Whitman McGowan, poet with rapid-fire mind, dies
Whitman McGowan, a San Francisco coffeehouse poet, assembled words like the parts of an antique pocket watch and made each one fit precisely and do his bidding.
Mr. McGowan, who died Tuesday of brain cancer at 64, began writing poetry in high school for a teacher who advised him to do something else.
A poet,” he liked to tell friends, “may not know what he’s saying, but he means every word.
Mark Harmon ... guys who say they were excited to meet Dan Quayle ...
For years Mr. McGowan made ends meet by managing a Pacific Heights apartment building, dreaming up poems about his tenants:
On occasion he would adopt the persona of a Tibetan monk, using a gong to punctuate his poems and aphorisms in the way Jack Benny used a violin.
Plans for a memorial gathering and poetry reading in San Francisco are incomplete.
Posted: October 10, 2015, 5:40 am
The trio exchanged pleasantries, and then Obama got into his limousine and quickly headed toward downtown and an evening fundraiser. People shot cell phone footage as the motorcade made its way down the Embarcadero before turning onto Mission Street. The Saturday fundraiser will be at the 2,300-seat Warfield on Market Street, where tickets for the event, which will benefit the Democratic National Committee, will range from $250 to $10,000 each. At the MTV Video Music Awards show last August, the rapper/record producer/fashion designer told the crowd that he would be running for president in 2020. The prospect of the two sharing a stage suggests that they’ve patched over any unpleasant feelings left over from 2009, when Obama called West a “jackass” after the star crashed the stage at the Video Music Awards and hijacked an award given to Taylor Swift. “The latest swing through the Golden State proves once again that President Obama only cares about causing traffic jams for fundraising for the failed Democrat agenda,” said Ninio Fetalvo, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
Posted: October 10, 2015, 4:52 am
All westbound lanes of the Bay Bridge are now reopened Friday evening after a reckless driver fleeing police crashed into another car just west of Treasure Island, temporarily blocking the three righthand lanes, California Highway Patrol officials said.
At about 5:50 p.m., San Francisco police notified CHP dispatch of a reckless driver in a Silver Nissan, which patrol officers located on the Bay Bridge, said CHP Officer Damian Cistaro.
Jenna Lyons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
Posted: October 10, 2015, 2:06 am
The law, by Supervisor Jane Kim, is aimed at curbing the explosion in evictions for what tenant advocates say are often trivial lease violations, such as improperly painting walls.
While allowing it to become law, Lee wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors Friday that he was troubled by a provision allowing tenants to take on more roommates than their lease allows.
Lee also criticized how the legislation was drafted, saying the process didn’t take into account the concerns of property owners.
The supervisors had an opportunity to split the legislation into two bills — separating out the roommate provision and giving the mayor the chance to veto just that aspect — but without clear word that he would the supervisors passed the legislation as one package.
Posted: October 10, 2015, 1:19 am
Marina Green and other prime waterfront spots were packed with veterans, kids, dogs, hot dog vendors, smooching couples, seniors with walkers and wannabe warriors in camouflage and binoculars.
The Parade of Ships kicked off the show as San Francisco fireboat Guardian slipped beneath the Golden Gate Bridge while shooting three geysers into the sky.
Since it was seawater, it did not count as wasting drought resources.
Next came a half dozen gray ships, each with long lines of sailors in dress blues and white hats lining the decks.
On the water, the official parade of ships was surrounded by an adoring armada of private sailboats, dinghies, kayaks, ferries, surfboards and tugs.
Before the six Blue Angels precision-flying fighter jets could arrive to steal the show with their loops, rolls and spins, a half dozen other airborne showoffs took their turns.
Leading off was the Navy Leapfrog parachute team, which wafted from the belly of a big blue plane to rousing cheers and drum rolls over the loudspeakers.
The announcer called the Leapfrogs and their fellow Navy SEALs the “world’s deadliest warriors” and urged any kid in the crowd who wanted to become one to visit nearby recruiting tables.
Posted: October 10, 2015, 12:40 am
Posted: October 9, 2015, 9:46 pm
Posted: October 9, 2015, 11:00 am
California is now a “right to dry” state after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Thursday restricting homeowners associations from banning clotheslines, which the groups deemed unsightly additions to neighborhoods.
Assemblywoman Patty López (D-San Fernando) announced Brown signed her bill, AB 1448, which will allow line drying for people once restricted by their property management organizations.
The bill, titled “Personal energy conservation; real property restrictions” is meant to serve as a victory to conservationists and frugal Californians alike by allowing them to save money and energy.
[...] the law states landlords must allow tenants to air-dry their clothes in their own backyard if they wish, as long as “the clothesline or drying rack will not interfere with the maintenance of the rental property and the use of the clothesline or drying rack does not violate reasonable time or location restrictions imposed by the landlord.”
At the height of the 2001 energy crisis, conservationists such as Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for The Utility Reform Network, which also backed the bill, scratched their heads in disbelief as associations continued to prioritize aesthetics.
Posted: October 9, 2015, 4:11 am
Beginning this week, every registered voter in the county will be mailed a ballot for the Nov. 3 election, along with detailed information about how to make that vote count.
[...] voters are being encouraged to make the mailbox their new election center, which is a far cry from the communal experience of casting ballots in the garages and school cafeterias formerly filled with voting machines.
“This could become a model for the rest of the state,” Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, told a crowd of onlookers Thursday at the San Mateo County administrative offices in Redwood City.
[...] that San Mateo County trial took on even greater importance earlier this year when Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced his support for what’s called the Colorado voting system, which involves mailing ballots to every voter and consolidating polling places.
There’s nothing new about voting by mail, which is now how more than half of California’s voters cast their ballots.
[...] only slightly more than 25 percent of California’s registered voters cast a ballot in the 2014 primary, which means a lot of people in San Mateo County are going to be surprised when a ballot shows up in their mailbox this week.
While county officials have been working hard to spread the word about the voting changes, Mark Church, San Mateo County’s clerk and chief elections officer, expects his office will be answering plenty of questions between now and November.
“There’s some old thinking among my fellow Democrats that all-mail voting only helps Republican and conservative voters,” Mullin said.
Getting ballots directly into the hands of all registered voters not only lets them know that an election is coming, but also is a constant reminder to fill out that ballot sitting in the hallway or on the kitchen table, advocates say.
Posted: October 9, 2015, 12:35 am
Blue Angels pilot Matt Suyderhoud knew when he was 3 years old that he just had to fly upside down and do barrel rolls with the whole world watching. “It looked like so much fun, and it is fun, and it’s something very special,” the Navy lieutenant said just before taking off from the north side of Oakland International Airport, the side where you don’t have to take your shoes off before getting on the plane. Suyderhoud and his five fellow Angels spent much of Thursday afternoon whizzing over the bay to get ready for the Fleet Week air shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The control stick in his right hand, which is hardly ever sweaty, is more temperamental than a drill sergeant. The fighter jets are 29 years old, although they have been repainted so many times that they don’t look it. The newer fighters off the assembly line are designated for combat, not show business. “We get the aircraft near the end of their service life,” Suyderhoud said, the way a car lover might talk about picking up a classic sedan. Parked near the iconic fighter jets was a fat C-130 propeller plane that is also a member of the Blue Angels fleet. The Angels will be the closing act of the annual Fleet Week air shows for the next three days, flying from 3 to 4 p.m., weather permitting. According to forecasts, the weather will permit.
Posted: October 9, 2015, 12:06 am
Santa Clara police say a pair of thieves with high-tech tastes made a low-tech mistake — getting caught on surveillance video. In the early morning hours of Sept. 14, officials said, burglars cut out a window of Drones Plus on Duane Avenue, then made off with a haul of the trendy gadgets as well as an iPad and some backpacks. With the help of camera footage released to the public, though, detectives this week arrested San Jose residents David George Hinkel, 42, and Robert Campbell, 39.
Posted: October 8, 2015, 11:07 pm
Fearing her 5-year-old dog, Joey, could become dinner for a pack of coyotes stalking San Francisco’s Stern Grove, Sonya Rama is taking steps to learn how to defend her beloved beagle mix against the wild animals.
While leaving her pooch in the safe confines of a doggie day-care facility, Rama joined about 50 concerned dog owners Wednesday afternoon in the Pine Lake dog park in Stern Grove, for a coyote-hazing information session.
[...] Gina Farr, a wildlife educator for Project Coyote, tried to convince Rama otherwise, saying the best way to shoo off the four-legged predators is to show them who’s the boss.
The event followed a series of coyote run-ins with San Francisco domestic pets in recent months.
Besides the Aug. 26 attack in Stern Grove that left a 2-year-old bichon frise named Eddie with serious injuries, a 7-pound maltipoo was killed by a coyote in the same park in September.
Wildlife experts suspect the state’s prolonged drought is shrinking the coyotes’ food supply in the wild and driving them into populated areas.
Yelling, advancing toward the animals, and shaking rocks in a can or quickly opening an umbrella can allow humans to establish dominance and protect their pets, she said.
Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, said city park officials have already established a barrier to stop dogs from chasing coyotes uphill.
Posted: October 8, 2015, 11:07 pm
Federal forecasters on Thursday reinforced expectations of a strong El Niño this winter, saying there’s a 95 percent chance the burly weather phenomenon, often linked to rain in California, sticks around until spring.
Wet weather would be welcomed, particularly in the northern reaches of the state, where residents get most of their water from reservoirs and snowpack.
The monthly El Niño forecast released Thursday mirrors last month’s projections, which also offered a 95 percent chance that the weather system would be strong and hang around through California’s wet season.
Federal officials warn that the pattern brings no guarantee of precipitation and that even if the winter months are wet, California would need roughly 2½ times its average rainfall, depending on the area, to patch its drought deficit.
Posted: October 8, 2015, 10:13 pm
An ambitious goal to increase affordable housing on Treasure Island was floated Tuesday — but it will likely be an uphill battle.
At the weekly Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Jane Kim urged the Treasure Island Development Authority to research options that would increase the area’s affordable and middle-income housing to 40 percent.
Kim hinged the goal on newly passed state legislation that would allow localities to revitalize disadvantaged communities and former military bases.
Assembly Bill 2 would establish a Community Revitalization and Investment Authority to oversee the projects.
[...] Bob Beck, Treasure Island Development Authority director, said he is uncertain where the funding to increase the number of affordable units would come from.
“We have an existing development agreement in place with specific provisions for affordable housing and community benefits,” he said.
If we and our partner, the city, mutually determine that this legislation creates additional funding opportunities for the project, we will move toward the 30 percent goal as outlined in our agreement.
The Department of Public Works plans to install more than 3,500 linear feet of sidewalks by spring 2017.
“With people doing more walking and trying to get out of their cars, it’s really necessary,” Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru
Posted: October 8, 2015, 6:47 pm
Tens of thousands of young people will be eligible to receive their high school diplomas under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Under SB172, students who failed the California High School Exit Exam since its 2006 debut can claim diplomas if they met all other graduation requirements.
A different bill signed into law last month by Brown retroactively awards diplomas only to students from the class of 2015 who had met all other graduation requirements but had not passed the Exit Exam, which was canceled in July by the state over concerns that it was outdated.
Posted: October 8, 2015, 6:06 pm