Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WE WON TODAY! One round left...

Hi Neighbors -
After a very contentious debate, we won - 6-5!
Voting with us were:
Scott Wiener - who sponsored the transfer
David Chiu
Sean Elsbernd
Malia Cohen
Carmen Chu 
and Mark Farrell

Voting against:
Ross Mirkarimi
Eric Mar
Jane Kim
John Avalos
and David Campos

This was the first of 2 readings - the second will be Jan 10.  
You all were amazing!  So many of you wrote in to the supervisors.  It helps tremendously when there are a stack of letters supporting one side.  
Also, a huge thanks to Milo Hanke (past President), and Kearstin Krehbiel (the new Executive Director )of San Francisco Beautiful for their support.

Keep the support coming!  If you haven’t written yet, you have until Jan 10 to write a quick note to the supervisors.  You can skip sending letters to Scott Wiener since he was the sponsor of the transfer.  We owe him a huge thank you for this!


Friday, December 9, 2011

PLEASE help save Corbett Slope!

Hi All

This past Monday the Land Use committee voted unanimously to allow the transfer of the Corbett Slope back to DPW from the Dept of Real Estate.  It seemed as though the rest of the process would be smooth sailing.  But now, as I understand it, a large and outspoken contingent of affordable housing advocates has been aggressively lobbying the supervisors in advance of the hearing of the full board this Tuesday.

As you know, we have had numerous successful work days on the site so far, and have been looking forward to having steady access well into the future.  

The goals are to have an accessible section for the neighborhood, as well as fruit and vegetable areas, native plant areas and a trail system thru the uppermost parts.

Now we really need your help!  

This coming Tuesday, 12/13, the item will be discussed before the full Board of Supervisors. There will be no public commentbut if you'd like to attend, it will be at City Hall, Room 250. The hearing begins at 2PM but we're #35 on the agenda.

PLEASE write a short letter - BEFORE TUESDAY - (and include your address) stating that this wonderful open space needs to be preserved.  Affordable housing is essential also, but virgin open space - what little remains in SF - should not be sacrificed.  If we lose, the land WILL be sold, and market-rate housing will replace the mature trees.

If you would either send the letter to me, or send a copy to each of the Supervisors, it would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks very much for your help!


Here are the Board of Supervisors' contacts:

John Avalos


David Chiu


Malia Cohen


Mark Farrell


Eric Mar


Scott Wiener


David Campos


Carmen Chu


Sean Elsbernd


Jane Kim


Ross Mirkarimi


Monday, December 5, 2011


Hi Neighbors
This is not the end, but the fight to preserve the Corbett Slope has passed the biggest hurdle.  The 3 supervisors who sit on the Land Use Committee voted unanimously to support the transfer.
First, and foremost, I’d like to thank Supervisor Scott Wiener for sponsoring the transfer.  Without this the land would have languished with the Dept. of Real Estate until the time that the city would sell it, and market-rate monster homes would be built there.
Thanks so much to all of you who showed up at City Hall this afternoon to speak: Nancy Peoples, Michaeline Kiss, John and Leslie Koelsch, Janice Low, John Easterday, Janet Roubian, Aaron Chapman and Mark Ryser. (Hope I’m not forgetting someone.)
And HUGE thanks to Karla Nagy from KitchenGardenSF!
Next Tuesday this will go before the full board.  It is unlikely that the board will go against a unanimous decision by Land Use, but there could be fierce opposition by affordable housing advocates.  I’ll let you know the next steps.
But so far - congratulations to all of us!
- Gary

Friday, December 2, 2011


I’m very sorry about all the emails, but I just found out that there will be a group of affordable housing advocates who plan on showing up to protest the transfer of the Corbett Slope out of the Dept. of Real Estate’s hands.
Please try and show up - even briefly - at 1PM Monday.  We’re first on the agenda. 
It will be in Room 263 of City Hall.
Thanks for all of you who showed support by sending Scott an email.  He probably has enough for now.  
I hope to see many of you on Monday.  And I hope the next email I send out will announce that we’ve won!

- Gary


So sorry to bombard you with emails, but I gave the wrong email address for Scott Wiener’s office.

It is:

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Hi All
The Land Use Committee hearing to transfer the Corbett Slope to DPW is scheduled for this coming Monday, 12/5.
It will take place at City Hall - Room 263.
The hearing starts at 1PM and we are first on the agenda.
Please try and attend if at all possible.  If not, a note to Supervisor Wiener’s office that includes your name and address will be helpful.
You can email the note to: scott.wiener@gov.org.  Just express briefly what the open space and future park means to you and the neighborhood.  Just a sentence or 2 will suffice.

Hope to see you there!

Corbett Slope Hearing Coming Up!

Hi Neighbors,
After years of fighting to protect the Corbett Slope as our Community Garden, the Land Use Committee hearing to have it transferred back to DPW (Dept of Public Works) will be held either this coming Monday, December 5, or the following Monday, the 12th.  We should know later today.
Currently in the jurisdiction of the city’s Dept of Real Estate, luxury home developers have most likely been salivating over this large view parcel.  The economy is probably the only reason we’ve been able to keep them at bay so far.
Our grand plans to develop this into a beautiful park, and the transfer to DPW (proposed by Supervisor Wiener’s office) will - for now - prevent the city from selling off the land.
BUT - it will be important for there to be a showing of supporters at the hearing.  One never knows who may show up at these hearings to try and prevent it from happening.  With Supervisor Wiener’s support, and a reasonable showing of neighbors supporting the transfer, we will be successful.
I’ll send another email with the date and time once it’s confirmed.
Thanks for your support!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Hi Everyone
One last reminder about our day on the Slope this Saturday.  We’ll be talking about ideas and layout during the first hour or two and then we’ll do some more cleanup.  Cookies and drinks will be provided.  Hope you can make it!  10AM - 2PM.

Also, here is a link to an article in SF Appeal covering the recent crimes:

Some of you will be participating in SAFE meetings - Neighborhood Watch.  Let me know if you’d like to join the Mars watch, or if you’d like to start your own.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More information on crimes in Corbett Hts.

Hi Neighbors
Several of you asked for a description of the assailant.  Here is the description given to the police:

- young african american, male, between 27 and 33, dressed in dark
- armed with a hand gun or pistol
- he ordered my friend to give him something, the iPhone, the wallet and the keys of the car, so that my friend could not chase him, said "don't look at me" then he ran away to a car (brand and make could not be seen)and disappeared.
Nothing more, unfortunately.
Thank you for forwarding these information. Police officers said that there has been a gang operating in the neighborhood these last days. They mentioned an attack on Henry street, and I know that there has been a couple of car breakages in our street (Mars Street).

Here’s another incident:

I just heard from a woman who lives on the corner that a man was mugged at 3pm several days ago on 17th at 3pm.  He was taking pictures with a new camera was pushed into the street and did not call the police.  His camera was stolen.  Sorry I don't have names. 

I will invite the Captain of Park Station to our next meeting which is not until the end of January.
We had representatives from SAFE attend meetings several times.  I still put out their info during our meetings.  
A few years ago, 2 small groups got together - I believe one was in the 100 block of Corbett and the other on 17th.  I don’t know if they still meet.  It can be very effective.  It usually works best for individual blocks.  
If anyone is interested in getting involved, let me know and I can connect you with anyone else on your (or our) block.
Here’s a link:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This is from a neighbor on Mars - sent last night:

We had a gunpoint attack yesterday evening around 8.30pm at 26 Mars Street. A friend of us who was leaving our place was attacked and robbed while he was sitting in his car and reading his messages on his I-phone. The police came 5 minutes after we called them, they were very professional, and they confirmed an increased number of attacks in the neighborhood.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Crime in Corbett Heights!

There has been a considerable amount of crime in the neighborhood recently.  Besides a number of vehicle break-ins, here’s a report from the Park Station's weekly report:

Thursday, November 3

Serious Incidents

17th and Temple Streets  11:10 PM  Robbery  A 46 year old Corona Heights
man was robbed at gunpoint as he walked home.

Please don’t leave anything visible in your car that could be conceived as valuable.  Even a charging cable can give the impression that there may be an iPod or similar inside.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Notes from Corbett Heights meeting

Hi All
In addition to the notes from the meeting, I wanted to remind you that our next workday at the Corbett Slope will be:

Saturday, November 12 − 10AM - 2PM.  
We will spend the first hour or 2 just discussing our ideas for the site.  So hope you can make it!  We’ll have refreshments!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Hi All
Just a last reminder about tonight’s meeting.  
In addition to the guests already mentioned, Denise Van Alstine of the Dept. of Elections will do a very brief presentation at the beginning of the meeting on Ranked-Choice Voting.  So if you still have doubts on how the system works, it will be explained.
See you this evening!

Also - we’ll be having another work/cleanup/discussion day at the Corbett Slope on Sat, 11/12, from 10AM - 2PM.  The first hour or 2 we will all get to discuss our ideas about what we’d like to see there.  We’ll set up some makeshift benches.  So come by and bring your ideas!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Corbett Heights Meeting Thursday!

Meeting Reminder!

Our Corbett Heights Neighbors next general meeting will be this coming Thursday - October 27th - 7:30 − 9PM.

We’ll have at least 2 candidates for District Attorney.  
The Executive Director of SF Architectural Heritage will speak with us about historic preservation.
The Dept. of the Environment, along with Scott Wiener’s office will discuss ways that homeowners in SF can save up to $9,000 per year by doing energy upgrades on their homes.

Updates on the proposed improvement to the new 17th St. traffic island.
Corbett Slope news.
Updates on proposed projects along the Market St. Corridor.
And more - 

Hope you can attend!
 - Gary

Friday, October 21, 2011

Corbett Slope Photos

Hello again -
Just thought I’d sent you these photos of the Slope.  The first is from Scott Wiener’s newsletter.
Community Updates


Corbett Slope
For a number of years, Corbett Heights Neighbors, under the leadership of Gary Weiss, has worked hard to beautify and improve the small and large open spaces in the Corbett Heights neighborhood (bounded by Market, Clayton, and 17th Streets). CHN is now focusing on the Corbett Slope, an under-utilized slope with a lot of potential to add high-quality green space to the neighborhood. I'm sponsoring legislation to ensure that the slope will remain green space. Congratulations to Gary and CHN for all their work!


Community members volunteering at Corbett Slope





Hi Neighbors - 

We have a packed agenda for next Thursday’s meeting.  2 of the 3 candidates for District Atty in SF will be attending, as well as the Executive Director of SF Architectural Heritage.  He will be discussing some of the latest threats to Historic Preservation in SF.

If anyone is interested in participating in the operation of Corbett Heights Neighbors, PLEASE let me know.  There is not a lot of time involved.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Hi Neighbors -

Our quarterly general meeting will take place on Thursday, October 27th, 7:30 − 9PM, at 501 Castro - 2nd floor (elevator available) above BofA/Sunglass Hut.

We’ll have a pretty packed agenda.  We’ll have updates on:
  • Progress at Corbett Slope;
  • Traffic calming on 17th Street;
  • New developments in our neighborhood and along the Market Street corridor;
  • and SF Beautiful’s suit to prevent AT&T’s installation of utility boxes.

Guest Speakers will be: 
David Onek, running for SF District Attorney;  
Representatives from the Dept. of the Environment, together with Supervisor Wiener’s office to discuss the rebates of up to $9,000 to homeowners for energy upgrades; 
and also a discussion on Historic Preservation in San Francisco, and how proposed legislation will dilute existing laws.

So please attend!!!
And meet your neighbors.

(Please let me know if you’re available to distribute fliers.)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Workday on the Slope

Hi All
In case you’re ever wondering what 20 cubic yards of mulch looks like, imagine a Winnebago.  There were about 20 of us who either stayed from 9 until 2, or dropped by to help for a while.  And the mulch pile is now visible inside the gate to the slope.  It looks incredible - please check it out!
Besides the group from KitchenGardenSF and the SF Permaculture Guild, Nancy, Marianne, Pat, Maggie, Janet, Albert, Daniel, Sheila, Tim and Martín helped out from the neighborhood.  Please forgive me if I’m forgetting someone.
Today a few of us took a tour of the far west portion of the Slope.  It’s quite amazing that this huge and beautiful property is about to become the Corbett Slope Community Garden.
We’ll be having another cleanup and planting day in the beginning of November.  Hope you can make it!
- Gary

Monday, October 3, 2011


Hi Neighbors -

Tomorrow Scott Wiener’s office will introduce a resolution to officially transfer Corbett Slope from the Dept. of Real Estate to DPW.  This is great news.  It means that past development threats are pretty much gone.  And the water will be turned on.

We’ll be having our second work day on the Slope this Saturday, October 8th - from 10AM - 2PM.  Bring any tools you may have - gloves, clippers, shovels....

You don’t need to have gardening experience or a strong back.  

Also, we’d like to have a few snacks and drinks.  CHN can pay if anyone would like to help putting it together.  We’ll also need a table to put them on.

So come on by and lend a hand - or just say hello!  A sunny day is predicted.

See you Saturday!

- Gary

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Latest on AT&T

As you may be aware, I’ve been working with San Francisco Beautiful for the last year in protest of AT&T’s plan to install 726 enormous utility boxes on our sidewalks.  Supervisor Wiener was a deciding vote in AT&T’s favor.  One reason for the vote was a fear of a lawsuit by AT&T if we required an environmental review (EIR).  
Below are details of the lawsuit that has been filed by SF Beautiful and several other organizations against the city of San Francisco for NOT requiring an EIR.  
Please help support our efforts!
 - Gary

To : SFB Neighborhood Coalition and Working Group

On Friday, September 30, our attorney will present the case for an injunction to halt AT&T's applications to install utility boxes in San Francisco. This will not determine whether or not an EIR is required for AT&T's utility box installation. 

This hearing is open to the public and you are invited to attend. It will be held in the Superior Court of California building at 9 AM on 400 McAllister Street, 2nd Floor, Dept. 220, SF CA, 94102.

We have attached a protest flier for you to easily distribute to your neighborhood group. Thank you for all those who have seen AT&T's fliers around town and have taken action. 

Attached is our legal brief filed with the Court for the injunction, as well as AT&T's against the injunction.

If you'd like to contribute to SFB to help offset our legal fees, please click here.

On a more celebratory note, our Inaugural Masquerade Soiree, Together for San Francisco, will be held at the Palace Hotel on October 14. Be sure to get your tickets here!

Kind regards,

Jonathan Goldberg
San Francisco Beautiful
100 Bush Street, Suite 1812
San Francisco, CA 94104
T. 415.421.2608 x13

SF Beautiful welcomes new executive director Kearstin Krehbiel.
She can be reached at Kearstin@sfbeautiful.org.

Mark your calendars!

Our Annual Awards Dinner will be held on Friday, October 14, at the Palace Hotel.
Join us as we celebrate and honor neighborhood projects from throughout the City!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hi Neighbors -
In case you haven’t yet had a chance to see the Slope, please check it out.  The cleanup we had on September 10th made a huge difference already.  
The transfer of the land from the Department of Real Estate (from which it could have been sold by the city to developers) to DPW will most likely be complete in November.  The cleanup day on the 10th, as well as the next one on October 8th, required permits.  
There were 10 of us who helped out.  The whole flat upper area has been weeded, and the renewal of an old trail has been started.

Our next work day will be Saturday, October 8th, from 10AM until 1 or 2PM.  PLEASE stop by and lend a hand - or just say hello.  You don’t need any gardening experience.

Here are a few photos of the work we did - taken by Karla of KitchenGardenSF.

See you on the 8th!

- Gary


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

17th St. Traffic Island!!!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, work has finally begun!  Well over 4 years later.  The uphill lane will remain the same, but the downhill lane will be diverted to the south.  All in all we will lose 1 − 2 parking spaces.  
The median island will be just above the top of the Corbin Steps.  The speed radar sign will be installed just west of 4353 17th St.
See - it did happen in our lifetime!  Patience....
- Gary
(Photo courtesy of Ted Teipel)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Well, I jumped the gun a bit.  I’m still hoping that we can have a get-together at the Slope on Sept. 10, but this Saturday’s work day will need to be postponed.
In order to “occupy” the site, we needed to acquire 2 things:  one is liability insurance - this will be covered thru our relationship with the SF Parks Trust.  The other is the transfer of the land from the Mayor’s Office of Housing back to DPW (Dept of Public Works).  This will happen and is in the works, but until we get the okay from the city, it would be a bad idea to begin having work days.
So, please let me know if you’d like to be added to the volunteer list - if you haven’t already.
Thanks!  And sorry for the confusion.
- Gary

Hi Neighbors -

Several people have signed up to be on the CSCG (Corbett Slope Community Garden) committee.  But we'll need more volunteers.  So if you're interested, please let me know and I'll add your name to the list.

We'll be meeting at the Slope for the first time for a preliminary cleanup on {{Saturday, August 20th, from 10AM - 2PM}}, to prepare for our GRAND OPENING DAY - September 10th, from 10AM - 4PM.  On that day you'll get a chance to view the Slope and help begin the process of cleaning, pruning, mulching and planting.  We'll have a pot luck lunch.  

If you'd like to help organize the food - let me know!  Or if you'd just like to bring a dish, it will be greatly appreciated!

See you a week from Saturday!

- Gary

Monday, August 8, 2011


Hi Neighbors -

Several people have signed up to be on the CSCG (Corbett Slope Community Garden) committee.  But we'll need more volunteers.  So if you're interested, please let me know and I'll add your name to the list.

We'll be meeting at the Slope for the first time for a preliminary cleanup on Saturday, August 20th, from 10AM - 2PM, to prepare for our GRAND OPENING DAY - September 10th, from 10AM - 4PM.  On that day you'll get a chance to view the Slope and help begin the process of cleaning, pruning, mulching and planting.  We'll have a pot luck lunch.  

If you'd like to help organize the food - let me know!  Or if you'd just like to bring a dish, it will be greatly appreciated!

See you a week from Saturday!

- Gary

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hi Neighbors,
Please try and make the meeting this Thursday.
David Chiu, Mayoral Candidate and President of the Board of Supervisors will be there.  
Our District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener will also be there.
Many updates from Traffic Calming on 17th Street to our new Corbett Slope Community Garden to new developments in the works along the Market Street corridor.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Hi Neighbors -

Just a reminder about our meeting next Thursday.  Attached is a copy of the meeting notice.

Please let me know if you are available to help deliver fliers.

Thanks!  And hope to see you next week!


Thursday, July 14, 2011


As you may already know, Corbett Slope is on the way to becoming Corbett Slope Community Garden!  I'll have more information about this later on.  In the meantime, we're trying to set up a core group of volunteers who will be involved in the planning of the Slope.  This will involve everything from helping design the paths to selecting the plants to organizing work days.  You do not need to have a great knowledge of plants and do not need to spend hours and hours weeding.  What we're looking for is a group of people who can help create of vision - and also help with some of the care and implementation of the plan.  
Our first meeting will take place immediately before the neighborhood meeting - Thursday, July 28th - 7PM - at the Castro Community Meeting Room - 501 Castro/18th - 2nd floor (elevator available).  
Hope to see you there!

Mayoral Candidates Forum:
I am also on the board of the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Ass'n. (EVNA)  We have partnered with the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Ass'n. (DTNA) to create a forum for the 9 Mayoral frontrunners.  The event will take place on:
Monday, August 8th - at the Castro Theatre - 7PM.  Liam Mayclem of "Eye on the Bay" will be the moderator.  Admission is free!
The candidates - in alphabetical order are: Michaela Alioto-Pier, John Avalos, David Chiu, Bevan Dufty, Tony Hall, Dennis Herrera, Joanna Rees, Phil Ting and Leland Yee.
Send me any questions you'd like to ask the candidates - by no later that August 1st.  We'll be consolidating questions from both groups.
Bring anyone you'd like to the event - it's a big theatre!

And last - it's time to renew your membership!  
Many of you have already paid for 2011  - and a number of you from neighboring associations need not pay.
The dues are $15/year per household.  If you'd like to stay involved but cannot pay the $15, just let me know and you can remain a free member.
Your membership entitles you to vote on issues, and to receive regular updates on events in the neighborhood.  Without membership dues, you may be removed from the mailing list. 
Make checks payable to CHN or Corbett Heights Neighbors.  You can mail to 123 Corbett or to 78 Mars - or just drop it in either mailbox.  If you are paying with cash please make sure all of your information is with it.

Thank you!
- Gary


Hi Neighbors -

Our quarterly meeting is coming up on Thursday, July 28 and it will be jam-packed.
  • Supervisor Scott Wiener will give us updates on District 8, so bring any questions you may have for him.
  • David Chiu, President of the Board of Supervisors and Mayoral Candidate will discuss his vision for San Francisco
  • Corbett Slope Community Garden - Successes & visions for the future.
  • Redistricting - how it could impact Corbett Heights.
  • A representative from SF Planning Dept.'s Historic Preservation Program will discuss the process of making Corbett Heights a historic district.
  • Plus many updates on neighborhood projects.

So please try and attend!

Thursday, July 28th - 7:30PM
Castro Community Meeting Room
501 Castro Street - 2nd floor
(Above BofA/Sunglass Hut - elevator available)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Corbett Heights Updates

Hi Neighbors -
There are several things going on in and around the neighborhood.  Following are some of them worth mentioning:

1.  Corbin Stairs are finished!  What was supposed to take a few weeks ended up taking a few months - but the results are amazing.  Special thanks to John and Leslie for keeping an eye on the progress and for helping plant many of the new replacement plants.
We'll try and schedule a ribbon cutting sometime in the latter half of July.

2.  75 Mars project.  The current owner has proposed doing a total redo of the existing house.  The result would give the house a much more modern appearance.  It would be about 7 or 8 feet taller.  There would also be a 2nd unit with an entrance off of Corbett.  
The patio area adjacent to the house, was "appropriated" many years ago by a former owner and would be returned as parkland.  If the project is approved the owner would file for a 2nd permit to build a stairway from Corbett diagonally up to Mars.  This area would have lighting, irrigation and new landscaping.  
There has been considerable contention on the block since this project was proposed.  A number of the houses on the opposite side of the street would lose a portion of their views from their lower levels.  And some are concerned that the encroachment easement required to enter the lower unit is a "land grab".  It happens that it is a fraction of the portion that would be returned for neighborhood use.
Although I love the idea of the stairway thru the park, I have taken no position on the house itself.  Views, although not protected, are cherished.
A neighbor applied for a Discretionary Review of the tentative approval given by the Planning Dept.  The hearing will take place this Thursday, 6/16 after 12 noon in City Hall - Room 400.  If you'd like to submit a letter - pro or con - send it to:
Michael Smith - michael.e.smith@sfgov.org  RE: 2010.0598D (75 Mars St).

3.  Membership Dues - due in July.  Please send $15 c/o Kevin Dunn, 123 Corbett, 94114.  Checks may be made out to CHN.  Please send them in soon to remain on the mailing list!

4.  Corbett Slope - wonderful news coming later this week when confirmed!

5.  Recommendations for services:  Choosing someone to change a lock, fix a broken window, paint your house or install recessed lighting is often a shot in the dark.  I'd like to see if some of you have been happy with someone or some company that has done work for you.  We can post their information on our website.  Corbett Heights Neighbors would not take responsibility for any of the work done, of course.
I've recently been using a carpenter/painter/handyman who has been amazing.  I'd like to help his business and any others with a good recommendation.
He's Adrian Turnbull of Turnbull Construction.  206-854-7597.  Give him a try!

6.  Our next meeting will be on Thursday, July 28th, at 7:30.  Supervisor David Chiu will attend to discuss his mayoral campaign.  Mark your calendars!

- Gary

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Action Alert: Save our Public Realm

Day of Action to 
Halt AT&T's Utility Box Blight
Let your voice be heard
May 17, 2011
San Francisco Beautiful calls for  
Public Rally in Support of EIR

Despite environmental concerns, AT&T is pushing its plans to install 726 refrigerator-size, sound-emitting utility boxes on city sidewalks. The massive installation will proceed unless the Board of Supervisors votes to require an environmental impact report (EIR), scheduled for Tuesday, May 24.

To win this vote, we must counter AT&T's considerable lobbying pressure upon the Board.  The neighborhood coalition, including San Francisco Beautiful, is holding a:


Monday, May 23 at Noon
Steps of City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA  94102




A noon press conference with community speakers will be followed by citizen lobbying to the offices of individual Supervisors. Everyone is encouraged to join this event and communicate with his or her Supervisor.


Support us by contacting these five key Supervisors: 


AT&T secured a blanket go-ahead for its massive "U-verse" installation, when the Planning Department granted a "categorical exemption" from an EIR.This exemption allows AT&T to disregard environmental impacts caused by the giant utility boxes that will litter our sidewalks. SFB and Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR) challenged that determination and filed an appeal with the Board of Supervisors. The number of community groups supporting the appeal for an EIR is growing, but so too is AT&T's considerable lobbying pressures upon the Board of Supervisors.


Normally required of any large scale project, an EIR would produce an objective and transparent analysis to measure the cumulative impact upon our neighborhoods. It would address the current AT&T plan, plus existing and anticipated additions to our streetscapes. Following protocols of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), an EIR should ensure efforts are made to mitigate or eliminate environmental impacts. An EIR should buttress enforcement of existing regulations that prevent the needless privatization of our public sidewalks.

The Board of Supervisors first heard the appeal last month. During five hours of testimony, AT&T told the full Board of Supervisors reasons it was either unable or unwilling to comply with City regulations that require their boxes to be primarily placed underground or private property.


The need for an EIR became even more apparent when Supervisors questioned assumptions City departments had made in granting the categorical exemption. Some findings from last month's testimony:


  • One Supervisor found it "hard to believe" that AT&T cannot maintain U-verse equipment on private property even though AT&T maintains infrastructure for its wireless network on private property.
  •  The Department of Public Works (DPW) relies almost      entirely on information provided by AT&T rather than conducting its own review of alternatives to placing the boxes on our sidewalks.
  • There are no metrics for determining the cumulative effect. The Planning Department stood by its claim that AT&T's proposed 726 utility boxes pose no cumulative effect to our environment, yet City departments cannot quantify the various structures already populating our sidewalks.
  • Though the current AT&T plans are virtually the same as those submitted then withdrawn three years ago, U-verse boxes are as huge today as they were then.




AT&T is attempting to sidestep the more costly alternatives required under regulations signed by Mayor Ed Lee in 2005, when he was Director of the Department of Public Works. Those regulations state that, if not placed underground, utility boxes are to be placed on private property. This private-sector solution requires genuine, thorough efforts to contract property owners who are willing to lease space for Internet and cable equipment. These existing regulations state that street-level fixtures are a last resort only if the other two approaches prove technologically or economically infeasible.


In writing the 2005 regulations (and after extensive collaboration with San Francisco Beautiful, AT&T and others), Lee determined "...surface-mounted facilities in the public right-of-way will impede travel on public streets, inconvenience property owners, create visual blight, or otherwise incommode the use of the public rights-of-way by the public." As a matter of City policy, utility boxes are blight.


The same DPW order acknowledges the quick evolution of technology, requiring the City to conduct annual meetings to review the latest equipment and best practices that would mitigate utility box blight. The City has not held the required meetings in five years. An EIR would go far to make up for lost time and to help pierce the prevailing information vacuum.
At the Supervisor's hearing, at least two potential undergrounding alternatives were mentioned and have since been outlined in a Bay Guardian article that tempers some of the U-verse marketing claims.


AT&T's 726 proposed utility boxes are four-feet high, four-feet wide, and over two feet deep. They would be flanked by vertical posts to prevent damage by vehicles. They emit a steady noise, the sound of, says AT&T, an electric toothbrush.Already intrusive, the utility boxes will be permanent graffiti magnets, obstacles to the visually impaired, and hazards to opening passenger car doors. Property values are jeopardized since a utility box certainly detracts from the "curb appeal" of one's house or commercial property.




Contrary to its ad slogan, AT&T seemingly refuses to "rethink possible." An EIR would force the opposite, and identify current, practical and equitable means to vastly reduce utility box blight. At the same time the City's high-tech infrastructure would expand - all in environmentally responsible ways that are possible today. 


If there is to be progress, an EIR is a must.But your Supervisor must hear from you before next Tuesday's vote. 
Supportive Neighborhood and
Community Groups (partial list):

·  Alamo Square Neighborhood Association
·  Cole Valley Improvement Association
·  Dogpatch Neighbors Association
·  Dolores Heights Improvement Club
·  Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association
·  The Forest Hill Association
·  Haight-Ashbury Improvement Association
·  Lake Street Residents Association
·  Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association
·  McKinley Square Community Association
·  Mission Dolores Neighborhood Assocition
·  Pacific Heights Residents Association
·  Planning Association for the Richmond
·  Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association
·  San Francisco Tomorrow
·  Telegraph Hill Dwellers
·  Walk San Francisco
·  The Sierra Club


About San Francisco Beautiful


San Francisco Beautiful is a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization that works to assure that the city retains and enhances its unique and memorable sense of place, balance and diversity as a beautiful, livable, green and vibrant urban center.
San Francisco Beautiful
Jonathan Goldberg

415.421.2608 x13

Friday, April 22, 2011


Our next meeting will be on Thursday, April 28th - 7:30PM

501 Castro Street/18th Street - 2nd floor above BofA.  Stairs or elevators to the right when you enter.

I'm hoping to have a representative from Supervisor Wiener's office.  He is unable to attend this time.

There will be a presentation from KitchenGardenSF and the SF Permaculture Guild on their plans to clean, plant and maintain the Corbett Slope.  These folks have done a huge amount of work and research into how to best make this site something we can all be proud of.  They would love input from all of you.  

I'll have updates on the Corbin Steps redo, the "pot" house that was busted where the old Temple Street store used to be, the demise of Trader Joe's plan to locate in the Castro, the plan for building on the Arco (RC) station at Castro and 17th and a slew of others.

Our traffic-calming median and speed radar sign keep getting pushed back for budgetary reasons.  They've been approved, but someone obviously feels there are other projects that need to be addressed first.  Very frustrating.  I hope to have a clearer picture by the time we meet.

Hope to see you there!
- Gary

ATT's Utility Box Blight

I've discussed AT&T's intention to put 726 refrigerator-sized boxes in the public right-of-way - our sidewalks - within 300 feet of every existing graffiti-covered existing AT&T box in San Francisco.
I have been working with San Francisco Beautiful to prevent this plan from being implemented.  The Planning Dept. gave AT&T what is called a "categorical exemption" from needing to obtain an environmental review for this plan.  SF Beautiful has appealed.  What we are hoping to do is convince the Board of Supervisors to agree that this review is important and necessary.  
I understand that there are many of you who would like to keep their AT&T service, but would love to see it improved with increased speed.  This is an honorable and legitimate wish.  And hopefully someday soon AT&T will have the ability to compete with Comcast - but not at our expense.  
The loud buzzing of the boxes' fans all day, the graffiti, the rendering of our public sidewalks more difficult to navigate for baby carriages and people with disabilities are just a few of the reasons that these boxes are not an acceptable solution to AT&T's hopes of providing more competitive entertainment to its subscribers.
There are alternatives, and if AT&T is prevented from implementing this cheapest plan, you can be sure they will be back with a more acceptable one - soon.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Important meeting on Trader Joe's next Monday

From our Duboce Triangle neighbors:

You have probably heard about the Trader Joe's store which is proposed for the Market & Noe Center, in the space formerly occupied by Tower Records and Video. This proposed project has profound implications and would change our neighborhood—for better or worse (or probably both)—for decades to come. We want you and as many of our neighbors as possible to learn about the project, so that you can weigh in during the public process the project will go through.

The proposed Trader Joe's will be the main agenda item at our upcoming General Meeting on Monday, February 14, from 7 to 9 pm. Our meetings are held at CPMC Davies Hospital, Castro St. & Duboce Ave., in the Auditorium which is on Level "B". I know it's Valentine's Day, but I hope you'll consider attending. We'll have refreshments (including wine and chocolates) available for your enjoyment.

Trader Joe's will present their plans publicly for the first time, and DTNA will discuss our analysis of the project as we understand it, along with information on some of the ways the proposed store would impact our neighborhood. We believe that this project will have a greater impact on the Duboce Triangle than any other development project we have seen to date. If you live, work, or own property in this neighborhood, I strongly encourage you to come and be informed as to the benefits and impacts of this project.

Come at 7 pm to meet your neighbors and enjoy some refresments. The meeting agenda will begin at 7:30. The DTNA Board and I hope to see you there!

Very truly yours,

Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fires in Corbett Heights

(02-07) 13:03 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- A two-alarm blaze that damaged two
homes near San Francisco's Castro neighborhood early today was ignited
by rags used to varnish a deck, authorities said.
The fire that broke out at a home on the 300 block of Corbett Avenue
was spotted by two police officers shortly after 3 a.m. They roused
the residents and notified firefighters.
The blaze jumped to a home on the 1300 block of Clayton Street.
Firefighters put out the flames within 45 minutes, and no one was
The fire started in rags that were being used to varnish the deck of
the Corbett Avenue home, authorities said.
The blaze does not appear to be related to four arson fires that broke
out within a 24-hour period in the Castro last week. The fire was in a
hillside neighborhood west of the Castro and north of Twin Peaks.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mollie Stone's

Mollie Stone's has officially leased the old Cala/Delano's store!

Castro Neighborhood Arsons

From: SFPDParkStation@sfgov.org
Date: February 3, 2011 5:10:49 PM PST
Subject: Castro Neighborhood Arsons

This morning at about 5 AM there were three fires of suspicious origin in
the neighborhood of 16th and Market Streets.

Park Station officers investigated two fires at 2155-15th Street and
3620-16th Street.

Mission Station officers investigated a third fire at 17th and Hartford

The San Francisco Fire Department Arson Task Force is actively
investigating these fires.

Inspector Jeffrey Levin is the Police Department investigator in these
cases. Inspector Levin can be reached at (415) 553-1133 during business
hours or at (415) 553-1071 after business hours.

Park Station and Mission Station are increasing their patrols in the
neighborhood and conducting a joint operation to address these fires.

Please report any suspicious activity immediately to 911.

Please call the SFPD Anonymous Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 if necessary.

Denis F. O'Leary
Captain - Park Station

Friday, January 28, 2011

Regarding the Corbett Slope

Relative to the news of a Corbett Slope cleanup:

Using the 341 Corbett space as a community garden would be wonderful!  Little anecdote - when I first moved to 311 Corbett, in 1978, the neighborhood was heavily populated with little old ladies, some of whom used that space as a community garden. I once asked one of the women if I could have some space, and she looked at me suspiciously and said, "I don't know, sonny, you don't look like the type that would keep it up!"  And she was probably right.  She may have been the same lady that came up to me and my son and a friend of his in 1979, when we were playing frisbee at Corbett and Mars, and told us,  "We don't play frisbee on Corbett!"  I was so taken aback that I actually stopped.

 from the desk of
Marv Lehrman

Corbett Slope

Without going into the whole history of the site (almost 18,000 square feet, it extends from Corbett down to Market, and is between 341 Corbett and 315 Corbett), it has been fenced off for over 20 years, collecting trash and growing beautiful crops of weeds. I managed to get DPW to clean it out a few years ago. It's now in the jurisdiction of MOH (Mayor's Office of Housing). Another long story.
With the renewed interest at City Hall in preserving green spaces, and with growing food locally, organizations like KitchenGardenSF have formed. I've been discussing the possibility of collaborating with them and with members of the SF Permaculture Guild on a project at the Corbett Slope. They work with students who design and implement a plan for a particular green space. Neighbors are, at all times, included in the planning, and possibly the implementation as well. The first step would be to clear out the site - hooray! So you will probably see some students scoping out the site and working to eliminate the weeds and other undesirables.
I've already spoken with one of the chiefs at the Mayor's Office of Housing. She was very optimistic that, after a proposal is submitted, we will get permission to proceed. If you're interested in being involved, please let me know. I'm meeting with them this afternoon at 3:30.
More details to follow!