Beware of falling trees, rising poll numbers
Trees always lose
the war. It's a theme that came up so often over the past several days
as I made my way through the City.
At the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, sudden oak death has
arrived in San Francisco. That the City is the 14th county in the state
affected by sudden oak is underscored by the sad irony that the tree
disease showed up in a grove dedicated to the men and woman lost to
a human disease. In spite of this, the grove is as serene and beautiful
In the Presidio near West Pacific Avenue, several horizontal eucalypti
were visible from the 43 Muni line as improvement projects continue
in the northeast part of this national park.
I began to suspect a conspiracy when I arrived home and found workers
topping a four-story pine in the inner gardens near my apartment. The
tree is a favorite of the Telegraph Hill parrots. It's now a three-story
pine, but I'm optimistic that the parrots will still be able to find
Next came a press release from David Baker of the ad hoc Tenderloin
Tree Campaign. Baker and others were frustrated in their effort to save
a 100-foot Norfolk Island pine when a property owner at Ellis and Hyde
streets decided it had to go. Says Baker, "Any attempt to save a tree
is complicated when it's located on private property. The Bureau of
Urban Forestry says nothing can be done." I made a similar discovery
a couple of years ago when I inquired about the ring of poplars that
was then being removed from Sydney Walton Square, a privately owned
park in the Golden Gateway Commons.
Baker says, "This is a disaster for the Tenderloin. It further degrades
the area when trees are lost."
My encounters with endangered trees occurred as Republicans in New York
appeared to whip up more than just the party faithful with speeches
at their national convention in New York. By pointing to the many failures
of President George W. Bush and calling them successes, the Republicans
appear to be fooling more of the people more of the time.
After returning from the Democrat's convention in Boston, Dr. Lawrence
Brilliant told me that the dems are more united than he had ever seen
at previous conventions. "In fact," said Dr. Brilliant, "with schisms
on issues of abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research, it's the
Republicans who are divided over what kind of Republicans they want
As poll results reflect the Bush/Cheney convention bounce, I am increasingly
concerned about what kind of America America wants to be.
On Russian Hill, a visit with the rock world figure Dr. Twist revealed
more of the same political angst measured against falling timber. Dr.
Twist complained bitterly about the poor job an absentee landlord did
after the landlord was forced to trim some acacia trees that were blocking
a street lamp across from Dr. Twist's apartment.
Next, Dr. Twist shared a story that's all-too familiar along the neighborhood
grapevine, where anecdotal evidence of things like increased Ellis Act
evictions and worsening Muni service always reaches a fever pitch before
hitting the media. It seems a friend of Dr. Twist was Ellis-evicted
from his apartment of 20 years in Bernal Heights.
Says Dr. Twist, "The last time I saw my friend he was standing on the
side of the street with his stuff like some kind of 'Grapes of Wrath'
North Beach activist Marc Bruno will moderate a forum on Ellis Act evictions
in the Marini Gym at the St. Francis Shrine, 610 Vallejo Street, this
Thursday at 8 p.m.
North Beach has been hard hit by these evictions, which allow property
owners to get rid of renters then sell units as tenancies-in-common
(TICs). Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Bevan Dufty, and Tom Ammiano are expected
to attend the educational forum at the Shrine.
Scooplet: Angela Alioto has been chosen as the Grand Marshall for this
year's Italian Heritage Day Parade in North Beach.
Update: The good news is that the Resting
Hermes sculpture, which was stolen from the University Club last
month, was found in a bar in Crockett and returned to the club. The
bad news is that Hermes will stay under lockdown until the club figures
out how to securely display it.
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