Miraloma Life Online – February 2013

  • PDF Version – February Miraloma Life
  • San Francisco Forest Alliance: Preserving Our Forests
  • A Completely Different Kind of Neighborhood Watch in San Francisco!
  • Preserving Mount Davidson’s Forests: Another Viewpoint
  • Say NO to Poison!
  • E-Filing, Tax Fraud, and You
  • From the Safety Committee: What We Do
  • Summary of MPIC Board Meeting on January 3, 2013
  • Ruth ASAWA SOTA Performances
  • How to be a Responsible Neighbor
  • Should the MPIC Host a Neighborhood Garden Tour this Spring?

San Francisco Forest Alliance: Preserving Our Forests

by Jacquie Proctor and Rupa Bose

In November of 2011, the all-volunteer San Francisco Forest Alliance (SFForest) was formed by concerned individuals and members of community organizations from across San Francisco. Since then, SFForest has raised community awareness of what’s happening to our parks and tree-scape: destruction of trees and habitat, rising use of pesticides/herbicides, and the seemingly unmonitored activities and initiatives of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) Natural Areas Program (NAP). We stand against environmentally destructive activities that ignore public priorities, which we believe are recreational uses of forest trails and the preservation of healthy trees, scenery, and wildlife. To further these goals, we undertook and achieved the following initiatives in 2012.

• Established www.SFForest.net, an advocacy website with blog, to raise community awareness of the City’s deforestation plans and to oppose the destruction of our trees.
• Published roughly 100 articles on the SFFA website and a second site specific to Glen Canyon Park.
• Circulated two petitions, one opposing the deforestation activities—planned and underway—of the NAP and the other specifically protesting tree-felling in Glen Canyon Park, each presented to the Supervisors and the Mayor with about 3000 signatures.
• Distributed thousands of flyers and posters.
• Created an email group distribution list of supporters.
• Mounted two standing-room only rallies—one in Miraloma Park and the other in Glen Canyon Park, followed by a street protests.
• Organized informational walking tours of Mount Davidson.
• Engaged the press on urban forest preservation issues: Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, Pacifica Patch, SF Weekly, West Portal Monthly, and Miraloma Life.
• Had our opposition to NAP deforestation made a platform issue by Joel Engardio, a major candidate in the closely contested District 7 supervisorial race; The Westside Observer included support for opposition to NAP deforestation as a question for the candidates.
• Engaged all supervisorial candidates in a questionnaire about these issues.
• Presented to community groups: MPIC, Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association, Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association, Diamond Heights Neighborhood Association, Sunset Heights Association for Responsible People, and McLaren Collaborative. The West of Twin Peaks Central Council (19 neighborhood and homeowner associations) passed a resolution urging RPD to revert to the 1995 NAP plan. The MPIC submitted a letter of comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Review (DEIR) for the Significant Natural Resources Management Plan (SNRAMP) program that stressed the priority of recreational recreational park use and forest preservation on Mt. Davidson
over establishing large native plant domains.
• Conducted dialogs about limiting and controlling pesticide/herbicide use with City leaders, supervisors, RPD senior management, the Open Space Advisory Council, and the Department of the Environment.
• Established City funding of the NAP as an issue in the 2012 Parks Bond and negotiated to exclude trails from the Bond language (except for Golden Gate and McLaren parks), because the term “Trails” was used to refer to NAP work that involved closing more trails than opening new ones.
• Testified at public hearings and forums.
• Challenged RPD’s public relations video with an SFForest video.
• Successfully advocated to re-open the public comment period on the DEIR for SNRAMP and submitted a thorough and detailed comment regarding the DEIR.
• Raised community and City agency awareness about possible trail closures if Mt. Davidson is designated an endangered species habitat for the Franciscan Manzanita, a plant currently available at local nurseries and not currently growing in this City park.
• Advocated with City Supervisors to oppose a resolution advocated by the Sierra Club to remove Sharp Park from the SNRAMP Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and require a separate EIR for this park: if passed, this resolution could have led even more tree cutting and trail closure on Mt. Davidson than is currently being considered by RPD. This resolution has now been tabled indefinitely.

Updates: Release of the Final EIR for the SNRAMP has been delayed until Spring, 2013. The planned 2008 Park Bond trail restoration project for Mt. Davidson, which could result in the felling of numerous healthy trees, has been postponed indefinitely. The SF Forest Alliance will continue posting updates requesting involvement of our supporters as needed. For additional information, including SF Forest advocacy to save trees in Glen Canyon Park, please visit sfforest.net.


A Completely Different Kind of Neighborhood Watch in San Francisco!

From Glen Park News, Dec. 12, 2012:

Press Release from Wildcare of San Rafael (415-453-1000; www.wildcarebayarea.org) WildCare accepted Great Horned Owl Patient #1709 on November 8, 2012. He was DOA, dead on arrival. He was a neighborhood mascot of sorts, now gone, but not forgotten. He was found on a popular walking trail. As WildCare tests all predator patients for evidence of rodenticide (rat poison), we tested this owl on arrival. And, as has happened in the case of many animals admitted this year—74%—this owl showed evidence of exposure to rat poisons.

Examined at WildCare and necropsied (autopsied) at/by the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System, his body was found to be reasonably nourished (he had part of a rodent in his stomach), but was otherwise internally toxic, diffusely discolored and badly hemorrhaged throughout. He had died of “presumptive AR intoxication,” anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning. That meant that he had eaten poisoned rodents. Great Horned Owls consume 10% of their body weight every day, equal to approximately five medium rodents. A Great Horned Owl family with babies will eat considerably more.

It is very sad to have lost this owl. The people who found Patient #1709 generously paid for the necropsy. They and their neighbors are particularly concerned about a pair of Great Horned Owls who live in the same neighborhood, and have watched them nest there every year for ten years. They are worried that deceased Patient #1709 may have been one of that pair.

Commonly available rodenticides are consumed by rodents, the basic food source for a number of different predators all the way up the food chain. These poisons kill by making whatever animal eats them bleed to death internally—slowly and painfully. While the poisoned animals— targeted or not— are still alive, they can be consumed by other predators. It is a terrifying prospect: to kill many animals while targeting only one.

For the purpose of this release we include not only San Francisco media, but also the specific neighborhoods of Glen Park (where Great Horned Owl Patient #1709 was found), West Portal, Diamond Heights and Noe Valley to help them protect the remaining owls—and any other animals that could eat poisoned rodents there.

It is often a surprise to discover what humans categorize as wildlife in distinctly urban neighborhoods, but they have found a way to live with us. We need to find better ways to live well with wildlife. WildCare Solutions is a program that can help with this kind of problem, as well as with nuisance wildlife. Contact us at 415.453.1000, ext.23; WildCare Solutions at 415.456.7283 (456-SAVE), or www.wildcarebayarea.org/wildlifesolutions.

Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) are common but strongly territorial, and therefore thinly spread. They are large birds, and measure approximately 18 to 25 inches in length, with a 4.5 ft wingspan. They tolerate a wide range of habitats, including some surprisingly urban settings. They are most active at dusk and after dark, hunting small animals, including rodents, rabbits, hare and small-to-medium-sized birds. The favorite prey of Great Horned Owls is skunks! They are the owls most often associated with their call, which is a familiar series of hoots. They are the most widely distributed owl species in the Americas. They nest early in the season, usually producing eggs some time between January and March.

Each year WildCare treats as many as 4,000 ill, injured or orphaned wild animals of 200 different species in our wildlife rehabilitation hospital, teaches more than 40,000 Bay Area child and adult participants in our environmental education programs, assists residents and businesses with wildlife dilemmas with our Wildlife Solutions service, and answers thousands of telephone calls concerning human/wildlife interaction on our Living with Wildlife Hotline: 415.456.SAVE.


Preserving Mount Davidson’s Forests: Another Viewpoint

by Ruth Gravanis*

Mt. Davidson is one of the City’s Significant Natural Resource Areas—those special places in our park system that still host remnants of the geology, vegetation, wildlife and ecological processes that thrived here before modern humans arrived on the scene. Although much of the mountain’s plant palette now consists of introduced species, the stand of trees that we often refer to as a forest is of great value—biologically, aesthetically, spiritually and culturally.

Unfortunately the forest, primarily blue gum eucalyptus from Tasmania, is in serious decline and in dire need of management. The trees have become so crowded that they compete with each other for space, light, air, and nutrients, and this has shortened their lives and reduced their habitat value. Invasive English ivy hastens their demise. And worse, crowding, lack of light, and, in many blackberry and other introduced invasive vegetation, prevent the regeneration that would be part of the process in a real forest ecosystem.

Fortunately, more people are realizing that the forest must be managed to prevent its decline—that what we see at any given moment doesn’t tell us about the changes taking place in the forest that propel it toward its own self destruction. But scarce resources and political prioritization have prevented the needed forest management.

Hope is on the horizon. The adoption of the proposed Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP) would facilitate implementation of longoverdue management measures. Before the plan can be adopted, the Final EIR, expected in the Spring, must be certified.

Much concern has been expressed (and some misperceptions spread) about SNRAMP since the Draft EIR was released for public comment in August of 2011. Lacking information as to what will actually happen—because we don’t yet know what will be in the Final EIR and because the kind of EIR being prepared dictates that project-specific details are to be developed later—some people are worried that healthy trees will be needlessly removed, that “clear-cutting” will occur, or that public access will be denied.

However, there will be numerous opportunities for the public to help shape the management actions eventually implemented. First, people who submitted comments on the DEIR will have the opportunity to publicly critique the responses to those comments that will be released by the Planning Department as part of the yet-to-be-certified Final EIR.

Second, project details (which will have to be consistent with and have fewer impacts than the approved Management Plan) are far from decided. The EIR for the SNRAMP is programmatic, not project-level, except for Sharp Park. This is an important distinction, because after the management plan is approved, specific actions for each Natural Resource Area must be proposed, refined and approved by the Rec-Parks Commission following workshops and hearings. The public will be able to provide input on the yet-to-be-developed Mt. Davidson management plan—matters such as how healthy is “healthy” (Is any non-hazardous tree to be considered places a dense understory of Himalayan healthy?), how much thinning is desirable, and what mix of trees will be best for preserving the long-term wellbeing of the forest.

Also, it’s important to remember that the management plan proposals, including tree removal and replacement, would be carried out over a twenty-year period, so changes in the appearance of the forest would be more gradual and long-term than immediate or short-term.

To better understand what the SNRAMP does propose, and to foster a dialog about the management of the Mt. Davidson forest, Jake Sigg has offered to lead at least two field trips on the mountain. Jake has retired from a position as gardener and supervisor in the Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park and has decades of experience caring for trees. He has a long-standing love of the mountain and keen familiarity (since the 1980s) with its management problems, having donated hundreds of hours personally to its care, and has recruited other volunteers to assist the understaffed RPD in its management. The mountain is more enjoyable today because of the staff and volunteer work of the last three decades.  (More volunteers are always welcome to help with ivy removal and other preservation projects.)

The field trips will be held on Saturday, February 2 (with February 9 as the rain date) and on Saturday, March 2 (with March 23 as the rain date). Co-leading the trips will be Linda Shaffer, a member of the Park, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC), and Ruth Gravanis. To facilitate understanding and communication and to encourage discussion, we need to limit each group to 12 people, so regrettably reservations are mandatory. Please send an email to Jake Sigg, jakesigg@earthlink.net, to reserve your space and to find out the meeting times and locations. If enough people are interested, additional tours will be scheduled to accommodate those who do not get into the two scheduled tours.

*Ruth Gravanis has been a long-time open space advocate and volunteer with several environmental organizations, including the Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, and the California Native Plant Society.


Say NO to Poison!

by Cassandra Mettling-Davis

History Lesson: In the Dark Ages when the Black Plague decimated much of the population in Europe and elsewhere, people didn’t know what was causing the deadly epidemic. One superstitious solution among many was to kill all the cats they could find. Little did they know that they were making the situation worse. The culprit was plague-carrying fleas found on rats, and the cats would have helped kill the rats had not the cats themselves been eliminated. Today, when people act out of fear of rats and mice by poisoning them, they are inadvertently killing the rats’ natural predators: pet cats, owls, and hawks.

Some years ago, I witnessed an unforgettably sad scene in my yard. The day before, a neighbor had hired a pest control company because he thought he might have rats under his deck. Poison was put out. Later I saw a skunk out during the daytime, unusual behavior for these nocturnal animals. The skunk was drinking large amounts of water out of the bird bath and his fur appeared damp and and then seal up all possible entry points with sheet metal and caulk. I know several people who used these companies and reported that they did an excellent job of eliminating the rodents from inside the home, without harming pets, wildlife, or children. Rodent poisons should never be used, nor should they be sold or manufactured.

This will only come to pass if it is no longer profitable for rodent control companies to use them. You can help make this happen by never putting out poison or hiring a company that does so. Learn more about saving wildlife, and sign a petition to stop poisons, at Wildcarebayarea.org. oily. It was apparent to me that this animal was in great distress and dying, and it occurred to me that he might have swallowed the rat poison.

Rat poison works by causing internal bleeding—a painful and agonizing way to die. This poison may end up being consumed by animals other than the intended targets (and sometimes even by children), with tragic results. Imagine the elegant red tailed hawk or great horned owl that picks up a poisoned rat or mouse and brings it home to its nest of chicks or owlets, wiping out the entire family. These are animals that keep the rodent population in check in a natural way, and as a result of poison there are now fewer to do that job.

The pest control companies that set out rat poison claim that the poisons do not affect the secondary food chain participants, but this is just not true. They say this so that you will pay them and disregard the consequences. So, what do you do if you have rats or mice in your home or your garden? If you have them in your garden, well, that is where they live.

Humane methods of control are preventing access to pet food and letting the natural predators keep them in check. If the rodents are inside your home, they are gaining access via some entry point that should be closed. They are seeking warmth and food— human or pet. There are alternative pest control companies that use safer and more effective means than poison to eliminate rats from your home. These companies use safe enzymes to repel them and drive them back outside,

E-Filing, Tax Fraud, and You:

A Summary by Jacob Koff of an article by Jay Starkman*

One out of every eight individual taxpayers files electronically. And no wonder, it’s a great convenience: no documents to sign, no stamps to lick, and no trips to the post office. And if you are due a refund, you can request to have it deposited directly to your bank account, where it can be available in as few as 7 days. What’s not to like, right? Read on.

Tax fraud based on taxpayer identity theft can include possible theft of your refund, the filing of fictitious returns using a stolen name and matching social security number, and tax preparer fraud. All told, there were 1.1 million such cases in 2011. And with E-filing, evidence of fraud is harder to detect. The IRS will replace a lost or stolen refund check. However, a refund stolen using an altered or erroneous routing number on a tax return will generally not be refunded until the bank returns the funds to the IRS. Otherwise, the taxpayer’s sole recourse is a lawsuit against the return preparer.

So why does the IRS continue to encourage taxpayers to E-file? Targeting taxpayers for audit is a major factor. E-filed returns are available for audit several months sooner than paper returns, allowing more time before the 3-year statute of limitations expires. The IRS has even boasted that its e-file database is “a rich and fertile field” for selecting audits and has estimated that if its “screeners could be reallocated to performing audits, they could bring an additional $175 million annually.” And the IRS can request additional information electronically at little or no incremental cost to itself.

Criminals use real names and social security numbers combined with phony W-2s to claim refunds, which the IRS will even obligingly post to sometimes untraceable prepaid VISA or Master Cards. Unscrupulous tax-return preparers alter bank-routing information so client refunds wind up in the preparer’s own bank account. Preparers can even increase deductions to show a larger refund due, with only the increase going to the preparer’s bank account. Some preparers steal former clients’ information to file false returns. Preparers even set up phony websites and actual physical offices with the names of reputable national tax preparation companies to get taxpayer information.

Criminals also use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment system to steal taxpayer money. With just the routing information from a personal check, a skilled criminal can use the electronic tax-payment system to transfer funds from a victim’s bank account as an estimated-tax payment to another stolen name and social security number, and then file a refund claim transferring the stolen funds to his own account. (This can be prevented by having your bank place an “ACH debit block” on your account.)

If you become a tax-identity theft victim, immediately seek a referral to the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit or the Taxpayer Advocate Service, using Form 911. Keep in mind that it can take over a year to resolve. The IRS has a backlog of 650,000 cases.

The national taxpayer advocate has recommended that taxpayers be allowed to tell the IRS to accept their return only when filed on paper, thus preventing E-file tax-identity theft. So far the IRS has refused. Less effective methods are to request an “electronic filing PIN,” available at www.irs.gov, and file Form 14039, “Identity Theft Affidavit,” so that the IRS might apply additional return-screening procedures. Sadly, conventional creditmonitoring services are useless against income-tax identity theft.

In sum, E-filing helps the IRS with audit selection, costs the Treasury billions through fraud, and transfers many costs of tax administration to you. Sometimes convenience comes with a high price.

*The original and full version of this article appeared Jan. 14, 2013, on page A15 in the US edition of The Wall Street Journal, under the headline: “E-Filing and the Explosion in Tax-Return Fraud.”

From the Safety Committee: What We Do

The MPIC has a long history of close collaborative work with City agencies, with the goal of helping agencies do their best to meet the needs of residents. Members of the MPIC Board of Directors Safety Committee have worked closely with Ingleside Police Station since the year 2000. We have participated in the Efficiency Plan focus group process, in the Fair and Impartial Policing Citizen Advisory Committee, and in the Ingleside Police Community Advisory Board. In addition, we work with Ingleside Station on community safety challenges as they arise.

Here are some MPIC Safety Committee accomplishments:
• Permanent closure of three drug houses.
• Development and implementation of a multi-agency plan for abatement of youth-related problems at and near the Portola shopping strip.
• Blocking packaged alcohol sales at the planned Portola Drive CVS Caremark store.
• Development and implementation of the Miraloma School Traffic and Parking Congestion Survey and Mitigation Plan to abate serious traffic and parking congestion in the immediate vicinity of Miraloma School.
• Abatement of illegal encampments in Mt. Davidson Park and July 4 fire prevention in the Park.
• Follow-up of serious crimes in Miraloma Park, including letters to the District Attorney requesting prosecution for serious crimes committed in our neighborhood, communication of neighbor-alert flyers and informational safety awareness articles based on SFPD information in the Miraloma Life and to members of the MPIC Safety Google Group.
• Abatement of Building and Planning Code violations.

Continual staffing changes at district stations—the frequent rotation of captains, transfers of officers and, unavoidably, retirements—poses a persistent challenge for community volunteers. But when officers with whom we have built relationships leave our district, we must and do establish new relationships. This effort takes time, but is necessary in sustaining effective community policing and, as a consequence, a safe neighborhood. Please help to keep Miraloma Park safe by letting the MPIC know of any safety concerns (Miralomapark@gmail.com).

Summary of MPIC Board Meeting on January 3, 2013

by Dan Liberthson and Carl Schick

On-Line Votes: Two motions, both approved. 12/17—C Mettling Davis: Spend $900 for various repairs at the Clubhouse; 12/21— R Gee: MPIC to join Nextdoor Miraloma Park web network.

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): MPIC’s 2012 income was $8,288 higher than in 2011 (though net worth fell by $382 due to higher expenses): Clubhouse rental income increased $9,700 (from $24,306 to $34,833), but dues income decreased $1,481 and Miraloma Life advertising income decreased $702. The largest increases in costs from 2011 to 2012 were from Clubhouse cleaning (+$2210), repairs (+$1243), landscaping (+$770), events (+$700), office expenses (+1005, including envelopes and letter-head for the successful membership campaigns), rental agent commissions (+$1,488, owing to increased rental activity), and online banking and billpaying services (+142). We raised the rental fees to pay for the additional cost of cleaning after events, a policy that allowed a more appealing venue for renters. Over and above our normal monthly expenses (newsletter costs, utilities, etc.), in December we spent $3000 for our final payment for parking lot and gate/clubhouse repairs, $95 for website hosting, and $1666 for the Holiday Party.  Bonuses were approved for the newsletter delivery kids, Clubhouse rental agent, and newsletter layout artist. Per Board vote, we established a reserve account of $18,500 for Clubhouse maintenance and repairs. During 2012, we took from this account $50 for front porch repairs and $3700 for parking lot repairs; so far $2,600 of these monies have been replaced in the reserve account, for a 1/13 reserve balance of $17,500. The increased security deposit (now $1000) and our re-written rental agreement, with penalties for failure to sort garbage and noise complaints, have led to progress in both these areas. Other than one single rental in 2012, we had no noise complaints from neighbors. Our Clubhouse rental income continues to help us offset the costs of printing and delivering the Miraloma Life, and all other events and committee efforts.

Committees: Safety—Please see article in this issue.

Membership (R Gee)—Membership has fallen to 401 from 510 in Dec., as expected because of calendar year memberships expiring. Forty-six members renewed in Dec., four at the $50 contributing level, and two merchants have renewed: Round Table and Pop’s Sandwich. We sent out 131 email reminders and will deliver 121 membership reminder letters in Jan. Events (S Chu)— Spring Fling event planned for April or May; K Rawlins suggested event addressing concerns of the elderly. Miraloma Park Garden Tour in the Spring to be considered. It takes a substantial amount of up-front planning and lead time to make the event successful. J Whitney may do presentation on invasive plants. Ways to track attendance at MPIC-sponsored events discussed.

Clubhouse Maintenance (CMD)—G Issacson will see if one of the newsletter deliverers wants to put out and bring in the Clubhouse garbage cans each week. If not, R Gee will reach out to neighbors on Del Vale by putting out flyers to find a volunteer. Motion by C Mettling-Davis to pay $40 a month to such volunteer passed; she indicates need to step back as Committee Chair.

Newsletter (D Liberthson)—D Liberthson changed the monthly due day for newsletter submissions to Mondays. Will include item in Feb. issue re interest in garden tour.

Website— Webmaster R Proctor reported 650 visitors to the MPIC web site in Nov. and 540 in Dec. The percentage of new versus returning visitors is about 50/50. In November, 1211 pages were viewed, and in December, 961 pages. K Wood recommended revising the home page so that the MPIC mission statement and the Club’s activities and achievements are more prominent. Adding a scenic video to the home page was suggested.

Delegate Reports: Ingleside Community Police Board (J Whitney): She will get a cost estimate on the “Neighborhood Night Out” event to be held at the Clubhouse on the second Tuesday in August. New Business: One of newly elected District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee’s aides has reached out to attend an MPIC board meeting. The Board agreed that it would like Supervisor Yee himself to address the full Board. R Gee summarized the reasons residents like Miraloma Park. The most popular responses, per Nextdoor Miraloma Park, were (1) neighbors and community, (2) clean, quiet, suburban feel, (3) Mt. Davidson, (4) central location, (5) safety, (6) views, (7) architecture and single family homes. Other reasons include parking, parks, and weather. R Gee asked each Board member for a goal he or she wanted to personally concentrate on in 2013 and how it could be measured to determine success. His goal is to create more neighbor involvement in issues and activities.Various Board members expressed commitments to (1) maintain police communication and vigilance on safety issues, (2) address current and long-term Clubhouse maintenance needs and related fund raising to support capital improvements, (3) encourage and increase neighbor relations and (4) host a wide range of events attractive to many different resident interests, including intellectual and educational events.

Ruth ASAWA SOTA Performances

The Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts presents:
• Vocal Senior Recital, Friday, Feb. 8, 7:30 pm
• Junior Visual Arts Show, Thursday, Feb. 21, 5:30 pm
• Guitar Recital, Thursday, Feb. 21, 7:30 pm
• 42nd Street. A big, bold musical set in 1933. A story of hard work, talent, love, and being in the right place at the right time.
A celebration of Broadway and its people. A Tony Award-winning production with entertainment for the whole family! 8 shows.
Evenings: Thurs., Fri., Sat., 2/28, 3/1, 3/2 and 3/7,
3/8, 3/9 at 7:30 pm. Matinees: Sat., 3/2 and 3/9 at 2
pm. Tickets online at www.sfsota.org from $15.00.

Check out @Ruth_Asawa_SOTA on Twitter for events, news and updates.


How to be a Responsible Neighbor*

Keep trees and shrubs cleared from the sidewalk areas, so walkers will not be impeded, either on the side or from above. Ed. Note: This one is important: I hate having my hat knocked off, my face raked, or my arm scratched by untrimmed bushes, shrubs, or trees impinging on the sidewalk. Keep your pets and children out of other people’s gardens unless you have permission to enter. Do not let your pets urinate or defecate on other people’s property. Many Miraloma Park streets are so narrow that, especially if buses use them, it can be difficult for two cars passing in opposite directions to get by, so it is understandable that people park their cars partly on the sidewalk to create a little more room. Nonetheless, it is not only illegal and ticket-able to block the sidewalk with a vehicle (or anything else), but also discourteous and potentially dangerous to neighbors walking by, forcing them onto the street and potentially into passing traffic. Please leave enough of the sidewalk open so that pedestrians, including those in wheel chairs, do not have to walk in the street.

*These suggestions were contributed by Miraloma Park residents. We welcome additional submissions from readers for this ongoing column.

Should the MPIC Host a Neighborhood Garden Tour this Spring?

We are considering it, as this event has been popular in the past, but we would need enough people with show gardens to volunteer for inclusion on the tour, and we would need others to help organize, as the job is too big for Board Members alone. So, please let us know by email (miralomapark@gmail.com) or by phone (281-0892) if you have a fine garden you’d like to include on the tour and/or if you would be willing to volunteer your time to help organize the tour.