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VOLUME 2, NUMBER 18    <>  MONDAY, MAY 7, 2001

this & that

Spring cleaning. The media have duly reported the removal of the benches from U.N. Plaza. They’re gone, every last one, just as they’re all gone from Civic Center Plaza across the way. Once again, the theatrical gesture isn’t working. To be sure, well-dressed office workers from the high-rises lining the plaza may think twice about eating outside if it means risking grass stains. But folks whose clothes have seen better days are quite content to sit on the curb.

They’d better mind their manners all the same. Business interests in the area are still chafing at the scruffians near their establishments, and so the Tenderloin Task Force, in conjunction with the Southern Station and anyone else who’s needed, has begun a new, highly visible Mid-Market Street police enforcement program. On May 1 officers on horseback, motorcycle, bicycle, and plain old shoe leather stepped up patrols of the blocks surrounding Market from Powell to Eighth. The men and women in blue are scheduled to hit the pavement at 6:oo in the morning and leave at midnight, confirming a longstanding rumor: this town really does close down early.

Wired. Tired of watching metal jungles spring up on rooftops near your home? The proliferation of wireless phone antennas has caught the attention of the supes. According to Doug Loranger of SNAFU (San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union), the Housing, Transportation, and Land Use Committee has scheduled a hearing on the feasibility of a one-year moratorium for Thursday, May 10, at 10:00 a.m.

What’s a poor gal to do? The arrival of spring seems to have brought out some Neanderthalish attitudes toward the female of the species. Did anyone notice the odd article by Jane Kay in the Chron a couple of weeks ago, headlined, “Socialite takes break from beautifying S.F”? The story, ostensibly about the resignation of Francesca Vietor from the directorship of the city’s Department of the Environment, burbled over Vietor’s silver spoon childhood and her society page parents and ended with faint damning praise. Kay meticulously itemized Vietor’s accomplishments and quoted expert witnesses like Leland Yee: “Having Francesca helps me deal with the environmental issues a lot easier. You’re more receptive to the information when it’s provided to you in a thoughtful and professional way.” The Department of the Environment has always played the poor relation at City Hall, receiving token funds and serving mainly as evidence of good intentions. And now, the Chronicle tell us, the good little girl that steered its course has gone off, after many kindly pats on the head, to be with her brand-new husband. Eeeyuuu!

KFOG news director Peter Finch squealed that very word into the microphone the other morning. The poor man had gone through a horrifying experience over the weekend, watching his unweaned two-year-old nephew ask to be nursed. The kid even specified which side he wanted. Eeeyuuu! When a quick poll of listeners suggested Finch was overreacting — well, maybe a little, they thought — he agreed on a compromise: if there was no change when the boy was six, then he’d worry about it. The reason for his concern is a little unclear. Was he afraid his sister’s turned into a pedophile?