Archive for September, 2012

SHERIFF EVICTION IMPENDING: RALLY SUNDAY

 

Our lawyer says we should expect the Sheriff to evict us from 780 Frederick next week.  Bad news.  We are having a rally and picnic this Sunday to defend and celebrate our ecology center.  PLEASE JOIN US!

This event is FREE.  There will be gardening, FOOD, speakers and a special gardeners meeting.

Festivities begin at NOON

Special Gardeners Meeting at 2PM

Voice your support, show your self, and help keep this unique ecological center in tact.  SUNDAY SEPT 30 NOON-4pm.

SAVE KEZAR GARDENS!!  STOP THIS SENSELESS EVICTION!

District 5 Candidates Duke It Out Debate Style

The race for D5 Supervisor is getting hot.  With eight candidates in the race, the attacks and criticisms are flying.   In case you don’t know who all is running-here is the breakdown.

Incumbent Christina Olague defends her position as the current District 5 Supervisor.

Julian Davis, Hope Wilson, David Everett, Andrew Resignato, London Breed and John Rizzo each would like to take her place.

At last weeks debate in the Fillmore, the candidates presented and prodded one another in hopes to sway the crowd of over 300 people.  Tim Redmond of the SF Bay Guardian moderated and there was a gong for people who talked too long.  Today’s video presents some policy related excerpts from that event.  It includes opinions on 8 Washington, Shell oil and SF Clean Energy, CCSF, the Sunshine Task Force along with other pressing social issues of District 5.

 

 

 

 

The Endeavor Spaceship over San Francisco

 

To ENDEAVOR is to strive to attain a hard to reach goal.  An appropriate title for a space ship.  Today, the retired NASA vehicle graced our skies with a wondrous site-flying over the city and past the Golden Gate Bridge atop a 747 aircraft.  Did you see it?  I happened to glance up in the sky on my walk to work and there it was-gliding across the horizon.  And, everywhere, there were people, on rooftops, on hills and other high points, gathering to take in the awesome and bizarre sight.

A nice start to the weekend!  I hope it is sign of more phenomenal things to come.

We will be back next week with footage from the recent District 5 Supervisor debate.  With eight candidates in the running, the conversations were pretty hot and the ranked choice voting puts a lot of variance into play as the people decide who to choose as first, second and third.  We will also be launching a new campaign with causes.com to petition the Mayor to stop the eviction of Kezar Gardens and HANC recycling center-an ENDEAVOR of its own, for sure.  Thanks to everyone who voted for our place as their favorite in the neighborhood on ImproveSF.com.  We won the initiative with over 40 votes-three times more than the wiggle!  Hopefully, the Mayor will review this feedback as well!

 

Onwards and Upwards!

 

Peaceful Protest in form of Human Be-In at Kezar Gardens

Last Friday, an activist group took over our site at 780 Frederick and transformed it into a space of peaceful protest and community gathering.  The event had music from the Classical Revolution, the Interstellar Transmissions and many other bands and performance artist.  There was yoga.  There was meditation.  There was a seed library and teach-in workshops on ecology, self reliance and the fate of urban agriculture in our city today.  Even the cops and the park rangers swung by a few times, partly to make their presence known, but also to feast their eyes on the goings-on in the garden.

At nightfall, the music died down to  un-amplified drumbeats and a makeshift screen drew everyone’s attention with videos and dialogue about community togetherness.  No tents were pitched, but many folks spent the night in the gardens,on the mulch, under the stars.  The next day, after breakfast in the Kezar Triangle, they cleaned up, gathered their things and headed across the park, nomad style.

Thanks for sticking up for us-Space TranSFormers-come back anytime.  Hopefully, we will still be here to welcome you.

Human Be-In Then and Now

Sit down with Diamond Dave and Soumyaa Kapil Behrens as they discuss the history of the Hippie Revolution and the first Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park in 1967 on Mutiny Radio.  Diamond Dave was there, at the start of the movement, and will be streaming his show on Mutiny Radio live from the event this weekend.

The Human Be-In kicked off as a “gathering of the tribes” in January of 1967.  This weekend, it will be re-created by a group called the Space TranSFormers.  They hope to raise awareness about the outrageous eviction of Kezar Gardens, the redevelopment plan for Hayes Valley Farm and the removal of the Free Farm in San Francisco. They will openly protest the leadership of the Recreation and Parks Department, namely Phil Ginsburg who has been heavily criticized for pandering to private interests regarding park land governance.

Back in 67, Allen Ginsberg was a beat-nick leader in the movement to live freely, humanely, creatively and passionately; today Phil Ginsburg reasserts that name into a symbol of corruption, power politics, and privatization.  So, if you are going to San Francisco this weekend, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair and and write your lawyer’s number in the pages of your copy of HOWL.  In this Ginsberg v Ginsburg battle of ideology, don’t expect anyone to play fair.  Will love and inclusiveness conquer all?  Or, will it finally be trampled down by hate and exclusive societies who do not care to share?

The conversation goes on all weekend.  Kick off the dialogue with the local band Classical Revolution 3pm Friday September 14th at ground zero: 780 Frederick Street.  Make some love, make some community, make some gardens, and make some history while you are at it.

For more information including schedules: http://humanbein.org/?page_id=360

South Central Community Garden Wake-Up Call

THE GARDEN (2008)

The documentary film tells the story of the largest urban garden in the United States located in South Central LA.  Over a dozen acres of land was given to the community to grow their own food and that’s just what they did.  From 1994-2006 this parcel thrived, spreading health, joy and community bonds to everyone who encountered it.

But, a viscous land battle between the city of LA and the previous owners resulted in a back door sale of the parcel and the garden was ultimately evicted.  The film tells their story and includes the likes of Darryl Hannah, who was arrested for civil disobedience at the South Central Garden.  It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008 as well.  The trailer, posted above, gives a great sense of the dramatic relationship between the common gardener and the heavy had of politics and corruption.

What you won’t see in the film is where things are at now.  After taking back the 14 acre community garden, the owners attempted to build a Forever 21 warehouse but failed.  The lot, currently, in 2012, sits vacant and empty.

OUR GARDEN
The  story of South Central garden is a foreboding message to all those who have community gardens in urban settings.  The competition of the money hungry developers and land owners always eventually comes into play no matter how big, how great, how vast the community’s garden may be.  As we fight to save Kezar Gardens, the plight of South Central makes it even more urgent to solidify our place here in Golden Gate Park.  While our comrades like Hayes Valley Farm and the Free Farm are located on lands always sited for development, Kezar Gardens is on land that will never face that challenge.  There will never be condos or a Whole Foods or a Forever 21 warehouse at 780 Frederick Street.  That land is zoned for public use.  And, it is the right kind of land to have an ecology center like ours because of that fact.

GARDENS FOR ALL

We cannot count on the kindness of developers to give sanctuary to our burgeoning urban ecology centers.  City parks must be the safe havens for urban gardens, the protectors of ecology programs and the champions for people who take charge of their health and well being by participating in the environmental movement.   Through gardening, habitat restoration, recycling, composting and engaging one another in free and public spaces that reflect unity rather than segregation and disparity, we can create a small utopia in Golden Gate Park together.  Save Kezar Gardens-don’t let our future be an expensive empty lot they say they are going to do something with.  Don’t let them bulldoze this garden to erect another one more expensive and not yet paid for.  There is plenty of land in Golden Gate Park to house a dozen community gardens.  Demand that urban ecology centers be written in to the Golden Gate Park Master Plan and demand that more community gardens, not less, be open and available in Golden Gate Park and other city parks in San Francisco.

Take Action!

How can you help save Kezar Gardens, let me count the ways…

1.  Vote for our site on www.improveSF.com under the challenge “What is your favorite thing in your neighborhood?”

2.  Print out a postcard off our SAVE KEZAR GARDENS page and send it to Mayor Edwin Lee.

3.  Stop by and say hi, share your story with us, enjoy the gorgeous gardens in bloom.

4.  Tell people you know about this problem-express your concerns-spread the word

5.  Ask reporters, TV stations and other media outlets to cover this story and get the important facts out there.

CVIA wants to roll back the Summer of Love

John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas wrote this most famous song about San Francisco and it was heard for the first time at the Monterey Pop Festival back in 1967.  Scott McKenzie sang it.
“If you’re going to San Francisco,
be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…
If you’re going to San Francisco,
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there.”

Bob Weir, of the Grateful Dead, describes the time of the Summer of Love like this:

“Haight Ashbury was a ghetto of bohemians who wanted to do anything—and we did but I don’t think it has happened since. Yes there was LSD. But Haight Ashbury was not about drugs. It was about exploration, finding new ways of expression, being aware of one’s existence.”

 

These were the reasons people, in droves and droves, flocked to our city way back then and, now, to this very day.  It makes sense why people who participate in counterculture would want to find their way to the place it all began-way back when.

What doesn’t make sense is why the people of the Cole Valley Improvement Association came here.  In studying their website and their version of the hippie movement, the summer of love and the idea of finding “new ways of expression”, don’t mean much to them.  In fact, they find that whole idea detrimental to their desires: raising home values, cleaning the streets of people who appear poor, and eliminating services that serve those who are underprivileged.

You don’t have to take my word for it, either.  Pasted below is an excerpt from their website denoting their values for all to see.  Often, to articulate what those values are, they abase those who are in their way and not like-minded.  My analysis of their raison d’etre concludes that antagonism of others has been a way to unite people in their group.  Would you join a group that was formed solely to antagonize people they disagreed with?  Is that in the spirit of San Francisco?

I know that’s not why I came here-I just wonder about them.

It’s significant to note that the average cost of renting a single family home in SF is now about $3500/month.  Buying one is usually a million dollar proposition.  I’m not seeing the empirical evidence that the public services and the poor people and the drugs are any competition for that.

In my opinion, the CVIA is lucky to live in a place where people like them continue to be included by people like us.  If we were forced to play by their rules, it hardly seems the same courtesy would be returned.  But, now, as always, we welcome the CVIA to our family, and we remain willing to work with them to improve and resolve the issues of this neighborhood.  Our door is open.  Will they walk through it?

So far-no dice.  They would rather exclude people than find a way to share a neighborhood with them.

I get it.  Inclusion is hard and it takes practice.  Exclusion has always been an easy tool, often practiced, and accessible to all carnations of humanity.  I think that’s why the Summer of Love happened in the first place.

Which will you choose?

The article below appears on the Cole Valley Improvement Association website.
 A Brief History of Cole Valley Improvement Association
The Cole Valley improvement Association evolved from a neighborhood SAFE block group that started on Cole Street in 1987. The SAFE group members quickly found that they had common interests beyond Cole Street as the neighborhood was experiencing increasing frequency of drug sales and camping in the Panhandle and the Stanyan Street entrance to the park (Alvord Lake). The droves of young people wanting to relive the Summer of Love brought, and continue to bring, special problems such as sidewalk obstruction, sleeping in doorways and more drug trade. At the same time, as an increasing number of old flats were being converted into social services-following the path set by the nine venues of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics-there were fewer families with vested interests in the neighborhood.
CVIA took a very public and forceful position in January of 1988 when Mayor Art Agnos, in violation of a city ordinance, permitted individuals to sleep in vehicles parked on the streets bordering the Panhandle and Kezar Stadium. The mayor’s decision resulted in an influx of car campers. With no public toilets, driveways became the solution. As we met with members of the Board of Supervisors, pushed for television coverage of the issue and organized a letter writing and telephone campaign–we succeeded in convincing the mayor that this was a bad idea and he retreated. As a result, scores of Haight families joined CVIA, expanding our membership far beyond Cole Valley.

Although we are a resident group and are active members of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods (we supplied a president for two years, 1995-97), we never forget how important a healthy commercial district is. In the seventies, Haight Street was a dead zone of boarded-up buildings. Banks red-lined the neighborhood and it was difficult for home buyers to secure a loan. It was a long road back and we no longer frown on businesses that are not “neighborhood serving,” realizing that times have changed. So, although we do not want an influx of chain stores, we do want to support our merchants in keeping shoppers coming to the greater Haight. Having said that, one of our greatest dangers is that we will become an entertainment venue and those kinds of expansions in operating permits-both in restaurants and bars-we watch very closely.