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, Pixel 3, Pixel 6 Pro. 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...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

This is the year.

The Cubs don't give their die hard fans many opportunities to believe.

I'm "All-In" on this team because - well, because the Cubs don't give their die hard fans many opportunities to believe.

Yeah, I still bear the deep psychological scars of the 1969 Choke, the 1984 Collapse, the 1989 Beat-down by Will Clark and the Bartman Ball. No matter. This is the year.

 Stats would indicate the Cubs don't have much of a chance at AT&T Park today. The Giant's home-run hitting ace and World Series hero Mad Bum is on the mound (and probably should be batting clean-up). Harem has been less than stellar in his debut with the Chicago Cubs and got bombed in his last start against Atlanta. This will be a good test for the hot but young Cubs team. If these rookies are going to go deep in the playoffs, they are going to have to find a way to beat the best at their house.

Cubs face one-two punch in Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw 
"Cubs will star in a live version of a roadrunner cartoon the next two days, facing two of the best pitchers of this generation. They’ll try to avoid having an anvil falling on their heads this afternoon at AT&T Park against Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner. On Friday night at Dodger Stadium, they’ll try to escape a rocket-propelled ACME Co. bomb, taking on Cy Young-winning lefty Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers. Even if the Cubs suffer the same fate as Wile E. Coyote, the experience could be beneficial in the postseason, assuming they continue to hold onto their sizeable wild-card lead of 6 ½ games after Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to the Giants."
I am meeting friends at Momo's around 11:30, will be at the bar wearing my colors and figuring out the ticket situation. I'll also buy a beer for anyone who comes up to me and can recite the Opening Day Lineup for the 1969 Chicago Cubs. More pics later. Probably.

Walked most of the way, Broadway to the Embarcadero.  Checking out the rotating re-purposed Burning Man Art is a mandatory stop on the way to ATT Park.
Soma by the Flaming Lotus Girls
I think this piece has passed it's "Use-By" date and I'm ready to see it replaced by something from the current Green Bug Burning Man. Took a rickshaw when it looked like I was going to be late.

The rickshaw driver is a Giants fan. Not sure how he feels about hauling my ass to the park.

There was plenty of blue at Momo's, as the Cub fan contingent was well represented.

Met some old friends who already had tickets, then settled down to a couple of beers with Roy and watch how prices would fare closer to game time.

It worked out well. Paid face value for Club Level tickets 10 minutes before the game right outside the bar.

I like Club level. Lots of good food and beer options. Settled on a grilled wurst they promote as a "Sheboygan Brat". I find that odd, as I am pretty sure I am the only one in the park who knows where Sheboygan is. I've been there, and this is a better Brat than any I've seen in Sheboygan.

As far as the game itself... that  was pretty pathetic. I mean... great seats... great venue... great food... great beer... but the game:

MadBum stifles Cubs in graceful August exit
"Giants' ace finishes month 5-0 after fanning 12 through six, allowing two hits and making acrobatic play...  Bumgarner displayed his characteristic dominance Thursday with 12 strikeouts in six innings during the Giants' 9-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. But San Francisco's ace most impressively maintained control of himself on foot, not on the mound."
As noted earlier, the Cubs figured to lose on the stats and matchup. But Heren pitched even worse than his ERA, and Bum just mowed the Cubs down through six.

I can't say I even got upset when this happened. The game was already well out of hand.

As a Cub fan, one develops a finely tuned instinct of when something bad is about to happen. I decided to video this pitch. Kelby Tomlinson's first major league homer is a Grand Slam against the Cubs.
Posted by Michael Wallach on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hopefully a learning experience for this young team.

On to L.A.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Meditation On The Complete Insanity Of The Most Recent WEI Sharp Park Litigation

Courtroom sketch of the proceedings by A. Droid. From the left - Navi Dhillon of MoFo representing San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, Jim Emory of the San Francisco City Attorney's Office representing the City of San Francisco and Shari Posner of the California Attorney General's Office representing the California Coastal Commission.  They are preparing to argue their defense against a WEI (Shawna Casebier and Brent Plater on the right) Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to stop the Pump House Project at Sharp Park.
We won't bury the lede, but we will save the punchline for the end.

Here's the story:

On June 15, the Wild Equity Institute filed yet another Sharp Park lawsuit. This one was filed in San Mateo Superior Court against the California Coastal Commission as well as the City and County of San Francisco and is intended to stop the Sharp Park Safety, Infrastructure Improvement and Habitat Enhancement Project.  Shortly after filing the lawsuit, WEI also filed a motion asking the Court for a preliminary injunction to stop the project currently underway at Sharp Park.  On Thursday, August 20 Judge George Miram denied the motion - as covered by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance:

"In denying Wild Equity’s motion for preliminary injunction, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Miram found that Wild Equity failed to show that it would likely prevail at trial, and also failed to show that it would suffer greater injury from denial of the injunction than the Coastal Commission, the City and County of San Francisco, and the public course golfers represented by intervener SF Public Golf Alliance would suffer from the granting of the motion."
That's the news. It's good news. But what is missing in the polite legalese description preferred by lawyers and courts, is the complete freaking batshit insanity of this absurd motion by WEI.

For that, we need to take a step back and look at the context. Let me be your guide...

What is the "Pump House Project"?

As summarized by the SFPGA:
"The Pump House Project includes habitat enhancement for the frog and snake, construction of a new frog pond south of the pump house, much-needed infrastructure work at Sharp Park including safety improvements at the pump house, moving the cart path out of the lake at Hole 15, and dredging cattails from a small area of Horse Stable Pond and the connecting channel."
All told about $400,000 and 5 months worth of work. Not a big project, but important and necessary to both the frog and the course.

Who Approved This Project?

It might be easier to list who didn't, but we'll let the City Attorney's Office representing the City and County of San Francisco describe the legal, administrative and political approval process to date - This from their defense memorandum filed in objection to the WEI motion:
"... The U S Fish & Wildlife Service (" the Service") issued a Biological Opinion authorizing continuing golf course operations at Sharp Park and requiring San Francisco to implement this Project to improve the habitat in Sharp Park for the California red-legged frog (" the frog") and the San Francisco garter snake (" the snake") The Project, which Wild Equity challenges in this lawsuit, is subject to approval not only from the Service, but also from the Army Corps of Engineers, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Coastal Commission, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife..."
In addition to all of the studies and approvals of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department sponsored Pump House Project by all of those agencies, the political process also included supporting votes by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County Board, and the Pacifica City Council.  As if  running the gauntlet of studies, votes, and City, State, and Federal bureaucratic administrative approvals was not sufficient validation, this selfsame project has also survived two previous lawsuits and an Appeal, in both federal and state courts, all of which supported the process and the plan. We are now on the third lawsuit led by WEI to stop this project.

What is the Project Status Again?

As the project needs to be complete before the winter rains in order to improve the frog habitat, and also to meet the Fish & Wildlife Service deadline for the City, the work is well underway.  The cart path on 15 has already been moved 12 feet out of the lake:

And real environmentalists (as opposed to eco-litigators with mixed motivations) were up to their armpits in the swamp  - cutting cattails, opening waterways, building new ponds - doing the hard work of maintaining this managed fresh-water habitat so it will continue to be hospitable for the threatened frog:

Which brings us to the last question...

WTF Is WEI Suing About Now?

More context ...

The California Red Legged Frog (CRLF) is a fresh water species. Laguna Salada was converted from a brackish lagoon to a fresh water lake by the creation of the Sharp Park golf course and the sea wall berm that protects the course, neighborhoods, and the Coastal Highway from seawater incursion. This is an accidentally man-made habitat for the frog, created by human intervention in the natural process, but it can be maintained indefinitely as perfect habitat for the frog for exactly as long as it is actively managed by human intervention. That means keeping sea water out of the lagoon during the dry season and pumping fresh water out of the lagoon during the rainy season so it does not flood the course, causing frogs to lay eggs in temporarily flooded areas where the egg masses may be stranded. You don't have to believe this blogger on this issue. This is what the staff of the California Coastal Commission said in their comprehensive report recommending approval of the project about the consequences if the Pump House Project did not go forward:
"A no project alternative maintains the status quo. First and most simply, the golf course would continue to flood and the flooding would continue to interfere with recreation use. 
There would be biological impacts as well. The lack of wetlands management in years of low precipitation could potentially further allow sedimentation and vegetation to continue to build up, eventually “choking off” the pond, reducing CRLF open water breeding habitat. The pumps could also clog, perhaps to the point where they would be unusable. 

The safety improvements for workers would not take place, which would make it more difficult to maintain the pump house, would put the City at risk of worker claims, and discourage fine-tuning of the pumping protocol consistent with the USFWS Biological Opinion due to the difficulty in reaching the site.  
Sharp Park is unusual in that natural conditions are not necessarily the best conditions for the sensitive species in question here. Under completely natural conditions, without the berm and with no pumping, CRLF would probably not exist at the site as the water would be too brackish. The CRLF began surviving at the site after the water became less salty. Further, if the quantity of water completely followed nature, uncontrolled precipitation levels could result in marginal breeding habitat on the edge of the course, disconnected from the wetlands and isolating the CRLF egg masses."
The Pump House at Sharp Park
This is a picture of the Pump House in question.   It houses the pumps used during the rainy season to maintain correct water levels in Laguna Salada - which keeps frog eggs in the lagoon where they'll hatch and not on a temporarily flooded golf course where they might not. But to keep the intakes clear, pumps maintained, and Laguna Salada water levels optimized for the frog, residential neighborhood and golf course, San Francisco Rec & Park workers need to scramble down a muddy hill to the Pump House at the edge of the lagoon, past a failing old wooden retaining wall, and often do so while a howling Pacific storm is pounding the coast.  To remedy this safety hazard, and make it easier to control this managed habitat, the City plans to build some stairs, walkways, and railings for the benefit of the City employees doing this thankless work.  As described in the City project proposal bureaucratese (Exhibit 2):
"... the pump house is in need of improvement (§30233(4)), to reduce obstructions of water flow to the intake and improve worker safety. The improvements will allow City personnel to monitor and manage water levels, which is necessary to protect California redlegged frog (“CRLF”) egg masses during the rainy season and reduce flooding of the golf course and the risk of flooding of neighboring residential areas. Further, the safety improvements are necessary because City personnel must monitor water levels in inclement weather. Second, wetlands restoration and creation will improve functions and values (§ 30233(6)), and thereby enhance existing CRLF habitat. Approval of the proposed project will therefore assure the continued operation of this vested public service use, promote the safety of City employees, and restore the functionality of the surrounding wetlands."
To make these common sense improvements that benefit everyone at Sharp Park, including the frog, golfers, neighbors and employees, the project specifies that cement piers supporting the walkway will be installed in the wetland area surrounding the pump house. This will result in 1.7 cubic yards of fill in the wetland and impact 12 square feet of the pond surface area for the pathways.

"In connection with the infrastructure and safety improvements to the Pump House, part of the project includes the removal of vegetation and sediment in a 12' x 12' area near the pump' s intake structure, pouring cement for piers to support a walkway that will hang over the water, and the minor expansion of an existing retaining wall. This very small piece of the project, including the installation of the piers for the short walkway and work on the retaining wall, will result in approximately 1.7 cubic yards of fill in the wetlands and impact 12 square feet ( 1.33 square yards) of the water' s surface area — approximately .0003 of an acre."
That's it. That is the reason for WEI demanding a preliminary injunction from the Court to stop the Pump House Project. We are litigating 1.7 cubic yards of fill and 1.33 square yards of surface area representing .0003 acres in a 27 acre wetland of a 417 acre park.

Lets do the math... I calculate that to be .00001% of the wetland.   That translates to 1/10,000,000th (one / ten millonth) of the managed wetland habitat at Sharp Park will be impacted in order to implement a project that permits workers to safely and effectively maintain and manage the water flows to the benefit the threatened species completely dependent on active human management of this habitat. Not to mention preventing flooding in local neighborhoods and of Highway 1.

That is what this hearing and judgement was about. With a record El Niño waiting just over the horizon, WEI feels it is more important to risk accurate management of the frog's habitat, the health and safety of City workers, flooding of neighborhoods, Highway 1 and the beloved historically important Sharp Park golf course, all in order to avoid filling 1.7 cubic yards of a 27 acre wetland.

And they are asking the Judge to accept their opinion over that of the California Coastal Commission, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, San Francisco Rec & Park Department, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and State, Federal, and Appeals Courts, all of which passed judgement approving this project.

What is the bottom line?  You give it a try.

Fill in the blank:

"Wild Equity Institute, as a functioning organization, is ___________."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

19th Hole

Reuben, Newcastle Brown Ale on tap, and learning that Jason Day won the PGA Championship. He had a better scoring day on the course than we did.

BP 95
MW 104
RE 130

Finished strong with pars on 17 and 18. Five pars should be good enough for me to break 100. - BUT - I could not overcome my three sevens, a snowman, and a nine. 

Still, I believe my 5 pars mean that I am on the verge of a breakthrough. Really.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

17th Tee Portrait

On my way to my 4th par. 

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Gold is the New Green

Shadow selfie of the winner of the beer hole enjoying his prize.

So says the City of San Francisco water department... say we all

But speaking for this golfer, El Niño cannot get here fast enough.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Par 3 15th - The beer hole

Max's particularly apropos head cover menagerie
We had one extra beer, so per our usual tradition we played for it on the on the par 3 15th hole.

  This is my T shot to 18 feet on the green. Film at 11.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Call hir ... whatever.

Caitlyn's second shot on the par 4 14th. Yes, that is the non-sexist de-gendered "forward" "red" tee in front of and to the right of hir. 

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

13th Tee

In 1932, Jack Fleming described this hole:
"A lakeside hole with wide, sandy beach on water side. Back tee should be used by all, as water carry is very short and close to tee.  Requires three good shots to get on if dogleg is played, but possibly a very long sure approach will get in under par."

You can see the ball in the air on both Roy and Max's tee shots in these pictures.

No - Roy's shot did not clear the marsh. And we did not play from the "back tees".

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Somewhere after the turn...

BP 51 
MW 53
RE 64

We are not playing well.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Roy in and out of trouble on 9

... but not really.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Roy in and out of trouble on 7 ...

... but not really.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

I am getting in touch with my inner hipster...

.. while we wait on the tee at seven. This is why I get early tee times.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Max hits out of the trap on 6...

... eventually. Just not on this shot. 

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Max has agreed to be a participant in my live blog efforts ...

Not sure if he knows what he agreed to.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Bob stripes one down the 3rd fairway...

... about 20 yards short of my drive.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Roy off the 2nd tee...

... and recovering nicely  after a disappointing 8 on the first hole.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Live blogging Sharp Park

With Bob and Roy in Malibu... I mean... Pacifica.

The starter added Max (not shown) to our group to complete the foursome. Poor bastard.

Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

Thursday, August 6, 2015

That Was Annoying

Apparently, while we were diving for abalone over the weekend, my domain expired. Which means this blog stopped working, since the original Blogger was redirected through that domain.

So all those good feelings after spending a few days a few days outdoors, communing with nature, and hunting the Great White Snail evaporated into a full blown TPA (Tech Panic Attack) immediately upon arriving home. 

Fortunately the GoDaddy grace period allowed me to renew the domain before it was snatched away by any of the legions of "Mike Wallachs" out there desperate to snatch this domain. Unfortunately, the Domain Name Server link between GoDaddy and Google was severed, and required several more hours/days to figure out what was wrong and how to put it right

So, I think it is fixed now. The Blog is back.

But the most annoying aspect of this minor catastrophe, is simply this...

... I don't think anyone noticed it was down.

[Sigh] I'll be back-posting for a while until I get caught up.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MacKenzie Society Outing at Sharp Park

17th Tee
I had a great day playing a scramble at Sharp Park with Russ, Oliver, and Chris of the visiting MacKenzie Society.  The membership of the MacKenzie Society are mostly Club players from Alister MacKenzie designed courses the world over.  Every year they schedule an event/pilgrimage to one of the member courses.  This year, the host was the Meadow Club

It was billed as a tournament, but it was more like a casual introduction of private club golfers to our "cheerful" "scruffy" municipal diamond in the rough.  These are players with a deep appreciation of the MacKenzie pedigree, but are accustomed to more carefully groomed greens and fairways. I had to bone up on the course history and the comparison to the original MacKenzie layout so I could pretend to offer some expertise to these patrons of the game's greatest architect. As per usual, if  I didn't know the answer to the questions, I just made stuff up. 

Good guys and a fun round - some pics from the day:

Assembling at the clubhouse before the shotgun start

16th Tee
16th Approach
5th Tee - Par 3 - Fleming designed hole
11th Tee (Original MacKenzie 1st)
2nd Tee (Original MacKenize 15th)
3rd Tee (Original MacKenzie 13th)

10th Green (original MacKenzie 18th)
15th Green, 17th Green, 16th Fairway Panorama (click to bigify)

11th Tee (Original MacKenzie 1st)

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Co-Founder Bo Links updates the Society on progress at Sharp