Germany votes: Big gains for center-left. Greens may come with a high price 

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Germany is electing new Chancellor after Angela Merkel steps down after 16 year in power. It appears the Center left parties, including the Greens, will come to power in Berlin.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 9.26.2021

Angela Merkel’s conservatives have suffered their worst post-war result. The center-left SPD now lead, projected results show. Both have said they are ready to form the next coalition. DW has the latest.

German party leaders are holding a round-table debate, following the close of the elections.

Greens may come with a high price

The large number of votes that went to the Green Party clearly shows that German voters are worried about climate change. Off the back of this result, the Greens will go into the coalition talks to form the next government with plenty of self-confidence. They will be the much-courted star and so can make a greater push for their demands.

However, Germany is perhaps less ready for change than the Greens, along with their chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock, had hoped. Especially — as the results also show — when that change costs money.

“I’ve always said that there is a lot of overlap with my neighbor,” center-left Social Democrat leader Olaf Scholz said, gesturing to Greens chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock.

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“Just the two of us won’t be enough. I think it will have to be three parties. But let’s wait until all the votes are counted,” Scholz added.

Armin Laschet, the leader of center-right Christian Democrats called their drop in votes “not good,” laying partial blame on the losing the advantage of incumbency.

Laschet also claimed a mandate for his party, saying: “The voters have given us the job to do. We’ll have to find commonalities probably between three political parties.”

“It’s not getting together a government using mathematics. We want a government that we end with a coalition that we enjoy. What we need is an alliance that unifies Germany,” he said.

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Markus Söder, leader of the Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister CSU party, praised Laschet. He said he thought the CSU leader was treated unfairly, referring to the incident where Laschet was caught laughing amid a somber speech by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Annalena Baerbock said “we are a team in all the exploratory talks. We want to lead the country but we still have a clear mandate for the Green Party to implement what we want to do in the next government.”

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She dismissed suggestions that the result from the Greens that showed a drop compared to polls in the summer meant that co-leader Robert Habeck would now take up the reins as leader.

Feds to probe sanctioned wolf slaughter in Montana after Guv says kill ’em

Lee Heidhues 9.25.2021

The inhumane slaughter of gray wolves will continue unabated while the Federal government talks about the genocide being waged against an endangered species.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, a thorough going Trump myrmidon, has no problem with permitting the slaugher of the gray wolves which have roamed the land in Montana for centuries. His action and the  hunters who kill the gray wolves will pay a psychic price in this life or the next.

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Excerpted from Montana Free Press 9.15.2021

On opening day of Montana’s expanded wolf-hunting season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it has decided to conduct an in-depth status review to determine whether state management plans aiming to aggressively reduce wolf populations threaten the recovery of gray wolves.

“It’s tragic — and perhaps not coincidental — that this finding comes on the same day that the state of Montana has unleashed hunters to kill hundreds of wolves throughout the state, including on the edge of Yellowstone National Park,” WildEarth Guardians Executive Director John Horning said in an emailed statement. WildEarth Guardians is one of the groups that filed the later petition. 

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The agency now has a year to conduct a further review of the species using the best available science to determine whether listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted.

The process was initiated this summer when environmental groups asked the agency to relist the animals through two separate petitions. The groups filed the petitions after lawmakers in Montana and Idaho passed laws that encouraged aggressive population reduction by broadening the methods hunters could use to harvest wolves and expanding the trapping season.

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Targeted – Judy Chicago exhibit at de Young Museum San Francisco – August 2021

In a release about the decision, the agency wrote that the two petitions presented “substantial information that potential increases in human-caused mortality may pose a threat to the gray wolf in the western U.S.” and that the “new regulatory mechanisms in Idaho and Montana may be inadequate to address this threat.” The two other options before the agency included denying the petition, which would have maintained the status quo, or implementing an emergency relisting, which was what the environmental groups had asked for.

For now, existing management plans in Idaho and Montana will not be impacted by the agency’s review, according to FWS spokesperson Joe Szuszwalak, which means current hunting regulations in those states will remain in effect.

“FWP looks forward to working with the USFWS on the review they’re undertaking and will provide them with any information they need. Montana has successfully managed wolves for more than a decade and can continue to do so in a fashion that keeps their numbers at sustainable levels above minimum thresholds,” FWP spokesperson Greg Lemon said in an emailed statement.

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Measures passed by Idaho and Montana lawmakers this spring drew intense scrutiny at both the state and federal level, with Montana’s legalization of snaring, expanded trapping season and hunter reimbursement proposals collectively garnering more than 2,200 comments, most in opposition.

After Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law proposals that expanded the trapping season, removed bag limits, authorized reimbursement for wolf harvests, and legalized neck snares and bait-aided and night hunting, the pressure campaign shifted.

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Comments poured into the inboxes of Montana Fish and Wildlife Commissioners and federal agency heads, including U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Forest Service leadership, which was asked to ban wolf trapping in wilderness areas.

The latest request came in the form of a letter submitted by dozens of tribal leaders asking Haaland to place wolves back on the endangered species list due to concerns about states’ management policies for wolves.


Fire them all. 200 S.F. cops want religious exemptions from city’s COVID mandate

Why do the cops deserve special treatment in the time of Covid-19?

These people serve the public which needs to be assured that the cops who protect the citizenry are themselves protected.

If they don’t want to get with the program and comply with the Covid-19 mandate, FIRE THEM ALL.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.24.2021

Nearly 200 members of the San Francisco Police Department have applied for a religious exemption from the city’s employee vaccine mandate, the highest number of waiver requests from any city department, by far.

Some jobs, like being a police officer, can’t be performed from behind a desk or online. And if unvaccinated officers continue to interact with those in the community, they could put themselves or others at risk, the Department of Human Resources said.

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About 91% of the city’s 35,140-person workforce is fully or partially vaccinated, but 2,706 employees, or 7.7%, still have not been vaccinated. Meanwhile, 1.4% of workers — 489— haven’t reported their status.

The rules require employees who work in high-risk settings, like police officers, to be vaccinated by Oct. 13. All other employees must be fully inoculated by Nov. 1.

In the 2,835-member police force, 366 employees are unvaccinated. Of the unvaccinated, 193 want religious exemptions and eight have requested medical exemptions. The others have not requested any waivers.

It’s unclear how many of the unvaccinated police staff are front-line officers and how many work in administrative roles.

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The Department of Human Resources said 157 exemptions have been tentatively approved, but officials are still reviewing the requests.

San Francisco was the first large city in the country to require all of its employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, unless they have a valid religious or medical exemption.

Sexual violence can lead to dementia and strokes American study finds

Is the denial of a woman’s right to choose a form of sexual violence perpetuated by the government?

If so the recently passed draconian denial of a woman’s right to choose in Texas and affirmed by the reactionary US Supreme Court generations of American women could be at risk.

Excertped from Deutsche Welle 9.24.2021

More than one in three women in North America experience sexual violence at least once over the course of their lives. That’s according to statistics published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Globally, the number is roughly the same: An estimated 736 million women across the world “have been subjected to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life,” writes the United Nations body UN Women. It cites a study by the World Health Organization. 

That amounts to 30% of all girls and women aged 15 years and older.

So, the problem is pervasive. And now, a US study has found that women who experience sexual violence might be confronted with more than the injuries sustained during the attacks, as well as the mental health consequences like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression. They may also have a higher risk of a certain type of brain disease that’s a precursor for dementia and stroke.

“Sexual assault is an unfortunate, yet all-too-common, experience for women,” says Rebecca Thurston from the University of Pittsburgh, lead author of the study.

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“This distressing experience is not only important for women’s mental health, but also their brain health. This work is a major step toward identifying a novel risk factor for stroke and dementia among women,” says Thurston.

Thurston is a professor of psychiatry and the director of the Women’s Biobehavioral Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. She presented the results of the study at the 2021 meeting of the North American Menopause Society. It will be published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior.

For the study, Thurston and her team examined 145 women of “midlife” age in the US. Of the participants, 68% reported having had at least one trauma, with the most common trauma being sexual assault reported by 23% of the women.

The researchers wanted to find out whether there was a connection between trauma and white matter hyperintensities, which are signs of disruptions in blood flow and can leave damage in the brain. 

White matter hyperintensities show up as small white spots on brain scans. They are early indications of dementia, risk of stroke or similar disorders. And they can be detected decades before the onset of those conditions.  


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MRI scans are a method to determine a person’s risk for brain conditions like dementia or stroke

Brain scans of the study participants showed that the women who had experienced a trauma had more white matter hyperintensities than women without trauma ― and that the specific traumatic experience associated with the white matter hyperintensities was sexual assault.

In an earlier study in 2018, Thurston had found that women who had experienced sexual assault had significantly higher chances of developing depression or anxiety, and of sleeping more poorly than women who had not been assaulted.

Thurston says the new study builds on those earlier results. Even when the researchers had accounted for mental or other health conditions in the new study, they found that women who had been assaulted still had more white matter hyperintensity — irrespective of whether they had developed other health problems, like depression or PTSD after an assault.



Environmental Shame Hall of Fame. San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan

Lee Heidhues with artwork by Liz Heidhues 9.23.2021

A special Environmental Shame Hall of Fame award is in order for the San Francisco legislator who has done more than any politician in 2021 to wreak havoc on the City’s reputation for being a leader in environmental issues.

Supervisor Connie Chan has almost single handedly destroyed the urban oasis referred to as The Great Walkway and turned it over to the fossil fuel consuming environmentally destructive automobile.

Following are emails from two citizens who have been deeply involved in the campaign to have The Great Walkway designated a 24/7 car free oasis.

 Their dismay is palpable. Their names have been redacted to protect their privacy.

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Author 1: I wholeheartedly agree with all the facts and arguments that Author 2 has written below. I am shocked, angered, disappointed and frustrated that you did not ask us, your XXXXXXXXXXX for input and went ahead with your support of this executive order without following protocol, and listening to the majority of your constituents on this issue. In fact, it seems that you ignored the resolution we passed unanimously on July 26th in support of the car free SFMTA Great Highway pilot. Until I know you have read our resolution, I will continue to believe that you are ignoring the evidence and data before you, and pandering to a certain group of voters. Finally, I agree that your desire to build out concept 2 is pure climate denialism.

Author 2:  To me it is unnecessary (at best) to change the existing health emergency order (that is otherwise still in place!) before the vote in September, and disrespectful of the SFMTA and public’s time (at worst) who have been diligently working to collect the data that the supervisors asked for, spend hours and hours on multiple public comment sessions, and follow the process laid out that the supervisors agreed to, just to have the great highway reopened to cars without any process (even if more process is coming in the future). Doing this during the BOS recess without any advance notice, while legal, is frustrating and disrespectful to those following the process you laid out, and listing this reopening now as an option for routes to drive to school seems disingenuous considering the Great Highway does not have entrances within the Sunset District and couldn’t really be used to drive to any schools – this is thin cover for what the Great Highway is actually used for, which is driving to the Peninsula, an option that will no longer exist once the southern portion is closed soon anyway.

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Great Walkway rally – May 15, 2021

Top photo – Great Walkway rally – August 15, 2021

Tree blocks my view, so it’s got to go. Pac Heights Swell wins dispute. A tree will die

San Franciscans behaving badly, again.

Environmental destruction edition.

Only the entitled Swells can afford to litigate their way through the judicial system and get a Court ordered destruction of a beautiful environmentally friendly tree.

The worst part of it is the tree destroyer is in her 80’s.  One would think that age would make even San Francisco Swells more magnanimous.  Sadly not.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.23.2021

Trees are among nature’s wonders — but a neighbor’s growing arbor can also eliminate a resident’s treasured scenic views. Now a state appeals court, relying on a San Francisco ordinance that seeks to resolve treetop feuds, has ordered a Pacific Heights couple to take down a sprouting Monterey pine that stands between their next-door neighbor’s home and the bay.

The neighbor, now 81, moved into the San Francisco home with her now-deceased husband in 1976 and testified that they chose the site largely because of its unobstructed view of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and lands to the north. The pine was planted next door by a prior resident in 1999 and, by the time the case went to trial in 2019, had grown to 30 to 32 feet, with widening, thickly growing branches.

The view in 1999

“The tree’s rapid growth in both height and breadth obstructs the views of landmarks and vistas that could once be seen” from the neighbor’s ground floor, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ross, who had visited the site during the non-jury trial, said in a December 2019 order to remove the pine under San Francisco’s 1988 Tree Dispute Resolution Ordinance.

In a ruling Wednesday upholding Ross’ order, the First District Court of Appeal said the city has the authority, under state law, “to resolve tree view obstruction disputes between adjoining landowners,” as it seeks to do in its ordinance.

US Supreme Court majority is imposing a Taliban system of Justice on women

Lee Heidhues 9.22.2021

The US Supreme Court majority is imposing a Taliban system of Justice on a woman’s right to choose.

The American Supreme Court is totally out of touch from the mainstream. A large majority of Americans support a woman’s right to control her body. All Americans must complain loudly about a Justice system when it comes to women and the right to control their bodies.

If is terrifying that the high court, now firmly entrenched, with a super conservative majority, fortified with three appointees by disgraced Donald Trump including Amy Coney Barrett looks to continue its assault on women.

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Deutsche Welle 9.222.2021

Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are among more than 500 US female athletes who have petitioned the Supreme Court. The state of Mississippi wants to ban the right to abortion in the US.

Without the right to terminate a pregnancy, “the physical stresses of forced pregnancy and childbirth would undermine athletes’ ability to reach their full potential,” the letter states. “Pregnancy fundamentally alters a woman’s body, interferes with and potentially impedes an athlete’s access to higher education, elite competition, and a professional athletic career. Female athletes must have the power to decide if and when to dedicate their bodies to sport, pregnancy or both.”

Known collectively as Athlete Amici, the athletes signed a formal appeal to argue that the right to abortion is essential for women athletes to pursue their sports at the same level that men are afforded. The group urged the court to reject a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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Megan Rapinoe

“As female athletes and people in sports, we need to have the power to make important decisions about our bodies and have control over our reproduction,” Rapinoe said. Laws restricting abortion rights were “outrageous and un-American,” the 36-year-old former world footballer said.

Signatories include football superstar Megan Rapinoe, women’s national team captain Becky Sauerbrunn, two-time water polo gold medalist Ashleigh Johnson and basketball stars Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi.

Bird, who is married to Rapinoe, and Taurasi won Olympic gold with the US team in Tokyo. A total of 26 female Olympic athletes and 73 professional athletes supported the appeal, along with various representative bodies such as the US player unions in football and basketball.

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The Supreme Court on Monday scheduled arguments in a case from the state of Mississippi for December 1. In the case, the state is seeking to reverse the US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision that made abortions legal nationwide. Mississippi wants to ban all abortions after the 15th week. Exceptions are to be made only for medical emergencies or in the case of “severe foetal abnormalities.”

Mississippi’s state government had tightened the course on abortion rights after conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court last year shortly before President Donald Trump was voted out of office. She gave the conservatives a majority of six votes to three in the Supreme Court.


Republicans and AOC, ‘Squad’ force House Dems to spike $1B for Iron Dome

A number of progressives who question the  American government’s unflinching commitment to Israel, assisted by their shameless Republican House mates, have  temporarily put a chink in the Iron Dome.
For this vote several progressives are being lambasted  by the cynical Republicans. And,  regrettably by their fellow Democrats. It’s a sure thing that  the mainstream  media will join the scrum and pile onto these progressives who voted their conscience while giving the Republicans a pass.
The Republicans are equally culpable for the blow up.
Not one Republican would vote on a bill to raise the government’s debt ceiling. Funding for the Iron Dome was included in this legislation. Given their small majority in the House of Representatives the Democrats cannot afford to lose any votes.
Had the Republicans approved the debt ceiling rise, as both parties have done historically, the several progressives would have been unable to stop the funding of Iron Dome.
Excerpted from The Jerusalem Post with a headline from The New York Post – 9.21.2021
Democratic Party leadership in the US House of Representatives removed about $1 billion of funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system on Tuesday.
The Iron Dome is a missile defense system, which has stopped thousands of rockets launched by US-designated “terrorist” groups, like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, from striking the civilian centers at which they were aimed.
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The revision came after Democrat progressives refused to vote for the broader bill in which the Iron Dome funding was included.
The progressive Democrats blocking the Iron Dome funding are among those who pushed to block arms to Israel during Operation Guardian of the Wall in May, according to Politico. That move was led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of NY, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
The Democrats could not get the bill passed without the progressives, because Republicans would not vote for the bill, either, citing the debt ceiling as its reason. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the debt ceiling will be raised… by the Democrats.”
The White House began working on reversing the decision soon after it was announced, a diplomatic source said.
While funding for the Iron Dome will likely get passed in the coming months, Israel views the matter with urgency and would like it as soon as possible, a senior diplomatic source added.
Tensions between Israel and Hamas have spiked in recent weeks, including Gazans  launching rockets into Israel.
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US President Joe Biden promised to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome batteries after the last round of fighting with Hamas in May, and again when he met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office last month.
The vehemently pro Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) responded to the change on Twitter saying that “Extremists in Congress are playing politics with Israeli & Palestinian lives.

“Calling to remove funding for a lifesaving defensive system is an affront to our values, risks further conflict, and is counter to the commitment made by Biden & supported by Congressional leadership.”

Driving further into the SF Chronicle editorial “Don’t Jump the Gun on JFK.”

Lee Heidhues 9.20.2021

Dede Wilsey and Thomas Campbell de Young Museum CEO along with assorted San Francisco Swells and benefactors have signed off on the pending transformation to a more environmentally, car free friendly City.

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Former Board President Dede Wilsey and de Young CEO Thomas Campbell

JFK Drive which sits astride the de Young Museum and the The Great Walkway (formerly Highway) at the nearby Pacific Ocean are the recipients of San Francisco aristocracy’s political and environmental largesse.

The de Young Museum and The San Francisco Chronicle are inextricably tied. (see following Wikipedia article).

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de Young Museum near JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park

While the Thieriot family no longer owns the Chronicle its ties run deep with the de Young Museum. The family, business, political and cultural relationship makes the Chronicle endorsement of a permanently car free JFK Drive, and by extension a permanently car free Great Walkway, more noteworthy. Link to editorial follows.

A clean car free environment is munificence the wealthy socially conscious like to bestow upon The People. It makes them appear magnanimous and costs nothing.

In return they receive something money can never buy. Good will.

Blog contributor Liz is a long time member of the FAMSF. We approve wholeheartedly.

The following is excerpted from a Wikipedia article on M.H. de Young.

In San Francisco, de Young and his brother, Charles de Young (1846–1880), founded the Daily Dramatic Chronicle newspaper, first published on January 17, 1865, with the loan of a twenty dollar gold piece which Michael received from his landlord. A third brother, Gustavus, whose initial originally appeared in the masthead (“G. and C. de Young”), later vanished.[2] The Daily Dramatic Chronicle was a four-page tabloid that was freely distributed throughout San Francisco. According to the de Youngs, the Daily Dramatic Chronicle would be “the best advertising medium on the Pacific Coast.” On September 1, 1868, the de Youngs expanded their tabloid into a daily newspaper. The first issue stated that the Chronicle would be “independent in all things, neutral in none.” The Daily Dramatic Chronicle was sold under the condition that it be renamed the Dramatic Review. De Young was also the director of the Associated Press for many years.[8]

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M.H. de Young

Public Leadership[edit]

De Young, inspired by the events of the Chicago World’s fair, led a campaign to bring a world’s fair to San Francisco. De Young then became the Director-General of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. During a visit to New York City, De Young was inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s location in Central Park.[9] As a result, de Young wanted the fair to be held in Golden Gate Park. However, John McLaren, the Superintendent of Golden Gate Park, was concerned about how the removal of many trees would affect the environment of the park. In an intense debate, de Young asked McLaren, “What is a tree? “What are a thousand trees compared to the benefits of the exposition?” Significantly, de Young owned about 31 blocks south of the park and could have been motivated by the fair’s potential positive impacts on his real estate holdings. While the vast majority of the fair’s buildings were soon destroyed, de Young persuaded the city to save the Fine Arts Building. The building was renamed the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum after de Young’s death. De Young supported the museum throughout his life and bequeathed $150,000 to the museum upon his death.[10]

Personal life[edit]

De Young and his wife Katherine had five children:

  • Charles de Young (1881–1913)
  • Helen de Young (1883–1969), who married George T. Cameron (1873–1955)[11]
  • Constance Marie de Young (1885–1968), who married Joseph Oliver Tobin (1878–1978)[12]
  • Kathleen Yvonne de Young (1888–1954), who married Ferdinand Thieriot (1883–1920)[13]
  • Phyllis D. de Young (1892–1988), who married Nion Robert Tucker (1885–1950)[14]

In 1884, De Young was shot by an irate businessman, Adolph B. Spreckels, apparently due to a negative newspaper article, and survived the injury. De Young died on February 15, 1925; a Roman Catholic mass was held in St. Mary’s Cathedral[15] (he had converted to Catholicism after marrying his wife, Katherine I. Deane).[16]


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The People rally for a Car Free JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park – March 2021

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, is named in his honor. According to his daughter, Helen de Young Cameron, de Young “loved objects. He was an incurable collector. He collected everything. He stored his collections at the Memorial Museum, where he would visit them at all hours. He took genuine delight in sharing them with the citizens of San Francisco, insisting that his museum never charge admission.”[2] De Young purchased many things of “curious and artistic and instructive value” for the museum.[17]


In 1956, one of De Young’s grandsons, Ferdinand Melly Thieriot (1921–1956), the circulation director of The Chronicle, and his wife Frances (1921–1956), were among the 46 killed aboard the SS Andrea Doria when it was struck by the MS Stockholm off the coast of Nantucket.[18]

De Young was the grandfather of Nan Tucker McEvoy (1919–2015), chair of Chronicle Publishing Company’s board of directors until the 1990s.[19] He is also the great-great-grandfather of actor Max Thieriot (born 1988).[20]

San Francisco’s most beautiful public spaces should belong to people, not cars.

Letter to the Editor San Francisco Chronicle 9.19.2021

I applaud the Chronicle (editorial 9.19.2021) for taking up the cause of the environment and advocating for a car free JFK Drive and Great Walkway.  For months a strident and noisy legion of motorists have driven out The People of all ages who seek  safe and secure venues to cycle, walk and run. Equally important is the Chronicle’s calling out those in City Hall who let themselves be intimidated by the unrelenting motorist din. Several Supervisors ignored a deliberative process which was in place. When the Board was on vacation these legislators knowingly colluded with Mayor Breed to thwart a goal which would place San Francisco on the map as a leader in the time of environmental degradation and climate change.

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San Francisco Chronicle Editorial 9.19.2021