Clouds develop and a storm sweeps in looking west over the Pacific from San Francisco.
A timelapse of San Francisco on New Year's Eve 2020:
Shot from Treasure Island, Corona Heights Park. Fort Baker and near Battery 129 in the Marin Headlands. Each sequence was transformed with a style transfer neural network (full details).
(Previously: San Francisco New Year's Eve Timelapse)
This is the first time I have voted by mail. In San Francisco there are clear instructions, a postage paid reply envelope and no need to get your ballot notarized or witnessed or other painful admin. The only real dilemma is the I Voted! sticker. When voting in person you just slap it on and wear it for the rest of the day. But when is the appropriate time for a postal vote? The instructions say:
"Show other San Franciscans you've voted to help encourage them to vote too!"
I get that, but it doesn't really speak to timing.
Is it a November 3rd thing to help with a final turnout push? When you actually fill it out? When you get round to dropping it in a mailbox?
Actually it's even more complex because there is a fancy ballot tracking system. So I get SMS notifications for when USPS has picked up the ballot, when San Francisco County has received it and finally when the ballot is accepted.
I'm just going to wear it today.
I don't like to vote if I can't string together a rationale that I'm willing to post on my blog, so here are my recommendations for the San Francisco November 2020 ballot measures. It's been a tough year for the city. My neighbors are moving somewhere cheaper and less smoky, I see more houses on the market then usual as I walk around. It's hard to know what the next year will bring and to what extent tech jobs will end up shifting out of the bay area as the giants are forced to match work from home policies and smaller companies follow suit. What's clear to me is that we need to stimulate recovery and stop the city from becoming a worse place to live. And beyond that my ultimate dream of just throwing the politicians out if they're doing a lousy job rather than slogging through ballot measures for them. Until that day, here we go:
A: Health and Homelessness, Parks, and Streets Bond
Yes. The problem with homelessness is only getting worse and the construction will create jobs.
B: Department of Sanitation and Streets, Sanitation and Streets Commission, and Public Works Commission
Yes. The streets are a mess, so anything that shakes up the current system seems like it's worth a try.
C: Removing Citizenship Requirements for Members of City Bodies
Yes. Given the huge number of non-citizens paying taxes and otherwise contributing to the city it makes sense to allow them to participate in civic life. I don't support allowing non-citizens to vote but have no objection to them serving on a commission or other city body.
D: Sheriff Oversight
Yes. I really struggle with American policing. We have SF park rangers, community college police, university police, SFPD, sheriffs, highway patrol and other state police. That's without even starting to think about the various federal TLAs and transportation related agencies. Maybe before defunding the police we should first just spend a few years merging most of them and saving on administrative and uniform design costs? Having said all that I find it very hard to vote against more oversight for a department mainly concerned with running jails that organizes fight clubs at those jails. FFS.
E: Police Staffing
Yes. Doesn't seem to make sense to have a specific number of police officers as a requirement.
F: Business Tax Overhaul
Yes. I've never been in love with the payroll tax and moving to gross receipts with a higher exemption helps small business and startups. Seems like a good trade off.
G: Youth Voting in Local Elections
No. 18 is somewhat arbitrary but it's the point at which you take on adult rights and responsibilities.
H: Neighborhood Commercial Districts and City Permitting
Yes. Makes it faster and easier to permit new businesses and sadly we're going to need a lot of that as we recover.
I: Real Estate Transfer Tax
Yes. We need the revenue even if it is uncertain.
J: Parcel Tax for San Francisco Unified School District
Yes. More funding for SFUSD. I voted for this before and it's on the ballot again as only a 50% requirement in 2018 instead of a 2/3rds majority.
K: Affordable Housing Authorization
Yes. A step towards creating more affordable housing.
L: Business Tax Based on Comparison of Top Executive's Pay to Employees' Pay
No. I think this is up to each company. Regulate the floor not the ceiling.
RR: Caltrain Sales Tax
Yes. I don't ride Caltrain often but I love it. My dream is coming back from a meeting on the peninsula in a comfortable top deck seat with a couple of cheap canned Gin and Tonics. We need more public transportation and we need it more than ever.
A timelapse combining the mid-August storm and the 'day without a sunrise' on September 9, 2020 in San Francisco (lightning from the storm contributed to the wildfires that blocked the sun).
This post is updated hourly with a PM2.5 (2.5 micrometer or smaller particulate matter) map of San Francisco.
The PM2.5 data comes from the Purple Air API. The map uses one hour average readings from outdoor sensors and interpolates each point in San Francisco based on the inverse of the distance to the four closest sensors. The color scale is green to yellow (0-50), yellow to orange (50-100), orange to red (100-150) and red to purple (150-200+). San Francisco is plotted using elevation contours from DataSF.
The International Space Station passes over San Francisco (first crew bearing Dragon capsule attached). 14 stacked two second exposures.