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.