San Francisco November 2020 Ballot Measures

SF 2020

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.

Cause and Effect, or Strange Skies over San Francisco

Cause and Effect, or Strange Skies over San Francisco

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).

San Francisco PM2.5

Updated on Monday, October 19, 2020

San Francisco PM2.5

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.

ISS over San Francisco

International Space Station over San Francisco, California

The International Space Station passes over San Francisco (first crew bearing Dragon capsule attached). 14 stacked two second exposures.

Coronavirus Hikes: May 2020

Coronavirus Hikes: May 2020

Coronavirus Hikes: May 2020

37.2 unique miles in May. Photo is the fog shadow behind Grand View Park.

Hike starts at: 37.741726, -122.471298. View in Google Earth.

San Francisco Stars

San Francisco Stars

Unusually good night sky conditions in San Francisco recently. Here's a video of several timelapses shot over the last couple of months. The sequences are: (super) moonrise, no Lyrids over Sutro Tower, Ursa Major rotating around Polaris, Orion setting, moonset.

Coronavirus Hikes: April 2020

April 2020 Coronavirus Hikes

On the way back from Grand View park

36.4 unique miles in April (I'm not using the GPS for repeat hikes). Bagged Twin Peaks, wider paths than Mount Davidson.

Coronavirus Hikes: March 2020

Coronavirus Hikes: March 2020

Coronavirus Hikes: March 2020

Not getting far from home any time soon so all hikes for now will be local. I found a great web app, Routeshuffle, that will generate a random hike from the starting location of your choice. It's a great way of seeing streets you'd never venture down normally. The map is generated with some software I wrote to combine multiple KML files for easy rendering in Google Earth (oh, and Google Earth, I guess that does the heavy lifting). I'll post these every month while we're locked down. March is 15.6 miles total.

Hike starts at: 37.800778, -122.455943. View in Google Earth.

Kirby Cove

Trail to Kirby Cove in the Marin Headlands

Kirby Cove Beach in the Marin Headlands

San Francisco through the Golden Gate Bridge from Kirby Cove

Salesforce Tower framed by the Golden Gate Bridge

A short two mile out and back from the Battery Spencer parking area on Conzelman Road to Kirby Cove.

The Marin Headlands have had a bit of a traffic management change recently so you need to go through the tunnel to get in and Conzelman Road is now one way back to highway 101. The advantage is that there is way more parking then there used to be. I think I've only ever managed to park near Battery Spencer once in 20 years.

The walk is my least favorite profile, downhill to start and uphill on the way back and also not a loop. It's worth it though because it's short and Kirby Cove beach is quiet and has wonderful views of San Francisco through the Golden Gate Bridge. You can also visit Battery Wagner and Battery Kirby on the way back up.

Hike starts at: 37.829459, -122.48401. View in Google Earth.

San Francisco New Year's Eve Timelapse

San Francisco New Year's Eve Timelapse

A timelapse portrait of San Francisco on New Year's Eve 2019:

The video features the view from Inspiration Point, The Palace of Fine Arts, Union Square, Crissy Field, The Ferry Building, Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, Market Street and the sun setting over downtown shot from Twin Pearks.