Miraloma Life Online – February 2009

  • Clubhouse Native Plant Garden Renewed and Expanded
  • A Tribute to Ron and Aaron Proctor
  • Wally Hirsch
  • A Great Gift
  • Trash Talk
  • Cold and Flu Myths
  • Missing Elephants
  • Late Winter Outside Prescott, Arizona
  • Fool’s Luck
  • Banana Slug Passing
  • Where is Miraloma Park?
  • Mind the Tree
  • Legal Ease
  • Rent the MPIC Clubhouse

Clubhouse Native Plant Garden Renewed and Expanded

by Dan Liberthson

Native California plants are threatened by invasive weeds and grasses and need special care to survive. They are part of our heritage and play
an important role in the survival of many insect and bird species, which have evolved in concert with these plants over millennia. Therefore, the
MPIC is particularly proud to host a native plant garden dedicated to the plants from the immediate local area—specifically Glen Canyon Park
across O’Shaughnessy from the Clubhouse.

Established about 12 years ago, our native plant garden has the potential to become one of the biggest and best in SF, as it extends in length
the entire frontage of O’Shaughnessy Boulevard and is 15 to 25 feet wide. The MPIC Board recently approved funds to expand this important
community resource with new plants purchased from the California Native Plant Society and planted with the help of Jake Sigg, longtime active
Society member and native plant preservationist.

Getting plants into the hard, clayey ground along O’Shaughnessy is tough enough—I rented a 2-man posthole digger to prevent days of futile
scratching away with a spade. Many thanks to Board Member Jim O’Donnell for helping me man this contraption and get the ground ready for the
plants. With Jake’s help, the plants then went into the ground quickly. So we are off to a great start for this growing season and on our way to
realizing our dream for the MPIC native plant garden

However, as every gardener knows, getting the plants in the ground is just the beginning of the job. Never much of a gardener, I now find myself
the lead caretaker of the MPIC native plant garden, and I’m finding out how much is really involved. First and foremost, keeping the young and
growing plants sufficiently watered is critical, and when the rain does not cooperate, this involves twice or thrice weekly trips to the Clubhouse
for watering sessions. To assist in this task and to keep down the costs of water use (which the Club must bear), I have installed seeper hoses
at my own expense.

Keeping down the invasive weeds and grasses by hoeing and hand plucking, as well as spreading woodchips (obtained on a hit-or-miss basis
by calling around to local arborists) to block their growth, are other significant investments of time and labor, though the exercise has been
enjoyable and is supposedly good for me. But as time goes on, I may need help with these chores, and the Club could certainly use help in
defraying the cost of water (a particular concern in this time of drought and likely water rationing) and other incidentals involved in keeping the
garden healthy.

For this reason, I would like to establish an email and phone list of people who would like to help out with occasional donations of labor, and I
want to appeal to everyone to think about donating a small amount of money earmarked for this project to help the Club with costs. To join the
email/phone tree for maintenance work, please call the Club number (281-0892) and leave your name, phone number and email address, or send
this information to me at liberthson@comcast.net. To help out financially, please send your check, with a notation that the contribution is for the
native plant garden, to MPIC Native Plant Garden Fund, 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd. SF 94127.

Thinking and acting green, and taking preservation of the environment seriously on the local level, are important first steps to worldwide
conservation. I hope everyone in Miraloma Park will help us make a big local contribution through nurturing our Native Plant Garden. Thank you
for any contribution you can make.

 

A Tribute to Ron and Aaron Proctor

by Dan Liberthson for the MPIC Board

The Board of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club would like to extend our gratitude to the many generous neighbors who have worked for the
benefit of their community over the years. Particularly, in this Holiday Season when we are counting our blessings, we want to thank two
individuals who have carried the MPIC on their own shoulders into the Internet Age—Ron Proctor and his son Aaron Proctor.

Together, Ron and Aaron have donated many hours of their expertise to expand and maintain miralomapark.org, the MPIC’s excellent website.

As our Webmaster, Ron has consistently and diligently worked to keep the website up and running, while Aaron has suggested and carried out
design improvements that have made the site a pleasure to use.  Miralomapark.org is now a repository of key Miraloma Park Documents,
including our Residential Design Guidelines and an archive of the MPIC newsletter, the Miraloma Life, as well as a Message Board that permits
neighbors to communicate about issues, and links to other important SF organizations and institutions.

Ron and his wife, Jacquie, have lived in Miraloma Park since 1980. They were pleased to receive a Miraloma Life in the home they purchased,
immediately got involved in the MPIC, and have been neighborhood volunteers ever since. Ron has served as MPIC Vice President and Jacquie
as Treasurer. Their son, Aaron, grew up in Miraloma Park and graduated from Lowell High School in 2001 and UCLA in 2005. He now works as the
Web Site Designer and Manager at the UCLA film and theater school.

Ron and Aaron’s enthusiastic and generous volunteer participation in the website project has saved the MPIC Board a great deal of cost and
time, and has given us a site that stands out among those of other neighborhood groups. We offer them our unreserved appreciation and
thanks, and we thank the Proctor family for their tradition of volunteering on behalf of the neighborhood over so many years!

 

Wally Hirsch

by Sue Kirkham and Dan Liberthson

The Miraloma Park Improvement Club was saddened to hear about the recent death of Wally Hirsch.  Wally was a long time resident of Miraloma
Park and served on the Board of Directors of the MPIC as Sergeant at Arms.  He was a San Francisco police officer and in retirement
volunteered his time as a juvenile counselor. A generous and friendly man, Wally often helped the MPIC with safety-related issues and could be
counted on to provide a voice of balance and reason in any situation. We were privileged to work with Wally Hirsch, and we will remember him
fondly.

 

A Great Gift

by JoAnn Eastep

Recently, I was invited to a christening followed by a party at the home of the mother.  I knew that the baby already had plenty of clothes and
more toys than I could imagine him every getting around to playing with.  I racked my brains for a special gift and finally came up with a United
States Saving Bond.  But how to purchase one remained a mystery.  A friend suggested the I contact a bank so off I went to West Portal.

What I found out was that purchasing a bond was not quite as easy as it was in the past when I purchased several bonds for my own son (now in
his forties).

The bank gives you a form to complete. For the most part it is pretty easy.  You need to fill in the recipient’s name, address, co-owner (if there is
to be one) and the denomination of the Savings Bond.  The kicker, however, was the additional requirement that you had to have the child’s
social security number.

I laughed heartily (more fool I) and explained to the teller that this was a new born baby and was not ready to enter the work force.  To my
surprise the teller replied that all babies are now issued social security numbers shortly after birth. The government really does get you.

I contacted the child’s mother who explained that she had received an application form from the hospital to be filled in when she went home.
Shortly after sending the form to the proper government office, christening boy was legal and had a social security number.  I got the social security number, and went back to the bank with my completed form.

In my case, the process may have seemed longer than I anticipated but a US Savings Bond is a great gift.  The cost is just half of the maturity
value.  That is, a $50.00 bond costs $25.00.  What a nice gift that can be saved until maturity.  The child, when a  young adult, can splurge the
money or reinvest in a UD Saving Bond.

 

Trash Talk

by JoAnn Eastep

Another week and tomorrow is trash day.  All the food scraps, plant materials, napkins, paper towels have been sorted into the green cart.  The
blue cart is filled with newspapers, magazines, assorted metal and plastic cans, bottles and allowed containers In addition to all the old mail, bills
have been shredded and tied up in a plastic bag for the blue cart.  Wait a minute.  Were the plastic bags that contained the shredded material as
well as plastic bags that contain peanuts for assuring the safety of fragile materials sealed with tape? But that is such a production!  Why not just
put all the shredded material, peanuts, etc. in a bag and stuff it far down into the cart?

Well,  for one thing,  as soon as the truck puts the cart on the lift to dump it, the shredded paper, peanuts, even cans fall out of the bag and blow
all over the neighborhood.  The garbage collectors do not have the time to stop and pick up whatever scatters. So take the extra minute to seal
all loose items.  If your plastic bag is big enough just tie the of the bag closed..  If not use sealing tape to make sure the contents do not fall into the street.

If you have any questions about exactly what goes into what can, contact the Residential Recycling  (415) 355-3700.

Make your property and your neighborhood a better place to live by recycling and by separately your throwaways properly.

 

Cold and Flu Myths

by Joanne Whitney

Last month we talked about some cold and flu myths.  Here are some more which if read carefully might help you stay healthy.

First of all, it is not too late to get a flu shot.

Myth 6:  “Feed a Cold, and  Starve a Fever or Vice Versa.
Not True Feed both a Cold and a Fever.  For either a cold or a fever the body needs more fluids (obtained from foods).
Myth 7: Vitamin C, Echinacea, or Zinc Can prevent or cure a cold.Unlikely. Research has shown that these products cannot prevent a cold.
Myth 8.  Antibiotics can cure a cold or the flu
Absolutely Not True.  Antibiotics kill bacteria.and cannot kill cold or flu viruses. Using too many antibiotics cause bacteria to become resistant
and the more frequently antibiotics are taken the more resistant bacteria become to the drugs.
Myth 9  Once you catch a cold or the flu all you can do is wait for it to pass.  Not true for the flu. There are some flu medications which if taken
early can reduce symptoms.

Myth 10 You can treat  a cold or the flu with chicken soup
Possibly. There is some data that chicken soup reduces symptoms

 

Missing Elephants

for Regina

You are gone now,
Callie, Lulu, Tinkerbelle,
who filled my eyes full.
But your absence,
even bigger than you,
is more present
than anything in this zoo.

You and your huge hearts
have moved to a paradise
like those we humans manage
near reservoirs, golf courses—
but yours is near tree courses,
grass courses, sky courses.

You are together
and you are free.
We are neither.

©2009 by Dan Liberthson

Late Winter Outside Prescott, Arizona

A lake nurses its rim of snow
and slow ducks on its mild swell.
The silence is so pristine,
the unbroken snow so virginal
I cannot let things alone
but like a schoolboy loosed
pack a snowball and throw
at a bobbing ring-necked drake.
The shot falls short and the duck
unflustered in his gaudy colors
glances at me, as if he knows
in Spring males of every species
cannot let anything be.

©2009 by Dan Liberthson

Fool’s Luck

Tremendous crackling in the branches:
wild turkey, tail akimbo, teeters on a limb
barely thick enough to hold it, maybe not—
so precarious yet so certain,
pompous and riotous as a clown,
blind to coyote’s tracking eye.

Stuttering cries: another heaves into sight,
ungainly mate or brother crashing on
the same encumbered route one wingbeat
from disaster but somehow rising
to tear through the woods’ net
and come safe home.

©2009 by Dan Liberthson

Banana Slug Passing

kid’s plastic trick, fat pepper slice.
Immobile, unknowing death or life,
on the damp path’s shoulder it lay
amid twigs, leaf litter, and crumbled soil
split between hard sun, soft shade.

And I forgot it. Stepped past think-
ing this and that on the way to what
needed to be done. Until an hour
later I took that path again
and found it six inches
from where it lay then.

It’s alive, I realized, and this time saw
the snub curved snout, sex sack
bulging at the neck, radiating antlers
reaching out, back ridge subtly
s-curved as it moved imperceptibly
to any briefly present being.

It was then I saw the trees growing.
Sensed the muscles in their limbs
bulk and twist as they made themselves
thicker, longer, through my watching
years. When I looked down again,
the slug was gone, and I had no idea
what time it was.

©2009 by Dan Liberthson

 

Where is Miraloma Park?

by Phil Laird

“Where in the world is Miraloma Park?” may seem a strange question for someone living in Miraloma Park to ask. But in fact the precise
boundaries of Miraloma Park (M.P.) are not well known. So let’s take a Grand Tour. (You can walk it in about an hour.)
We start at the corner of Portola Drive and O’Shaughnessy Boulevard, across the street from the McAteer Campus of the School of the Arts.

Head down O’Shaughnessy Blvd. (only the houses on your right are in M.P.) to Malta Drive. Turn uphill on Malta (houses on Malta, Valletta, and
Vista Verde are in MiraGlen, not M.P.) to Stillings Ave., where you will turn east (downhill). Houses on both sides of Stillings are in M.P.
At Congo turn right. (Sorry, Congo—you’re not in M.P.) Proceed to Melrose Ave. where you turn right and walk to Teresita Blvd. Houses in this
section of Melrose are included in M.P.  Proceed downhill on Teresita to the “T” intersection at Foerster St. Here the route becomes tricky. You
have to cross Foerster, turn left and walk down the 700 block (included in M.P. but not beyond the 700’s), and hike up the short, steep section of
Melrose with a few houses numbered 319 and up.

This is a cul de sac, but the boundary of M.P. continues from here over private property up the embankment to where Melrose Ave. and Stanford
Heights Ave. intersect. To get there on foot, you will need to go back uphill on Foerster, turn left and climb to the 300 block of Melrose Ave. At
Stanford Heights Avenue you are back on the M.P. frontier.

Now hike down Melrose, only the north side of which (up through the end of the 400 block, on your right) is in M.P., to Lulu Alley, an unlabeled
easement that begins just before 500 Melrose. This first section of Lulu from Melrose to Los Palmos Drive (number 495) is paved, but the next
section that rises to Burlwood Drive (number 100) is not paved (although it is passable if dry). For the third section, however, from Burlwood to
Cresta Vista Drive (number 300), you will need to hire a jungle guide because it is overgrown and virtually impassible.

But the boundary of M.P. passes through here and even continues over private property up the escarpment to Sherwood Court. Jungle guides
are in short supply these days, so to get back onto the boundary at Sherwood, you will need to take a substantial detour by following Burlwood
east to Bella Vista Way, north on Bella Vista to Molimo Drive, up the steep hill on Molimo to Myra Way, and up an even steeper hill to the
intersection of Sherwood Ct. where the 36 bus has a turn-around. Whew!

If you have a jungle guide, don’t send her home just yet. Continue on Myra Way and head down the steep hill along Dalewood Way—but keep to
the right of Dalewood inside Mt. Davidson Park because the houses on Dalewood are not in M.P.  At the bottom of the Dalewood hill, turn right
along a short stretch of Lansdale Ave. (which is not in M.P.), and then turn left onto a one-block section of Juanita Way (in M.P.), arriving at busy
Miraloma Drive. Turn right on Miraloma and follow the 43 bus downhill (only the houses on your right are included in M.P.), to Portola Drive,
pausing to admire the recently restored Fire Station 39. Walk uphill east along Portola (again, only the houses on the right-hand side are in M.P.)
back to our starting point at the intersection of O’Shaughnessy.  Here you pick up your well-deserved water bottle and an “I survived the
Miraloma Park Grand Tour” T-shirt.

 

Mind the Tree

by Phil Laird

The prospect of winter storms bringing heavy rain and wind should remind us to be mindful of trees in Miraloma Park, or more precisely, the
potential hazards posed by trees. We are fortunate to live in one of the most arboreal areas of the city. But with the beauty comes both risk and
responsibility. Rain-saturated soil and gusty winds can topple trees that otherwise would be quite stable. A number of underground streams flow
unseen through our yards. Swollen by the rains, they can undercut and topple trees without any ground-level signs of instability.

Environmental factors also put trees at risk. Excavation near a large tree can damage its root system and cause it to fail. Saplings with extensive
root systems planted too close to a house can eventually argue with the foundation of the house—causing the loss of both. Pruning or topping
trees by non-expert landscapers or gardeners can alter the shape, balance, and health of a tree. Utility companies are required by the PUC to
prune trees growing near poles and wires. Naturally their priorities are to protect their property, not the health of the tree.

In our area, the Monterey Pine, Monterey Cyprus, and Blue Gum Eucalyptus are the species most likely to cause problems. They establish easily
and grow quickly, providing the owner with rapid gratification. But their shallow roots and susceptibility to infestation make them increasingly
hazardous as they mature. These and all trees become more susceptible to attack by fungus and insects as they age. Pitch Canker and the Pine
Bark Beetle are devastating the Ponderosa and other western pine species throughout the southwest. A trip through the southern Sierras and
northern Arizona will shock the traveler seeing entire acres of dead trees for the first time.

In most cases homeowners are responsible for damage caused by falling or breaking trees on their property, including “street trees” on the
sidewalks. Residents should inspect large trees on or near their property regularly and ask themselves where the tree or its largest branches
would fall. Signs to look for include cavities or large splits in the trunk, dead branches, and extensive growth of moss or fungus on the trunk.

Uplifted soil or walkways may just be roots reaching the surface, or they may be the first sign of lean. An experienced arborist is the person to
call to assess the condition of a tree. Plans to prune a tree or plant a new one near a house should also involve a tree expert. And most
importantly, an expert should be called to inspect periodically all large trees near residential structures.

 

Legal Ease

by Mary Catherine Wiederhold, Esq.

California courts are beginning to hold that one-sided arbitration clauses in real estate purchases are unfair to buyers.  If you are buying a home
that contains an arbitration clause in the purchase sales agreement, you should consult with a real estate attorney before signing.

One recent example concerns a developer, Toll Dublin, LLC, which built a large condominium complex in Dublin beginning around 2004. The
developer then sold seven condominiums to buyers during March and April 2005.  In their purchase agreements for their homes, the buyers
initialed that they had received copies of numerous documents.  These documents comprised 800 pages and included a Title 7 Master and
Dispute Resolution Declaration.  The Title 7 Master Declaration defined dispute as “any claims relating to the purchase, sale, condition, design,
construction or materials, . . .”  This declaration had been signed by the developer, but not the buyers, and recorded in 2004.  There was also a
list of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R’s) that had been recorded by the developer in 2003 that defined what type of dispute had to
be arbitrated.  It specifically excluded fraud from arbitration.

The buyers sued the developer in Alameda Superior Court alleging among causes of action, fraud. The buyers alleged the developer had
allowed conditions in “Building 13”, where they had purchased their units, to become saturated with water.  Once the interior of the building had
become saturated, mold began to grow.  The buyers alleged that the developer had knowledge of the condition before the buyers closed
escrow and did not notify them of the conditions.  Once escrow closed in April and May 2006, and some buyers had moved into their homes, the
developers then demanded that the buyers move out, in some cases telling the buyers to leave their personal property behind because it was
so damaged by mold. The developer moved to compel arbitration.

The trial court decided that based on Title 7, which specifically excluded fraud from arbitration, that the developer’s motion was denied.  The
developer appealed.  The court of appeal held that the buyers could sue the developer.  The court reasoned firstly, that the buyer’s arbitration
agreement did not cover fraud.  Although there is strong public policy in favor of arbitration, the court held that this policy cannot be used to
“enforce provisions of an arbitration agreement that, as here, either do not exist or were so poorly drafted that another party cannot be
presumed to have agreed to them.”

The court also looked at whether the arbitration agreement was “unconscionable” and the agreement was one-sided.  It  found that the
agreement  was because the buyers were given it on a “take it or leave it” basis.  Therefore, the developer would have little reason to sue the
buyers, but the buyers’ claims would only be discovered after escrow closed.

Furthermore, the court disliked the fact that the declaration had been recorded in 2004, more than two years before any of the buyers closed
escrow on any of their homes.  This suggested to the court that the agreement had been unilaterally imposed on all buyers of the 264 home
project.

While this case covered a large developer, some of the logic of the decision can be applied to single family home owners selling their homes.

Arbitration agreements can often save people from the large expense of litigation.  But poorly drafted arbitration clauses in sales contracts can
sometimes generate their own litigation.

 

Rent the MPIC Clubhouse

New Piano
New Electrical System
New Water Heater
Beautiful New Floors

Members get a discount.
Trash and recycling available.
Call 415-281-0892 for rates/availability.
Free parking is in the adjacent parking lot.