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Revealed: Felines of the Richmond District thanks to geotagged cat pic project

A new website called “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” sounds creepier than it really is. In fact it’s pretty entertaining.

Site founder Owen Mundy decided to make something from the millions of geotagged images that are uploaded to popular photo sharing sites like Instagram and Flickr, and are then given the keyword/hashtag “cat”.

The end result is a map of the world with fetching felines dotted throughout. Pics of cats lounging, cats cleaning themselves in the sun, playing with funny objects, nuzzled up next to their owners, or giving their typical “like I care” stare at the camera. The “random cat” button in the interface will steal minutes from your day.

Within San Francisco, the project managed to pinpoint quite a few cats in the Richmond District. Some of our own readers might find their furry companion on the map. There’s even one cute guy that apparently lives off the coast at Lands End. Swimming cat?

Mundy started the site as an experiment, choosing 1 million images at random to initially map. The geographical metadata within each image allows pinpointing to within 7.8 meters accuracy.

Now Mundy is trying to raise $2,500 via a Kickstarter campaign to help with server costs to expand the project (and handle its mounting traffic, this is serious cat porn, people).

So don’t be surprised if some kitty celebrities emerge after this kind of exposure, or if you start recognizing some of your feline neighbors as they pass on the street. If you want to get your cat in on the action, start shooting and taggin’!


Sarah B.

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 11:42 am | Posted under Pets, Photos | 6 comments

BigPicture, Academy of Science’s first photo exhibition opens August 1

The Luckiest Penguin by Paul Souders

This week, the California Academy of Sciences will open its first official photography exhibition since it’s re-opening in 2008.

The show will display spectacular images from the Academy’s inaugural BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. The competition received over 6,300 entries from award-winning nature, wildlife and conversation photographers around the world. Just 45 were selected as finalists and included in the final exhibition.

The grand-prize winning image, pictured above, is entitled “The Luckiest Penguin” and was shot by Paul Souders of Seattle, Washington. It depicts a Gentoo penguin narrowly escaping a leopard seal near Cuverville Island in the Antarctica. Leopard seals are known for being brutally efficient hunters in the Antarctic waters, frequently ambushing penguins as they enter or leave the water.

“I love photographing in the Antarctic. The wildlife there are quite comfortable with (human) presence. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see the world in a near pristine state,” Souders said. He has also won a National Geographic Photo of the Year award.

Another first place winner is a stunning, stark image of a mountain lion on the steps of a home in Boulder, Colorado where about 70 mountain lion sightings are recorded every year. Photographer Morgan Heim captured the great image with a camera-trap technique, which reminds us of the close proximity of human and animal habitats.

BigPicture is the Academy of Science’s first photo exhibition since it opened in Golden Gate Park nearly 100 years ago. Spokeswoman Elena Fuhrmann says the exhibit came about because of its synergy with the Academy’s mission.

“The Academy has the unique advantage of being home to both a public science museum and institution of active research. This exhibit is designed with both of those qualities in mind—presenting both the art and beauty of compelling nature photography and the critical sustainability challenges we’re working to address, so that moments like the ones captured in these photographs can continue to be appreciated for generations to come.”

The winners of the BigPicture competition will be honored at a special Nightlife on Thursday, July 31 where attendees can see the exhibition before it opens to the public on August 1. The exhibition runs until November 2, and is included with the price of admission to the Academy.

Sarah B.

Beast in the Garden by Morgan Heim

Attack by Pål Hermansen

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 5:05 am | Posted under Art, Golden Gate Park | 5 comments

Local links: 38L-ove, new “Spicy Legend”, ladies join the Urination & more

The 38L. By Lucia Garcia. Click to enlarge.

Here’s hoping that you’re not having a Manic Monday. But in case you are, here are some local links to get you through…

  • Local designer Lucia Garcia sent us the above poster, for which she says “Just wanted to share a project I created, a poster showing the road section and landmarks for Muni 38L route.” Thanks Lucia – we love it (along with this graphic of the Outer Richmond)!

    In other MUNI-related news, there is a new iPhone app called MuniStops that not only shows you the data on upcoming MUNI buses, but also estimates your walking time from your current location to bus stop of choice. ‘Tis free.

  • And in the “we can never get enough neighborhood love” department, now you can get your very own Neighborhood Love Patch. Iron on the heart on the Richmond District (or other fave ‘hood) and then attach the patch to whatever you want – $7. The same online store also has a Neighborhoods by the Zodiac Poster but for some reason, the Richmond District was not worthy of being on it. Boo. So we’ll ask you – which Zodiac sign are we?
  • Listen up, upcoming lady attendees of Outside Lands! If the porta-potties at outdoor festivals get you down, look no further than the Stand Up, described as “your first disposable, biodegradable, clutch-purse-fittable, pocket-slippable peeing accessory.” Different packs range from $6 to $16. Now you can pee like the boys! Hooray…?
  • The former Pho Garden restaurant (2109 Clement), known for its nausea-inducing Pho Challenge has been replaced by a new spot called Spicy Legend. We haven’t been by yet so we’re not sure if it’s open; nothing on Yelp yet. UPDATE: Reader Jon C. reports that they’re now open daily, 11-3:30 and 4:30 to 10pm, and that “it looks like they’re specializing in Szechuan dishes”.
  • The skee-ball league known as Brewskee-Ball got a feature in the Chronicle recently. “Three nights a week, a total of 32 teams with names like the Lionel Richskees and the Skeemosexuals compete against each other at the Buckshot.” Hopefully this positive publicity for the game will help in their lawsuit with the makers of Skee-Ball.
  • We’re guessing this Subaru driver was more than surprised to find their front nose under a 38 Geary bus last Thursday at 45th Avenue and Point Lobos. The photo was tweeted by @bonanos who said “no injuries apparent”.

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 5:15 am | Posted under Art, Food, Muni, Recreation | 13 comments

Jog in the Fog 5k is back on September 14. Sign up today!

We’re thrilled to bring back the Richmond District Jog in the Fog 5k family fun run for its second year on Sunday, September 14.

This event is ALL about the Richmond District. The course runs through the Richmond District, local businesses are sponsoring it, and proceeds from the race benefit a neighborhood charity, the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC).

The course begins in Mt. Lake Park and finishes out at Lands End, showing off our beautiful parks and coastal scenery along the way. Both runners and walkers are welcome!

Registration for adults (13 & over) is $35, and that includes a race bib and t-shirt featuring the race logo designed by neighborhood artist Andy George.

Kids 12 & under can participate for FREE – just bring them along on race day and we’ll give them a free, souvenir race number (no advance registration required). Check out photos from last year’s inaugural race.

This is a great chance to come out and enjoy a fun run through our beautiful neighborhood with your fellow neighbors and support the RDNC, a non-profit that provides free and low-cost resources, support, and activities to children, teens, adults and seniors in the neighborhood.

Get all the details on the race and register at joginthefog.com, or start your registration below. We can’t wait to see you out there!

Sarah B.


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 10:41 am | Posted under Events | Comments Off on Jog in the Fog 5k is back on September 14. Sign up today!

Determined SFPD officer in a ticketing frenzy at 22nd & California

Officer UnFriendly pulls over a car on 22nd Avenue on Friday morning

The intersection of 22nd and California has always been a busy one. It’s a four way stop with businesses on three corners, two of which – Angelina’s Cafe and the Appel & Dietrich Market – get a lot of traffic. Alamo Elementary School is just down the block on 22nd Avenue, and there are bus stops on the east and west corners of the intersection. Crossing pedestrians are a frequent occurrence.

So it’s hardly a surprise to see an officer posted on the southeast side of the intersection, waiting for drivers to make their “California stops”, e.g. rolling stops, at the intersection.

But so far, a single officer has been at it for a week now, nabbing drivers left and right, resulting in a veritable frenzy of ticket-writing.

We were at Angelina’s Cafe this morning at 7:05am and Officer UnFriendly had already pulled someone over near 21st Avenue and California, lights flashing. By the time we purchased our coffee, he had already pulled over another driver on 22nd Avenue. This was in the span of approximately 8 minutes.

We emailed Richmond District station Captain Simon Silverman a few days ago to ask if there is an initiative underway to make that particular intersection the safest in San Francisco. But we got a vacation reply so we’ll have to wait until he’s back to get an explanation. [Update 7/28/14: We received a reply from Capt. Silverman which is reprinted below.]

One reader saw Officer UnFriendly nabbing drivers at 22nd and Lake as well. After someone rolled through the stop, he sped down the center line of Lake Street, no lights flashing, to pull them over.

“The officer’s driving seemed unsafe to me,” the reader wrote to us. “And really over the top.”

Whatever the cause, it seems like overkill for a single officer to spend multiple hours per shift at a single intersection for a week. Yes, we should all be making full stops and being reminded of it is not a bad thing. But given all of the problem traffic points we have in the neighborhood like the Fulton freeway and the Geary interstate, shouldn’t some of this enforcement be spread around?

Or maybe Officer UnFriendly is going for cop of the month? Time will tell but in the meantime, mind your stops, especially at 22nd and California.

Sarah B.

We received this reply to our inquiry from Captain Simon Silverman on July 28, 2014:

We base our decisions on where to focus traffic enforcement on a number of factors including collisions, requests by the public, and our own observations of traffic conditions in the district.

In the case of 22nd & California, I was contacted separately by a couple of residents alarmed at the number of cars running stop signs and nearly hitting pedestrians. One woman told me that her young daughter was almost hit in the crosswalk. When people tell me about a dangerous area, I have my officers take a look at the traffic situation and write citations if warranted. More than one officer has been writing citations at 22nd & California although your blog post focused on a particular officer.

By writing citations, we are hoping to reduce violations and thereby reduce collisions. Most people drive more carefully if they get a ticket or if they see someone else getting a ticket. I hope that by writing a number of citations in the same place, we are making it safer by changing the behavior of the people who regularly drive through the area.

The intersection of 22nd & California is not the only place where Richmond Station’s officers are writing citations. In fact, the 4 block radius around that intersection accounted for only a small fraction of our traffic enforcement stops in the past month. We have also focused enforcement on Fulton, on Geary and on Park Presidio as well as many other places in the Richmond.

As you might imagine, writing people citations can be unpleasant because many people get upset and take it out on the officer. The officer whose picture you posted is undeterred by that unpleasantness, because he is doing an important job. It doesn’t make sense to call him “Officer Unfriendly” when even the few blog comments critical of his actions are not critical of his demeanor.

Officer have no quotas or incentives for citations, so it’s gratuitous to speculate that the officer whose picture you posted is “going for cop of the month” by writing tickets. This same officer has been on scene at a number of collisions where people have been seriously injured or killed, including one at 43rd & Fulton where a toddler was hit by a truck. The officer kept in touch with the family and visited the little boy in the ICU bringing him a toy. In my mind, that’s what makes him “cop of the month” – but he’ll tell you he was just doing his job.

Captain Simon Silverman
Commanding Officer
Richmond District Police Station


Waiting on the southeast side of the 22nd & California intersection to tickets
drivers that are making rolling stops.

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 9:24 am | Posted under Crime | 79 comments

Police Blotter – July 18, 2014

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of July 18, 2014. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org.]


Captain Simon Silverman is on vacation

Golden Gate Bridge Weekend Closure

A full closure of the Golden Gate Bridge will be necessary during the short-term construction activities. This closure will begin at midnight on January 9, 2015 and will end at 4:00 AM January 12, 2015. The closure is not expected to exceed 52 hours. While this will cause significant delays to motorists traveling between the City of San Francisco and Marin County, the weekend closure is unavoidable to ensure both public and worker safety during construction. It is recommended that the public is informed to use alternate freeways, ferry services and/or avoid the use of Route 101 during this weekend.

An issue which was brought up by a concerned citizen at the PAR meeting, is the lack of turn signal use by road users. Not only is the non-use of your turn signal a vehicle code violation, this simple directional gives other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians a clear warning of your intention to change direction of travel. We would request all road users be mindful of your surroundings and be extra careful during the summer months.

Follow us on

On 07/06/2014, at 10:54 am Officers on patrol on the area of westbound Fulton observed a vehicle in front of them with an expired registration tab which was expired since Nov 2013. They conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle. As soon as contact was made, the driver pointed towards the back of the car and said “I know”. The officers asked to see the driver’s license and he stated he did not have one. The driver was cited and their vehicle was towed for registration expired over 6 months.

On 07/04/2014, at 8:32 pm, Officers responded to Masonic and Geary Blvd. to conduct a well being check on a male who was passed out in the driver’s seat of a stationary vehicle. While conducting the well being check, officers determined that the driver of the vehicle was under the influence of suspected narcotics. After their investigation, the driver was booked into the county jail for D.U.I.

On 07/08/2014, at 10:10 pm, Officers on patrol in the area of Geary and 18th ave. observed a white Mercedes driving in an unsafe and erratic manner. The officers started to follow the vehicle along Park Presidio Blvd and saw the vehicle make multiple unsafe and abrupt lane. Officers initiated a traffic enforcement stop where upon contacting the driver the cited him for reckless driving and various other vehicle code violations.

On 07/09/2014, at 10:24 am, Officers responded to the area of Rossi Park regarding an auto burglary in progress. Upon their arrival at the scene the officers observed a male and female parked in a vehicle which matched the description provided. After refusing to comply with the verbal commands given by the officers the vehicle fled the area. The driver of the vehicle showed a blatant disregard for the property and safety of others by hitting multiple vehicles during his effort to escape. The vehicle was spotted a short distance away by another responding unit which attempted to conduct a traffic stop; the vehicle again increased speed and fled. Due to the initial call being a property crime the officer did not follow the vehicle for safety and policy reasons. While the initial responding officers were taking the auto burglary report they were notified that the suspect vehicle was stopped in another police district. It should be noted that the male suspect ran from the scene of the traffic stop on foot and the female occupant was arrested. The investigation continues….

On 07/16/2014, at 1:20 am, Officers on patrol in the area of Geary blvd spotted a vehicle driving with no headlights. The initiated an enforcement stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver. A computer check revealed that the driver was suspended for a prior violation. The driver was cited at the scene without further incident for the violations.

On 07/16/2014, at 12:20 pm, Officers responded to area of 9th and Lake St. regarding a purse snatch which had just occurred. The victim (68 yrs old) stated she was robbed by female suspect who shook her violently and stole her purse. The suspect fled to a waiting camper type vehicle which had a male driver. The vehicle fled the area in an unknown direction. The victim in this incident was not hurt and a passerby assisted until the police responded. Police saturated the area in an effort to locate the fleeing vehicle to no avail. Responding officers assisted the victim in getting to her banking institution which confirmed that a credit card transaction had occurred 16 mins after the robbery. The investigation continues….

We are still suffering from a lot of vehicle burglaries. Please do not leave items or valuables in your vehicles. If you see a suspicious character looking into parked vehicles, call 415-553-0123 and provide a description of the suspect.

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 8:15 am | Posted under Crime | 8 comments

SOLD! Alexandria Theater under new ownership; development moving forward

The Alexandria Theater has finally been sold. We spoke this week with Jessica Zhao, a representative for the new ownership group that purchased the aging theater property.

The sale of the Alexandria Theater, which also includes the back parking lot on 18th Avenue, closed within the last few weeks for an undisclosed amount. Zhao says the new owners are a group of professionals who were interested in the development opportunity of the project.

The purchase of the property comes with a proposed development project that has already been approved by the San Francisco Planning Department.

The proposed development consists of a small theater and commercial spaces in the main building, and a new residential apartment building on the back parking lot.

Zhao says the new owners are focused initially on getting the residential apartment development underway. Zhao and the owners are in conversations with architects, engineers and other construction resources to scope the project. They are also working closely with the Planning Department.

The future use of the main theater building, which has been the victim of blight and decay since it closed in 2004, is still being decided.

Zhao says they are “taking a hard look at what is practical” for the main building, which includes discussions with the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation (SFNTF) on the viability of having a small theater operate on the property. The SFNTF has helped save many neighborhood theaters in the city including our own Balboa Theater, the Clay Theater and Vogue Theater.

Zhao says that until that research is completed, nothing will be decided about how the commercial space will be used in the main building. When asked if the Alamo Drafthouse is still being considered as a partner, Zhao said that their first step is to consult with the SFNTF.

“We need to do more research to look at what will work best for this space,” Zhao said. “We also don’t want to have a bunch of empty storefronts there either.”

Just as ownership was changing hands, the Alexandria Theater property was hit with a notice from the Planning Department due to a violation of their Conditional Use Permit for the development.

A requirement of their approved conditional use permit was that the owners “provide strict security and regular maintenance of the parking lot site and the theatre building to prevent any vandalism of the theatre interior, and to protect its resources (i.e., architectural features and details) until such time the Project is completed as designed,’ as stated page 27, section 23 of their Planning Department Conditional Use Permit.

Zhao says that the new owners have been in frequent touch with the Planning Department to identify and rectify the issues, and that they are “going step by step to correct them”.

“We want to keep the neighborhood informed,” Zhao said in reference to the current violation as well as the future of the development project.

Zhao said that a community liaison for the development would be named at a future date, which is also a condition of the project permit. She added that the Planning Department and Supervisor’s Mar officer are “excited that we’re moving forward”.

One of the big questions the new owners will have to answer is what will happen to the main building. What would you like to see there? A theater, restaurant and some commercial retails spaces as proposed, or something else? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

A rendering of the proposed development for the Alexandria Theater property.

A rendering of the residential units that will be built on what is now the property’s back parking lot on 18th Avenue.

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 4:30 am | Posted under Real Estate | 102 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
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 9:57 am | Posted under Business, Politics, Transportation | 19 comments