Miraloma Life Online – September 2015

  • September Miraloma Life (pdf version)
  • Come One, Come All to The MPIC Fall Festival!
  • Recap of the Teresita Boulevard Traffic Calming Summit
  • Meet Your Neighbor: Miraloma Elementary!
  • June 18 Election and Drought Presentation
  • Are You Ready?
  • What’s Growing in Our Backyards?
  • Summary of the MPIC Board Meetings of June 4 and August 6, 2015
  • Planning and Development Issues
  • Miraloma Elementary School Traffic Plan
  • Safety Matters
  • Summary of Correspondence Sent by the MPIC Board
  • Youth Guidance and the Success Center


Come One, Come All to The MPIC Fall Festival!

by Kathy Rawlins

On Saturday, September 26, from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, the Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC) will hold its annual Fall Festival, with a free Taco Truck lunch and a bouncy castle. All are invited to join us at the MPIC Clubhouse, 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd at Del Vale, to meet your new MPIC Board members and connect with neighbors.

Members will vote for changes to the MPIC Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation needed for our 501(c)3 application to permit tax-deductible dues and other contributions, as detailed in this newsletter last April and May (we voted last June but lacked a quorum). The MPIC Resiliency Committee will detail their progress in making our neighborhood self-sufficient in the event of a disaster. The Neighborhood Emergency Response Team will explain how to prepare for the El Nino predicted for this winter and the significant quake we know will happen sometime.

Your MPIC Board invites everyone to come and enjoy good food, meet neighbors, discuss neighborhood issues, let the kids play in the bouncy house, and enjoy a fun afternoon. See you there!


Recap of the Teresita Boulevard Traffic Calming Summit

by Robert Gee

On behalf of the MPIC, Supervisor Norman Yee’s Office, SFPD, and the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency (SFMTA), many thanks to the over 35 attendees who came to the 2-hour workshop on May 30 to inventory ways residents feel the City should explore to make Teresita Blvd safer for pedestrians and drivers. The meeting began with a detailed overview by the SFMTA’s Gabriel Ho (a Miraloma Park native) on the work to date along Teresita and the types of interventions that we can further explore to slow cars down.

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The work to increase pedestrian safety on Teresita has been going on for almost a decade (thanks to the tireless advocacy of neighborhood leaders Gary Noguera and Karen Breslin). Work to make the corridor safer stopped roughly at Bella Vista Way after winding up the hill. In the last few years, with the support of Supervisors Yee and Elsbernd, the City has refocused on finishing the job.

As of now, the City is working aggressively with local utilities to upgrade their underground systems before Teresita Blvd is paved with a new and durable surface. Once that is completed, a comprehensive strategy could be implemented, potentially including stop signs, better defined crosswalks, speed humps, and enriched signage. This is the project element for which the MPIC is supporting community engagement.

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While munching on a great lunch provided by MPIC, attendees spent an hour marking up huge maps of the corridor with dots and Post-Its to locate where they felt people speed and where they’d like to see stop signs, crosswalks, speed humps, or other interventions. We’ve consolidated all of the ideas inventoried and in July shared this initial list (see below) with the SFMTA, Supervisor Yee’s office, and the Mayor’s Office Vision Zero representative, with an agreement that the comments would be given careful consideration and that we would have a follow-up meeting with the SFMTA to get feedback. The MPIC will continue to work with the SFMTA to generate a suite of options that could be implemented in the coming year, and then share these with the community.

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Meet Your Neighbor: Miraloma Elementary!

by Ellen Schatz, Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) President, Miraloma Elementary School

Welcome, MPIC Neighbors, to the 2015/2016 school year! As your good neighbor, we want to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves.

You may have noticed all the Prop A construction at the school this last year (thanks for voting to pass that SF proposition to repair and rehabilitate school facilities). We are thrilled that this year we can have our first Morning Circle in the newly renovated school yard without modular classrooms. Miraloma Elementary has had a top to bot- tom make-over. While the footprint hasn’t changed from our founding in 1952, the classrooms, gym, auditorium, cafeteria, bathrooms, and main office have all been fully rehabilitated. And, as described in the June newsletter, we have a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, & math) room, one of many means to make our students college and career ready.

If you have lived in Miraloma Park for a while, you’ve probably have noticed an increasingly vital community at Miraloma Elementary. Our school has become a neighborhood school: rather than busing in as before, the majority of our students now live in Miraloma Park and walk to school each day. While our teachers have always been a powerhouse, over the past 15 years our families and larger community have become ever more involved. Owing to active PTA volunteers and fund raisers, we have a thriving arts education program that offers poetry, drama, opera, dance, ceramics, and visual arts. We have a daily organic snack, an educational gardening program, a full-time physical education coach, a recess coordinator, and a school social worker. We have maintained reduced class size and can provide additional professional development for our teachers and principal, including a math conference in Kansas City.

What helps make Miraloma Elementary truly fantastic, besides great teachers and staff, is our fully participating community. From classroom tutors to the PTA Board and School Site Council members to volunteers at our community events (such as the Auction, the Read-a- Thon, the Fun-Run, and the Spring Festival), community volunteers put in hundreds of hours each school year. I am amazed at how far this school has come and how powerful our Miraloma Park community is!

We welcome participation from the neighborhood, whether volunteering time, donating funds or materials to our new STEAM lab, or attending events. To volunteer at Miraloma Elementary or any other SFUSD school, visit the SF Education Fund, sfedfund.org, to sign up for training.

To donate to Miraloma Elementary, visit our website, miralomasf.org, and click on the donate button on the left side of the page. Our website is also a great place to learn more about our school. If you have questions about Miraloma Elementary or comments you want to share, please email either Sam Bass, Principal (principal@miralomasf.com) or Ellen Schatz, PTA President (pta@miralomasf.com).


June 18 Election and Drought Presentation

by Joan Van Rijn

The June 18 MPIC general meeting hosted both our annual election and a presentation about the ongoing drought. All candidates on the ballot were elected: current MPIC officers and directors are listed on the back page of this issue. As to the Great CA Drought, it continues to tighten its grip on our state and community. Every day newspapers report new fees and restrictions and new ways to save water. On June 18, a representative from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) talked about our water delivery system, the drought, and ways to conserve. Geoffrey Coffey, a Miraloma resident, local landscape architect, and drought-tolerant plant expert, presented drought friendly landscape strategies and displayed suggested plants.

The SFPUC is urging customers to curtail water use voluntarily, with a goal of reducing overall usage by at least 10%. The typical SF household can help meet this goal if each member reduces water use by just 5 gallons per day. In fact, we’ve done even better, reducing aver- age consumption from 49 to 43 gallons a day per person. Great job, everyone! Keep it up!

To find out how many gallons of water you use in a day and how you are doing in general: (1) visit myaccount.sfwater.org, (2) register (have a copy of your water bill handy), (3) access your usage and bill, and (4) compare your home usage with that of other residents. For water conservation tips, a home water conservation checklist, and guidelines for landscape and irrigation, visit the SF-PUC website at sfwater.org.

Here’s a summary of the SFPUC’s responsibilities and programs:

• SFPUC is responsible for our drinking water and sewer system, and for generating hydro-electric power.

• Our drinking water travels 196 miles from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It is not pumped but flows to us by gravity. The water is not filtered because it is from a pure source. It is treated with ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, and then a disinfectant.

• SF has three hydroelectric power stations near Hetch- Hetchy. The electric power generated is used by city buildings, facilities, and street lights, the airport, and the port.

• SFPUC will start pumping groundwater from 10 tested wells in the city, and will blend up to 10% of this water into our current supply. In a blind taste test, SF Chronicle food editors could not tell the difference between blended and regular water.

• SFPUC will be replacing the city street lights with LED lamps, which are “smart” and can be dimmed or controlled. Not all street lights are under PUC control; PG&E owns those on wooden poles.

• The city sewer system has over 1000 miles of pipes. Eleven miles of pipes are replaced each year. Some of the original, brick-lined sewers are still operating.

If you’d like to tour a wastewater treatment plant, sign up at sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=95.


Are You Ready?

by Joanie van Rijn, Miraloma Park NERT Co-Coordinator

With summer coming to an end, many of us are planning time off to relax or vacation. Planning and packing are necessary for having fun, but also to prepare for an emergency. Being prepared means getting your supplies together, but also getting to know your neighbors, lend- ing a hand, and sharing your knowledge. Please take a few minutes and see how you measure up on having your supplies ready. Do you have the following supplies ready for the first 72 hours ( 3 days) following a big earthquake?

• Water—one gallon a day for each person. Family of four will need 12 gallons of water stored

• First aid kit—bandages, first-aid tape, scissors

• Flashlight and batteries—there are new batteries that can be stored for 10 years; have extras

• Fire extinguisher—get the ABC variety so you can put out most small home fires

• Manual can opener—power may not be available for 3 days

• Food—remember: food for you and your pets

• Radio—battery operated or hand cranked to receive emergency information and updates

• Cash (small bills $1, $5)—the ATMs may not work without power

• Sleeping bags—you may need to sleep outdoors for a few days

• Tools—all-purpose tool to turn off the gas (only if you smell gas!), hammer, pry-bar, screwdriver

• Prescriptions—enough for 3 days per person, OTC drugs as well

• Children’s toys—to keep kids occupied

• Pet items—food, dishes, blanket, leash, toys

• Personal hygiene and sanitation items—garbage bags for homemade toilet, toilet paper, hand wipes

• Treats—something tasty to keep your spirits up

Take stock of the things you use every day that could be useful in an emergency. These are the makings of disaster supplies.

To learn more about being prepared, consider taking the Fire Department NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) training. You will learn how to be prepared to care for yourself and your family and to help your neighborhood be more resilient. For information about NERT training, visit sfgov.org/sfnert or email joanvan-rijn@gmail.com.


What’s Growing in Our Backyards?

by Denise Louie

Did you know that native trees, shrubs, and some wild- flowers are green or in bloom during the summer? My toyon, coast buckwheat, and clarkia bloomed during the summer without needing water. Coast live oak are green year round, as are shrubs like toyon.

During the summer, I filled a few green compost bins with non-native, invasive French broom, wild radish, wild mustard and ivy from my neighborhood. If you live near Marietta, you can do this, too. Just check with Rec & Park first.

In June, the SF Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance requiring large new developments to “use onsite water re-use systems—like graywater and blackwater systems—for non-potable uses like toilet flushing and irrigation. This makes SF the first city in the nation to require developments to install recycled water systems.” It makes sense for all of us to use graywater whenever and wherever possible, especially in our gardens.

SF is blessed with a naturally occurring oak woodland in Golden Gate Park, behind the Conservatory of Flowers, between Stanyan and 6th Avenue. Volunteers helped enhance this by removing truckloads of invasive ivy and Himalayan blackberry and garbage over 20 years. Trails have been cleared. The area was just listed in the national Old Growth Forest Network. It is well worth a visit (be aware that some illegal encampments remain). You too can volunteer with Rec & Park to continue clearing trails and invasive plants. Or get inspired to plant a coast live oak. Wildlife appreciate these native trees.

The SF Department of the Environment, Golden Gate Audubon Society, and PG&E administer Lights Out for Birds–SF, a program adopted in 2011. The goal is to turn off building lights during yearly bird migrations (August to November and February to May). Migrating birds get confused by artificial light. Besides keeping indoor light indoors, we can also keep our cats indoors at least dur- ing daylight hours—to minimize bird kills. And we can remove bird feeders, which are known to spread disease among birds. If you want to offer sustenance to hum- mingbirds, plant hummingbird sage.

In April, I recommended one of the SF Chronicle’s 2014 top ten books, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, for which author Elizabeth Kolbert just won a Pulitzer Prize. Read about man’s assault on our environment and the need to live in a manner that is sustainable for all of humankind and other living creatures. Then help give habitat back to local native plants, which provide nutri- tion, shelter, and nest and host sites for wildlife.

If you’ve already started giving habitat back, bless you. If you have questions about what’s growing in your backyard, call the Master Gardeners free hotline on Mondays or Thursdays, 9 am to 4 pm, at 650-726-9059, x107. “The UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of San Mateo and SF Counties are UC-trained volunteers dedicated to teaching and helping home gardeners to garden sustainably and to create a healthy environment” (SFPUC). Or, attend a plant sale at the SF Botanical Garden; a Master Gardener will be present to answer questions.

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) has a You- Tube presentation about what home gardeners can do to help the environment while saving water, labor, and money, and how wildlife prefer or depend on native plants. Visit youtube.com/watch?v=lZ1C0NT9OPY&fea ture=youtu.be. Even as we have exotic non-native plants to enjoy, we need to consider their impact on our environment.

The CPNS annual plant sale will be Saturday afternoon, October 24 at the MPIC Clubhouse. Get ready to plant!


Summary of the MPIC Board Meetings of June 4 and August 6, 2015

by Joanne Whitney and Dan Liberthson

Guests: On 8/6, presentation by Liz Jackson-Simpson,

Executive Director, Success Center SF (SCSF) and Allen Nance, SF County Chief Probation Officer and Youth Guidance Center Head.

Treasurer’s Report Highlights (R Gee): Clubhouse land and building (estimated current cost value $11,260) and prepaid parking lot rental ($54 at $1/year per SFPUC lease) were added to June net worth of $33,216, up from $26,359 in May.

Committees: Membership (B Kan)—455 MPIC members on 5/31, 454 on 6/28, 407 on 7/31. Clubhouse Maintenance (K Rawlins)—Security and motion detector lights installed on patio side of Clubhouse. 8/6: Motion to enlarge and frame early photo of Miraloma Park for Club- house display (passed unanimously). Streets and Transportation ( R Gee)—Planning for opening of Miraloma School and ongoing discussion of neighborhood traffic calming efforts. Events (K Rawlins)—Motion to hold a Fall Fiesta and Safety Meeting plus vote on 501(c)3 application by members (passed). Zoning and Planning (ZAP, T Armour)—Four Pre-application meetings attended and proposed projects to be monitored. 234 Teresita: construction started without permit, DBI inspection re- quested after complaints received. 596 Teresita: Pre-app meeting put on hold. 795 Teresita: 25 neighbors attended Pre-app meeting re adding third floor. New ZAP member: Steven Whitney, architect.

Community Organizations: Coalition for SF Neighbor- hoods (CSFN, K Breslin)—June-August motions passed: Formally oppose proposed development at 1481 Post St; urge SFMTA to guarantee restoration of the 33 Ashbury- 18th bus route to SF General Hospital for at least 5 years; Support Propositions A, F, K, J, and 1; oppose D. West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WOTPCC, K Breslin)— June motions passed: Support pending Supervisors’ resolution for more police; Support/write ballot measure for Prop F.


Planning and Development Issues

by the MPIC Zoning and Planning (ZAP) Committee

What Does the MPIC Do in the Planning Process?— Discussion on Next Door and at Pre-Application meetings has suggested that some residents believe the MPIC actually approves or disapproves projects based on Miraloma Park’s Residential Design Guidelines. This is not the case. To promote quality residential design and preserve the architectural character of Miraloma Park, the MPIC consistently advocates for the careful application of our Residential Design Guidelines (adopted by the City Planning Commission in 1999) to all qualifying residential construction projects within Miraloma Park. However, the MPIC only comments to the Department of City Planning on projects that are in some respect not aligned with one or more design principles in the Guidelines. If we find incompatibility between a proposed project and the Guidelines, we communicate to the assigned Planner the reason for our concern, refer him or her to the relevant section of the Guidelines, and request adherence to them. The planner, not the MPIC, makes the decision. The MPIC scrupulously avoids becoming involved in inter-neighbor disputes by not attempting to adjudicate regarding proposed projects: we neither support nor oppose specific projects.

Code Compliance and 234 Teresita: What we Learned—Prompted by numerous residents’ complaints and by discrepant information concerning the new owner’s plans for 234 Teresita, the MPIC requested a Department of City Planning (DCP) Enforcement Team investigation of the planned purpose of the site. In our due diligence, we relied on publicly available information posted on the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) website as well as on discussions with DCP staff. We learned that work was commenced at the site without benefit of permit and that planned changes to the building reflected commercial use, rather than conversion to a single-family residence. Note that the photo of the building taken in 1951 and appearing on the Western Neighborhoods Project website shows not the blighted property of recent years, but an attractive mid-century modern structure that caught the attention of the DCP Historic Preservation Team. (See photo below)

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The MPIC makes every effort to ensure that all building work in Miraloma Park is fully compliant with all provisions of the Municipal Code. This was and remains our goal in the case of 234 Teresita.


Miraloma Elementary School Traffic Plan

by the MPIC Board of Directors Safety Committee

On August 17, Miraloma Elementary started the 2015/2016 school year, welcoming over 360 students, many living within Miraloma Park. The start of school brings traffic congestion in the school vicinity between 7:40 and 8:15 am, arrival/drop off time. Some children are dropped off but many parents park for about 20 minutes to attend Morning Circle, a daily opportunity for all children, parents and teachers to gather in the school yard for announcements, important messages, and daily lessons from Principal Sam Bass.

In the past, residents near the school have reported serious problems from school-related parking and traffic congestion. However, the MPIC appreciates that parental involvement has been a key factor in improving the school’s performance, and commends the efforts of parents and faculty to make Miraloma Elementary an excellent school. Therefore, the MPIC Board Safety Committee has worked collaboratively with the school and SFPD on a comprehensive traffic plan with both educational and enforcement components.

The school has issued guidelines to its community emphasizing the need to maintain positive relationships with the neighbors by not blocking driveways or parking illegally at corners, intersections, sidewalk bulb cutouts, red zones, and fire hydrants, as well as obeying the 15 mph speed limit and stop signs. Parents are encouraged to carpool and to leave home earlier to allow time to seek parking a few blocks away from the school and enjoy the walk with their children to the building. The school has implemented a very effective traffic flow plan to reduce congestion as outlined in the map shown here.

Miraloma School Traffic Plan

All Miraloma Park residents who drive near the school during student arrival times should follow this recommended traffic flow. Traffic congestion always occurs on Reposa Way because cars parked on both sides prevent two-way traffic. Add a 36-Teresita MUNI bus or a garbage truck and traffic can grind to a halt. So please follow the traffic plan and avoid going down the hill on Reposa Way. These guidelines will result in good relations with neighbors and provide the most secure, efficient, and safe environment possible for the community, especially the students.

Throughout the school year, if you are a resident whose driveway is blocked, please call Mr. Bass’s office at 415-469-4734 and he or his staff will immediately advise the car’s owner to move his or her car. Be sure to provide your address and the license number, make, model and color of the car blocking your driveway. You can also send an email to Mr. Bass at BassS2@ sfusd.edu regarding any non-urgent traffic and parking matters. Please keep the MPIC posted regarding improvement or continuing traffic and parking problems by emailing us at miralomapark@gmail.com or leaving a voice message at 415-281-0892.


Safety Matters

by the MPIC Safety Committee

Caught in the Act!—On Sunday, 7/19, 2015 a house on the 200 block of Juanita was burglarized. A neighbor’s video captured the entire incident and was submitted to the police. Within one hour, the suspect was arrested!

In cases of suspects arrested for crimes committed in Miraloma Park, the MPIC will write to the District Attorney requesting aggressive prosecution and will do so in this case. Vigilant neighbors along with a well-placed video camera working closely with the police can keep our neighborhood safe!

SFPD’s Crime Prevention Service—San Francisco SAFE, Inc. (Safety Awareness for Everyone) is the SF Police Department’s non-profit partner in crime prevention and public safety. Since 1976, SAFE’s mission has been to engage, educate, and empower communities in every party of the City and County of San Francisco to build safer neighborhoods through crime prevention edu- cation and public safety services that result in stronger, more vibrant and resilient communities.

One of SAFE’s signature services is their Residential Security Survey. SAFE surveys businesses, homes, and residential buildings to improve the safety and security of the property through “environmental design.” Specialists examine doors and windows, locking mechanisms, access control, lighting and landscaping, and surrounding areas. A SAFE Security Specialist walks through your home, discusses ways you can make it safer and more secure, and provides a free written report of the recommendations. The home security program is free for single family dwellings, however there is a nominal fee for multi-unit dwellings and businesses.

To get started, please fill out a service request form at sfsafe.org/services.


Summary of Correspondence Sent by the MPIC Board

6/24/15, to Supervisor Yee, responding to his policy statement after he voted against the Police Staffing resolution.—Robert Gee, MPIC President, wrote: “We are deeply concerned that the basic components of effective community policing are deteriorating as a result of continued Police Department understaffing. With heavy service demands placed on police officers, their ability to provide ongoing proactive service is constrained, if not curtailed, as they are increasingly restricted merely to responding to emergency calls and are unable, in turn, to build relationships of trust with citizens, maintain open and clear lines of communication with them, give attention to ongoing safety problems requiring targeted enforcement, and thus, promote and sustain community safety … MPIC has worked collaboratively with many City agencies, including the Police Department. Members of the MPIC Board of Directors have participated in the SFPD Efficiency Plan focus group process, the Fair and Impartial Policing Citizen Advisory Committee, and the Ingleside Station Police Community Advisory Board. We have worked in partnership with Ingleside officers to address community safety challenges and to build healthy working relationships between our residents and police officers, knowing that consistent and reliable communication between officers and citizens is essential to a safe and thriving community. Yet, our efforts will come to naught if overburdened officers become increasingly isolated from the community which they serve. We urge you to support community policing in San Francisco by making every effort to find and allocate funding to in- crease recruitment and training of new officers.”

8/19/15, to Hon. George Gascon, District Attorney of San Francisco, regarding the 7/19/15 burglary of 299 Juanita Way (Case # 150628453)—Robert Gee wrote: “We are truly grateful to the officers of Ingleside Station for their efficient investigation of this crime and for having made a timely arrest. According to the San Francisco Police Department, a suspect, Teryll Chaplin, has been arrested in connection with this crime and is in custody. … We collaborate with many City departments to promote a high quality of life in our neighborhood and work with Ingleside Station to optimize community policing and citizen safety. MPIC has a stated policy of zero- tolerance of illegal activity, and we do our utmost to pre- vent and to respond appropriately to criminal activity in our neighborhood … Miraloma Park’s burglary rate has historically been relatively low, but in recent years, we have experienced an increase in the number of residential burglaries, and these crimes have been of an increasingly brazen nature. Thus, we urge you to prosecute this case to the fullest extent allowed by law. We fully support the presumption of innocence. But we hold it imperative that we as a community communicate to those who commit crimes that they may not do so with impunity in Miraloma Park and that if they do so, police will aggressively investigate, and the District Attorney will prosecute. … An MPIC Board Member will contact your office in the near future for information about the assignment of this case so that we and members of our community can folow its progress through the judicial system.”


Youth Guidance and the Success Center

by the ZAP Committee

When a ZAP Committee member visited the Juvenile Detention Center on Woodside, checking on rumors that they intended to purchase 234 Teresita for use in their programs, he found not only an answer (no, though it had been considered) but also a warm welcome and orientation to the Youth Guidance Center by Allen Nance, SF County Chief Probation Officer and Youth Guidance Center Head, and to the Success Center by Executive Director Liz Jackson-Simpson. At the August MPIC Board Meeting, Mr. Nance and Ms. Jackson-Simpson described how focusing on education, rather than imprisonment and punishment, has greatly reduced the youth detention population and helped foster children transition to the community. Established in 1983 by Superior Court judges, Success Center SF (SCSF) helps kids get their GED (by preparation and coaching) and win a job (training for applications, resumes, interviews, and appearance). Partnering with SF Juvenile Probation, the School District, and other City agencies, SCSF needs and welcomes community volunteers (contact Elizabeth Jackson-Simpson at 415-753-7690). If you are retired or have extra time, please consider helping out. You could be the one who makes the difference between a kid’s spending a life in jail or as a respected community member.