‘hoods flooded with several feet of water as Breed partied in Vegas

Lee Heidhues 1.5.2023

It was a wild New Year’s weekend for San Francisco’s Mayor while the City was submerged in an Atmospheric River.

I am not begrudging Mayor London Breed her party time in Las Vegas. On New Year’s Day The Mayor camped out in a luxury box watching the 49ers battle the Raiders.

However, the optics look bad. Particularly when one watches the video of The Mayor hangin’ with Rapper E-40 shouting “Bang!!! Bang!!!

Meanwhile back in San Francisco, The Mayor’s constituency was recovering from a deluge of 5.46″ of rainfall in 24 hours. The second most recorded rainfall for a day in The City’s history.

What makes The Mayor’s jaunt to Vegas annoying is the fact the Mayor, after her return, blamed The National Weather Service for an alleged failure to warn City Hall about the severity of the storm which hit on New Year’s Eve.

Excerpted from San Francisco Standard 1.5.2023

San Francisco found itself deeply under water on New Year’s Eve to the surprise of Mayor London Breed and other city officials, who said they were expecting less than an inch of rain.

But a day after parts of the Mission, SoMa and other to watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Raiders from a private luxury box with rapper E-40. Two days later, Breed blamed the National Weather Service for the city’s failure to adequately prepare for the storm. 

The atmospheric River in San Francisco at Powell and Sutter Streets

E-40, the celebrated Bay Area hip-hop entertainer and entrepreneur, posted an Instagram reel Tuesday that shows Breed with him and others in a midfield luxury box at the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.

Breed’s trip to Vegas took place just hours after she attended a lavish New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco with some of the city’s most powerful elected officials—as well as a convicted felon involved in the corruption scandal that has rocked City Hall for the last three years.

The mayor’s revelry took place less than a day after the city was caught off guard by a historic storm.

Photos posted of the “Glitterati” party on social media by a mayoral staffer show guests drinking champagne, dancing to a live band, watching acrobats take flight and even taking in a burlesque show. The party took place at Saint Joseph’s Arts Society.

Waterlogged in San Francisco

As an atmospheric river over the holiday weekend dropped more than 5 inches of rain, New Year’s Eve marked the second-highest recorded day of rainfall in San Francisco history.

City agencies in San Francisco were unprepared for the weekend storm as multiple neighborhoods were flooded, and low-lying parts of the Mission District were hit particularly hard. More storms are expected in the days to come.

Mayor Breed partying with rapper E-40 at the 49ers-Raiders game in Las Vegas

https://sfstandard.com/politics/sf-floods-mayor-london-breed-las-vegas-e-40-49ers/

New Years by the Cliff House – Pictures at an Exhibition by the Sea

Lee Heidhues 1.1.2023 (Updated 1.2.2023)

The road from 48th Avenue in the northwest corner of San Francisco winding down the hill past the Cliff House is still closed as The City ponders the danger resulting from the New Year’s Eve landslide.

The Road is still closed to vehicular traffic as landslide danger remains – January 2, 2023

It was an incredible never to be witnessed, again, moment at the San Francisco coastline by the historic Cliff House.

It made me think of the final piece in Modest Mussorgsky’s 1874 Pictures at an Exhibition – The Great Gate of Kiev. After all the northwest corner of San Francisco is the Gateway to the Pacific Ocean. The orchestral piece is attached below.

On this morning, because of a landslide across from the Cliff House during New Year’s Eve Atmospheric River, vehicular traffic was banned.

For a brief shining moment on this sunny January 1, 2023 the roadway leading to the car free Great Walkway was devoid of cars.

It was all pedestrians, cyclists and runners as the following photo montage will forever memorialize.

Two runners pass by the landslide
A pair of cyclists climb the car free hill
Walkers on a road devoid of cars with the Pacific Ocean in the background
Runners and pedestrians enjoy the car free moment
A cyclist makes the steep climb past the Cliff House
Inspecting the site of the landslide on New Year’s Day 2023
A seabird enjoys the car free peace and quiet while surveying the Pacific Ocean
Lands End Lookout up the hill from The Cliff House
Keeping the cars away on New Year’s Day 2023
The Great Gate of Kiev to accompany the once in a lifetime photo montage of a car free road by the Cliff House

’22 San Francisco- Car Free JFK Promenade and a Coup d’etat

Lee Heidhues 12.31.2022

San Francisco had the best and the worst for Progressives in 2022.

There are two events which hi-lite political life in The City.

Car Free JFK Promenade and The Great Walkway will stand out as the most Progressive accomplishment of the year. On November 8 the voters overwhelmingly cast their votes in favor of more car free spaces in The City.

The June 7 political lynching of Progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin. With a nearly 9MM war chest funded by arch conservatives. Appealing to the most base law and order instincts of the voters. Chesa’s ouster is a permanent stain on the reputation of San Francisco.

Prior to the ouster of Chesa there was the February Recall of three Progressive members of the San Francisco School Board. This was the warm up act for the MAGA crowd which, emboldened by their School Board take down, successfully set their sites on the Progressive DA.

Progressive DA with family and supporters stands tall the night of his political lynching – June 7, 2022

The political irony is the undisputable fact that many of the same individuals and organizations which supported Chesa’s Recall were firmly on the side of car free spaces.

On the other hand, a number of Progressives and like minded organizations either remained neutral or flat out opposed car free areas in San Francisco. Falling for the nonsense that somehow car free spaces discriminate against marginalized communities.

Where are we as San Francisco turns the clock to 2023?

The People celebrate the overwhelming victory of Proposition J on November 8 which makes JFK Promenade a permanently car free area

The ouster of a Progressive DA has done nothing to mitigate the crime problem. Which presumes there was a problem during Chesa’s 30 month tenure. Since Chesa’s Mayoral picked successor Brooke Jenkins became DA crime has not abated. The only substantive change is that the too often shameful mainstream media, which was instrumental in Chesa’s ouster, is no longer beating the law and order drums to stir up the paranoid and fearful people.

On a more favorable side, the car free spaces at JFK Promenade, The Great Walkway and an abbreviated Slow Streets program appear to be a permanent fixture in San Francisco life.

Even though 2023 will not be an election year in San Francisco the close quarters political combat can be expected to continue non-stop.

Spy v Spy – Russian penetration of Germany’s intelligence services

Lee Heidhues 12.29.2022

This story is not receiving major coverage. Yet.

Deutsche Welle wrote about it a week ago. Since then the mainstream media has been generally quiet.

The article in today’s Wall Street Journal shines more light on the arrest of German intelligence officer Carsten L.

Perhaps the lack of coverage can be explained by the embarrassment the Germans are feeling due to this serious security lapse.

Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal 12.29.2022

BERLIN—A senior German intelligence officer arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia had access to a trove of top-secret information about the war in Ukraine as well as knowledge of how it was collected by the U.S. and its allies, Western officials say.  

The case could be the worst example of Russian penetration of Germany’s intelligence services since 1961, when a senior BND employee who was spying for the Soviet Union exposed a network of 100 CIA spies, said Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, who has written several books on the BND.

Prosecutors are trying to determine whether the material was shared with Moscow. If so, it could have alerted Russia to its own vulnerabilities and given away Western intelligence-gathering methods and capabilities.

German Spy Museum – Berlin

American and British officials said they were trying to determine the scope of potential damage in Ukraine and elsewhere. One U.S. official said there was “grave concern” about the case.

The suspected spy, identified as Carsten L. by German prosecutors, worked for the signals intelligence branch of the country’s Federal Intelligence Service, which conducts electronic surveillance and works with the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters.

Prosecutors said the man was being held on suspicion of committing treason as their investigation continues.

The German intelligence service, known as the BND, confirmed the arrest but has declined to comment further, citing national security risks. The NSA and GCHQ declined to comment.

The Kremlin didn’t respond to a request for comment. Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, declined to comment.

Spy on the run

The Kremlin’s suspected penetration of Germany’s most secretive security agency is the latest evidence of Moscow’s aggressive tactics in Europe, where Russia has been accused of killing political opponents, sabotaging infrastructure and trying to steal industrial secrets.

The BND received a tipoff about the suspected spy from an allied intelligence service earlier this year, German officials said. After an internal investigation, the case was passed to the federal prosecutor, who then ordered the man’s arrest last week.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/suspected-russian-agent-in-germany-had-access-to-western-intelligence-about-ukraine-war-11672255183

Republicans kind of Guy. George Santos Admits He Lied a Lot

Lee Heidhues 12.28.2022

This story gets more bizarre by the day, if not the hour. The blatant lies spewed forth by the New York Congressman-elect started off as local news.

It has quickly spun out of control as the Republicans alternately are appalled yet will do anything to preserve their razor thin margin in the House of Representatives.

Even if it means seating someone who hasn’t even taken office and is already being investigated for his lies, and potentially more serious matters, at both the Federal and local level.

The Democrats only need sit back, smile and watch yet another Republican train wreck candidate crash and burn.

Excerpted from New York Magazine – The Intelligencer – 12.28.2022

George Santos, congressman-elect from the Third District of New York and international man of mystery, has been the feel-bad story of the holiday season.

For all the stuff Santos seems to have made up, there’s also a lot he didn’t disclose in biographical information: multiple evictions and debt defaults in New York, a criminal fraud conviction in Brazil, and a recently dissolved marriage to a woman (he claims to be openly gay and married to a man, though records on that can’t be found either so far).

The (apparently) 34-year-old Long Island Republican won one of the handful of upset races that gave his party a slim margin of control of the U.S. House. But when the New York Times began looking into his background in mid-December, it quickly became clear that the candidate who called himself the “full embodiment of the American Dream” may have been dreaming up an identity for himself.

Santos has now admitted in interviews with various media outlets that he was guilty of “embellishing his résumé.” But he insisted, “I am not a criminal,” and said he still plans to occupy his House seat on January 3, just like his 434 colleagues. With Republicans (and particularly presumptive Speaker Kevin McCarthy) needing every vote they can muster to organize the House and Democrats being reluctant to disenfranchise Santos’s constituents, he will probably get away with his lies for the present.

George Santos looks at a dubious future in Congress as the Ravens of Controversy encircle him

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/12/george-santos-admits-lied.html

Battle for Car Free JFK Promenade and Great Walkway far from over

Lee Heidhues 12.27.2022

While the thousands of people who campaigned for a Car Free JFK Promenade and Great Walkway Park achieved a marvelous victory at the polls on November 8, 2022 those who want to bring climate killing cars back have not given up the fight.

A group calling itself ‘Open the Great Highway Alliance’ filed a lawsuit against The City in San Francisco Superior Court a year ago. Their Motion to obtain an Injunction ordering that cars be allowed on JFK Promenade and The Great Walkway was rejected earlier this year.

‘Open the Great Highway Alliance’ then filed an Appeal with the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

That Appeal is pending.

The question needs to be asked, “Who is funding this lawsuit?”

During the election campaign I obtained documents from the San Francisco Ethics Commission to find out how much money the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Dede Wilsey were contributing to Proposition I. The measure which Dede Wilsey got onto the ballot paying signature gatherers $200,000.

The name on the FAMSF submission is the same as that in the lawsuit to bring cars back to JFK Promenade and The Great Walkway. ‘Open the Great Highway Alliance.’

Defeated overwhelmingly at the ballot box, Dede Wilsey continues to spend her money and thwart the will of the voters.

Liz Heidhues, a San Francisco native, celebrates Prop J victory which will keep JFK Promenade open to pedestrians and closed to cars, in Golden Gate Park Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Following the November election the Court of Appeal sent the following to both sides.

In light of events occurring since the filing of this appeal, including without limitation the election results as to Proposition I and Proposition J, the court directs each party to advise this court, in writing by December 2, 2022, whether the appeal should be dismissed as moot. Appellant may alternatively inform us that it elects not to proceed with the appeal. The party’s submission shall not exceed three typewritten single-space pages.

Attached is the response from the ‘Open the Great Highway Alliance’ which vows to continue its fight to bring cars back to JFK Promenade and The Great Walkway.

It can be expected that the Court of Appeal will set the matter for oral arguments sometime in late winter or early Spring 2023. Following oral arguments the three Justice panel will make its decision.

The people enjoy JFK Promenade

“We’ve got a chance to tip over that apple cart.” Dump McCarthy

Lee Heidhues 12.13.2022

It’s going to be a brawling couple of years in the House of Representatives as extreme MAGA Republicans will be running the Circus in Washington.

It shows how reactionary the Republican Party is in 2022 that Kevin McCarthy a complete Reactionary craven Trump toady may not be selected Speaker.

Why? The hard core House Freedom Caucus which is beyond Reactionary won’t even listen to entreaties from their MAGA Hero Donald Trump and put McCarthy in the Speakers chair next month.

The unified Democrats may be in the minority but they are ready to battle and make life as miserable as possible for the Speaker. Whoever it may be.

The adults will be in the Senate. The Democrats with their majority will be approving President Biden’s judicial and cabinet appointments while putting a stop to Nonsense emanating from the House

Excerpted from The New York Times 12.13.2022

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald J. Trump has been working the phones, personally pitching right-wing lawmakers on voting to make Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader he has called “My Kevin,” the speaker of the House.

“This is why we came to Congress,” Representative Bob Good of Virginia said. “This is why we’re here. We’ve got a chance to tip over that apple cart here on Jan. 3, when we elect a new speaker.”

Speaker in waiting Kevin McCarthy and his mentor Donald Trump

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, the most outspoken far-right member of his conference, is publicly vouching for Mr. McCarthy. The California Republican has made private entreaties and public promises to win over his critics, including floating the impeachment of a member of President Biden’s cabinet.

And yet, Mr. McCarthy, who is toiling to become speaker next year when the G.O.P. assumes the majority, has so far been unable to put down a mini-revolt on the right that threatens to imperil his bid for the top job.

Mr. McCarthy has embarked on the kind of grueling campaign that lawmakers in both parties jockeying for the post have sometimes been forced to perform. But some of the hard-right lawmakers with whom he is attempting to bargain do not appear to have a price, and most care less about legislating than shrinking the federal government — or upending it completely.

“What we do on stage is difficult to translate into this” The Cure

Lee Heidhues 12.12.2022

A great music video is The Cure doing a performance of their classic song Burn at Glastonbury in the United Kingdom in 2019.

We first heard this song on the soundtrack of the film The Crow in the 1990’s.

The cult classic starring Brandon Lee who died following an accident during the filming of the movie.

Following is a link to the full length video along with several photos.

Excerpted from Bristol Live 7.1.2019

Following electrifying performances by Stormzy and The Killers, the pressure was on for The Cure to finish Glastonbury 2019 with a bang.

This was the band’s fourth headline set at the festival, previously performing back in 1986, 1990 and 1995. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, it was an accomplished performance that built up to a thrilling and hugely enjoyable conclusion.

They opened their two-hour set with songs such as PlainsongPictures Of You A Night Like This and Burn. While the first half of the show was noticeably lacking in hits, front man Robert Smith easily captivated the enormous crowd in a straightforward and stripped back performance.

Not bad, for someone who has been performing for 41 years.

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife/glastonbury-2019-cure-robert-smith-3038678

The Crow – Blade Runner Wednesday in San Francisco – 9.9.2020 – photo by Liz Heidhues

“Not particularly interested” Trump turned down Whelan deal 

Lee Heidhues 12.11.2022

A man who professed himself to be a master at The Art of the Deal wasn’t interested in making it happen when an American citizen’s freedom was at stake.

It’s no surprise that during the period Donald Trump was still President (2018 – 2021) he refused to seriously negotiate for the release of American Paul Whelan from Russian custody.

Whelan was arrested and convicted on sham “espionage” charges in 2018. He is serving a 10 year sentence in Russia.

Whelan’s case surfaced prominently in recent weeks as negotiations which resulted in the exchange of professional basketball All-star Brittney Griner for convicted Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout made headline news.

Griner was detained with a small amount of marijuana oil last February in Moscow and after a bogus legal proceeding was sentenced to nine years in prison.

In the end it was only Griner who was released by the Russians prompting an outpouring of fury from political foes of President Biden and some people in law enforcement familiar with the prosecution of arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Now, Donald Trump is saying he never would have exchanged Paul Whelan for Viktor Bout.

People who worked with and are close to Trump speak of a different reality. He wasn’t interested.

Excerpted from The Hill 12.11.2022

Former President Trump on Sunday said he turned down a deal to release former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who’s been detained by Moscow since 2018, in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout during his time in the White House.

“I turned down a deal with Russia for a one on one swap of the so-called Merchant of Death for Paul Whelan. I wouldn’t have made the deal for a hundred people in exchange for someone that has killed untold numbers of people with his arms deals,” Trump said on Truth Social. 

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout – Back in the USSR

David Whelan, Paul Whelan’s brother, has accused the Trump administration of not appearing “interested in” the case.  

“I think the first two years, partly I think the Trump administration was not prepared to or not interested in working on wrongful detention cases,” David Whelan said Saturday on MSNBC.

Former Trump White House national security official Fiona Hill said Sunday that the deal to swap Bout for Whelan was a possibility while Trump was in office.

“At the particular time, I also have to say here that President Trump wasn’t especially interested in engaging in that swap for also Paul Whelan. He was not particularly interested in Paul’s case in the way that one would have thought he would be,” Hill said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” with Margaret Brennan. 

Bout was released last week in exchange for WNBA star Brittney Griner, who spent about 10 months in Russian custody.  

Brittney Griner – Now free to return to the type of Court she loves.

Trump criticized the deal soon after news broke of Griner’s release, saying Whelan should have been freed instead.

The Biden administration has said Russia was unwilling to include Whelan in a swap for Bout.

Trump said Sunday that, although he turned down the deal with Moscow, he “would have gotten Paul out,” though didn’t explain why he wasn’t able to do so.

“The deal for Griner is crazy and bad. The taking wouldn’t have even happened during my Administration, but if it did, I would have gotten her out , fast!” Trump said.  

Top photo – Paul Whelan. Still incarcerated Russia. Convicted of sham espionage charges in 2018. Serving a 10 year prison sentence.

Kit Lam – The politics of personal destruction in San Francisco

Lee Heidhues 12.9.2022

Man Kit Lam is a vindictive notorious reactionary political operative who has strewn a path of political destruction against those with whom he disagrees across the City’s landscape during the past two years.

Kit Lam was a major figure in the Recall of three School Board members in February 2022.

Kit Lam was a major instigator in the political coup d’etat which ousted Progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin in June 2022.

Kit Lam is a former Hong Kong law enforcement officer.

Kit Lam is a former San Francisco Unified School District address fraud inspector.

Supervisor elect Joel Engardio with his gate keeper in waiting Man Kit Lam

Kit Lam is now in line, according to at least one press report, to become a legislative aide to recently elected San Francisco Supervisor in waiting Joel Engardio, whose campaign he managed. Engardio was elected to office based on his support of the School Board and Chesa Boudin recalls. Engardio is also a founder of the strident Law and Order group Stop Crime SF.

Perhaps Kit Lam’s most dangerous action was his vicious pursuit of Jason Kruta, a young man who in a rash moment tried to take petitions being circulated during the School Board Recall campaign.

.Man Kit Lam stands over Mayor London Breed’s shoulder at the swearing in of DA Brooke Jenkins 7.8.22 | Paul Kuroda -The Standard

Kit Lam hectored San Francisco officialdom to make sure Kruta was charged with a crime.

Kit Lam then proceeded to sue Kruta in Superior Court to further harass Kruta. A matter which is still pending.

Recently it was announced that Kruta has paid price in the criminal justice system. The penalty, at least in Kit Lam’s mind, was insufficient.

Kit Lam’s Twitter blast leveled at Jason Kruta

Kit Lam has now taken to Twitter to blast what he feels is a soft punishment administered to Kruta. The irony here is that the woman he enthusiastically backed to replace Chesa Boudin, the current DA Brooke Jenkins, was in office while Kruta’s punishment was administered.

Kit Lam is saying nothing about the DA’s crime fighting decisions now despite the fact crime is running rampant in San Francisco.

Kit Lam is also taking aim at the DSA, Democrat Socialists of America in a vicious attack of red baiting.

It is disturbing to realize that Kit Lam in his role as an aide to Supervisor Engardio will have access to records and information not available to the average citizen.

Jason Kruta is a know(n) DSA member

Top Photo – Man Kit Lam argues with The Reverend Amos Brown, pastor Third Baptist Church and former D5 Supervisor, at a School Board meeting earlier this year.