Miraloma Life Online – January 2014

  • PDF Version – January Miraloma Life
  • Twenty-first Annual Holiday Party and Potluck Highlights
  • From the President’s Corner
  • Supervisor Chiu’s Plan to Legalize Illegal In-law Apartments
  • Wasting Away in Manzanitaville: The Plant Plot Sickens (or, a Tempest in a Plant Pot)
  • Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Meeting
  • Progress! UCSF Changes Course on Sutro Forest
  • Commonwealth Club Lectures on Forest Preservation
  • Summary of MPIC Board Meeting of December 5, 2013
  • Community Clean-up Effort a Success
  • SF 311 Now Available
  • How to be a Helpful and Responsible Neighbor
  • Because They Know We Can’t (poem)


Twenty-first Annual Holiday Party and Potluck Highlights

by Dan Liberthson and Robert Gee

As always, the MPIC Holiday Party was a smash hit this year, with nearly one hundred merry-makers in attendance, including a couple dozen children who participated in Boswick the Clown’s antics or watched rapt from the audience. Miraloma Park saxophonist Todd Seimers sat in as the Laura Lee Brown & Company Band played holiday favorites, and many new families who purchased Miraloma Park homes in the last year or so came to meet their neighbors and get a feel for our wonderful community. Kathy Rawlins’s decorations were stunning, particularly her lovely mantelpiece masterpiece glittering with lace and lights, and Dan Liberthson’s champagne punch went down ever so easy.

All this was terrific, but a particular innovation this year should be a source of special pride for Miraloma Park. Previously, left-over food from the party either went home with attendees or went to waste. This year, thanks to Kathy Rawlins’s foresight, a group called Food Runners stopped by after the party to pick up the left-overs. Food Runners is a volunteer organization dedicated to alleviating hunger in San Francisco that delivers over 15 tons of food a week to agencies feeding people in need. Food Runners picks up excess perishable and prepared food from restaurants, caterers, bakeries, hospitals, event planners, corporate cafeterias, and hotels and delivers it to neighborhood
food programs that feed the hungry. Their website is http://www.foodrunners.org/. Please keep them in mind when planning party events and inform sponsors of events you attend about them.

Following are the Holiday Potluck prize winners, chosen by popular vote in the categories of
Appetizers, Entrées, Soup/Salad/Side, and Desserts:

1st Place: Mushroom Plate by Gary Issacson, Mac and Cheese by Diana Rohrel, Fox Special Salad by the Fox Family, Kiss Cake by Sam Ledeke.

2nd Place: Sesame Bread by Stella Kuo, Hungarian Goulash by Joanne Whitney, Mushroom Chestnut Bisque by Valentina Lert, Strawberry Flan by Mariyht Grassman.

3rd Place: Bacon-wrapped Dates by Pamela Chu, a tie between Jax’s Xmas Curry by Jessica and Middle Eastern Lamb by Don Esse, no prize for the soup/salad/side category, Flourless Chocolate Cake by Pamela Chu.

The MPIC and the entire Miraloma Park community thank our generous area merchants for donating the prizes that make the Holiday Potluck possible. This year’s Portola Boulevard donors were Mollie Stone’s ($100 in gift cards), Round Table Pizza (three $25 gift certificates), Pop’s Sandwich Shop (4 sandwich gift certificates), and Starbucks (2 pounds of coffee beans). Contributors in Glen Park, all on Chenery, included Bird and Beckett Books and Records ($25 gift certificate), Critters Fritters ($25 gift certificate), and Cheese Boutique ($15 gift certificate).


From the President’s Corner

by Robert Gee, MPIC President

Dear Miraloma Park Residents, Every January, I encourage everyone to join or renew their membership in the MPIC. Many memberships expired on December 31, so please take a moment to renew, and if you are not a member, consider joining. The high quality of life in our neighborhood is no accident.

Since 1935, the MPIC and its all-volunteer Board of Directors have worked to make Miraloma Park a safe neighborhood with a low crime rate, quality architecture, and the best services possible from City agencies. Following are just some of the MPIC’s missions and accomplishments:

• Promoting quality architectural design and zoning conservation via active involvement in Department of City Planning processes and the Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines (drafted by MPIC Board members and adopted into the Planning Code in 1999;visit miralomapark.org).

• Preserving single-family, RH-1 home zoning status for our neighborhood despite repeated attempts to downgrade our zoning, including the current legislation proposed by Supervisor Chiu to legalize illegal in-law units (see letter in this issue).

• Collaborating closely with the Ingleside Police Station to promote neighborhood safety, including following up on crimes, requesting targeted enforcement, and keeping residents informed on safety and crime-prevention matters. Zero tolerance of illegal activity, including encampments on Mt. Davidson.

• Permanent abating of three drug houses, by working with the SFPD, the City Attorney’s Code Enforcement Division, and residents.

• Developing the Advanced Community Disaster Resiliency Program, a comprehensive plan for the community to support its residents, especially the most vulnerable, during and after disasters.

• Hosting and sponsoring community-building events, such the Ingleside Police District Neighborhood Night Out, a Neighborhood Resources event, and the MPIC’s Fall Fiesta Karaoke Night and annual Holiday Potluck Party.

• Working to include Teresita Boulevard in the City’s Traffic Calming program and successfully advocating for targeted traffic enforcement and pedestrian safety project funding.

• Collaborating with SFPD and Miraloma Elementary administration to develop and implement a plan for easing parking and traffic congestion near the School.

• Abating graffiti.

• Advocating Building Code enforcement, a key component in maintaining property values.

• Leading on issues involving Mt. Davidson preservation; preservation of O’Shaughnessy Hollow, now a biologically significant natural area; and creating and maintaining a noted native plant garden at the MPIC Clubhouse.

Fact: A $25 family MPIC membership costs less than 7 cents per day for one year and helps to keep our neighborhood clean and safe! Please join the more than 540 Miraloma Park residents who support the MPIC: complete the enclosed Membership Form-Remit Envelope and return it with your dues check to MPIC, 350 O’Shaughnessy Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94127. To join or renew online using PayPal or a credit card, visit www.miralomapark.org/about/join.

To keep our neighborhood on top, we need you!


Supervisor Chiu’s Plan to Legalize Illegal In-law Apartments

by Dan Liberthson

The MPIC Board sent a letter to the SF Board of Supervisors on November 21 to convey our objections to draft legislation proposed by Supervisor David Chiu that would create a process for legalizing illegal in-law units across all zoning classifications, including RH-1 (single-family zoning), which applies to all of Miraloma Park and many other West of Twin Peaks neighborhoods. This letter is consistent with one of the MPIC’s primary missions, to protect our RH-1 zoning, a position held by a strong majority of homeowners in our neighborhood.

We and the West of Twin Peaks Central Council will be closely following this proposal as it makes its way through the City’s legislative process (it is currently under consideration by the Board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee). To read the full text of Supervisor Chiu’s proposed legislation, visit http://www.smallprop.org/pdf/press/121.pdf. The text of the MPIC Board of Directors’ letter follows.

“Dear Supervisors:
We understand that Supervisor David Chiu plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday, November 26, to legalize in-law units. Having reviewed the proposed legislation, we find Supervisor Chiu’s plan to be in essence no different from many past attempts to bust R1 zoning in San Francisco in the name of providing affordable housing. The 550-member Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC), representing an entirely RH-1 neighborhood, opposes all attempts to downgrade RH-1 zoning by legalizing illegal secondary units, as does the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, an 18-member umbrella organization representing San Francisco’s Western neighborhoods.

We could support Mr. Chiu’s proposal only if it excluded the legalization of illegal units in RH-1 areas. Without this qualification, Supervisor Chiu’s proposed legislation would be a direct attack on the character of the City’s RH-1 neighborhoods and on the value of single-family homes, and will result in overcrowding, traffic congestion, and the other attendant ills of in-fill housing. Many San Francisco housing units will become available in the next few years due to other housing expansion projects, and these will render Supervisor Chiu’s zoning destructive legislation unnecessary. We urge our Supervisors to reject this measure, as it amounts to a violation of the zoning covenant between the City and RH-1 homeowners that promises them single-family zoning status.

cc: Mayor Lee; Matt Chamberlain, President, West of Twin Peaks Central Council; John Rahaim, Planning Department Director


Wasting Away in Manzanitaville: The Plant Plot Sickens (or, a Tempest in a Plant Pot)

by Jake Sigg as Edited by Dan Liberthson

Editor’s Note: Included in the last issue of this newsletter was the text of a letter sent by the MPIC Board to Mayor Lee with respect to an item in the Federal Register that recorded the designation by the US Department of Fish and Wildlife of an area including residents’ private yards as a Franciscan manzanita preservation zone. The area to be so designated was proposed to the federal agency by the SF Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD), and the MPIC letter protested such action by SFRPD without prior notification of the residents whose property was included in the designated zone. Neither the mayor nor SFRPD has responded to the MPIC Board’s letter, but KPIX got onto the story and interviewed a few people about the possibility of planting the Franciscan manzanita, which occurs naturally only in the Presidio, in other areas (to view the segment, visit http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/9633937-species-thought-extinct-atthe-
root-of-bay-area-property-battle/
). Property owners were assured in this segment that no restrictions would be placed on what they could do with, and in, their yards.

The segment reporter told me that his understanding was that once Fish and Wildlife had listed the Franciscan manzanita as endangered, a preservationist had sued to have a preserve created for the plant. In his blog, native plant authority Jake Sigg, who was among those interviewed, had the following comments supplemental to the news broadcast.

“A few things you won’t find in KPIX story: Listing the Franciscan manzanita as an endangered species was unnecessary [because] the plant is on federal land, part of the National Park System. The lone manzanita [discovered during construction for the Doyle Drive modification] was already being managed, with help from a host of eager volunteers who were mothering it as well as increasing its numbers. It was as safe as a living organism can be on this dangerous planet. However, a lawsuit requiring the plant to be listed was filed, followed by a suit for development of a Recovery Plan. … Most environmental organizations engage constructively or collaboratively; lawyers don’t—they sue. The suits forced diversion of scarce funds to the Listing and Recovery processes and concomitant actions, thus depriving other needy species of federal protection [when the manzanita was already secure]. The responsible agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, whose budget is hard-pressed just like all public agencies, did the sensible thing and prioritized prioritized listing those species which meet scientific criteria to be listed. Sensibly, it put this already protected [manzanita] plant at the bottom of the pile.

“Is there any substance or cause for alarm to SF landowners or others by this move? No. The manzanita has never been documented as existing on any substrate except serpentine, whose chemical composition is very challenging for most plants. There was a vague report of a serpentine lens on Mt Davidson many decades ago, but if it existed it was scraped off long ago for houses. There is no serpentine near Mt Davidson. In spite of this, the federal Recovery process requires that all possibilities of a species’ occurrence must be considered, so the Mt. Davidson site had to be listed as potential. It can safely be forgotten.

“[Even if it were possible to recreate serpentine soil conditions to support the Franciscan manzanita where it will not naturally grow, SFRPD, which would have to fund such an effort, would never do so, with many other demands on its limited budget.—Ed’s summary]

Many Presidio staff are unhappy about the listing, as it means diversion of scarce resources from existing urgent needs to fulfilling bureaucratic mandates concomitant with Listing and Recovery—without positive benefits. Bitter experience is that deeply serious problems are neglected while frivolous ones occupy public attention and eat up money. Note: The subject of Endangered Species regulation is a very technical and legal one, and what I wrote doubtless contains inaccuracies in some of the legal details. Nevertheless … it is substantively correct.—JS”

Editor’s Note: All very reassuring, but an issue of process remains that may well be relevant on future occasions. Should not SFRPD be required to notify property owners and users of communal City land (e.g., Mt. Davidson) of its intentions and allow public comment and input before unilaterally making a recommendation to the Federal government (or any other agency) regarding private and public land use?


Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Meeting

by Sue Kirkham

In November I attended a public-participation meeting of the PUC about renovating the SF sewer system. After more than 100 years of operation, many of the pipes and facilities in the system are nearing the end of their useful life. In 2012 the SFPUC Commission endorsed a multiphased multiphased plan for the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) to build and upgrade the most important facilities, ensuring prudent spending. The SSIP is the result of an 8-year community planning process and will ensure a reliable, sustainable, and seismically safe sewer system.

SF is one of two cities in California with a combined sewer system, collecting and treating both sewage and storm water before it is discharged to the Bay and Pacific Ocean. Three treatment plants with over 1000 miles of pipe process 80 million gallons on a non-rainy day, 575 million on a rainy day, and 40 billion per year. Large storms can overwhelm the system, causing untreated sewage to flow into the Bay and Pacific Ocean. You can sign up for a tour of the treatment facilities at sfwater.org/tour. Visiting one of the sewerage treatment plants is extremely interesting, educational, and not as unpleasant as you would imagine. The free tours are offered one Saturday of each month at 10 am.

Urban Watershed Assessment, a 20-year program to plan, identify, and build investment priorities for our sewer system, integrates above- and below-ground solutions (Green Infrastructure). Green Infrastructure is a storm water management tool that takes advantage of the natural processes of soils and plants in order to slow down and clean storm water and keep it from overwhelming the City’s sewer system. Some of the tools are permeable pavements, rain gardens, flow-through planters, rainwater harvesting, green and blue roofs, constructed wetlands, and creek daylighting. To learn about and contribute to the planning and design of the green infrastructure project, visit sfwater.org/greeninfrastructure.

San Francisco has eight urban watersheds (see sfwater.org/urbanwatersheds). Miraloma Park is in the Islais Creek Watershed. In November the PUC held a workshop for Islais Creek, Yosemite, and Sunnydale watershed planning. The goal of the workshop was to educate the public about the problems facing the sewer system, and to seek public input about Green Infrastructure and below-ground solutions. Attendees were divided into 12 groups of approximately 10 participants each, and each group was given a section of watershed to plan for, using the 12 technologies available to reduce the discharge from the system and/or the excess storm water, and applying cost-benefit analyses to the solutions. Some groups came in under budget, some over; some achieved excellent benefits for the dollar, others did not. It was an excellent educational exercise to demonstrate the fiscal and the physical limitations and benefits of available technologies. The PUC will continue to conduct workshops, and I highly recommend participating if you have interest in our City’s infrastructure.

There is very little flat public land in Miraloma Park, and permeable paving requires less than a 5% slope to be effective. Also, large public structures suitable for a green or blue roof solution to control water run-off are scarce. Therefore, solutions for our section of Islais Creek Watershed were focused on Glen Park, Monterey Blvd, and the City College area, except for a possible green roof for the Ruth Asawa SF School of the Arts (SOTA).

In speaking with PUC people after the workshop, I suggested that the City should enforce the ordinance against paving over front yards, as excess concrete, paved roads, and buildings in the City causes run-off in storms, spilling untreated sewerage into the Bay and the ocean.


Progress! UCSF Changes Course on Sutro Forest

by Jane Risk

At a community meeting on 11/21, UCSF announced that, in response to public comment and protests, it is discarding its original Mount Sutro Management Plan and proposing an alternative. The original January 2013 plan called for cutting down thousands of trees, destroying the understory in three designated “Demonstration Areas,” and using herbicides to prevent regrowth.

UCSF says the new plan will focus on hazard reduction measures to “reduce fire hazards within the Reserve and near developed areas adjoining the Reserve. … The work includes thinning the forest by removing trees less than 10” in stem diameter in the North and South areas (21 acres) and less than 6” in stem diameter in the West area (4 acres). Shrubs would be thinned and perennial plants mowed. Cut materials would be chipped and spread on site. … UCSF will use mechanical means for controlling regrowth. Herbicides will not be used.

Stumps would be covered with plastic and stapled at time of cutting to inhibit regrowth, and shrub re-sprouts would be mechanically cut with hand tools. “UCSF has not used herbicides in the Sutro Reserve since 2008 and has worked to control poison oak and blackberry by cutting or mowing them back. It’s challenging to keep up with the growth, but as a health sciences university, we believe the right thing to do is not to use herbicides in the Reserve. We also plan to use goats to control the growth of some vegetation … We expect it will take approximately one month to implement the hazard reduction measures.”

UCSF plans to publish a revised Draft EIR in 2/14 with “a 45-day public comment period. A public hearing to receive verbal comments on the revised Draft EIR will be held in 3/14. The written responses to comments on the original Draft EIR and revised chapters will be completed and published, with final EIR certification expected in May or June.”

According to Rupa Bose, webmaster of the SaveSutro website, “this looks like a substantial improvement over the previous plan, especially with no pesticide use. However, it still calls for killing thousands of trees, gutting the entire understory, and killing all the vines in the treated areas. This will destroy the ecosystem and habitat in those areas. It will also increase water run-off, fire risk
owing to drying of the forest, and landslide risk.”

Visit UCSF.edu and SutroForest.com for the latest information.


Commonwealth Club Lectures on Forest Preservation

by Jane Risk

The course of future management of the Mt. Davidson Forest will be decided soon. Some want to keep the forest as is. Others support converting sections to native scrub and grassland, as proposed by the Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (SNRAMP). Anyone concerned about the Forest should consider attending any or all of three upcoming lectures at the Commonwealth Club, which notes that “this series of lectures will present a new way of looking at public policy issues in conservation. The things we’ve assumed as facts often are not. Traditional approaches are losing ground as science illuminates new pathways for framing and achieving conservation goals.” The lectures will take place at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street. For more information and reservations, visit commonwealthclub.org.

Lecture 1: Thursday, 1/30/14, 6 pm. Conciliation Biology: An Approach to Conservation that Reconciles Past, Present and Future Landscapes in Nature, presented by Scott Carroll, PhD, Founding Director, Institute for Contemporary Evolution and Department of Entomology, UC Davis. “Biologists are now considering the ‘conciliatory approach.’ This approach recognizes that mutual adaptation of native and non-native species is changing best practices for promoting biodiversity. Dr. Carroll investigates investigates how organisms respond to human-caused environmental change [and] advocates for interdisciplinary solutions to problems of environmental conservation.”

Lecture 2: Monday, 3/24/14, 12 noon. Ecological Communities and the March of Time, presented by Arthur M. Shapiro, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis. “Ecological communities as we know them are similar to freeze-frames from a long movie. Associations among species are very dynamic on millennial scales, as demonstrated by the evidence since deglaciation 15,000 years ago. Coevolution of species occurs locally in geographic mosaics, and can be extremely dynamic as well. Frederic Clements, the father of American community ecology, had a holistic vision. He saw communities as super-organisms. He was wrong.”

Lecture 3: Wednesday, 4/9/14, 12 noon. The History, Ecology and Future of Eucalyptus Plantations in the Bay Area, presented by Joe R. McBride, PhD, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley. “Dr. McBride will explain the ecology of the eucalyptus forest in the Bay Area. He will discuss its structure, the variety of plants and animals that live within it, its health and the ecological functions it performs. There will be a description of the dynamics within these forest stands (such as whether they are successional or a climax-species that replace themselves over time without human input) and about their invasive potential.”


Summary of MPIC Board Meeting of December 5, 2013*

by Dan Liberthson and Carl Schick

Communications: Letter received from the Denterleins at 545 Rockdale stating they appealed to the Board of Appeals regarding the permit application at 555 Rockdale. Friends of the Urban Forest wants to speak to the Board about planting trees in the neighborhood.

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): The MPIC’s net worth decreased from $27,049 in Oct to $25,511 in Nov. Rental activity decreased from $3890 to $3115 during these months, and is averaging about $3000/month. We received $87 in membership dues and paid $466 in real estate tax to the City. The reserve is currently $11,848.

Committees: Membership (R Gee)—Membership was 506 on 10/30/13 and 526 on 11/30. A $100 contribution was received from a renewing member. Thanks to D Atkins for delivering 74+ membership renewal letters. Resiliency (D Homsey)—R Gee, K Wood and D Homsey met to map out a timeline for the Neighborhood Resiliency Plan. A meeting to discuss the plan with residents is tentatively scheduled for 2/14. Clubhouse Maintenance (K Rawlins)—K Rawlins moved to allocate up to $350 to flush and clean the Clubhouse gutters; motion tabled pending more information from contractor on cost and scope. T Sauvain moved to give a $300 year-end bonus to the Clubhouse Rental Manager, a $100 bonus to the newsletter layout artist, and a $65 bonus to each of the newsletter carriers (passed). D Liberthson removed parking lot weeds with flame device. K Rawlins plans to install a solid backsplash behind the sinks of the men’s and women’s bathrooms. Traffic and Transportation (K Breslin)—Discussion about whether we need more stop signs on Teresita to help calm traffic in the neighborhood.

T Armour volunteered to contact Supervisor Yee to discuss better enforcement at existing stop signs. Planning (T Armour)—SF Supervisor David Chiu introduced legislation to allow legalization of illegal in-law units in SF. The MPIC wrote to the Supervisors opposing the legislation as it busts R1 zoning (see letter in this issue). D Liberthson attended a pre-application meeting for an addition to the back of a home at 851 Rockdale. The plans as presented adhere to the Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines.

Community Organizations: West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WOTPCC, T Armour)—The WOTPCC is carefully
monitoring and studying Supervisor Chiu’s in-law unit legislation. The City is pursuing people who are
illegally using disabled placards. Coalition for SF Neighborhoods (CSFN, T Armour)—Discussion about limiting the prevalence of marijuana clubs along Mission Street. It appears SFPUC Water/Sewer rates will go up, possibly as much as 200%, to cover costs of repairs and maintenance.

Ingleside Community Police Advisory Board (J Whitney)—SF crime rate was down 20-30% except for theft of cell phones, which is increasing. Citywide gun buyback initiative planned for April 2014. District 7 Neighborhood Council (R Gee)—A mission statement has been drawn up and a committee is trying to pinpoint areas of focus for the Council’s participatory budget process.


Community Clean-up Effort a Success

by Cornerstone Trinity Church

On 11/23/14, Cornerstone Trinity Church held our first Community Beautification Event. We thank the MPIC for providing guidance in planning this event. We cleaned up the front yards of three homes, the MPIC parking lot, the Miraloma and Sunnyside Playgrounds, and the neighboring streets around our church and near Miraloma Elementary School. We enjoyed meeting our neighbors and appreciated the support of the Miraloma Park community in making this a successful event.


SF 311 Now Available

The official SF 311 app for smartphones allows users quickly and easily to obtain information about city services while on the go, and/or report and track quality of life issues, such as graffiti, street light outages, and potholes. SF 311 provides live customer service by phone at all times in over 170 languages and service requests may be submitted on-line by phone or via Twitter. Download the SF311 app at http://www.sf311.org/mobile or by searching “SF311” in the App Store (Apple) or Google Play (Android). For more information, phone 415-701-2311 or 311 within San Francisco or visit the website at www.sf311.org, twitter @sf311, or facebook.com/SF311.


How to be a Helpful and Responsible Neighbor*

At this time of year many of us clear out our closets, basements, and attics. Don’t put your discarded items in the trash, but instead think about recycling them for the good of others. Some articles can be donated to curbside pick-up services and many will be accepted by Goodwill, The Salvation Army, etc. However, many charities only want clothing that is clean and in good repair. What can you do with old clothing, towels, or rugs? SF Animal Care and Control uses these items as bedding and box liners for dogs and cats. Take old athletic shoes to On The Run on 9th at Irving, where they send them in for refurbishing and donation to homeless individuals.

The winds in our neighborhood blow open discard bin lids, allowing trash to mess the streets and resident creatures (crows, raccoons, etc.) to get into the waste and make a mess. There is a simple solution: buy a 2 ft (24 in) bungee cord, attach it to the back of the bin, and then stretch it over the top and attach it to the bar across the lower front to keep the lid closed. When Recology staff empty bins into the trucks during windy times, pieces often blow out onto the street. If everyone
would take a few minutes as needed to pick up or sweep up the sidewalk and street in front of their homes after trash pick-ups, we won’t have unsightly litter blowing around for days.

Speaking of picking up, it’s better for everyone if dog walkers not only pick up after their dogs but also dispose of the litter in either their own or a public garbage can. Bagging the poop helps, but not leaving the bag on a sidewalk, street, or path for someone else to pick up. A small effort on everyone’s part to keep the streets clean could have a big payoff in increasing our enjoyment of the neighborhood and keeping property values high.

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


Because They Know We Can’t (poem)

Two birds explode into flight,
one chasing the other racing
nearly through my forehead,
barely swerving to miss as if
I were a mere pole or bush,
ground-stuck, of no account,
then skirt the hedge tops
rising dipping chittering madly
gladly till at last, out of sight
behind the farthest fence,
they perch, slanting their beaks,
shifting their laughing eyes.

From Animal Songs
©2010 by Dan Liberthson
(see liberthson.com)