your Miraloma Life … online – September 2006

  • Election Results Thanks to Jake Sigg, Terry Still
  • Fall Social Event: Miraloma Park’s History on Parade
  • Legal Ease
  • Stanford Heights Reservoir Retrofit Project
  • SOTA Begins School Year With Quilters
  • Sunnyside Park Ground Breaking
  • From President Phil Laird
  • Tasting the Fruit of Mount Davidson: Native Berries with Garden Appeal
  • Design Matters
  • First Annual  – Miraloma Community Block Party 
  • Now that We’re all Back
  • About The Author of San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks
  • MPIC Launches New Website
  • Miraloma Park Parents Group on Yahoo
  • Autumn Moon Festival
  • Undergrounding SF Utility Lines
  • Clubhouse Work Day 

Election Results Thanks to Jake Sigg, Terry Still

by Dan Liberthson

At the June, 2006 MPIC, a quorum of MPIC members turned out to vote for the slates for Board of Directors and Officers. These folks and others, about 30 people in all, had the pleasure of hearing Jake Sigg, noted San Francisco naturalist and member of the California Native Plant Society, talk about his plans for expanding the MPIC Clubhouse native plant garden, while giving an overview of the flora and fauna of the Glen Park  Canyon area and of specific ways in which people can enrich their gardens with drought-resistant native plants. Thank you, Jake, for your excellent presentation, and for your ongoing dedication to San Francisco’s native plant species.

All of the candidates for the Board and for Officer positions listed on the slate published in the May 2006 Miraloma Life were elected at the June 2006 meeting and are listed on the last page of Miraloma Life. Over the summer, however, Terry Still, who had been serving on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer, resigned. We thank Terry for her service in these and other capacities over the last few years (she was also  Clubhouse Rental Agent for a substantial time) and wish her well in all endeavors.

The MPIC Board must be composed of 11 to 17 volunteer Directors (per our Bylaws). The Board currently has 14 members, all of whom volunteer their time and professional and other skills in the service of our neighborhood. We encourage others in the neighborhood to become involved as members and ultimately as Directors. The more active Directors we have , the more we can accomplish on behalf of Miraloma Park and on City issues that concern us. If you qualify (live, own property, or run a business in Miraloma Park) and are not a member, please join the MPIC. If you are currently a member, we thank you for your involvement and encourage you to remember to renew your Membership and pay your annual dues, as well as actively participating in and attending Club events and activities. The more members—and especially active members—the MPIC has, the better we can fulfill our  goal of community improvement.

If you would like to get involved with a group of forward-looking, active, community-minded volunteers, contact us to explore joining the Board,  best accomplished by attending some Board meetings, and getting an idea of what your role might be.       At this point, lacking a permanent Treasurer, we are particularly interested in volunteers who have book-keeping skills and an interest in serving in that capacity. However, many other areas of activity are open, as described below, and current Directors would welcome new volunteers.

Among other activities, the MPIC Board of Directors dedicates time to liaising with the Ingleside Police Department to promote neighborhood safety; putting out the best monthly neighborhood newsletter in the City 10 months a year; graffiti spotting and removal; planning and neighborhood beautification matters; traffic issues; assessment of and (as appropriate) support of or opposition to ballot proposals; native plant and other garden promotion; Clubhouse maintenance, improvement, and rentals; the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) program; and events for the enjoyment and education of the community (e.g., an annual Holiday party, garden and remodeling tours, neighborhood-wide garage sales, social events, election previews and debates, and expert lecturers). Planning and implementing these activities takes time and dedication, but the rewards for the contributing individual volunteer in serving the community at large are well worth the effort. Whatever your gifts and interests, you can play a role and reap those satisfying rewards.

 

Fall Social Event: Miraloma Park’s History on Parade

The history of Miraloma Park is featured in a new book by local resident Jacquie Proctor entitled San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks. Jacquie is a former MPIC club board member and co-founder of the Friends of Mount Davidson Conservancy, which was mainly responsible for saving the cross on Mt. Davidson in recent years. The Arcadia book was published in July and includes the history of Mount Davidson and the MPIC and Clubhouse, Elementary School, as well as the Community Church. Other familiar area landmarks, Tower Market, Sutro Tower, and St. Brendan’s are also found in the book, as well as, the history of adjoining neighborhoods along Monterey Boulevard. Other longtime residents and former club board members who contributed historical pictures and neighborhood history to the book are Bertha Jones, Elizabeth Mettling, Ken and Kathy Hoegger, Ron Davis, John Pommon, Margie Whitnah, and Jeanne Davis.

The Miraloma Park Improvement Club is proud to have Jacquie’s fine work featured at the MPIC Fall Social Mixer on Sunday, October 22 between 3 and 5 PM at the Clubhouse. Beside the author herself, the Ridge Runners, led by Dave Bisho and his fellow 1964 St. Brendan classmates, will also be entertaining us with their Kingston Trio inspired acoustical music. Reminisce about the “good old days” over a glass of wine and some snacks while at the same time meeting old and new neighbors alike at our now annual Fall event at the MPIC Clubhouse. This collectible book will be available for purchase from the author for only $20.00. Preview the book at http://www.mtdavidson.org/.

If you cannot wait for October 22, Jacquie will also be doing a presentation and book signing at the new Bookshop West Portal on Sunday, September 10 at 3PM. Send her an email for more information about how to get this important addition to the history of our neighborhood.

Legal Ease

by Steven Solomon

Q: It’s back to school time, and I wanted to have my car checked out for any problems. What are the requirements for written repair orders at a car repair shop?

A: ANY repair shop, gas station, etc. licensed by the state Bureau of Auto Repair is REQUIRED to provide a written estimate/work order describing the work to be performed, types of parts to be used, estimated costs, & customer’s authorization for additional work. Afterwards, the shop is required to provide a final written invoice of the work performed & parts used, even if there was no charge to the customer (for warranty work).

Did you know dept: The 90 adult drug courts in California were estimated to save taxpayers almost $90 million/year. The rearrest (recidivism) rate for drug court graduates was 17%, while for those going through the traditional criminal court process the rate was 41%.

Steve Solomon is an 18 year resident of Miraloma Park.  He just relocated his law office to West Portal where he continutes to represent consumers and business groups in a variety of legal issues.

 

Stanford Heights Reservoir Retrofit Project

by Mike Naughton

San Francisco voters approved a bond measure in 2002 to fund seismic upgrades for all SFPUC Water Department reservoir facilities.  The Stanford Heights Reservoir, located in our neighborhood between Agua, Isola and Rockdale, is scheduled to undergo retrofitting beginning in the fall of 2007.  The project is expected to last about two years.  The MPIC board has been working very closely with the PUC to insure that disruption to the immediate neighbors will be as minimal as possible, and that the final outcome is a reservoir that is seismically safe, secure and pleasant to look at.

The reservoir was built in 1923 and has not had any significant incremental strengthening since 1953.  The PUC engineers expect the upcoming work will allow it to withstand a major earthquake, and in addition, will have increased security and an upgraded appearance with better attention to landscaping and maintenance.

The reservoir is actually made up of two side-by-side underground tanks.  The plan is to drain one tank through normal usage, strengthen and refill it, and repeat the process with the other side.  The plan also includes tearing down the pump house on Agua at La Bica, and to rebuild it to current codes.  The PUC architects have worked closely with the MPIC board to insure that our neighborhood residential planning guidelines are adhered to, and that the design evokes the character and style of our neighborhood.

The PUC held its first community outreach meeting on July 19th, hosted by the MPIC at the clubhouse.  Residents in the immediate vicinity of the reservoir were notified and invited to hear about the proposed plans and discuss any issues of concern.  About 20 neighbors attended.  As we get closer to the project’s start date, there will be further communications and community outreach from the PUC to keep neighbors informed, and to provide a forum for input.

Any questions about the project can be directed to Amy Sinclair, public relations officer of the San Francisco PUC, asinclair@sfwater.org.

SOTA Begins School Year With Quilters

by Caroline Grannan

School of the Arts (SOTA), San Francisco’s acclaimed public arts high school conveniently located in Miraloma Park, begins the school year with several productions worth checking out.

A multitalented SOTA cast will present the musical “Quilters: Pieces of Lives” from Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 28-30, on the mainstage at SOTA, 555 Portola at O’Shaughnessy. Performances will be at 7:30 each evening, plus a 2:30 Saturday matinee.

On Thursday, Oct. 5, SOTA’s Theatre Department presents “Best of Boot Camp: Scenes and Monologues,” at noon and again at 6:30 p.m.; and Friday-Sunday, Oct. 6-8, the Theatre Department presents the musical “The Fantasticks.” The public is invited to all performances.

For tickets and information, please go to the SOTA PTSA website, http://www.sfsota-ptsa.org/, or call 415/695-5720.  Please watch future issues of Miraloma Life for more SOTA events of the new school year – including the year’s biggest event, the legendary musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” in February-March 2007.

Sunnyside Park Ground Breaking

by Andrea O’Leary

On Saturday, August 26, residents were presented with one of the most comprehensive ground breaking celebrations attendees could recall in anticipation of a capital renovation to a public park.

Sunnyside Park Families & Neighbors (SPFN) raised the money and had a Ground Breaking Party in cooperation with  Recreationand Parks.  About 300 hotdogs and hamburgers were served and two kiddy bouncy apparatus were well used.  DJ music, button making and a  review of the plans for construction completed the day.  Representatives of several city agencies were present including both the project designer Lizzy Hirsch and DPW Landscape Architect John Thomas, DPW’s Mohammad Nuru, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Director Daniel Homsey, the SF Police Officer Chea and Parks Patrol lead Officer Marcus Santiago. 

A fantastic time was had by all confirming that the neighborhood park can now be relevant to the recreational needs of the many families present.

From President Phil Laird

As president of the MPIC Board, I intend to post a brief monthly update to apprise residents of issues important to Miraloma Park. The main topic this month is the Natural Areas Program. On July 26 the Recreation and Parks Commission held a special meeting to solicit public comment on the plan. Unexpectedly over 300 people jammed Room 416 in City Hall. Despite a speaking limit of  one minute per person, commissioners ran out of time and the hearings will be continued at a later date.  What is this plan that inspired such passion from so many citizens?  Its overarching goal is to preserve and protect the natural vegetation and biodiversity that in many areas have been adversely affected by urban growth and invasive exotic species. The plan, in development since 1997, designates 31 of our 209 city parks as “natural areas” and specifies in detail how noxious weeds will be removed and replaced by native plans, to control erosion and to provide food and cover for wildlife. Because Mt. Davidson, Twin Peaks, and Glen Canyon are all “natural areas”, MPIC studied the plan, submitted a letter,  and commented at the hearing.

An extremely detailed and carefully written document (available on the web at http://www.parks.sfgov.org/site/recpark_index.asp?id=1896) describes what Rec and Parks intends to do. Included among the invasive species are the blue-gum Eucalyptus trees that dominate Mt. Davidson, Mt. Sutro, and other city landscapes. Some people claim that these trees will be clear-cut from Mt. Davidson and that the commissioners want to return San Francisco’s open spaces to sand dunes and grass. Not so: no clear-cutting is planned, and of the more than 11,000 trees on Mt. Davidson, only about 1600 are to be thinned to allow native trees such as the coast live oak to become established. Other concerns  are that off-leash areas for pets would be closed in order to protect native butterflies and other endangered species and that the feral cat population would be exterminated. But the plan provides off-leash opportunities  and allows maintenance of feral cat populations in balance with those of other wildlife.  Following  public hearings, the plan will undergo environmental review for up to eighteen months with  opportunities for public commentary before the commission votes.
                                
Traffic and Transit: Traffic conditions on neighborhood streets, notably Teresita Boulevard, are an issue with which the MPIC has been struggling for years. The Safety Committee repeatedly asks the police to conduct regular enforcement actions for speed limits and stop signs. Board member Gary Noguera works tirelessly with the city in an effort to implement the long promised but still unrealized “traffic calming” plan for slowing down through traffic on Teresita. The plan appeared ready to move forward this past March – the painted lines and plastic battens at the intersection of Marietta and Teresita are vestiges of that process. But, as so often happens in city agencies, the city’s Department of Parking and Traffic (DPT) reorganized, new people took over, and the process ground to a halt. Moreover, funding for the program by the Board of Supervisors is not assured, so how much can be implemented this year or the next is unclear. You can see overviews of all the Traffic Calming programs by visiting the website http://www.sfgov.org/site/dpt_page.asp?id=13568. There you can also submit your ideas and concerns by completing a survey specific to Miraloma Park.
Transit riders have also complained recently about poor service on the #36 bus. Evidently the root of the problem is that Muni—after loud public criticism for paying drivers so much overtime—has cut overtime and instead eliminated trips when no driver is available. Lack of funds for maintenance may also be affecting service. Regular riders report, however, that service during rush hours seems to receive priority, that the off-hours runs are the ones most likely to suffer service degradations.
Graffiti: Does it seem to you that there is more graffiti vandalism in the neighborhood? You’re not just imagining it: the MPIC graffiti team has had to respond vigorously to the latest tagging wars by removing new graffiti and assisting local merchants with removing tags on their property. So far in 2006 police report over sixty arrests citywide of vandals caught tagging city and private property. Three have been along Portola Drive, including one at O’Shaughnessy. Note: You can, and should, remove graffiti near where you live. Call DPW’s 28-CLEAN phone line if you need assistance or want to report graffiti on public property.

Tasting the Fruit of Mount Davidson: Native Berries with Garden Appeal

by Geoffrey Coffey

The birds of Mt. Davidson dine on nine different native berries, a local food source they recognize, having evolved here together with these plants for many thousands of years.  Today the native berries grow only in the margins between the open grasslands on the northeastern slope and the dense surrounding Eucalyptus forest (where few critters dwell), holding clues for ambitious wildlife gardeners hoping to attract birds.  The secret: plant those same kinds of berry-yielding shrubs in your yard, thus to bridge the urban garden and the last of the wild landscape.  As a bonus, some of these berries are also edible by humans, and delicious.

The California huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) is one of our most adaptable evergreen shrubs, and the tastiest of all the native berries.  It grows in both sun and shade, though more abundantly in redwood forests and other moist environments.  On Mount Davidson it hunkers down in the wind, topping out at four feet, but in sheltered conditions it can grow to 10 ft. or more.  Use it as an informal hedge or screen, particularly in the shadow of large trees, where it will thrive on the fog drip.  Clusters of pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers in spring mature into berries by fall.  This slow-growing plant requires patience, but the long-term dividends are well worth the wait: the compact wine-dark fruit will draw squadrons of birds and the occasional gaggle of delighted blue-tongued children.

For a faster and larger specimen in sunny conditions, toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) delivers the goods.  This large evergreen shrub wants to become a small tree of up to 20 feet; it flowers with a white spray in late summer, then produces abundant red berries in December — thus its other common name, “Christmas berry.”  Alas, this fruit doesn’t please the human palate, but our feathered friends do love it (and butterflies go for the flowers).  For winter appeal and as a confirmed wildlife magnet, toyon makes a fine choice in the garden.

Several local deciduous shrubs also recommend themselves for seasonal accent and color.  They lose their leaves in the winter, so won’t do as a hedge or a screen, but they can work wonders as focal points in the garden:

Flowering current (Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum) erupts in gorgeous tassels of pink and white blossoms in February, one of the earliest plants to bloom.  This stunning species has been adopted by horticulture; in many retail nurseries you will find gorgeous cultivars like King Edward VII, Berrie Coates, and Circle Rose.

Osoberry (Oemlaria cerasiformis) gives delicate if inconspicuous white flowers, but the foliage glows in the sun with the most remarkable shade of luminescent green, and the edible berries turn deep purple when mature.  A many-stemmed shrub or small tree that reaches 15 feet tall, osoberry is known as the favored nesting habitat for small songbirds.  Native Americans ate osoberries fresh, dried, and preserved, and used the leaves in small amounts for salads.

Those leaning toward a white color palette might consider the snowberry (Symphoricarpus albus var. laevigatus), a mid-sized shrub to 4 or 5 ft. with delicate shimmering leaves that glow in filtered sunlight; the white berries go well together with many color schemes.  But families with young children beware, this fruit may be toxic.
 Coast red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) survives in sun or shade, and adapts well to high winds, drought, and other challenging conditions.  Many birds nest in its branches and feast on the clusters of bright red berries.  The elderberry can reach tree-like proportions if left to its own devices (up to 25 feet tall and wide), but is adaptable to the conditions of a smaller garden by simply hacking it to the ground every new year; invigorated sprouts will spring from the stump with astounding speed and beauty.  The branches are hollow, and Native Americans coppiced them for flutes and clapper-sticks.  The red elderberry fruit is not edible by humans, but its close cousin the blue elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) is also local to the Bay Area (though not specifically to Mount Davidson) and has good edible berries.
                                                            
Interest in local native plants has grown among home gardeners and professional landscapers, but many retail nurseries still haven’t caught up with the trend.  The SF Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum holds a sale on the second Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.;  their sale on September 9 will focus on native plants, some propagated from Mount Davidson sources.  The Haight-Ashbury Recycling Center at 780 Frederick St. (by Kezar Stadium) sells a selection of natives propagated by Greg Gaar, many from sources on Mt. D.  But to find the very plants mentioned in this article, your best bet is Bay Natives, a San Francisco nursery with online ordering and full delivery, offering a wide selection of local specimens.  Landscape designers often maintain buying relationships with wholesale nurseries, so hiring a professional can also be a good way to ensure access to the best plants.  Please, never remove plants growing wild on Mount Davidson for personal use.

Miraloma Park resident Geoffrey Coffey writes for the garden section of the San Francisco Chronicle and is the founder of the Madroño landscape design studio.  See more at http://www.geoffreycoffey.com/.

 

Design Matters

Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architect

This is a monthly column addressing basic residential design and home improvement topics of interest to Miraloma Park residents. If you have a question or topic you’d like considered for a future article please send an email to: pazdesignmatters@aol.com or call 415.334.2868. http://www.zepponi-architects.com/

Q: Is my shower door tempered glass?
A: If it’s old, probably not, and you need to replace it ASAP.

SAFETY ALERT!  If you have an old or original shower door it is most likely not tempered and a serious safety hazard.  Standard plate or float glass will shatter and break into long glass shards which will slice like a knife.  Tempered glass per section 2406 of the CBC is required in all shower doors and several other ‘Hazardous Locations” where there is the ‘potential for human impact’.   Tempered glass, unlike plate glass when broken will shatter into hundreds of tiny pea size pieces of glass.  These pieces may still scratch and cut you when broken, but they will unlikely cause life threatening or scarring injuries that
a falling shard will.
 
It is easy to overlook this very life threatening hazard that you use everyday, especially if you have been in your home for a long time.  Often new home buyers will have a home inspection during escrow and replacing the shower door is an item that makes the list.  But without it being on a to-do list you might just not think about it or you might just think it is tempered as was the case with our shower door. 

Last month we learned the hard way just how unsafe plate glass doors can be when my wife closed our shower door too hard.   I was standing in the hallway and watched the door explode into glass daggers, one of which fell and sliced her wrist that was still holding the handle.  Blood started going everywhere so I quickly tied a towel around it, had her elevate it, carried my crying toddler away from the glass and called 911.  It was very scary.  The rest of the day was spent at the ER getting six stitches for a very deep wound.    It is terrifying thinking about all the times our toddlers have come in and pounded on the shower door to get our attention! Do yourself a favor and avoid this nightmare.  Replace your old glass doors.  This goes for any other old plate glass doors, French doors or sliding doors you may have in your house as well.   All it takes is one misstep to fall through a glass door.  Tempered glass should have a permanent identification label, called the ‘bug’, etched or ceramic fired on the glass indicating the glass is tempered.  It is usually found in one of the four corners.  If you don’t see it the glass is likely not tempered.

There are several options to quickly and relatively inexpensively replace your shower door.  The first might be to contact one of the contractors who advertise in this newsletter, especially if you have some other projects you’ve been putting off.  The second might be to go to one of the home improvement warehouses and buy and install your own door, if you have the time, tools, and knowledge.  The third way for those who are  too busy and just want to get it done is to call a local glass company and have them do it all for you.  That’s what we did.  This also gives you a lot of options in case you want to keep your existing frame.  Some old doors have a decorative corona across the top or other decorative design either in the frame or glass.  A glass shop can remove and replace the glass in the original frame, or they might even be able to replicate a design that is in the glass.   You can of course buy a new door from them and install it yourself, but it’s probably just as well to have them do it because then you get an installation guarantee.    If you do not have a decorative door frame worth saving, now is a great time to replace it.  There are either fully framed, half-framed or frameless glass doors.   Full frame doors have a metal frame all the way around the glass. Half-framed doors have a metal frame on the hinge side and the bottom rail.  Frameless doors are all glass with usually two hinges on one side.  

The cost of each is in that order from least to most expensive.  And while frameless doors look great, you do give up some water control since the only thing keeping the water in is a gasket, whereas with a frame on each side there is a much better seal.  This is something to consider, especially if you have children using the shower who may not be as careful keeping the water inside.  The other choice you’ll have to make is the style of glass, of which there are many options including: clear, opaque, patterned, frosted, etc.  For about $200 you can buy and install a new shower door yourself, but I’d recommend having a professional install it.   For as little as $400 you can have one custom installed.  New tempered glass alone will cost about $150, having it installed in your old door frame will double it to about $300.  Custom installation of a new frameless glass door will start around $900.  A quick Google search for shower doors will show you how many options there are, but I’d tend to keep it simple.  If you’re considering a bathroom overhaul then get into all the design options, but in the meantime, just make it safe.
    
* This column and its content are intended to be a source of general information. Applicability to your specific project should be verified. Peter A. Zepponi, AIA – Architects, is an architectural firm in San Francisco specializing in residential and commercial architecture. 

 

First Annual  – Miraloma Community Block Party 

Come meet your neighbors on Saturday October 7 from 11 am to 2 pm as we socialize and gather for food, family fun, music and sun at the corner of Teresita and Arroyo in the parking lot across the street from the church. Bring your lawn chair, toddler trikes and join in on the fun!

Although the block party is put on by the neighbors on Arroyo, Gaviota, and adjacent parts of Bella Vista, Teresita and Marietta to the East all are welcome.
Food:  Potluck, but don’t let that stop you.  Just make sure to stop by.  We welcome all participants whether you’d like to bring a dish to share or share in the dishes.
Entertainment:  Live entertainment. If you’re a musician and would like to perform, let us know.

Crafts and Exhibit Tables:  If you’d like to sell handcrafted items or promote your local Miraloma Park business, we’ll have a limited number of exhibit tables available on a first come, first serve basis. 

Volunteers:  Our planning team is actively seeking volunteers.  If you’d like to join our planning team, please contact Norman Nager at 425-7295, Rolyn Acosta-Parker at 307-2336, Beryl Banks at 239-6707, or Carol Lei 469-7266.

 

Now that We’re all Back

I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever hear from our quadrupedal friend again, him with the ears, you know, and thought perhaps the shame of not catching the Great Mt. Davidson Easter Bunny had driven him off to Central Park or some alternative haunt once again. There was a sighting near Ft. Funston; perhaps some of the fat groundhogs around there, or maybe a Pekinese, enticed, but I doubt it. As cold as a summer is on Mt. Davidson, I wouldn’t blame Mr. Fur for seeking warmer climes (I certainly did)—but Ft. Funston can’t be much warmer than our own vertiginous peak. Just when I was about to lay down my binoculars and give up on the critter, I received, by US mail no less, an envelope that had seen much better days. It was mud-spattered, smelt of gin, and was  printed conspicuously in the return address area with the unmistakable outline of a canine paw. Within, written with what appeared to be charcoal on a torn piece of paper bag with “Fresh Florida Oranges” in red block lettering on the reverse side, was the following, faithfully set to print by yours truly. — Ed

If you wonder why I look so impressively intent in the accompanying picture, it is because I am in high stalking mode, in this particular case during my pursuit of the fabled Giant Easter Bunny of Mt. Davidson, derided in the closing issue of this venerable newsletter last Spring as decidedly nonexistent (as seemed obvious when such an accomplished tracker as myself was unable to raise a trace of it). How did I come by this picture, you might well ask—who would have the temerity to approach me in this intimidating hunter’s pose, much less snap a picture of me, without fear for their wretched lives? Well, if you must know, I’ll gratify, though it’s hardly the most flattering episode of my long and storied existence.

As I lay cozily in my den on one of the first foggy nights in late June, when I could scarcely put my nose out without the cold, heavy mist settling most uncomfortably upon it, I heard a powerful thudding, growing steadily louder . Earthquake! I immediately concluded, and decided that, cold wet night or not, it might be prudent to be outside rather within a potentially collapsible cave. I jumped to my feet with my usual lightning speed and was halfway out when I realized that the noise I heard was repeating itself, and at the same time I caught, from the corner of my eye (using my astonishingly acute night vision), a hint of an enormous, shadowy presence receding to my left, as the thumping noises dwindled in amplitude.

The mystery was as thick as the fog itself, until I saw, stuck in the crack of a dead eucalyptus near my doorstep, a crisp, legal-sized envelope. Methinks, perhaps someone is under the impression I’m still practicing law. Well, I could be tempted, if the price were right (a little roast goat, maybe? a fine capon? a brace of fat escargot?). “No case too hard, with a little lard, no need to fleece with a little grease” I used to say when at the bar. The scent on the missive was strange yet familiar, strong yet piquant, and a lick brought a cool susurration of minty overtones mingling with delicate hues of oregano and a warm bass understory of sage and maple syrup (yes, we have vintners in our family). From the envelope, slit by fore claw, slipped not a brief, no offer of employ either venal or legitimate, but a larger “Doesn’t exist, eh?  I, the Great Mt. Davidson Easter Bunny DO NOT EXIST?  Oh, my dear canid, you are off your game completely—obviously in need of some rest and recuperation and a refresher course in Productive Stalking.

Now, in a harsher neighborhood I might stomp the living crap out of you, but since this is our mild and pleasant Miraloma Park, and I am after all, as an Easter Bunny, a very peaceable sort, I’ll let you off with a warning and a ticket to ride out of my sight for the summer while I get over your gall, just as long as you set the record right.  Look a little further, Mr. W.”

Behold, tucked in the back of the envelope was a roundtrip ticket to warmer climes, from which, dear editor, I happily write. It’s been fun, but you know I’m getting a more than a little homesick for the old den, and our September summer is on its way, with its rich harvest of nut-fattened squirrels and other delectable beasties.
 I believe I’ll soon be using the return
portion of this ticket.

Your warm and loyal servant,     
W. Coyote, Esq.

About The Author of San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks

Jacqueline Proctor, grew up in the suburbs of Southern California, and fell in love with San Francisco when visiting as a child. In
1980 she fulfilled a lifelong dream to move here, making a home ever since with her husband and son in Miraloma Park. As a non-native and professional city administrator, she especially appreciated the unique character and history of hers and other neighborhoods on the slopes of Mount Davidson in San Francisco’s West of Twin Peaks, the subject of this new book.

With a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a 30-year career in public service, Jacqueline has written numerous articles for professional and historical journals, as well as, local newspapers. She is delighted by the opportunity to compile and edit this photographic history on behalf of these West of Twin Peaks neighborhoods.
 
Jacqueline is an active community volunteer, having served on the board of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club and co-founded the Friends of Mount Davidson Conservancy. In addition to donating her time as an accreditation evaluator for the American Public Works, she is currently a volunteer San Francisco City Guides, giving free walking tours to Bay Area residents and visitors of downtown Art Deco architecture.

She wrote this book as a tribute to Madie Brown, who in the 1920s worked to create the 38-acre open space oasis on San Francisco’s highest hill, Mount Davidson. Madie’s selfless dedication to community as well as that of many other residents celebrated in this book illustrate why these historic West of Twin Peaks neighborhoods are continuing to flourish into the current century.

MPIC Launches New Website

by Phil Laird

In August regular visitors to the Miraloma Park website (http://www.miralomapark.org/) discovered that the discussion page had been “closed for maintenance.”  The discussion page was being frequently contaminated by advertisements and offensive postings.  Webmaster Ron Proctor removed these spam messages as soon as they appeared but was finally unable to keep up with the volume and took down the discussion page until an alternate solution could be found.  Since then Ron and web designer Aaron Proctor have built a new website with improved security and better features. The new website will look like the old except for a new home page and a completely rebuilt discussion feature.

To prevent abuses major changes to the discussion page were required. As before, anyone can read the comments posted on the discussion board but in order to post or reply to a comment, the user will be required to register by providing a screen name, an email address, and a  password in order to login. Requiring a login will discourage irresponsible posting by professional spammers. Posted messages will identify the user only by screen name. The email address will be kept confidential unless the user requests that it be shown. The web page will show both our privacy policy and our policy toward removing inappropriate messages. These policies will be rigorously enforced. Ron and Aaron have managed to turn an inconvenience into an opportunity to update our web site.

Miraloma Park Parents Group on Yahoo

by Sarah Jones

A new parents’ group site has been created especially for Miraloma Park parents.  The goal of this free site is to connect Miraloma Park parents with one another to share parenting tips/resources, post items for sale, and get to know one another through events and mother’s groups.  Each week, you’ll receive an e-mail with recent postings and will be able to post your messages as well. We welcome your membership as our site continues to grow. To join,  e-mail to miralomaparents@yahoogroups.com

Autumn Moon Festival

On Saturday, September 30, from 10am to 5pm, on Irving between 23 and 25 Avenues, the Sunset Residents Association along with Assemblyman Leland Yee will host the second annual Autumn Moon Festival.  At this time, the moon is at its fullest and brightest, making it an ideal time to celebrate the abundance of the summer’s harvest. The Moon Festival is a time for family reunions.  The 2006 celebration will include performances by the Shaolin Monks, magicians and musicians, pony rides and delicious food.  The public is welcome and admission is free.   The traditional food of the Moon Festival is the moon cake, of which there are many different varieties. In the Yuan Dynasty, China was once harshly ruled by the Mongols. The people devised a plan to revolt against them. To deliver the message, their written plan was secretly embedded in moon cakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the people revolted and drove out the Mongols. Since then, moon cakes have become a popular staple of the Moon Festival.

For more information about the Autumn Moon Festival, please contact Jane Kwong at (415) 664-8749.

Undergrounding SF Utility Lines

The Utility Undergrounding Task Force is working on the future of utility undergrounding .  The task force has prepared a web survey that will be available until September 15 at the following website:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=971202376245. Over the years many Miraloma Park residents have enquired about undergrounding the utility lines in our neighborhood, but found that it is a difficult and expensive proposition.  The utility poles impact the beauty, views, desirability and property values of neighborhoods.  In addition overhead utility wires can be dangerous in the event of earthquake induced line breaks or falling.  You may be fortunate enough to have underground lines on your block, but not all homes in Miraloma Park enjoy that luxury. Take a moment to support our community by completing the on-line survey. Thanks, Sue Kirkham.

Clubhouse Work Day          

How fortunate we are to have the Miraloma Park Clubhouse as a neighborhood resource.  Built in 1929 ,the clubhouse and its lodge-style architecture recall an era when San Francisco was half as old as  today, when people dressed up to go downtown, and when people could  park their cars on West Portal Avenue. But this seventy-five year old treasure needs maintenance. MPIC hires licensed contractors for major work, but tasks such as cleaning out gutters and downspouts, touch-up painting, and minor repairs must be done by members and supporters. The next Clubhouse Improvement Day is on Saturday,  October 7 from 8:30 am to noon. Come dressed in work clothes, hat, gloves, and sturdy shoes. The reward for your morning’s labors will be lunch provided by the MPIC. So that we may know how many potatoes to put into the pot,  call 281-0892 if you plan to come.