San Francisco needs to abort all building. The City is dangerously over populated

Lee Heidhues 11.29.2021

California and San Francisco politicians, planners, developers and housing advocates have it all wrong. To continue going in this reckless manner will bring ultimate human disaster. San Francisco needs to abort this reckless and unnecessary growth.

All residential and commercial construction needs to be aborted.

As the Chronicle analysis shows San Francisco is the second most densely populated City in the United States. Nearly 900,000 people are crammed into 49 square miles in a City surrounded on three sides by water. San Francisco is not Texas where cities can expand amoeba like into the countryside.

Complicating the problem is that San Francisco does not have the infrastructure; i.e. public transit, health care and other services to support a cramped over populated City.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 11.29.2021

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Market and Castro Street

Over the past decade, San Francisco’s population grew by 8.5%, or nearly 70,000 residents. Yet despite this increase, the city’s population remains tiny compared with giants such as New York and Los Angeles, which have nearly 9 million and 4 million people, respectively. With roughly 900,000 residents, San Francisco is only the 17th most populous city in America.

When it comes to density, New York is in a league of its own, with nearly 30,000 residents per square mile. That’s more than 50% higher than the density of No. 2-ranked San Francisco, which comes in at just under 19,000 per square mile.


It’s a different story when you take geographical size into account. In addition to its modest population, San Francisco is also physically small. So when you look at residents per square mile, it’s the second-most densely populated major city in the country after New York.

While some major cities can grow outward by expanding their boundaries, that’s impossible in San Francisco, since it’s bounded on three sides by water. To accommodate more people, the population density will likely have to be more equally distributed across the city.

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San Francisco street life in 2021

Earlier this month, the San Francisco Planning Commission approved a plan to allow the construction of fourplexes on more than 110,000 parcels currently zoned for single-family homes or two-unit buildings. According to Commissioner Frank Fung, a plan like this that spreads medium density throughout the city is quite rare — many proposals are for tall buildings near downtowns. But an approach that parcels out population more evenly could lead to faster and cheaper construction, said Fung, not to mention more gradual and manageable growth

That’s according to a Chronicle analysis of 2020 decennial census data on cities with at least 300,000 residents. We looked at which are the most dense and which have gotten more or less so since 2010, when the previous census was conducted.

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San Francisco Muni. Packed.

In general, the most dense sections are located near downtown, in the Tenderloin, Chinatown and Financial District/South Beach neighborhoods. The tract with the highest density is a three-block area of the Tenderloin, north of Market Street and between Leavenworth and Jones streets. It has roughly 2,300 residents in a 0.01-square-mile area, equivalent to about 224,000 people per square mile. That’s nearly 12 times more than the city average.

By contrast, neighborhoods such as Bayview-Hunters Point, Lakeshore and the Sunset tend to be the least dense. The lowest density tract is a 1.4-square-mile area in Bayview-Hunters Point, adjacent to Potrero Hill and Dogpatch. Roughly 1,250 people live there, which comes out to roughly 900 residents per square mile — about 20 times less dense than the city average and 250 times less dense than the most crowded part of the Tenderloin.

Even so, this area has more than tripled in population in the last decade; back in 2010, it had only 350 residents. Yet it still remains the least dense part of the city by quite a bit: the next least is about 1.5 times more densely populated.

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Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco

On a national scale, the Tenderloin ranks up with the giants. The two most-crowded tracts there are the sixth and seventh most densely populated in the country, exceeded only by four tracts in New York and one in Chicago. All of them are in roughly the same size range: The five outside San Francisco average 250,000 people per square mile, versus 220,000 for the two Tenderloin tracts.

“Scion of the Weather Underground”. Who cooked up that slanderous headline?

Lee Heidhues 11.28.2021

I stand corrected and give credit where due.

The Wall Street Journal, after deliberating, published my Comment in response to Michael Shellenberger MD,  author of the incendiary hit piece  posing as non-fiction “San Fransicko”,  proud Climate Change denier and author of the scurrilous Op Ed in The 11.27.2021 print edition  of the WSJ attacking San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.


Michael Shellenberger II 11.27.2021
Mike Shellenberger MD with Fox News flamethrower Tucker Carlson

“Scion”. Who cooked that up? The WSJ @FoxNews Nightcrawler headline writer or  Michael Shellenberger?  Doesn’t matter. Your Op Ed is propaganda masquerading as intelligence from a Trump MAGA camp follower. Insurrectionists in the failed January 6 Coup. You are aligned with America’s reactionary cadres who hope to take down the San Francisco fairly elected District Attorney. What this MAGA propaganda piece does not not say is that the DA Recall campaign spent 1.4MM using paid mercenaries from around the country to gather signatures at an average $17.08 each. The Recall will meet the same fate as did the DA Losers in Los Angeles who couldn’t gather sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot. More apt is Philadelphia where Larry Krasner, a “Progressive”,  re elected with 70 percent of the vote. Intelligent voters can see through these Right Wing extremists and their collaborators who, unhappy with an election subvert the will of the electorate. It won’t work.

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Chesa Boudin on election night in San Francisco 11.5.2019

Top photo – San Francisco District Attorney on inaugural night 1.8.2020

Could Chile elect a Pinochet style Trump admirer President on December 19th?

It was nearly 50 years ago on September 11, 1973 that America’s man in Chile Augusto Pincochet overthrew the democratically elected Socialist Salvador Allende (pictured above voting) ushering in a 17 year regime of oppression and terror.

Next month the Chilean people will select a new President to serve a four year term.  One of the candidates José Antonio Kast, an admirer of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro and especially of Pinochet— could be elected.

It is a disconcerting prospect for all who remember the promise of the Allende presidency and the terror which followed his overthrow and death.

Excerpted from The Nation – Ariel Dorfman 11.22.2021

It is hard to believe that half a century has passed since Para Leer al Pato Donald (How to Read Donald Duck), a book I wrote with the Belgian sociologist, Armand Mattelart, was published in Chile in November 1971.

We never anticipated that our essay would become an international best seller, translated into dozens of languages. It had been born, quite modestly, as a way of participating in the unique Chilean experiment of building socialism, for the first time in history, through electoral and nonviolent methods, without eliminating our adversaries. This meant that the government of Salvador Allende, which had captured the presidency in September 1970, would have to win the battle for public opinion in a situation of considerable inequality, since most of the media was in the hands of the enemies of the revolution.

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Chileans take to the streets of Santiago in 2021

The tract—conceived in 10 feverish days—caused furor and fury when it appeared. A second massive printing was soon published the next year, and a third one was ready to go on sale when General Augusto Pinochet overthrew Allende in September 1973, and all those copies were cast into the bay of Valparaíso. First water, then fire. Forty years after the Nazis had incinerated so many “degenerate” volumes, it was Chile’s turn. Days after the coup, in a safe house where I was hiding, I saw, on television, no less, a group of soldiers throwing hundreds of subversive texts into a bonfire. Among them was Para Leer al Pato Donald.

Exactly 50 years after of our book appeared, the first round of the presidential elections has just been held.

Of the seven contenders who were in the race, the one who garnered the most votes ( 27.89 percent) is José Antonio Kast, an admirer of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro and especially of Pinochet—an ultra-conservative who personifies the traditional ideas about work, family, sex, competition and fear of change which we criticized in our book. I don’t know if Kast, who was seven years old during the 1973 coup, saw the burning of our helpless duck on television. It is probable that his father, a Nazi officer who sought refuge in Chile after the fall of the Third Reich, celebrated those inquisitorial pyres that reminded him of Hitler’s good times. 

On the other hand Gabriel Boric, the second candidate in the runoff, with 25.83 percent of the vote, represents a Chile that seeks to free itself from the past and create a different future of justice for all, embodying the vast contingents of protestors who— brazenly indeed—took to the streets of Chile over the last two years with such ardor and audaciousness that they imposed the need to write a new, fully democratic Constitution.

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 Augusto Pinochet with American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger – 1976

WSJ Op Ed is trash talk masquerading as intelligence by a MAGA camp follower

Lee Heidhues 11.27.2021

The Wall Street Journal, the written news satellite of the Fox News empire (see top photo), published a Michael Shellenberger MD blatant hit piece on San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin carrying the headline –

The Weather Underground scion isn’t the first district attorney they’ve elected on a soft-on-crime platform.

I responded on Twitter to his Account @ShellenbergerMD.

For telling Michael Shellenberger MD my opinion of his writing (see below) in a public forum he blocked me from accessing his Twitter account.  Furthermore, The WSJ rejected my opinion in its Comments section.

Weather Underground Scion. Who dredged up that canard? The WSJ @FoxNews

Nightcrawler headline writer or YOU? Doesn’t matter. Your Op Ed is trash talk masquerading as intelligence from a Trump MAGA camp follower. Insurrectionists of the failed January 6 Coup. You are aligned with America’s reactionary cadres

This self proclaimed intellectual spokesman for the Law and Order and a vigorous climate denier is receiving a lot of buzz for his latest broadside “San Fransicko”

Michael Shellenberger II 11.27.2021
Michael Shellenberger MD with Tucker Carlson on Fox News

A book length disingenuous diatribe casting blame on all the problems impacting San Francisco at the doorstep of Progressive policies. DA Chesa Boudin is his current Progressive out of flavor of the month.

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Michael Shellenberger MD with his fellow climate change deniers

Further information about Michael Shellenberger MD Environmental Progress foundation  based in Albany, California can be found by accessing the attached link.




Arbery verdict. Prosecutor spoke to mostly White jury. Won a conviction

Prosecutor Dunikoski made the controversial decision to down play the obvious racial aspects of Ahmaud Arbery’s February 23, 2020 shotgun murder by three white men who alleged they were making a Citizen’s Arrest.  Her strategy before a Jury of 11 whites and one black was the right call.

Excellent feature on  a veteran brought in from the Atlanta area  to handle the Ahmaud Arbery trial. Must read for those who follow the law and want a perspective on a prosecutor who knows her job and does it well.

Ahmaud Arbery 5.7.2020

Ahmaud Arbery

Excerpted from The New York Times 11.26.2021

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The lawyer was from out of town, a prosecutor who had spent the bulk of her career in a large, liberal city, and she had been brought in to try the biggest case of her career: the murder of a Black man on a sunny afternoon by three white men just outside a small city pinned to the South Georgia coastline.

Despite the evidence of racism she had at her disposal, Linda Dunikoski, the prosecutor, stunned some legal observers by largely avoiding race during the trial, choosing instead to hew closely to the details of how the three men had chased the Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, through their neighborhood.

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Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski

The risks went beyond her career and a single trial. Failure to convict in a case that many saw as an obvious act of racial violence would reverberate well outside Glynn County, Ga. For some, it would be a referendum on a country that appeared to have made tentative steps last summer toward confronting racism, only to devolve into deeper divisions.

On Wednesday, Ms. Dunikoski’s strategy was vindicated when the jury found the three men guilty of murder and other charges after deliberating for roughly a day. The convicted men — Gregory McMichael, 65; his son Travis McMichael, 35; and their neighbor William Bryan, 52 — are now facing life sentences in prison. They are also facing trial in February on separate federal hate-crime charges.

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Prosecutor Dunikoski cross examines defendant Travis McMichael

Kevin Gough, the lawyer who represented Mr. Bryan, credited Ms. Dunikoski with threading the most difficult of needles. She mentioned a racial motive just once during the three-week trial, in her closing argument: The men, she said, had attacked Mr. Arbery “because he was a Black man running down the street.”

“She found a clever way of bringing the issue up that wouldn’t be offensive to the right-leaning members of the jury,” he said. “I think you can see from the verdict that Dunikoski made the right call.”

Top photo – Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski meets the Press and public after the verdict.

Global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new B.1.1.529 variant

The American stock market took a deep dive on Friday as the new B.1.1.529 variant raises alarm bells around the globe.

That is always a reaction to bad news and a potential harbinger of things to come.

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Excerpted from The Guardian 11.26.2021

Top US infectious disease official Dr Anthony Fauci said on Friday that a ban on flights from southern Africa was a possibility and the United States was rushing to gather data on the new Covid-19 variant.

No decision to halt flights had yet been made, he said.

Global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new B.1.1.529 variant detected in South Africa, with the European Union and UK among those tightening border controls as scientists seek to find out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, has cautioned against hasty measures [see 1.49pm.] and South Africa said a British ban on flights seemed rushed.

New Covid-19 variant III 11.26.2021

“There is always the possibility of doing what the UK has done, namely block travel from South Africa and related countries,” Fauci said in an interview on CNN.

“That’s certainly something you think about and get prepared to do. You’re prepared to do everything you need to protect the American public. But you want to make sure there’s a basis for doing that,” he said.

“Obviously as soon as we find out more information we’ll make a decision as quickly as we possibly can.”

Fauci said US scientists would speak with South African counterparts on Friday about the new variant, called B.1.1.529, which has raised concern about its transmissibility and whether it might evade immune responses.

He added that there was no indication that the new variant was already in the United States.

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It is the Most Family Thanksgiving Movie. House of Gucci is not for children.

Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci is receiving uniformly rave reviews.  Particularly the performance of Lady Gaga. Rather than post one of those reviews I am giving you the innovative take from the Vulture.

Excerpted from Vulture – New York Magazine – 11.24.2021 Jackson McHenry

In the Gucci family, according to the film House of Gucci, there are many cherished traditions, most of which involve spending a lot of time caring for the fancy Tuscan cows that form the basis of their leatherworking empire and betraying each other.

This year, if you are engaging in this standard American family Thanksgiving activity, you might once again be in need of a film to all watch together. There are a good number of options this year — but I have determined that, empirically, House of Gucci is the most Family Thanksgiving Movie out there. Is it a good movie? Who knows! That’s not the point. But I promise that it is guaranteed to serve this purpose well.

The movie is two hours and 37 minutes long! You might think this is a point against it, because maybe some family members will get bored and fall asleep, but this is actually great for a Family Thanksgiving Movie. You’ve already killed so much of the evening watching the movie together (less time to bicker about other things) and avoided those crucial after-dinner lulls where someone might say something like, “What do you all think about the state of the American political experiment?” Or worse: “Are you dating anyone right now?”

Reason 2: House of Gucci has an actor everyone can talk about.

A crucial part of any family movie discussion is when everyone gets to share where they saw an actor previously and nod sagely while they discuss how their performances compared. Younger generations can talk about Tisch alumna Lady Gaga (as she is famously credited in a season-three episode of Gossip Girl), older generations can talk about Pacino and Jeremy Irons, too-online children can say that they want Adam Driver to step on their face, moms who watched Call My Agent! can say it’s nice that Camille Cottin shows up briefly, and weird cousins can discuss the merits of Jared Leto, cinema’s weirdest cousin.

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Lady Gaga portrays Patrizia Reggiani

Reason 3: House of Gucci has accents everyone can talk about.

There is nothing more fun than being an armchair expert about the accents of movie stars. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they damaging to the status of Italians in the media? Should Ridley Scott have just shot the movie in Italian? Everyone can weigh in!

Reason 4: House of Gucci will make you all have to Wikipedia things.

You’re guaranteed to get at least another hour out of looking up various plot points like “Is Salma Hayek’s psychic character real?” (yes) and “What did Tom Ford do at Gucci” (design G-strings) and “Lake Como home how expensive” (very expensive).

Reason 5: House of Gucci is not for children.

Actually, this is somewhat of a downside if your family has a lot of children, but in that case, assign them some teenage cousin chaperone, send them off to Encanto (fun songs!), and then stick with Gucci for the adults. There’s a whole sex scene on a desk that is quite vigorous! Again, maybe you consider that a downside, but personally I believe Family Thanksgiving Movies are better when they’re a little scandalous. Gives everyone a little something to grumble and titter about.

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Maurizio Gucci after his murder March 27, 1995

Reason 6: House of Gucci is about the essential rot of wealth.

The movie’s got a lot of glamour, but it’s structured as a sort of tragedy of the collapse of a family, and their loss of control of their business due to the vicissitudes of the market. It’s an apt fit for a holiday that is superficially cozy, but really a commemoration of colonization. Make everyone do a little reflection on that.

Reason 7: House of Gucci will give you all many inside jokes to reference.

Even if you don’t like the movie, you will be bonded by making fun of its most ridiculous moments (when Lady Gaga announces, “It’s taime to take out thee trash”; when Jared Leto does anything) and then get a whole new set of inside jokes to reference. Families need inside jokes and mutual shared references in order to survive, otherwise they would just have to talk to each other directly. No one wants that.

In conclusion, I am taking my family to see House of Gucci this Thanksgiving, so I’m just hoping this works out on my end.

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CW Nevius. San Francisco’s self appointed Dick Tracy crime stopper

Open letter to CW Nevius – San Francisco Examiner 11.24.2021

The Examiner has really reached bottom in publishing your work.
I thought San Francisco was thankfully rid of your reactionary opinions posing as reasonable journalism.
The column about crime in Union Square and somehow stretching credulity by asserting that Chesa Boudin is responsible is reprehensible.
Chesa and Da Mayor on Election Day 3.4.2020
DA Chesa Boudin with Da Mayor Willie Brown
It’s a sad day when someone who has reported on San Francisco matters for decades and should have more sophistication is now in synch with the most reactionary MAGA, Fox News, right wing posse which spent 1.4MM on paid mercenaries to qualify this obscene Recall attempt.
Coming close on the heels of your column calling for cars to be given total access to The Great Walkway is just another exclamation point on your shameless pandering to the most revanchist groups in San Francisco.
Your skills would be better suited as a Shill for the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA).
You should have remained a Sports reporter where your ability to trash talk on important matters was limited.
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DA Boudin Inaugural night – January 8, 2020

Three Men Found Guilty of Murdering Ahmaud Arbery: Live Updates

Breaking News 4.15.2019

New York Times and Washington Post 11.24.2021

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Three white men were found guilty of murder and other charges on Wednesday for the pursuit and fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, in a case that, together with the killing of George Floyd, helped inspire the racial justice protests of last year.

Ahmaud Arbery 5.7.2020

The jury has found William Bryan, who filmed the fatal encounter with Ahmaud Arbery, not guilty of malice murder. He was found not guilty of one count of felony murder and one county of aggravated assault, but guilty of three counts of felony murder and three other charges.

The jury has found Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael’s father, not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of all other counts he faces, including felony murder.

The jury has found Travis McMichael, the man who shot Ahmaud Arbery, guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder.

Video of Judge announcing Jury verdicts


Native daughter Elizabeth Heidhues. Leader in the San Francisco Drain crew.

Lee Heidhues 11.23.2021

My lifelong partner Liz Heidhues. Fighter for Justice, a car free Golden Gate Park and The Great Walkway is also a dedicated steward of the environment.

Liz was an early volunteer in San Francisco’s Adopt a Drain program. Come rain or shine, Liz has been maintaining the drain.

Liz is a stellar citizen and an asset to San Francisco.

Excerpted from SF Gate 11.23.2021 – Tessa McLean

Most San Franciscans pass at least a few neighborhood storm drains every day. But only a few residents probably realize they may have been rudely walking by, not acknowledging the drains by name.

Yes, the iron grate on your corner may not just be an anonymous piece of infrastructure. It might be named Yoda, in honor of the Jedi of course, or it might be dubbed “It’s Draining Men,” forcing the catchy tune into your head. It could pay homage to a popular actor by way of the nickname “Drain the Rock Johnson” or it may anthropomorphize the utility with a moniker like “Big Thirsty.” It might even be called “The Best Storm Drain in SF,” though no one is running a contest.

Outer Richmond resident Elizabeth Heidhues named hers after her sister Donna, who lives in Montana. They don’t get to see each other all that much, but Heidhues thinks of her every day when she passes by the storm drain at the end of her street. She also loves the play on words it creates, especially with her Italian side of the family. “I named it Donna after her because everything goes ‘DOWN-A’ the drain. It’s a spoof on Italian English.”

While most people may not love being associated with wastewater and sewage, Donna the person thinks it’s funny. She’s from San Francisco, passionate about the environment and she jokes she’s famous among her friends in Montana for it.

Heidhues has been caring for Donna the drain since 2017 (following photo), as soon as she saw the Adopt a Drain program advertised on a San Francisco Public Utilities Commission calendar she picked up from a local store. As a runner and a cyclist without a car, she said she was always encountering flooded intersections, so her motivation to adopt the drain was to keep her intersection from becoming flooded. She looked online and saw the drain on her corner was available, and she’s been caring for it ever since.

Liz Heidhues with her newly adopted Drain – January 2017

“You feel very close to your drain. You’ve named it, you feel responsible for its well-being and you feel guilty if it doesn’t behave itself because you’ve neglected it,” Heidhues said with a laugh. “It’s like being a parent almost.”

Obviously it’s not as much maintenance as a child or a pet, although she said she does clean it thoroughly once a month. Most of the time, the drain becomes obstructed with leaves, weeds, sand, cigarette butts and rocks, but every once in a while Heidhues finds something out of the ordinary. She’s found kid’s toys and plenty of masks and gloves.

Once, she said she found a BCBG dress in her size in a plastic bag that she dry-cleaned and kept and eventually wore on her birthday.

Since she adopted Donna, she’s even motivated a few of her neighbors to adopt drains, and they keep each other motivated to keep them free of debris. It’s a great way to stay involved in the community and the upkeep of the neighborhood, Heidhues said.

SFPUC gives out initial supplies to aid in the cleaning process, which is how Heidhues got her safety vest with “volunteer” in big letters across the back. She said she loves when people honk their horns and say thank you as they drive by when she’s cleaning. But she wishes she could convince even more people to join the program.

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Liz at work November 2021

The initiative was created because the city crews just couldn’t keep up with the maintenance of the more than 25,000 storm drains, said SFPUC spokesperson Sabrina Suzuki. They needed help from citizens and were inspired by a program in Boston in which residents could adopt a fire hydrant. Allowing residents to name their drains and plotting them on a digital map would make it personal. Today, 3,557 drains throughout the city have been adopted by 2,345 drain adopters.

Top and bottom photos – Charles Russo