In the beginning this blog was centered on San Francisco parks and open space issues with special emphasis on natural areas and natural history. Over time it began to range into other areas and topics. As you can see, it is eclectic, as I interlace it with topics of interest to me.

I welcome feedback: just click this link to reach me.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


1.   Meet the foragers - a questionable practice - tonight in Berkeley
2.   Feedback
3.   Lake Merced management - should it be PUC or RecPark?
4.   A garden on the Bring Back the Natives Garden Tour this weekend
5.   GG Audubon restoration Saturday 5th/Birdathon 2012 dinner May 10
6.   Sunday Streets doing experimental Mission district monthly May-August
7.   Central Subway press conference/editorials/WSJ delineates how sausages made
8.   Private Lives - you must be close for the real story
9.   Each of us bears the imprint of a friend met along the way...
10. Miss Flourzy would like to meet you

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it. -John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

1.  (I trust there will be some sharp questioners present at this meeting, as the subject is full of ambiguities and controversies.  JS)

** Meet the Foragers! **

This Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m., join Bay Nature at Mrs. Dalloway's books in Berkeley for a conversation about wild foods and wild places.  Foragers and authors Kevin Feinstein, Sasha Duerr, and Jonah Raskin will be in conversation, with plenty of time for questions. Bring your friends!

Learn more here:


2.  Feedback

On Apr 30, 2012, at 5:30 PM, Sharon Beals wrote:
Jake, am I missing the date on the evening in the native plant garden?
Um, yes, Sharon.  You're one of the picky ones who insist on details.  :-)

It's Thursday May 3 at 5.30.  (Not May 5.)
2.  A Guided Tour of the Arthur Menzies Garden of California Native Plants in the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum
Leaders: Ted Kipping & Jake Sigg
Location: San Francisco Botanical Garden

Anna-Marie Bratton:
Hi Jake, I'd like to give a very hearty "I agree" to Jan Blum on her response to the Land's End Visitor Center comment.  And I would like to add that the
profits from the cafe and  bookstore may very well go to support Conservancy projects such as habitat restoration and archaeological and historic studies.  Also, the Cafe provides another alternative to the expensive Cliff House for good food.  The selection of books is great and even includes the work of local naturalist Jack Laws.

Thank you Jake for the information on the Open Space Council conference - I was able to grab one of the 20 remaining spaces  when I registered Tuesday

Loretta Brooks:
Dear Jake, thank you so much for your newsletters.  I really like the Whyte poem :

amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Touching with such a lovely photo and beautiful in so many other ways. 


3.  Jerry Cadagan:
At its Tuesday, May 8 meeting at 1:30PM (Room 400, City Hall) the Commission of the SF Public Utilities Commission will be considering an issue that may have long-term implications for Lake Merced and those who use and enjoy the lake.  SFPUC owns the lake, but for many years management responsibility has been split between SFPUC and the Recreation & Park Dept.  On May 8 SFPUC staff will ask the Commission to continue the dual management situation. Jerry Cadagan and other lake activists believe that accountability is the overriding issue and that full management responsibility should be at SFPUC.  After late Friday, May 4 the agenda item should be available at --

If you have an interest or questions for Jerry contact him at 209-536-9278

Corinne Louise Paff: 
Please stop by this Sunday, May 6, to see the beautiful garden I designed that is featured in the Bringing Back The Natives Garden Tour. The address:
2745 Elmwood Ave., Berkeley, one block above College Ave. off of Ashby Ave.  I will be there 10am - 5pm and am giving talks on Wildlife Gardening at 1pm and 3pm....Bring a friend, celebrate the flowers..btw, I now offer Garden, learn, relax
Below is an excerpt from the Oakland Tribune on the garden....

This native California Lewisia, related to the bitteroot plant, is one of the native plants in the Berkeley garden of Naomi Janowitz. Visitors can see the garden, one of 43 this year, on the eighth annual Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour on May 6.
See How Fabulous East Bay Gardens Went Native by Marta Yamamoto...---Oakland Tribune
It's hard to beat a lovely spring day spent touring beautiful gardens.
When those gardens conserve water, reduce pesticide use, attract wildlife and put the spotlight on native plants, the pleasure is multiplied. Come May 6, the eighth annual Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour will offer 50 gardens in which to stroll and learn about the benefits of gardening with native plants.  ........One of the four Berkeley gardens on the tour is the small garden of Naomi Janowitz, a garden that solves the problem of making a small space pleasing and harmonious with nature. Designer Corinne Louise Greenberg's garden plan combines spring blossoms of California lilac and purple sage with summer's rosy buckwheat and dudleya, creamy yarrow, red fuchsia and yellow monkey flower, attractive to wildlife as well as garden lovers. Janowitz loves her garden.  "My yard's a quiet space that doesn't demand machines, and it's a low-water-needs garden," she said. "We wanted a yard that was an expression of an artistic vision."  Kramer, Harper and Janowitz stress that native plant gardens are easy to maintain. "It's a way to make peace with your yard; it fits in, it works by itself," Janowitz said. "If you take the tour for a couple of years you may end up changing your garden. That's what happened to us."

WHO: Golden Gate Audubon Society
WHAT: Volunteer to improve local bird and butterfly habitat
WHERE: Pier 94 in San Francisco
WHEN: Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 9:00am-12noon

DIRECTIONS:  Take Third Street to Cargo Way turn left onto Amador St., an industrial road which turns right. The address is 480 Amador St in San Francisco (a trailer office for a neighbor). Turn into the gravel parking lot before the chain link fence. Just ahead you will see a small light blue sign next to white barriers. This is the entrance to Pier 94.
Public Transit: Use this Pier 94 map.
NOTES: Please wear close-toed shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty.  Bring a water bottle if you have one to minimize trash.  We’ll provide instruction, gloves, tools, snacks and water. Join us to improve a wetland site in San Francisco along the Bay.  Activities include learning about the local birds and removing weeds to allow native plants to thrive.  This is a part of “Together Green Volunteer Days” inspiring people to take action to improve the health of our environment.  

Check for current volunteer opportunities at


Western snowy plover / Photo by David Assmann

Celebrate the wonder and beauty of birds on Thursday May 10th at Golden Gate Audubon's biggest and best Birdathon dinner ever!

* Tom Stienstra, the S.F. Chronicle's award-winning outdoor columnist as guest speaker*
* Exhibit and silent auction of bird art, including the amazing bird sculptures of Aimee Baldwin *

and more

Birding and wine start at 6 pm, while dinner starts at 7 pm.
Dinner tickets are $35 each, which covers our costs.
RSVP/order tickets now on the Birdathon web site, or call the GGAS office at (510) 843-2222.

And remember... even if you can't attend the Birdathon dinner, you can still help protect Bay Area birds and their habitat through a tax-deductible contribution to Golden Gate Audubon.

Meanwhile, here's a preview of Aimee Baldwin's work:

White nuthatch/ Photo by Tue Nam Ton (

Burrowing owl / Photo by Tue Nam Ton (

Acorn woodpecker / Photo by Tue Nam Ton (

Aimee Baldwin at work / SF Chronicle photo by Liz Hafalia

Birdathon supports the environmental education and conservation activities of Golden Gate Audubon Society, inspiring people to protect Bay Area birds since 1917.


6.  Sunday Streets kicks off the Mission Pilot Program!
Sunday Streets 2012 season features a four-event Mission Sunday Streets Pilot project, consisting of four consecutive events the first Sundays from May to August on the popular Mission route - Valencia from 14th to 24th and 24th Street from Valencia to Hampshire.

All Sunday Streets events start at 11:00 am and last until 4:00 pm. The Mission dates are: May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5, 2012.

The purpose of this pilot is to explore the feasibility of holding more frequent Sunday Streets events on an established route. Our first step is to hold one Sunday Streets per month in the Mission on a regular schedule for consistency - the 1st Sunday of each month - to see what the challenges are and how it works for the community. We will be doing an Economic Analysis among businesses along the route, and gathering input from residents, business owners, local employees, religious institutions to gauge the impacts and support for the idea of having a regular Sunday Streets route in the Mission (or in another area of the City).

As always, the Mission Sunday Streets attract thousands of local families and community members as well as visitors from throughout the Bay Area and beyond. These events showcase the Mission's diversity, with programming provided by many Mission-based organizations and cultural institutions. This summer you'll have several opportunities to dance, drum, skate, bike, and stroll along two of San Francisco's diverse merchant corridors- Valencia and Lower 24th Street- and enjoy the car free streets. For information on programs, please contact Due to the popularity of these events, program space is limited and priority is given to Mission based organizations.

Sunday Streets presenting city agency, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency  is offering flat rate parking in two Mission area garages on Sunday Streets days: $10 Mission Bartlett garage (90 Bartlett St between 21st St & 22nd St), $7 San Francisco General Hospital Parking Garage (2500 24th St) *Vehicles entering after 12:00 noon pay the hourly ratee.

Sunday Streets is presented by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency and Livable City.  Leadership support is provided by Bank of America, Sunday Streets 2012 season presenting sponsor. Sunday Streets volunteer program is managed by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, to sign up to volunteer go to:

There is a program map attached that lists all of te current activities planned for Sunday. Some highlights include:
•  Circus Center - miniature circus show with acrobats, clowns, juggling lessons (14th & Valencia)
•  Capoeira Classes; Capoeira Mission 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (15t & Valencia)
•  Centro Del Pueblo - bike repairs, DIY screen printing (16th & Valencia)
•  Bay Area Semi Secret Square Dance Society, Live fiddles, band, dances taught, no experience necessary! 1 to 3 p.m. (18th & Valencia)
•  Integral Yoga Institute free yoga sessions starting on the hour; no experience necessary (Valencia & Liberty St)
•  SFBC Freedom from Training Wheels (24t & Valencia)
•  Kid’s Music Festival and Activities ( Bartlett Street and 24th)
•  24th Street BART Plaza: Dance & Music performances by Mission Cultural Center for Latno Arts
•  Funky Town Roller Disco (24th & Shotwell)
•  B-Boy/B-Girl Hip Hop Dance and lessons (24th & Treat)
•  Low rider cars and programming by Lower 24th Street Merchants & LatinZone Productions (24th and York)


Well attended by press and television cameras at the May 2, 2012 Press Conference, Aaron Peskin, Quentin Kopp, and Central Subway opposition laid out the congressional hurdles, which may yet redirect state/ local funds to improve citywide Muni and create jobs more quickly.  Particularly informative, see the Wall Street Journal Article, April 30, 2012, which is pasted below.  Congress has sixty days to review the Central Subway Project.

SF WEEKLY:  Central Subway Critics---Costly Boondoggle Can Still be Stopped

CHRONICLE:  Reinforcements Enlisted in Fight Against Central Subway

SF WEEKLY:  Bruce Oka Off Muni Board---Just Five Commissioners Left to Vote on Central Subway Bond

EXAMINER:  House Bill Might Kill SF Central Subway Funds

The New Earmarkers
Cost analysis for transit projects gives way to 'social equity.'

President Obama has been heard of late ballyhooing what he's done to cut federal red tape. Left unsaid is what he is doing to fashion golden handcuffs for local transit agencies. Consider the work of his artisans at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that "streamlined" regulations will make it easier for local transit agencies to procure grant funding under the New Starts program. Swept aside, says Mr. LaHood, are "certain time-consuming technical requirements that are duplicative or unnecessary."

Not so fast. Let's look closer at the old New Starts rules that Mr. LaHood characterizes as "technical requirements."

Under the existing New Starts guidelines, local governments competing for grants must compare the cost of their transit projects with alternative solutions. The Obama Administration's proposed rules would do away with this comparative cost analysis. The new rules put more weight on "social equity and environmental considerations." Such as? Such as the "degree to which policies maintaining or increasing affordable housing are in place."

Now let's have a look at how this noble goal works in real world.

At the top of the FTA's queue is San Francisco's proposed Chinatown subway, which couldn't get a full funding grant agreement under a more rational review process. The 1.6-mile line will cost $1.6 billion to build and draw just 5,000 new daily riders. Subway commuters would have to descend eight floors to catch the train and then walk the length of four football fields to connect with light-rail lines.

There is a cheaper alternative. A 2002 study by the city's transit agency found that a surface transportation solution to congestion on Chinatown buses would cost only $9.1 million to implement. The Sierra Club supports this plan, because improved bus service is more cost-effective and efficient than the subway.

So why spend $1.6 billion instead? Because San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee hope to deliver construction contracts to Bay Area developers, who are the project's biggest backers. The left coast Tammany Hall has already promised Chinatown developers $32 million to build affordable housing for displaced residents.

The Obama FTA hopes to rubber-stamp the Chinatown subway and as many other dubious transportation projects as it can before the November election. Future White Houses and Congresses would have a hard time reneging on the funding commitments once construction has started. Not least, the White House needs to give Congressional Democrats something to show for their time in D.C.

Republicans don't appear eager to kill the back-door earmark program. They had an opportunity to block New Starts funding in the surface transportation reauthorization act, but they didn't. Many hope to procure funding for projects in their districts. This is one way the Washington earmark machine will restart itself, unless the GOP shuts it down.


Private Lives

How orb-weavers patch up the air in places
like fibrinogen, or live in the fence lock.
How the broom holds lizards.
How if you stand back you will miss them
afflicted by sunset,
the digger bees mining the yard,
birds too fast to have shadows,
the life that lives in the wren whistle.
You will see moth-clouds
that are moving breaths
and perhaps something like the star
that fell on Alabama
through the roof of Mrs. E. Hulitt Hodges
and hit her radio, then her.
No, you must be close for the real story.
I remember being made
to stand in the corner for punishment
because it would be dull and empty
and I would be sorry.
But instead it was a museum of small wonders,
a place of three walls
with a weather my breath influenced,
an archaeology of layers, of painted molding,
a meadow as we called them then
of repeatable pale roses,
an eight-eyed spider in a tear of wallpaper
turning my corner.
The texture.  The soft echo if I talked,
if I said I am not bad if this is the world.

~ Allan Peterson ~

(All The Lavish In Common)


"Each of us bears the imprint
Of a friend met along the way.
In each the trace of each.
    Primo Levi

(On wall of Jewish Community Center)

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate

Everyone, in some small sacred sanctuary of the self, is nuts. -Leo Rosten, author

(Ooooo....I am so touched by this message from a stranger interested in me.  I include her email address in case you, too, would like to meet this Miss Flourzy.  I'm sure I can trust her with my bank account number, don't you think?  Voila!  :-)

    Date:     April 30, 2012 5:32:22 PM PDT
    Subject:     HELLO MY DEAR
Can we be come friends?,I am Miss Flourzy im interested in you,please reply
me here for a confidential discussions may be like that we can become best
friends in future sorry for my pictures i will enclose it in my next mail
when i hear from you okay.Kisses and warmest regards,
Miss. Flourzy Sankara

No comments:

Post a Comment