Dog Bites

Dim Sum-mit
Diners in a Clement Street dim sum restaurant were interested to see San Francisco Neighbors' Association co-founder Julie Lee sharing a pleasant lunch with Mayor Willie Brown last Wednesday. And no, Willie's head wasn't on the menu.

Lee described the meeting as "very friendly." She said the mayor was "very receptive" when she reiterated the SFNA's view that Brown has been neglecting the west side of the city.

"We helped him during his campaign for mayor," Lee said. "And I told him that I hoped he could do more for us on the west side, and we could help him again."

Also lunching with the pair was one Florence Fang, the matriarch of the Independent-owning (and by extension, Warren Hinckle-publishing) Fang family.

The summit was arranged when Lee received a call from someone she would describe only as a "mutual friend" of herself and the mayor.

The invitation came just two days after SF Weekly's story on the growing political clout of the SFNA, the mostly Chinese-American homeowners group that upset the San Francisco Democratic Party establishment by pushing through a measure to rebuild the Central Freeway last November.

Lee said the mayor seemed receptive when she told him he was paying too much attention to certain groups and "gatekeepers" in the Chinese community. But don't look for Chinatown power Rose Pak's head on a platter any time soon.

-- T.S.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Shamless
As has been remarked upon in this column, San Franciscans are awfully convinced of their own stylishness. So we note that when Travel & Leisure asked ever-so-blue-blooded American designer Bill Blass the important question, "Which cities have the best-dressed women?" he answered:

1) Houston
2) Santa Barbara
3) New York
4) Lake Forest, Ill.
5) San Francisco
Stings, huh?

Blass shares other observations and Northern California travel tips with readers. While at Tahoe he prefers to stay with friends -- "There's nothing like taking a vintage Chris-Craft to dinner at another lodge" -- but also enjoys a stopover at Billy Getty's PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. "I'm all for the real America," he confesses. "But the last thing I want when I check into a hotel is realness. My favorite hotels are the best ones."

The Really, Really Long-Range Forecast
Back at the beginning of February, we asked L.A. psychic-to-the-stars Lynne Boutross when the El Nino-spawned rainstorms would end. "The date I'm seeing is April 7," she told us.

Though one Bay Area long-range forecast is calling for showers Thursday, others are predicting nothing more serious than partly cloudy skies for the rest of the week. What to believe? Well, when last we talked with Boutross, she was, so to speak, having trouble pulling in a clear signal. The problem: interference caused by all the rain.

Monorail, Monorail, Monorail!
Last week we swore off Muni-bashing. Luckily, though, no one believed us. Because we were lying.

Still, although we make no promises regarding the system in general (what is up with the 4 Sutter, anyway?) we must take exception to the Chron's April 6 front-page story on our very favorite Muni ride. That would be the one headlined "Muni's New E-Line No Beeline."

Apparently, CalTrain commuters don't find the E-Line the most efficient way to complete their morning trips to the Financial District. This is all news to Dog Bites, who was under the impression that the line was built to whisk SF Weekly staffers over to the Embarcadero for dim sum, newsstand browsing, and window shopping.

But despite revelations of commuter disgruntlement, we refuse to hear any complaints about the E-Line. It's just perfect. The cars are pristine and pleasant-smelling, the line is scenic, the ride smooth -- in short, we think the only thing that could be better would be riding a monorail around a world's fair in some Scandinavian socialist utopia with a huge tax base. And even that wouldn't be much better.

And You Were Worried About Your Resume
Job titles are everything to some people. After all, how else are you going to trump others at that inevitable, disheartening moment in every San Francisco pseudo-social gathering when people exchange business cards?

So Dog Bites was a little concerned for the Public Utilities Commission's own Sarah Ruby. Ruby is the Water Department's, uh, well -- there's no easy way to say this -- toilet rebate coordinator.

"It's a beauty, isn't it?" Ruby says of her title, laughing merrily. And yes, her business cards are the cause of many double takes. "On a regular basis," she volunteers.

Ruby's job is organizing the city-subsidized sale of ultra-low-flow toilets, at $10 per, to homeowners. "Essentially what I do is water conservation," she explains.

-- Laurel Wellman

Dog Bites welcomes tips, especially those pertaining to disgruntlement. Write to Dog Bites, c/o SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107, or e-mail dogbites@sfweekly.com.

 
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