Miraloma Life Online – June 2012

  • Bad Actors in the Plant World: Following the MPIC Election, a Scintillating Slide Presentation
  • Greetings to the Miraloma Community
  • Comment on the Natural Area Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Mt. Davidson Due by June 11
  • Miraloma Park Burglaries, September, 2011—April, 2012
  • The American Community Survey Results The Latest Economic and Social Characteristics for Miraloma Park
  • Why San Franciscans Should Vote for Proposition A*
  • Summary of MPIC Board Meeting on May 3, 2012
  • Why S.F. Should Vote Against Proposition A*
  • Lost and Found

Bad Actors in the Plant World: Following the MPIC Election, a Scintillating Slide Presentation

The MPIC will hold its annual election for Directors and Officers on Thursday, June 21, from 7:30 to 8:00 pm.

The 2012-13 Slate includes (1) Officers—President: Robert Gee;Vice President: Thad Sauvain; Recording Secretary: Carl Schick; Corresponding Secretary:Dan Liberthson; Treasurer: Thad Sauvain; and Sergeant-at-Arms: Joanne Whitney and (2) Directors—Tim Armour, Gary Isaacson, Sue Kirkham, Cassandra Mettling-Davis, KathyRawlins, Brian Stone, and Karen Wood.

Please come to vote and enjoy conversation with your neighbors, have a drink, and munch on some snacks. Then stick around for the real treat from 8 to 9 pm: pharmacist, PhD chemist,SF Botanical Garden docent, and rose expert Joanne Whitney’s slide show about rough customers in the plant kingdom and the role they’ve played inhuman history.

We all complain about jury duty, but would you prefer to have lived in the Middle Ages and to have experienced Trial By Ordeal? Many different poisons and tortures were used to determine guilt or innocence. One very popular procedure was to have the accused eat a poisonous Calabar Bean. If the poor person died after consuming the bean, it was proof that he was guilty; if he survived (very unlikely), he was deemed innocent.

“Leaves of three, let them be” goes the saying: Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, or Poison Sumac. They may all have three leaves, but are they all the same? Where do they come from? Do they all cause the same kind of rash and intense itching? What can you do to alleviate the pain?

Joanne Whitney will talk about these and other villainous characters encountered in the plant world in a presentation that will amuse as well as inform. So please come vote, partake of good society and refreshments,and learn about the wild and woolly world of mean, nasty and unsavory plants.

Greetings to the Miraloma Community

from Captain Daniel J. Mahoney, Commanding Officer, Ingleside Police Station

As I come up to my one-year anniversary as Captain of Ingleside Station, I continue to find the MPIC to be engaged, energetic and caring about the safety of the community. With regard to our community crime problem, I would like to give everyone an update on emerging crime trends. In the past few months, the Ingleside has seen an increase in residential burglaries whereby the thieves have stolen bicycles from garages—and the Miraloma neighborhood has experienced this increase as well. To combat this, I urge everyone who owns a bicycle to take proactive steps to protect their property. Please record your serial number so that if your bicycle is stolen, you can report it, which means we have a better chance of recovering it and getting it back to you.

Also, please lock up your bike—even if it is in the garage. For those who have been victims of residential burglary, consider extra locks on your exterior doors, alarm systems, and cameras.

Stolen Cars—All owners of 1990s to early 2000 vintage Hondas (and Acuras), please take extra precautions as those cars are being stolen at an alarming rate. Thieves have altered Honda keys that work on the locks and ignitions. Consider a secondary theft-deterrent system such as a steering wheel lock (i.e. “The Club”) or a hidden ignition cut-off switch.

Now for the good news (yes I have some)—crime in the Ingleside is down, especially violent crime, as compared with this time last year. This is a trend that I hope to see continue for a long time. I again urge everyone to always be aware of your surroundings and who is near. Taking a page from the Department of Homeland Security: if you “see something—say something.” Ingleside’s best success comes from the police-community partnerships that we have. So if you see anything suspicious, please call the police at 9-1-1. If you wish to remain anonymous, call 415-553-0123. The Ingleside Anonymous Tip Line has been reinstated and will be checked daily, at 404-4035.

Editor’s Note: Captain Mahoney advises that the bicycles stolen from the El Sereno/Rio cul-de-sac have been recovered and that a suspect in these burglaries is now in custody.

Comment on the Natural Area Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Mt. Davidson Due by June 11

by Jacquie Proctor

Residents who want to weigh in about the significant changes proposed at Mt. Davidson and other city parks managed by the Natural Areas Program may do so now that the public comment period has been reopened until June 11, 2012. This extension may be in response to complaints that the Planning Commission had not met the requirement for public notification for an Environmental Impact Review process that typically requires posting signs at affected parks and mailing letters to homeowners in proximity.

Send your comments to Bill Wycko, Environmental Review Officer, San Francisco Planning Department, 1650 Mission St., Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103. You can read the Natural Areas Plan for Mt. Davidson at http://sfrecpark.org/documents/62MountDavidson.pdf.

Appendix_F.Urban.Forestry.Statements.pdf details the plan’s impact on trees on Mt. Davidson (for example: removing 82% of the trees in one 3.5-acre area; 31% in another 1.8 acres; and 23% in a third 4.9-acre area of the forest). The DEIR (number 2005.01912E) can be downloaded at http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=1828.

Appendix J details what the City plans for the trees on Mt. Davidson and other parks designated as Natural Areas (for example, non-native trees, including Monterey Cypress, that are removed would be replaced with native species, although not necessarily at the same location or with the same Natural Area).

The DEIR concluded that replacing 1600 mature and healthy trees in the middle third (10 acres) of the 30-acre forested area on Mt. Davidson with native shrubs and grass seedlings would have a significant negative impact on this cultural, biological, and recreation resource. But it also concluded that there would be NO significant negative impact on wind and shadow, hydrology and water quality (including erosion), or air quality. This conclusion was reached despite the potential for additional tree loss from increased wind exposure, increased erosion onto properties next to the park, reduced carbon dioxide absorption, and loss of animal and bird habitat. Further, maintenance of native plant areas requires regular applications of pesticides classified by the City as “Most Hazardous” and “More Hazardous” to control non-native plant growth, as well as restricting public access and recreational amenities (no benches, fewer trails, dog restrictions) in half of the park. (The existing native plant area in the park is 10 acres, and 10 more acres would be added.)

The extension of the comment period gives everyone concerned about the plan an opportunity to submit a letter citing specific reasons why the above issues were incorrectly evaluated and need more analysis. Those who want to preserve the Park’s recreational amenities may also want to request that the City significantly reduce the scope of the Natural Areas Plan for Mt. Davidson to eliminate healthy tree removal, the use of chemicals, and installation of barriers to public access and recreational use. Replacement of hazardous or unhealthy trees with Monterey Cypress in the same location and at the same time should be required, as well as installation of recreational amenities, such as benches, in the native plant zones.

Miraloma Park Burglaries, September, 2011—April, 2012

from the Safety Committee

From 9/15/11 to 4/26/12, Miraloma Park had an increase in residential burglaries (within a radius 0.5 miles from Miraloma Elementary), with a total of eight. But compare: from 11/25/11 to 4/26/12, within a 0.5 mile radius of Clipper and Diamond, there were 55 burglaries, and during this same period, within a 0.5 mile radius of 11th Avenue and Lawton, there were 44 burglaries.

Clearly, Miraloma Park compares favorably with these other neighborhoods with respect to incidence of burglary.  But however low our burglary rate, these crimes are traumatic for the victims, and we should do all that we can to prevent them by alerting police of suspicious individuals sitting in cars or ringing doorbells and possibly casing homes. It is probable that the homes referenced in the Ingleside Station Newsletter reports below were watched and their doorbells rung to determine if residents were away. Did anyone see anything suspicious?

9/15/11: burglary, 100 block of Chaves. Burglars gained access by prying open the recessed front door.

11/25/11: 3:00 pm, Unit Blk Gaviota Way, Burglary. Officer Goldsborough was dispatched to a report of a burglary. The victim told the officer that he locked the door to his residence upon leaving the previous day. Upon his return, the victim found the security gate of the residence had been breached and the front door of the residence kicked in. Several items had been stolen from inside the residence. Report 110948138

12/14/11: 7:00 pm, 100 Blk Bella Vista Way, Burglary. Officers Chang and Park were dispatched to a report of a burglary. The victim returned home and found his front door kicked in. The officers conducted a walk-through and found that the suspect had already fled. The victim looked through his residence and reported several items stolen. Report 111000387

1/12/12: 7:35 pm, 600 Blk Teresita Blvd, Burglary. Officers Hom and Cassinelli responded to a report of a burglary. The victim came home and found that the front door of his residence had been kicked in. The officers searched the premise for the suspects with negative results. The victim told the officers that he left his residence earlier in the day and had secured the front door by locking it. Several of the victim’s personal belongings had been stolen from the residence. Report 120033434

4/14/12: 5:55am, Unit Blk El Sereno, Burglary. Officers Frisk and Campion-Healy responded to a report of burglary. The victim had called the police earlier in the evening. Officers had responded, but the victim could not find any sign of forced entry and did not believe anything was taken. Later in the morning, the victim realized that his bicycle and several bicycle parts had been stolen from his garage. Officers provided him with follow up information. Due to the lack of physical evidence, SFPD’s Crime Scene Investigations Unit was not notified. Report 120295719

4/14/12: 10:00 am, Unit Blk Rio Court, Burglary. Officers Frisk and Campion-Healy were investigating a report of burglary when they were notified of another burglary within a block of the first burglary. The officers responded to the scene and contacted the victim. The victim told the officers that an unknown suspect had made entry into the courtyard area of his residence and had stolen his bicycle and other items. Report 120295985 4/30/12

4/26/12: 8:30 am, 200 Blk Bella Vista, Burglary. Officer Bernard was sent to investigate a burglary. The victims were on scene and told him that they locked and secured the home and when they returned found the garage door ajar and several items missing. The officer also noticed the front gate and front door had been pried open. He contacted SFPD’s Crime Scene Investigations Unit who said they would be responding to the scene. He took pictures of the damage and the condition of the home which he booked into evidence at Ingleside station. He provided the victims with follow up information. Report 120331614

4/26/12: 8:30 am, 200 Blk Bella Vista, Att. Burglary. Officer Bernard was investigating a burglary when another victim approached him and asked for a report as well. The officer responded to the victim’s home. She told him that she locked and secured her home and when she returned found pry marks on the entrance door. It did not appear that entry had been made and no items were missing. She did, however, want the incident documented. The officer took pictures of the damage and the home which he booked into evidence at Ingleside station. He provided the victims with follow up information. Report 120331545

Note: Both stolen bicycles were recovered, thanks to an alert resident who noticed them chained to a Juanita Way street post and called police. A suspect is in custody.

The American Community Survey Results The Latest Economic and Social Characteristics for Miraloma Park

by Robert Gee

This is a follow-up to my article in the December 2011 Miraloma Life that discussed the demographic changes in Miraloma Park shown in the 2010 Census. The American Community Survey (ACS) is ongoing and provides data every year, giving communities the current information they need to plan investments and services. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal funding per year is spent on infrastructure and services. The ACS is vital to economic development as well as wise government and business decision making.

To help communities, state governments, and federal programs, the ACS asks survey recipients about: age, income and benefits, disabilities, sex, health insurance, place of work and mode of commute, race, education, place of residence and amount paid for essentials, family and relationships, and veteran status. The ACS continues all year, every year, in every state, randomly sampling 3 million addresses per year. Some ACS questions have been asked by the census since it first began in 1790!

Those who get the survey are legally obligated to answer all the questions as accurately as possible. The information collected is kept confidential by the Census Bureau. Statistics from the ACS help federal, state and local leaders make decisions about schools; care for children, veterans, and seniors; job training centers; roads, bridges, and transportation projects; hospitals; emergency services; locations of new businesses; and housing value.

Data in the table of selected census categories shown below indicate a relatively high level of affluence, education, and achievement among residents of Miraloma Park. About 60% of households earn $100,000 per year or more and the median income (the statistical middle: half make more than the median and half less) is more than twice that of California or the US. Over two-thirds of workers in Miraloma Park are employed in management, business, science, or the arts. More than half work in professional, scientific, management, administrative, waste management, education, health care, or social assistance fields. Eighty-nine percent are private wage or salary earners or work in government, while 11% are self-employed. Seventy-one percent drive to work (51% alone and 20% in carpools) and 22% take public transportation, with a mean (average) commute time of a little less than half an hour. About a third of Miraloma Park residents sampled have a bachelor’s degree and another third have graduate or professional degrees. Approximately 83% were born in the US and more than threequarters speak only English at home.

Selected Economic Characteristics for Miraloma Park in Census Tract 307, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates

(Source: US Census Bureau, 2006-2010 ACS. Census 307 approximates area of Miraloma Park. Data based on samples and subject to sampling variability.)


Why San Franciscans Should Vote for Proposition A*

by Joel Engardio*

We have a terrific company named Recology that handles all the garbage and recycling in San Francisco. They run the greenest waste diversion program in the nation and they are a local, civic-minded, employee-owned company. But they’re also a barely-regulated monopoly with a lock on all city trash and recycling permits for the last 80 years.

Prop A would open the city’s trash and recycling service to competitive bidding. I had two hesitations about Prop A. First, I like Recology’s service and don’t want to see it jeopardized. Second, nearly every elected official and candidate for office is against Prop A. Recology is a major political force in San Francisco that influences lots of political donations. But I decided to look past the politics and consider the principle at stake: fair competition. I don’t understand why we must abandon it in San Francisco. Doesn’t competition provide the best service, lowest price, and most innovation? Recology already submits to competitive bidding in many other cities. Just not in San Francisco.

Today we care about being a green city with zero waste goals. But how can we govern recycling technology with an 80-year-old law written before recycling existed? Think of the federal communications laws of the 1930s, which had to be updated to meet today’s needs. In fact, Prop A has nothing to do with Recology. It is about updating our 1932 trash ordinance so it reflects and mandates today’s values. Recology’s good, green deeds have been voluntary, but what if Recology wasn’t a great company? We need an updated ordinance so we’re not just hoping for Recology’s good will to continue forever.

Yes, Prop A has problems, but they are not as threatening as some might think. Under Prop A, Recology could continue to operate within San Francisco just as they do now, a likely outcome given their past record. But what if multiple companies win different contracts? Our streets would not be clogged with different trucks because only two contracts involve local trucks, and under Prop A, one company could have both. The cost of new city-owned facilities at the Port could be offset by rent to the Port and a franchise fee to the City—revenue streams we don’t have now.

What about a politicized Board of Supervisors setting rates? Under Prop A, the bidding process sets the rates, not the Board members, and Prop A puts preferences on local companies and zero-waste goals, so a polluting out-of-state company could not put Recology out of business. Recology fits so many of the Prop A preferences that they will be a shoo-in to win. I encourage you to consider supporting Prop A. You can read more about it and watch a short video on my website: www.engardio.com.

What matters is that we adhere to the historically proven principle of fair competition, the best way to ensure the lowest price, the best service, and the most innovation. I believe San Francisco must stand for this.

*NOTE: The MPIC Board does not endorse candidates nor has it taken a position on Prop. A.

Summary of MPIC Board Meeting on May 3, 2012

by Dan Liberthson and Carl Schick

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): The MPIC’s current net worth in May was $30,475, with a reserve (for future major Clubhouse maintenance) total of $18,200. Clubhouse rental activity increased in April to $2692, vs $1032 in March. In April we had $1420 in advertising income and membership deposits of $952. Over and above our normal monthly expenses (Miraloma Life costs, utilities, etc.), we spent $142 for postage to mail the newsletter, $1264 for the Spring Fling event, $51 for office expenses (stamps, etc.), and $2150 for our yearly D&O insurance policy premium.

Committees: Safety—Please see articles in this issue.

Zoning and Planning (ZAP, C Mettling Davis [CMD])—Sale of a house on Molimo was abated because neighbors objected to a staircase that blocked the resident’s light. A Marietta resident requested help because her neighbor is building two rear cantilevered decks. She has appealed the project and is negotiating with the neighbor about reducing the size of the decks. Membership (Robert Gee)—As of the end of April, the MPIC had 616 members.

Events (S Chu)— The Spring Fling was a big success, attended by more than 80 neighbors.

Clubhouse Maintenance (CMD)— Loose boards in the Clubhouse ceiling were fixed and the fireplace adjusted to make it easier to use. Installing a fire alarm was suggested. D Liberthson and J Whitney met with the gardener and moved that he receive a $150 per month raise (to $400 per month total) to permit him to spend more time on the grounds and the native plant garden (motion approved). Liberthson and Whitney will closely monitor monthly, as well as Jake Sigg (native plant expert), and considerable improvement is expected. After 3 months, the Board will review progress. D Liberthson will look into getting the PUC to repair the cracks in the asphalt parking lot (owned by the PUC).

Delegate Reports:
West of Twin Peaks Central Council discussed Proposition A and residents also complained about the traffic congestion caused by the new bike lanes on Sloat Blvd.

New Business:
C Schick reported that three Natural Areas Plan members will address the Board at the June 7 board meeting. K Breslin appointed Tim Armour, a retired SFPD officer, to the Board.

Why S.F. Should Vote Against Proposition A*

by Katherine Albrecht

As a resident of San Francisco and Miraloma Park, I am very proud of our achievement in becoming the top-rated city in the country for recycling and waste management. I feel that Proposition A on the June 5 election ballot seeks to undo much of the headway we have made in being recognized as the greenest city by proposing to mandate competitive bidding on the collection of our garbage and recyclables. As mentioned in the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial piece of May 11, the measure seeks (1) to mandate five separate contracts instead of one for the collection of everything we throw away, (2) to force the city to run a collection facility without any cost estimate or indication of where the money for that facility will come from, and (3) to change the cycle of setting rates from the current 5 years to 10 years in order to draw in more bidders.

If you have not already had the opportunity to see the 30-minute video entitled “Recycling in America’s Greenest City” that aired on television on Earth Day this past April 22, please go to http://recology.com/index.htm and click on the video’s link on the left side of the screen. It is an extremely informative piece in which you will see exactly how San Francisco’s garbage and recycling are handled, and it is presented in a much easier way than personally trying to get to all of Recology’s facilities on your own.

Recology’s long-term partnership with SF has allowed the company to build an infrastructure (trucks, recycling and composting facilities) that has achieved a 78% recycling rate, the highest of any major US city. Prop A would risk reversing this accomplishment. Supporters say it’s about competitive bidding, but Prop A involves more than that, establishing a new “waste bureaucracy” that the City Controller estimates will “significantly increase the City’s costs.” Splitting service among as many as five separate contracts would create confusion:  who would you call to resolve a problem? SF’s businesses and homeowners trust Recology with their keys to facilitate trash collection, and this trust, as well as Recology’s commitment to growing recycling, would be lost if other companies, potentially out-of-state, took over. Please use your civic privilege to vote on June 5th, and my recommendation is to vote “No” on Proposition A.

*The MPIC Board has not taken a position on Prop. A.

Lost and Found

Calico/tortoiseshell cat lost from the 700 block of Rockdale. Finders, please call 415-585-2819 or 415-435-2350