Miraloma Life Online – September 2009

  • Tips for Safety
  • Results of the MPIC June Elections
  • NERT News
  • HELP WANTED!
  • From The Legal Files: Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure
  • In Praise of Simplexity
  • In Memoriam, Colonel Bud Wilson
  • Age (poem)
  • Contaminating the Gene Pool: Caveats for Planting Native
  • Highlights from the MPIC Board Meeting of August 6, 2009

Tips for Safety

from Lt. Louie Cassanego, SFPD Ingleside District, in Captain Lazar’s Daily E-mail Message

The Police Department has joined with SF Safe to produce a Crime Prevention Tips document to help people avoid becoming robbery victims. Some tips are:

Be aware of your surroundings at all times…pay attention to suspicious activities and persons.

Avoid using electronics, such as I-pods, which limit your awareness of your surroundings. Travel with someone, or travel when there are other people around.

Walk in well-lit areas and avoid dark alleys and deserted areas.

Remain alert before entering your vehicle or your home.

Park in a well-lit area, with plenty of pedestrians around.

When using public transportation, wait at stops that are well lit and know ahead of time when your bus is due. Also, pay attention to those who enter and exit the bus or train with you, as well as those waiting with you.

Limit the amount of valuables you carry and keep them in separate areas. Then, if you become a victim, your ID will remain with you.

Do not wear your handbag or purse across the body. Carry them under your arm and release them if they are grabbed. This will prevent you from being pulled to the ground.

Trust your instincts: if you feel uncomfortable or threatened, seek help. Carry and use a noise device to call attention to yourself in this situation.

If you thank any persons or activities are suspicious, do any of the following: change the direction in which you are walking, do not get off the bus or train, seek help, or call 911.

Try to remember anything that will identify the suspect. If a vehicle is involved, focus on getting the license plate number.

If you are robbed, stay calm and cooperate. Call 911 afterward.

Dial 911 for emergencies and (415) 553-0123 for non-emergencies.

If English is not your most comfortable language, tell the 911 operator what language you speak.

For more information on how you and your community can be safe, contact San Francisco SAFE, Inc. at (415) 673-SAFE or “http://www. sfsafe.org” \t “_blank” www.sfsafe.org.

To receive Capt. Lazar’s daily e-mail message, which has crime reports, safety tips, public events, and other useful information, e-mail david.lazar@sfgov.org and request sign-up.

 

Results of the MPIC June Elections

Elected or re-elected to 2-year terms on the MPIC Board of Directors, by a unanimous quorum vote, were Karen Breslin, Sue Kirkham, Gary Noguera, Kathy Rawlins, Thad Sauvain

(welcome to a new Board member!), and Dan Liberthson (also re-elected Corresponding Secretary). Joanne Whitney was not on the slate but was subsequently appointed Recording

Secretary by President Mike Naughton (she will be confirmed by membership vote at the first future meeting with a quorum). Thanks to Kathy Rawlins for her service as Recording

Secretary, which ended in June.

NERT News

By Jed Lane

SF Planning and Urban Renewal (SPUR) has estimated that a huge number of people will need housing after a large earthquake. In response to this and other disaster-related issues, a number of new initiatives in the City address neighborhood preparedness, survival, and resiliency. The Safety Element of the City’s General Plan calls for the SF Building Department to convene a panel of citizens, professional advisors, and building officials to look at what can be done to increase the number of buildings that will survive, allowing people to shelter in place rather than use refugee centers. This initiative is called the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS), and it would permit NERTs to train to a higher level. Assistant Deputy Chief Brendan O’Leary, in a presentation on loss of structures from fire, discussed plans for NERTs to train in fighting single-alarm fires using equipment cached around the City, and to manage volunteers. Current NERT training in disaster medicine, small excavation, cribbing, and extinguishing small fires is valuable, especially in reducing injuries and teaching more people to handle themselves well in emergencies. However, advanced training and equipment would help prevent the spread of fires, reduce demands on the Fire Department, and preserve more dwellings. To me, such training makes sense; however, my information about this plan comes from the CAPSS meeting and a conversation with Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White; NERT’s Advisory Board and Lt. Arteseros (NERT Program Coordinator) have not confirmed that the plans will become reality.

The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) is working on setting up neighborhood centers in the libraries, since their communication systems and back-up power make them good choices for satellite command posts. The DEM is also working on obtaining from retailers letters of intent to provide workers and citizens with needed equipment and supplies for free, pending reimbursement by the City, addressing a need NERT coordinators have tried to meet for years. Unfortunately, the DEM has not yet coordinated these efforts with NERT. As trained neighborhood responders, it is important that individual NERTs make every effort to be included in all initiatives the City undertakes. Trained persons from the Red Cross, the Fire Department, the DEM, private companies, or NERT, should all be afforded the equipment and direction required for coordinated work to save as many lives in as short a period of time as possible. Please join me in sending a message to Supervisor Elsbernd, Lt. Arteseros, and chief Hayes-White pushing for coordination across all emergency-response entities and for comprehensive training.

In October, many events are planned around the anniversary of the Loma Prieta and Northridge Earthquakes. NERT will have its annual citywide drill and there will be a statewide event, the “Big Rumble” (see http://thebigrumble.org/). For more information on these events, check the October Miraloma Life when it comes out. The City is promoting many neighborhood events on October 17, when the Bella Vista Neighbors will host their second annual block party from 10 am till 2 pm (Bella Vista between Gaviota and Teresita). This year’s theme is “Where Were You in ’89.” Please register for the NERT training and ask your friends and family to join you. “The life you save may be your own,” it is said, and I say, “you may have the honor to save someone else too.”

For more information or to check for upcoming NERT training sessions, please go to http://www.sfgov.org/site/sfnert_form. asp?id=24118 or call Jed Lane at 415-425-9810. 

 

HELP WANTED!

Earn Your Neighbors’ Gratitude and Gain a Plum Entry for your Resume The Miraloma Life needs volunteers to back up Dan Liberthson as Editor and to do layout/formatting and pre-publication work. Those interested in the back-up Editor spot should have some background in editing, and those interested in layout/prepublication should have experience with Adobe InDesign software. As you know, the newsletter is a 12-page publication that comes out in the first week of every month except July and August. Also needed are newsletter delivery persons (age 12-17 accepted, or retired adults, for this paid work). Please send email responses and/or questions to miralomapark@gmail.com or leave a message on our voicemail, (415) 281-0892. 

 

From The Legal Files: Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure

by Mary Catherine Wiederhold, Esq.

In 1983, Walter Samuelson and his wife bought a new condominium in Woodland Hills. The 3-story unit had a lower garage and a “bonus” room that Samuelson used as an office. Between 1983 and 1999, he observed intermittent flooding of the lower level. In 1986, the homeowners’ association (HOA) in his complex brought a lawsuit against the developer. It alleged design and construction defects in the units and in the common areas of the complex. In 1992, the HOA hired a flooring contractor to repair and waterproof the affected areas of the complex. The repairs were not effective, and the HOA filed a lawsuit against the flooring contractor. The lawsuit was settled in 1998. Samuelson knew about the lawsuit because he served as President and Treasurer of the HOA board from 1993 to 2001.

In 1999, the HOA hired a contractor to repair the affected areas in the complex. After this repair, Samuelson did not have any further problems with water intrusion in his unit. He knew, however, that the contractor’s repairs were not totally effective throughout the complex because the contractor had written to the HOA stating that their repairs were merely a “band-aid covering up existing garage and storage room walls” since the contract did not provide for more extensive repairs.

Samuelson and his wife lived in their home until 2002 when he sold the unit to Mr. and Mrs. Calemine. While the unit was in escrow, the Calemines had a home inspection service investigate the condominium. The inspection service noted “evidence of below grade leakage.” The Calemines also hired a termite inspection service. Their report noted “excessive moisture has damaged drywall and plaster at rear and left side of garage.” After receiving these reports, the Calemines contacted Samuelson for an explanation. He told them that he had had some water intrusion problems in the past, but after the HOA put in some drains the problem “had been fixed.” The Calemines closed on the sale and moved into the unit. In January 2005, their garage flooded. Then, for the first time, the Calemines learned of the old lawsuit against the developer and the flooring contractor.

The Calemines filed a lawsuit against Samuelson, the HOA and others. They claimed that Samuelson specifically failed to make “full and complete disclosures of past actions.” California law requires a seller to inform a buyer about “any lawsuits by or against the Seller threatening to or affecting this real property, including any lawsuits alleging a defect or deficiency in this real property or ‘common areas.’” Samuelson argued that the law referred only to information about pending lawsuits, and asked the trial court to rule in his favor based on a motion for summary judgment. The trial court did so, and the Calemines appealed.

The Court of Appeal held that Samuelson knew about the prior lawsuits and had a duty to disclose those facts. “Disclosure of the litigation would have enabled [the Calemines] to examine the details of those actions and evaluate their purchase in light of information including that the water intrusion had existed since the condominium was built, [and] repairs throughout [the complex] were twice ineffective.” Without Samuelson’s disclosure of the existence of the lawsuits, these matters were not within [the Calemines] diligent attention.”

The moral of the story is if you are selling your house, fill out the real estate forms carefully with your agent. In the event of uncertainty regarding disclosure, consult an attorney. It is better to pay an attorney for advice than to possibly be a party in a lawsuit.  

 

In Praise of Simplexity

An Essay by Phil Laird

The preamble to the California State Constitution consists of 27 words—followed by 35 articles on 110 pages, to constitute the third longest constitution in the world. The San Francisco City Charter contains over 70,000 words in 20 articles and six amendments. Contrast these documents with the U.S. Constitution, said to be the shortest of any sovereign state: just 7,620 words. Why is this admired document so concise, while our city and state charters are so bloated? Simplexity is much of the reason.

“Simplexity” is a neologism that describes a complex system assembled from simple elements. Computers, for example, are machines with millions of integrated components, but the components themselves are simple switches performing the symbolic logic operations taught in high school mathematics. Life itself, the largest, most intricate system we know of, arises from remarkably simple reactions in organic chemistry. Simplex systems are based on simple elements, but simplexity requires more than just simple elements: the system erected upon those elements is itself structurally simple—even if it surpasses by its size anyone’s ability to comprehend fully. A truckload of coat hangers typifies complexity; a computer exemplifies simplexity. Complexity is bad; simplexity is good.

While the concept of simplexity is simple to grasp, simplexity is not simple to achieve. Genius is often required to attain the simplexity that eludes others. Shakespeare, Dickenson, and Whitman, among others, proved that a few well-chosen words of poetry can have more impact than hundreds of pages of prose. The favored reference of American writers is a slim volume known by the last names of its authors, Strunk and White: in fewer than 100 pages the book manages to explain everything a good writer needs to know. And the book abides by its own famous Rule Seventeen: “Omit needless words!”

Simplexity has a mathematical basis, a measure known as (take a deep breath) the Kolmogorov Complexity. This measures the minimum possible size required to implement a system. Simplex systems approach this minimum size; complex systems are far larger than they need to be. Mathematics also explains why it is so difficult to achieve perfect simplexity: the problem of determining the Kolmogorov Complexity of a system is unsolvable, so you rarely know when you’ve achieved the state of ideal simplexity.

In their work mathematicians and scientists seek the most “elegant” arguments, those that prove a conjecture convincingly with most compact reasoning. The paradigm of ideal mathematical reasoning is Euclid’s proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers: a subtle but concise argument comprehensible to any high-school algebra student. Physicists regard the theory of Relativity as the “most beautiful” of physical theories, not because of its complexity but because of its simplexity: with two core (but deep) premises, the theory accounts for the known properties of space and time. For Einstein, simplexity was a reliable test of scientific validity. He defined simplexity as “as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

The quest for simplexity also pervades the arts. Architecture retreats periodically from immoderate ornament and sprawling forms into symmetry and measured variation: baroque gives way to neoclassical, Beaux Arts to Bauhaus, Frank Gehry to Renzo Piano. Bach, Mozart, and Brahms regularly chose the most basic of musical forms for their most profound moments. The “minimalism” of Philip Glass, the sculpture of Richard Serra, the novels of Hemingway all can be seen as efforts to capture and convey complex sentiments using elements that are as simple as possible but no simpler. Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, still the most performed play in this country, strips away all theatrical conventions to depict the most routine events of life in order to reveal their significance. Mark Twain, in a letter to his editor, apologized that he didn’t have enough time to make the letter shorter. In mathematics, science, technology, art, music, and literature, simplexity characterizes the work of those who consummate the discipline.

In business school students learn that companies should have a clear mission and a concise strategic plan. Why then do companies like General Motors and AIG start out well but lose control to bureaucratic complexity? Social and legal structures grow from a small number of core principles established by consensus, such as consent of the governed, freedom of speech, and due process. So why do so many of these structures devolve into complex, ungovernable chaos? Why do the US Constitution and the California preamble swell into the federal tax code and the California constitution?

Charters that micromanage the affairs of the state come to be when people have lost faith in the ability of their leaders to govern. Our City and our State charters were products of the Progressive movement, when the corruption of Abe Ruef and the stranglehold of the robber barons led reformers like Hiram Johnson to decentralize government, distribute power broadly, and empower voters to change their Constitution through the initiative process. Consequently every proposition that passes with a simple majority of those bothering to vote changes the governing charter and makes it impossible for legislators to adapt the law to changing conditions. Proposition 13 passed in response to rising property taxes and the perception of excessive state and local spending. Thirty years later California’s finances are collapsing under the weight of the complexity wrought to circumvent the constraints of Proposition 13.

Simplex structures can often be revised without destroying their foundations; complex structures never can. Attempts failed in 1980 and 1994 to modernize and simplify San Francisco’s charter. Limited success in charter reform came in 1995 only after redesigning the entire administrative structure of the city and reducing the size of the document from 370 to 88 pages. But these efforts failed to correct a crucial flaw: the ease with which voters and officials can enact initiative measures. So our mayor and supervisors have little incentive to do the hard work of politics: negotiating, forming alliances, and legislating effectively. Instead they just litter the ballot. Interest groups with financial resources and a bloc of voters wage campaigns to amend the statutes in their favor. Term limits forcing politicians from office after two terms came about when voters decided that a small number of leaders had become entrenched and were no longer responding to their constituencies. Now our legislative bodies are led by green politicians unable to muster enough support to pass controversial bills.

The fate of complex systems is dire. General Motors exemplifies a company unable to restructure itself, even though Alfred Sloan’s organizational structure built G.M. into the largest corporation in the world and the textbook model of how to assemble a huge enterprise. Large software systems, including behemoth operating systems such as GE’s Multics, IBM’s MVS, and Microsoft’s Windows, grow larger and fatter until they can no longer be enhanced reliably and economically. (Windows Vista is a recent example.) In time they are supplanted by smaller, more nimble systems designed by software engineers who understand the importance of simplexity to the usability and longevity of their systems. The process of replacing dysfunctional government structures can fairly be termed revolution. Revolution need not be violent, but it replaces a failed or failing entity by one with an entirely new foundation. California may be facing a constitutional convention, from which a very different state, or even states, could emerge. As for San Francisco, whether voters have yet reached the point of total frustration with our city government, its numerous boards and commissions, and one city employee for every 28 residents, remains to be seen. It is too much to hope for government to be small. The best we can hope for, and work toward, is simplexity: as simple as possible, but no simpler.    

 

In Memoriam, Colonel Bud Wilson

A Personal Remembrance by Dan Liberthson

There are the facts and deeds: Colonel Elbert “Bud” Wilson, who died on July 23, was a US Airforce fighter pilot through 24 years and 3 wars, and received 17 medals and commendations; operated an antique clock shop on Beach Street; was a dedicated community activist, serving as President of the Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association, delegate to the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, and member of and delegate for the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods; ran for Supervisor in 2000; was a member and President of the Veterans Affairs Committee; and ardently supported neighborhood and wider causes he believed in, including reforming SF’s Planning Code to help preserve neighborhood character, saving the SS Iowa and Laguna Honda Hospital, and ensuring animal rights.

And then there is the spirit that accomplished all these deeds and left a lasting imprint in the minds and hearts of so many San Franciscans. I am proud to have counted Bud Wilson among my friends, and that’s what this tribute is about.

Though small in size, Bud was large in all other qualities except ego—a modest hero whose first thoughts were for country and community. He piloted war planes during three bloody conflicts, yet never told me stories of combat or medals won, only of his joy in flying (“there’s no feeling like it, Dan, climbing out of clouds into the clear blue!”); war’s devastation (“I can’t forget those poor Chinese—never seen people so beaten up and hungry!”); and camaraderie (smuggling good hooch for his superior officers and then enjoying it with them into the wee hours trying keep warm during a layover in Anchorage).

I knew Bud only in vigorous age, but I feel as if I knew him young, too, when he must have been like a bright, alert, bird, not intimidated by larger ones and always up for a companionable berry-eating party. Humor, compassion, empathy, friendship, and a love of all things fine—he brought these to life in his many facets: antiquarian and collector (amid his many clocks, I see him reverently handling my grandfather’s railroad watch); community activist (he could laugh with his opponents even as he tried to outsmart them, and enjoy the whole messy process); avid golfer and defender of the Harding Park course; admirer and protector of animals (watching our dogs wrestle, he broke into his inimitable roar of laughter when my muscular bitch got his big male down—“she’s got his number”; and he, his wife June, and his dogs never missed the Veterans Day doggie parade).

In political life, Bud, you nearly always knew when someone wasn’t on the level, but you were never afraid to admit when you’d blown a call. Ambling into meetings in your gray Greek fisherman’s cap (I had one too); hobnobbing with “the Bish”; graciously making no fuss about the gym built a few feet from your house because you knew the kids needed it; sharing our holiday dinner; relishing our dogs romping or good scotch or my Dad’s coin collection; crafting a letter of protest you’d asked me to help with—and in so many other memories you still live for me, Bud. It’s amazing that we connected—you a part-Cherokee veteran from the rural South and me a Jewish intellectual from New York who never saw military service—and a tribute to your broad reach and large mind that we did. I’m glad I shared a perch with you, Colonel, however briefly, and—Bud—I wish you happy skies.

 

Age

Sunsets need clouds
for full glory—
otherwise are ordinary. 

So, life’s complexities,
clouding youth’s shining,
color old minds with glory. 

©2009, Dan Liberthson   

 

Contaminating the Gene Pool: Caveats for Planting Native

by Jake Sigg

Note: Jake Sigg was an SF Arboretum gardener specializing in CA native plants and is now an active and leading member of the California Native Plant Society. This article is taken from the Growing Native Newsletter #59 (v.12, no.1, September/ October 2001), but remains relevant today. The conversational style derives from an interview that Growing Native editor Louise Lacey conducted with Chapter Conservation Chair Jake Sigg.–Ed.

Large-scale intervention to restore native plant areas can raise problems if strict attention is not paid to using local natives. For instance, CalTrans and environmental consultants have done all sorts of mitigation and revegetation for years. I think particularly of events in my back yard, San Bruno Mountain. In 1982, Congress passed an amendment to the Endangered Species Act that created habitat conservation plans (HCPs), and the first such was on San Bruno Mountain. From the beginning, it was compromised. Environmental consultants or subcontractors were hired, but the genetic stock that was used there for restoration was not appropriate for San Bruno Mountain. For example, they scattered seed of a red flowering form of bush monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus, from Southern California in a misguided attempt to replenish the natives.

Now those genes are passing into the wild population of northern Californian Mimulus, resulting in all sorts of strange intermediate forms. Nobody knows what will be the long-term effects of this gene flow in the wild population, and since we don’t know, we shouldn’t be doing it. It’s genetic pollution, and that is what I am concerned about. The home gardener is a lesser concern to me. If a home gardener puts a bush monkeyflower from Southern California into his small garden on the slopes of Twin Peaks in San Francisco, and its genes pass into the wild population of bush monkeyflower, this may not be so serious for the simple reason that in time whatever genetic pollution there is will probably die out. The exotic monkeyflower bush is only a single plant among many native to the locality. But on San Bruno Mountain, massive seed sowing has caused genetic swamping, and all these foreign genes will overwhelm the local native population.

As another example, there’s been a lot of seed sowing of California poppies, and many of them probably come from those gorgeous, great big, deep-orange forms from Antelope Valley down in Southern California. They’re genetically different from what we have up here, where especially as you get towards the ocean you get smaller and yellower flowers. These may not be as showy as the Antelope Valley type, but they’re distinct, and we want to preserve this distinction. So when people sow poppy seeds all over the place, as they have been doing for many years, the gene pool is contaminated, and we don’t know whether that’s good or bad, or what the consequences will be. All we know is that it’s happening, and it shouldn’t be.

Human beings live their lives on very short time scales. Nature thinks in geological ages. The Earth has been through all sorts of climatic changes, where you have periods of several hundred years of drought, of warming, of cooling, of this, that, and the other variation. The genes for all the native plants have been sorted out over a very, very long time scale, and they’re finely tuned to their environment. When we introduce exotic genes to a locality like SF (exotic meaning not of this place, even if only a very short distance away, e.g., from Napa County or Monterey or the East Bay), they may do very well in the short term, but in the long term nobody knows what effect they’re going to have. They may weaken or even cause the extinction of a particular species over time as the environment changes.

This consideration brings in a lot of practical issues. For example, the Forest Service is looking now for strains of sugar pine that are resistant to white pine blister rust. If they plant thousands of acres of those trees, which would be grown from seed that is selected from resistant trees, we don’t know what other genes those trees might have. They might succumb to long-period droughts. They might succumb to freezing temperatures or warming or any of a zillion factors that Nature considers but human beings don’t have a clue about.

It’s this issue that weighs on my mind. I don’t want to appear overly strict with respect to the home gardener, whose occasional use of an exotic is, as I’ve mentioned, less important than mass programs, but even on that individual level, and particularly on the larger program level, I would like, wherever possible, to get people thinking in terms of preserving the genetic integrity of the local landscape. This requires people to care about and to know about their environment in some detail, and unfortunately we live in an environmentally illiterate society. As long as we are living in that society, then we’re apt to make bad decisions like those I’ve described because those with the power to create and carry out large-scale programs will not be aware of and sensitive to extremely local environmental differences.

One more example of potential genetic pollution would be in the Presidio of San Francisco, where the Army planted cultivars of Ceanothus griseus from the Monterey area, the ground -hugging ones called Yankee Point and Hurricane Point. The Army planted some of these cultivars along Lincoln Boulevard in the Presidio, and C griseus is closely related to the native C thyrsiflorus, the prostrate form of which lives naturally in the Presidio. As of today, no genetic damage is apparent. The reason for that is that ceanothus is a fire-dependent species and does not regenerate from seed except in the presence of fire or some other disturbance. So even though no immediately apparent damage has been done by several decades of these plantings, if there ever is a fire or a bulldozing or some kind of disturbance, then I think suddenly we’re going to find a lot of intermediate seedlings between the indigenous C thyrsiflorus and these C griseus hybrids or cultivars.

It would be good if people with home gardens would think in these terms if they live near a natural area. Even in San Francisco, we have quite a few natural areas around. They’re pocket sized, and they all require a lot of management, but they are still there, and we still have several hundred species of native plants. It would be good if people were aware of the fact that they ought to be augmenting the indigenous population, which is very, very small and beleaguered. If you plant another form of the same species, not only might those genes pass into the wild, which may or may not be much of a concern, but it might be that the native wildlife, which are adapted to the local variety, don’t find your plant particularly inviting or palatable.

I’ve been preaching this doctrine, but people have said, “Well, where can I get these plants? and I’d reply, “You can’t.” Obviously, that was a problem. So that’s why our local California Native Plant Chapter began its autumn plant sales, at which we offer only locally collected native plants. We hope that this idea will grow and people will become more sensitized to this issue and begin to use only local native plants. To find out about our next November native plant sale, please visit http:// www.cnps-yerbabuena.org/ on the Web.

Editor’s Comment: In keeping with the concept of planting local, the Native Plant Garden in front of the Miraloma Park Clubhouse along O’Shaughnessy Boulevard was designed with the help of Jake Sigg to contain only plant species and varieties local to adjacent Glen Park Canyon. This garden, supported by the MPIC and neighborhood volunteers, has recently been expanded and rehabilitated, and is due for another expansion in the Fall. Check it out!  

 

Highlights from the MPIC Board Meeting of August 6, 2009

by Joanne Whitney and Dan Liberthson

Correspondence: Member Rosalind Glazer wrote to thank the MPIC for its activities. Membership: Karen Wood, Committee Chair, reported that personalized letters were hand-delivered urging those who have never been members to join. Members who have indicated that they want to help in Club activities will be contacted. Events: The Bella Vista Neighbors will have a block party on Oct. 17 (see article by Jed Lane in this issue). Club programs in planning include presentations on Miraloma Park history and environs and a meeting about safety (featuring NERT, the SFPD, and other community resources), combined with a barbeque, in April 2010. Clubhouse Improvement/ Maintenance: The Clubhouse has a beautiful new paint job thanks to Board Members Cassandra Mettling-Davis, Sue, Kirkham, and Jim Ilardo, who worked on color selection and job coordination. Volunteers are needed to help with Clubhouse chores, such as distributing mail to appropriate Board members, light cleaning, putting out and taking in garbage cans, cleaning tables and chairs once monthly, etc. A motion was approved authorizing up to $500 for purchase and planting of additional native plants for the Club’s native plant garden. Board members have donated equipment and seeper hoses, as well as time for watering, weeding and general upkeep. More volunteers are needed. Zoning & Planning: The Committee is looking into concerns of neighbors about proposed subdivision of two lots on Bella Vista, with 3 new homes planned. Miraloma Life: Delivery persons are needed (a paid activity; age 12-17 considered or adult with spare time).

Article submissions are welcome. A new layout and design volunteer is needed (see ad in this issue). Traffic: The Board is concerned about the Bicycle Plan, which will reduce the double left-turn lane from Portola to Fowler to one lane in order to create a bike path. Congestion is feared. Board member Jed Lane will request EIR documents related to a simulation claimed in the EIR to have shown minimal impact. If this simulation was weak, MPIC may do our own study and petitions to the MTA to retain the 2 lanes for safety reasons.