Miraloma Life Online – December 2009

  • Remember: Holiday Party and Pot-Luck Cook-Off on December 6!
  • The 36 Teresita Bus Route Will Change on December 5, 2009
  • Miraloma Park Graffiti Team Signs Up Newest and Youngest Volunteers
  • In Memoriam, Joseph Thomas Elsbernd
  • Let’s Get A Wildlife Care and Nature Center in San Francisco
  • Beware Scams! Two Case Histories from SFPD Ingleside District Captain Lazar’s Daily E-mail Message
  • From The Legal Files: What is a Will and Why You Need One
  • Camping
  • Did You Know?
  • Mice in Winter
  • Winter Rains: How to Protect Your House
  • Fifty Years Ago in Miraloma Park:
    Highlights from the November and December 1959 issues of Miraloma Life
  • Highlights from the MPIC Board Meeting of November 5, 2009
  • Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines

Remember: Holiday Party and Pot-Luck Cook-Off on December 6!

by Dan Liberthson

Our November issue featured a full description of the MPIC’s annual Holiday Party, the highpoint of our calendar of events each year. But just in case you missed that issue, here are the essentials.

This is one event you do not want to miss!

Date: Sunday, December 6

Time: Eat, drink, make merry: 5 pm to 8 pm; Boswick the Clown appears from 6 to 7

Ambience: Music provided by Laura Lee Brown and Company will comprise a medley of Holiday favorites. Boswick the Clown will provide a zany interlude for the delight of kids and the amusement of their parents.

Feast: The MPIC will provide ham, turkey, and roast beef, but the real stars of the show will be the potluck specials brought by you, our guests. Because the centerpiece of all the fun and the object of the Pot-Luck Cookoff Contest is to taste each other’s fine creations, admission will be free to those who bring a dish to share that will feed at least 6 people. One family can bring one dish, but if you are a large family please bring correspondingly more. The more you bring, the more people can sample, and the better your chances to win one of the excellent prizes donated by our local merchants.

Prize categories are: appetizer/soup/salad, main dish, side dish, and dessert. Guests who do not bring a dish to feed at least six people will be asked to pay $10 per person in their party over age 13 to help defray costs. If you have any questions, please phone 281-0892 and leave a message.

Planned delivery of the January edition of the Miraloma Life is on the second weekend of January (Jan. 9-10), NOT on the first weekend (Jan. 2-3). This delay is necessary due to closure of the print shop during the last 2 weeks of December.

The 36 Teresita Bus Route Will Change on December 5, 2009

by Robert Gee

On Saturday, December 5, 2009, the 36-Teresita bus route will be changing! This change was decided over a year ago by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni. Part of the 36 Teresita route has been eliminated, the route has been extended, and the frequency and service hours have been reduced as follows.

The segment of the 36 Teresita between Monterey Boulevard and Balboa Park Station will be eliminated. The 36 Teresita will be rerouted along Monterey Boulevard to the Glen Park BART Station and along the former 26 Valencia route to Cesar Chavez/ Valencia streets.

Frequency will decrease during peak periods to every 30 minutes. Peak period refers to weekday morning and evening rush hour service, approximately 7 to 9 am and 4 to 6 pm The last bus will depart Forest Hill Station at 11 pm and will depart St. Luke’s Hospital at 11:10 pm. The last bus departures listed for routes are for weekdays.

Nearby Muni Service: Muni’s 43 Masonic provides nearby service to Balboa Park Station. For more information on this route change as well as other changes on almost half of Muni’s existing bus routes, check out the SFMTA website at http://www.sfmta.com/%20cms/home/sfmta.php.

Miraloma Park Graffiti Team Signs Up Newest and Youngest Volunteers

by Sue Kirkham, MPIC Graffiti Abatement Team Coordinator

As the founder of the Miraloma Park Graffiti Abatement Team I was thrilled to learn that some young members of our community were interested in helping out with graffiti abatement. The Kreis children—Kayla and Katrina (age 8) and brother Mason (age 6)—undertook their graffiti abatement training on a sunny Saturday morning, removing graffiti from light poles, signs, reflectors, and a fire box. They were supplied with paint and graffiti remover for future removal work,
and have committed to give time to keeping our neighborhood graffiti free.

Miraloma Park welcomes Kayla, Katrina and Mason to our team, and applauds them for their community spirit!

Graffiti Team-1

Graffiti Team-2

In Memoriam, Joseph Thomas Elsbernd

The Miraloma Park Improvement Club joins in mourning the death of Joseph Thomas Elsbernd, a resident of Myra Glen, an active member of our community and the City at large for many years, and the father of our District 7 Supervisor, Sean Elsbernd. We extend our sympathy to Supervisor Elsbernd and to the Elsbernd family.

Let’s Get A Wildlife Care and Nature Center in San Francisco

by Dan Liberthson and Jamie Ray

San Francisco is blessed with amazing diversity of wildlife, including many rare and endangered species. Yet, while there are many places where we and our pets or companion animals can receive medical care, no such place exists in San Francisco for our native and migratory wildlife. Sadly, SF is one of the handful of Bay Area counties with no wildlife care center for treatment of wildlife in need. Transport to other counties for medical care, currently required, increases the chance that birds in particular will not recover. Most of us think about wildlife needing help only during an oil spill or when we find an animal in need, but throughout the year wildlife are injured, sick, or orphaned, and need immediate help to recover.

But there is good news. The MPIC Board has learned that with decisive action by the City of San Francisco to make a small amount of land available for our own nature education and wildlife care center, such a facility could be built using State grant monies soon to be available for projects like this. The Board of the MPIC has accordingly passed a motion requesting that the City find the required land and make it available, and has requested the umbrella groups to which we belong (the West of Twin Peaks Central Council and the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods) to do the same. We plan to bring these approved motions and individual requests for action to the Board of Supervisors and request that they expedite location and lending of the acre of land required for consideration by the State granting agency.

There is no down side to this project, which is desired by SF Animal Care and Control. Maintenance and operation funds will not come from the Recreation and Parks Department, but will be raised through grants, memberships, other traditional donor support, and collaboration with other organizations. The project will create jobs during construction and salaried and volunteer opportunities after completion. Plans are to provide hospital care for wildlife that the public can watch and follow using video technology, as well as nature and environmental education programs for the schools and the community at large. This center could be a major attraction for tourists as well as residents, boosting the City’s reputation and allure. But to make this vision a reality, the City must commit very soon to make the required acre of land available or the State funds will no longer be accessible.

We ask both neighborhood associations and individuals to join the MPIC in urgently requesting the City to provide the land needed for San Francisco’s own Nature Education and Wildlife Care Facility. Please send e-mails of support to mirlomapark@gmail.com, placing the words “Wildlife Care” in the subject line, or send written letters to MPIC, Wildlife Care, 350 O’Shaughnessy Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94127.

Thank you for helping to make San Francisco a better and more humane city.



Beware Scams! Two Case Histories from SFPD Ingleside District Captain Lazar’s Daily E-mail Message

On November 7, 2009, Officers Carrasco and Dominguez responded to the 500 block of Laidley Street regarding a theft from a mailbox. The suspect was posing as a door to door solicitor. He knocked on several doors and once he realized there was no response, he slipped his hand under the metal gate and removed a package. Officers Carrasco and Dominguez detained the suspect and he was without the stolen package. The suspect said he was raising money for the “New World Church Inc” at 465 Ellis Street. None of the information the suspect provided checked out.

Please phone the police immediately if you see someone going door to door soliciting and, more importantly, reaching or looking into mailboxes.

Officer Sanchez was sent to investigate a fraud case. The victim told the officer that she received a call from someone posing as a company with a two million dollar give-away. The victim told the officer that the suspect told her that they needed her bank account number to deposit the money. The victim gave the suspect the account number. The victim said that the suspect called back a couple of days later and asked the victim to deposit a “processing fee.” The victim refused and closed her bank account.

Safety Tip: Never give anyone your financial information over the phone. If it sounds too good to be true, and you have not entered any contests, then it is too good to be true!

From The Legal Files: What is a Will and Why You Need One

by Mary Catherine Wiederhold, Esq.

This column concerns wills and my next column will discuss trusts. A will, under California law, is a legal document you prepare that determines where your estate will go after you die. Although the terms of a will can be changed, it becomes final upon your death. A will, however, would not affect certain assets that are in your name at the time of your death. For example, a typical life insurance policy is not affected by a will. Instead, the proceeds from the life insurance policy are paid to whomever you designate as a beneficiary. The beneficiary may be entirely different from a beneficiary under your will or may be the same. Other assets that are outside of a will are assets held as a joint tenant with right of survivorship. These often include the family home.

Another asset that passes outside of a will is your spouse’s or domestic partner’s half of the community property. Community property in California is any asset that is acquired by you and your spouse or domestic partner during the marriage or domestic partnership. When you die, your will, therefore, affects only your share of the community property. However, separate property, which can include property acquired before your domestic partnership or marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance, can be subject to a will.

If you die without a will or trust, your assets that do not have a designated beneficiary will be distributed according to California law. First, your domestic partner or spouse will automatically receive your share of the community property. If you do not have a spouse or domestic partner at time of death, your property will be distributed to your children who will share your estate equally between them. If you have no children then your estate will be distributed to your parents and if they are not living then to your siblings, cousins, second cousins, etc. The State of California becomes the automatic beneficiary of your estate only if you have not left a will and have no living relatives.

There are different kinds of wills. A handwritten or “holographic” will must be entirely written in your own handwriting. It must be dated and signed. A hand written will does not need to be witnessed or notarized. However, if any portion of your will is typed then it must be signed by two witnesses over the age of 18.

Another type of will is a statutory will or form will. This is commonly referred to as a “fill in the blanks” will. You can purchase the form will at a stationery store and write in whom you want your estate to go to. It must be signed by two witnesses.

The third type of will is a will prepared by an attorney who does estate planning. A lawyer will typically discuss with you which assets you would like your beneficiaries to receive. An attorney will also talk with you about developing a complete estate plan that may possibly save you taxes.

A will can be amended through a legal document called a codicil. Generally, a codicil must be witnessed in the same manner as the underlying will. If you wish to make many changes, you might prefer to write a superseding will.

After you die, your will is filed with the San Francisco Superior Court by the person you named as your executor. This process is called probate. After the court approves that your executor can act on behalf of your estate, then the executor takes charge of your assets. The executor will pay all the bills that came in after your death, and then
distribute your estate to your beneficiaries. There can be costs involved in probating a will. Because it is a court matter, the will becomes a public record. This means that anyone can look at the records. On the other hand, probate court has clearly defined rules regarding estates. Additionally, the court will look at the executor’s distribution of the
estate’s assets to the beneficiaries.

Many people tend to put off drafting a will or seeing an attorney about one because they do not like to think about their death. A will is a way to ensure that your assets will transfer easily to whomever you designate. Otherwise, the transfer happens according to California statutes and this may not be exactly what you wanted. Wills can be
especially important if you have children, as you could specify who their guardians would be and provide sufficient resources for them.


This uneven tent of skin
set upon a pole of spine
is all that keeps my spirit in,
shuts out world and time—
so thin, this skin of mine.

©2009, Dan Liberthson

Did You Know?

by Sue Kirkham

Miraloma Park appears in an iconic movie set in San Francisco. Director Don Siegel filmed a scene from the 1971 movie Dirty Harry at the Mt. Davidson Cross. Harry, played by Clint Eastwood, enters the park from Lansdale Avenue, an entry close to the Muni bus stop, before confronting the villain Scorpio at the base of the Cross. They fight and
Harry, though beaten nearly senseless, ends up disarming Scorpio and stabling him in the leg. The villain flees howling from the heights.

According to Warner Brothers literature, Siegel was pleased to discover the huge Cross at Mt. Davidson Park for use in this scene. However, the height of the Cross and foggy weather made filming difficult. (Apparently, Mr. Siegel never consulted someone in the neighborhood; anyone here could have told him what to expect.) Each night for a month, cinematographer Bruce Surtees would ride a crane to the top of the Cross, only to be hampered by foggy weather. When the weather finally cleared, the shot was made in one night.

Mice in Winter

Nesting in our picnic basket,
you ate forgotten peanuts
left over from some baseball game,
with brood of four swaddled
in the hall closet, snug among
Ace wraps and tampon shreds,
cloistered beneath coats with pockets
tracelessly pillaged for tidbits.

Like an undiscovered pygmy tribe
you lived your tiny secret lives
in a parallel and happy dimension,
until a foolish kit rustling shells
alerted the keen-eared housewife.
Then your peace was torn away.

Dark and startling, you popped up
twelve times your height and shot about
like hummingbirds cross-bred with roaches,
motoring among the hill-high dancing feet
and lunging cookpots improvised to traps
whose atonal clang celebrated your escape.

Soundlessly you pivoted and sparked,
then shot away faster than sight,
taking the germs you were to spread,
leaving the urinous odor of your lives
and sad departure settled on the walls.
However inspiring your flight,
home was lost, and outside, cold night.

©2009 by Dan Liberthson, from his forthcoming book Animal Songs

Winter Rains: How to Protect Your House

by Sue Kirkham

Many Miraloma Park homes have light wells, center patios, and gutters that can become clogged by wind-driven leaf and needle debris, bird’s nests, and even roofing materials from adjacent recently roofed homes. Fall is a good time to check and clear these rarely viewed areas of accumulated debris. Failure to do so can result in water damage to your home, and the possibility of dry rot and mold (both expensive to eradicate).

A mesh type cover for the drain is a good idea to prevent plant and other material from getting into the drain, and to allow for easier cleaning. Check for rusted gutters and downspouts, particularly in light wells, which an exceptionally heavy rain can fill with water, even if the drain is clear (spoken from experience!). Take a look around the perimeter of your foundation, and check the exterior drains, to ensure that they are clear and adequate to handle heavy rain runoff.

If you find any of these problems, procrastination will only increase the potential damage. Don’t hesitate, but get it fixed.

Do you have other tips to share with your Miraloma Park neighbors about safeguarding their homes from the elements? If so, please email them to http://www.miralomapark.org/miralomapark@gmail.com and put “Miraloma Life” in the Subject line.

Fifty Years Ago in Miraloma Park:

Highlights from the November and December 1959 issues of Miraloma Life

compiled by Phil Laird

From a column entitled “Mountain Echoes” relating over-the-fence items about Miraloma Park residents: “The rest of us find dimes or pennies if we’re lucky, but Mrs. May Frisk of [address] found what looks like an expensive bridge—for teeth, silly. And she is anxious to give them back to the owner. …We are sorry to hear that Mr. Royston of Teresita Blvd. is presently nursing a badly crushed thumbnail. This happened while he was doing some building on his Lake Tahoe home. Next time, take better aim, Mr. Royston, and hit the right nail. … Betty Royster had quite an experience the other day and doesn’t know yet whether it was pleasant or unpleasant. It’s not every day you walk down your hall and see half a man’s leg hanging through the front bedroom window at 2:15 pm. Turned out to be her son Charles, who was making an unexpected visit.”

Past President Charles Deshent writes: “Mrs. Deshent and I moved into Miraloma Park in 1931. Immediately on moving into Miraloma we made application to join the Miraloma Park Improvement Club. At that time the meetings were held in the hall over the Marine Drug Store on Portola Drive. Over a period of 20 years I served as Secretary, Treasurer, Director, and President. During my Presidency I aided in bringing the Folk Dance Club to Miraloma; served on the Easter Sunrise Service Committee for several years; and originated the annual Merchants and Candidates night. During the war, I served as a Sector Air Raid Warden under the direction of our good neighbor, Mr. Gordon
Andrus. I was one of those instrumental in rezoning that area north of Fowler Avenue from business to residential. … I made the motion to appropriate the sum of $50.00 to start the publication, Miraloma Life. Although this sum was never used, the publication was a huge success from the start.”

From the column “The Gavel Sounds”: “An excerpt from a report by the Urban Renewal states: ‘Deterioration in first-class residential neighborhoods is an inevitable fact. How quickly and how completely it is accomplished depends SOLELY upon the awareness on the part of those residing therein to conditions which Bureau statistics have shown
to be most conducive to its decline. It has been shown that in those areas where the most rigid adherence to laws and statutes upholding community integrity was observed, followed by prompt and firm and fairly presented objections to the Municipal Department having jurisdiction of the violation at hand, that this deterioration was postponed and property values as a resultant factor remained constant.’ Among the conditions mentioned that tend to produce a
‘tired’ neighborhood are: unnecessary noise; incidence of old cars parked continually on the streets; and streets used for hot rodding or for juvenile hangouts.”

Highlights from the MPIC Board Meeting of November 5, 2009

by Robert Gee

Guest Speaker: September Jarrett, a Miraloma Elementary School parent, made a presentation to the Board on the success of the school’s native plant garden project. She shared with us how the school has an environmental education program that helps kids be better stewards. A total of 356 kids from 200 families, about one-third of the school community, currently volunteer to help maintain the garden (the equivalent to $9000 in paid labor). Each grade gets to work on the garden for 1 hour every other week. This project helps improve the appearance of the school, helps classroom teachers, and results in smaller groups that work under the instruction of a certified garden teacher. The garden on Myra Way was started 1 year ago with a PUC grant, and includes raised beds, an outdoor amphitheater classroom and greenhouse. The garden propagates its own seeds and has a chicken coup. They are incubating eggs. The kids are really responding to the garden and a committed group of over 20 parents is helping monthly, even during the summer break. The current focus is on growing edibles. The next phase, now at concept stage, will be to expand the garden from Myra Way around the corner down Omar to the front of the school, and to continue to promote the garden as well as making it a demo garden. The parents are applying for a grant of $23,000, which would be enough to cover the supplies for landscaping done in a sustainable way. A community bench where the 36 Teresita stops is also being contemplated. The goal is to make the school grounds more attractive and to better serve the school and the community. The Board applauded the efforts of September and the Miraloma Park parents for their tremendous efforts and supported these efforts.

Treasurer’s Report: Phil Laird, Treasurer, mentioned the need to change our accounting software from Microsoft Money to Quicken because MS Money will no longer be supported by Microsoft as of 2010. A motion to purchase Quicken Deluxe passed unanimously. Phil then discussed the need for an annual budget. The budget is not currently
balanced. A motion was passed unanimously to have a balanced budget in which projected expenses do not exceed projected income. A motion was passed to transfer $10,000 from the money market account to a short term money market fund/CD at a federally insured financial institution that will pay a slightly higher rate of interest.

Umbrella Community Organizations: The Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods (CSFN) voted to oppose the expansion of parking meter hours. At the West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WOTPCC), new Police Chief Gascon spoke about reorganizing the SFPD, including moving 100 inspectors out to the neighborhood district stations and pursuing pot houses (36 have been located and closed so far). He also discussed his stance on impounding vehicles.
Transportation: Gary Noguera reported that the SF Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) can now impose neighborhood parking permits and time limits pursuant to section 905 of the law code. They can do it piecemeal to generate revenues. The impact on Miraloma Park is unknown, and Gary Noguera will follow up on this development.

Clubhouse Report: Thanks to Jed Lane for taking the lead on the purchase of large blue and green recycle bins for use in the clubhouse. A basement cleanup work party is planned for January 2010.

Holiday Party: A motion was passed to allocate up to $1,200 for the holiday party on 12/6/09. Dan Liberthson reported that the clown and band have been hired. Robert Gee will send solicitation letters for gift awards to Mollie Stones and Roundtable Pizza. Mike Naughton to send solicitation letters to merchants at West Portal/ Glen Park. Mike will ask
Peter Renteria for assistance on other solicitation letters to merchants.

Safety: Jed Lane discussed the concept of initiating a neighborhood disaster recovery plan. The idea is to bring together all Miraloma Park organized neighborhood groups, stakeholders, and community groups once a year to discuss what resources they can bring to the table if there is a disaster. For example, church facilities, school, playground, gym, merchants, and the MPIC clubhouse could shelter people in case of need. Neighborhood SAFE groups on Bella Vista Way, Encline, and Los Palmos could be included. Jed discussed the possibility of the City’s
entering into Memoranda of Understanding with merchants like Mollie Stones and Walgreens to reimburse these stores for food and first aid items given out for free during a disaster. The Board agreed this was a good concept.

Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines

Adopted in 1999 by the SF Planning Commission to promote preservation of neighborhood character by encouraging residential design compatible with neighborhood setting, these Guidelines facilitate the complex process of permit application and design review and can prevent costly, time-consuming Discretionary Review proceedings. The
Guidelines are at www.miralomapark.org