Sunday, December 29, 2013
Civic Center 2013 in Review, Part Two
7. I Love A Parade
One of the pleasures of the neighborhood is watching parades begin or end in Civic Center Plaza. This year, the newcomer was the Filipino Pistahan Parade in August which made its way down Market Street to Yerba Buena Center. The Cherry Blossom Parade in April, which marches from Civic Center to Japantown, still holds the title for best headgear.
8. San Francisco City College in Accreditation Turmoil
By most accounts, the administration of San Francisco City College is a case of lunatics in charge of the asylum. Its accreditation is being pulled at the end of this academic year by an organization called the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), which has ethical issues of its own. The state's largest community college, with 80,000 students, is in danger of being destroyed altogether, which would be a serious disaster for the city. Attempts to overturn the commission's ruling in San Francisco Superior Court are presently ongoing, but the future is looking bleak.
9. SFMOMA Breaks Ground for Museum Expansion
Meanwhile, a subsection of the superrich in San Francisco are donating their wealth to gut and expand San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art on Third Street, even though the building was less than 20 years old. The expansion was necessitated by the acquisition of GAP founder Donald Fisher's massive art collection, which he donated on his deathbed after his plans for an eponymous museum in the Presidio were thwarted. The huge new building is slated to open in 2016.
10. Profiles in Courage by National Security Whistleblowers
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Bradley/Chelsea Manning were the poster children offering evidence of a U.S. national security state run amok. Manning became a San Francisco focus this spring during her trial for treason because she was named an SF Gay Pride Parade Grand Marshal. Soon after, a clueless, overpaid Parade Board of Directors unilaterally rescinded the honor, and then all hell broke loose. There were protests galore that included Pentagon Papers legend Daniel Ellsberg, who publicly stated that Snowden and Manning were braver than he had ever been. A huge contingent marched in support of Manning at the Gay Parade in June, with the heterosexual Ellsberg as its unofficial grand marshal.
11. Gay Marriage in California Finally Legalized
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and that the California Supreme Court was correct in its ruling against Proposition 8 outlawing same-sex marriage. Public celebrations ensued, and the dominoes started falling in other states, including New Mexico and Utah.
12. America's Cup in San Francisco Bay
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's "real estate deal masquerading as a boat race," as Aaron Peskin characterized it, was cursed from the moment that Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee pushed the deal through City Hall at the beginning of 2011. (Click here for an "I Told You So" post.) Between the dearth of participants caused by the stratospheric cost of competing, the many races with a single competitor, the death of a sailor, the Oracle cheating scandal, the lack of interested spectators, and the millions of dollars San Francisco taxpayers forked over for a rich man's hobby, Larry Ellison probably became the most despised billionaire in the San Francisco Bay Area. On the other hand, there was an improbable comeback by Oracle to win the Cup, fun viewing parties atop hills and on the shoreline, and a pop-up stadium hosting concerts. Mayor Ed Lee is even threatening to host the event again.