Volume 47 Number 44

Volume 47 Number 44 Flip-through Edition

0

Boom boom

0

emilysavage@sfbg.com

TOFU AND WHISKEY Rye Rye went underground for a blip there. Discovered at 15 in a Baltimore club by Blaqstarr, then later introduced and signed to MIA’s Interscope imprint, N.E.E.T. Recordings, the burgeoning dancer, colorful fashion icon, and hip-hop artist seemed destined for immediate stardom. Then she got pregnant, and her debut album, originally slated for release in 2009, was delayed.

After a great many guest spots and collaborations, she came roaring back solo in 2012 with the release of that debut, Go! Pop! Bang!, and an acting gig in the film remake of 21 Jump Street. She popped up again in 2013 with her spring-released track “After Party” off casually impending mixtape RYEde or Die, and this June as a guest star on Asher Roth’s “Actin Up” (which later ended up also including Justin Bieber and Chris Brown).

She’ll be back in the Bay Area this week, after swinging through Oakland as the opener for Scissor Sisters last year at the Fox. This Hard French after party with Micahtron, however, should be a much more intimate, Rye Rye-centric event (Sat/3, 9pm, $20. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF. www.publicsf.com)

The 22-year-old’s style is bold and her voice positively bursts with energy and sonic Funfetti on tracks like the aforementioned frenzied dance single “After Party,” which includes call-backs to both MIA and Missy Elliott (whom she calls her main inspirations, in addition to Kanye West). She’s equally tough and confident on aggressively fun songs like Go! Pop! Bang!‘s “Dance.” And in the video for tender club hit “Boom Boom,” also off Go! Pop! Bang! — which samples the ’90s Vengaboys’ pop hit “Boom Boom Boom” — Rye Rye stars in a live action video game, showcasing both her dance skills and multihued lavender, sky blue, and pink bangs. Plus, she’s been known to tear up the dancefloor in person, at her own shows.

Yet on the phone, she’s quiet, coy, and talks in a girlish tone. Though she does mention several times that she’s a generally shy person, so this likely accounts for the tiny voice I hear whispering through the phone line from a hot day in Baltimore. She talks to me while watching cartoons with her young daughter, who she says likes her mom’s songs and already dances to them. “She knows it all,” Rye Rye says.

In talking about her own early days, as a teen going out with her older sister, Rye Rye says hip-hop was king, but there was some club music and R&B at the spots they’d hit up. At the time, she was in a group that used to dance all over Baltimore, which is what led to her making her own music. Fortuitously, her sister was friends with Blaqstarr, and she met him in a club then later rapped on his answering machine. “I saw him in the club that night, and he asked me to spit it for him and I was like, being shy so I told him no. But we started working in the studio together then eventually met MIA and Diplo.”

Those sessions led to her first mixtape, and eventually, Go! Pop! Bang! For RYEde or Die, she’s still in the midst of working on new tracks, but says she’s taking her time on this one because she’s not quite sure the direction she wants to go in just yet. “I’m deciding if I want to base it on things I deal with, you know? So I’m just still writing on it, trying to plan it out.”

In between writing new tracks and taking her daughter to the pool (her favorite spot this summer), Rye Rye says she’d also be open to more acting gigs, after enjoying her brief stint on the 21 Jump Street set. She got hooked up with the part when MIA told her the directors of the film were fans of her music and wanted her number, then pulled her in for an audition in LA with Jonah Hill, without a script. She and Jonah just riffed in front of casting directors, and she was picked for the role. The casual sentence that eventually ended up being her most memorable moment in the film? “Meanwhile you two were standing around, finger-popping each other’s assholes.” She says it dressed as a cheerleader with bleached bangs, putting emphasis on the word “popping,” and somehow manages to make the line sound cute.

Similar to how MIA’s “Paper Planes” later became synonymous with Pineapple Express — a track on which Rye Rye also contributed — the 21 Jump Street film theme was a bouncy electro-pop club banger by Rye Rye and Esthero.

Now, the rapper is courting meetings and looking ahead to some sporadic gigs until a proper tour at the end of the year, but says she isn’t too concerned about the future. “Everything for me is always just kind out of the blue,” she says. “You know I just go with the flow.”

 

WOOF

As first reported by the Bay Bridged, Different Fur Studio owner and engineer Patrick Brown and Robert Pera have come together to release a beat-heavy electro hip-hop album under the name WOOF. The record, Thrill of it All, is the debut LP from the duo, and was released a couple of weeks back on Bandcamp. It began as an instrumental record, then grew to include guest vocals handpicked by the duo from a broad reach of zeitgeist-y rappers and emcees including locals like Nanosaur, A-1, and Richie Cunning, along with Mykki Blanco, Mistah F.A.B., and Chicago MC Show You Suck. There’s also a Matrixxman remix of the song “Pretend,” which features Bird Call. woofbeats.bandcamp.com.

 

AL LOVER

Experimental electronic producer Al Lover has been quoted as saying “the psych music of today is what the producers of tomorrow will sample.” So the local music-maker recently cut out the middle man, and went straight to the source, creating his own tripped out electro-psych tracks. That meant collaborating with Tim Presley aka White Fence on this month’s seven-inch “Snake Hands,” released through the UK’s PNKSLM Records, which is Lover’s first ever solo vinyl release. (Note that White Fence also has a show coming up Aug. 7 at the Rickshaw Stop.) “Snake Hands” is a single from his forthcoming LP Space Magick. Consummate beat-fiend that he is, Lover also flipped the switch back the other way this summer and put up a collection of remixes, recorded over a one-year period. That includes trance-ready instrumental mixes of tracks by fellow (or former) locals like Nick Waterhouse, Fuzz, and Burnt Ones, along with a standout take on Grinderman’s “Bellringer Blues.” He’ll be showcasing a live beat set at Bottom of the Hill tonight. With Coo Coo Birds, Face Tat, Bubblegum Crises.

Wed/31, 9pm, $8. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. www.bottomofthehill.com.

 

SPACE VACATION

You guys, Space Vacation is like SF’s own Spinal Tap, distilling the many aspects of theatrical heavy metal into an entertaining metal act you must see live. The group plays actual sing-along heavy metal (in the vein of Iron Maiden and Def Leppard) but also brings along show-enhancing efforts like smoke and lasers. The quartet plays the all-day, all-ages Summer Throwdown event at DNA Lounge this weekend with Son of a SuperCar, Systemic Decay, Look a Flying Pig, Dammit, Serville, and a handful more. Lean in and throw the devil horns during the daylight.

Sun/4, 4:30pm, $15. DNA, 375 11th St, SF. www.dnalounge.com.

 

LIGHTNING DUST, LOUISE BURNS, SPELLS

There seems to be an uptick in occult fascination lately, or am I just now really paying attention? This whole lineup — a free show through Wood Shoppe — has the witchy vibe, with Vancouver’s Lightning Dust and Louise Burns, and SF’s own Spells. Lightning Dust’s Amber Webber (of Black Mountain) and Josh Wells began as a whispery folk duo in 2007. However, their spooky third LP, June’s Fantasy (Jagjaguwar), is said to be inspired more by “skeletal synth pop, modern R&B beats, the films of John Carpenter and…absolute minimalism.” Louise Burns has that chilled ’80s darkwave thing down. And Spells, the newest project from songwriter Jennifer Marie, incorporates synth and vintage organs into eerie, lovely nightmarescapes (check locally appropriate “Fog”).

Tue/6, 8pm, free. Brick and Mortar Music Hall, 1710 Mission, SF. www.brickandmortarmusic.com.

Milo grows up

0

arts@sfbg.com

MUSIC The Descendents have been around since the early 1980s, writing fast, coffee-driven punk music with lyrics about trashy, tongue-in-cheek rebellion in songs like “My Dad Sucks” and “I’m Not a Loser.” The group has undergone various lineup changes, losing drummer Bill Stevenson to Black Flag for a while, and periodically losing lead singer Milo Aukerman to his pursuit of higher education and biochemistry (which the band named its most popular record after).

Brad Nowell of Sublime and Jason Thirsk of Pennywise died within months of each other in the summer of 1996, right around the time when the Descendents regrouped to record the landmark album Everything Sucks. How is this all connected? These three groups (well, Sublime with Rome now) will play the America’s Cup Pavillion together on Sun/4. The Descendents on-again/off-again frontperson, Dr. Aukerman, spoke with me recently about the upcoming show, his dual-life as a biochemist and band leader, and his influence on rockers who didn’t make it out of the ’90s.

SFBG First of all, happy 50th birthday! Do you think that your famous massive coffee intake has helped your longevity in any way?

Milo Aukerman Probably not. I think coffee can be good for you in moderation; it has antioxidant properties, for example. But like anything else you put into your body, it’s not good to overdo it. I am a caffeine abuser, for sure. But I like it, and it helps me rock out. At least I’m not strung out on something harder.

SFBG So when Milo [went] to College after releasing the record of the same name, you split briefly from the band and got a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Why the decision?

MA Actually, first I left to get my undergraduate degree (1982-1986), played again with the band (1985-1987), and then left for my Ph.D. (1987-1992). I’ve always said I would be a scientist, and that music was just a hobby for me. It’s a very intense hobby, and one that makes me some extra cash, but I never considered music as a career, and I still don’t. My career is in science, as I always wanted.

SFBG How do you decide to divide up your time?

MA In 1996 I was really burned out on science; I didn’t have a permanent position, so it was pretty easy to walk away from for a while. Once I got a permanent position, I couldn’t realistically take a break from science. Now, my decision to stay connected with music has been primarily based on wanting to have that creative outlet. While science is creative in its own way, I find that music keeps me feeling alive and young in ways that science cannot. So now, although I cannot really “walk away” from science, I take little vacations from it whenever the band gets together to play or record.

SFBG Do you have a quiet, “clone” of a “Suburban Home” in Delaware when you’re back to being Dr. Aukerman?

MA I do have a suburban home! The irony is that Tony Lombardo wrote “Suburban Home” as a way to poke fun at himself, because when he wrote it, he already owned a house. Let’s face it, we all grew up and took on more adult responsibilities and possessions, but we still have to look in the mirror and laugh at ourselves. Many of our songs are self-critical, some in a more humorous way than others.

SFBG You’re opening for Sublime with Rome at the America’s Cup Pavillion. They covered your song “Hope” on 40oz. to Freedom, did you ever meet or play with Brad Nowell while he was alive?

MA They also covered “Myage,” “Sour Grapes,” and “I’m Not a Loser” — I only learned after Nowell’s death how much they liked the Descendents. We never played with Sublime, nor did I ever meet Brad. I looked at their Wiki page, which lists their “Years Active” as 1988 to 1996…that’s the exact same time frame as our hiatus before Everything Sucks, so, there you go. But I’m really looking forward to seeing [Sublime with Rome] play; there will always be the naysayers saying “you can’t fill Brad’s shoes,” but if a band’s good, I don’t care about that shit. Eric shreds on bass, Rome has a good voice and I like their new stuff, so it’s all good.

SFBG Do you write songs like “I Like Food” as fast you play them?

MA Those type of songs usually start out in your head as a jumble of lines, and usually induced by too much caffeine. You may repeat them over and over, and say them to your friends for a laugh. So by the time you actually write them on paper, it’s pretty quick to finish them. Bill’s the master at these; he wrote “Weinerschnitzel,” then realizing it wasn’t short enough, wrote “ALL.”

THE DESCENDENTS

With Pennywise, Sublime with Rome

Sun/4, 5:30pm, $39.50

America’s Cup Pavilion

27-29 San Francisco Pier 33

(415) 371-5500

americascup.com/concert-series

 

Downwardly mobile

0

arts@sfbg.com

FILM The good news about Blue Jasmine isn’t that it’s set in San Francisco — more on that later — but that it’s Woody Allen’s best movie in years. Although some familiar characteristics are duly present, it’s not quite like anything he’s done before, and carries its essentially dramatic weight more effectively than he’s managed in at least a couple decades. Yes, Match Point (2005) and Cassandra’s Dream (2007) were “serious” too, but they were basically thrillers (one pretty good, one awful) that, whatever their other qualities, demonstrated that he doesn’t have much feel for suspense.

Blue Jasmine is, in a very different way, full of tension — because its protagonist is uncomfortable in almost any situation, often teetering on the edge of a full-on anxiety attack. Yet these are recent developments. Not long ago Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) was the quintessential Manhattan society hostess, with homes hither and thither (including the Hamptons, naturally), ever-so-busy planning dinner parties, sitting on charity boards, and going to Pilates class. Her immaculately put-together elegance isn’t Brahmin-bred: a natural upscaler, she remade herself from humble roots to suit the role of picture-perfect wife to Hal (Alec Baldwin), a master of the universe type whose questionably legal investment schemes and not-particularly-discreet infidelities she turns a willful blind eye toward. (It helps that he’s a really, really good liar.)

But at the start here, that glittering bubble of money and privilege has burst — exactly how revealed in flashbacks that spring surprises up to the script’s end — with the result that marriage and material comfort are now gone. Penniless, fleeing her husband’s public disgrace (he seems Allen’s belated commentary on the bankster-induced crash of ’08), Jasmine has crawled to the West Coast to “start over” in the sole place available where she won’t be mortified by the pity of erstwhile society friends. That would be the SF apartment of Ginger (Sally Hawkins), a fellow adoptive sister who was always looked down on by comparison to pretty, popular, clever Jasmine.

Theirs is an uneasy alliance — arguably the most discomfiting flashback is to Ginger’s Manhattan visit with now ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), a mini-festival of thinly veiled class snobbery. Ginger has good reason to resent her big sis, whose attempted financial assistance via slippery Hal actually wound up destroying the visitors’ marriage. (Allen’s casting can sometimes seem stunt-like and overdependent on “who’s hot now.” Yet its top to-bottom brilliance here is personified by comedian Clay’s excellence in a small but important role.) Still, she’s too big-hearted to say no.

Ergo, Jasmine arrives at the flat Ginger shares with her two young sons — nose immediately curling at its IKEA/thrift-shop modesty and the boys’ noisy energy — with no clear idea what she’ll do, or how she’ll support herself. She has no marketable skills, and god forbid she’d take something as lowly as Ginger’s supermarket-cashier job. Yet she continues to judge everything by standards she can no longer afford, notably sis’s new beau Chili (a terrific Bobby Cannavale), another working-class stiff who justifiably worries Jasmine will convince her she can “do better.”

Surfacing later in the SF portion of the narrative are three men who might actually fulfill that “bettering” function: Dr. Flicker (Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Stuhlbarg), a grab-handy dentist from whom she reluctantly accepts a receptionist gig. Then at a party she drags Ginger to in order to blatantly find men of the “quality” they both “deserve,” the latter duly meets seemingly good catch Al (Louis C.K.), while the former reels in a much bigger fish in Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), a dreamboat diplomat who’s just the ticket for a woman who’s never paid her own way in anything but trophy-wife good taste.

It’s somewhat disappointing that Blue Jasmine doesn’t really do much with San Francisco. Ginger lives in a nondescript neighborhood (near the start of South Van Ness). There are no gay characters, racial diversity is limited to background players, and good as they are, Cannavale and Clay have the kinds of personalities that yell “Jersey!” and “Brooklyn!,” respectively. There are a few shots nodding at the colorful, pretty, touristy side of the city, but that’s not the world Ginger lives or that Jasmine lands in. Really, the film could take place anywhere — although setting it in a non-picture-postcard SF (despite the warm tones of Javier Aguirresarobe’s cinematography) does bolster the film’s unsettled, unpredictable air.

Without being an outright villain, Jasmine is one of the least likable characters to carry a major US film since Noah Baumbach’s underrated Margot at the Wedding (2007), whose central dynamics (Nicole Kidman as neurotic older sister who destroyed Jennifer Jason Leigh’s prior marriage, and might now destroy her imminent second one) bear an eerie similarity. The general plot shell, moreover, is strongly redolent of A Streetcar Named Desire.

But whatever inspiration Allen took from prior works, Blue Jasmine is still distinctively his own invention. It’s frequently funny in throwaway performance bits, yet disturbing, even devastating in cumulative impact. Like Streetcar (and Margot for that matter), this is a movie as much about undiagnosed mental illness as it is about family (dis-)loyalties and class conflicts.

One of those actors who can do just about anything, Blanchett is fearless here — it’s a great role she burrows into so deeply it’s a wonder she ever came back out. Her Jasmine is cringe-inducing, terrified, superficial, unconsciously cruel. Yet she’s simultaneously so helpless that we can’t help but hope she’ll find her feet again, a rooting interest answered by the most haunting Woody Allen fadeout since 1985’s The Purple Rose of Cairo

BLUE JASMINE opens Fri/2 in Bay Area theaters.

Drawing inspiration

0

arts@sfbg.com

DANCE Though only in its third incarnation, Amy Seiwert’s wide-open “Sketch” has become a hit. The idea behind this annual summer project is to give acclaimed choreographers a chance to tread unfamiliar territory. One of the drawbacks of having a sizable repertoire to your credit is that you develop a comfort zone. You know what’s worked for you in the past, but the world is not nearly as wide open as it used to be.

“Sketch” tries to be something like a playground for experienced dance makers, who are given between 40-50 hours to come up with a piece for Seiwert’s Imagery company dancers. This year’s version, “Sketch 3: Expectations,” for which Val Caniparoli, Marc Brew, and Seiwert herself stepped up to the challenge, must be considered a success. Not everything worked, but that’s to be expected. Still, you could see minds stretching themselves all evening long. The eight dancers — some local, some from other parts — performed heroically; they were Brandon “Private” Freeman, Rachel Furst, James Gilmer, Sarah Griffin, Weston Krukow, Annali Rose, Ben Needham-Wood, and Katherine Wells.

The most transparently cohesive work proved to be Caniparoli’s Triptych, which moved with consummate ease through its singular unisons that split up into multiple smaller configurations, only to gather its dancers again and again in the anonymity of military stand-at-attention stances. Caniparoli’s command of dance language is impressive.

He found inspiration for Triptych in Lalage Snow’s portraits of British soldiers deployed in Afghanistan. Contrasting contemporary string scores by John Tavener and Alexander Balanescu — meditative and quiet from the first, dramatic and dissonant from the second — worked well.

Instead of focusing on the horrors of war, Caniparoli investigated how it feels to be an anonymous cog in a machine. Again and again, he sent lineups around the stage, their precision and discipline suggesting confinement. Even the individualized gesture language suggested regimentation. Yet at Triptych’s center he placed a languid and intimate pas de deux for Griffin and Krukow, surely one of Caniparoli’s finest creations. But at the end, when the dancers moved straight toward the audience, you could only see their empty eyes.

For Australian-born, UK-based Brew, Awkward Beauty was a return to ballet — the style he trained in until an accident ended his performing career. As a choreographer he works in a wide variety of styles and media, but ballet is not usually one of them.

Awkward is, perhaps, ironically and yet appropriately named. A rather non-descript commissioned score by Dan Wool and murky lighting by Jim French didn’t bring much to a work in which Brew seemed interested in exploring some of ballet’s classic tenets, among them verticality. He appears to have assembled a lot of individual ideas that, unfortunately, didn’t coalesce into a comprehensive statement.

He put three of the women in pointe shoes — Wells is primarily a modern and post-modern dancer — and opened the piece with a striking image of the women standing on the men’s shoulders. From there, they individually worked their way to the ground. The maneuvers, however, looked forced and insecure — not something to attempt unless there is a lot more rehearsal time.

Upstage, a dance gesture traveled wave-like along a line; women were passed overhead in upside down splits, and (somewhat inexplicably) the dancers made repeated use of theater’s metal support beams. Center stage was given over to smaller units. The women’s trio — with the gorgeous Griffin as its center — looked balletically demure until the women literally let their hair down. Then Furst and Rose bourréed across the stage in lovely sync after a moment of looking like a sculpture of puppies.

An intricate duet for Wells and Needham-Wood played with verticality, and the giving and taking of support. Subtly, athletically, and with some poignancy, the piece showed what could have been by showing how awkwardness and beauty can coexist.

Seiwert has said that her work The Devil Ties My Tongue was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s poem S.O.S, fragments of which became part of Olafur Arnalds’ weather-inspired score. It also buzzed through dancers’ intimate whisperings. The piece opened with the dancers in semi-darkness watching a vulnerable Gilmer unfolding himself, before segueing into small units — double and triple duets, a male trio, and two contrasting pas de deux for Griffin and Krukow, and, to end the piece, Freeman and Wells.

Seiwert’s ability to layer complex, tension-filled structures that change kaleidoscopically with jutting limbs and interlocking legs — yet always look as if etched moment by moment — continues to surprise. Here, some of the encounters had a newfound intimacy about them, none more than the one for Freeman and Wells. The way he snuck around her, it wasn’t clear whether he was courting, protecting, or preying on her. Still, I want to see Devil again in a different context. It was not well suited as a closer. *

 

Warm-ups

0

culture@sfbg.com

COCKTAIL HOUR Yes, the rest of the country is sipping piña coladas and pink lemonade margaritas, while we shiver and pour whiskey into our hot tea. No problem: this is a primo time to ditch the sickly sweet and explore some solid bellywarmers in the cocktail category.

 

IRISH COFFEE AT BUENA VISTA CAFE

Let’s start with this classic — Buena Vista claims that it was invented here, why not, and the Fisherman’s Wharf-adjacent cafe’s gotten a rep for being a tourist magnet. Don’t let that detour you, it’s all super-charming. Served piping hot with coffee, whiskey and topped with whipped cream, the Buena’s Irish Coffee ($8) is pretty perfect for sipping as you imagine knitting little sweaters for the seagulls darting over the frigid bay.

2765 Hyde, SF. www.thebuenavista.com

 

MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE AT TRADITION

Coffee not your thing? Pop over to Tradition in the Tenderloin and see if you can handle its version of Mexican Hot Chocolate ($10). Rich in vitamin agave (this drink contains both mezcal and tequila), a few sips of this will thaw you out in no time. It’s usually on radition’s winter menu, but asking for it at the bar is well worth a try: even if they can’t whip one up, the bartenders will steer you in a warm direction.

441 Jones, SF. www.tradbar.com

 

CHAMOMILE TODDY AT BRASSERIE S&P

The easy-to-make hot toddy cocktail is a staple during cold weather. But the lovely Brasserie S&P in the Mandarin Oriental kicks it up a notch on the serenity scale by replacing the traditional bourbon with gin — and adding a pour of chamomile tea ($12). All that’s missing is the purr of a cat and a good hardcover book.

222 Sansome, SF. www.mandarinoriental.com

 

MANHATTAN SHAKE AT THE CORNER STORE

There’s nothing like a milkshake on a warm day, but yeah, about that…. This thick, rich Manhattan Shake ($10) is a nice compromise with SF weather. A cold concoction with the kick of a well-made Manhattan, the Corner Store’s treat will booze you up to the point that you’ll forget you’re drinking it in the fog.

5 masonic, SF. www.thecornerstore-sf.com

 

WHATAMELON AT ELIXIR

When the clouds part and we are blessed with hot day, Elixir has the perfect summer, fruit-filled cocktail menu. I originally visited in search of another warm drink for this list, but was instantly swayed by the bartender’s suggestion: a Whatamelon ($11). A tequila drink with watermelon juice, elderflower liqueur, agave nectar, and mint, it was light, tasty, and refreshing. Perfect for summer, even if just the summer in your mind.

3200 16th St., SF. www.elixirsf.com

 

Immigrants vulnerable to domestic violence

0

In San Francisco Sup. John Avalos’ District 11, half of all residents were born outside the U.S. In Sup. Jane Kim’s District 6, more than a third of residents are foreign-born, and almost half speak a language other than English.

Given the sizable immigrant population in San Francisco, it may not come as a surprise that Secure Communities (S-Comm), a federal immigration program administered by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is highly unpopular. What might not be so obvious is how dramatically S-Comm can impact the lives of foreign-born women who are survivors of domestic violence.

The reason for this is simple. “If you are a victim or a survivor of domestic violence and you call the police, you do not want to end up deported,” Beverly Upton of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium explained at a July 23 rally, where advocates from organizations such as Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Causa Justa, the Filipino Community Center, and others stood and held banners demonstrating opposition to S-Comm. “We want it to be safer to call the police, not less safe.”

A member of Mujeres Unidas y Activas who introduced herself as Lourdes and spoke through a translator delivered a personal account of feeling fearful of police as well as an abusive partner. “Many times, abusers tell us not to call the police, because the police will not believe us. They say the police will probably deport us.”

The domestic violence and immigrant community advocates were there to champion Avalos’ Due Process for All Ordinance, which is being introduced at today’s Board meeting and is co-sponsored by seven other supervisors, essentially guaranteeing its passage. Avalos himself didn’t speak, and Sups. David Campos and Board President David Chiu, co-sponsors of the legislation, sent female staff members to make statements on their behalf as part of the all-female roster of speakers.

The legislation prohibits law enforcement officials from detaining individuals solely in response to immigration detainer requests issued by immigration authorities under S-Comm. As things stand, “the request has been honored in many cases,” Avalos explained in comments to the Guardian, even though California Attorney General Kamala Harris has affirmed that local law enforcement agencies are not obligated to comply with ICE detainers because they are mere “requests” and not legally binding. Since 2010, according to data provided be Avalos’ office, 784 San Franciscans have been deported after being turned over to federal authorities due to ICE detainers.

Sup. Jane Kim called S-Comm “a giant step backward when it comes to equality and fairness,” and added that S-Comm “makes our neighborhoods less safe.”

Legal Counsel Freya Horne read a statement on behalf of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, stating that the sheriff has reduced the number of ICE detainers leading to deportations, and was supportive of Avalos’ legislation. She added that Mirkarimi had made it a policy to honor immigration detainer requests only in cases of criminal convictions of serious or violent felonies.

Avalos said he was compelled to move the legislation forward because “I’ve talked to so many people whose families have been separated, and have been devastated,” due to deportations under S-Comm. “We want to make sure we’re maintaining a level of due process,” he added, since the detainer requests are routinely issued without warrants or a requirement to show probable cause.

Chiu: centrist compromiser, effective legislator, or both

0

At the start of this year, when I wrote a Guardian cover story profile of Sup. Scott Wiener (which SF Weekly and San Francisco Magazine followed shortly thereafter with their own long Wiener profiles), he seemed like the one to watch on the Board of Supervisors, even though I noted at the time that Board President David Chiu was actually the more prolific legislator.

Now, it’s starting to seem like maybe we all focused on the wrong guy, because it is Chiu and his bustling office of top aides that have done most of the heavy legislative lifting this year, finding compromise solutions to some of the most vexing issues facing the city (ironically, even cleaning up some of Wiener’s messes).

The latest example is Wiener’s CEQA reform legislation, which the board unanimously approved on July 23, a kumbaya moment that belies the opposition and acrimony that accompanied its introduction.

That effort comes on the heels of Chiu’s office solving another big, ugly, seemingly intractable fight: the condominium lottery bypass legislation sponsored by Wiener and Sup. Mark Farrell. To solve that one in the face of real estate industry intransigence, Chiu showed a willingness to play hardball, winning over swing vote Sup. Norman Yee to get six votes using some hostile amendments.

In the end, Chiu won enough support to override a possible veto by the waffling Mayor Ed Lee, who has always echoed Chiu’s rhetoric on seeking compromise and consensus and “getting things done,” but who lacks the political skills and willingness to really engage with all sides. For example, it was Chiu — along with Sups. Farrell and David Campos — who spent months forging a true compromise on the hospital projects proposed by California Pacific Medical Center, replacing the truly awful CPMC proposal that Lee readily accepted.

“It’s been a very long year,” Chiu told the Guardian. “It’s been important for me to not just to seek common ground, but legislative solutions that reflect our shared San Francisco values.”

Next, Chiu will wade into another thorny legislative thicket by introducing legislation that will regulate the operations of Airbnb, the online housing rental corporation with a problematic business model.

After posting the preceding analysis of Chiu on the SFBG.com Politics blog on July 23, we heard lots of back channel concerns and complaints from progressive San Franciscans (and even some from moderates and conservatives who consider Chiu a raving socialist for helping suspend the condo lottery).

Nobody really wanted to speak on the record against Chiu, which is understandable given the powerful and pivotal position that he’s carved out for himself as a swing vote between the two ideological poles and on the Land Use Committee, whose makeup he personally created to enhance that role.

The main issue seems to be that Chiu allows both progressive and anti-progressive legislation to be watered down until it is palatable to both sides, empowering the moderates over the progressives. That’s a legitimate point. It’s certainly true that Chiu’s worldview is generally more centrist than that of the Guardian and its progressive community, and we’ve leveled that criticism at Chiu many times over the years.

The fact that he ends up in a deciding role on controversial legislation is clearly a role that Chiu has carved out from himself, no doubt about it. And that’s certainly why he played the pivotal role that he has this year. But when he uses that role to empower and support tenant groups, as he did on the condo lottery bypass measure, I think that’s something worth noting and praising.

On the CEQA reform legislation, it’s also a valid criticism of Chiu to note that Sup. Jane Kim had five votes for her legislation and that it was only Chiu who stood in the way of its passage (whether Mayor Ed Lee would have vetoed it, necessitating the need for two more votes, is another question).

In the end, Chiu can be seen as an effective legislator, a centrist compromiser, or both. Perspective is everything in politics.

Plan Bay Area: better, but it still gentrifies

0

By Peter Cohen and Fernando Martí

Council of Community Housing Organizations

OPINION On July 18, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) adopted the region’s first so-called “sustainable communities strategy,” as required under new state environmental laws. Plan Bay Area will direct the largest share of the region’s growth to the region’s urban cores — two-thirds of the region’s overall housing production is directed to 15 specific cities.

The vision is what environmentalists refer to as “smart growth” — shrinking the footprint of the region’s future development as a more environmentally friendly and geographically efficient pattern to absorb ever-increasing population. San Francisco alone has a very tall order: Our city will absorb 25 percent of new urban development, which equates to 92,000 new housing units and a pace of housing construction averaging around 3,100 units annually (a rate that has been reached only twice over the last 50 years since the era of 1960s urban renewal development).

The question that framed debates through the three-year process in drafting and finally adopting the plan is how that amount of new growth can be “done right;” that is, without gentrifying working class and poor communities and ensuring that infrastructure, including affordable housing and transit service, will keep up with that pace of growth. Tim Redmond’s feature article in the June 4 issue of the Guardian (“Planning for displacement”) and a June 12 forum sponsored by the Guardian, CCHO, and UrbanIDEA very thoroughly laid out the issues and critiques of the Plan Bay Area draft that was released by MTC/ABAG earlier this spring.

With such fundamental flaws when the draft plan was released in April, how did the July 18 adopted final Plan Bay Area fare? First, there is no question this regional “smart growth” plan will make combating gentrification at ground-level harder. But second, the plan could have been worse if not for a tremendous final pushback by progressive advocates from San Francisco and throughout the region loosely united in a “Six Wins for Social Equity” coalition and the committed leadership of a small core of progressive regional leaders — including two of San Francisco’s representatives, David Campos (MTC) and Eric Mar (ABAG) — who championed some final amendments.

Those “wins” (in reality, concessions by MTC/ABAG) achieved in this final push include: adding a public process to develop priorities for the Bay Area’s $3.1 billion share of state cap and trade funding, such as to affordable housing and local transit operations; strengthening the $14 billion transportation block-grant funds program (“OBAG”) to link it directly to local cities’ affordable housing production and displacement-prevention policies; and adding a requirement for MTC to develop a comprehensive strategy to prioritize funding of local transit service and transit maintenance.

Though the details of those amendments are fairly squishy and do not alter the development trajectory of the plan, they are potentially valuable handholds to work with going forward as Plan Bay Area gets implemented (and updated in four years).

That said, San Francisco’s front line working class neighborhoods and communities of color still stand to take the brunt of potential negative impacts from this regional “smart growth” plan. Theoretically they could receive the potential benefits of public infrastructure investments and stimulated economic activity. But while the risks are real, the potential benefits are still illusory.

We must become more engaged if we are to move Plan Bay Area beyond policy statements and promises of future “best-practices” to make sure vulnerable people are not displaced from their neighborhoods in the tide of infill real estate development and are guaranteed a real share of the fruits from “equitable” smart growth.

Building on progress

0

news@sfbg.com

A month-long labor standoff at the Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment project has been put on hold as the city steps in to provide workforce mediation and oversight. But community-based organizations are left wondering how their workers will actually benefit.

Aboriginal Blackman United (ABU), a Bayview organization representing roughly 300 construction workers, announced on July 15 that it was calling off demonstrations at the construction site that had begun just before a June 26 groundbreaking ceremony (see “Lennar finally breaks ground amid controversies,” July 10).

ABU President James Richards suspended the protests after the Successor Agency to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency informed him that Young Community Developers (YCD), another neighborhood nonprofit, would no longer exclusively manage job placements at Lennar Urban’s shipyard project.

The Hunters Point construction is expected to create 1,500 jobs annually, over the course of a 15- to 20-year build out. But critics have taken issue with local hiring guidelines hashed out in a 2003 development agreement with Lennar Corp. that are limited to good-faith promises rather than binding quotas.

Since then, community-based organizations have urged Lennar and the Building Trades Council to formalize their commitment to hiring from within the Bayview-Hunters Point community.

Building Trades Secretary-Treasurer Michael Theriault has so far been resistant to these efforts. “There is no inherent flaw in good faith,” Theriault said of local hire promises by Lennar. “Like any system, you have to enforce it.”

Until last week, Young Community Developers (YCD) was tasked with meeting local hire goals by recruiting and training tradespeople from the neighborhood and facilitating their placement on the project.

But Richards and other community advocates were skeptical of this arrangement because Theriault is vice president of YCD’s executive board. “How can [Theriault] be against mandatory hiring and be on YCD’s board?” asked Richards, who viewed it as an obvious conflict of interest.

ABU’s protests finally prompted Lennar and the Building Trades Council to seek the involvement of CityBuild, a workforce-training program and centralized referral network administered by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

YCD Executive Director Shamann Walton said a meeting between the two organizations produced “a gentleman’s agreement that there will be an MOU in place between YCD and CityBuild,” designating CityBuild, rather than YCD, as the primary recruiting coordinator on the project.

YCD will be just one of a handful of community-based organizations that will assist in training and placement — others will include ABU, Anders & Anders, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI). APRI San Francisco Executive Director Jacqueline Flin says she supports a switch to CityBuild because it provides “a very good prospect of goal delivery. They have a fair process that’s been proven to work and the city’s invested in the effort.” Flin added, however, that she hadn’t yet heard any real details of the new arrangement with CityBuild. SFOEWD did not respond to the Guardian’s requests for comment. Terry Anders, director of the Anders & Anders Foundation, expressed disappointment that negotiations were taking place behind closed doors. Anders wants to see all the stakeholders brought to the table. He was quick to point out that, though CityBuild promises to be above board, “it is not a neighborhood organization.” “Somebody is making backroom deals,” Anders asserted, “and I am not for it. I don’t like being left out of the process.” He demanded an inclusive and transparent discussion, but a week after bargaining seemingly began and ended, it was unclear whether he would get one. “Lennar’s main concern is getting the buildings up, and they don’t care who does it,” he said. And though Richards is hopeful that CityBuild will be an improvement over YCD, he too was measured in expressing full confidence in the municipal agency just yet. For a lasting solution, CityBuild will need to work very closely with ABU and others. “We stopped all traffic ongoing to the shipyard and coming out for about a month,” to get this far, explained Richards, “the only way we guarantee that our people get jobs is that we are involved.”

Under fire again

0

rebecca@sfbg.com

At a recent hearing on San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance — once-controversial legislation that is now in the business community’s crosshairs once again — a nursing student stood at the podium to address members of the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services & Safety Committee.

She told them about her mother, who battled illness but did not have access to healthcare for 14 years due to her immigration status, recalling a day when her mother explained why she wasn’t seeking medical attention: “If I go to the hospital, I’ll bury you in debt.”

For the uninsured and undocumented, going without medical care or going into insurmountable debt could be the only options if it weren’t for Healthy San Francisco, a medical services safety net that was created by the HSCO in 2006. The program is expected to continue to provide care for undocumented enrollees who won’t be eligible for federal assistance once the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, takes effect early next year.

The HCSO’s mandate that businesses provide some healthcare coverage for their employees was fiercely opposed by the business community, which challenged it all the way to the US Supreme Court. Now, those same powerful forces are gearing up for a fresh challenge that could jeopardize HCSO’s potential to fill coverage gaps that will be created under Obamacare.

Under federal health care reform, two-thirds of the enrollees in Healthy San Francisco will become ineligible to continue receiving coverage because they will automatically gain eligibility for some form of federal assistance. Those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level will be guaranteed coverage under Medi-Cal. But for low-income earners whose wages hover around $14 an hour, things are far less certain because they will be eligible to enroll in the federally created health benefit exchange, Covered California, although they won’t necessarily be able to afford it. For someone earning around $30,000 per year before taxes, the estimated monthly cost for a health insurance plan under Covered California hovers at more than $200 per month, in many cases making it too much of a stretch.

As things stand, uninsured San Francisco employees who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal, but not enough to afford enrollment in Covered California — despite being eligible — can still access funds set aside for them in medical reimbursement accounts under the HCSO. This option may provide enough of a financial boost for low-wage earners to take advantage of federally subsidized health insurance after all.

“For working people, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act actually makes the Health Care Security Ordinance more important,” explains Ian Lewis, research director at UNITE-HERE Local 2. “There are many consequences of the ACA … and the Health Care Security Ordinance is a buffer against them.”

As it stands, the local law “makes Covered California actually work in a high-cost city like ours,” Lewis added.

Under HCSO, San Francisco employers are required to contribute toward employees’ health care on a per-hour basis for each employee working more than eight hours per week, regardless of immigration status or city of residence, amounting to an estimated $255 per participant per month.

This mandate, known as the Employer Spending Requirement, has been the target of multiple lawsuits brought against the city by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association since the landmark health care ordinance, authored by then-Sup. Tom Ammiano, was first enacted in 2006.

That same requirement also makes the local ordinance stronger than the federal law when it comes to worker protections, because the federal mandate only requires employers to offer coverage for workers who put in 30 hours a week or more. That has prompted businesses nationwide to reschedule their workers down to 29 hours per week in a gesture of opposition to health care reform, but no such incentive exists in San Francisco because of the hourly contribution requirement.

Now that federal health care reform is poised for implementation, with enrollment set to begin in October and a transition to the new system slated for early next year, GGRA and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce are urging the city to open up a new policy dialogue about employer requirements under the local health care law — and Mayor Ed Lee has been receptive.

“We question whether Healthy San Francisco should continue in its current form with the ACA coming in,” Small Business California President Scott Hauge told the San Francisco Business Times (“Healthy San Francisco, related program to shrink dramatically, but not price tag,” July 16). Hauge has met with Jim Lazarus, the Chamber’s senior vice president for public policy, and GGRA Director Rob Black on the issue, the article noted.

Reached by phone, Black emphasized to the Guardian that GGRA employers are merely seeking guidance on how businesses should comply with the local and federal mandates. “It’s important that we really focus on getting together, and getting together quickly,” Black said, to ensure “San Franciscans have access to the full benefits and subsidies of the Affordable Care Act.”

Longtime advocates of Healthy San Francisco and progressive policymakers are watching closely. “They’ve been trying to get out of their responsibility to provide worker’s health care since the law was passed,” Hillary Ronen, a legislative aide for Sup. David Campos, said of business interests who are airing complaints about employer requirements.

Once the federal law takes effect, San Francisco employers will have the option of either providing coverage, or contributing to a city program that establishes medical reimbursement accounts for employees administered by city government, Ronen explained. A third option, “standalone health reimbursement accounts,” under which employers manage reimbursement funds for employees, will be rendered illegal under Obamacare. That system generated controversy in recent years because employers were placing undue restrictions on the use of those funds, and in some cases even pocketing the money after neglecting to inform their workers that it was available (see “Check, please,” 4/23/13).

On July 25, Lee announced that the city’s Universal Health Care Council, a body previously tasked with guiding local health care policy, would be reconvened to “examine San Francisco’s implementation of the Federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and engage stakeholders in identifying necessary local policies” to support the transition.

In response to signals that the business community is gearing up for a fresh challenge to the city’s health care law using the ACA as ammunition, Campos convened a hearing July 25 to discuss the importance of the HCSO in relation to the federal law.

For several hours, advocates of Healthy San Francisco — many of them members of the immigrant community who would have no other options if it weren’t for the program — delivered passionate defenses of the current program. Campos emphasized that federal health care reform stood to be a great success in combination with the local health care ordinance, which would serve to fill in any gaps in coverage.

Deputy Director of the Department of Public Health Colleen Chawla explained during the hearing that of the 60,000 San Franciscans currently enrolled either in Healthy San Francisco or SF Path, a second medical assistance program, roughly 40,500 will automatically become eligible to enroll either in Medi-Cal or Covered California under federal health care reform come January. The remaining 19,500 won’t be eligible, however, mostly due to immigration status. Healthy San Francisco is expected to continue providing a safety net for those who would otherwise fall through the cracks. But when it comes to the two-thirds who are eligible for federal assistance, but may not be able to actually afford it, things would be thrown into uncertainty if the Employer Spending Requirement were altered or eliminated. “Folks in the business community would be happy to say, the Affordable Care Act is enough, and businesses shouldn’t be complicated with an additional burden,” notes Le Ly, program director at the Chinese Progressive Association. But the HCSO “is an important pillar of the total continuum of care,” he said. “We see it as continuing to complement and strengthen health care coverage.”

Supporting unions helps all workers

0

EDITORIAL The San Francisco Bay Area has traditionally been very pro-labor, from the days when legendary longshoreman leader Harry Bridges led the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 to the modern era when labor unions have lent the muscle and money to myriad progressive reforms that San Francisco and California have proudly exported to the rest of the country.

But sadly, that sense of solidarity seems to be changing during these times of widespread economic anxiety, declining union membership, increasing urban gentrification, and a divide-and-conquer political climate created by both major parties. Too often, Bay Area residents are indifferent or even hostile to the plight of the working class.

We’ve seen it in the public reactions to the labor contract impasse and strikes at Bay Area Rapid Transit, whose unions staged a four-day strike that ended July 4 and which could resume again after a 30-day contract extension and cooling off period ends on Aug. 4. If the strike resumes — which seems likely at this point, disrupting commutes on a non-holiday workweek — the public’s anger and finger-pointing could be even worse than last time.

We heard similar resentments expressed in reaction to last week’s cover story (see “Striking Out,” July 24) about the stadium concession workers at San Francisco Giants’ games, who have been without a contract since 2010 and are even denied tip jars to supplement pay that is actually less than San Francisco’s minimum wage in many cases.

The common criticism is that these workers should just be glad to have a job, regardless of pay and benefits. And when it comes to the full-funded pensions of BART workers, critics rightfully point out that few of us enjoy that kind of retirement security.

But that criticism turns the real problem on its head. We all need far more retirement security than we have now, a reality that will hit hard in the coming years as the so-called “silver tsunami” breaks, leaving families and society to care for baby boomers who run out of retirement savings (which could happen quickly given that three-quarters of Americans aged 50-64 have less than $30,000 in retirement savings).

Bay Area residents should be supporting our brothers and sisters in organized labor, helping them so they can in turn help us, as SEIU Local 1021 and other unions are trying to do on the issue of retirement security for all (last year’s approval of SB1234 in California was a good start, but far more is needed).

When unions win good contracts, it generally increases wages and benefits in the region, even for non-union jobs (the opposite is also true, that wages stagnate when unions lose these fights), so it should be in our enlightened self-interest to support BART and Giants workers. Particularly during these times of economic uncertainty and woe, it’s important to overcome our resentments and stand in solidarity with our fellow workers — for their sake, for our own, and for the long-term best interests of our region and country.

Pedaling slowly

0

news@sfbg.com

With San Francisco bicycle rental companies such as Blazing Saddles and Bay City Bicycle Rentals and Tours having bike fleets numbering in the thousands, why does the new San Francisco bike share program only have 350 bikes? And can that really be effective?

In August, San Francisco and a handful of other Bay Area cities will join the ranks of the dozens of cities in the country that have bicycle share programs, although most are more robust than ours. For example, New York City’s bike share program offer 6,000 bikes.

Sponsored by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and bankrolled by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission with more than $7 million, the program will bring 700 bikes to the region — half of which will make their way to San Francisco.

In the following months, San Francisco could be allotted 500 total bikes. For the initial launch, 35 bike share stations will be spread throughout the city, and when the bicycle count rises, the number of stations will jump to 50.

MTC spokesperson Sean Co told us that most of the money for the program goes to the cost of the bikes themselves. Each bike costs $5,000, is outfitted with tracking technology, and is expected to last 10 years. In addition to being high-tech, all bike share bikes are unique to Alta Bike Share Systems, and require special tools to be taken apart, another factor in the high price tag.

The rest of money goes toward the stations and fees for a consultant that helps run the program. Co believes that the membership fees alone will make up for the over $7 million spent on the program. But that’s assuming the program isn’t a flop, which some fear it could be given the anemic number of bikes being offered.

 

WHY SO FEW?

New York City’s bike share, Citi Bike — financed completely by Citigroup Inc. with no public funds — launched in May with 6,000 bikes and 300 stations. That program is already approaching a million total rides. Chicago’s Divvy bike share system started off with 750 bikes at the beginning of July and will increase to 3,000 at the end of August.

Kit Hodge, deputy director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, is one of the people who says that 350 bikes just isn’t enough for San Francisco. “The city and SFMTA have estimated that it would take 3,000 bikes to have an effective bicycle share,” Hodge told us. “We definitely are pushing for more bikes.”

But San Francisco’s bicycle share may get the thousands of bikes that some believe it needs. The Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution that calls on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Department of Public Works to have a much larger system by 2014.

“Five hundred bikes isn’t enough for a citywide bike share,” Sup. Scott Wiener, who sponsored the resolution, told us. “If you look at other cities with a large population and a lot of people biking, bicycle share stations have to be heavily concentrated in many different areas. With the 500 bikes, other areas of the city will be excluded.”

But critics like Wiener and Hodge may not have taken into account that this program is only a trial run, with enough funding to last a year, according to BAAQMD representatives.

BAAQMD Director of Strategic Incentives Damian Breen told us the program is just the right size: “We feel the pilot is appropriately sized. I don’t think we’ve limited ourselves at all. This is to test the waters and see what it can grow into.”

Breen also thinks that mainly focusing on San Francisco for the Bay Area-wide bicycle sharing program would be unfair to other cities. Unlike other bicycle sharing programs, such as New York City and Chicago, San Francisco’s bicycle sharing system is just one part of a regional program that includes Redwood City, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose.

“This stage of the program is to see what works and what doesn’t,” Breen said. “Maybe the bicycle share might be used more in the suburbs than in San Francisco. When you do something regionally you have to take all cities and all outcomes into account.”

When asked if the bicycle sharing program would have increased the number of bikes in San Francisco if there was additional funding, he said no.

“I think obviously all partners would have liked the program to be bigger in certain areas,” Breen said. “Whether or not it would have been bigger in places like San Francisco, if there was more funding, I cannot say.”

Breen says BAAQMD will consider corporate sponsorship for the bike share once the initial money from the pilot runs out.

 

THE LAST MILE

The possibility of more stations and bike share rides in the city isn’t appealing to Blazing Saddles bicycle rental company owner Jeff Sears.

“If stations are placed in areas like the Fisherman’s Wharf, or North Beach, people may be tempted to use bike share instead,” Sears said. “But, we’ve been assured by the BAAQMD that that’s not going to happen.”

Breen says the service is directed at residents who commute, and may need the bike for that “last mile” of their trek.

“This is different than bicycle rentals, which are usually meant for a day of riding,” Breen said. “They are designed for 30 minute use — the main audience is folks who are looking for that last mile after they get off of Caltrain or BART.”

Breen went on to say that areas with bicycle sharing programs also saw bicycle renting programs go up as a whole. But Jeanne Orellana of Bay City Bicycle Rentals and Tours believes otherwise.

“We absolutely feel that it would affect business,” Orellana said. “We wish that it would coexist with our business, but other cities with bicycle sharing programs have seen bicycle rental shops close down due to the competition.” A scenario similar to what Orellana imagined played out in Miami Beach, Fla. Unlike the program in store for the Bay Area, Miami Beach’s DecoBike offers pricing plans for residents and tourists, and many of the tourists find themselves choosing the bike share over rental shops in the area, causing business in bicycle rental shops to reportedly drop 40 to 50 percent. Wiener acknowledges the reservations that Orellana and Sears hold about bike share, but he said that both options can coexist in the same city. “They’re two completely different markets,” Wiener said. “I understand the concerns that they have but comparing bike sharing and bicycle rental is like comparing apples to oranges.” And the BAAQMD, SFBC, SFMTA, and Wiener all agree on one thing: Tourists choosing bike share over bicycle rental companies just doesn’t make sense economically. Renting a bicycle for a day at Bay City Bicycle Rentals and Tours is $32. Taking a bicycle out for the day at the bike share comes at a heftier price. For $9, customers can get a 24-hour subscription with unlimited 30 minute rides from station to station. But after those 30 minutes are up, fees get added. A 31- to 60-minute ride costs $4, and each 30-minute increment after that costs $7, which can build up to over $150 in a day if the bicycle is not returned to a station. In the meantime, Orellana hopes that consumers will make the right decision for themselves. “I trust and hope that many people will do the math and find that bike share isn’t cheaper for exploring the city,” Orellana said. Co said that more than 300 people purchased memberships for the Bay Area bicycle share 24 hours after memberships were up for grabs a couple weeks ago. BAAQMD is pleased with the results, and viewed it as a good turnout. The official launch date has not been released, but its infrastructure is now being put into place with its imminent launch.