MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo,Samsung 5. Now it serves as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Sunday, February 4, 2018

My Tom Brady Story

Tom Brady LII Superbowl Cover

It was the summer of 1999. Pat, a friend from my prior professional life at Oracle corporation, invited me to play a round with him at Green Hills Country Club.  I eagerly jumped at the chance, as it's not often I get to play a private Alister Mackenzie golf course. It was the only time he invited me, which is the rule not the exception when I am invited by a member to play a round at their private course. It's always one and done. Probably has something to do with my bad golf game and, I assume, bitter complaints and threats by the other members after I depart.

The starter put us with a another pair to fill the foursome - Green Hills member Thomas Brady Sr, and his son Tom Brady - home from school break at the University of Michigan. It was the summer before his last season at Michigan as the starting quarterback for Wolverines.

Tom is, of course, a natural athlete and a great golfer. I am not. I didn't spend a lot of time in conversation with my playing partners because, as per usual, I spent much of the round consumed by the on-going horror of my game.  I don't think I was much worse of a golfer then than I am now, but I was certainly not better.  The golf itself was unremarkable and the scores are lost to the dustbins of history. I probably shot something in the 115 range, which would be typical for me on a course of that quality. But I digress. 

Tom took pity on my game. He was friendly, offering encouragement and sympathy as I hacked my way around the course. I was not a huge college football fan at the time, but had a general appreciation of who he was and Michigan's ranking as a good but probably not  great team in the coming season. Late in the round I realized I was being unsocial and decided I needed to at least feign interest in this likable young man and his college football career. This is what I said, thinking I was offering an encouraging and optimistic assessment of his team's prospects for the coming year: "Michigan is pretty good. They could finish in the top ten in the rankings this year." 

Tom's demeanor instantly changed. His face went cold, he stared at me like I was a bug crawling on a hamburger.He was actually pissed. Finally, in an icy measured tone, he said:
If you're not playing for a championship, there's no point in playing."
Okay then. I remember thinking at the time - This is the most competitive SOB I will ever meet. 

And that's why I am taking the Patriots and laying the points. Pats 33 - Eagles 24 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

First Round of 2018 at Lincoln Park and New Year Golfing Resolutions

 10th Tee
It's a new year, the rainy season is underway, but there was a window between storms on Sunday. Time to get a start on my 2018 golf ambitions. A nostalgic ORCL Alum crew from the nineties, Original Bob, Other Bob, and Joe joined me for a round a Lincoln. Foggy, cool, and sloppy, which is to say, a typical Lincoln Park outing.

They start us on the back on weekends, which is annoying and makes beer transport management difficult (we used to grab beers from the car as we made the turn by the parking lot).  Still, a good day of bad golf. In my case, since I have not touched a club in months, really bad golf.  Scenes from the day:

13th Tee
One of my best drives of the day. Unfortunately there was a tree in the way. 

I hate it when that happens. 
Other Bob on 16
Somewhere along the way we reached that magical moment in the day where we switch from coffee to beer (okay... it was like 10:30).


Original Bob on his way to a par on six
Joe's approach on seven to 6 feet and leading to..
Joe's birdie putt. Or lack thereof. 

Traditional 17th Tee Portrait with Bells Two Heart Ale.

Bob's approach on 1
Which brings us to the 19th Hole...

My scorecard showed BP 92, JF 93, BF 95. MW score was unreadable.
... and some updates for 2018. The neighborhood Tee Off Bar & Grill is closed and the Lincoln Park Burger is now $14. Make of that what you will. For my 2018 Golfing Resolutions:
  1. I resolve to play at least half as many rounds of golf as the President of the United States.
  2. I resolve to play all San Francisco Muni Golf Courses Lincoln, Sharp, Harding, Glen Eagles, Golden Gate.
  3. I resolve to improve my HCP Index to below 29 (Currently 29.7)
Also this:

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Season to Remember

We rang out the old and toasted the new in fine form with old friends at Bix - a San Francisco institution and one of our favorite eateries.

It was a little bittersweet, as Lee, Joanne and company are moving out of our Northern California neighborhood to a strange and foreign land - Southern California. Very brave of them. I wish them the best, but I don't think they even speak the language.

We'll miss them, but it was a fitting finish to our most socially active holiday seasons EVAH! Not sure what it was about this season, but Sigrid and I felt like a couple of socialite swells flitting from one party to another.  Lots of friends, lots of good food and lots of good cheer. Some might suggest all of this holiday celebration was needed to distract us from current events, but in retrospect - if you ignore the politics - 2017 was really a pretty good year, with fantastic travel, astronomical extravaganzas, milestonesgreat fishing, diving and of course - bad golf.

With the holiday celebrations sprinkled amid other responsibilities and projects, this blog was sadly neglected. But we didn't want the good feelings to pass without marking the memories. So without further ado - one big compilation post of too much fun. We'll start at the official beginning of the holiday season...

Thanksgiving with Paul, Sandy and Abigail...

December  6 - The Landsmen Dinner at St. Francis Yacht Club with Lee, Joe, and Don

December 8 - Christmas Party with Paul, Sandy, Lee, Joanne, Mary, Michael and Harlan
[For reasons that I cannot explain, there were no photos taken at this event. Lesson learned: Never listen to your host when they say no postings.]
December 10 - Big Band Bash at The Great American Music Hall with Roy, Sharon and Kristin

December 13 -  Summit HOA Holiday Party with the neighbors.
[Another one where I didn't get any pictures. No excuses. My bad.]
December 17 - Hanukkah at the Summit with Juliet and Leonard

December 21 - Holiday Whiskey Tasting with Bo at the Embarcadero

December 24 - A quiet Christmas eve at home with caviar and champagne.

December 25 - Christmas and Boxing Day with Lee, Joanne, Joan, Chris, Rod

 And that brings us back to New Years (Return to the top of the post and play again). We're grateful for our friends, family and the life we've found here. Looking forward to a great 2018, as soon as I finish my diet and get out of detox.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pacifica Tribune: Sharp Park Sea Wall OK'd
Coastal Commission: Managed Retreat is Not Feasible

The headline in the 11-22-2017 Pacifica Tribune last week tells the story: "Sharp Park sea wall OK'd". I'd link to the story itself, but either they have not posted it on-line or I can't figure out how to find it. The article is a good summary of the recent California Coastal Commission decision granting a permit to the City of San Francisco to maintain and improve the Sharp Park sea wall. Some excerpts:
"The California Coastal Commission, recognizing the importance of the Sharp Park Sea Wall in protecting both Pacifica's historic golf course and the adjacent neighborhoods, has approved a permit to preserve and maintain the structure, including it's rip-rap armoring... 
Commission Chair Dayna Bochco... asked Commission staff what would be the likelihood of the surrounding neighborhoods being flooded without the protection of the sea wall. District Director Dan Carl said, "It's a 100 percent certainty if the berm wasn't there... you would open up a whole new can of worms with respect to Highway One and the residential neighborhoods surrounding the golf course".. 
The sea wall created a fresh-water habitat in the Laguna Salada and surrounding wetlands which are now home to two species protected under the EPA."
For anyone with a lick of common sense, this seemed an obvious outcome. You need only to look at what the Sharp Park sea wall protects:

The choice is simple - either maintain the sea wall, or play Russian roulette every winter waiting for an El Nino bullet to:
  • Flood Pacifica neighborhoods
  • Flood Highway One
  • Salt poison the managed freshwater habitat of  Laguna Salada - home to the endangered California Red Legged Frog and San Francisco Garter Snake
  • Flood the affordable recreational resource and important historic public golf course - Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park masterpiece. 
The Coastal Commission decision was made, but San Francisco Rec & Park repair and reinforcing work of the sea wall is yet to begin. The consequences of a breach would be devastating to the community, endangered species, and Pacifica civic fiscal fortunes. To borrow a phrase: Winter is Coming.

We got lucky last year. The Pacific storm bullets are loaded in the chamber and the cylinder is spinning. Any Pacificans in favor of sea wall work starting before old man winter pulls the trigger might want to attend the Monday November 27 Pacifica City Council meeting and comment on Item 11:
"11.   Resolution supporting the City and County of San Francisco for Sharp Park Golf Course facility berm and maintenance repair and improvements, and incorporating flood mitigation, report, resolution."
It should be an easy decision - right?  Well, it should've been an easy decision for the Coastal Commission, yet 3 of the 12 Commissioners argued against granting the permit. The Pacifica City Council should send a strong, clear message to San Francisco stessing the importance and urgency of maintaining the berm now.

This is not a hypothetical concern. We know what will happen if  the sea wall is breached. We know because it happened before. The smaller un-reinforced berm that preceded the existing structure was over-topped by the 1982-83 El Nino storms. We know the population of endangered California Red-Legged frogs living in the managed fresh water Laguna Salada habitat was devastated by the berm failure. In a "My Turn" letter published in the same Pacifica Tribune edition cited earlier, Pacifica resident Robine Runneals explains exactly what happened to neighborhoods in this excerpt:
Robine Runneals 
"Since the mid-1970's I have owned a home in Pacifica's West Sharp Park neighborhood. I live west of the Coast Highway, south of City Hall, and a block and a north of the golf course. When the Sharp Park levee wall breached in 1983, you could paddle a kayak to the foot of my street. Linda Mar flooded too that year. References are made to the sea wall, but to Pacifica locals it's the Sharp Park levee. 
With this in mind, on Nov. 8 I drove to Bodega Bay with a friend who lives in Fairway Park, to testify at the California Coastal Commission's hearing on San Francisco's application for a permit to maintain, repair, and add trail improvements to the Sharp Park levee. As homeowners we spoke in favor of keeping the levee -- in addition to protecting our neighborhoods, it also protects the golf and its wetlands and frogs and snakes, and serves the Coastal Trail between the Pacifica Pier and Mori Point. It's all good."
I also attended the California Coastal Commission November 8 meeting in Bodega Bay to speak in favor of the seawall permit approval.  Supporters included the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, other Pacifica residents, and community advocates.  Among them, Paul Slavin:
Paul Slavin
"I’m a resident of Fairway Park in Pacifica, which is adjacent to the Sharp Park golf course.  The golf course and hundreds of my neighbors have been protected for decades by the embankment guarding the western side of the golf course.  The anti-golf extremists for years have objected to the maintenance of the levee in the hopes that the deterioration of the berm would result in the destruction of the golf course.  If that happens, the Fairway Park neighborhood would also face destruction.  The extremists contended some years ago that smaller dikes or levees, placed closer to the residences, would provide protection.  But while they would like to see the existing embankment begin deteriorating right now, and have advocated for its removal for years, no plans have been made for the replacement dikes.  No research, no engineering, no funding, no real thought about that.  It looks to me like the Republicans’ plan to replace Obamacare, which was never actually a real plan.  The loss of the levee at Sharp Park and the sea wall to the north would be devastating to Pacifica.  I urge the Commission to support the strengthening, the armoring, and the regular maintenance of whatever structure is necessary to protect our community.”
In my humble opinion, this permit approval was even more important for Sharp Park than the SF Board of Supervisors Natural Resource Plan approval last spring.  At the hearing for the resulting permit approval commissioners learned why any notion of "managed retreat" permitting the erosion of the berm/seawall is unrealistic, would invite catastrophic devastation and is simply not feasible. This was confirmed by Coastal Commission District Director Dan Carl as noted in the Pacifica Tribune article at the top of the page (100% probability of the neighborhoods flooding without the sea wall), as well reports by the staff of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department who are responsible for maintaining the Sea Wall.

Spencer Potter of  San Francisco Rec and Park:
Spencer Potter
"Managed retreat was one of the alternatives that was looked at under the six alternatives that we provided in the analysis to the Coastal Commission.  And we found managed retreat at this time to be infeasible for several reasons – both the cost it would take to move the golf course and the habitat and the amenities and I mean even the residential areas that might be at risk – inland, would be enormous.  Additionally, as discussed earlier, moving the endangered species habitat raises a variety of issues related to whether you can even do that... " 
Net.. net ...  This was an extremely positive outcome. 30+ years of screwed up permitting for the sea wall by the City of San Francisco was cleared away in a stroke. A solid pragmatic vote by the Coastal Commission confirmed that San Francisco must continue to maintain and improve the existing sea wall to protect the course, habitat, and neighborhoods.  The common sense decision to maintain the seawall is set for the foreseeable future. We just need the work to get done sooner rather than later.

That November 8 Coastal Commission hearing was great local political drama, and a video can be viewed at Cal Span [LINK HERE].  The Sharp Park Hearing is Agenda Item No. 9 (CDP 2-17-0702), starting at 1:01:05 and lasts about 90 minutes. Commission Chair Bochco’s exchange with Director Carl can be found at 2:27:25 – 2:28:49). Someday I may edit a few clips to post here.  Someday.

x-posted at Fix Pacifica

UPDATE - 11/28/2017

I attended the Pacifica City Council meeting and said my peace, as did a number of Pacifica residents and advocates for common sense. I wanted the Council to see the first two minutes of this video with  highlights from the Sharp Park sea wall Coastal Commission hearing.  Unfortunately, computer display facilities were not available, so I'll post it here:

The entire video is about 15 minutes and features the issues highlighted in this post: Commissioner Bochco saying she opposes sea walls in general, but supports a sea wall like Sharp Park protecting habitat and structures; SF RecPark's Potter stating the sea wall is necessary to protect the endangered species habitat, discussing the staff analysis of alternatives like "managed retreat" and finding it insane (my words not his - he used "infeasible");  Commissioner and progressive SF Supervisor Peskin stating that we cannot ignore the existing assets protected by the Sharp Park seawall; Commissioner Groome outlining the cultural and fiscal importance of the golf course and park to the city of Pacifica; Residents of Sharp Park and Fairway Park pleading for protection of their neighborhoods.

All's well that end's well:

The City of Pacifica will be on the record with a letter to leadership in the City of San Francisco expressing the need and urgency to begin work on long deferred Sharp Park sea wall maintenance before the winter storms.

Common sense and rational practicality carried the day by a narrow 3-2 vote.

But... Pacificans - you still have two votes that just don't have any concern or see any urgency about the possibility of winter storms breaching the Sharp Park sea wall. So there's that.