Tag Archive: San Francisco Bay Area

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October 17, 2015

About a year ago, I was having lunch with a friend when I made a throwaway comment: “Have you seen the rent in San Francisco? If I get a job in the Bay Area, I’ll totally live in a van.”

As I sit in darkness writing this, I’m trying to keep my typing quiet, lest a real inhabitant of the neighborhood I’m parked in should walk by and wonder about the sounds coming from the rusty bus loitering on their block. Yes, you understood that correctly: Today, I work in a multi-million dollar office complex, and I live in a van.

This summer, after receiving a job offer in Silicon Valley, I went on Craigslist and began sifting through housing listings: “verrrrrryyy cheap bedroom ;),” “great deal on rent!” A single room with a shared bathroom? Two thousand per month on the low-end. A small studio apartment, you ask? If your startup wasn’t recently bought for seven figures, forget about it.

I perked up after finding a listing for $1,000 per month. Now this could work. Clicking through to the details section however revealed the offer was for a single bunk in a room with eight people, a set-up referred to as a “hacker house” by an (evil) marketing genius.

Even if I was to spend the huge majority of my salary on rent, I knew I would likely still be in a grim living situation, resenting every penny I handed over that could have gone towards paying back my student loans. And as a software engineer, I’m one of the lucky ones! Imagine those who aren’t lucky enough to be on the tech payroll.

Anyway, three weeks ago I took the equivalent of three months’ rent and bought an old red bus. It’s a 1969 VW camper van with a hole in the floor and a family of spiders that has more of a right to be here than I do (sleeping in your car on public land in California is illegal).

(Katharine Patterson/blog.thinkkappi.com)

But with the help of Ikea and an army of cleaning supplies I was able to get the bus into livable condition.

Read More Here

Yahoo News

The Daily Beast
Driest California in 500 Years?


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Driest California in 500 Years?

SAN FRANCISCO—Weird things are happening in California. Bears, normally hibernating at this time of year, have climbed out of their caves to search for food. Some visitors to Tahoe are renting bikes, not skis.

As the East Coast digs out from its latest snow dump, Californians can only look on enviously. Here, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the state’s great water-supply source, stands at a scary 13 percent of normal. California suffered its driest year on record in 2013, but what’s yet to come is even more terrifying. Federal forecasters predict that the drought will continue or intensify through at least April—by which time, the “rainy” season will be over.

The Golden State should probably be panicking more than it is. Reservoir levels are falling, but only a few cities, including Sacramento and the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg, have mandated water-use reductions. Both have instituted cuts on the order of 20 percent for every household. Governor Jerry Brown has asked everyone to make voluntary cuts, but as drought-stricken Midland, Texas, learned a few years ago, voluntary never quite does it. (An only-in-California water-saving tip I’ve seen: go around in the buff, to save on the need to wash clothes.)

The problem is a huge atmospheric ridge of high-pressure that’s been hovering off the coast for an unprecedented 13 months. Storms can’t break through, so they go around and over it. The really worrying part, as the Christian Science Monitor explained this week, is that the longer the ridge hangs around, the sturdier it gets. Nobody knows when it will disband. (And no, we also don’t yet know if all this is linked to climate change, but California will doubtless be glad to trumpet a connection.)

“This could potentially be the driest water year in 500 years,” says B. Lynn Ingram, a University of California at Berkeley paleoclimatologist.

Assuming the drought continues, it’s going to have huge and complex effects. Among them:

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CITIZEN’S TOWN HALL, the Dark Side of Sustainability, Danville Ca, 1/15/2013


Published on Feb 23, 2013

00:00 HEATHER GASS, Citizens Town Hall.org
44:53 MIKE ARATA, Friends of Danville
55:45 MARYANN CELLA, Save Open Space-Danville
1:06:40 BILL BAKER, Former Congressman
01:21:30 Q&A

Video by Steve Kemp

This is a true Citizens Town Hall, sponsored and paid for by Heather Gass and donations from the concerned citizens who attended.


“NO WAY” to citizen’s vote! ABAG Special Meeting on Draft Plan Bay Area


Published on Jun 26, 2013

Click on a link below to jump to a segment. Video by Steve Kemp
00:00 Meeting called to order
00:37 PUBLIC COMMENTS (general)
01:44 – Leslie Jones
02:58 – Suzanne Tringali
05:17 – Judy Galletti
07:31 – Mimi Steel
10:27 – Dave Erlich
12:38 – Jim Bitter
14:29 President’s Report
16:41 Draft Plan Bay Area – Miriam Chion
40:10 – question- Cap and Trade funds
44:26 – Infill developments?
45:48 – Send PBA to public vote?
48:52 – Trucks on I-580?
53:50 – Population & Jobs projections?
56:54 – Allow public vote?
59:34 – how is this being done statewide?
1:01:56 – I want an advisory vote of the people
1:04:13 PUBLIC COMMENT on draft PBA
1:04:27 – Chris Pareja
1:06:26 – Michael Ling – Non-profit housing association
1:08:17 – Larry Tong – EBRPD
1:10:37 – Matt Nichol – Six Winds
1:12:23 – Aubrey Freedman
1:14:37 – Dave Eirlich
1:16:41 – Peter Singleton
1:19:02 – Pam Farly
1:20:25 – Heather Gass
1:23:19 – Clarissa Comisaugan
1:25:48 – Charles Cagnon
1:28:11 – Maybelle Inzagu – Public Advocates attorney
1:30:06 – Kirsten Spalding – Sa Mateo county union alliance
1:31:44 – John Dowllrimple – San Mateo Union Alliances
1:34:10 – Jim Bitter
1:36:02 – Tim Frank – Director Sustainable Neighborhoods
1:38:17 – Mimi Steel
1:40:15 – Judy Galletti
1:42:40 – Lou Tavares
1:44:24 – Deborah Tavares – Stop the Crime.net
1:46:50 – Jim Bennett
1:49:19 – Celeste Paradise
1:52:13 – Alberta Brierly
1:53:29 – Liz Manning
1:54:28 – Carol Gotstein
1:57:29 – Jose Arellous
1:59:57 – Joel Burnha
2:02:49 ABAG amendments to draft PBA
2:04:30 – Trucks on I-580
2:58:52 – citizens vote of PBA
3:13:41 – HOW THEY VOTED
3:23:56 PUBLIC COMMENTS on amendments to draft PBA
3:24:07 – Hanson Han
3:26:00 – Dave Erlich
3:28:10 – Chris Pareja
3:30:23 – Deborah Tavares
3:32:42 – Jim Bennett
3:37:28 – Starchild
3:40:16 – Jim Bitter
3:41:15 – Celeste Paradise – closing song


Danville CA Planning Commission meeting: PUBLIC COMMENTS, 12/11/12


Published on Jan 5, 2013

00:11 Pam Farly
02:48 Andrew B.
04:00 Stuart Flashman, Attorney
10:30 John Brewel
14:12 Ann Blake
16:33 Terry Thompson
20:02 Andrew L.
23:08 John Dawson
25:27 Joan Byko
29:06 Bob Neilas
33:02 Sheila Trushky
34:31 Bud Warder
36:17 Maryann Chella
48:27 Todd Gary
56:46 Al Phillips
58:50 Thomas Sidebottom
1:02:48 Heather Gass
1:13:13 Pat Ferguson
1:16:24 Steven Johnson
1:19:04 Priscilla Rich
1:25:05 Matt Uhaldy
1:28:53 Andrea O’Brien
1:30:31 Hank Swarz
1:33:29 Ron Odell
1:36:01 Kim Holmes
1:41:46 Roger Tuma
1:44:39 Leslie Jones
1:49:45 Sarah Schmitz
1:53:39 Mike Orada
1:58:06 Norm Rett
2:01:54 Doug Nesbitt
2:05:50 Terry Anderson
2:07:52 David White
2:14:35 Jean Price
2:17:11 Chris Stabber
2:18:51 Jim Gelenca
2:20:25 Unnamed
2:21:32 David White
2:22:31 STAFF Response to the public’s comments

Video by Steve Kemp

Battle for Downtown Danville:

In short, the proposed 2030 General Plan calls for rezoning 10 downtown acres as high-density development, with 20+ units per acre. This would open the doors for landowners and developers to rebuild the properties.

The town of Danville has prepared an update to its existing General Plan, which includes new policies about sustainability, greenhouse gas reduction, priority development areas,and other topics. The updated plan would also consider amending the land use designations at selected sites,mostly located in the downtown area. the Draft Danville 2030 General Plan and its associated Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR), including information pertaining to the proposed land use changes for each site, is available

This public hearing is being held within the 45-day period to receive public testimony on the Draft EIR.

NOTE: The supporters of this type of planning are well organized. They have been on the “inside” of the planning process for years. They have the unelected city planners on their side. They will be pushing to adopt these policies that interfere with private property rights. Unless we show up in force, they will win the day.


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Earth Watch Report  –  Sinkholes

Two enormous sinkholes swallow roads in Bay Area, California



A storm caused a 20-foot sinkhole to form along Mountain View Drive in Lafayette on December 2, 2012.

Two giant sinkholes formed in separate Bay Area communities during the heavy rain from a powerful storm that passed through the Bay Area over the weekend.

In one instance, a giant sinkhole swallowed two lanes of a street in a residential neighborhood in Lafayette Sunday.

High water levels and a clogged storm drain in Lafayette Creek destroyed a portion of Mountain View Drive Sunday, creating a sinkhole where the road once was, Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk said.

Erosion of the road accelerated when the heavy current of the creek clogged the storm drain with large debris, including branches and a bureau, some time between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., Falk said.

Water began to run over the top of the road, forcing its closure soon after. Around 3 p.m. Sunday, the road collapsed onto the storm drain and left a hole 80 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 15 feet deep, Falk said.

Comment: The city manager’s explanation of the Lafayette Road sinkhole is clearly BS. Flowing water over a road does not cause it to suddenly collapse.

Utility agencies came out and shut off the gas and sewer lines that are below the road. East Bay Municipal Utilities District crews were still on scene at 2 p.m. Monday attempting to shut off the water line.

A handful of customers are still without water and one customer is without gas. PG&E has provided an alternate gas service for that one, Falk said.

Falk said the city’s plan is to convey the water temporarily across where the road was, and create a temporary storm drain that will handle all the water from whatever remaining storms there are this season.

Once that is completed, a team of civil engineers will create a plan to permanently fix the storm drain and road.

A large sinkhole in the Santa Cruz mountains.

The collapse has left one home without access to its driveway but should not create a significant hardship to anyone in the area, Falk said.

The longest detour around the sinkhole is a block and a half, he said.

A second sinkhole opened up in the Santa Cruz mountains over the weekend as well.

A sinkhole swallowed a portion of roadway near the summit of Highway 17 on Vine Hill Rd.

That road was shut to traffic until repairs could be made.

Published on Oct 17, 2012 by

Dig in and Grow the Revolution at http://www.ediblecity.net

Edible City is a fun, fast-paced journey through the Local Good Food movement that’s taking root in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the nation and around the world.

Introducing a diverse cast of extraordinary and eccentric characters who are challenging the paradigm of our broken food system, Edible City digs into their unique perspectives and transformative work, finding hopeful solutions to monumental problems.

Inspirational, down-to-earth and a little bit quirky, Edible City captures the spirit of a movement that’s making real change and doing something truly revolutionary: growing the model for a healthy, sustainable local food system.


Earth Watch Report



22.10.2012 Event into space USA State of California, Novato Damage level Details

Event into space in USA on Monday, 22 October, 2012 at 09:50 (09:50 AM) UTC.

A gray, 2-inch rock that hit a Novato home is the first confirmed chunk of the meteor that dramatically exploded over the Bay Area, a scientist said Sunday. Lisa Webber, 61, found the meteorite in her yard on Saturday, three days after the object fell onto the roof of her home on St. Francis Avenue. She had heard a strange sound at the time but didn’t think twice about it until she read a Chronicle story saying debris from the meteor would be found in a band stretching east of San Rafael toward Napa and Sonoma. Some have marveled at the potential cosmic significance of the fact that it hit a home belonging to a man of the cloth – Webber’s husband, Kent Webber, is pastor at Presbyterian Church of Novato. The space rock, in fact, had first hit the roof of his study, she said. “It’s just science – and it’s cool,” said Lisa Webber, an administrative nurse at UCSF Medical Center. “It’s wonderful. It’s like the heavens coming down, and history and this thing probably came from an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – I mean, how cool is that?” Peter Jenniskens, a leading meteor hunter at the Seti Institute in Mountain View, confirmed that the space rock was indeed debris from the meteor that streaked over the sky Wednesday night.”The significance of this find is that we can now hope to use our fireball trajectory to trace this type of meteorite back to its origins in the asteroid belt,” Jenniskens wrote on his group’s website. At the time the object hit her roof, Webber thought the sound she heard had come from an animal that was rummaging on her property. She checked the roof, found nothing, and quickly forgot about it until she read The Chronicle on Friday night. That’s when she went searching through the yard and found a rock. She summoned her neighbor’s son, the two put a magnet to the object, and they stuck together. On Saturday, neighbor Luis Rivera climbed onto the roof and found an indentation left by the meteorite. “The surprising thing about it all is that it’s something from the orbit between Mars and Jupiter, and it ended up in Novato,” Rivera said. “And when Lisa was relating all of this to me, it took a while to sink in as to the odds of this happening.”