Jaded mayoral write-in candidate returns to old job

If you don’t subscribe to David Villa-Lobos‘ “Community Leadership Alliance” newsletter and you feel like you’ve got too much spare time in your life that you want to fill up with a bit of the zany and/or misinformation, you should give it a whirl.

We somehow got on it and receive the emails whenever he feels like firing up his propaganda machine. The fact that it doesn’t get caught as spam is amazing, but in each letter there are some real gems, although it’s definitely a shame he’s not posting this as some kind of blog.

This came through the day after the election where he only received three write-in votes:

…I decided in 1981 that I would take my degree in political science and gradually transition to a life of community service, putting my education to work through community service in San Francisco.

I believed that at some point my work/efforts in the community would equate to gainful employment, e.g. a job w/the city, or even an elected position. Well real stupid move on my part because this move has yielded me absolutely nothing, not even appreciation from those that I’ve served.

I today was offered the opportunity to return to an escort agency beginning in January of 2012, I’ve accepted.

This was of course foreshadowed in a previous email where he cried foul (yes, damn you, foul!) on the San Francisco Department of Elections because they blocked him from being part of our cast of thousands (well, okay, 16) mayoral candidates.

Candidate Flips-Out: It was at that point that I went crazy, I phoned the DOE and gave them “HELL”; with the salty-distasteful superlatives flying. After all, my wife and I had already exhausted our entire savings, our daughters college fund on this campaign thus far, and borrowed money to pay the fee.

At around 7:45pm that same night, I received a phone call from the DOE threatening that they were going to turn my recorded phone message over to the Sheriff’s department. And warned me that if I planned to file a law suit against the DOE, that they were prepared to argue that they had done nothing wrong.

It’s been a long time coming, that someone should put this inept branch of our city’s government in check. And I guess it’s Villa-Lobos who had the guts to do it.

It’s quite important that other people know about David as in addition to his third person references to his first person and constant threat to run for mayor, he also tries to wedge himself in the way of random local goings-on. He’s been a serious impediment to people who just want to start a business as well as any community art projects that he feels happen without oversight (by him we assume) like Hemlock Alley. I mean, who does he think he is, the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association?

The Veteran’s Mural Project in Shannon Alley

Shannon Alley, between Geary & O’Farrell and Jones & Taylor, doesn’t have the best of reputations–or the best of odors. In fact, since there are a couple of vacant buildings just around the corner on O’Farrell it is often used as a toilet or as a place for homeless people to sleep. As it turns out many of those homeless people are veterans, as photographer Amos Lee Gregory Jr. discovered while spending many nights in the neighborhood photographing them between November 2010 and April 2011.

During that time Gregory came up with the idea of a mural project in Shannon Alley to allow veterans to express themselves and tell their own story. A veteran himself of the Naval Submarine Service, Gregory is a founding member of the SF Veterans Art guild. He’s been frustrated that so much art about veterans and war is created by artists who themselves are not veterans of any American conflict. So, he wanted to give a voice to the American veterans regardless of their discharge status, sexual orientation, length of service, branch of service, race, language or national origin. In March 2011 he photographed Rigo‘s “Truth” a mural on Market Street by the UN Plaza during a protest marking the 8th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. This photograph has inspired many Veterans of all backgrounds to speak about their experiences in the US military and about peace, and it seems to have been the driving force to start this mural project.

As reported by the Veteran Artists blog, the first section of the mural was started on October 24th, with a tribute by Brian Parker to his friend Chip Santos who survived the Iraq war but then committed suicide as a result of PTSD. Parker, who now resides in South Dakota, was flown to San Francisco by Gregory from his own pocket as he wants this mural to be part of the veterans’ healing process. Gregory hand-painted a quote by Vietnamese philosopher Thicht Nhan Han, that you can see on the right of the picture below:

Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation.
If Veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war.
And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again.

Yesterday evening when I passed by the alley Gregory was working on a new section of the mural that is going to depict a little girl he met and photographed in 2002 in Havana, Cuba. He doesn’t know her name or if she’s ok, but he’s hoping to find her one day. Another section of the mural was being painted by a homeless veteran who usually likes hanging out in the alley and who is in need of medical attention. His name is David Wickham and the mural is giving him an opportunity to express himself in a way he never gets the chance to do.

Gregory said he’s hoping the project will create a dialogue between veterans and the community at-large to “help facilitate healing and promote the concept of universal peace”. These might seem like very ambitious goals, but in just a few minutes of hanging out by the mural I saw several people approching him and sharing their stories. Such as faithful Tender reader Reyeuro, who as it turns out is a Vietnam veteran. Also, the owner of the store at the corner of Geary and Shannon explained that her dad was in their army as well and she became an orphan at 12 so this mural is very close to her heart.

If you want to see Gregory in Shannon Alley talking about the mural, here’s a video by the #OccupySF team.

The SF Vets mural project is an open project and they welcome all suggestions and contributions. They’re also asking anyone who knows of a veteran who has touched their lives or is a veteran themselves to contact them via their website or their Facebook group to request a mural concept in honor of a deceased veteran. Or if you are a veteran and want to do one yourself in the alley with them, they’ll be happy have you.

And since it’s Veteran’s Day today, you should also read this story on The Bold Italic featuring a few post 9/11 veterans in San Francisco.

Taxis’ green light to take over bike lanes

For those who haven’t heard, our almighty benefactors at the SFMTA have decided that under certain instances taxis can stop in bike lanes. This new genius-spew is of course ignoring the fact that taxis stop in the bike lanes, all the time, to offload everything. When riding my bike and telling them that it’s a bike lane, they generally just flip me off. I guess I should be thankful that they don’t run me down

Anyways, if you’re a cyclist and have some degree of alarm in SFMTA allowing it (keeping in mind that more sane places like NYC do not) send an email like the one below to Deputy Director of SMTA Taxi Services, Christiane Hayashi (christiane.hayashi@sfmta.com). Naturally, if anyone else has another other addresses at SFMTA to send to, feel free to post them as well.

Christiane,

I’ve only recently heard about the plan to allow taxis to park in the city’s bicycle lanes as there appeared to be little if any public transparency in this.

Let me be one of the many to express incredible disdain for this decision from the SFMTA. Given the general attitude from taxi drivers towards all others on the road (especially bicyclists) and the fact that they already stop in the bicycle lanes to drop off any and all passengers, this will only make a bad situation worse. And, more than the inconvenience of having to swerve around taxis when one is riding a bike and in to vehicular traffic, it sets up the city for massive liability if it is permitting taxi drivers to engage in dangerous driving activities such as this.

Let me emphasize that I am not a member of the SF Bike Coalition. I am just a city resident who uses his bike to get places as the Muni system has become too cost prohibitive and unreliable. I implore you to reconsider this situation as it only polarizes those of us who would simply like to exist and transport ourselves around San Francisco without it becoming an all-out, lawyer-fueled fight for common sense.

Hugh Leeman Art for #OccupySF

Here are a couple of murals by Tenderlocal street artist Hugh Leeman created in support of the #OccupySF movement. We found them quite cool, so just wanted to share them here. The woman with the cat that inspired the first one can often be seen in Mid-Market.

The title of this piece is David vs. Goliath and it can be seen on 18th street and South Van Ness.

For mayor, we endorse Avalos, UppityFag’s 2nd choice

Politics in this town is as pleasant as food poisoning kicking in 30 minutes before you land on a 12 hour flight. But regardless of that, we’ve got to choose someone on next’s weeks election and given that our dis-endorsement schtick netted us a winner we love to hate, we thought we might as well risk comment reprisal and actually put down an endorsement for Mayor. Which is… drumroll… John Avalos! (And no, not Avelos with an E.)

Why do we choose Avalos although his press committee has annoyed the shit out of us for months with daily emails? Well, the most amazingly named, UppityFag pretty much summed up any and all thoughts we had on the matter:

Avalos is a progressive candidate that doesn’t have a long murky background of shady dealings and complicated alliances nor does he reek of Tea Party-lite policy schemes of giving tax breaks to corporate interests in anticipation that they will show mercy on the rest of us.

He does not rail on about the unfortunate burden of regulation upon small business. Avalos speaks of his community ties and his family and his love for San Francisco in a way that is not grandstanding or mawkish or transparent.

Sometimes I want to pull him aside and tell him to drop out of the race because he’s too good for the filthy politics and I’d hate for him to be ruined by it all. But then I’d be tempted to kiss him and I’m not sure he’d be into that so I have had to exercise restraint.

We also put Avalos for choice #1 as he has an actual chance of winning (and he looks great riding a bike). We don’t really have much else to add to that above as we’ve really gotten tired of Ed Lee and agree that’s he like a “dorky, Chinese version of Willie Brown” (thank you for that one, former supervisor Daly).

Of course, this is all about the ranked choice voting system this time around and so, we say to choose from the following for your second and third choices: Herrera, Chiu or Rees. Or whatever, just keep in mind that it does actually matter who you put in there (ex. Jean Quan) and for the love of god, don’t list Lee like the Bike Coalition did to cover their asses by endorsing him for the third choice.

For District Attorney, well… probably Onek followed by Bock. If anyone has any feedback on this, chime in as we’re not really sold on any of them given we don’t like lawyers much.

For the rest of the ballot, use your common sense. We’ve already put out enough of an opinion to get spit roasted on and need the next week to read over all the blather of the eight additional propositions. Oh, we’d say to vote No on Prop G for additional sales tax given that this city seriously needs to learn how to live within its means as it has an 800,000, not 8 million residents…

The AoA hereby serves notice

Thursday, November 17th, you can go to City Hall Room 400 and toss your two cents in to the very deep hole that is the Academy of Art’s Institutional Master Plan. What, you weren’t aware that was actually a plan for the AoA other than buying up buildings to add to their real estate empire? Yes, there is, as the city started requiring it in 2006 (which happened to be a year before the AoA received accreditation) and you can read the updated version here.

Done with all 269 pages? Neither am I, but if you feel like getting a grasp of just how large the AoA has gotten, scan through all the addresses. Personally, my favorite bit is under “Transportation” on page 134:

It locates the bulk of its residential and educational buildings along or near existing transit corridors. It supplements City transit with a fleet of shuttle vehicles.

So, apparently we can all ride the princess limos as well? That’s awesome! I’ll make sure to bring up this topic at the hearing and profusely thank Elisa Stephens for her generosity in bolstering our public transportation system in these dire times of cutbacks…

If you want to have real fun, start looking up the addresses listed in the IMP and running them against the SF Property Map to get an idea of all the violations they’ve been racking up like 121 Wisconsin Street where they’re running an unlicensed parking lot for their princess limos.

Of course, that’s just the tip of iceberg. Look at all of the dorms (17 buildings in total) that were pretty much all illegally converted to dorms yet the AoA only claims to “lease”, yet the owner is either the Stephens Institute, Elisa Stephens, or some other name incarnation.

This is my cellphone rant

The other day, I received a notification in the mail about some new cellphone antennas being proposed for installation at 1010 Bush Street by AT&T. If your ass is properly trained for a long sit and you want to see a good show, head to the First Congregational Church at 1300 Polk on November 2 at 7PM. Every nut (with no offense to our beloved “nutjob” commenter) will crawl out from from every conceivable rock to speak up against this and delay the installation, which I might add will most likely happen anyways because people want a mobile network that actually works.

And so, after dusting up on NIMBY classifications, my rant begins. What gives, SF? Cellphone reception, and specifically data reception here is probably the shittiest I’ve ever encountered. Driving through Central Oregon where my phone would say Edge, I would still get speeds that rivaled the “3G” I have here. And don’t even get me started on Portland, New Orleans, and NYC which I’ve been to in the last year to realize what 3G actually is and let me tell you, it’s awesome. Oh, and for the record I’ve been a subscriber to AT&T, T-Mobile, and briefly used Verizon. They all suck here. Dropped calls are standard and data speeds are like trying to download porn in 1996.

Yeah, yeah I know, “Cellphone signals give you cancer!” I’ve seen arguments back and forth on this and honestly, at this point, cellphones are the least of my worries in shortening my life because I have news for you: we will all indeed die eventually. We should be a great deal more worried about the jet fuel exhaust being slathered through the immediate atmosphere by air traffic from SFO and OAK. Or, how about all the car exhaust from idling commuters because we fought having proper elevated expressways across San Francisco and made Van Ness a “highway”?

Nah, it’s obvious that it’s the cellphone signals we need to loose sleep over. People believe it to be imperative to stop San Francisco, this supposedly amazing hub of 21st century technology, from having decent connectivity. Just another sign that while convinced otherwise, we’re a First World city insisting on approaching life in a Third World way. I call this living in the Fourth World. I’ll wrap this up before I get hurled over my handlebars by a pothole and a PG&E transformer explodes.

Jane Kim got tossed (in a pool)

So Tuesday night the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation held their 19th annual “celebrity” Pool Toss fundraiser at the Phoenix Hotel. And we say celebrity in quotation marks because the only name that rang a bell in their list of VIPS to be tossed in the pool was our favorite local politician to pick on, Supervisor Jane Kim. And of course, this event was yet another opportunity to pick on her because she’s as elegant as a one legged moose on a frozen lake. Just check out her pool toss outfit, including a fuchsia headband and a non-matching tracksuit instead of the bikini or summer dress that everyone in attendance was expecting:

Now, we already know that Jane Kim doesn’t know how to bicycle, but it appears she doesn’t know how to swim either. I mean, could she look any more like a wet pug? Thank god that the Golds Gym lifeguards were on hand to grab ass help her to safety. When asked for comment, Jane Kim simply wrote on her Facebook wall “That water is chilly!” and probably adding, “Wait, am I on a bike again?”

Not even after the dip in the pool, wet shirt and all, did Jane Kim manage to look the least bit sexy. At least Chris Daly last year wore a suit (and his wife), although it’s obvious that water, supervisors, and sexy are an ugly match.

In spite of the obvious lack of overall sexiness, this silly pool toss event somehow managed to raise $338,000 for the TNDC’s efforts to provide after school programs to low-income youth. Good for them.

And if unfashionable people jumping into hotel pools is your thing, check out the rest of the photos over at the Fog City Journal.

World Homeless Day celebrated with random occupations

Today was World Homeless Day and, like last year, it was celebrated by local homeless advocates led by the squatters’ collective Homes Not Jails — with Frank Chu in an advisory role. Their main focus was occupying vacant buildings around the Tenderloin, as opposed to say, SOMA, North Beach, or everywhere else that’s vacant in SF these days.

According to their website, they gathered at Civic Center by Larkin & Fulton at 5pm and were joined by members of the hashtag-friendly OccupySF protestors. At this point, according to Chron intern Vivan Ho who was there, the group was about 20 people with nearly as many journalists covering it. Sounds like the SF I know and love…

The group then rallied towards the former Cathedral Hill Hotel at 1101 Van Ness Avenue, which was subsequently occupied. They reported that most if not all of the rooms remain furnished and in habitable condition. Apparently, the protesters were allowed to stay after security did a safety check through the building. Afterwards, at around 8pm, part of the group split and moved on to the former Charlie Hotel building at 1030 Geary, right above the shuttered Infusion Lounge. For a little bit, they partially blocked traffic on Polk Street but the police merely yawned as if saying it would be illegal were traffic not to be blocked on Polk.

I then stopped petting my neighbor’s cat and left the comfort of The Tender HQ to go check out the “action”. I saw about 50-70 people gathered in front of the building, which contains 17 apartment units that they said should be opened to homeless individuals immediately. They were all eating dinner (spaghetti, I think) served by what appeared to be the guys from Food Not Bombs. I overheard the leaders discussing where to go next, but there didn’t seem to be a clear plan. There were also a few people inside of the building, eating their dinner quietly as well. Across the street four media vans and a couple of police cars were watching the action. On my way back home I saw one of the cops buying some food at Jebena, presumably donuts.

I have no idea if more buildings were occupied as was their initial plan, but I wish they hadn’t focused exclusively on the buildings that are vacant because of the planned CPMC Hospital. For example, how about raising some attention towards 655 Geary? I mean, shouldn’t the main target for such actions be buildings that owners are deliberately keeping vacant for speculation (Hibernia Bank, anyone?) instead of the ones that have an actual development plan?

A thought on reducing violence

We just got word via SF Citizen that, starting early this morning and until early voting begins tomorrow at 8am, David Chiu will be holding a 24 hour marathon of campaign events throughout San Francisco. He will make a stop in our neighborhood at 2:30am to discuss public safety at the Tenderloin Police Station, 301 Eddy Street. So if you have insomnia and would like to experience being in the police station in the middle of the night, or you are a Chiu and/or Chiubacca fan who’d like to see how he looks when sleep-deprived, then don’t miss it.

Somehow this has reminded me of this great quote from criminologist David Kennedy from a discussion last week at the Stanford Law School with East Palo Alto Police Chief Ron Davis about strategies for reducing shootings and homicides in low income neighborhoods. David said he constantly faces skepticism that violence can be diminished in the inner city unless drug use and dealing are first eliminated. His response:

We have lots of communities in America that have drug use, drug dealing and no violence. They’re called ‘suburbs’.

So what do you guys think? Can violence be reduced in the Tenderloin without also reducing the amount of drug use and dealing?

Photo by Bluoz