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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category


Photos: Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi visits Clement Street merchants

Ryan Allen and Salvador Tovar, co-owners of ‘Sparky’s Fun & Joy’ receive a ‘Certificate of Congressional Recognition’ on their 5th anniversary in Inner Richmond neighborhood.

Last Saturday, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi took a merchant stroll along Clement Street to visit local small businesses and talk with their owners.

The Congresswoman’s office said she believes small businesses are the engine of our economy, and this was an opportunity to support and meet small business owners in her Congressional district.

Pelosi was accompanied by Cynthia Huie, head of the Clement Street Merchants Association. The visit included stops at Seedstore, Park Life, Toy Boat, Green Apple Books, and Nourish Cafe.

Sparky’s Fun & Toys received a special ‘Certificate of Congressional Recognition’ from Congresswoman Pelosi in honor of their 5th anniversary in the neighborhood.

Pelosi is a fan of dark chocolate, and we noticed that Toy Boat owner Jesse Fink is offering her up a chocolate ice cream cone in one pic. We also gave her a dark chocolate chip cookie at Nourish. :)

She also stopped in at Blue Danube cafe, 6th Avenue Aquarium & Flowers, Burma Superstar, Wing Lee Bakery, and Schubert’s Bakery.

Sarah B.

Kevin Hunsanger, co-owner of ‘Green Apple Books and Music,’ and Cynthia Huie, President of the Clement Street Merchants Association speak with Leader Pelosi on her visit to the Inner Richmond neighborhood.

Cynthia Huie (middle), President of the Clement Street Merchants Association, and her sister Jennifer welcome Leader Pelosi to their store ‘Seedstore’.

Co-owners David Song and Jaime Alexander (left to right) welcome Leader Pelosi to their store Park Life

Leader Pelosi meets Jesse Fink, owner of Toy Boat Dessert Cafe

The owners of Nourish Cafe with Leader Pelosi

12:29 pm | Posted under Photos, Politics | 18 comments

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
9:57 am | Posted under Business, Politics, Transportation | 19 comments

Local links: Beach Chalet, Marla Bakery opens, Sushi Wako, tree planting & more

Inside the new Marla Bakery on outer Balboa

Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to dance you into the weekend…

  • Marla Bakery is finally open at 3619 Balboa near 37th Avenue. The Chronicle says it “will be open as a cafe all day and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner most weeknights, and brunch weekends, along with a Sunday supper that will happen at one long table, with a prix-fixe menu and wine pairings.” Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!
  • Just when you thought the debate over the artificial turf fields at Beach Chalet was done… In the upcoming November election, it’s likely that voters will be faced with two dueling ballot measures. One from a group of environmentalists, neighbors and others that want to prohibit artificial turf and field lights at Beach Chalet, and another measure from the city that is designed to override the opponents’ measure. The opponents of the fields have until July 7 to get the 9,702 valid signatures they need to qualify for the ballot.
  • Friends of the Urban Forest are planning another tree planting event in the Richmond District in August. If you’re interested in planting a tree in front of your property, the deadline to apply is July 16. Get all the details here
  • A new sushi spot is open at 211 Clement Street called Sushi Wako. They remodeled a former sushi spot and expanded into the space next door, resulting in a lovely rebuild. According to their website, Wako, which means “Japanese Fragrance” was started by two chef buddies. Reviews on Yelp so far are very good with one reviewer writing, “I have a feeling this place is going to be packed once the word gets out. So shhh…keep it down.” Oops, sorry. :)
  • Into Playland history? Author James Smith, whose latest book “San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach: The Golden Years” recently came out, will be speaking at the Sunset Branch Library (1305 18th Avenue) next Tuesday, June 24 at 7pm. Smith will speak and show photos from his latest book which is an illustrated history of the much-loved park from 1940 until its closing in 1972. We’ve got the book, it’s snazzy.
  • There’s a poignant piece about a duck needing a mate at Mountain Lake Park. “But duck does not live by bread alone. Duck should not, in fact and in the natural state of things, live alone. And Musco is all alone. I am on a one-woman campaign to find him a Muscovy mate.”
5:03 am | Posted under Food, Golden Gate Park, History, Politics, Shopping | Comments Off on Local links: Beach Chalet, Marla Bakery opens, Sushi Wako, tree planting & more

Local links: Muni sickout, Surfcraft, new Vietnamese, Yee nearly elected & more

Transit Accident at Euclid & Arguello Boulevard with onlookers | November 17, 1915. Courtesy of SFMTA Archives

Not too many links to share this week, but like a good loaf of bread, we don’t want them to go stale…

  • How are you all handling the MUNI sickout? We’ve seen hoards of waiting passengers at stops in the neighborhood these past few mornings, and one (handsome!) reader tweeted us that he ran home 5.5 miles from his job to avoid it. Leave a comment to let us know.
  • Congrats to the Balboa Theater (which is screening Purple Rain this Sunday night!) for being named among 7 best movie house in the Bay Area by KQED. We could have done without the “just decrepit and seedy enough” descriptor though…
  • Despite his legal troubles and pulling out of the election, Senator Leland Yee STILL received just over 287k votes in yesterday’s election primary for California Secretary of State – enough for a third place finish. We’re gonna chalk to this up to people lazily voting for a name they recognize… Sigh.
  • This outer Richmond District resident is crafting a new kind of surfboard made specifically for bodysurfing. He came up with the idea after his traditional surfboard broke in half.
  • Reader Emily F. tells us that the old Barley Cafe at 343 Clement near 5th Avenue, which closed abruptly after a few months, will soon be taken over by a new Vietnamese restaurant. She chatted with the owners who were on site who told her that “there that will focus on noodle soups and fresh spring roll wraps. They expect to be open by the end of June.”
12:35 pm | Posted under Business, Food, History, Movies, Politics | 15 comments

Local links: govt shutdown ills, new dance studio, Elmo in prison, Calder’s Big Crinkly & more

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Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to take you into what we hope is a great weekend. – Sarah B.

  • How is the #govtshutdown affecting the Richmond District? Aside from places like Baker Beach and Lands End being “closed” (well at least their parking lots are…), the legendary Cliff House, which is a National Park Service concessionaire, was ordered to close. They did, but then re-opened in defiance, only to be re-ordered to close on Tuesday night. And in other killjoy news, the annual LEAP Sandcastle Contest on Ocean Beach was postponed because their permit for Ocean Beach was deemed invalid during the shutdown.
  • The new “puzzle-like” condos (6 units total) on the corner of California and 4th Avenue were featured in the October issue of San Francisco Magazine. The architect Owen Kennerly referred to the former smog station lot as a sort of “no man’s land” that challenged him. “The real question, then, Kennerly says, was “How bold do you get?” The eventual answer: pretty damn bold. “We stepped up to that threshold and went beyond it,” he says.”
  • Up for an urban adventure/scavenger hunt? Get Lost is hosting the Land’s End Street Scramble on Monday, November 11 (Veteran’s Day). Visit checkpoints in any order, and answer a simple question to prove you were there. Those who score the most are the winners! You can race for 90 minutes or 3 hours, and all levels are welcome.
  • New Century Hair Design at 6209 Geary near 26th Avenue is closing their doors after 20+ years in business. Reader Steve tells us that the business, owned by two local women, is closing down because the landlord won’t renew their lease. “Big loss for the neighborhood and the hundreds of regular clients that have been going their for years,” Steve wrote. They’ll close at the end of October.
  • There’s a new children’s dance studio in the neighborhood – Ms. Marian’s Dance Garden located at 5841 Geary (above Thom’s Natural Foods). Ms. Marian offers performance oriented classes for boys & girls age 3-18 years, at all levels. Ms. Marian recently left the Richmond District YMCA, where she created the Children’s Dance Program and led it for 12 years.
  • Remember the angry guy in an Elmo suit that was causing a ruckus at Rossi Park last year? He was recently sentenced to a year in a New York prison after pleading guilty to attempted grand larceny and misdemeanor stalking in a plot to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts.
  • While SFMOMA is closed, the de Young is displaying Alexander Calder’s Big Crinkly sculpture/mobile in their garden. Watch it being installed in the video below. In other cross-museum news, the Legion of Honor will host a Matisse from SFMOMA exhibition starting November 9, featuring 23 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from SFMOMA’s Matisse collection, alongside four paintings and drawings from the Fine Arts Museums’ holdings, and two works from private local collections.

5:12 am | Posted under Business, Crime, Kids, Ocean Beach, Politics, Recreation | 4 comments

Cliff House defies government shutdown and re-opens for business

We’re in day 7 of the partial government shutdown, and local residents were surprised to learn last week that the Cliff House, a legendary San Francisco reataurant and tourist attraction, was forced to close as a result. The reason is because the Cliff House is a concessionaire of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is part of the National Park Service.

That’s a tough position to be in when you’re the Cliff House, who every day since the shutdown has been losing income and can’t pay its employees.

Clearly they reached their breaking point because today, the Inside Scoop reports that the Cliff House has decided to re-open, despite the government shutdown. In their statement, the restaurant wrote:

In response to the Federal Government shutdown the Cliff House has reached a difficult decision to reopen its doors, Monday, October 7, 2013. While this bold move challenges the shut down order the Cliff House must remain operational.

Our partners at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area have fought hard for the Cliff House to be allowed to stay open.

As a successful, independent, privately owned business that does not depend on any tax dollars or federal funding, the Cliff House must have income.

The Cliff House operates 365 days a year and employs 170 staff most of whom are furloughed. Even though the Cliff House is not open for business there are daily operating costs, which include maintenance of the iconic Cliff House building.

Having been shut down for four days the Cliff House has already assumed considerable financial loss.

Up the street is Louis Diner who despite being on federal park land, was allowed to remain open for business – because they lease the land, they’re not technically a concessionaire of the federal government.

Another federal concessionaire, the Blue Ridge Inn in Mt. Pisgah, North Carolina tried to re-open after cooperating with the shutdown initially.

The government responded by sending rangers to block the entrance to their establishment, who told approaching drivers “the government is closed”. The owner also got a letter from Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis ordering him to shut down, and that he was in violation of his contract.

Will the federal government crack down and demand that the Cliff House close again and comply with the shutdown? We’ll have to see. But in the meantime, it’s business as usual. Popovers for everyone!

UPDATE 10/9/13: After getting wind of the Cliff House’s defiance, the federal government once again ordered the restaurant to shut down on Tuesday night. The Chronicle reports that the Cliff House will remain closed for the duration of the shutdown, losing $10,000 a day in revenue and not paying their 170 employees. Read the Cliff House’s statement (PDF)

Sarah B.

11:56 am | Posted under Business, Politics | 15 comments

Feds cracking down on Hemp Center marijuana dispensary on Geary

Yesterday, SFWeekly reported that the Hemp Center, located at 4811 Geary between 12th Avenue and Funston, is the latest target of federal crackdowns on medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

The building’s landlord received a letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, warning of “property seizures and prison sentences if the dispensary was not shut down”.

The Hemp Center has been in operation since 1999, and in its current Geary location for the past 11 years. It is licensed by the city’s Department of Public Health, however the medical cannabis industry is still federally illegal. Letters like the one Haag sent to the Hemp Center have closed down eight other San Francisco dispensaries since October 2011.

“The letter cites a park, 900 feet away, as the reason why the dispensary is targeted for closure,” dispensary operator Kathleen Capetti told SFWeekly.

According to state law, cannabis dispensaries cannot be within 600 feet of schools or recreation centers which serve youth. San Francisco law requires a 1,000-foot barrier between those uses, but does not specifically address city parks.

The only city park within 1,000 feet of the The Hemp Center is the Park Presidio greenbelt, which is technically a city park but not a highly recreational one. Most residents would be hard-pressed to find children playing among the greenery. The next closest park is the one behind the Richmond District Branch Library on 10th Avenue.

On its website, the Hemp Center writes, “Our experienced budtenders and state-of-the-art vaporizing equipment are only a few of the things that make The Hemp Center so unique. Our spacious club, incomparable amenities, and comfortable Caribbean atmosphere makes getting well a truly inspiring adventure.”

And that’s another unique feature of the Geary Street dispensary – they allow on-site smoking (or vaporizing at it’s also called). The Hemp Center is also the only dispensary in the Richmond or Sunset Districts (grow houses aside, ahem).

Dispensary owner Kathleen Capetti is vowing to fight the threatened closure, telling SFWeekly, “Obama promised they wouldn’t go after the clubs that are in compliance… Now they’re just going after people willy-nilly.”

What do you think? Should the dispensary be allowed to remain in business? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

11:48 am | Posted under Business, Politics | 13 comments

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny visits the Richmond District

A couple of readers alerted us to the presence of Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny in the neighborhood yesterday. His convoy, complete with SFPD escort, stopped off near 18th Avenue and Geary around 4pm on Thursday.

He paid a visit to the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center. According to their Facebook page, they are “a non-profit, volunteer managed organization assisting Irish immigrants in the San Francisco and the Bay Area. IIPC is committed to providing advice, information, advocacy, referral and support.”

Kenny also met with senior executives of technology companies in Silicon Valley earlier in the day.

The Taoiseach has had a busy week, including a stop in Washington, DC where he presented President Barack Obama with a bowl of shamrock at a White House reception.

Thanks to cub reporter David H. and reader LL for the tips and pics!

Sarah B.

1:44 pm | Posted under Politics | 1 comment