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, now serving 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...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Not Live Blogging Lincoln - A round for the ages.



We started the day at Sharp, but after learning that the greens were being aerated with 7 temps we decided to go to Harding. Missed the turn off for Harding, so wound up at Lincoln.  Net net, best round ever.


Apparently, god wanted us to play Lincoln.


Broke 90 for first time,  beat the Other Mike, and finished with the same ball I started with.


MW  45 44 89
MS   44 46 90


A round for the ages. 

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Those who can - dive.
Those who can't - go shopping for wetsuits.

With Rick O at Bamboo Reef, gearing up for abalone.  He needs a new wet suit.

I need a new tube cover. Now all we need are decent conditions. Kim was great help at a great store and local resource.

Then over to The Brickhouse for a Ninkasi Oatmeal Stout on tap with a fish and chips sandwich. Here we continued to  talk more about diving as opposed to - you know - actually diving. We'll get there eventually.


Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The "Serene" Summit


Our building merited a feature in the Sunday Chron from architectural critic John King. This from a recurring series highlighting buildings and architecture that King finds worthy of note.

We've been living here over 20 years, and over that time the tone of local architectural critics (amateur and pro alike) has softened considerably. I recall a column from the late great San Francisco columnist Heb Caen where he referred to The Summit as a "beast of building". Even now, John King seems a bit conflicted, simultaneously describing the building as "serene", sculptural" and "intrusive". Make up your mind John.


A High-rise Classic in an Awkward Locale

Urban buildings exist in two realms, the heavens and the earth, and Russian Hill's tallest tower shows the potential tension well. Developer Joseph Eichler wanted to stack views upon views, and he did so with a flared shaft of concrete and glass at once sculptural and serene. But the impression down low is blunt, the historic setting serving as little more than a launch pad. Now the hill has a 40-foot height limit, leaving Eichler's aerie on its own - still intrusive, but letting us admire the architectural drama without fearing what might come next.


The Summit 999 Green St. Architect: Tibor Fecskes | Style: Modern | Size: 32 stories | Date built: 1965
Of course, the best way to view our building is from the inside looking out.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Not Live Blogging Lincoln


Just me and the Other Mike for a mid-week afternoon round.

The sun occasionally popped through, but mostly cloudy and cool with a little light fog just off the deck (the bridge is in the fog behind us in this pic).We pretty much had the course to ourselves. A good day to golf.

MS 43 49 92
MW 48 49 97

Bad start. Bad finish. But some good holes in the middle and a string of 3 pars in a row. It was enough to post a sub 100 round and erase the memory of my weekend score.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

19th Hole

Apres-golf refreshments at the Lincoln Park bar.  The scores...

BK 92
MW 102
JG 102

... were bad. Although I marginally improved on the back, not breaking 100 at Lincoln is always a disappointment. For the second straight outing, the Bad Golfers succeeded in dragging single digit handicapper Brad down to our level.

Still - the conditions were so great, and the course in terrific condition (for Lincoln), and it was such fun day, that is almost made up for the scores. Almost.

While we enjoyed a beer at the bar, I availed myself of the opportunity to get Brad to sign my copy of his Sharp Park book...



A great day of bad golf.

17th tee portrait


Fantastic day on the course, although my score did not reflect it.

The phone is out of juice. Last pic until I get home. 

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Jim launches one at the Golden Gate Bridge...


... from the 17th tee. I think he got there.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

13th tee

Brad launches one between the tree and over the hill.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

At the turn


BK 44
JG 48
MW 52

Given I was 1 over after 3 holes, this was a pretty disappointing front 9. I think they call this "reversion to the mean". 

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Jim missing birdie putts on seven and eight..



... but he got both pars.

So that is something.


Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Under the watchful gaze of the golf gods...

... on the sixth tee.

They were not appeased.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Jim admiring his tee shot...


... into the crap on the right side of the 4th fairway.

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Live Blogging Lincoln


With Jim and Brad. Not shown are two unreliable golfers who cancelled at the last minute late last night.

They were concerned about the half marathon running by the course this morning.

Which, as it turns out, was no problem whatsoever.

This may be the best day at Lincoln ever. The weather is spectacular.

Let that be a lesson to all you unreliable golfers out there. 

Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Opening Day for the Northern Cal. Abalone Season

Abalone in the wild
They're down there laughing at me.
Something about this day brings out my lyrical side. With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson:
In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a lovely iris brings forth its regal cone;
In the Spring an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of abalone.
Okay. So it doesn't actually rhyme unless you mispronounce abalone. Deal with it.

It's that time of year. The opening of the abalone season is upon on us. But it doesn't look like anyone in their right mind will be doing any abalone diving today.

Swellwatch is showing 10-14 foot swells:

Pacific Waverider has a 12 foot northern swell and a 5 foot southern swell.

Which tells me my favorite cove is pretty much a zero visibility washing machine. This year's opening is looking more like 2012 or 2011 than last year's benign conditions.  The forecast through the weekend does not look much better.  I'll be waiting for conditions more amenable to my advanced age before venturing in, and hope any divers that risk it manage to stay safe this week.

A good time to get out the DFW guide and brush up on the New Rules:
"Abalone divers are in for a shock this year, likely more uncomfortable than the first surge of cold ocean water inside a wetsuit. In the wake of an unprecedented abalone die-off in 2011, new regulations for the 2014 season have curbed the annual catch limit and closed the North Coast's most popular abalone dive site at Fort Ross State Park...
 

The previous annual limit was 24. The daily catch limit remains at three abalone, along with the minimum size of seven inches. Also new for the season opening April 1 is an 8 a.m. start time, nearly three hours later in midsummer than the previous start time of half an hour before sunrise.

“It's a little too much over-regulation,” said Ben Dougherty, co-owner of a Bodega surf shop who described himself as an “occasional” ab diver. Dougherty said he expected some reaction to the die-off and acknowledged that it takes a long time — biologists say up to a dozen years — for abalone to grow seven-inch shells. “It's a touchy topic,” he said. But the annual limit of nine from Sonoma County waters seems “a little too strict.”...
 

Biologists were initially stumped by the die-off, which stunned local divers and was erroneously attributed to a red tide. The cause has since been identified as a bloom of microscopic algae called Gonyaulax membranacea, which produce a toxin called yessotoxin that was found in abalone gut tissue. No similar algae bloom has occurred since 2011, Rogers-Bennett said."
If there is a problem with abalone population, it almost certainly has more to do with poaching than sport abalone hunters. That said,  I don't really take issue with the new rules. It is such a great sport, and there is such a limited geography where the Red Abalone thrives, that it is important to protect the fishery. And if the DFW is erring on the side of caution with rules that are easier to enforce, I'm good with that.

I've also learned it is even more important to turn in your abalone report card now. All the years I've been doing this I never failed to turn it in until last year. I lost mine (gotta be in a file somewhere), failed to report, and now I am in the system with a Bad Reporting Demerit. Don't be that guy.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

San Francisco Values - Leland Yee Edition

Having grown up in Chicagoland, I must admit to being a little embarrassed about the the kind of corruption I see around here. Sure, we get our share of political scandals but- truth be told - it's strictly bush league.

I mean… We had Ed Jew and Chris Daly evading residency requirements and pretending to live in the city of San Francisco while they served as Supervisors of San Francisco. Is that a real scandal? Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi bruising his Venezuelan firecracker’s arm when he grabbed her a little too hard? Mayor Gavin Newsom boinking his campaign manager's wife? Sure, it’s entertaining, but really... We got nuthin'.

How can we ever be considered a major metropolis without some heavy duty world class corruption? Don’t get me wrong. I’m a realist. I don’t expect us to match up to Chicago, New York, New Jersey, DC or New Orleans, but it felt like our pols were not even trying.

That was then. This is now:
Calif. state Sen. Yee affidavit reads like an action thriller
Coke deals. Shoulder-fired missiles. Hit men. Gang politics. Bribery. Deal-making in dark restaurants, parking lots and Las Vegas hotel rooms, and on fishing boats off the Hawaiian islands. A 137-page federal complaint lays out the charges against state Sen. Leland Yee, alleged Chinatown mobster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and 24 others connected to Chow. But it also reads like a Hollywood script.


There's the slick FBI agent going deeper undercover and pushing the action. There's the gangster with the catchy nickname who publicly claims to have gone straight. And there's the veteran politician, allegedly willing to compromise his values to stay in office. The tale reached a climax Wednesday when the government unsealed charges against Chow, Yee and 24 others after a series of coordinated raids. Chow, 54, stands accused of money laundering and other crimes, while Yee, 65, faces charges that he traded political favors for campaign donations and, at one point, facilitated a gun-trafficking deal."
 Yeah! The Leland Yee scandal, baby! This one has some meat on the bones.
Bribery, gun-running, extortion, prostitution, drugs, Cosa Nostra, and murder for hire.

Now we’re talking. That's big time.

We can hold our heads a little higher in EssEff.

Yeah. We’re bad.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

RIP Mark Stock

An iconic painting hanging in an iconic San Francisco restaurant. One of our favorites. I can't count how many meals we've shared with great friends at Bix

And every time I have to stop and stare at this painting. I don't understand why it captivates, but it does.

Rest In Peace Mark Stock. Your brought something unique and beautiful into this world. What more can anyone do?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BREAKING: Common Sense Prevails in San Francisco Board of Supervisor Vote on Sharp Park

Photo: Thomas Levinson, The Chronicle  
 It was a big win for Sharp Park supporters at City Hall yesterday.

The Chron's coverage features a terribly inaccurate headline. The work approved for the course and wetland is not  in spite of the frogs and snakes as the headline suggests, but specifically to improve the habitat for the frogs and snakes:
Frogs, snakes can't stop Sharp Park Golf Course construction
Marisa Lagos
 
"Construction at Sharp Park Golf Course will move forward after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected environmentalists' concerns that the project will threaten the frogs and snakes that call the course home. The Pacifica golf course, which is managed by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, is home to the threatened California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake. Built in 1932 by famed golf course architect Alister MacKenzie, Sharp Park for years has been a point of contention between golfers and conservationists, who want to see it shut down so the land can be used as a sanctuary for the wild creatures.

On Tuesday, environmentalists - led by the Wild Equity Institute - made another effort to force the parks department to conduct a full environmental impact report of the project. They contend the work will hurt the animals' environment, while the city says it will improve habitat for the frogs and snakes. The proposed project involves clearing reeds and sediment from a pond and waterway, doing construction around a pumping station, and digging a new, small pond on the site.

Environmental impact reports are costly and can take months to complete.  The work has been approved by the Recreation and Park Commission and the Planning Commission. The board voted 7-4 to allow it to move forward without an environmental study, with Supervisors Jane Kim, Eric Mar, John Avalos and David Campos voting no. It's not the last City Hall will hear of the issue, however: Opponents of the course will file a lawsuit objecting to the city's decision..."
 Doesn't seem like much. A 7- 4 vote by the Board of Supervisors on -  by any measure - a small project to improve both the frog habitat and golf infrastructure at Sharp Park. Its significance is this - We finally have a project at Sharp Park that has completed the tortuous path through the bowels of City government, will move forward, and actually do something useful for the park.

Also significant - The political arena at the Board of Supervisors level is exactly where the future of Sharp Park is most vulnerable. This is where we lost a 6-5 vote in December of 2011 and Sharp Park was saved only by a Mayor Ed Lee veto. That is what makes this 7-4 victory so significant. Two votes shifted from votes against the course in 2011 to votes for the course yesterday. And the specific votes that shifted were significant in and of themselves. London Breed filled Ross Mirkarimi's seat in district 5 and voted for the course.  Mirkarimi spearheaded the "Destroy Sharp Park" forces when he was a supervisor. David Chiu is President of the Board of Supervisors and  my Supervisor in District 3. He voted against the course in 2011 and voted for it yesterday.

It was a small victory on a small project, but the Sharp Park haters threw everything but the kitchen sink at this to try and kill it. They know a politically motivated Board of Supervisor decision was where they have their greatest strength. And they lost. Again. Common sense finally prevailed.

Of course it's not over. The ex-CBD attorney who founded WEI already stated he will be filing another lawsuit against the City over this decision. So what else is new? We know the lawsuits will never end and we know the reason why.  But, so far, they always lose in court. The vote by the Board of Supervisors was their best chance to prevail, and they lost. This very well may mean that the tide has turned. Good for the California Red Legged Frog. Good for the San Francisco Garter Snake. Good for fans of the landmark Alister MacKenzie golf course. Good for Pacifica. Good for San Francisco. Bad for Wild Equity Institute.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We are underway at City Hall. It's going to be a long one.

In City Hall, at the Board of Supervisor's meeting for a hearing on the WEI appeal of  The Sharp Park Pumphouse, Safety, Infrastructure and Habitat Improvement Project. We are  number 19 on the agenda. The WEBLEEDU's get first crack with public comment in front of the Supes, and they are out in force today. We'll be here a while.

Sharp Park haters lining up around the room
The amount of  misinformation, distortions and outright falsehoods being promulgated right now is truly awesome!
Ex-Center for Biological Diversity staff attorney at the podium
 In short, the usual tripe from the carpetbagging ex-CBD attorney's sincere but misinformed mini-me minions.

Despite a scheduling structure clearly intended to minimize the impact from supporters of the course, we had a great turnout. People who love the course really hung in there.

Sharp Park supporters line up

During Public comment, everyone got 2 minutes at the podium. I was working from notes and presented a single slide:
Support links for these quotes here and here
"Good Afternoon Supervisors. I am a 30 year resident of San Francisco, live on Russian Hill, an enthusiastic but bad golfer and a frequent patron of the San Francisco municipal golf courses,   I am here in support of the Sharp Park, Safety, Infrastructure Improvement, and Habitat Enhancement Project.  I've closely followed the Sharp Park controversy over the last five years and want to share some of my observations.

One of the things I've learned during this controversy is what the best science tell us. Net Net – the California Red Legged frog is doing absolutely fine coexisting with the course.  I don't have time to read these expert quotes that summarize  the status of the frog habitat at Sharp Park so  I'll post them here and have copies for any interested.

We've had golf course operations at Sharp Park for 80 years. The golf course created the fresh water habitat at Laguna Salada for the California Red Legged Frog to thrive. It is a managed habitat, and it is our collective responsibility as stewards of the park to continue to manage and improve it for the frog and snake. This plan does exactly that. Any delays risk the frog habitat. 
The Sharp Park controversy is usually framed as Environmentalists vs. Golfers.  Simply not true.  This controversy is really about "Environmentalists" vs. "Environmentalists".

On the one hand  - you have practical problem solving environmentalists like the dedicated and hard working employees of San Francisco Rec & Park who have the best interest of the Sharp Park wildlife at heart. They just want to start moving ahead with the plan to implement required improvements in the habitat.

On the other side you have ideologically motivated environmental litigation specialists like the Wild Equity Institute for whom the frog and snake are simply a means to an end.  Their end goal, their only goal, is to force the people of San Francisco, by any means necessary to give up control of a beautiful 400 acre coastal park that was a gift to the people of San Francisco and belongs to the people of San Francisco.

I urge the board to not be distracted by the self-serving claims of the WEI Lawyers. Lets move forward and start the process which will improve the managed habitat for the frog and snake at Sharp Park, and incidentally also for golfers.  Thank you."
I had to speak quickly to get all that out in two minutes. I think I managed to get my points across and still remain vaguely coherent.

Bo Links at the podium
The questioning of Rec and Park employees about the plan by some of the Supervisors was truly embarrassing ( I am looking at you David Campos).  Campos is literally reading from spoon fed Wild Equity Institute e-mails without any understanding of what he is reading or what the real issues are. He is also essentially calling the Rec and Park employees liars, in order to make the case for a guy who sued the City, lost, and then demanded the City pay his $550 / hour legal fees for suing the City in a losing cause.

This is a political process in front of an unpredictable San Francisco Board of Supervisors, so no telling how the vote will go.

It's been over four hours. Will probably update tomorrow with the vote if we can hold out that long.

UPDATE: The vote was 7-4 in favor of the Sharp Park Project and against the WEBLEEDU appeal to stop it. A big win. Coverage of the vote linked here.


Sent from my Sprint HTC smartphone.

EDIT: Consolidated posts. Fixed formatting. Added notes and links. 

Here we go again...

Heading down to City Hall for the Round 3 of the latest skirmish in the SF Golf War. This will be in front of  the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Believe it or not, the WEBLEEDU's are fighting a project that will improve the existing habitat for the frog and snake.

Will report on the outcome later. Or not.

Stay tuned. Or not.

 From the SF Public Golf Alliance:

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
Friends:

Please clear your calendar for next Tuesday, March 25, 3 p.m. at the Supervisors' chambers, Room 200, San Francisco City Hall, to attend and speak to the SF Board of Supervisors in favor of Sharp Park Golf Course. 

We oppose an appeal by Wild Equity Institute from a unanimous decision Jan. 23, 2014 by the SF Rec & Park Commission to proceed with the Sharp Park Safety, Infrastructure, and Habitat Improvement Project, based on a unanimous decision Jan. 16, 2014 by the SF Planning Commission to approve a Mitigated Negative Declaration and proceed without a full-blown Environmental Impact Report.  Mr. Plater's group wants to halt the project and require a full-blown Environmental Impact Report -- which would delay the project a couple of years, at least.    

This is another hurdle that we must clear.  

In its unanimous Jan. 16 decision, the Planning Commission adopted a 40-page analysis by Planning Staff, which found that no EIR is required here, because there will be no significant negative environmental impacts to the project if the City performs a list of mitigations. 

1.  Sharp Park is historic, course, built 1932 by Alister MacKenzie, history's greatest golf architect
2.  Low-cost golf, beloved by public golfers of all ages, ethnicities, genders, persuasions, economic strata
3.  Founding venue (1955) of Western States Golf Assn., the country's oldest, largest African-American golfing society
4.  Community center and gathering place for Pacifica
5.  One of only 2 reasonably-priced public courses in San Mateo County
6.  A beautiful, enjoyable, sweet place to spend time and enjoy nature and friends and good company
7.  Compatible place for humans and nature to co-exist -- as they have done for 80 years
8.  The work to be done in the Sharp Park Safety, Infrastructure, and Habitat Improvement Project -- much of it ordered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in October, 2012 -- is for benefit of the frog and snake.  San Francisco is trying to comply with the USFWS directives to build new pond for these species.  And now Wild Equity wants to prevent this work from being done. 
9.  The golfers want a place where public golf and the frog and snake can happily coexist.  The City has come up with a plan to do that -- which was developed by the City's expert consultants and unanimously approved by all City Commissions who have considered the matter.  And the City should now go forward with it.  


Thank you. 
Save Sharp Park.   
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

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