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SF Blog

The PUC gives a shit about your shit


By Sarah Phelan
The SF PUC opened its Nov. 14 Sewer System Master Plan update with a cautionary tale: a sewage spill at Ocean Beach occurred when a manhole cover blew out, affecting about 150 ft of the beach from beneath the Cliff House going west, and further proving the need for major upgrades to its system.
The good news: PUC officials claim the thousands of gallons of shit that spewed across the Great Highway onto the beach during heavy downpours of rain never reached the ocean. All of which means that surfers can continue to hang ten with their eyes and mouths wide open.

Uncommon Knowledge at the Roxie, Thursday


What’s up with UC Berkeley Extension in SF?
By sarah Phelan

It’s not common knowledge that the UC Regents are proposing to close UC Berkeley Extension’s historic San Francisco campus and convert it into condos and a retail shopping center.

Thankfully, along comes Eliza Hemenway and her documentary, Uncommon Knowledge: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension, just in time to get you up to speed before public comment closes in December.

So, get yourself down to the The Roxie Film Center for a special preview screening Thursday, Nov. 16, at 6:30 PM.
For advanced tix, visit www.roxie.com/Nov06.cfm (scroll down to Uncommon Knowledge).

Uncommon Knowledge at the Roxie, Thursday night


What’s up with UC Berkeley Extension in SF?
By sarah Phelan

It’s not common knowledge that the UC Regents are proposing to close UC Berkeley Extension’s historic San Francisco campus and convert it into condos and a retail shopping center.

Thankfully, along comes Eliza Hemenway and her documentary, Uncommon Knowledge: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension, just in time to get you up to speed before public comment closes in December.

So, get yourself down to the The Roxie Film Center for a special preview screening Thursday, Nov. 16, at 6:30 PM.
For advanced tix, visit www.roxie.com/Nov06.cfm (scroll down to Uncommon Knowledge).

The Downward Spiral


by Amanda Witherell

Ezra wanted to see The Departed and I was angling for Borat, so we decided to let public transportation pick the movie and time and just BART to the new Westfield shopping mall at Market and Fourth.

I loathe all malls, but it seemed the Westfield’s theatre had an ample supply of what we were looking for. And I was in a charitable mood, feeling like I could just forget about where the profit from the $10.00 ticket was really going. After catching a train and pinning down a non-popcorn based meal we were, of course, cutting it very close, possibly into preview time (boding well for me and Borat.)

DisemBARTing at Powell Station, we escalated up into the city’s functional levels and directly into the new shopping mall. This is when the Westfield revealed the true fascist nature of its architecture and mission.

Two drug execs escape jail … for now


By G.W. Schulz

Two former executives at the San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. escaped prison sentences by the skin of their teeth late last week in this ongoing era of blind fury over corporate corruption. And McKesson’s former blue suits have the indecisiveness of just one juror out of 12 to thank.

The two were acquitted on one count of securities fraud stemming from a $9 billion accounting scandal, but a mistrial was declared after the jury deadlocked 11-1 on three of the remaining counts. Four other executives were previously convicted in a scheme by which the company allegedly overstated revenue to the tune of $300 million during its merger with an Atlanta-based outfit called HBO & Co.

McKesson is one of the nation’s largest prescription-drug wholesalers with revenue of $88 billion annually. It’s current CEO, John Hammergren, makes more each year than even the head of Bay Area-based ChevronTexaco.

One juror told the Associated Press that the rebel holdout “got to the point where he didn’t want to be talked to anymore.” U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan’s office is determining whether to retry, which could still land the two men, Charles McCall and Jay Lapine, in jail for 10 years each.

The Guardian reported in late October that McKesson is in no small amount of trouble these days. The company, along with the New York-based Hearst Corp., which owns the San Francisco Chronicle, was charged by a group of unions in a civil suit filed in a Boston federal court last year of conspiring to inflate drug prices. Hearst owns a drug info publishing company based in San Bruno called First DataBank. The suit alleges that the effort caused consumers to overpay $7 billion for prescription drugs between 2001 and 2005. First DataBank has since settled, as we reported, but McKesson is still a major target of the lawsuit.

Big Pharma is nearly as profitable as Big Oil these days. The state of California pays out over $3 billion each year for prescription drugs through programs that benefit children and the indigent, while Santa Clara County alone — as a smaller-scale example — pays out nearly $35 million. (Santa Clara County sued a bunch of manufacturers and wholesalers a couple of years ago for allegedly rigging prices, but the case was recently tossed out of federal court in San Francisco.)

Defense attorneys for the former McKesson execs are calling last week’s ruling a victory, but Wall Street didn’t appear to see it that way. Value of the company’s shares dropped by nearly a half following announcement of the news to $35. The company quickly informed the business press just a few days later of its $1.1 billion purchase of Georgia-based Per-Se Technologies and just as soon recovered $15 per share of the drop. Guess corporate ethics don’t have to be much of a pain in the monetary ass after all.

Fox sucks…and so does getting arrested


By Laura Beth McCaul and Steven T. Jones
Justin Barker saw an opportunity on Halloween to denounce Fox News, but ended up in jail overnight for his effort. He was in the Castro just after 10:30 p.m. when he saw local Fox affiliate KTVU-Channel 2 reporter Amber Lee doing a live shot. He stepped behind her and yelled “Fox News is bullshit, Fox News sucks” on live television before the broadcast cut away to some B-roll footage. Suddenly, Barker found himself in trouble. “I go to walk away and three policeman come up and knock me to my knees and I get handcuffed,” said Barker, who’s been charged with battery and resisting arrest. As KTVU news director Ed Chapuis told us, “At 10:30 during a live shot, he jumped in front of our camera and practically pushed our reporter to the ground.” But Barker said he didn’t touch the Lee, is non-violent, and was simply trying to exercise his free speech rights. In fact, he says he heard the police ask Lee if he touched her and she answered “I don’t know.” The footage that aired was inconclusive, but Lee appeared composed and unmolested when the shot returned to her about 30 seconds later. Chapuis said the station will push for prosecution, telling us, “How do you know the intent of someone who step up to disrupt your live shot?” In this case, the intent seemed clear: to denounce Fox News, a network that does, indeed, in all its Orwellian “fair and balanced” glory, suck.

A shameful Halloween


By Steven T. Jones
First of all, let me state my biases: my sweetie is Alix Rosenthal, who is running against Sup. Bevan Dufty, the architect of the city’s approach to Halloween in the Castro last night. But given what I saw and experienced last night, I feel an obligation to share a few observations with Guardian readers.
As you may have heard, there were several shootings that occurred just after the police tried to shut down the event at 10:30, an earlier than usual finish time pushed by Dufty, but a point at which the crowd seemed to be peaking in numbers. Contrary to city claims and some media reports, the police were not searching most people for weapons or alcohol as they entered the event, at least not anyone in our large group during the three times we entered the event from outside. There were certainly a ton of cops out there this year, but most of them were just standing around in groups of a dozen or more, not doing anything. I saw very few officers circulating in the crowd. Two cops on motorcycles who were doing something around 10 were rudely telling people to clear the streets and go onto the sidewalks, where other cops working sidewalk exits told us to go back into the street. That was emblematic of the obvious mismanagement that caused frustrations all night long, including streets that dead-ended and had people walking in circles in frustration.
But the point in the evening that left me feeling profoundly ashamed of this city was at 11 when a team of water trucks and street sweepers rolled in to clear the streets, accomplishing by force what the repeated announcements that “the party is over” failed to do. Why exactly were we hosing down hundreds of thousands of visitors to San Francisco? Do we really want to show an intolerant, authoritarian face to the world just as people are trying to join us in celebrating a holiday that most of us love? Judging from the reactions I saw around me among the basically well-behaved crowd, we have sullied and lowered ourselves as a city by treating people badly and with intolerance. And we spent a ton of money do it, money that could have been put toward managing the event like New Orleans manages Mardi Gras or New York manages New Year’s Eve. I love this city, but today, I’m not proud of it.

Macy’s loses


By Tim Redmond

Sometimes you settle a lawsuit, and sometimes you roll the dice and fight.

Back in 2001, the San Francisco supervisors voted to cough up some $80 million in cash to pay off a group of big corporations that claimed the city’s business tax was unconstitutional. It was a close call — the city attorney warned that if the city fought and lost, the potential liability could have reached $500 million.

There were a few crazy dissenters — Matt Gonzalez and me, and not a whole lot of others — who said, in effect, let’s take the chance: These assholes wanted to soak the city for a bunch of money at a time when corporate America was rolling in the dough, thanks in part to Bush Administration tax cuts at the federal level. Fuck ’em — we’ll see you in court.

But cooler heads prevailed, and the city settled with all but one of the 52 companies. One holdout — Macy’s (the greedy pricks) — decided not to accept the settlement and to push the case and squeeze every drop possible out of the taxpayers. Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled in Macy’s favor, awarding the company $13 million. It looked as if the supes had done the smart thing settling with everyone else.

And then yesterday, the Court of Appeal overtuned Macy’s award, saying that the $13 million refund was excessive. The giant retailer — where I will never again shop, by the way — gets only pocket change, a few hundred grand.

Of course, the court didn’t re-instate the tax; this was only a small part of the case. But still, Macy’s lost, big. Makes me wonder what might have happened if we’d never settled with any of the Filthy 52.

Speaking it


By Steven T. Jones
Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern was in San Francisco today to help christen SEIU Local 790’s new digs on Potrero Hill — and to give fiery voice to the prescription for national political reform that he outlines in his new book “A Country That Works: Getting America Back on Track” (all proceeds from which go to SEIU’s political struggles, so go buy one).
He also dropped a bit of a bombshell on the capacity crowd (which included such notables as Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Sophie Maxwell, Dennis Herrera, Phil Ting, and Bob Twomey): 790 head Josie Mooney will be leaving town to work directly for Stern. “I’m so sorry you’re losing her, but it’s a gain for SEIU,” he said to a smattering of gasps. Actually, Mooney tells the Guardian that her departure has been in the works for awhile, but that she plans to stick around for at least a couple more months.
It will be a loss for SF, but to hear Stern outline his vision, Mooney could be a part of something with the potential to rescue the country from self-destruction.



By G.W. Schulz

Sure, street sports have become a cluster fuck for corporate sponsorships, but in some cases, that just means more money for punks with BMX bikes and less money for sleaze ball marketing execs who’d prefer spending it on tasteless furniture and bad hair.

If you haven’t been following the Mountain Dew Action Sports Tour, the final stop yesterday in Orlando proved to be a gruesome death march for nearly all of the competing riders in the BMX street finals. Almost no one managed to escape without at least a mild injury, but mostly the competition proved to be nothing less than brutal.

3 reasons to visit Cody’s in Berkeley this Saturday Oct. 14


By Sarah Phelan
Former Biosphere 2 crew member Jane Poynter speaks with a endearing British accent, says “bloody” when she gets excited and believes the two-year-and twenty-minute-long project of which she was part, is “one of the most publicly misunderstood and undervalued projects” of the 20th century.”

Or 21st century, given that the impact of the project—a mini-version of Biosphere 1, or Planet Earth, involving four men and four women isolated in a three-acre glass and steel structure near Tucson—continues to elude people to this very day.

All of which add up to a whole bunch of reasons for heading out to Books Inc, 301 Castro Street, Mountain View at 7:30 pm October 13 or to Cody’s, 1730 4th Street, Berkeley, at 7 pm on October 14 to hear Poynter share what it was like on the inside, when she reads from her new book, The Human Experiment” Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2.

Poynter, who prepared for this two-year long stint by living in the Australian outback for six months and then on a research boat on the open seas, says Biosphere 2 was a seminal experience in which she quickly realized what is true for all of us, (but less obvious when your biosphere happens to be Planet Earth):

“Everything that I did daily affected my life support system, and vice versa. It made me realize how disconnected we are here in Biosphere 1, where technology keeps us comfortable and separate from the ravages of nature. In Biosphere 2, that separateness was broken down. I realized I was a cog in the biospheric wheel.”

One of her first priorities on remerging back into the regular world was to put her energies into a project that was big and positive, recalls Poynter of her decision, along with her crewmember/boyfriend and now husband, to develop an aerospace company.

“I’d done some reading and learned that some people who’ve been in isolation, like in Antarctica, commit suicide upon reentry, because they’ve had this seminal experience that no one else can understand and they’re also left with a ‘Now what?’ feeling,” she explains.

Faced with the specter of global warming, Poynter says it’s “very tragic that Biosphere 2 has been sitting empty without a mission for two years.” She now has fingers crossed that it will soon resume its role as effective research tool in the global climate arena.
As for why she decided to write her book now, Poynter says that for ten years her thoughts and experiences have been stewing inside.
“I wanted to put it all behind me, but when now I see misinformation about the project, out of its historic context. It irritated me. I want people to know that it involved an enormous amount of effort and intellectual prowess. It was a huge undertaking.”
It also led to a split in the crew, an event that, in hindsight, says Poynter, was predictable.
“One of the things that’s been shown to occur when people are in isolation and in small groups is that they split into factions. The folks at NASA say we were a textbook case. After a while, you run out of psychological energy and your inner values come to the surface.”

Those friendship rifts profoundly influenced how she runs her company in the present.
‘Taber, my husband, and I made a vow to make sure that the people we worked with got their fundamental needs met.”

As for comments that Biosphere 2 was Reality TV, before reality TV even existed, Poynter says, “On the surface, we were like Survivor, I guess, but we put hats over the camera lenses, we objected to having our private lives filmed, and we to some degree we were selected to get along with each other. In Reality TV, psychologists select people who won’t get along.”

As for the broken friendships she endured as a result of being on the inside of Biosphere 2, Poynter says she interviewed the crewmembers involved for the book and tried to be “very balanced” about what went down.

“I had a story, there were certain truths to be told, we didn’t all come out smelling like roses.”

As for the future, Poynter believes that Biosphere 2 “came bloody close to recreating Planet Earth. We showed it’s possible.”

She also believes that scaled-down versions will play a role in space exploration in centuries to come.

“It’s not necessarily about human destiny, but about life in general. Life sees a vacuum. Take Planet Mars. Maybe it once had life. Who knows? But now it’s waiting for more life to go fill it. Some people believe that it’s statistically likely that we’re going to destroy ourselves. But it’s probably a good idea to have back-up plan. Great things were learned from Biosphere 2. I really do hope it gets a third chance.”

The Village Voice gets lamer


By Tim Redmond
Well, I’m a bit late on this, but Gawker had a great little item on how lame the Voice has become under its new management.

Does Beauty Ravish You?


by Amanda Witherell

Did it ravish you, compel you, confuse you last night on the corner of 24th and Mission? That’s what a 20×30 foot red banner, spontaneously unfurled around 8 pm from the rooftop of “Chinese Food and Donuts,” was asking of many a surprised Mission hipster and inspiring the itinerant BART station population to look up and wonder why? As if the banner’s inquisitiions weren’t intriguing enough, the billboard, as dancer Jo Kreiter and Flyaway Productions are calling it, was merely an artful backdrop for an elegant aerial dance performance. Three dancers in boxes, suspended in front of the billboard, came alive like portraits caught in frames, pushing the edges of their tight parameters and the safety of their harnesses. A fourth woman, clad in shimmering red, lurched from the rooftop above the swinging frames, with graceful, raging footwork that oscillated between acquiescence and a suicide attempt. And I’d just been trying to figure out how to show my mother, visiting our dear city for the first time, that San Francisco is so much more than Fisherman’s Wharf…

The show is the first public Flyaway production since 2002, and is called the Live Billboard Project. It was conceived by Kreiter when she was driving home one day and the Top Model billboard at the intersection of Mission and 280 caught her eye. “Sequined and stripped down, they were spilling out of the garish billboard,” she wrote about the Top Models in a flyer advertising her show. “All hips, ass and titillation. Despite 40 years since The Feminine Mystique, despite the Guerilla Girls, and despite the activism of so many fed up women, the objectification of women’s bodies in public space persists.”

The free, live show premiered on Wednesday night, and ran through the weekend. It was lightly advertised because, as one organizer told me, they like the element of surprise to play a part in the experience. Don’t be sad — you didn’t totally miss it. Another round is set for this Thursday, October 12 through Saturday, October 14, with shows at 8 pm and 9:30. Schedule your BART traveling accordingly for this must-see.

Rallying point


By Steven T. Jones
It’s good to be reminded sometimes that San Francisco is truly an oasis in a desert of fear and ignorance. Yesterday’s City Hall press conference on the terrible Court of Appeals ruling against same sex marriage was one of those moments, when we felt unified in our quest for justice and equality. Despite this disappointment on the way to the eventual California Supreme Court hearings, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said, “We are steadfast and couldn’t be prouder to be at the forefront of this battle.” And everyone felt it. Win or lose, we’re doing the right thing. “We’re making tremendous progress,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom, who didn’t mince words when describing the majority opinion that traditional marriage shouldn’t be updated by the courts: “They made a mistake.”
Both sounded notes of optimism. Said Newsom, “I’m confident we’re going to get there, but today was an emotional setback.” Yet Herrera noted that we need to be vigilant against the right wing forces that are trying to make judges fear doing what they must: “The threat to the independence of the judiciary by those screaming about judicial activism is a disgrace.”

Sorry I stole your peanut butter, Grandma …


but I’m a gay alcoholic pedophile who was molested by a priest when I was 12. On the moon. In pink knickers. With bunnies on them. If I donate $100,000 to your reelection cookie jar, can I have my AIM back? Oh Granny, your firewall’s enormous — but why such big glasses? … –Marke B.

Oooh .. Granny’s mad!!!

Ku Klux Kuties


Ok, this may have nothing especially to do with San Francisco particularly — but what a Halloween treat, courtesy of Martha Stewart herself. My new email buddy DJ Bus Station John has dived into Martha Stewart Living magazine and come up with some fabulously entertaining entertaining tips from the Big Blonde Jailbait. These, I suspect, are meant to be ghosts.


But come on!

Google’s dog and pony show


By Steven T. Jones
First, Mayor Gavin Newsom tapped his buddies at Google (in partnership with Earthlink) to build a citywide wireless system that would be free to city residents. It was a move that was done without full sunshine and it pissed off some information activists like Media Alliance, but the Department of Telecommunication and Information Services has since conducted a more open and diligent negotiations process with the companies. That caused Google to grouse to the Chron that the city was dragging its feet. So Sup. Jake McGoldrick decided maybe the city should be looking at doing a municipal wifi system instead, which he’s having the budget analyst study (if the board approves study this week) and report back on by the end of the year. That’s also when DTIS expects to have a final deal with Google/Earthlink — and when a consultant’s study on municipal broadband (that’s fiber rather than wifi) is due back. Well, with all this possibility swirling, Google and Earthlink have now announed a series of town hall meeting from now until the end of the year. Game on! Their press release follows:

No more Will and Willie


By Tim Redmond
I showed up Thursday morning of the Clear Channel studios on Townsend Street to appear on KQKE’s morning talk show, Keepin’ it Real with WIll and Willie, featuring comedian Will Durst and former Mayor Willie Brown, and the producer met me at the door with some sad news: The show had been cancelled, summarily. Two more days on the air. As of Monday morning, the Will and Willie show would be gone.

I’m told the show had a decent (if not stellar) listener base, and was making money. But not enough money — the way Clear Channel sees things, it’s entirely about the bottom line. So the locally produced show that actually took on local issues will be replaced with The Stephanie Miller Show, a syndicated program out of L.A. I’m sure the show is great, and funny and everything else that a lot of Air American programming is — but it’s not about San Francisco. It’s not local.

Once upon a time — and it wasn’t really all that long ago — local radio stations had at least some responsibility to cover local news and issues. Now the Quake, like the rest of the local Clear Channel line up, will have no real local anything, except traffic.

I never thought I’d say this, but we’ll miss you, Willie Brown.

Green as in money or green as in the environment?


By Andrew Tolve
For a politician who often projects himself as environmentally conscious, Mayor Gavin Newsom dealt his reputation a blow Thursday when he missed his keynote address at West Coast Green, the largest residential green building conference in the country. Mayoral spokesperson Peter Ragone told us Newsom had planned to speak Saturday and did. But the fact that he missed the slot printed in the schedule chafed more than a few in the audience.
Nearly 7,000 architects, contractors, developers, and policy makers have arrived in San Francisco for the weekend conference (Sept. 28-30), many of whom were left searching for answers on Thursday when the event’s inaugural speech at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was left unspoken.
It turned out Mayor Newsom was just a few blocks away, celebrating the opening of San Francisco’s new Bloomingdale’s instead.
“I have to say that we are all full of contradictions, and we would not be here today unless we were,” said Jim Chace, director of PG&E’s Pacific Energy Center. Despite Chace’s commendable record with environmental issues, the fact that a PG&E representative was making the announcement only heightened the irony of the moment. “I promised I wouldn’t take any shots (at the Mayor), but this should not be so easy,” Chace continued. “The fact is that there’s a contradiction here, and contradictions are just a sign in our lives that it is time to look at change.”
The Mayor’s absence aside, embracing change is the fixture of this year’s West Coast Green Conference. Presentations about the feasibility and the implementation of green building techniques will continue Friday and Saturday at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Saturday the event is open to the public.
“Clearly there’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” said Christi Graham, the event’s founder and executive producer. “I do think that we might look back one day and recognize the impact of our gathering here.”

New voice in town


By Steven T. Jones
Ace photographer and all around good guy Luke Thomas — who had a nasty falling out with his business partner at the San Francisco Sentinel, Pat Murphy (I’ll have more details on that for y’all very soon) — today debuted his new website, Fog City Journal, which has the look and feel of the old site, but with a bit more journalistic integrity. Meanwhile, Pat’s site (recently returned from being down during his battle with Luke) looks like a shadow of its former self, running business community press releases and leading with a gratuitious breast shot from LoveFest. It reminds me of what some tavern owner friends of mine used to say, that the mark of a dying bar is when it starts holding wet T-shirt contests. But there’s no reason to dwell on the negative. Welcome to the fray, Luke.

The bogus terror plot


By Tim Redmond

leave it to Wonkette to demonstrate why the terrorists who were going to blow up a plane with carry-on liquids were pretty bogus threats. At least one expert points out that it’s almost impossible to mix a bomb out of ordinary materials in an aircraft loo.

Bad Pope


By Tim Redmond

When I was in college, my friend Dave formed a group called Rastifarians for an Inherited Papacy. (Think about it — Pope. Kids. Sex. Female heirs. As we said back then, Whoa …) That pretty much reflected my views on the institution of the Papacy.

Even the good nuns and priests at my Catholic middle school couldn’t convince me of the Pope thing; I’ve never been much for humans who claim to hear the exclusive word of God. I had plenty of problems with JPII.

But this is different. We don’t just have a Pope who’s kind of a wanker; we have a really BAD Pope. A bad man, a consumate asshole, a real evil presence as the head of 1 billion religious souls. Holy shit.

Bad soccer dads (and moms)


By Tim Redmond

My mom and dad never wanted me to play Little League baseball, and they were very clear about the reasons: They didn’t want to deal with the other parents. Me, I’m glad my kids are in a local soccer league. I’m the team dad for the Pumas (Go Pumas!); we have a great coach and great kids and parents, we don’t keep score at the games, and nobody takes it too seriously as long as the kids are having fun. The main job of the team dad is to make sure there’s an adequate snack for halftime at every game. My main job as a parent is to try to make sure that Michael, who likes to play goalie, is actually paying attention when the ball comes near him, instead of searching for bugs in the grass.

But apparently it’s getting ugly out there, even in microscoccer, where all the kids are under 8.

I realize that parents have been known to go completely crazy on the fields of play, but I’ve never seen it in San Francisco. So when I showed up for a mandatory parents meeting for all microsoccer kids — attend or your kid can’t play — last Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t prepared for what was coming. A league official gave us a handout that set the tone:

“Reasons for this meeting:

Six assault charges in two years
Parents yelling and screaming from the sidelines
Coaches making up their own rules
Dads walking onto fields and taking whistles from moms
Coaches fighting over practice fields
Parents walking onto the field during hte middle of the game to videotape their child
Hired coaches (!?) not knowing any of the league rules”

and on and on.

It offered us this training scenario, which actually happened last season:

“A parent from the other team doesn’t like the way you are refereeing a game. She has been complaining bitterly about your calls, challenging your authority. She has become increasingly exasperated. You hear a whistle. Play has stopped and now you know why. The woman upset with your calls has gotten a whistle, called a ball out of bounds and is now walking onto the field, picking up the ball and about to award the ball to her team when one of your parents confronts her and yanks the ball away from her. The sideline “ref” responds by hitting your parent. What do you do?”

All of these problems — all of them — came from parents with kids under 7 years old.

Somebody needs to take a chill pill.

PS: “Dads walking onto the field and taking whistles from moms?” How exactly does that work?

Burning reentry


By Scribe
I returned from Burning Man a week ago today, one of the nearly 40,000 souls reentering the real world from the one that we call “home.” There are more of us than ever given that the population of Black Rock City jumped more than 10 percent this year to by far it’s largest level yet, with the Bay Area still the main source of BRC citizens. The event is growing fast, and at a time when there is increasing concern about global warming and other environmental problems associated with unsustainable consumption of resources. So I was pleased to see founder Larry Harvey and his board announce next year’s theme — Green Man — just as this year’s event was wrapping up. The idea is to better connect the isolated event with the larger world, to increase awareness of our impacts on the environment, and to start offsetting that impact with tree planting and other year-round projects. It’s a natural step in the evolution of an event that began on Baker Beach in 1986, but one that needed to be deliberately taken, a challenging move than will test whether Burning Man is ready to return from the desert and project its values outward.