An open letter to San Francisco as I announce my formal candidacy for SF Mayor today.

February 24, 2011

Dear San Franciscans,

A few weeks ago I opened an exploratory committee and announced that I was considering a run for San Francisco Mayor. On a wave of support from friends, family and colleagues alike, I am writing to announce to you that as of today my candidacy is no longer “exploratory;” I will run for Mayor to serve the people of San Francisco.

This was not an easy decision, but it is certainly a heartfelt one. I heard from literally hundreds of people via phone, email and post. I am deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support and encouragement, and I am equally grateful for – and touched by – the concerns expressed by those who worry about my re-entering the rough and tumble world of politics.

In the end what is most important in my decision to run is to finally see this great City returned to its people from special interests that have abused, taken for granted, and ignored the common good in their quest for power and political expediency.

This past selection of an interim mayor represented exactly the type of backroom dealing that keeps our city from uniting – and moving forward. That is not intended to slight our new mayor Ed Lee, who I know to be a fine person and quite capable. It is intended to say that the process was continually about which faction would “win,” the status-quo political machine or the progressives. Did we ever hear who would be the best candidate for San Francisco? Rarely, because once again, the average San Franciscan’s interests were sidelined, while the insiders feasted.

My candidacy will be about unifying the city behind an agenda that serves the people of San Francisco – not the just the insiders and well-connected. While on the Board of Supervisors, I was known as a moderate and to some I was a conservative. If that means I was watching out for the fiscal health of this city, then that’s certainly true. It’s also true that I was able to work with the leading progressives in the city to build consensus on certain issues that were important to San Francisco. It will take that kind of coalition in this campaign as mayor to get things done.

I want a San Francisco that honors the taxpayers and their contribution by passing balanced, fiscally responsible budgets. And I want San Francisco to stay at the forefront of innovation and the tolerance derived from its diversity. I want San Francisco to see the revival of its economy, including the micro-economies of small business in each neighborhood. I want to see San Francisco streets safe and our government open and transparent for all to see, unafraid of scrutiny because it is always striving to serve its people.

There are many steps we must take to rejuvenate this City, and although the race for Mayor is later this year, it is incumbent on all of us to fully support whatever steps we can right away, regardless of who it benefits politically in this campaign. I will be offering solutions to our problems, and I will applaud anyone – including other candidates – who step forward with real ideas to move the city forward. I will have no tolerance for political posturing or cheap shots against myself or any other candidate who has the courage to offer ideas. The people demand that we have a civil dialogue that unites and elevates our City, and I believe we will.

But restoring San Francisco to its people couldn’t happen without your support and I am very thankful for the determination you have already shown to help my campaign make positive change for this great City.

Your support is helping me send a strong message that our campaign is going to be a force to be reckoned with – that the people of San Francisco can match the special interests when it comes to saving the future of our great city.

Thank you again for all of your words of encouragement, concern and support. I can’t do this without your ongoing friendship and participation. I will carry the flag, but in the end, I am sure we will look back on 2011 as the year that turned San Francisco around – because of you.

Yours Truly,

Tony Hall

1 Comment

Filed under Notes from Tony, SF News

Thinking of what San Francisco needs in its next Mayor…

My name is Tony Hall, and I am honored that you are visiting my blog.

I have lived in San Francisco for 40 years. For over three decades, I have been a singer – an entertainer – in San Francisco. I enjoy bringing San Franciscans together through music. I have also spent 30 years in public service for the people of San Francisco, both as a Supervisor, and working closely with some of our great mayors. I know what San Francisco can be: a thriving community of neighborhoods as diverse as its people – working together for the common good. I left city government in 2004. Since then, I have watched San Francisco turning in the wrong direction as special interests and insider agendas have put politics over people. More than ever, San Francisco needs a working Mayor – a mayor who isn’t running for higher office, but is simply focused on doing the people’s business and doing it with transparency and openness.

That is why I believe it is time to seriously explore a candidacy for Mayor of San Francisco in 2011 – and that means it is time to seek your input. If I choose to run for Mayor, it will be because I truly believe I can represent those who currently have no voice in city hall. San Francisco can be a great city again, but I truly believe it needs renewal, and the most important reform is to give the city back to its people.

I am asking each visitor to leave on idea or concern at my new website: www.tonyhallsf.com. I have a vision for a San Francisco that works for all its citizens, and after 30 years serving our city, I know that no one person has all the answers. Your input will help me formulate a citizens’ platform that unifies San Franciscans. Respect for each others’ ideas. Grassroots ideas, rather than special interest agendas, are what will get San Francisco back to its greatness.

Please join this important dialogue for San Francisco’s future and check back for updates.

Yours Truly,
Tony Hall

1 Comment

Filed under SF News

Oh The Games People Play

By now many of you have read or heard about the tremendous deficit that our City is facing this year and projected for the next few years to come. How does all of this happen so rapidly, especially in a City like ours that has such a solid and far reaching tax base, that is a tourist destination for people from all over the World, is headquarters to some of the wealthiest corporations in the country, and is encompassed in a land-locked 47 square miles with only approximately 800,000 residents?

No doubt, these cash strapped days are due to the economic realities that have befallen our country and indeed the world is forcing us all to realign our priorities. But my question is, does it have to be this bad, and are we truly addressing the underlying causes of over-spending that have contributed to our current predicament.

Could it be that what we pay for our municipal services is higher on a per capita basis by some 2 to 4 times when compared to any city in America because San Franciscans just like paying more for local government in order to live up to our humanitarian image?

Could it be that people who live here are just too busy to really look into the issues that affect costs and therefore just can’t be bothered because after all, this is really a pretty good place to live?

Could it be that the issues presented to the public are deliberately obscured and complicated by politicians who curry political favor and expediency as opposed to providing basic services in the most efficient manner?

I certainly don’t know all of the answers to the above questions other than to say that it could a bit of each. Before I present some facts to you so that you can make up your own mind, let me forewarn those of you, including most of the members on the Board of Supervisors, who believe that the only way to balance our budget and reduce the deficit is by additional taxes on the wealthy, this column may present some disturbing facts that undermine your theories on just whose “ox should be gored” or whose income should be redistributed.

A couple disclosure facts might be in order for those who like to cast dispersions…
1. I have never been considered wealthy in monetary terms by any standard and the pursuit money has always been secondary to me in favor of other achievements. 2. As a career civil servant for thirty years, I never made more than $80,000 in one year and that was only in my last position, although I served as an executive in seven different City departments in all three branches of government. 3. My reasons for seeking employment in the public sector in the sixties were much different than what I suspect motivates people to do so today. 4. I am not really concerned about how much money anyone makes…. good for them, as long as they have not made it by exploiting others or “gaming the system” in such a way that the end result suffers. That being said, considers the following facts:

Our city work force consists of 27,852 fulltime and an additional 9,425 part time employees for a total of 37,277 serving a population of approximately 810,000 residents. That’s a ratio of approx. 1: 22, easily the highest in the country.

More than 1 in 3 workers makes in excess of $100,000 in base salary and when overtime is factored in almost 10,000 workers make well over $100,000 per year. These figures do not reflect the additional costs to the City for health care and pensions.

There is currently over 9,587 employees earning over $100,000 annually amounting to an increased cost of $1.5 Billion dollars to the City budget. This is an increase of 800 % in the number of City employees earning over $100,000 in the last decade

In fiscal year 2009 salaries accounted for 2.5 billion of the 6.6 billion dollar budget. The amount we are now spending for salaries is well over 3 times what Frank Jordan allowed for salaries when Mayor and twice that allowed by Willie Brown.

The population of the City has not changed and it would be very hard to find anyone who would attest that essential City services delivered are better now than in prior years.

In 2007, as Newsom was running for a second term, he gave a 23% pay increase to police and firefighters. In the following two years, the amount paid for salaries of City workers increased by 207.4 million dollars.

Of the 100 highest paid city employees, 71 of them are police and fire and the majority of them earn between $250,000 and $350,000 per year with overtime.

In fiscal year 2008-2009, 1,637 city positions, many of them vacant, at a salary range of less than $80,000 annually were slashed from the budget in a much ballyhooed report claiming to save $55 million. 90% the 1637 positions eliminated earned less than $60,000 per year. (So much for our low income wage earners and the dwindling blue collar sector!)

In later 2009, pay raises were given across the board to all City employees making over $80,000 per year, and ironically, just as the Mayor’s designs for higher political office started to surface, 616 new employees were hired by appointment and without civil service examination to earn over $80,000 per year. These raises and appointments are now costing the City $91.3 million more annually. (As a result, we now have a new type of mid to high level civil servant whose only qualifications appear to be his talent as a political operative. Hopefully, pension and benefit reform will discourage these new appointments from taking root in the City and they will move on to their next assignment.)

California Employment Development Department data shows that San Francisco City workers make an average of at least 20% more than their counterparts in the private sector.

Today, our budget comes in at 6.7 billion and is projected to go to 7.2 billion next year. Compare that to the 5.1 billion budget that reflected Willie Browns last budget or that of the 2.9 billion for the Frank Jordan budget.

Anyway you slice it, dice it or cut it, the question remains for you to ponder. Are we getting our monies worth from our local “municipal service providers?” If not, why not and what can we do about it. As a person who is against discrimination of any kind, I just don’t think we can continually go back and ask those who got it, to pay for those that don’t have it, because those who are supposed to deliver it don’t know how!

OBSERVATIONS:
Patrick Monett -Shaw is a one man marvel when it comes to fact-finding, number crunching, corruption watchdog and telling it like it is. He has paid dearly for his talent and his avocation by those who want to silence him on what is really going on at Laguna Honda Hospital. He has written at length about very important and complicated issues that affect us all, so to you Patrick, I say congratulations!

His latest observation about the muni driver’s reform petition that you are being asked to sign is interesting. He notes that not just bus drivers salaries are set by cross-jurisdictional salary surveys, but also the salaries of police and nurses are pegged to the highest paid in other jurisdictions. Of course bus drivers are the easiest to pick on because of non-salary related issues that this administration and the sponsoring supervisor are too weak to address. Nevertheless both the mayor and the supervisor keep popping off about the 8 to 9 million in salary increases due the drivers in July while both politicians are on record as supporting the 207.4 million in raises for those other City employees already making over $100,000 per year!

Policemen, Firemen, Nurses and yes bus drivers and all of our civil servants should be paid well if they are performing well. There is no question about that, and like most other San Franciscans, I am proud of them and want the best for them when they are doing their best in an environment that they do not always control. I fail to see how paying the drivers less will result in anything other than less qualified drivers when the real corrections need to be addressed at the Muni’s 393 managers who are responsible for all aspects of the Muni’s performance. And oh yes, who by the way are all members of the $100,000 a year club as referred to in my above article.

What is really happening here is that lower income City workers are being thrown “Under the Bus” in order to insure that the high-end salary people continue to receive their raises as they have for the past 6 years.

Laguna Honda Hospital:
The Dan Noyes chi. 7 I-Team investigation of the shenanigans going on at Laguna Honda Hospital at 6:30 pm Thursday evening may 20th was amazing. If you get a chance try to see it on the net. Dan Noyes is a real asset to San Francisco.
http://iteamblog.abc7news.com/ or
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/channel?section=news/iteam&id=7104859

Voter tip:

For all of you Democrats out there who are tired of the Democratic County Central Committee being dominated by the far left activists, take a look at the candidacy of Andy Clark. He has served the interest of democrats on the west side of town with his moderate politics and years of service as an Assistant District Attorney.

3 Comments

Filed under Notes from Tony, SF News

The Tail That’s Wagging The Dog

You know folks, this little newspaper, the Westside Observer, being circulated mainly in the southwestern segment of the City, is doing much more for the welfare of our residents than any of us realize. By printing the truth while exposing the lies, spin, and corruption so embedded in our local government, and then offering workable solutions, a real service is being performed.
How is this happening you ask? Well, If one were to count the number of articles that have appeared in our two local dailies that have had their genesis spring from the subject matter of columns first printed in the Westside Observer, you would be amazed. Whether this is due to the inert laziness of the writers of the two dailies, or the fact that they are just behind the eight ball as reporters, or the fact that they are part of a dying enterprise because the publications they write for are so slanted and biased, is anybody’s guess. Anyway, there is an old saying that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and if that’s true, the Westside Observer is tops and it is great to be part of “the tail that’s wagging the dog.”

Just in the past few days, several articles have appeared in the Examiner by columnists who have rambled on about the Boathouse at Lake Merced as a result of my April 1, 2010 article in the Westside Observer, and on the topic of high-speed rail as written many times in this paper by Quentin Kopp. Neither of those columnists, and I will spare naming them so as not to have their obvious politics overshadow their integrity, took the time to do the necessary research to adequately understand the problems.

In the past few months, there have been numerous articles written in both dailies by columnists sympathetic to the current administration that have tried to offset the realities that I first exposed about Treasure Island, Harding Park, the parking meter scam, the excessive business permitting scheme, or the plight of small business. Indeed, there was even a rally held on the steps of City Hall by the mayor to highlight his concerns about developmental impact fees several weeks after I talked about such abuses in my March 2010 column. (Of course, we’ve heard nothing about reducing the fees since the event was merely for PR purposes.)

There have been feature articles in our dailies about our deteriorating infrastructure and pothole riddled streets first addressed in this paper by the talented and dedicated WSO contributor George Wooding, who also was the first to broach the subject of the MUNI operators and their salaries. As you know, a misleading version of that subject is now being circulated as a ballot initiative by one of the camp followers.

The fallacies, inconsistencies and downright misuse of public trust and monies involved in the Laguna Honda re-build project has been excellently chronicled by the persistent and courageous Patrick Monette-Shaw, who has paid dearly for speaking out in this paper for the past two years. The list goes on and on but I can assure you, you are getting your monies’ worth by patronizing the advertisers that make this publication possible. You may not always like what you read, but no one associated with this paper that I know of is trying to build a political career spinning you yarns. We are all thankful for the opportunity to be part of the initiating process that at least gets the ball rolling toward positive solutions.

As opposed to going into a great deal of detail on one subject as I usually do in my columns, and in the spirit of working with those who seek to justify the status quo, I will offer various short topics in this column as “Observations and Solutions” so as to really keep them busy.

Observation No.1 INFRASTRUCTURE and STREET REPAIR: Roger Boas correctly predicted in his ‘80s Chief Administrative Officers Infrastructure Report to the Board of Supervisors, that the City must take on a consistent and annual commitment of funds to maintain our streets and aging sub-structure. The annual cost of estimated maintenance then was about 10 to 20 million dollars per year. The City has been shirking this primary and basic responsibility for decades, choosing instead to fund questionable, expensive, and experimental social programs for political expediency, hoping that State or Federal Grants would come to the rescue. Today an infusion of $250 million per year would not even improve the City’s overall street conditions because the sub-structure is old and breaking down as predicted. It is a classic example of why long-term deferred maintenance is always a bad idea as opposed to the annual cost for necessary upkeep and repairs. We are now at a critical stage and must take real action to keep the streets from incurring serious structural damage. This administration is now proposing asking the voters to approve a quarter-cent sales tax increase to generate up to $36 million annually. In other words, they ignore the problem for years and are now asking you for the money to let them fix the problem? The SOLUTION: Since streets and infrastructure maintenance are prime responsibilities of the City, akin to fire and safety, take the necessary money the City needs to satisfy maintenance and repair on an annual basis, as part of a well thought-out 10-year long-term plan, from the monies that have been diverted from revenue producing departments into uses that have not benefited the City. Prioritize rather than set-aside. Surely in a 6.6 billion dollar budget for a city of less than 800,000 people the money is there! Try using it wisely.

Observation No. 2; The Golden Gate Park Stables: A unique San Francisco tradition since 1875, the stables in the park were shut down on “temporary basis for repair” in September of 2001. The last of 22 public stables in San Francisco, the park stables, during its 130 years of existence, had housed many public, private and polo ponies for equestrian enjoyment and had introduced dozens of generations of school children and adults to the joys of horseback-riding. As a Supervisor and 30-year City employee, I sensed that the so-called “temporary shut down” was nothing more than an excuse for the Dept. of Recreation and Parks to shed its responsibility of the maintenance of this time-treasured institution. I called for a series of public hearings and had received the assurances and guarantees from the then-General Manager of Rec. and Park, Elizabeth Goldstein, that monies were available for the reconstruction of the stables and that construction would commence as soon as architectural drawings and permits were produced. Seeing no action, on July 23rd of the following year, I introduced two resolutions that were passed at the Board of Supervisors. The first established a working group of experienced people to work with the Department to evaluate the most efficient and effective manner to repair and improve the stables. The second resolution which I introduced and passed, is still relevant today and is part of THE SOLUTION: It is based on the voter approved 1998’s Proposition J, It urged the Recreation and Park Department to allocate existing funds to repair and improve the stables and, if necessary, repay the monies expended by soliciting funds from the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority. To date, the stables sit in abandonment due to the incompetence of city bureaucrats who have ignored the legislative mandates and no doubt misspent the monies that were once—and could again—be available.

Observation No 3: Hospice and Palliative Care at Laguna Honda: By now many of you have come to realize what is really happening at Laguna Honda Hospital. Under this administration, it is slowly and deliberately being transformed into a facility that increasingly treats people in need of homeless health care as opposed to senior health care. For 145 years, Laguna Honda Home has being doing a marvelous job treating indigent, frail, handicapped and patients with various debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer, dementia, Parkinson’s, advanced AIDS, dementia, etc., patients who require specialized round-the-clock care and who have not been fortunate enough to have a family to care for them, or the resources to live in a private nursing home. But now, the City Hall geniuses have decided the facility should house younger people with primary psychiatric conditions in their effort to try to salvage a failed homeless program. Being ignored in this process is what you voted for in 1999, instructing the City how you wished your tax dollars to be spent, and the physical welfare of the elderly vulnerable patients who are routinely and increasingly exposed to the violence being committed by younger patients and are being abandoned. The latest tragedy associated with LHH transformation is the dismantling of the nationally recognized model of “Hospice/Palliative Care” that has, for over 20 years, provided a 25 bed service for both terminally ill and progressively/incurable ill longer-term patients that emphasized quality of life. Now, the administration has deleted “Hospice” as a listed program in the hospital’s mission statement, and fired the former Hospice Chaplain, the beloved Sr. Miriam Walsh, before her passing. Now, amid the hiring of dozens of new consultants and outside specialists for different and “experimental” programs, the administration has terminated the nationally recognized Board Certified Hospice physician Dr. Derek Kerr. Dr. Kerr has been the most professional, knowledgeable, patient-centered and generous doctor associated with the entire Laguna Honda re-build. His work was legendary and essential to the survival of the Hospice program and the spiritual component, which it encompassed. THE SOLUTION: Stop getting rid of home grown and local talent that have proven worth and dedication to the welfare of San Franciscans and replacing them with appointees that only further a political agenda.

Observation No: 4: The MUNI Operators Salary Measure for the November Ballot: Those of you, who are being asked to sign this misleading measure, think back to the spin behind “care not cash” and ask yourselves what good that measure did for the City. This is the same type of effort, designed to capitalize on voters’ disenchantment with the level of service currently being provided by MUNI, but the real intention here is to hype a bland political career for future office. No doubt the Municipal Transportation Agency could provide better service, and there are ways to go about ensuring that happens. The SOLUTION is to propose incremental measures at the Board of Supervisor level that can be vetted publicly that really attack the causes of bad service such as timetables, route frequency, personnel attendance, attentiveness, attitudes, etc. If the Board fails to act on any measures, then go to the public with an initiative that will achieve positive results and correct the true causes of bad service. I fail to see how employing operators at a lesser and questionably lower salary will result in anything other than less qualified drivers. The marginal savings that the proposed measure claims to achieve will certainly not balance an MTA budget that is seriously out of whack, and will do nothing to solve the real causes of bad service.

Observation No. 5: The San Francisco Ethics Commission: The San Francisco Ethics Commission is nothing more than a body of political appointees that are used in the most despicable and “unethical” ways to witch-hunt and tarnish the reputations of any person who questions the policies of this administration. This commission is responsible for millions of taxpayer dollars being wasted on baseless and fraudulent hearings under the guise of good government. The members of the commission who are attorneys should be disbarred and publicly prosecuted for their unscrupulous behavior. The SOLUTION: eliminate the entire Ethics Commission and staff and refer all ethics matters to the State Fair Political Practices Commission for an honest and fair adjudication. This would save the City millions every year and bring new hope to aspiring candidates who otherwise are discouraged from engaging in the democratic system.

I could cite many more Observations and Solutions, but I think I have given the daily “paparazzi” enough fodder to keep them busy for the next few weeks. As for you and your concerns, they are paramount to us here at the Westside Observer. Stay sharp!

Leave a comment

Filed under Notes from Tony, SF News

The Duel at The Boathouse At Lake Merced!

In the 1850’s Lake Merced was a popular dueling ground because of its remoteness from the rest of the City. Indeed it was the site of one of the best known duels in the Old West. The duel between U.S. Senator David Broderick and Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court David Terry capped a bitter personal feud between the two powerful politicians and ended in the Senator’s death. Today, another feud is ongoing, only this time it’s between the City’s ruling intelligentsia and the citizens they are supposed to represent.

Today the Boathouse crumbles above the active and crucial operations that students depend on to obtain scholarships to the best colleges and universities. It also provides essential recreation and exercise for adults and seniors.

When I first ran for office in 2000, I made a campaign promise that I would restore the water levels at Lake Merced in order to set the stage for what could eventually lead to one of the finest urban recreational areas of any City in the country.

Foremost in my mind was that one day the Lake Merced recreational area would again play host to urban dwellers with the wonderful advantages that nature could provide in the form of fishing, boating, hiking, bicycling, skeet shooting, picnicking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Up to this time, evolving conditions of areas around the lake had taken their toll on this once popular social hub and urban sanctuary.

Coach Bob Maclean of Pacific Rowing Club explains the precarious position of his community-based operation. While renovations are of paramount importance, keeping the rowing clubs operative while they occur is vital.


Historical water levels of the lake depended upon recharging of the underground Westside Aquifer by rainwater that was now being diverted into the ocean because of pavement-happy development. Extensive pumping of the Aquifer by golf courses, cemeteries and municipalities to satisfy irrigation and drinking water needs in the post war years lowered the water level to 14 feet, thereby threatening sea-water intrusion and the destruction of this historical source of the City’s back-up and emergency fresh water supply. We were able to raise the water level to 27 feet by getting the above mentioned users to utilize secondary and tertiary sources of water for their irrigation needs, and re-channel storm water run off and excess Hetch-Hetchy water back into the lake. The negotiations to accomplish this were prolonged, complicated, and tedious. With the help of CalTrout, the Lake Merced Task Force, and the Friends of Lake Merced, we were persistent and successful and today the future for this colorful lake on the edge of San Francisco is looking much brighter.

Coach Maclean admonishes his charges to keep their heads up, eyes front—watching for the smallest detail that could cost the team a valuable second in a competition


There is a piece of this marvelous puzzle still missing and that is what the ongoing “Duel” of today is all about. This duel is over the future of the Lake Merced Boathouse. It’s a classic battle between the incompetent, indifferent and apathetic bureaucracy versus the patient, believing and optimistic residents of the community.

The Boathouse was built and paid for about 55 years ago when the community approved a special bond issue for the purpose of supporting recreational and community activities at the lake. For years it served as an actual boathouse offering anglers fishing supplies and renting rowboats and storing boats for rowers. The building was spruced up by the people who leased it and eventually it also provided restaurant and bar service at this very unique location. In 2003 the lease was not renewed by the Recreation and Park Department because “the operators were not able to maintain the business according to the Department’s liking” according to a spokesperson for Rec and Park. Bear in mind that this was the very same excuse that Rec and Park used to justify the closing of the much revered and historical Golden Gate Park stables!

Today, eight years later, the Boathouse stands empty and deserted at the entrance to the world class Harding Park, which was the flagship of my redevelopment efforts at Lake Merced, and the stables no longer exist in Golden Gate Park. The abandoned boathouse is a disgrace to the Lake Merced area and a lost opportunity for the community.

The “Bridge” is scheduled for replacement “next year” according to Rec and Park.


In 2003, I was assured that the money was set aside for the rehabilitations and that both facilities would be in operation within a year. Unfortunately I left the Board in 2004 after being coaxed to work on a much bigger and potentially profitable development for the City, that being Treasure Island. Ironically that also stands undeveloped and in ruin today.

While the City is supposedly “studying” these issues, and I suspect that they will continue to keep on studying until just the right development (aka politically connected) partner comes along, the community will continue to lose. In the case of the Boathouse, I know for a fact that there were bona fide restaurant operators available in 2003 that would have made the necessary repairs at their expense so that the facility could serve as both a community center and a full service restaurant in exchange for a standard lease from the City. If the City was not going to spend the money to rehabilitate the facility to its original purpose of a community center, then why let it sit empty and dilapidate for the next 7 to 8 years?

It’s ironic that the Recreation and Park Department was able to find $2 million to repair a rarely used pier nestled in the tules of the Lake, only 20% of which was funded by state grants. Whether the boathouse should be rehabilitated by private funds or returned to its original purpose is a matter to be decided by community priorities, but the sin here is doing nothing for almost 9 years! Apparently the current District 7 supervisor hasn’t got the stomach for such mundane and insignificant projects and the part-time aide that he has assigned to represent him regarding the Boathouse isn’t from the City and wouldn’t know the difference between a boathouse a horse-drawn caravan.

Administering the swaying and slippery “bridge” while hoisting heavy “shells” above their heads is excellent teamwork practice and good exercise, but should be safer.


Thankfully there are still some San Franciscans around who know how to get things done that benefit the residents and especially the hundreds of young boys and girls that use the docks at the boathouse to launch their shells for their early morning workouts and competitions. Under the expert leadership of Tom O’Connell, Head Crew Coach of world championship rowing teams from St. Ignatius High School, and Joe Meets of the Pacific Rowing Club, the docks at the boathouse have been replaced at the cost of some $60,000 being raised from private donations on a loan fronted by St. Ignatius High School. Young San Franciscans from the Dolphin Boat Club, the South End Rowing Club, and the San Francisco Rowing Club as well as scores of independents and seniors also use the launching docks.

At 77, Mary Allen keeps fit doing her favorite thing, boating.


I don’t criticize without offering a solution. In this case there is no easy fix unless we insist that our elected representatives address the tasks at hand. If they lack the positive and effective leadership necessary to make things happen, then the ball is in our court.

More Photos from Lake Merced:

Now comes the tricky part—as the boat is rotated into the water—this requires careful coordination and teamwork or the whole team could end up in the drink.


Tony Hall talks about the Boathouse with Coach Alex Simon of St. Ignatious Crew

The men’s team from Pacific Rowing wait for their launch turn on the new $60,000 aluminum and plastic pier provided by a loan from St. Ingatious High School.

Then it’s back up the “bridge” to stow the boats away. 250 boaters make this trip twice daily.


Rowing at Lake Merced

2 Comments

Filed under Notes from Tony, SF News

The Art of Governance and the Economy – by Tony Hall

It seems that all we have read about these past few weeks relates to employment. One politician talks incessantly about how many jobs he has created. Another politician talks about how many jobs he has saved. A third politician talks about nothing but lies associated with the first two. There seem to be only two job categories that get any positive attention. One is the non-private sector positions supported by taxation. The other, and flourishing, is those employed by the various media spin machines out there doing their best to convince the weary and wary taxpayer of a particular point of view. Once again you, the taxpaying voter, are left trying to figure out the truth and what should be done.
As a father, I can attest to how difficult it is for those who are interested in remaining in our City to actually find employment in their chosen field of study, let alone in a meaningful or contributory fashion. This is the sad reality that underlies the flight of our local talent, discourages families, and takes an eventual toll on our quality of life. When we address these problems and offer realistic solutions, we are immediately classified as prophets of doom, or uninformed disgruntled individuals by the ever so politically correct, pseudo-intellectual elitists that are now running the City. The fact is that no one really needs to say anything but only has to look around. Notice the recent proliferation of vacant storefronts, the lack of buyers in the open shops that beg for customers with almost unbelievable sale promotions, the restaurants and diners less than 20% full, or the drop off in attendance of the various galas, social and charitable events for which San Francisco is so well known. No one knows this better than the small businesses trying to survive here in the City…[Full Article on the Westside Observer]

Leave a comment

Filed under Notes from Tony, SF News

Sometimes you just scratch your head……

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/22/BAEV1C5IBI.DTL

Leave a comment

Filed under SF News