Miraloma Life Online – June 2013

  • PDF Version – June Miraloma Life
  • Recology Is the Good Kind of Monopoly
  • From the President’s Corner
  • Miraloma Park Improvement Club Election and Neighborhood Playdate
  • Taxpayer Dollars At Work: A Chronic Offender
  • From the Safety Committee: Trust Your Instincts
  • From District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee
  • NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Tuesday, August 6
  • Home Security
  • For All You Tiger Parents Out There
  • Condensed Minutes of the MPIC Board Meeting, May 2, 2013

Recology Is the Good Kind of Monopoly

By Taylor Emerson and Matthew Cross, Miraloma Park residents and zero-waste advocates

The following responds to “Garbage Rates to Increase? Not if they hear from us!” by Gary Noguera in Miraloma Life, May 2013.

We are writing on behalf of those of us who disagree with the call against Recology and who support a reasonable fee increase for increased services. From the flyer the company sent residents and businesses, to the announcement on sfgov.org, to various articles written on the topic, these sources provide a similar version of the same message: the company is raising its fees to accommodate more routes, to make technology improvements, to increase pension contribution, and more.

Many in the community do not categorize Recology’s monopoly over our disposal and diversion program as negative but instead see it as necessary. Maintaining, improving, and streamlining a system that deals with San Francisco’s waste tonnage is not going to improve by stagnating their revenue or by breaking up Recology into smaller independent operators. We need a uniform system with central control that allows for scalability and efficiencies.

San Francisco is far ahead of all U.S. cities in diverting its refuse from landfill. We reached 80% diversion in October of last year. Eighty percent of our disposed material goes to recycling, to compost, or to re-use. That’s a number we cannot dissociate from Recology’s contribution and our gargantuan citizen effort to use the system as it was designed… by a single company.

Visit the Recology center on the other side of highway 101 from Candlestick Park. It’s an impressive facility that handles an unthinkable amount of material to help keep our landfills to a minimum. A small but meaningful part of Recology’s diversion program is the company’s resident artist program. They have a resident artist who sifts through the material that comes in and diverts it to artwork that lines the hill above the redistribution plant as well as appears in galleries to stimulate conversation and to support public outreach.

Don’t fight a fee or tax hike just because it increases your expenses. Most price increases we can’t control and can’t protest. You can protest this proposal from Recology, of course. There will be hearings in front of the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks. But if you’re continuing the fight against these fees, you’ll want to understand the ramifications of “winning” this one. Let’s work with Recology to make sure our constructive feedback is heard and that promised improvements are made. Reducing waste with our award winning recycling program and re-using the nutrients in our food waste and plant trimmings through a vibrant compost program is the height of efficiency and effective business practices.

Although Recology has enjoyed a monopoly over the city’s trash collection since 1932, San Francisco’s Democratic, Republican and Green parties all joined forces to defeat a proposition on last November’s ballot that would have changed the one-company arrangement. To have these opposing forces on the same side of a political tussle shows the deeply shared values of resource conservation held by residents of San Francisco. Consider visiting the Recology plant. Or at least read the company’s Website before deciding to oppose a rate increase, www.recologysf.com

Recology is employee-owned. They offer free toxic disposal for City residents to protect our water and land, free pick up of bulky items, and relentless sorting of our waste stream to pull out anything and everything that can be recycled and reused. You can also tour the sorting facility at Pier 96 where you may be shocked to see the grotesque plastic soup that we deem a necessary (or an out-of-sight, out-of-mind) byproduct of modern life. But at this plant you’ll see everything of value–from traditional materials to construction debris–being pulled out for re-use and recycling.

Remember –there is no place called “away” when we throw something away. It’s either buried in our land, burned into our air, or floating in our waterways. Recology helps to reduce this by pulling the value out of material again and again. For this environmental stewardship, let’s pay the modest increase and continue working closely with Recology as an active community.

From the President’s Corner

by Robert Gee

Spring is here and the days are getting longer. That means you’ll see me running and biking more often around the neighborhood. I have much to share with you this month.

MPIC’s Meeting with SFPD Chief Greg Suhr

There’s no doubt that violent crime in our city takes up valuable police resources. But the prevention and safety needs of neighborhoods like Miraloma Park that have lower crime rates still need and deserve police attention. MPIC Safety Committee Chair Karen Wood and I recently met with SFPD Chief Greg Suhr to discuss our neighborhood’s unique safety concerns, the importance of community policing, and MPIC’s successful collaborations with Ingleside Station officers. We shared with Chief Suhr many examples of safety related activities we’ve employed. Chief Suhr was very supportive of the needs of Miraloma Park.

It was only a year ago that, concerned over looming SFPD decreased staffing levels, we met with Chief Suhr to discuss how MPIC could help in seeking more resources for additional Police Academy classes. Chief Suhr said that he needed our support before the Police Commission, the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, and the Mayor. In response, MPIC strongly advocated for increased funding for additional Police Academy classes, because that would translate to more officers for the Ingleside Station. In the end, the Mayor signed a two-year budget that included additional Police Academy Classes.

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT)

MPIC Board Member Sue Kirkham and I just completed 6 hours of free NERT refresher training. We’re now re-certified for another 2 years! Kudos to the San Francisco Fire Department for their terrific, passionate, and enthusiastic instructors. The Miraloma Park/Mt Davidson NERT
Team has only 12 currently certified NERT responders but has over 100 previously certified NERTS. All it takes to get recertified is to attend NERT training sessions 5 and 6. You have to be a current certified NERT responder in order to be covered under the SF Fire Department’s before liability coverage. Yes, it’s tough these days with work and family demands to carve out 6 hours of valuable personal time to get recertified but it sure is worth it and feels great knowing I will be able to help my neighbors in time of disaster. www.sf-fire. org/index.aspx?page=879


Pedestrian Safety Hearing Held by District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee

On April 2, I gave public comment on behalf of the MPIC at the Pedestrian Safety Hearing chaired by Supervisor Norman Yee. My comments addressed the serious safety challenges posed by the traffic along Teresita Blvd and the need for SFMTA to complete the traffic calming project in which MPIC worked so hard to be included back in 2005! With Supervisor Yee’s help, SFMTA has now begun the process of re-evaluating the Teresita Blvd traffic calming project. Over the last month I am sure you have seen the traffic monitoring equipment that SFMTA has installed all along Teresita Blvd. The MPIC Traffic and Transportation Committee will be meeting with SFMTA at the end of May to hear SFMTA’s initial recommendations. MPIC and SFMTA will be hosting community meetings to get everyone’s input. Many thanks also go out to Captain Falvey and the Ingleside Station police officers for placing the mobile speed monitors along Teresita to remind all of us that the speed limit is 25 miles per hour!

Mt. Davidson

I surveyed Next Door Miraloma members to find out what they liked most about Miraloma Park. The number three reason was…. Mt. Davidson. Did you know there are two 2008 Park Bond projects approved for Mt. Davidson? One is a forestry hazard mitigation project and the second is a trail restoration project. The trail restoration project has been postponed to this summer or perhaps later. New San Francisco Recreation and Park Department staff was recently hired to implement these two projects. MPIC has offered to host the three required public meetings to get community input on what the trail restoration project will entail. We will make sure to publicize the meeting schedules. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Discussion of this topic may be found in the March, 2013 issue of Miraloma Life, www.miraloma miralomapark.org/miralomalife/miraloma-life-online-march-2013

MPIC Clubhouse Maintenance Day

I want to extend a big thank you to our MPIC board members who worked tirelessly at our recent Clubhouse Maintenance Day: Kathy Rawlins, Dan Liberthson, Cassandra Mettling-Davis, Gary Isaacson, Thad Sauvain, and Carl Schick. The Clubhouse, which was built back in 1940 and gifted to MPIC by Miraloma Park’s original developers, is a special jewel in our neighborhood, but it requires constant care. Curtains and valences were washed and cleaned, the parking lot weeds were removed and cracks repaired, all of the rubber chair tips were replaced, the coat closet was cleaned, inside windows were cleaned, light bulbs replaced, the storage closet cleaned and reorganized, kitchen countertops cleaned, and the exterior siding swept. MPIC can always use the extra help.

Miraloma Playground

The Miraloma Playground was recently rated a “D” in the 2012 San Francisco Parks Alliance Playground Report Card. Check out the full report at www.sfparksalliance.org/the-alliance/policy-planning/playgroundreport-card. The Report Card helps determine which playgrounds are in the worst condition and most in need of attention. There’s no doubt that Miraloma Playground needs some major improvement. MPIC wants to bring parents, grandparents, and community members together to explore options of how to organize, advocate, and fundraise to renovate the Miraloma Playground up to an “A” grade. Resources include the San Francisco Parks Alliance and the Recreation and Park Department’s Community Opportunity Fund program. If you are interested in being part of a “Friends of Miraloma Playground” group, please send us an email or voice message. It’s going to take a lot of dedicated Miraloma Park community members to bring the playground up to an “A” grade. Our kids will truly appreciate it!

(Miralomapark@gmail.com or 415. 281-0892)


Miraloma Park Improvement Club Election and Neighborhood Playdate

MPIC Clubhouse, 350 O’Shaughnessy Boulevard at Del Vale
June 20, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Meet your neighbors and MPIC Board members at the MPIC Clubhouse for the annual election of Directors and Officers and an ALL AGES Playdate. Board games, cards, and puzzles will be set up to be enjoyed by kids and adults. Snacks and beverages will be provided, and lively conversation will be encouraged in a meet your neighbor interview game. Voting begins at 7:00. Please join us!

Taxpayer Dollars At Work: A Chronic Offender

According to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, the SFPD recently arrested an individual considered by the police and DA to be a chronic offender. Why? He has been charged by the DA with 22—yes, 22—misdemeanor counts of the State Penal Code for failing to appear on his 22 citations. These citations span the last 12 months and are for offenses ranging from violations of civil sidewalks to open containers of alcohol. Most of the incidents occurred in the Haight/Golden Gate Park area.

The individual appeared in Department 17 before Judge Feng. The DA asked that the individual remain in custody so that he could be evaluated by the Department of Public Health and offered appropriate services. The defense objected and the Judge released the man on his own recognizance. He is now out of custody and has been ordered to appear on May 22, 2013 at 1:30 in Department 17. The DA will be there on the 22nd, and if he shows up, the DA will be ready to proceed with the case against him.

How shall we calculate the cost of the SFPD and DA staff hours expended in an effort to enforce existing laws to which some bench officers appear indifferent?

From the Safety Committee: Trust Your Instincts

If the pages of Miraloma Life have offered a single message over and over, it is that suspicious behavior should be reported to the SFPD. What sorts of behaviors are suspicious? Any that you think might be! Here are recent examples from the MPIC Message Board and NextDoor about behaviors that residents found suspicious. All of the following incidents are legitimate matters of concern that should have triggered a call to 553-0123. (Please do not call district stations—e.g., 404-4000 for Ingleside— because officers are dispatched from the central number, 554-0123, not from stations.)

A few years ago, a burglary ring consisting of several individuals began operating in Miraloma Park. Their door-to-door pitch was, as reported separately by at least four residents, “I’m from North Carolina, and I’m looking for some charity.” One alert resident called police who found the suspicious individual and checked his background, which turned out to include convictions in another state for attempted homicide and other felonies. Shortly thereafter, the home of the reporting resident was burglarized.

Sadly, the family’s dog was stolen and, being medically fragile, after being deprived of needed medication, was dropped off after hours at the SPCA and did not survive. Note: Many fine and responsible charitable organizations assist those in need, can be checked on Guidestar. com, and should receive support. Please do not give donations to people ringing doorbells.

Example 1. Two teenagers selling subscriptions to pay for their “school trip” and claiming to be known by or related to neighbors. The reporting resident tried “to get rid of them and fortunately the police drove by and saw them…the police came to the door shortly afterwards. They said one of them had an ID for Oklahoma, and the other one had no ID and wouldn’t verify his address. Shortly later a car full of young men was stopped in front of the house and the police questioned each of them for some time…the police asked us to let people know to beware of these incidents.”

Note: Teens soliciting for any cause could be exploited youth. They may even be coerced into casing activities. Appropriate school fundraising takes place nowadays within one’s own family and personal circle, NOT on the doorsteps of strangers. For the safety of the youth as well as residents, please report youth going door-to-door with sales or fundraising pitches to 553-0123.

Example 2. At night, a woman with a dog just trying doorknobs. She “tried our doorknob (at 10:20 PM), then… went to the next house, tied up her dog and tried that one, too…I saw her further down the block going up to another house. I called the non-emergency police number and they should be sending a car around. Meanwhile make sure that your front door is locked.”

Note: Good call, Resident! However, 911 could be called for crimes which are just about to happen, so a 911 call would also have been justified in this case.

Example 3. At 11:00 AM, a tall, young Caucasian male walking on Myra way seemed to be looking in foyers without gates. I am not calling police as he must just be walking but keep an eye out…

Note: If he’s just out for a walk, why is he looking into front porches? Again, let the cops check him out. Maybe he was just out for a walk, and if police officers contact him, no harm done. But if he was casing–what happens on the next block, where no one may be observing him, and a ready means of entry to a home presents itself?

Example 4. “My nanny had a white Caucasian man in a cap stopped his gray car and ask to see my 2 toddlers as they walked down the sidewalk. He told her “I just want to see them.” She knew enough to take their hands and cross the street…at Foerster and Teresita…she saw a police car following the car a short while later.”

Note: This is really dangerous, folks. The nanny should have left nothing to chance and should have called police. What about the next time this man tries to approach children? They might not be fortunate enough to get away in time.

Thank you for helping to keep Miraloma Park one of the City’s safest neighborhoods.

From District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee

Dear Miraloma Park Residents, It is no secret that I have made pedestrian safety a priority issue for my office. I called for a hearing on District 7 pedestrian safety issues at my first Board of Supervisor’s meeting in January of this year. Since then, I have realized how important it is to take this issue head on, as four of the six pedestrian fatalities that occurred this year took place in District 7.

My office has worked with the various City departments involved with improving pedestrian safety to prepare for this hearing. These departments include San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority, Department of Public Works, Department of Public Health, San Francisco Police Department, City Planning and the San Francisco
Transportation Authority. We wanted the hearing to be meaningful and thorough, so my office made sure we had enough time to reach out to the residents to give their perspectives.

The attendees at the hearing on April 4 heard the departments describe what they are currently doing to improve pedestrian safety. They also shared data that is used to prioritize projects, and the different strategies that they use to keep people safer. However, I did not want to limit the hearing to our City departments as I realized that the consolidated data would miss other pedestrian safety issues in the district. As it turned out, our outreach effort paid dividends to this hearing as over 30 individuals provided very thoughtful testimonies. In addition to these testimonies we have received countless number of emails articulating the concerns of other individuals.

We plan to take all this information to create a comprehensive report that will include possible strategies, current projects utilizing these strategies, and will list potential projects now being considered in a prioritized list. Furthermore, this report will also list other projects the City should consider. This report will make these decisions more transparent to the public. In wanting to allow the right amount of flexibility we want this list of priorities to be modified as needs in the district change.


NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Tuesday, August 6

Tuesday, August 6 from 5 pm to 8 pm

Ingleside Police and Miraloma Improvement Club present a sumptuous barbeque, Demos of police equine, K-9, motorcycles, car squads, safety organizations, community
groups, fabulous entertainment, and gifts.

Come meet your police officers, City politicians and one another. The Mayor, DA, Supervisors, and City Department Heads have been invited.


Home Security

Home Security

by Gary Noguera

While Miraloma Park remains one of San Francisco’s safest areas, we still need to be proactive about preventing crime, in particular, home burglary.

I recently saw a program on ABC news that was based on an interview with an actual ex-thief. One of the ABC employees gave permission to allow him to break into
the employee’s house while a camera team followed him so we could see how a pro works.

First, professionals “case “the neighborhood for easy targets. They look for obvious signals that a particular house is not occupied. For instance, mailboxes overflowing with mail, or porch lights that are on during the day. Once they pick a site to hit, they act fearlessly and quickly. They act as if they belong there. They often enter from the rear, looking for unlocked windows or doors. Here are some important points to be aware of:

• The number 1 and 2 reasons a pro will hesitate to strike are a “beware of dog” sign up, or an alarm system that is being monitored, such as ADT etc. You should have signage up outside showing that you have an alarm if you have one.

• They will still strike a target that has an alarm system, if they can see that it is not turned on. So ALWAYS turn on your system when you leave your house, even if leaving for a few minutes. It took the burglar in the video less than 15 minutes to clean out the valuables and leave! If you don’t have a monitored alarm system consider getting one, of course weighing the benefits vs. costs. They particularly hate alarm systems with video cameras. They know that newer systems with mini cams can be accessed remotely via the internet, and that their image will be captured by such systems.

• Never leave windows or doors unlocked, even at night. Rear windows and doors are very vulnerable. • Outsmart the thief by anticipating what he will do. For instance, the first place they go is the master bedroom. They start with the top dresser drawer looking for jewelry or cash. If you have such valuables, store them elsewhere such as in a kitchen cupboard, child’s bedroom closet etc. If there is a ladies dressing/ makeup table, that is the second place they likely go looking for jewelry.

• Another major target is of course electronic devices. The burglar said that he never takes e-tablets, ebook readers, smart phones etc. if the charger units are not nearby or plugged in. Not having the chargers with the device makes it much more difficult to sell electronic items to a “fence”.

• Don’t leave ladders in your yard. You would be helping the thief get to an upper window or even the roof where they can break through skylights.

• Don’t hide a key under the doormat, in mailbox etc.

• If there are door hinges on the outside of your house, take down the door and reset the hinges inside. Otherwise all a thief has to do to gain entry to your home is knock out the hinge pin.

• You can burglar-“proof” your glass patio doors by setting a pipe or metal bar in the middle bottom track of the door slide. The pipe should be the same length as the track.

• Don’t “advertise” when you are planning to be away. For instance, on social media sites such as Facebook don’t publically post “we are going on vacation July 1 until Aug 1”.

• Keep garage doors closed at all times. Even when you’re home, it’s important to safeguard your belongings and your family. By keeping garage doors closed, it prohibits intruders from gaining access to a door or staircase that leads directly into your home.

• Finally, if someone does gain entry. DO NOT confront the intruder. Give them what they want. After all, they are taking “things” that can be replaced. You and your family cannot be.

For All You Tiger Parents Out There

By Stephanie Gee

Living in Miraloma Park my entire life, I’ve noticed one trend that seems to be on the rise: the number of families with elementary school kids moving into the neighborhood. This speaks multitudes about the nurturing environment of Miraloma as a community. As parents of ten and twelve year olds, high school may seem like a millennium away, and college may feel like a distant galaxy in Star Trek. But, I also have a feeling there’s one parent out there who secretly wants to know what it’s going to take for little Sally to gain admission to some of the more selective colleges and universities in the country. So tiger mom or dad, this one’s for you. As a second semester high school senior, it feels as though I have one foot on the path to university and one foot wedged into the secure confines of the neighborhood I grew up in. To quell all of your anxious minds now, no, I’m not going to Stanford or Harvard. In fact, I didn’t get in. But, I can look back retrospectively and give you insight into a confusing process that has many helicopter parents wondering: what’s my kid supposed to do?

First off, one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is admissions is a match to be made not a prize to be won. This may seem like total garbage to you now, as living in a ‘privileged’ neighborhood, most of the kids want to go to ‘The Ivies’ or some sort of equivalent. But what I’ve found out is that after leaving space for legacies and sports recruits among other ‘subjective factors’, there isn’t really that much space for the rest of us. Granted, if you’re kid has played at Carnegie Hall at age ten or is an Intel Scholar, then welcome to (insert name of school here). However, for the 95% of us that aren’t, read on.

Lesson number one: do well on the SAT, but don’t expect it to be a ticket into the college of your choice. I’ve learned that the SAT is simply a filter. The higher you get on the College Board’s numerical scale, the more the holes of the colander open up for you. If you tiger parents are reading the U.S. news and world ranking reports, then a 2100 and above will get you past the first hurdle. Lesson number two: Know why you (the student not the parent) want to go to the school. And no, because ‘I heard it was really awesome’ or ‘My mom went there’ don’t count. Sometimes rankings are deceiving, and I highly encourage visiting all potential schools either the spring of junior year or the summer going into senior year.

Lesson number three: Colleges like commitment. Not one year of jazz band followed by two months of ballet class in the tenth grade to fill a resume. They see right through it.

Lesson number four: Have leadership positions. There is a specific place on the Common Application for leadership, whether it be Student Body President or Captain of Varsity Volleyball.

The last lesson: Wherever your kid ends up going to college, don’t compare them to Suzie or Jonny in their senior class. Everyone got into a certain university for a reason, and sometimes it is meant to be.

Although I’m not a college counselor, sometimes living through the process is more honest [and useful] than getting training on how to train people through the process. I’ve survived to tell the tale, and while at UCLA next year, will be thinking of all you Miraloma tiger moms and dads holding down the fort. But remember, it’s your kids, not you, that eventually will leave the ‘nest’ and go far in life! So make sure not to hold too tightly onto the reins

Condensed Minutes of the MPIC Board Meeting, May 2, 2013

Motion: Co-sponsor with SFFD/NERT a family disaster preparedness workshop to be held at Cornerstone Trinity Baptist Church (formerly Miraloma Community Church,
580 Teresita). M/S/P.

Motion: Allow Save Sutro Forest and SFForest Alliance use of the Clubhouse 4/23/13. M/S/P.

Motion: Allocate up to $1,500 to refinish damaged Clubhouse stage lip. M/S/P.

Motion: Allocate up to $3,884 to refinish Clubhouse floor (foyer and main room). M/S/P.

Treasurer’s Report: forthcoming due to technical issues.

Guest Presentation: Representative of the Jewish Home of San Francisco, a skilled nursing facility with a high percentage (95%) of indigent patients, discussing AB 97 Medi-Cal funding cuts and requesting community support of AB 900 and SB 640 to restore critical funding to high-risk patient care. [For more information: www.caringisourcalling.org.]

Correspondence: a new MPIC member commends the Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines for helping to maintain the architectural integrity of the neighborhood.

Event Committee: June 20, 2013 MPIC Election and Play-Date [see notice on Page 1]. August 6: SFPD sponsored Neighborhood National Night Out hosted by MPIC at the Clubhouse.

Motion: host 2013 National Night Out: M/S/P. September 21: Fall Fiesta catered by La Corneta in Glen
Park .

Safety Committee: present at District 7 community meeting with District Attorney George Gascón to discuss prosecutorial challenges in our area. Meeting with SFPD Chief Greg Suhr to discuss key community policing issues for Miraloma Park.

NERT: More than 100 Miraloma Park/Mt.Davidson residents have been trained by NERT, but only 10 are currently active. All MPIC Board and general membership need to be trained and certified.

Streets and Transportation: information about traffic calming forthcoming from SFMTA; meeting of SFMTA staff and Streets and Transportation Committee planned.

Nominating Committee: 2013-2014 Slate: Karen Breslin, Shannon Chu, Daniel Homsey (new member), Kathy Rawlins, Joanne Whitney.

Motion: post MPIC By-Laws on miralomapark.org.

Mt. Davidson: Jacquie Proctor will lead District 7 Supervisor Yee on a tour of the Mountain, 5/15.

Delegate Reports: submitted online. [Visit www.csfn.net for information about activities of the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods and for those of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council www.westoftwinpeaks.org.]

Old Business: Reminder that the Burlwood Block Party takes place May 4.

Motion: decline with thanks the Revive SF offer to replace Clubhouse curtains. M/S/P.