your Miraloma Life … online – June 2005

    • MPIC Garage Sale an Outrageous Success!
    • DISASTER MEETING PLACE
    • The Joys of Being a Victim
    • History of Miraloma Park
    • The Demise of Public Debate
    • Greg Gaar – Images of West of Twin Peaks
    • LEGAL EASE
    • Design Matters
    • A News Poem
    • Miraloma Life is on Vacation
    • Aother Coyote Communiqué

    MPIC Garage Sale an Outrageous Success!

    by Dan Liberthson

    Nearly 100 homes signed up for the Miraloma Park Improvement Club’s Spring Garage Sale in May, and from all accounts business was brisk, especially in the morning when the serious garage-sale shoppers come out. Due to the large number of homes participating, some did not get as good attendance as others, but everyone I talked to in the central Teresita area had done quite well.  About three dozen folks attended the post-sale party at the Clubhouse to help gobble up goodies (excellent aram sandwiches, meat, cheese, fruit, and endless desserts) and scarf down wine and other drinkables. The festive atmosphere at the Clubhouse was really just an extension of a wonderfully sociable day in the whole neighborhood, as residents and tourists from other SF areas wandered streets chock-a-block with garages displaying their wares, chatting and laughing and lightening their wallets.

    Despite coolish weather and moderate fog (actually, good weather for summer in Miraloma Park as it wasn’t windy), our well-populated sidewalks reminded me of nothing less than sprawling bazaar or fleamarket at which everybody gathered to purchase and party. Perhaps the most rewarding comments we have heard from neighbors who participated, either as vendors or customers, have been that the event provided the opportunity to meet others in the neighborhood whom they would probably not have met otherwise. As an organization whose primary goals include building community, this was music to our ears. And the good news is that, since no doubt many items acquired will no doubt remain in the neighborhood, there should be plenty of merchandise for next year’s Garage Sale event!

    Many thanks are due to Board Members and others who helped to make the Sale a success. First and foremost, Sue Kirkham of TRI/Coldwell Banker took the lead in organizing the huge event, donating a ton of her time in a wonderfully organized effort. Phil Laird designed and prepared advertising posters, Pete Renteria helped with logistics, and other Board members, as well as Lou and Yvonne Hipskind, helped with putting up and taking down signs.

    By the way, those who have not been to see the wonderful little garden started by Yvonne and her neighbors on Melrose and Detroit should scoot over there as soon as you can, as the now well-established garden is full of delightful spring and summer blooms. Ron Proctor, our Web Master, did a great job with advertising the event on the Website, and Newton Don designed the map for the website and distribution.

    Although the MPIC donated a good deal of the food, various individuals and enterprises helped out with the Bake Sale that ran concurrently with the event. Marc Ayala, of Los Palmos Drive, donated Peets coffee for the Bake Sale and post-sale party, and Terry Still of Sequoia Way (a Board Member and MPIC’s Clubhouse Manager and Treasurer), Delia Athey of Juanita Way (a professional baker who can be reached at 242-1665), and Marion Spacek of Sherwood Court also contributed goodies to the Bake Sale and party. Finally, our thanks to Mollie Stone’s (what a good neighbor they are turning out to be!) for food donations and for posting hard-copy lists of participants in their store, and to Starbucks for their donation of coffee for the party.

    Although some who manage to unload their garages of unneeded stuff and others who managed to fill their garages with unneeded stuff might disagree, I think the highpoint of the Garage Sale was to draw our community together for a Spring get-together and celebration the like of which I hope to see regularly repeated in the coming years.

     

    DISASTER MEETING PLACE

    When disaster strikes, go to the NERT Incident Command Center at Miraloma Playground (Omar Way and Sequoia Way). Rescue services, securing resources like food, water, shelter and medical services will be provided by trained volunteers.

     

    The Joys of Being a Victim

    by Phil Laird

    Have you ever wanted to be a victim? No? Well, here’s your chance! NERT (San Francisco’s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) invites volunteers to act as disaster victims during the final class of the six-class training program for NERT Team members.

    During the training session, victims are placed in various situations for NERTs to help and rescue. Some victims are dead. As a dead victim, I have been rescued innumerable times by hapless NERTs, and never once have I been revived. Learning which victims to help and which ones to defer is an essential lesson in triage that all NERTs are taught. Other victims are made up to simulate horrendous injuries that might qualify them for a part in the next Hollywood splatter film. NERTs learn to distinguish injuries requiring immediate help from less serious ones, however ugly.

    As I volunteer I have learned as much playing victim as I learned during the actual NERT training itself. After each wave of NERTs attempt to deal with a room full of injured people, San Francisco Fire Department instructors debrief them, describing what they did right, did wrong, and failed to do that that they should have done. Listening to the instructors and witnessing the mistakes of others is one of the most effective ways of all to learn.

    Graduating classes of NERTs need volunteer victims on : Wednesday, June 1 at 6 PM, Villa’s at Park Merced, 77 Cambon (off 19 Ave.); Saturday, June 4, 12:30 PM at the SFFD Division of Training, 19 & Folsom; Tuesday, June 28 at 5 PM, Southeast Community College, 1800 Oakdale at Phelps; Wednesday, June 29 at 9AM, University of San Francisco (room to be announced);Thursday, July 14 at 6 PM, Ft. Mason Building A, Marina Room.

     

    History of Miraloma Park

    by Rosalie Kuwatch

    Editor’s Note: This History of Miraloma Park appeared several years ago in Miraloma Life. There has been a great call for repeating it. It is fascinating for long term residents and newcomers alike. This is the last installment. If you wish to read it in its entirety, access www.miralomapark.org.

    In recent years, many changes came about. The Miraloma Park Improvement Club was responsible for more transit improvements after the opening of the BART system. The #36 Teresita MUNI line was extended to the Balboa Park BART Station. When parking became a problem around the Glen Park Station, residents in that area petitioned for parking restrictions. Commuters were driving in from the Peninsula to park near the station. In 1976, under President Frank Mastro’s leadership, the Club started talks with BART officials and in July 1980 a van service named the “Miraloma Ranger” started over Teresita Boulevard to the Glen Park Station. The shuttle ran during commute hours and the round trip fare was fifty cents. The service averaged 150 riders a day and fares accounted for 50 percent of the cost, a high ratio, as average fare contribution to cost of other systems was 20 to 30 percent.

    The cost of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club newsletter has been financed by an average of more than twenty ads a month. A few of the ads have been from the West Portal shopping area, but most are from the businesses in the neighborhood commercial district. A Miraloma homeowner who advertised regularly was Jackie Douglas, a 20-year resident in the community. She used to take friends out in an old boat on salmon fishing trips and decided to turn her hobby into a business. She bought a fifty-foot boat with fishing equipment for 21 people to go out all day. She and her boat, the “Wacky Jacky,” were featured in Sunset Magazine, Sports and Field, and Boating and Yachting.

    The neighborhood relationship with the business district went beyond advertisements in the newsletter. When a 7-11 store was proposed for the corner of Portola and O’Shaughnessy in 1980, the Miraloma Park Improvement Club made strong objections to the City on the grounds that, since it would be open 24 hours, it would attract undesirable late night traffic. It was also unsuitable to locate a store selling beer and wine next to McAteer High School. The members of the Club took the initiative as a protective measure without any pressure from store owners, and the 7-1 1 was never built.

    In 1979, the MPIC clubhouse was made available for rent to any resident of Miraloma Park and all non-profit organizations. The rentals have paid for maintenance and a variety of events continue to be hosted. Residents no longer put out Christmas displays. A homeowner wrote an open letter to Miraloma Life in 1984. He said that it had been a tradition in his family to spend hours on holiday decorations and that it was rewarding to see cars stop to gawk and take pictures. But he had done it for the last time as he had had to replace lights three times and when he

    In recent years, many changes came about. The Miraloma Park Improvement Club was responsible for more transit improvements after the opening of the BART system. The #36 Teresita MUNI line was extended to the Balboa Park BART Station. When parking became a problem around the Glen Park Station, residents in that area petitioned for parking restrictions. Commuters were driving in from the Peninsula to park near the station. In 1976, under President Frank Mastro’s leadership, the Club started talks with BART officials and in July 1980 a van service named the “Miraloma Ranger” started over Teresita Boulevard to the Glen Park Station. The shuttle ran during commute hours and the round trip fare was fifty cents. The service averaged 150 riders a day and fares accounted for 50 percent of the cost, a high ratio, as average fare contribution to cost of other systems was 20 to 30 percent.

    The cost of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club newsletter has been financed by an average of more than twenty ads a month. A few of the ads have been from the West Portal shopping area, but most are from the businesses in the neighborhood commercial district. A Miraloma homeowner who advertised regularly was Jackie Douglas, a 20-year resident in the community. She used to take friends out in an old boat on salmon fishing trips and decided to turn her hobby into a business. She bought a fifty-foot boat with fishing equipment for 21 people to go out all day. She and her boat, the “Wacky Jacky,” were featured in Sunset Magazine, Sports and Field, and Boating and Yachting.

    The neighborhood relationship with the business district went beyond advertisements in the newsletter. When a 7-11 store was proposed for the corner of Portola and O’Shaughnessy in 1980, the Miraloma Park Improvement Club made strong objections to the City on the grounds that, since it would be open 24 hours, it would attract undesirable late night traffic. It was also unsuitable to locate a store selling beer and wine next to McAteer High School. The members of the Club took the initiative as a protective measure without any pressure from store owners, and the 7-1 1 was never built.

    In 1979, the MPIC clubhouse was made available for rent to any resident of Miraloma Park and all non-profit organizations. The rentals have paid for maintenance and a variety of events continue to be hosted. Residents no longer put out Christmas displays. A homeowner wrote an open letter to Miraloma Life in 1984. He said that it had been a tradition in his family to spend hours on holiday decorations and that it was rewarding to see cars stop to gawk and take pictures. But he had done it for the last time as he had had to replace lights three times and when he attempted to secure them, vandals smashed everything.

    These have been universal urban problems in recent years and Miraloma Park has suffered less than more congested neighborhoods. In spite of metal grills and electronic alarms (unthought of in the 1930’s) the community has maintained its value as a desirable place in which to live. The population went down in 1950 to 1970 from 4.2 persons per unit to 2.7. Although it has risen again, the community has changed less than any other neighborhood in San Francisco. Many people who bought houses as young homeowners have been in the neighborhood for 40 years or more and have continued to be active in the Miraloma Park Improvement Club which has been the unifying force in maintaining neighborhood character.

     

    The Demise of Public Debate

    by Jim O’Donnell

    The United States of America was established with a spirited debate about how the country should be organized in the late 1780’s after a few years without a strong central government. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton sold the new configuration of the Constitution to the public in The Federalist Papers, a series of articles in major newspapers around the country. The debate raged in the statehouses of the original 13 states, with the result that ratification only occurred after a Bill of Rights became the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

    The second most famous round of public debate came about over the issue of slavery. The Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1859 showcased the issue for a national audience. By 1861, instead of continuing the dialogue, the southern states seceded to form the Confederacy, challenging the other states to either do nothing or fight to preserve the union. Under Lincoln’s leadership, the issue was not in doubt.

    Unfortunately, today’s national discussion of public issues does not follow this tradition, and instead falls into one of three categories. As a first category (and closest to a real debate) several of the news channels sponsored forums that featured all of the major democratic hopefuls for the party nomination for president in the 2004 race. Fox “Fair and Balanced” News had the most with six, and issues such as disenchantment with the war in Iraq, universal health care, job outsourcing and other issues were brought up by the nine major democratic candidates. These were not really debates but public forums where the candidates could present anything that they liked, similar to the ones we have had here in Miraloma Park for mayor and other offices, and was certainly an improvement over previous campaign seasons. Candidates without big campaign funding love these events, since they obtain lots of free exposure to the voters on a national stage, which is called “earned media.” However, after John Kerry percolated to the top slot, these issues were promptly dropped from the media radar screen. Major public issues such as immigration, taxation, obesity, job creation and the like were not deemed news worthy, unless a major candidate put his name on it. The second category is the familiar “sound bite” of a few seconds on major television and radio stations, paid for by political parties or candidate election funds. The amount spent is regulated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), with limits on what can be spent according to national election laws. This is known as “paid media”. The third category is really the wild card in the political poker game. These are the so-called “third party” organizations that invest in paid media but are not regulated by the FEC. Remember Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? This is organization is what is known as a “527” referring to a section of the IRS code. Just like an advertising campaign, the SBVT ad bringing John Kerry’s Vietnam War service into doubt was a success in one market, so with a huge influx of money from “anonymous” donors, the ads went nationwide, and are widely credited with helping keep Kerry out of the White House.

    An unfair tactic used by Republicans, you say? The Democrats have been even busier with funding them than have the Republicans. A “527 organization” was used by Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry’s campaign manager to torpedo Howard Dean in the Iowa caucauses in January, 2004, to kickstart his flagging campaign for president.

    It is time to get rid of the whole mess and have publicly sponsored issue debates. Every TV and radio station has to have an FCC license to operate. A condition of the license should be so many hours of either public forums or debates every election year, both for the local and national markets. Federal election funds should be made available to provide some compensation to the stations, but not necessarily at market rates. Instead of just candidates presenting themselves, nationally known experts should be invited to participate so that the viewing public can see where the candidates stand on the issues that matter in relation to what a real expert has to say on the matter. In addition, have an organization with a solid track record like the League of Women Voters select the experts and the format for the debates. There should be real rebuttal, where a candidate must defend a position on an issue. There could even be an opportunity for call-in questions from the viewing public for issues that are not being addressed on stage. If the politicians want more participation from the public, then give them a venue to express themselves in the form of real public debates in the tradition of Madison, Hamilton and Lincoln, and let’s get our country moving in the right direction for this new century.

     

    Greg Gaar – Images of West of Twin Peaks 

    MPIC’s Annual Election

    by Dan Liberthson

    At 7:30 sharp, Thursday, June 16, the MPIC’s annual election of Directors and Officers will be held. Per our Bylaws, members in good standing for at least 30 days before that date (i.e., since May 17) are eligible and encouraged to come and cast their votes. The Slate includes: for Director, Jim O’Donnell, Dan Liberthson, Kathy Rawlins, Sue Kirkham, and Gary Noguera; and for Officer, Dan Liberthson, Corresponding Secretary and Kathy Rawlins, Recording Secretary. The term of service will be 2 years.

    After balloting, Greg Gaar returns to the Clubhouse with another of his wonderful slide shows, this time comprising historical photos showing the evolution of the landscape of Miraloma Park and the West of Twin Peaks from a diverse ecosystem to farmland, racetracks, roadhouses, and subdivisions. Photos will include Mt. Davidson without trees (that is, in its original and natural condition), cattle grazing on Diamond Heights and Twin Peaks (when these areas hosted dairy farms), the Ingleside Racetrack, the Mission Zoo in Glen Park, the construction of the Twin Peaks Tunnel (which opened the West of Twin Peaks area to public transit and thus to development), and the formation of the various neighborhoods that give our area its distinctive character.

    As many of you know, Greg Gaar is a longtime San Francisco history buff, naturalist, and preservationist, who has presented to large and appreciative gatherings of Miralomans more than once before. With the passing of his mother last year, Greg has moved nearby, back to his family home at 440 Hazelwood, where he has planted a very large San Francisco native plant garden for everyone to enjoy. For those who are new to Miraloma Park or the West of Twin Peaks area, and for established residents, Greg’s show will be an excellent opportunity to see and hear fascinating things about the history of our neighborhood and its surrounding lands.

     

    LEGAL EASE

    by Steven Solomon

     Q: My lawyer just settled a credit reporting case after 10 months. Two conditions in the settlement agreement prepared by the credit agency’s lawyer were that my attorney could not represent any other consumers against that agency, & that I couldn’t discuss my case with anyone?

    What gives here?

    A: It is illegal to restrict the practice of an attorney through a settlement agreement. While you can sign a contract with a term “if you discuss your case with anyone, you cannot speak to your wife to 6 months,” but a court will not enforce an illegal contract term. The Calif. Supreme Court & several courts of appeal have refused to enforce gag clauses, like the one in your settlement agreement, as illegal, contrary to public policy & an infringement on free speech rights.

    “huh?” dept: With the gloomy press predictions about GM’s future, what seized the ire of its lawyers? A: Threatening the founder of China’s Chery Automobile Co. from using the name “Chery” for its upcoming 2007 model cars, because the name sounded too much like “Chevy.”

    Steve Solomon is an 18 year resident of Miraloma Park. He just relocated his law office to West Portal where he continutes to represent consumers and business groups in a variety of legal issues.

     

    Design Matters

    Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architect

    This is a monthly column addressing basic residential design and home improvement topics of interest to Miraloma Park residents. If you have a question or idea for a topic, please email pazdesignmatters@aol.com.

    Q: We need an upgrade, but where do we begin?

    A: Start by establishing a budget, and a timeline for when you would like everything done.

    What’s the first step? How do we get the ball rolling? We’ve been talking about it for years, how do we really make it happen? What do we need to do? I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard these questions. So many projects start out as a simple conversation, and if I mention that I’m an architect they’ll stop the conversation and say, “You know, we’ve been talking about remodeling our house for 10 years, but don’t know where to begin. Can you help?” The answer is yes!

    STEP ONE: The first thing you need to do is establish a realistic budget. How much can you afford to spend? You have to have this number in mind before you begin anything, especially if it is a low number. For a small project you may have the cash available, but for a larger project you may need to find financing. Start by talking to your banker and accountant about different ways to finance a project.

    There may tax advantages, or specific mortgage products that make sense within your overall financial plan. You don’t need plans or a contractor bid to start these conversations. This step is just about you getting comfortable with what kind of financial leverage you actually have. In the world of big development the mantra is build it with O.P.M.: “Other People’s Money”. That is what financial leverage is all about. Most people don’t have $100,000 sitting in their checking accounts and if they do, it sure isn’t working very hard for them.

    STEP TWO: Now that you have a better understanding of what you can comfortably afford, sit down and establish a timeline. How long do you plan on living in the house or keeping the property? Will you be growing old in the house and need to consider accessibility issues? Are you planning on a quick sale? Are there significant changes to your financial situation on the horizon? Making partner or retiring? The timeline will help your architect assist you in prioritizing your needs. It will also help you master plan the overall development of your property so that you make accommodation for future work. For example, if you are remodeling your bathroom and shower and don’t plan on moving, why not add the structural support (“backing”) in the wall so grab bars can be easily added in the future should you need them.

    STEP THREE: FINALLY! Let’s talk about what it is you want to do. This is the easy part. Most people already have a drawer full of magazine clippings and folders full of notes and ideas and sketches. If you do, great, but if you don’t that’s OK too. This step is about creating your ‘wish list’. Don’t worry about solving the design problem; just write down on a piece of paper your ‘wishes’. It can be descriptive, it can be poetic, or it can be a feeling. The important thing is getting something down on paper. Just pick a room and start describing what you wish it was like. Design professionals are trained in taking abstract ideas and translating them into three dimensional spaces. That’s what we do. I’d prefer a client to tell me they want a “bright, cheerful kitchen”, rather than tell me “we need a window right there.” That preconceived window might not be the best way to get a “bright, cheerful” kitchen, but a way of getting another window.

    STEP FOUR: Empowered with the knowledge of your financial leveraging capacity, a goal oriented timeline, and a shopping list of desires you are well prepared to talk to an architect or other design professional. You’ve come with answers to their first three questions! What’s your budget, when do you need it, and what do you want? With this basic information your architect should be able to quickly evaluate your situation and make recommendations to help you achieve your goals. Of course, if you are uncomfortable with any of the first three steps, you could contact your architect first and they could guide you through the steps. You’ll find that with most design and construction professionals it’s a good thing to start a conversation early allowing them to properly schedule you into their work load. The whole process is much more enjoyable for everyone when adequate time is allocated for design, obtaining your financing, obtaining building permits (this could be several months in some cases) and also time to build the project. If you want your new kitchen for Thanksgiving, don’t wait until Labor Day to start planning it.

    * This column and its content are intended to be a source of general information. Applicability to your specific project should be verified. Peter A. Zepponi, AIA is an architectural firm in San Francisco specializing in residential and commercial architecture.

    * This column and its content are intended to be a source of general information. Applicability to your specific project should be verified.

    Peter A. Zepponi, AIA is an architectural firm specializing in residential and commercial architecture.

    A News Poem

    by Stan Andersen

    Stoning women to death
    For adultery
    Still happened
    Lately in Bamiyan
    High main Afghan province;
    So also forced marriages
    And other such insults.
    Yet Afghan women
    Now vote, go to school,
    Serve careful terms
    In parliament
    And one of them,
    Habiba Sarobi,
    Has been appointed
    By the Afghan president

    Governor of this province
    Bamiyan
    On the old Silk Road
    Where Genghis Khan
    Sacked citadels.
    Even from Shaidan
    A five-hours walk away,
    Men used to power
    Are coming with gifts
    Wishing the president well.

     

    Miraloma Life is on Vacation

    Miraloma Life is not printed in July and August. This gives contributors, the delivery coordinator, delivery personnel and the editor time to recoup in order to bring you even more exciting, useful and interesting information in September.

    During the pause please don’t forget our advertisers. They are very loyal and their support helps to produce the paper, which is published ten times per year and delivered to over 2,200 homes in Miraloma Park and to community and governmental institutions.

    In the meantime, for information about Miraloma Park, access our website www.miralomapark.org. You can find out about local proceedings, join the MPIC, rent the clubhouse, read the residential guidelines, catch up on old newsletters and reminisce with photos from special events. For burning issues, go to the discussion page. Either introduce a topic or respond to one that is being discussed.

     

    Another Coyote Communiqué

    Ed: The following arrived by the usual method of delivery, sub-garbage-can-lid, last Friday. Our correspondent has graciously provided a portrait, so now we know to whom we speak.

    Dear Miralomans,

    Before I take my leave of you for the summer, I want to let you know in the pages of this esteemed publication that the MPIC, whatever else it has done or not done, has indeed addressed the serious crow problem I broached in my last communication. It is my understanding that, following a letter of advocacy from the MPIC’s Secretary to the Board of Supervisors asking for relief on my behalf, in that I was, if not endangered, certainly rare enough in these parts, one Supervisor who shall remain unnamed for the sake of propriety went on an epochal tear, and in a peroration profuse with profanity exhorted his fellow Board members to pass immediately — without benefit of referral to committee or public input, which he was sure would be entirely supportive in any case — a resolution requiring that all crows venturing anywhere near my humble abode be forthwith eaten by any citizen near enough to do the job (this action to be defined as “eating crow”). Whether said crow was to be eaten raw or cooked was left to the discretion of the proximal citizen. The Supervisor thereafter insisted that the four-letter words generously lacing his call to action were for emphasis only, and should not be taken amiss by anyone.

    I am reliably informed that the Board President, unwilling to tolerate such a breach of decorum even in defense of my crow-belabored self, insisted that the aforementioned colleague, however righteous his cause, shut his &$#@%! trap (only as a matter of emphasis, of course). Oh well, if they publicly order each other to perform obscene acts upon themselves in Washington, and kick the butts of nurses on the State level, why should SF insist on civility, thus becoming embarrassingly out of step with these higher authorities and perhaps, thereby, forfeiting State or Federal monies? Now, we coyotes would never tolerate such coarseness in public discourse but then we are only animals, not politicians, and so require a certain standard of pack etiquette and self-respect.

    Whatever the accompanying embarrassments, I understand that the measure passed unanimously, and crows are now barred from disturbing my slumbers by a new “CrowBar” Ordinance. I owe it all to the unflagging activism of our true and devoted

    community-minded, citizen members of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club. It is also conveyed to me that the vigilant members of the MPIC Board will liaise with Ingleside Police District’s command structure to ensure that, unlike certain other codes (particularly of the Planning variety), this one is actually enforced. Thank you, thank you, Miralomans. Now there is only one impediment to my bliss in this delightful new home of mine, this land of milk, honey, termites, skunks, and raccoons, this “suburb within the City.” Please, Mr. Secretary, can you get something done about the infernal racket these jays make?

    Yours in fellowship,

    W. Coyote, Esq.