19-Aug-2011 (Fri) Wherein the planning department is still going to confiscate your ice cream cones.

Photos of Blow Up vs. Popscene are up.

So, just down the street from us is a burned-out shell of a warehouse that used to be the Veterans' Cab lot. It has been vacant for many years, and it periodically catches on fire (apparently because homeless folks often break in to sleep there, and "falling asleep with a hot crack pipe" is a common problem). I've also heard that the owner of the property, sick of having to deal with their building catching on fire all the time, tried to get a permit to just tear it down, but some of the neighbors stopped that, thinking "as soon as he tears it down, he'll secretly build something else there!", which if true, betrays a fantastic misunderstanding of how these things work. But I digress.

Back in April, I heard about a proposal (PDF) to put some picnic tables and porta-potties in the adjacent lot and allow a dozen or so food trucks to park there during the day, turning it into a de-facto outdoor food court with almost no investment. This sounded like a fantastic idea to me, and apparently to many of our neighbors as well.

Then in July, there was this:

We will not be able to continue with the project. The project is currently being under review by the city, and we've been running into constant roadblocks, the latest being a fee of $20,000 to put in trees around the sidewalks. It's not that we wouldn't like to beautify the area, it's just that it's one fee after another and we don't have the funds to continue any further.

Which is just... wow. Someone wants to run a low-impact business experiment, and the city wants them to increase the scope of their investment by an order of magnitude before they can serve their first customer. Sounds familiar to me! You've watched this video that I posted a couple weeks ago, right? Go watch. I'll wait.

Then a couple weeks ago, there was another update saying that the project isn't quite dead yet. Reading between the lines here, I think this means that they've decided that maybe they'll suck it up and actually pay twenty grand to plant some anemic twigs on the sidewalk before being allowed to serve food.

But hey, great to see our fine city doing its best to make it easy for small businesses to start up. Oh wait, I meant the opposite of that. An idea starts with, "Hey, here's an unused vacant lot, let's get a few hundred dollars worth of tables and let some food trucks park there during the day!" and ends with a huge construction project and permit nightmare. Welcome to San Francisco.

In unrelated governmental antics, We got a very nice letter today from State Senator Mark Leno congratulating us on winning "Best Bar Staff" and "Best Party Venue" in this year's Best of the Bay.

Which is very kind of him, and we really appreciate the sentiment... but...

Someone, possibly Liz Taylor, once said, "Say what you want about me, just spell my name right." Well, I've seen my name spelled a lot of different ways over the years, but this is the first time that I've seen "Jamie Zawinski" spelled "John Schneider".

10 Responses:

  1. pavel_lishin says:

    Countdown until someone updates your Wikipedia entry with your new alias?

  2. Jon Konrath says:

    Are those trees earthquake-retrofitted? You're going to need to build a shear wall for them. Fifty grand.

  3. Travis Dixon says:

    That will come back to haunt you at some later date, for apparently it indicates that somewhere in the annals of The State, they still have the previous owner listed on what will certainly be a Very Important Document. I would guess that's at least a $10,000 mis-spelling there...

  4. cryptomail says:

    TODOS SOMOS John Schneider

  5. Matty J. says:

    Where are Friends of the Urban Forest when you need them?

  6. mysterc says:

    I guess his intern forgot to check Lexis-Nexis for the current owner. Someone should tell them about this new thIng I heard about called the "internet"

  7. Giles says:

    I'm sorry, NOT ONE Dukes of Hazzard joke?

    Them Duke boys stole yer club, Boss Z!

  8. Darryl Lee says:

    Seriously surprised that the Dukes reference took so long. I hear he plays music -- think you can book him at the club?