vote for that" on the phone, television and radio commercials, and by mail.

It makes me sick that when I turn-on the radio to my favorite station, all I hear during every commercial break is to say yes to this and say no to that. Then it's also on your TV too! I want to watch the Simpsons in peace dammit! And if I collected all the political ads I got in the mail, it would be a couple of inches thick. I got ten in one day, and I don't read any of them.

So celebrate my fellow Americans... no more sick to your stomach, vomit political ads to bother you any more.

Now... how long until the news stations cut-off their elections coverage and replace it with normal TV broadcasting?