Friday, September 30, 2016

Censorship & Bias at SF City Hall over Signs Held by the Public?

For many years, Paulette Brown has displayed large hand-held signs during Board of Supervisors and police commission meetings, showing her son who was murdered and info sought related to his alleged killers. I fully support my friend Mrs. Brown to use City Hall meetings and the publicly-funded SFGov TV platform to exercise her First Amendment freedom of expression right.

I also want the same right and believe every member of the public should be able to hold a sign no larger than 11-by-17 inches, regardless of the message or content.

This week, at the Ethics Commission hearing, I held a letter-sized sign which was captured on the City-funded cameras and this upset the commissioners. They summoned three sheriff's deputies to intimidate me into putting my sign away.

Here is what the Sheriff's Department provided me regarding signs at City Hall, in all public meeting rooms:

As long as signs are not on sticks and don't exceed 11" X 17", as are Mrs. Brown's, they're supposed to protected by the First Amendment and rules of the sheriff. In practice, that is not the case. There's also nothing about barring the public from showing the signs on SFGov TV.

Contradicting the sheriff and the First Amendment is the above stated ban from the meeting procedures of the Board of Supervisors that apply in their ornate chambers: "Board procedures do not permit . . . bringing in or displaying signs in the meeting room."

This photo shows the president of the board, London Breed, holding a sign/proclamation honoring a member of the police commission during a regular Tuesday meeting. To the right, you can see Mrs. Brown holding her sign. Why are supervisors and select members of the public allowed to bring and display signs?

Related to this, whenever I or anyone has displayed a sign about a political candidate or ballot prop, we've been verbally informed by the supervisors or commissioners that these signs are prohibited. Supposedly, electioneering via signage is forbidden.

Time for City Hall officials to produce the alleged law that stops us from showing political signs at hearings and on the taxpayer-funded media outlets of SFGov TV.

None of the guidance or rules from the supervisors and sheriff contain any language about this alleged prohibition.

I've been requesting for two days, via email and messages left with aides to Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, who allegedly doesn't have vmail, for a meeting to discuss being left alone and not threatened with ejection or arrest by her deputies when I hold up a sign not over the 11" by 17" limitation.

Finally, here is an AP wire photo that ran this week in the San Francisco Chronicle and on their web site, showing members of the public holding Black Lives Matter signs at the Charlotte, North Carolina, City Council meeting.

The Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee earlier this year banned spending City money on travel by govt employees to North Carolina to protest the state's anti-trans bathroom access and anti-LGBT laws.

While that state is justifiably excoriated for those laws, at least in Charlotte, taxpayers can hold up signs of all sizes at City Council meetings and not break any rules.

It's time for San Francisco to follow Charlotte's example on signage at govt meetings.
SF Developing Public Health 'Action Plan' for BART Plaza

Let's offer hearty praise to the SF Department of Public Health and the head of the environmental division, Tomas Aragon, for addressing my outstanding requests for improved sanitation at BART's busy 16th Street station.

The Mission District and all users of this critical transit hub have suffered and endured lack of coordinated cleaning and proper maintenance for too long. Needless to say, I'm quite proud my campaign for BART's District 9 seat is directly benefiting everyone who passes through or hangs out at 16th and Mission Streets.

I've responded and hope the inspection tour happens soon. Here's the DPH note:

"The Environmental Health managers copied above met with Dr. Aragon today to create an action plan of next steps. Josephine Muir, Dr. Aragon's secretary, will propose some dates and times when we can join you at the 16th St. BART Plaza for a walk-through look at the issues you named. Please let us know if you have any restricted dates and times in the next three weeks."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BART Manager Crunican's 2016 Calendar Now Online

Following the work of public officials is made easier by viewing their calendars, public documents that must be requested then shared online, in my view.

In response to my request to BART for the digitized January - September calendar of general manager Grace Crunican, I've received a 19-page document shared here.

A previous request, revealed Crunican's current pay is $361,000, just fyi. Here is her calendar for this year thus far:

Monday, September 26, 2016

DPH to Declare BART's Radulovich Plaza a Disaster Zone?

After two-months of observing the poor sanitary conditions at BART's 16th Street station, and getting improvements out of various public and private agencies, it's time to push the Department of Public Health to declare the plaza a disaster zone.

This video shows my second appearance at the Health Commission, petitioning DPH boss Barbara Garcia to address my various concerns related to public health in general at Radulovich Plaza, in the first minutes of the tape.

In the last half, after hearing the report on wellness outcomes of low-income, people of color and all races of residents of SRO hotel, I plead for DPH to sanitize the plaza to improve the wellness of this population that hangs out there.

The day after the meeting, Tomás J. Aragón, MD, DrPH, who's the director for population health, emailed me:

"Director Barbara Garcia has asked me to assist you with the problems you have identified at the 16th & Mission BART area. Can you briefly itemize the keys issues for us? An Environmental Health inspector and I will come and meet with you at the site."

[I sent back a dozen items on my list of concerns and Aragon replied.]

"Thank you for the detailed email. We will review with our staff and get back to you."

I'm looking forward to the inspection of the plaza with DPH directors. Stay tuned for further developments and remember to vote for zealous Petrelis for BART board in District 9.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Thursday, September 22 meeting of the BART board of directors, that began as usual at 9 am on a weekday, conflicted with a medical appointment. I wasn't there but have looked at the video of it and watched how public comment was called, but there wasn't a single BART rider there or anyone from the general public.

Of the few individuals in the public seating area of the BART board room, they are analysts and managers of the transit system. Screen grab is from the video.

All the empty seats and lack of attendance by the public is a sorry indictment of how the current board is not meeting the needs of riders. I am convinced that if BART held meetings in the late afternoon or early evening, they'd better engage those of us who use BART.

If elected to the board, I promise to work hard to change this situation.
Dangerous Hole at BART Plaza Harms Public Safety

This a copy of the note I've sent to the appropriate BART managers regarding my
new effort to improve another small part of Radulovich Plaza in the Mission. I'll keep an eye on this hole and report back when it is no longer jeopardizing the personal well-being of the plaza's users.

"To BART managers:

"My latest service request to BART is shared below, along with the confirmation that it was received on your end. I hope this safety hazard is addressed this week and I very much appreciate your recent efforts rapidly responding to my concerns. I also offer high praise for your crews doing all the grunt work at this plaza and station. Please view my video for the exactly location of the hole. Thanks. Best, Michael Petrelis"

"Dear BART, For three months, a missing tree at the western 16th Street plaza in SF has left a hole in the ground. This is a harm to public safety. Pedestrians are tripping over the hole and is a danger to disabled people. I am requesting that you immediately either the hole or replace the tree that once was there with a new tree. This gaping hole must be addressed and full public safety standards met at all times by BART at this busy transit hub."

"From: BART Customer Service
To: mpetrelis 
Sent: Sun, Sep 25, 2016 12:54 pm 
Subject: BART Case # 00192449 

"Dear Michael Petrelis, Thanks for taking the time to contact us. Case Number 00192449 has been created and a BART Customer Service Representative will respond shortly. Sincerely, BART Customer Service"

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Choreographer and open queer agitator Mark Morris introduced the Saturday, Sept 24th screening of Abbas Kiarostami's "Through the Olive Trees" at BAMPFA and he was very entertaining, literally all over the world atlas and cultural map.

I met him before he took to the podium at the Barbro Osher Theater and a friend of his snapped this pic of us. Morris was charming. I mentioned plans to see two of the other films he's selected in the "Cinema Mon Amour" series, "The Wishing Tree" and "Ashik Kerib" later this month.

This was my second time seeing this Kiarostami film and it held up well. Good to watch the Iranian dramedy unfold with a packed house. Another well-spent cinematic evening spent at the Pacific Film Archive.
9/26 Hearing: Petrelis v. 'Mayor Kawa' Calendar Deletion is Illegal

From the small public records request grows an Ethics Commission matter reaching the top of the permanent power-chain of folks running San Francisco's City Hall.

In early January, I asked longtime mayoral chief of staff Steve Kawa for two-weeks worth of his emails and calendar.

In the spring, city attorney Dennis Herrera officially opined that since Kawa had destroyed his calendar, in keeping with his policy of deleting this public record and no record existed, there was no violation.

Herrera had previously blessed Kawa blithely deleting his calendar every two weeks, ostensibly to better organize his City Hall computer. So, the City's vice mayor is regularly erasing public files, the supposed government sunshine watchdog, more like Lapdog Herrera, approves of it and my complaint is now before the Ethics Commission.

The matter should have been on the August ethics agenda but Kawa informed the commission in late July that he would be out of town the fourth Monday of the month, when they regularly meet, and he needed more time to consult with Herrera, he was granted a continuance.

Then the commission opted to cancel August's meeting and here we are, ready for the commissioners this Monday, September 26th, to consider finding Kawa in violation of open government laws.

Given the months of obstruction and ridiculous delays and opinions from Kawa and Herrera, echoes of Donald Trump's wily ways, I won't be surprised if Kawa has a headache and fails to show up. After all, the first presidential debate is happening at the same time.

Stay tuned. This open government story isn't over yet!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Safety Pole Replaces Hazardous Stump & More BART Scrubbing

This is what I saw tonight at the eastern 16th Street BART plaza and on the concourse level. 

The metal stump that was all that remained for the past five weeks after the electrical BART sign was destroyed, which I requested be removed and no longer put pedestrians at risk of falling over, is gone. In its place is a safety pole and a small hole under it. 

On the concourse level, there was a crew of six male workers washing down the tiles and information display cases on the sides of the station. I was informed that they began nighttime cleaning more than a week ago and it was in response to complaints that had come in to BART. 

Yes, I requested BART management addressed the dirty walls and surfaces and I'm applauding the managers and blue collar workers moving quickly again to address my concerns.

We all benefit from my campaign to sanitize this BART station and plaza spaces. The big question I need to pose is how to get regular cleanings and maintain good public health practices without lodging a flurry of requests and complaints.

I'd be honored to have your vote this election season. Vote for zealous Petrelis and send a message to BART and other agencies with domain over 16th and Mission Streets: We want a healthy public transit hub!
BART's 3-Wk Scrubbing of Radulovich Plaza Begins Tonite 

There may not be regular during-the-week power-washing of the 16th Street BART plazas. I had a phone conversation today with Julie A. Yim, BART's customer service representative who's been handling my various complaints and service requests.

We went over her email below, which explains that the crew to clean the cement pedestrian surfaces around the subway entrances and other areas, spends four week at one Mission District BART station, cleaning just it.

After that time, the crew is at the other station every night after the system stops running. So, weeks go by where one station is scrubby nightly and the other builds up dirt and health hazards for a month.

I've asked Yim to confirm that this is indeed the schedule.

The good news here is that thanks to my advocacy, starting tonight after midnight, and continuing for three blessed weeks, BART will be cleansing Radulovich Plaza at 16th and Mission.

Speaking of District 9 incumbent Tom Radulovich, he must be held to account for this nonsensical cleaning schedule at two of the stations in his portfolio. Why has he been blind to the deplorable public health conditions and not urging BART to deliver better sanitation?

This is Yim's email:

"There is a special scrub crew for the 24th Street and 16th Street stations that works during non-revenue hour, meaning after the trains stop running.

"The crew takes (4) weeks at each station, back and forth. With recent complaints the crew was instructed to move their equipment from 24th to 16th to clean the west and east side plaza areas. That includes the stairwells and sidewalks.

"They went back to 24th Street after two nights to complete 24th Street.

"With recent inspections at 16th Street, a special deep cleaning crew will start a (3) week clean up on September 23rd. Walls, stairs, inside CCTV monitors, etc., to supplement and assist the non-revenue scrub crew rotation."
Clear Channel's New Netting on Radulovich Plaza Bus Shelters

The improvement of public health for all users of the transit hubs at BART's 16th and Mission station, at my urging, continues thanks to a crew from Clear Channel.

Workers from the outdoor advertising giant, which is responsible for maintaining Muni bus shelters and keeping them scrubbed of dirt and pigeon poop, installed anti-bird netting yesterday on all four shelter at the hub. This step will prevent pigeons from landing on the shelters' roof and is laudable.

However, it does not address the larger problem of the pigeons roosting on the many PG&E electrical cables directly above the shelters. What's required to stop the birds from defecating on our heads and creating health hazards, is for PG&E to apply pigeon repellent pepper gel on their cables.

The Clear Channel crew also again cleaned the roofs and needless to say, I'm very pleased the Muni bus shelter at the eastern Radulovich Plaza, near Burger King, is the most poop-free surface I've seen in a long time at this location.

Check out the before and after photos I've taken and a robust cheer to the Clear Channel managers and workers to addressing my concerns. Click to enlarge and view the netting in the photo on the right.

Reich & MTT Launch Fall Music Season With Joy & Fun

The fall performing arts season for me got off to a terrific start the second weekend of September thanks to the San Francisco Symphony's fantastic salute to composer Steve Reich as he approaches his 80th birthday.

I had the pleasure of attending the concerts on September 9 and 11. The first evening included works by Aaron Copland and George Gershwin, both were quite entertaining, and two Reich pieces, "Double Sextet" and "Three Movements," the highlights of the evening.

The Eighth Blackbird ensemble and members of the symphony delighted my ears for the first Reich composition. "Three Movements" was a knockout, conducted with vigor and grace by Michael Tilson Thomas squeezing every fabulous Reichian note and sound from his players.

I left Davies Hall naturally high from the music. We just don't hear enough of this minimalist master's works played live in the Bay Area.

On September 11, it was a total Reich program and an audience ready with ecstasy for the musical ride. We heard sublime renditions of "Six Mirambas" and "Different Trains," and it was my first time experiencing "Electric Counterpoint" live and beautifully played by Derek Johnson on guitar.

MTT and Reich enjoyed themselves, as did the audience, performing "Clapping Music" and acted like two in-love young boys holding hands and sharing smiles, basking in the adulation.

The only letdown of the night, if you will, was that "Double Sextet" was on the program. Having heard it two days ago, I would have preferred it for the symphony and guests to treat us to a different Reich work.

Here's hoping the rest of my cultural calendar is as grand and fun as the wonderful times at the Reich concerts.

My friend Josh Bettenhausen snapped this photo of my pal Joey Cain looking at a picture on my camera, before the show began.

Alan Shaw, a buddy from our days together in ACT UP/New York, posed with me under this giant posted of MTT and City Hall lit up in red, white and blue in the background.

I saw "Ixcanul," the excellently-plotted and visually-pleasing new film from Guatemala tonight at the Opera Plaza Cinema. I highly recommend it to those seeking a feminist tale that does not exoticize the peasant farmers at the heart of the story.

The film played in the theater's screening room A and it now has a few rows of plush new seats. There are several of the old thin-cushioned seats toward the back, but from my favorite seat in the second row, I can report the newer one are preferable.

Here's hoping the larger auditorium soon get refurbished seats. Keep us cineastes happy and coming back to the Opera Plaza Cinema, for the films and the good crew that works there.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stipend for BART Directors, Inauguration Date, SF TV Airings?

I posed questions to Ken Duron last week about any fee paid to members of BART's board of directors, when the incumbent exits and new director is inaugurated for District 9, if directors must attend transit conferences beyond the Bay Area and if SFGovTV or any local government cable channel carries BART meetings.

One way to expand the board's engagement with riders and the public would be airing their meetings on all the media platforms and TV outlets of every county government in which BART operates.

Duron is the district secretary and he shared this info with me, which I hope educates voters and gives them more facts about how the board operates:

Directors receive a monthly stipend in the amount of $1,524.97, provided they attend scheduled regular meetings. 3.

President Radulovich will leave office at noon on December 2, 2016. Newly elected Directors may take office at noon on December 2, 2016.

Directors are not required to travel to conferences. They may attend certain public transit related conferences/meetings and be reimbursed for expenses, in accordance with Board Rules and District Management Procedures.

I am not aware of any media outlets that carry BART Board Meetings. I will consult with our Communications Department regarding any concern the District may have to use of video that is available on our website.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BART's Sign & Pole Vanish from Radulovich Plaza

Add this item to the long list of problems at BART's 16th Street station that incumbent Tom Radulovich has ignored at a location that's included in his board portfolio.

For about five long weeks, BART's sign and pole at the eastern plaza close to Walgreens has been missing. Vanished and a hazardous metal stump left in the ground posing risks to pedestrians.

Today, a traffic cone sat atop the stump at Radulovich Plaza. I've filed a service request with BART for replacement of the light and double-sided plastic sign. There should be a serious accounting of what Radulovich, who's also the boss at the Livable City group one that I would think might have an interest in this transit hub but seems to pay no attention to it.

The solid steel circle on the edge of the plaza is one more factor diminishing decent public health practices at this location and rectifying the problem is part of my platform. Vote for zealous Petrelis!
Sample Ballot for BART D9 Race Now Online

The San Francisco Department of Elections today posted the larger-than-normal voter guide and sample ballots, based on where you are registered to vote.

For the BART board seat in District 9, the ballot listing is as follows: Bevan Dufty is first, I'm second and Gwyneth Borden is third.

Early voting begins at City Hall on Tuesday, October 11, you have until October 24 to register to vote or change party affiliation or address, and Election Day is November 8.

I hope to earn the privilege of your vote.
Mission Plaza Sanitation Record of BART Opponent Borden

My second opponent for BART's District 9 seat, Gwyneth Borden, has replied to my queries to her about her record on cleanliness at Radulovich Plaza. I'm pleased she's communicated this information to me and I ask voters to compare my record and advocacy on public health over the past two-plus years and currently, with the records and responses from Gwyneth and our opponent Bevan Dufty.

Here are my questions to her:

1) As a member of the SFMTA board, how have you addressed the agency's duties to keep its real estate clean at 16th Street?

2) Have you requested regular cleanings from your agency and also BART, either in the past two years or this summer?

3) Will you take steps with both agencies before the elections to improve sanitation?

Gwyneth's response: The success of 16th Street is all yours. Until your emails, I did not realize who had jurisdiction of what at that station; thanks for making me aware.

While I have generally engaged SFMTA staff of issues at bus stops including shattered glass and other cleanliness issues and have logged calls into 311 on acute situations at 16th Street as well as other bus stops, I have not focused specifically on 16th Street. My regular BART station is 24th Street, so I've been most attentive to the conditions there.

Yesterday I asked SFMTA Director Reiskin to provide the details on Muni bus stop cleaning schedules, and he mentioned the responsibility varies by location but that he would provide those details. As you know Muni has hundreds of bus stops to maintain.

As you likely know, my focus as a SFMTA Director is on the big picture of our entire network and making sure that agency does meet its obligations in cleanliness as well as providing safe, reliable and accessible transportation overall. Clearly, when I see a specific problem, I reach out to staff to get it remedied and will continue to do so.

My reply to her. I must point out that Muni has no domain over the upkeep of the bus shelters. That is the responsibility of Clear Channel. Yep, there are a lot of layers to all of the real estate at 16th and Mission Streets.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

BART Opponent Dufty's Record on Sanitation at Mission Plaza 

My engagement to improve cleanliness at BART's transit hub at 16th Street began two-years ago. I recently queried my opponents, Gwyneth Borden and Bevan Dufty, about their record to clean up the plaza over this time, if they're taking steps now or will before the race is over.

The goal is to give voters more info about our past and present work on the critical issue of public health at this heavily-used hub.

Bevan replied today and I asked Gwyneth to get back to me by noon tomorrow, Wednesday. Hope she sends me responses to share. Here is the Q and A with Bevan:

1) Either as the homeless adviser to Mayor Ed Lee or a private citizen, did you address public health matters at the 16th Street plazas for your target population or request actions such as establishing the Pit Stop program or reopening the toilets on the concourse level?

Bevan: I championed the opening of the SF Navigation Center on Mission Street, less than a half block from the 16th Street BART Plazas. One of the first individuals to move into the Navigation Center was an individual who was maintaining 6-9 shopping carts with possessions on the Plaza. We have definitely had an impact providing an exit for many individuals who were homeless near the BART Plaza and that has improved the situation, although much remains to be done. The Pit Stop is a very positive step towards improving the cleanliness of the Plaza and staffing the JCDecaux public toilet, If I am elected BART Director, it is my plan to have a stakeholder process that brings together everyone concerned with the Plaza and to develop a consensus plan to address many for eh issues you have effectively raised.

2) Have you recently or in the time you were the homeless adviser, requested better sanitary conditions at the plazas?

Bevan: Yes, I was in regular discussion with Larry Stringer, the Deputy Director of Public Works, about clean ups in and around the BART Plaza areas. The neighborhood welcomed the Navigation Center and, because of that, I felt a responsibility to advocate for cleanings and the presence of community-oriented police officers to create a cleaner more welcoming area.

3) Steps are needed now to improve those conditions. Do you intend to take action with the agencies for more cleanings before November 8th?

Bevan: Right now, I'm a candidate, Because of your unique approach to campaigning for office, you are able to advocate for an agenda and engage with departments. As a long-time City employee, I do not feel as comfortable requesting services as a candidate for BART Director. The election is less than 50 days away and I intend to roll up my sleeves and focus on these issues at all six stations in BART District 9.

SFMTA Scrubs Pigeon Poop Off its Signs at Radulovich Plaza

Earlier today, a cleaning crew from the Department of Parking and Traffic within the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency removed the horrible bird feces dirtying two traffic signs at Radulovich Plaza.

The signs, which are SFMTA property, are near the Muni bus shelter on 16th Street a few yards away from Mission Street.

It's taken about three-plus weeks for this scrubbing and I spoke with SFMTA boss Ed Reiskin today, thanking his public workers for addressing my sanitary concerns related to BART's 16th Street plazas.

I've asked him to see about regular steam-washing of all SFMTA signage and real estate at this location. He promised to looked in to it and I assured him I'll be monitoring his signage and reporting to him at SFMTA meetings or via email.

There must be accountability regarding current BART board director for District 9 Tom Radulovich. For twenty years he's been responsible for the transit hub at 16th Street and I believe the public has a right to know why he's allowed the conditions to become so deplorable there.

Radulovich is also the executive director of the Livable City advocacy organization and his bio at their site says he's taken the lead for "the creation of transit villages at BART stations."

Well, the transit village at the BART plaza I've dubbed in his name is in dire need of his and a whole lotta public agencies' attention.

I ask all District 9 voters to consider my advocacy this campaign season that is delivering tangible public health benefits to all users of the BART plazas at 16th Street. I'd be honored to have your vote.

Lemme know what you think of the before and after photos!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pigeons & Poop Removed from BART's 24th Street Plaza

The following thank you note was emailed today to the Customer Service Director for BART and her maintenance crew:

Dear Julie A. Yim,

Much gratitude to you and your various workers for addressing my concerns lodged three weeks ago, regarding pigeon abatement at the eastern plaza at your 24th Street station.

Today I saw how the crews have installed new bird repellent spikes atop both levels of the fence around your plaza and the cement areas surrounding the subway entrance.

Not only that, most of the pigeon poop befouling the environment of the entrance has been scrubbed away. What remains of the fecal matter should be cleaned with another washing or two.

Please convey my thanks to your men and women public workers who did the terrific work that has greatly enhance sanitary conditions at this critical transit hub.

I'm proud to say BART employees and managers have responded so quickly to my concerns and I look forward to continued attention to maintain best public health practices for all BART plaza users.

Again, thank you!

Best regards,
Michael Petrelis


BAR Op-Ed: BART's Mission St Plazas = Public Health Hazards

Please take a moment to read my opinion column that ran in the Bay Area Reporter on September 15th. Thanks, editor Cynthia Laird, for printing my campaign concerns and bringing attention to the current situation at these plazas. 
Early voting in San Francisco begins October 11th at City Hall and I'd be honored to receive your vote. Here's my column:
When my hand accidentally slid into the pigeon poop near the handrail of the down escalator one morning in the spring of 2014 at the 16th Street BART station, I wanted nothing more than a chance to wash up.
After paying my fare, I headed to the men's room only to be reminded it's been shuttered due to heightened security precautions since the 9/11 attacks.
This episode two years ago was the beginning of my campaign to challenge the incumbent BART director for this station, Tom Radulovich. I attempted communication with him, but he, unfortunately, never replied to my voicemails and emails.
A series of service requests to BART, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Departments of Public Works and Public Health produced a concerted number of scrubbings and improvements of the two plazas at this critical transit hub.
My advocacy led Out Traveler to run an article headlined, "Are S.F.'s Train Plazas Public Health Hazards?" Still, no public response came from Radulovich, a blot of disengagement on his record.
In July of this year, before he opted out of running for another four-year term, I became a candidate for the BART District 9 seat. Democracy is best served when all incumbents face challengers to prevent political complacency.
My campaign has directly engaged with the assorted public agencies tasked with a piece of the large maintenance picture for the 16th Street station.
Photographic and video evidence of the dirty problems have been submitted to the agencies and shared on my social media. Crews from DPW have been out power-washing, using a good deal of soap, recycled gray water, and disinfectant to clean most of the surfaces, street furniture, and Muni bus shelters.
The more permanent solution to the pigeon poop problem, especially near the stairs and escalators of the subway entrances, will require BART to fill in holes with concrete and install anti-avian metal spikes.
The entrances at the 24th and Mission station are equally in need of pigeon abatement and better sanitation.
Let me unequivocally declare that none of my proposals are designed to displace any users of the plazas. No one deserves a gross public transit hub.
I've petitioned San Francisco Health Director Barbara Garcia to declare a sanitary emergency at these BART plazas, to better develop regular patterns of keeping the hub as hygienic as possible. She's instructed DPH's environmental division to investigate.
Regardless of DPH's investigation and findings, there is an overwhelming need to assess the filth at the plazas and to ensure the next BART District 9 director is monitoring their environmental conditions.
Reopening the concourse level public toilets at 16th Street and all other closed restrooms would give everyone a place to pee and poop, and wash our hands. As with the Pit Stop program, hiring the homeless to staff the toilets would help them and curtail bad behavior.
I don't believe anyone can claim the status quo is acceptable. As a candidate, there are other matters of importance I want debated.
I'm pushing for greater transparency of BART management. The public needs to have easy online access to the salary and compensation packages of top managers and the calendar for General Manager Grace Crunican should be shared on BART's site.
Directors' meetings are extremely inconvenient for BART riders and stakeholders. All of them take place at the start of the workday, at 9 a.m. on Thursdays.
At the most recent BART board meeting, out of hundreds of thousands of riders, I was the sole person present. How can the directors and managers learn what is of concern to riders if they won't hold any meetings at night?
Let's activate the plazas with pop-up bike repair and small vendor shops and meet-and-greet sessions organized by the station and BART management with the District 9 director in attendance. Establish specific times for outreach work by local nonprofit agencies – from homeless groups to public transit and biking advocacy groups – and interactive musical and art programs.
Finally, we all need to vote yes on Measure RR, the BART bond on the November ballot. This would provide $3.5 billion to replace and modernize BART's crumbling infrastructure.
I would be honored to have your vote in the fall. For more information about my BART platform and campaign, please visit or
The author is a government transparency leader who regularly files public records requests with city officials and successfully lobbied the fire and health commissions to air their meetings on SFGov TV.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weekend Woof #106: Boys Smile for Me

Has it really been more than two-months since my last Weekend Woof update? Yes, so here's my latest video in this ongoing male-appreciation series of photos and vids. As always thanks to the fine fellas for gracing the lens of my camera.


Friday, September 16, 2016

What Has BART Cleaned Now at Radulovich Plaza?

One of my service requests last week for spiffing up BART's public space at 16th and Mission Streets related to the agency's plastic sign in Radulovich Plaza, on the western side of Mission.

The sign was smudge with dirt and had some stickers plastered on both sides.

On Wednesday, a two-man crew from BART's electrical division just happen to arrive at the plaza while I was there. They drove their pickup truck onto the sidewalk and from the cab, one of them removed the sign's covers, scrubbed them, removed the stickers and returned the covers to the top of the pole.

Yes, I am happy to praise BART management and the workforce for another instance of rapid response to my request to improve Radulovich Plaza.

It may be naive of me to expect 20-year incumbent District 9 board member Tom Radulovich, for whom I have dubbed the plaza spaces he's supposed to take care of, to take action over this domain but I'll be the first to applaud any visible moves he undertakes.

Bravo, to BART, for this latest step to make 16th and Mission more inviting for all users of the plazas!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

StreetsBlogSF: BART Candidates Debate 

Let's give a round of applause to transit journalist Roger Rudick for his report and photos on Monday's BART board forum, organized by the SF Transit Riders Union. Excerpts from his article:

The panel included Gwyneth Borden, Bevin Dufty, and Michael Petrelis, who are running for the open seat in District 9. Streetsblog readers will recall that the District 9 seat, which includes the Mission Street BART stations, plus Glen Park, Civic Center, Powell, and Balboa Park, will soon be vacated by outgoing Board President Tom Radulovich.


Michael Petrelis, a declared Green Party candidate–wearing a green shirt–spoke about cleanliness. “Two years ago, my hand went into pigeon poop at a BART station,” he said. “I queried the incumbent, Tom Radulovich, to get it cleaned up.’ Petrelis described his frustration in getting little response from the current Board President. But he kept at it. “I contacted the Department of Public Health myself and within a month there was regular cleaning…and they added pigeon spikes,” he explained. But the experience left him determined that BART has to do better. “I made a commitment to run against Radulovich.”


Each candidate had areas they focused on. Petrelis, for example, advocated that the region “tax banks and tech companies near stations that benefit from the stations and get them to pony up more money.”
Clear Channel Scrubs Muni Bus Shelters: Pigeon Poop Gone!

Sure looks like my campaign for the BART board District 9 seat is producing quite a good number of robust advances for public health at Radulovich Plaza at 16th and Mission Streets.

Today I've been informed by Derek Gomez, the transit shelter supervisor for Clear Channel, that several steps have been taken to address my requests for cleaning the SFMTA bus shelters and dealing with the pigeons:

"I have hired a company that will be pigeon proofing the shelter. They will be letting me know soon when the work will be scheduled. Also this shelter has been power washed 9/13 this past Tuesday. Also was cleaned yesterday. And is scheduled for another power washing today."

The Muni shelters are SFMTA property but because of the advertising they contain, and which is maintained by Clear Channel, the media and public furniture company is responsible for scrubbings and cleanliness.

The before photo on the left, and after image on the right, were snapped by Gomez and shared with me by Gail Stein, of the SFMTA.

Many thanks to Gomez and his crew, Stein, and everyone at Clear Channel and SFMTA who produced this power-washing. Let's hope it's done regularly.