Miraloma Life Online – November 2013

  • PDF Version – November Miraloma Life
  • MPIC Holiday Party and Pot-Luck Cook-Off on December 8
  • MPIC Moves Forward with the Advanced Community Disaster Resilience Program
  • Karaoke, Anyone (or Everyone)?
  • Summary of MPIC Board Meeting of October 3, 2013
  • What’s Growing in our Backyards?
  • Scam Alert
  • Miraloma Community Beautification
  • To Err is Human; To Really Foul Things Up Requires a Computer…
  • How to be a Responsible Neighbor
  • Mice in Winter

MPIC Holiday Party and Pot-Luck Cook-Off on December 8

by Dan Liberthson

It’s time to fire up the oven and get out your favorite recipe to prepare for the MPIC Holiday Party and Cook-Off. This has always been the highlight of the year, as neighbors join together to share the warmth of the fire, the tastes of many wonderful dishes, the merriment and entertainment, and the festive atmosphere and decorations in our newly renovated Clubhouse.

Link to Holiday Party flyer

This is a great way for those new to the neighborhood to meet their neighbors, and for those who have lived here for years to renew old acquaintance, all the while sampling culinary delights and fine Holiday entertainment. This is one event you do not want to miss! All Miraloma Park residents and business owners are invited to the premiere event of the MPIC calendar.

Date: Sunday, December 8

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

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

Feast: The MPIC will provide meats (usually ham, turkey and/or chicken, and roast beef) and drinks (wine, softdrinks, coffee/tea, and the locally famous Champagne Punch). But the real stars of the show will be the potluck specials brought by you, our neighbors and guests. Because the centerpiece of all the fun and the object of the Pot-Luck Cook-off Contest is to taste each other’s fine creations, admission will be free to those who bring a dish to share that will feed at least 6 people. One family can bring one dish, but if you are a large family please bring correspondingly more. The more you bring, the more people can sample your dish, and the better your chances to win one of the excellent prizes donated by our local merchants.

The Holiday Pot Luck has had an international flavor in past years, with such favorites as Taco Mix, Stilton Cheese, Moroccan Pasta, Chicken Mogul, and a host of other treats. Categories include Appetizers/ soups/salads, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, and Desserts.

Guests who do not bring a dish to feed at least six people will be asked to pay $10 for each person in their party over age 7 to help defray costs. If you have any questions, please phone 281-0892 and leave a message. Please come, show off your best culinary skills, and share this celebration of the Holiday season with your friends and neighbors. And be sure to bring the kids, who will love Boswick the Clown (formerly of Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey circus) and his fantastic and funny acts and balloon creations.


MPIC Moves Forward with the Advanced Community Disaster Resilience Program

by Daniel Homsey*

As a fourth generation San Franciscan, I’ve lived in neighborhoods all over the City. While all of them were great and provided truly one-of-a-kind experiences, Miraloma Park is turning out to be my favorite. Our neighborhood is a tight-knit community of people who go out of their way to make each other feel connected and welcome.

When we need a hand with carrying a new mattress into the house or a cup of chocolate chips for a last minute batch of cookies, we can count on a neighbor to step up. These relationships are valuable when you need help, but they can be life-savers when the unexpected happens. All of us can remember that call from a neighbor to let you know you’ve left your garage door open or that they could really use your help watching their kids while they go with their wife to the hospital to get her checked out. It’s these times when you realize why Miraloma Park is a great place to call home.

The truth is that we can count on more times of stress in the years to come, not only as individuals and families but as a community. The looming threat of another big earthquake is always in the back of everyone’s mind, and we can’t forget images of residents struggling for services in the days after hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. The good news is that Miraloma Park is the kind of neighborhood that looks ahead and makes the right investments to ensure that, no matter what happens, we’ll come together and make things work for everyone.

The Miraloma Park Improvement Club dedicated most of its October Board Meeting to learning about the ground-breaking work that the Diamond Heights neighborhood is doing to increase its disaster resilience. Betsy Eddy of the Diamond Heights Community Association shared with the attendees her neighborhood’s partnership with the City’s Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN) to put in place the resources, plans, and capacity, so that when a large event happens, the community will be ready to support its residents, especially the most vulnerable.

The program is called the Resilient Diamond Heights Project. By writing a localized response plan, creating a neighborhood support center with a cache of supplies, and building a partnership with the Diamond Heights Shopping Center and its major tenants, Diamond Heights is doing smart things now that will make a difference should the unthinkable happen. After Betsy’s presentation, MPIC Board members shared their own experiences with both large and small disasters and ultimately determined that Miraloma Park should follow in its sister neighborhood’s footsteps and create its own resilience action plan.

We recognize that in the event of a major disaster, our residents will be impacted for a long time. We will be challenged to provide our immediate neighbors with a new level of physical, emotional, and financial support in the days, weeks, and months after a catastrophe. So in the coming months, the full Board will scope out the plan-development process, with the goal of bringing the conversation to the entire Miraloma Park community.

This disaster resilience plan will be owned by the entire community and can only be successfully implemented if the entire community gets involved. Throughout the entire process, we will build community, enhance trust and cooperation between neighbors and our other stakeholders, and get neighbors to know and work with each other.

There are three major steps to achieving a successful resiliency plan for Miraloma Park:
1. Assess our community and generate community involvement by:

  • holding community-wide meetings to solicit input on likely threats and impacts to our neighborhood from a disaster.
  • inventorying neighborhood assets, resources, and networks.
  • assessing our neighborhood’s health needs, including water, food, medicine, physical and mental health, and shelter.
  • assessing our neighborhood’s education, economic, utilities, public safety, social, cultural, disaster preparation and environmental goals.
  • involving all key neighborhood stakeholders, such as MPIC, the elementary and high schools, Portola merchants, parks, churches, Laguna Honda hospital, the neighborhood emergency response team (NERT), and neighborhood watch groups.

2. Establish goals and vision:

  • After a comprehensive assessment, we’ll create working groups and a governance committee.
  • We will seek many volunteers for the different working groups.
  • We will establish and prioritize goals by key functional areas, such as education, health, economy, utilities, public safety, social/cultural needs, disaster preparation, and environmental concerns.
  • We will develop a vision statement for Miraloma Park’s performance in times of stress.

3. Create a comprehensive action plan, governance model, and implementation strategy:

  • We will take each working group’s data and merge it into one action plan.
  • We will create a governance model to implement the plan so that, when a large or small disaster strikes, the entire community will respond in a coordinated fashion to the immediate and long term needs of our residents.

I’m honored to serve on the MPIC Board and see firsthand the important work that it does every day to help
this neighborhood maintain its high quality of life. This effort will strengthen our community and make the next knock on the door for a cup of chocolate chips another chance to remind people that we’re all in this together, one cookie at a time.

For more information about the NEN and Resilient Diamond Heights, visit

*Daniel Homsey is a member of the MPIC Board and is Director of Neighborhood Resilience for the City and
County of San Francisco


Karaoke, Anyone (or Everyone)?

by Robert Gee

It turns out there are dozens of budding songsters in Miraloma Park. Autumn got off to a musical start in our neighborhood with a fun-filled Fall Fiesta on September 21, sponsored by the MPIC. Over seventy neighbors, young and old, attended the event to eat, drink, laugh, and demonstrate their Karaoke skills with classic songs ranging from “I Will Survive” to “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” On page 9 below, check out the featured singers captured in full throat and the esteemed listeners caught in full “ear” by the ubiquitous MPIC candid camera.

Karoke1

Karoke2

The Glen Park Tacqueria “La Corneta” provided the delicious food for the party, which brought many new faces to the MPIC Clubhouse. We hope everyone had the chance to meet a new neighbor and we thank our Miraloma Park neighbors for the wonderful turn out.


Summary of MPIC Board Meeting of October 3, 2013

by Dan Liberthson and Carl Schick

Presentations: D Homsey reviewed the Advanced Community Disaster Resilience Program (ACDRP), previously
discussed by the Safety Committee. Board members discussed personal experiences re disasters. Betsy Eddy described how Diamond Heights Community Association has adopted a neighborhood ACDRP to inform residents of what to do during and after emergencies such as earthquake, fire or other natural disaster, to empower residents to work together in such situations, and thus to create a real sense of community. D Homsey proposed that the MPIC initiate a similar program and described implementation and timeframes. His motion that the MPIC will actively support implementation of the ACDRP in our neighborhood was unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): In September, MPIC’s net worth decreased by $1381 since August, to $29,367. The reserve total remained $15,342. Rental income fell to $2340 in September, vs $3725 in August. We are being more selective in whom we rent to due to comments from neighbors after several noisy parties during the last few months. We received $280.52 in membership dues in September, paid a landscaping bill for $1600 for 4 months, and spent $1291 on the Fall Fiesta.

Committees: Membership (R Gee)—Membership fell from 529 members on 8/31 to 514 on 9/30 due to expiring
memberships in September. We will be preparing approximately 53 membership reminder letters for delivery.
Motion to incur up to $750 to purchase 3000 membership remit envelopes was approved. Events (S Chu)—
Motion for a budget of up to $2000 for the Holiday Party scheduled for Dec 8 approved. Clubhouse Maintenance (K Rawlins)—Motion approved to sign a cleaning contract with Maintenance Systems Management that includes one monthly cleaning @ $135 a month with the option of a $95 per event cleaning. Contract includes a list of 40 tasks to be performed monthly and tasks to perform for per-event cleaning. Motion passed that MPIC enter into a rental addendum with Revive SF to install at their cost an overhead projector that will become a permanent part of the MPIC Clubhouse.

Community Organizations: Coalition for SF Neighborhoods (CSFN, 9/17, K Breslin)—CSFN passed a resolution
urging the northern CA congressional delegation to advocate for bundling proposed expansions of the northern northern CA National Marine Sanctuaries with the creation of the Greater SF Bay National Monument and Recreation Area and a resolution urging elected officials, SFMTA, SFCTA, and MTC, to rescind and withdraw their approval and support of the current Masonic Ave. redesign plan and adopt an alternative plan that maintains flow of traffic, establishes a better, alternate bicycle route on nearby streets, and installs pedestrian safety improvements.

Presentation and discussion re SF Coalition for Undergrounding Utilities (SFCUU).

Old Business: Motion passed that MPIC write a letter to Mayor Lee and cc Supervisor Yee, Senator Feinstein, House Minority Leader Pelosi (12th District) and SF Recreation and Parks (SFRPD) expressing concern about lack of transparency and communication with impacted residents by SFRPD in unilaterally designating 3.2 acres of private property below Marietta Drive as critical habitat for the endangered manzanita. Motion tabled to write a letter urging removal of certain Mt. Davidson areas from the Natural Areas Program (SNRAMP) and return of these areas to regular City park recreational and maintenance status under the supervision of the SFRPD forestry division, as intended by the Park’s creators. MPIC would have no objection to the non-forested areas of Mt. Davidson Park (Management Areas MA-1a, MA- 1b, MA-2a, MA-2b, and MA-2d) remaining designated Natural Areas subject to the SNRAMP.

New Business: R Gee invited by Supervisor Yee’s staff to serve on the District 7 Neighborhood Council.


What’s Growing in our Backyards?

by Denise Louie

Perhaps you’ve heard that our generation is witnessing species extinction rates exceeding rates going back 550 million years in Earth’s history? Why should we care? Because we live in a biodiversity hotspot (many diverse species, some live only in California, and many are at risk of extinction due to human impacts), and because there are things each of us can do to preserve habitat and plant and animal species.

Along these lines, it is a goal of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC) to promote community involvement and preservation of gardens and parklands on Mt. Davidson and in Glen Park, including preservation of Mt. Davidson Park (40 acres mostly in Miraloma Park). In order to meet this goal, volunteers from our community may join the Natural Areas Program on the first Saturday of every month at the #36 Muni bus turnaround on Myra Way. The group walks into the park and off the trail at 10 am, so it’s best to be prompt and walk in with the group. Habitat restoration activities end before 12:30, in time for refreshments. Or, join the group in Glen Canyon, which meets on the third Saturday of each month from 9 am to noon. For more information, visit sfnaturalareas.org, call 415-831-6332, or email recparkvolunteer@sfgov.org.

Threats to plant and animal communities include (1) habitat destruction and fragmentation (including building of homes and roads), (2) introduction of non-native, invasive species (which outcompete native species, alter soil chemistry, and more) and (3) global climate disruption (which causes species to go extinct when they cannot move to more favorable locations). So I urge all Miraloma Park residents to support our native species by planting local native plants, removing/avoiding invasive plants (Say “No invasives” to your landscaper), and reducing activities that consume natural resources or contribute to global warming.

In SF, the six worst weeds are French broom (discussed in the September newsletter), ivy, Himalayan blackberry, erhardta grass, jubata grass, wild radish, and oxalis. Ivy, whether it’s German or English, is best when it’s in your green bin, not least because thick ivy harbors rats. You can see photos of these common weeds at the website of the SF Weed Management Area, www.sfwma.org. If these plants appear in your backyard, remove them to your green bin, and keep after them! You’ll recognize oxalis by its leaves, which resemble three-leaf clover.

Try to remove its korm (a stem’s bulb) and roots, or try to not let it grow at all. I use a gardening knife, or hori hori, to remove as much of it as I can as soon as I see it pop up, to stop it from growing more korms. Thank goodness they go dormant during the summer.

Eradication of oxalis takes a couple of wet seasons, but it can be done without using chemicals; just be persistent. An alternative method, where suitable, is to cover the soil with overlapping corrugated cardboard or layers of newspaper five sheets thick to deprive weeds of sunlight. Use mulch or rocks to hold the cardboard or newspaper in place. Avoid weed cloth, as it is not biodegradable, not environmentally friendly, and not a guarantee against weeds. In general, none of your neighbors wants your weeds to spread beyond your yard, so please keep your weeds from going to seed. Oxalis spreads by seed, too.

Two native plants not to be confused with invasive plants are wild cucumber and native blackberry. Wild cucumber may be mistaken for ivy, except that wild cucumber has cute, curly tendrils. Wild cucumber may pop up in your garden after you remove weeds because it has a very large root and is a survivor. Native blackberry has fine thorns, not large thorns like its non-native relative. Having removed unwanted plants, you’ll probably wonder what will hold the soil. Native plants will. Choose from native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees by calling Ellen Edelson at 415-531-2140. Ellen is our local California Native Plant Society plant coordinator and a garden designer. The best time to plant is the Fall, so let’s get to it!


Scam Alert

San Francisco police are alerting the public to a telephone scam demanding payment for what are represented as overdue loan debts, and another telephone scam requesting payment for traffic tickets supposedly issued by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). In these calls, often the caller ID is that of the SFPD, showing a legitimate police department number.

In the unpaid loan scam, the caller identifies himself as a police officer, stating that he is acting on behalf of “Mark Rothman & Associates.” To prevent criminal proceedings or a bench warrant being issued, the caller demands an “interim payment.” The caller instructs the victim to purchase a $500 Green Dot MoneyPak or Vanilla Gift card or similar cash-load card as payment and to call a specific number once this is done. Once the victim has purchased the card and called the number, the victim is instructed to give the card information, and a phony proof-of-payment e-mail is sent. Once that information is given, all the money on the card is fraudulently used.

In the unpaid traffic ticket scam, the caller claims to be from the SFPD, may even fraudulently use the name of an SF police officer, and states that $154 or more is due on unpaid traffic tickets and that a bench warrant will be issued unless payment is received. Payment is demanded through a similar cash-load card process and, again, the money on the card is used.

These fraudulent contacts may also be done through email or pre-recorded calls.

As a matter of policy, SFPD never contacts citizens for payment under any circumstances, including for outstanding traffic citations or for any civil debt. Citizens are urged not to comply with such requests, and to report such calls to the police. Green Dot MoneyPak cards and similar cash-load cards have recently been the focus of scam artists throughout the country. Citizens should never provide the card number and security clearance codes to a caller or in response to an e-mail.


Ruth ASAWA SF School of the Arts (SOTA): Check out the Fall Offerings

Miraloma Park residents are fortunate to live next to the School of the Arts at Portola and O’Shaughnessy. I recently had the opportunity to attend a celebration of the life of Ruth Asawa, the amazing artist and founder of the school who recently died, and watch a heartfelt tribute to her. As always, I was astonished by the skills of these very talented students, trained and directed by gifted staff and visiting artists. To read an eloquent tribute to Ruth Asawa by Nancy Pelosi, which is recorded in the Congressional Record, visit http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2013-09-06/pdf/CREC-2013-09-06-pt1-PgE1249-4.pdf#page=1.

During this 2013–2014 school year, SOTA’s Vocal Department, under Director Todd Wedge, has been invited
to sing at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the dream of all musicians! The Tour offers our students an opportunity for a life changing experience, and a chance to grow as artists and young adults. They will perform the world premiere of a new piece written by renowned UK choral composer Karl Jenkins, working with the composer himself. Months of tour rehearsal and preparation culminate in several magical days of several public performances, master classes, youth choral exchanges and immersion in the local history and culture of New York City. The students will serve as shining examples of artistic accomplishment in the public schools of SF to New York audiences.

You can help the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts Vocal Department Get to Carnegie Hall!

The group has raised $32,000 of the $55,000 needed for all choral students to attend, and is asking the public to donate so that every student can participate, regardless of family income. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation (write “Vocal Tour Donation” in the subject line) at http://sfsota.org/sotaDonate.cfm.

Another way to help, and enjoy, would be to attend a Fall concert! Visit the website at www.sfsota.org/sota.cfm for upcoming events, all very reasonably priced and conveniently located for Miralomans.


Miraloma Community Beautification

Cornerstone Trinity Baptist Church would like to give a heartfelt thank-you to the Miraloma Community for your warm welcome to the neighborhood. Our congregation has thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our neighbors. In gratitude and also in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we will host a Miraloma Community Beautification Event on Saturday, November 23, 2013, from 2 to 5 pm. We would like to be active members in building the community by offering the following clean-up services for your homes: sweeping the exterior of your house, pulling weeds, and/ or mowing the front lawn. Unfortunately, we are not able to extend any services for the backyard or the interior of your home.

There will be no cost for the service; however, we ask that you provide garbage bags and the equipment for lawn services, and compost any garbage and yard waste.

If you are interested in participating in this event, you may contact us via email or through Signup Genius. Either email us at info@cornerstonetrinity.org, providing your name, address, and a list of the clean-up services requested OR use the following link http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F4BABA62EA46-thanksgiving/12454237 and list your clean up service requests in the comments section.

We will try our best to accommodate your requests. If it rains, we will make future arrangements to fulfill these requests. We encourage you to sign up soon, as we currently only have 30 service spots available. A confirmation by telephone or email will be given 3 to 5 days prior to the event. Please feel free to call us at (415)-566-5756 with any questions or concerns.


To Err is Human; To Really Foul Things Up Requires a Computer…

In our September issue we printed “A Place to Learn” by our longtime Miraloma Life delivery person, Cailin Hong. Unfortunately, an overzealous spell check program turned Cailin into the more common Caitlin. We regret the error and we wish Cailin the very best at Princeton, where she has now begun her freshman year.


How to be a Responsible Neighbor*

With Daylight Savings ending Nov. 3rd, The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has introduced a useful way to report broken/flickering streetlights. Keeping the streets lit at night, especially with Daylight Savings time ending soon, can increase visibility and help to reduce crime. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has unveiled a new Smartphone application that allows cell phone users to report burned out and broken street lights anywhere in SF using their own phone. The new application, called StreetLightsSF, lets the user pinpoint the locations of faulty streetlights by “dragging-and-dropping” a locating pin on a map and sending the information to 311. The app also allows the user to track the status of repair efforts and streamlines the process for reporting malfunctioning streetlights to the agency that is responsible for their repair and maintenance (the majority of non-City-owned streetlights are owned, maintained, and operated by PG&E). The Street-LightsSF application is compatible with iOS and Android smart phones and can be downloaded from the Apple and Android stores and also at sfwater.org (go to “Customer Service” and then select “Report a Problem”).

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


Mice in Winter

Nesting in our picnic basket you ate forgotten peanuts
left over from some baseball game, with brood of four swaddled
in the hall closet, snug among Ace wraps and tampon shreds,
cloistered beneath coats with pockets tracelessly pillaged for tidbits.
Like an undiscovered pygmy tribe you lived your tiny secret lives
in a parallel and happy dimension, until a foolish kit rustling shells
alerted the keen-eared housewife. Then your peace was torn away.

Dark and startling, you popped up twelve times your height and shot about
like hummingbirds cross-bred with roaches, motoring among the hill-high dancing feet
and lunging cookpots improvised to traps whose atonal clang celebrated your escape.
Soundlessly you pivoted and sparked, then shot away faster than sight,
taking the germs you were to spread, leaving the urinous odor of your lives
and sad departure settled on the walls. However inspiring your flight,
home was lost, and outside, cold night.

©2010 by Dan Liberthson;
Illustrations by Cassandra Mettling-
Davis; from the book Animal Songs
(visit www.liberthson.com)