Local links: Pacific Cafe turns 40, Farallones swim, Beach Chalet drags on & more

SFCitizen caught this snap of yet another creative use of the bike lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.

  • Congratulations to Pacific Cafe on Geary at 34th Avenue who are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Chronicle food critic Paolo Lucchesi wrote, “In a restaurant landscape where the bright young things are celebrated by media (yours truly often included), let’s give a round of applause to the Pacific Cafe, the epitome of a great neighborhood restaurant.”
  • For only the second time in history, someone swam from the Farallones to the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday. It was his seventh try, and it took 14 hours to swim the 30 miles. Congratulations, Joseph Locke.
  • Columnist John King paid tribute to the glowing dome of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Geary. “It’s also the physical manifestation of a community with deep Richmond District roots.
  • Game on… The measure to block the new soccer fields at Beach Chalet got enough signatures to make it on the ballot for the next election. Mayor Ed Lee has already prepared for the ballot battle by getting his own opposing measure on the ballot. “Mayor Ed Lee and a number of city supervisors last month announced their own initiative, designed to override the Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields Renovation Act. That measure contains a “poison pill” that would invalidate any conflicting ballot measure if the city’s measure gets more votes.” [SF Chronicle] Wake us when it’s over.
  • Parking meters are getting an upgrade, allowing them to accept all five forms of payment, have larger display screens and show pay-by-phone transactions on the meter display. The new ones are being installed in the outer and central Richmond District in this next wave. And in case you’re curious what it costs to upgrade each meter – $515.
  • The latest casualty of the tech boom? It’s Chinese businesses according to newamericanmedia.org. “The irony is that as Chinese buyers acquire more property in San Francisco, it is often the Chinese American tenants who are taking a hit. In this new Chinese city of San Francisco, also a hipster city, one sees more white young people and fewer small Chinese shops and shopkeepers that cater to working-class Chinese.” Read the full story


  1. I want to understand why it costs so much per meter. Surely some money is slipping into the wrong hands.

    I understand it’s great technology for a meter to be able to accept payment in real time, and that’s impressive. But not $515.

  2. @RichmondDweller – Well, about the cost of a laptop – makes sense to me.

  3. @bennett So you’re saying I can browse the web and check my email and Facebook account on the parking meter?

  4. @Mink Mortre No, I’m saying you get a simple computer on a metal pole that does one thing very reliably, and will not break if hit by a baseball bat. Doesn’t seem like a bad value, when you consider cost of installation, etc. 🙂

  5. Regarding the article on Chinese businesses leaving Clement st. that’s exactly what I predicted would happen with the farmer’s market being put in place.

    Chalk up another stupid idea that’s further eroding the Richmond to mar’s office…

  6. Don’t get me wrong. Love some of the chinese businesses. But I do wish things were more eclectic like back in the day. Central richmond isn’t inundated with chinese markets and restaurants. I welcome more diversity.

  7. The Farmers Market is only a few hours per week and is bringing lots of new folks to the neighborhood and is not causing the decline of Chinese businesses. The residents in the area who want to buy organic produce are not doing so at the expense of doing business at the less expensive traditional produce stands. If anything, it’s cutting into the Ferry Building Farmers’ Markets proceeds.

  8. I can’t really see how the city comes out ahead with those fancy meters. Mechanical meters using quarters are a proven technology but dull. The new meters are expensive to install and I’m sure the city gets a much smaller share of the proceeds after the various money transfer/service vendors take their cut. I look at fancy parking meters the same way as I see those handicap cutout corners. They seem to get redone every couple of years because some aspect wasn’t considered and a complete redo is required at tremendous expense to the taxpayer. But a lot of money gets to go into the contractors and/or service providers pockets.

    Perhaps the mechanical coin meters will make a comeback one day like the F-line.

  9. Richmond Resident, replacement of meters is job security for that fiefdom now that coin collecting and counting is phasing out about a decade behind PG&E’s meter readers and is also a way for a district supe to claim they are paying attention to their constituents “needs”.

    Europe has had parking meters where payment is made via cell phone text messaging for close to a decade (long before iPhone), a lot of the cost is tied into maintaining compatibility with the enormous amount of legacy systems the third-party contractors doing the actual work of the City’s (once again headless) IT department such that systems won’t be integrated across City departments so that clerks can re-enter data from paper reports. Remember the bungle with expiration dates on the pre-paid meter cards when they first came out.

    Given the cost of the ever-ballooning City Family and its unfunded pensions (and $10/month health insurance premiums, don’t get me started on the low co-pays), mechanical meters will only come back when the smallest they will accept is a $5 or $10 bill. Muni employees just ratified their raises, over 2% higher than the amount they will now pay into their pensions for the first time ever with a total over 3 years resulting in 8% raises after pensions.

  10. keep G.Gate Park natural,no soccer complex,stay awake.disapointed in richmond blog

  11. Derek…. the farmers market gets me to spend more money on Clement – now I go to Farmers Market & usually stop into a few local stores too. The Chinese markets could label their veggies & fruits so we know where they come from & maybe we would buy more there. I’m happy to have the market in our neighborhood, as I can walk vs drive to ones in other areas of the city.

  12. Re #8, the mechanical quarters take an awful lot of quarters at the rates the city now charges; unless you keep a bucket of quarters in your glove compartment, who has eight quarters in their wallet at lunchtime?

    Meanwhile, it should be noted that at the Toll Plaza, the weird premature merge/exit from the Marina District, which in turn required an odd merge with Hwy 1 traffic from the RIchmond District, seems to be done with, dismantled, gone. I’d say “normal” but normal will take another year or more.

  13. @Con — 1. the Beach Chalet soccer fields are already soccer fields now. The fields are full of gopher holes and other hazards for soccer players and must be closed for maintenance for several months of the year (IIRC — all this is from memory). The issue is whether to re-sod the field with artificial turf that would be easier to maintain, and put up lights so both kids’ and adults’ leagues could play soccer til 9 p.m. on some evenings.

    2. nothing about Golden Gate Park is natural. The park was created as a park by John McLaren in the late 19th century; before he went to work, the natural state of the entire area is sand dunes.

  14. for the record, it was only 30 years ago when clement street was NOT full of asian businesses. the same complaints today were echoed back then by white businesses, when asian businesses started popping up everywhere. Miz Browns, Stubby Pencil, King Norman’s, Woolworths, Winchell’s, the Gelato shop, Crown Books, Pizza My Heart, Front Room Pizza, Gordon’s Sporting Goods–almost all of these former businesses on Clement are occupied by Asian businesses now. Clement hasnt been “Asian” for THAT long.

  15. oh and there was “Lazy Susan,” an upscale kitchen shop that’s now occupied by a huge store selling cheap pots, pans, and dishes.

  16. @Steve – thanks for the history! Isn’t it funny to see all those chain store names that were previously on Clement?! As a resident, I value the variety that a healthy, thriving street offers to all residents – not just asian, not just white, not just students, or elderly. The ability to walk out of my home & run my errands – food, drug store, hardware store, household items, snacks, etc – that is what makes San Francisco a great city!

  17. The Beach Chalet soccer fields is not a big yawn. It’s about a lot more than a few acres of plastic. grass at the western end of Golden Gate Park. This is about the privatization of public property with a misguided, environmentally unsafe project that will put the health of a generation of kids at risk, pollute the aquifer and air, impact the wildlife in the area so that adults can play soccer at night under artificial lights, pay big fees, and turn this part of Golden Gate Park into a revenue generating venture.

    Don’t you get it? Our public property is being bought by private entities who’d rather throw a few dollars at a project instead of doing what they should do…agree to pay more taxes so that public assets like parks, schools and libraries don’t have to be sold off the highest bidder.

    This issue in Golden Gate Park is about the 1% who think they can take, and take and take, then throw a few crumbs to the rest of us.

    Why else is the City so determined? Why has Supervisor Mar maintained that “there’s not much difference between natural and artificial grass. They’re both green from a distance?” This is the same Supervisor Mar who took on McDonalds and is not supporting a tax on sugared soda to keep our kids healthy. It’s because the City wants to hand over the keys to people like the Fisher brothers, owners of GAP, and the biggest funders of this project. If you start connecting the dots you’ll see it’s all about money and power.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this is as plain as the hand in front of my face. Please, take a giant step back and ask yourself if we’re really better off with fake, plastic grass, toxic rubber tire crumb, high intensity sports lights that will ruin the views at Ocean Beach, instead of beautiful, healthy green grass that will cost less in the long run and will give all us the opportunity to enjoy the Park as it was intended to be enjoyed.

    If you already support the citizen’s ballot initiative sponsored by the Coalition to Protect Golden Gate Park to stop the Beach Chalet project, thank you, and please urge your friends to support it, too. If you don’t yet support the initiative, please take a moment to go to the fields, enjoy a quiet moment in nature, and ask yourself if the Park would be improved by laying down a 7 acre plastic carpet covered with ground up rubber tires, and converting this lovely area into a toxic waste dump.

    I believe the answer is obvious.

  18. Thanks for fighting for our city & Park, retired city gardner,3d gen. richmond son,

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