Miraloma Life Online – October 2012

  • PDF Version – Oct Miraloma Life
  • Fall Literary Festival at the Clubhouse
  • Show Your Fall Colors Attended by Pizza-Loving Horde
  • Potential Changes to Mt. Davidson Park
  • Coyote Safety Advisory
  • Something to Keep an Eye On: The San Francisco Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP)
  • From the Safety Committee: Recent Burglaries and a Multiple Choice
  • Go Native!
  • The MPIC’s Zoning and Planning Committee: What Does It Do?
  • An Afternoon with Dan Liberthson: Poems to Make You Laugh, Cry, and Dance
  • Summary of MPIC Board Meeting on September 6, 2012


Fall Literary Festival at the Clubhouse

On Sunday, October 28, from 3 to 5:30 pm, the MPIC is sponsoring readings by creative writers of fiction, poetry, essays, and drama. Writers from Miraloma Park and adjacent neighborhoods are invited to attend and read from their work, w hich may also be shown and sold at the gathering. Each writer will have 10 to 15 minutes to read, depending on how many writers attend. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be a 15-minute break midway through the event so that readers and their audience can get to know one another. Everyone is invited to while away the afternoon listening to our gifted local bards and writers.


Show Your Fall Colors Attended by Pizza-Loving Horde

by Dan Liberthson

Nearly 100 people attended the MPIC’s Show Your Fall Colors event on September 15, many wearing their favorite team jersey or logo. Kids flew around the bounce house like popcorn, while parents enjoyed draft beer, wine, or soft drinks and scarfed down pizza by the carload. We want to thank the new Whole Foods store at 1150 Ocean Avenue (near Phelan) for their generous donation in support of the festivities.


Potential Changes to Mt. Davidson Park

by Jacquie Proctor

Forestry Inspection/Tree Removal
The 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond allocated $4 million to a Park Forestry Program to assess the condition and health of the City’s urban forest. The program includes inspection of trees along the public boundaries of the City’s Natural Areas. Additional forestry inspections will be done on Mt. Davidson for the upcoming $500,000 trail restoration project, with potential removal of trees within 50 feet of each side of existing and new trails. Another 1600 healthy trees over 6 inches in diameter are planned for removal to implement the Natural Areas Program Plan if the Environmental Impact Report (to be released this fall) approves the project.

Hort Science is doing evaluations and recently inspected 78 trees on the perimeter of Mt. Davidson Park along Myra, Molimo, Juanita, and Dalewood. Supervisor Elsbernd kindly helped the MPIC obtain a copy of the report. The trees they surveyed are identified with a numbered metal tag about the size of a quarter. The arborist recommends 11 of the 78 trees surveyed for removal: #7 Myra at Hillcrest, #17 oppos. 252 Juanita, #27 oppos. 278 Juanita,# 36 oppos. 181 Dalewood, #42 oppos. 157 Dalewood, #45, 46, 47 oppos. 149 Dalewood, #53 oppos. 117 Dalewood, #70, 71 oppos. 45 Dalewood.

While everyone agrees that hazardous trees should be pruned or removed if necessary for public safety, one of the criteria for risk determination is “suitability for preservation for sites planned for development, including ability to adapt to new environment and perform well in landscape; [and] to tolerate impacts such as root injury, demolition …; blue gum and cypress are sensitive to construction impacts …; old trees have limited capacity to adjust to altered environment.” Since no development is planned along the perimeter of the Park and no site changes are proposed, this part of the risk rating seems primarily based on the trees being non-native species and an assumption that they therefore displace indigenous species—even though these trees are all in the MA-3 zone—an area designated to remain forest in the Significant Natural Resource Management Plan for Mt. Davidson Park.

The MPIC Board has asked for Supervisor Elsbernd’s assistance in notifying the Club of any changes to this or future assessments conducted for the Park, as well as complete removal of the 11 trees in the Park to be cut down (i.e., no stumps or debris left), and replacement of these trees one-for-one with M onterey Cypress in Mt. Davidson Park within one year of removal.

Potential Trail Closure
Local environmental activists petitioned the Federal Government to designate the Franciscan Manzanita an endangered species (a single specimen of which was recently discovered in the Doyle Drive re-construction project) and to include Mt. Davidson Park as part of a 380-acre critical habitat in San Francisco. The controversy over closing the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica suggests what may be in store for our neighborhood park if this designation is approved. Whether an endangered species is found at a location or brought there, an area will be closed to public access. The area is vaguely described as 12 acres on the eastern slope of Mt. Davidson near Myra Way and Molimo Drive. A detailed map has been requested. At least two popular trails that cross through this part of the Park would likely be closed if this petition is approved. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is “looking for specific information related to the amount and distribution of historic habitat and the range of the plant, probable economic impacts of designating critical habitat, and whether the Service should or should not designate critical habitat for the plant.”

Comments will be accepted until November 5, 2012, and may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket Number FWS–R8–ES–2012–0067) or by US mail to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2012–0067, Division of Policy and Directives Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203. The MPIC Board will discuss sending a comment letter as to the potential recreational impacts of this decision at its October board meeting. If you have any comments to include in this letter, please email miralomapark@gmail.org. For an article about public access restrictions associated with endangered species planting, please visit http://milliontrees.me/2011/06/22/fortress-conservation-the-loss-of-recreational-access/

Although the article is about restricted access associated with endangered animals rather than plants, it may provide a hint of what could happen on Mt. Davidson.


Coyote Safety Advisory

From the SF Animal Care & Control (SF AC&C) Website

San Franciscans do not seem to be getting the message about how to coexist peacefully with local wildlife. San Francisco AC&C has been notified about individuals who still allow their dogs illegally off-leash in active coyote areas despite education, posters, flyers, signs and barriers all warning dog owners to abide by the law and keep their dogs on-leash or, better yet, avoid the marked areas entirely. These irresponsible individuals are putting themselves, their dogs, and the coyotes and their pups at great risk. Accordingly, after seeking expert advice and in collaboration with the SF Recreation and Park Department, SF AC&C suggested closure of locations in Golden Gate Park where coyotes appear to be anxiously protecting dens.

San Franciscans share natural places with a variety of wildlife, including coyotes. Temporary park closures are for the comfort and safety of people, pets and wildlife during breeding season. Birthing and pup rearing has the local coyotes feeling hormonally more protective, which may result in more assertive behavior, as evident in the video of dog-coyote interaction at this site: May 2, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9vmpgzF8sU&list=UUtZ-dJ3bfs61GpS-9-p9rpJQ&index=1&feature=p1cp] SF ACC’s goals are to give coyote families temporary relief from stress (dogs) while ensuring public safety. Preventing confrontations such as this is the best policy.

SF AC&C receives many inquiries about options for removing the coyotes. Relocation is illegal under CA State law. It is also inhumane. Lethal removal of a coyote is ineffective and unethical since another coyote will simply take its place, often within weeks. SF AC&C and coyote experts feel that the local coyotes are here to stay and their hope is that the community learns to peacefully coexist with them.

SF AC&C encourages the community to be responsible pet guardians; leash dogs where required and respect temporary park closures. Wildlife in SF needs a little breathing room while its young are present. Urban wildlife is part of the health of San Francisco’s parks—part of the heritage and history of our area—and coexistence is possible with a little give-and-take.

Coyotes play an important role in a healthy ecosystem by keeping the rodent population under control. Problems arise when people help coyotes lose their natural fear of humans by feeding and interacting with them and by not using “vexing” techniques to keep them fearful.

How to VEX (DETER) a coyote: Wave your arms, shout, make yourself appear larger, throw small stones or sticks, use a super-soaker, blow a whistle or air horn, swing a walking stick, or use a coyote shaker (Fill a soft drink can with pebbles, pennies or washers, seal it, and shake it when coyotes are near).

How to PROTECT PETS: Small pets, including cats and small dogs, should not be left outside unattended. Keep dogs on leash and avoid walking them in known coyote areas at dusk or dawn. To report an aggressive coyote, phone (415) 554-9400.

To report a coyote sighting, visit acc@sfgov.org Although coyotes are now a part of life in San Francisco, we should not make them comfortable. Appreciate them from a distance.

“A FED COYOTE IS A DEAD COYOTE!” If you feed coyotes and make them feel comfortable, they may become aggressive to humans, causing confrontations that may result in their death. Although encounters with coyotes are not uncommon, there are no records of coyotes biting humans in San Francisco, as compared with 2,149 reported cat and dog bites to humans over the past five years.

Important MPIC Safety Committee Note: Coyotes have been observed at the following Miraloma Park locations and times: Myra/Dalewood intersection at around 10:30 pm; Hillcrest Court at dusk; backyards on the north side of Myra, 400 block, at 9:00 am and 5:00 pm; Teresita Blvd, 11:30 am; Foerster/Los Palmos at dusk; the Bella Vista steps at sunrise; and Mt. Davidson Park at various times. Please keep cats indoors—this is widely recommended by major animal welfare organizations even absent the threat posed by larger predators—and keep dogs on leash, especially in open space areas.

Fun fact: Coyotes can run at 40 mph and jump vertically to pounce on quarry.


Something to Keep an Eye On: The San Francisco Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP)

by Peter Heinecke

The City of San Francisco is proposing a Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP) involving (1) collection of a fee on new development to fund improvements in the transportation system to accommodate the increased transit demand associated with new development and (2) implementation of a new methodology for assessing the impact of new development on the transportation system that would eliminate the use of Level of Service (LOS) methodology assessing the extent of delay in vehicle travel at intersections from new development. Instead, assessment would focus on whether a new development would conflict with the implementation of SF’s General Plan policies emphasizing multi-modal transportation system performance, principally using performance standards related to transit crowding and transit delay, as
well as standards for pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

I believe that the basic thrust of the SF TSP proposal is to ensure that the needs and interests of drivers will not be considered in any future assessment of a new development or other project. This will be achieved by revising the “Transportation Significance Standard.” The new standard would eliminate consideration of LOS in evaluating a project (new buildings, bike lanes, changes to streets, etc.). The LOS is basically a measurement of how well traffic flows on the street. By eliminating consideration of LOS, the City would be saying that it does not care even to consider how a project impacts traffic flow and the needs of drivers. This will ensure that drivers have no voice in City policy, because if the City is not required to do an LOS review of projects, there will be no way to know what the traffic impacts will be. The first public hearing on this program has already occurred (see Planning Department notice at http://sfmea.sfplanning.org/2012.0176E_IS-NOP.pdf).

Note: Peter Heineke is Vice President of the Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA). This article is excerpted from a letter he sent to the Coalition of SF Neighborhoods and from the TSP Hearing notice. Although neither the LHNA nor the MPIC has taken a position with respect to the TSP program, we wanted to bring it to the attention of the public and we will monitor and report on its progress.


From the Safety Committee: Recent Burglaries and a Multiple Choice

Since August 15, homes have been burglarized at Sequoia Way and Molimo, and on the 300 block of Molimo, the 500 block of Bella Vista, and the 1000 block of Portola. In several of these cases, front doors were forced, and in one case, the homeowner was at home when the burglar entered. According to the police, a suspect is in custody who was arrested in the Sunnyside neighborhood, but who may be responsible for the Miraloma Park crimes. Kicking in front doors is a relatively new phenomenon in Miraloma Park.

The SFPD says that most burglaries begin with someone watching the targeted house and/or the burglar ringing doorbells to see who is home and then breaking in if there’s no response. In Miraloma Park, many residents work and are away from home during the day.

So what do we do about this problem? Multiple choice:
a. Nothing—this is what happens in cities.
b. Complain and do nothing.
c. Spread rumors and be unpleasant.
d. Call the police whenever you see someone going door-to-door ringing doorbells or sitting in a car for no apparent reason.
e. Nothing—I don’t want to bother the cops—they’ll think I’m wasting their time.
f. Nothing—I waited on hold forever last time I called the cops.
g. Get to know everyone on your block and ex change phone numbers and email addresses.
h. Join the MPIC Safety Committee Google Group.

Answers:
a. Wrong. (If you chose this answer, you are part of the problem.)
b. Wrong. (See above, a.)
c. Wrong. (No one will like you.)
d. Correct. (Let the cops decide whether or not the suspicious person poses a safety threat. You could be saving yourself or a neighbor from a potentially dangerous and certainly traumatic experience.)
e. Go ahead and bother them: you are paying for the privilege. (And this is not just about you. A neighbor might pay the price for your reluctance
to call the cops.)
f. So what? (Waiting on hold is preferable to a neighbor’s home—or your own on another occasion—being burglarized. Think of the time spent
on hold as a way of helping neighbors.)
g. Correct. (Let each other know when you see something or someone suspicious and promote multiple calls to 553-0123, or to 911 for a crime in progress. Have a get-together at home for neighbors. Wine helps.)
h. If you haven’t received the MPIC Google Group invitation to join, email miralomapark@gmail.com.
The MPIC’s policy is zero tolerance of illegal activity. Pro-active residents are the best resource for keeping our
neighborhood safe.

Note: If you have a security system, be sure that your sign and stickers look new and are prominently displayed.


Go Native!

by Denise Louis

Please come to the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Native Plant Sale, Saturday, October 20, 2012, 1-5 pm, at the Miraloma Clubhouse, 350 O’Shaughnessy (at Del Vale).

Many neighbors are re-imagining their front, side, and back yards. Let’s get our creative juices flowing at this semiannual plant sale. Experts will be on hand to help inform homeowners and gardeners about which plants are environmentally appropriate. For example, Clarkia rubicunda belongs on Mount Davidson, in a sunny spot, and will yield plenty of pink flowers in the summer. Native bunchgrasses, like our California State grass called purple needlegrass, or Stipa pulchra, act as a backdrop for colorful spring wildflowers. Shrubs, like California lilac, or ceanothus, have beautiful green leaves year round.

Planting local native plants is something everyone can do. If you want low-maintenance, inexpensive, pollinator- serving plants that are adapted to our wet-winter/dry-summer climate, come to the CNPS October plant sale. Late fall/early winter planting is advantageous because of cool, wet weather.

Thanks to everyone who already has started planting local native plants. This is a huge contribution to sustainability, as we are giving homes to plants that were here before our own homes took over their habitat. As more native plant gardens become established, more native bees and butterflies and local or migrating birds will return. We can all be good neighbors by removing weeds from our properties. Weeds have a habit of spreading beyond property lines, so please be sure to remove them before they flower and go to seed, and keep after them. Nonnative grasses, oxalis, ivy, French broom, Himalayan blackberry, and pampas grass are among the City’s worst weeds. Our neighborhood is ecologically sensitive, with designated Significant Natural Resource Areas on Mount Davidson and in Glen Canyon.

Please avoid using pesticides, which can kill bacteria and fungi beneficial to the roots of higher plants, as well as the very pollinators we are hoping to attract. Use compost instead of petrochemical fertilizers. For controlling invasive non-native plants, mowing and pulling are environment-friendly exercises.

See you on October 20! Come early


The MPIC’s Zoning and Planning Committee: What Does It Do?

by Dan Liberthson

The MPIC Zoning and Planning (ZAP) Committee consists of a subset of the Board of Directors who volunteer a portion of their time to assess and inform the neighborhood about the potential impact of State and City zoning and urban planning policies on Miraloma Park and the West of Twin Peaks area. The Committee also comments as needed to Planning Department staff concerning the compatibility of proposed home expansion projects in our neighborhood with the Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines. These functions derive from one of the MPIC’s central commitments and purposes: to preserve and sustain the neighborhood architectural characterand amenities of Miraloma Park.

The ZAP Committee is concerned with broader regional and City initiatives relating to development that may directly or indirectly impact our neighborhood character, such as the One Bay Area Plan (discussed in September’s Miraloma Life), the Housing Element of the City’s Master Plan (the topic of many Miraloma Life articles over the past several years), the Natural Areas Plan, and the SF Transportation Sustainability Program. (See articles in this issue.) We want to make our neighborhood’s residents familiar with these larger policy decisions and issues that may affect the quality of all of our lives in Miraloma Park and thus to inform and empower them to participate in the public debate on these policies.

In addition, the ZAP Committee works with Planning Department staff to assess permit applications for home expansions as they relate the architectural character of the neighborhood. In 1998, in collaboration with Planning Department staff, members of the ZAP Committee wrote and illustrated the Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines. Adapted from the City’s general Residential Design Guidelines (published in 1986), the Miraloma Park Guidelines contain additional material that specifically defines the architectural character of Miraloma Park and provides criteria for determining the compatibility of building projects with their built environment. Thus, project sponsors, their neighbors, and Planners evaluating proposals have a coherent and consistent context in which to do so. These Guidelines have been adopted by the Planning Commission and are used by Planners in their assessment of projects.

The ZAP Committee reviews home expansion proposals forwarded to the MPIC by the Department of City Planning in order to assess proposed projects’ compatibility with neighborhood character as defined in the Guidelines. If there are areas of concern, we describe these with specific reference to relevant sections of the Guidelines in a letter to the Planner assigned to the project. The letter is copied to the project sponsor and concerned neighbors.

Please note that the power to approve, deny, or require changes to proposed projects rests with the Planning Department and the Planning Commission. The ZAP Committee’s role is purely advisory: referring Planners to sections of the Guidelines which may be relevant to a given project. The ZAP Committee neither supports nor opposes individual projects and does not mediate or otherwise intervene in disputes between neighbors concerning proposed projects.

The Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines are available at www.miralomapark.org


An Afternoon with Dan Liberthson: Poems to Make You Laugh, Cry, and Dance

Sunday, October 14, 4:30 pm, the Inner Sunset Culture Club will present a reading by MPIC member and Miraloma Life Editor Dan Liberthson at the S.H.A.R.P. Meeting Space, 1736-9th Avenue near Moraga. Dan will read from his three published books of poetry, covering topics from the joy of living alongside pets and wild animals (Animal Songs) to the pain of growing up with a mentally ill sibling (A Family Album), as well as the great American game (The Pitch is on the Way: Poems About Baseball and Life).

On August 30, Garrison Keillor read one of Dan’s poems about baseball, “Child’s Play” on his A Writer’s Almanac public radio show (for a podcast, visit http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2012/08/30). Also, Dan will offer a sneak preview of a new book of poems about the challenges of life, due out in October (Morning and Begin Again). A long-time resident of Miraloma Park, Dan has an advanced degree in English from SUNY at Buffalo, professional training in oral interpretation, and a lifelong dedication to writing and presenting poetry and fiction. The Golden Spider, his fantasy novel for children 9-12 years old and other fans of the genre, is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Visit Liberthson.com for more information.

Child’s Play
I play the World Series with marbles
on our vine-laced Persian carpet:
its palaces are bases,
its bow ers be come dugout s
where my heroes’ cards wait
for their manager’s hand.
I play both sides, home and away,
hitter and fielder—as always
no one on my team but me.
Adult shapes, fat and crooked,
bald and creased or worn thin,
edge around me,
pass through the house smiling
down as if to say dear child
you know nothing outside
your magic carpet, which
one day you’ll find is only a rug
that will take you no place at all.
But I have just jumped
an impossible height, caught
Roger Maris’ hot line drive to right
and brought it back over the fence.
The roar of the crowd
puts any doubt to rest:
in that moment I am blessed
and that moment is all there is.

©2008, Dan Liberthson


Summary of MPIC Board Meeting on September 6, 2012

by Dan Liberthson and Joanne Whitney

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): The MPIC’s net worth decreased by $1,757.89 from July, to $24,349.01. August’s rental activity was low as usual ($2170 vs $3180 in July). We took in $98.97 in income for membership dues. Over and above our normal monthly expenses (ML costs, utilities, etc.), we spent $400 for landscaping, $800 in a second payment for our parking lot work, and $375 in Clubhouse cleaning fees for the single-event renters. The current reserve total is $15,200.

Committees: Safety—Please see articles in this issue. A neighborhood burglary alert was issued through the MPIC Safety Google group. The Board discussed whether residents should be able to sign up for the Google safety group on the website. This will be further discussed on-line.

Streets and Transportation (K Breslin)—Greg Crump from DPW will attend the October board meeting at 7:30 pm to give update on road repaving and other neighborhood specific issues.

Membership (R Gee) —The MPIC had 639 members on 7/31 and 618 on 8/31. The decrease was due to memberships expiring in August. R Gee acknowledged Deb Atkins for her assistance in delivering 70 membership reminder letters. R Gee made a motion to spend up to $700, including shipping and sales tax, to purchase remit envelopes and Club stationery for use in membership reminder letters.

Events (S Chu) —D Liberthson and J Whitney asked for more talks and events during the year on special topics.

Clubhouse Maintenance (CMD)—Parking lot repair and covering not finished properly. Cracks remain. Balance owed to contractor, $1,400, will be retained until contractor fills in the cracks and re-covers areas light on asphalt. K Breslin moved to create a written addendum to the contract with the gardener. D Liberthson discussed the proposed addendum and made a motion to retain the services of SF Landscapes on a month to month basis at a rate of $300 during non-growth months and $400 in heavy-growth months.

Delegate Reports: West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WOTPCC, K Breslin): No meeting. Forum for candidates for District 7 supervisor on 9/22 at 10 am at Aptos School auditorium.

Coalition for SF Neighborhoods (CSFN, K Breslin): CSFN voted to support Prop A (State College Parcel Tax) and to oppose Prop C (Mayor’s housing trust fund). Ingleside Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB, J Whitney): Neighborhood night out to be held in August 2013 in conjunction with Ingleside CPAB. K Wood and J Whitney will coordinate volunteers.

New Business: SF Ocean Edge requested donations to support future appeals in their effort to prevent lights and artificial turf on soccer fields at western end of Golden Gate Park. CSFN has signed on as co-appellants. K Wood moved that the MPIC donate $500. Discussion included how the plans violate the Golden Gate Park Master Plan. SF Ocean Edge may appeal to the Coastal Commission. Motion tabled until more information obtained on current financial status and planned use of donated funds. K Breslin will follow up with George Wooding of WOTPCC on SF Ocean Edge’s use of donated funds. R Gee will keep track of events related to Mt. Davidson and the NAP, as there is a need to assess both sides of any controversy and present alternatives to the Board.