Tuesday, May 16, 2006


“Ecuador moves against oil giant.” Latin American and South American oil producing countries are nationalizing their own fossil fuel resources. It used to be that the US would send Marines to overthrow such uppity regimes. And that isn’t happening this time, yet. It seems to me that the name of the company that pumps Ecuador’s oil should have a Spanish or even Indian name, not “Occidental Petroleum.” What—the folks in Ecuador don’t know how to drill oil? Good news.

“Mayor vetoes Saturday park road closures.” While it would be ideal to have no cars in Golden Gate Park, simply banning them, without accommodating auto traffic some other way, causes lots of problems for lots of people.

A few years ago San Francisco voters rejected a ballot measure to close some park roads on Saturdays (they’re already closed on Sundays). Now the Board of Supervisors has voted to enact the proposal the voters rejected. What outrageous arrogance! If they think the outcome would be different they can resubmit the measure for another city-wide vote. Instead they chose to violate the express will of the voters of San Francisco.

Lucky for us we have a native-born mayor who understands that signing the road closure bill would cost the City millions in litigation, there would eventually be another plebiscite, and the outcome would be the same as the last one.

The ideologues on the Board don’t understand that thousands of San Franciscans work at regular Monday through Friday jobs, and that they do errands on Saturdays. The Saturday road closure would have many of them sitting in jammed traffic for an extra 20-30 minutes every Saturday. So, thank you, Mayor, for your good sense. More good news.

Another story enhances a previous report about a Bausch and Lomb contact lens solution that promotes a rare fungus that causes blindness. The particular product has been removed from store shelves. Today’s report says that Bausch and Lomb executives withheld data regarding 35 cases of the fungus associated with their product occurring some time ago in Singapore. These fuckers calculate the profit for each day the product is being sold. So if they can delay the safety recall by a few weeks, they’ll generate enough money to pay for litigation, and, as a last resort, compensate the “small” number of people who actually lose their eyesight.

B&L are the folks who marketed the exact same contact lenses in three different boxes at three different prices. One box referred to the lenses as “one-day disposables” and recommended that they be worn only once, for one day, then be discarded. Another box referred to them as “14-day disposables,” at a higher price, and another as “30-day disposables” at an even higher price. Exactly the same lenses! It was a Sixty Minutes story. B&L actually sent some stooge to answer tough questions, and the poor guy wound up blathering to a national audience.

Even the fungus story is good news, at least that the assholes got caught, and in the sense that it helps with decision-making. I’ve pretty much decided to avoid all B&L products. I’m sticking with store brands. If blindness is the outcome anyway, why pay more?

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sfmike said...

Why have a park at all? Let's just put a freeway through the whole fucking thing, and that way all you native-borns can get your errands done a few minutes quicker.

sfwillie said...

As you know, your suggestion is nothing new. 101 was originally planned as a freeway all the way from the I-80 split to the GG Bridge. It was supposed to run out Fell/Oak, obliterate the panhandle, and destroy lots more of the park (as well as trashing some affluent neighborhoods).

Grass roots organizations blocked the plan, leaving us with the Van Ness-Lombard route.

So I doubt if you'll find much support for your plan to run a freeway through the park. I wouldn't support it.

However, if enough smart people think really hard about this they might come up with a proposal that you could support and that SF voters could also support. But that's hard work.

BTW: Some native borns have gained some historical knowledge which can be useful (not necessarily determinative) in decision making. New ideas AND historical knowledge are useful; vituperation less so.

Anyway, the only native born I mentioned was the mayor.

sfmike said...

Dear sfwillie: Remember the vote to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway back in 1989, just months before the Loma Prieta quake made the whole question sort of ridiculous? It was one of those 49% for tearing it down and 51% against tearing it down kind of deals. It was also one of the many San Francisco municipal election results I've seen that absolutely can't be trusted on any level.

In any case, if the earthquake hadn't happened, we could still have that ugly abomination blocking off the waterfront from the rest of the city to this very day if we used the "we already voted on that" argument.

The Saturday closing of JFK elections were similar deals, and they were tied to the infamous de Young garage, where Hellman went ahead and did whatever the hell he felt like no matter what the voters dictated. It helps to have been born owning Wells Fargo.

Anyway, a lot of smart people have been thinking about reducing the amount of roadway in Golden Gate Park for some time. There was actually a good suggestion in the letters section of the hideous Examiner from James Haas saying that the sixty feet wide roadway for JFK was grotesque and that it should become a two-lane road with limited parking and that should be the end of it.

And yes, I've become a zealot in my old age which leads to vituperation. Please forgive me.