Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, the first of the bad signs went up at Ocean Beach.  We received much needed rain, almost an inch in a 48 hour period, in this, our driest year on record.

(Photo credit: Ocean Beach Bulletin)

Almost immediately, the signs went up.  The volume of rainwater added to the combined storm/sewer system overflowed the system, was screened and sent untreated into the ocean.  A friend, whom I recently paddled out with on his 40th birthday, called with the surf (sign) report.  “This sucks, man!” was the report.  Today, the signs came down.  It goes without saying that traces remain.

I’ll issue the surf report today for Friday around the noon hour.  It’s little, ride-able, light sideshore winds, interval is kind of tight, good exercise on a sunny afternoon, could be fun…but, here’s the disclaimer–it’s kind of shitty.  The chunks got filtered out, but who’s going outside the break to check the water?  Not me.  I’m going to sit it out today.  I just decided.  And, I’m going to try not to think about that Dungeness Crab I want for the holiday feast.

It sucks, man.  Sadly, it gets worse.  I just got a copy of the proposed budget for the conversion of the Beach Chalet Meadow into a keep-the-light-on-for-ya toxic Field Turf dump.  It calls for containment of the toxic slurry that will filter through the ground-up tire crumb infill.  Where’s all that toxic crap going to go?  Yup, into the combined storm/sewer system.  Well, at least there won’t be any chunks in it when that, too, gets pumped into our Ocean.  Maybe the plan is to kill the pathogenic organisms of shitty origin with the toxic wasted water from the shitty fields.  That would be of some comfort, an indication that there is something of a plan behind this knuckle-headed industrial soccer stadium complex.

It’s been pretty quiet since the election kind-of-sort-of wrapped up.  The law requires that Department of Elections certify the vote by the day after Thanksgiving.  Then, thankfully, that will be over.  I look forward to analyzing the stats.  I can already be proud of the fact that my District will have cast more ballots than any other in the City.  I’m happy to know that I know my neighbors a little better than I did previously.  With their encouragement, I’ll continue to press the two main issues that prompted me to run for Supervisor–ending the appointee/incumbent cycle to restore a sense of fairness to the electoral process, and protecting our watershed and our ocean from toxicogenic projects like the one proposed for our Golden Gate Park.  Without social justice, environmental justice is a tough row to hoe.

In closing, for the record, for those who don’t know me well enough, I am not opposed to soccer.  Nor am I opposed to fields of play for elders and youngers.  Soccer was never my preferred sport, but if any team needs a goalie, I’m willing to fill in and probably do a mediocre job at it.  Being in a wide open field reminds me of my younger days when I did play ball, from my childhood through college as a Division III athlete.  I spent a lot of time on fields of play, enough to know them well and to appreciate the significant advantages of playing on a well-maintained natural grass field over a shoddy plastic substitute.

I also know this about the games we play–sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes, it rains.  And, sometimes when it rains, it sucks, man.

Thanks to the Ocean Beach Bulletin for reporting the news.


Electronic registration of votes is not very sexyredbar.  The Department of Elections’ iconic Red bar  fills in for the numerical string.

Red bar grows as the vote tally goes.  That’s sexier.  Far sexier are all of your markings on the bagged ballots awaiting to be counted and reviewed.  This is going to take a while.  In the meantime, there’s a Meadow to save and a promise to keep.  I’m going to keep writing about the issues until the count’s good.  Consider it a pause to stop and reflect–a moment of retrospective significance.  Stay tuned.  Check your virtual progress meter.  Thanks.

As of yesterday, the 14th, the virtual progress meter showed some movement.  Actually, there may be a couple of thousand votes out there.  There are a lot of ballots that need to be opened.  “Drop your mail in ballot at any polling place” was the advice I gave to voters who wanted to participate, rather than sit out, this time around.  Let’s see how many made it to that dock by the Bay and over to City Hall.  The vote will be Official around Thanksgiving.  Thanks for voting.

Consistently throughout this campaign, neighbors, friends, visitors, and residents of the community have thanked me for stepping up and running for District 4 Supervisor.  At one point, I promised to draft an open letter to the Board of Supervisors in order to voice significant concerns the majority of us have about the way things are going downtown and how they affect us in this District. 

I aim to keep my promises.

Here’s that letter.

Open Letter to the Board of Supervisors

This Election Day, every ballot cast on which voters have written my name carries with it messages to City Hall.

It has been my privilege to have carried out a short and resourceful campaign as a certified qualified write-in candidate for BOS D4.  I have had the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about politics and other issues with neighbors, friends, visitors, and residents of District 4.  Rarely perfunctory, these interactions numbered in the thousands.  I have learned a great deal about the hopes and desires of my fellow San Franciscans and those who love the City, and I consider myself fortunate to have had the experience of doing so.

I started the campaign with two issues at hand.  I found them to be touchstones.  They will remain that even as the campaign ends.  The first is the appointee/incumbent cycle, the party strategy that has dogged me for many years as a San Francisco voter.  The second is the horribly conceived, toxic Field Turf with night-lighting proposal for the Beach Chalet meadow in Golden Gate Park.

I proposed a legislative repair for the first.

For the second problem, as it is currently being litigated in a CEQA suit, I proposed that significant pressure from the BOS could end the protracted legal proceedings which will likely ensue even after the judge’s deadline for ruling on the case.  Evidence submitted in the case points to the defective nature of the EIR.  The matter of the City’s MOU with the City Fields Foundation only enhances the embarrassment profile for the City.  Given the poor environmental track record of the Foundation’s principals and contributors and, more recently, their proven participation in a Dark Money operation whose aim was to influence political campaigns, this private/public partnership does not pass the smell test.  I urge you to consider your options on how you might work to save the City from further embarrassment and to terminate both the project and the partnership.  The simple fact is that no one, not a single person whom I have talked to about this toxic industrial soccer stadium complex, is for it.  When given a choice between well-maintained, natural grass fields and a toxic, shoddy substitute–everyone chooses the former.

I bring these matters to you as a private citizen and one who has had the distinct advantage of being in a position to hear the voices of many of our fellow San Franciscans in a short interval of time.  I call these important issues to your attention as a matter of course as I have made a promise to those who found promise in my candidacy for BOS D4.  That promise which I represent is simply this–an elected official who is not beholden and who is willing to act in accordance with the will of their constituents.  The promise I have made previously, I have, now, kept.  I would favor the courtesy of your reply via email.  This week as I wrap up my election-related affairs, I will happily respond to any inquiries you may have and will provide you with a copy of an online petition that I have circulated opposing the destruction of the Beach Chalet Meadow.  Thank you kindly for your time and consideration.


Mike Murphy

This is my Final Statement. It is a direct appeal to Vote. Thanks to all who offered support and encouragement along the way. It has been an enlightening experience.

Thanks to Julia from Santa Cruz for documenting this moment. Welcome to the neighborhood. It’s fun here, hope you stick around.

You too Dave. Glad you’re back. Let’s make damn sure the City doesn’t miss the boat again.

Please enjoy this video.

[Write my name on the Ballot, NO on (show pony panty raid) A, NO on (Condos for Billionaires on Public Land, even though sock puppets like it) B & C, YES (whatever, duh, “where’s the beef?”) D ]

IMG_0496In our ecoliteracy studies, my young students and I calculated the number of blades in an acre of well-maintained grass field.  We took a sample from a neighboring Mission District baseball field, brought it to the table and began counting.  We did the math and were surprised at the answer, greater than 400 million leaves of grass per acre.

In recent weeks, talk of grassroots democracy (the importance of casting a meaningful ballot at the polls and fairness in our local elections) and talk about ecological wisdom has dominated the discussion in my talks with neighbors.  Countless conversations about the latter have confirmed that the vast majority of us are wise.  Everywhere, there is the sentiment that the conversion of our grass fields of play into toxic Field Turf installations is a grievous error.   Also on everyone’s radar is the fact that there are numerous examples of private/public partnerships that don’t pass the smell test.  That’s a problem.  Just recently, I’ve had a whiff of a few more that I didn’t even know about or suspect.

Another sense that I’ve gleaned in recent weeks is that many have lost hope in our civic project, that the one-party machine is unstoppable.  Rather than pit hope against hope, I’ve offered that others should have faith in the fact that I will go to work, stick a wrench in, and fix that broken machine.  We’d like to make that machine work for us for a change.

I had a good laugh with one neighbor when I promised to have the appointee/incumbent problem repair plan on the table at my first Board of Supes meeting–to make appointees legally unable to stand for election in the succeeding cycle. It might free those appointees up to make independent decisions.  It would certainly invigorate the election process with a sense of fairness.  We laughed because it would be hard to argue against that one and because I’d have to go to work before I picked up a check and get others to go to work for free too.  I have to be careful about what promises I make…my neighbors will call me on them, and that one said he’d write my name on the ballot.

The other promise I’ve made is to go over all of the private/public partnerships with a fine tooth comb.  That one I’d get paid for, and savings to taxpayers, if I were able to can a few of those over-cozy arrangements, would more than pay my Supe’s salary.  Hopefully, my neighbors would buy me some Vicks to put under my nose after a while.  Hopefully, the Supe’s vision plan would cover the new prescription I’d probably end up needing.

Which brings me back to the leaves of grass I started with.

At 9am, Dia de los Muertos, I rolled out sod on the street on the site of new, approved parklet on Judah.  The parklet is not funded yet.  It’s sponsors are passing the hat.  I thought it would be nice to have the live experience of interacting with the space.  I had thought through the logistics to occupy two parking spaces and what it would take to make it an an altar to grass destroyed by a particularly bad private/public partnership with the City Fields Foundation.   As pictures show, visitors, neighbors, friends (some whom I had not seen in too long), and children came out and enjoyed the day.  The future CA Sec. of State, David Curtis even stopped by.  IMG_0483We had some real conversations and fun on real grass.  After a full day, I rolled up the grass and took it away.


I’ll post more pictures as I get permission to do so.  Don’t go to sleep on this election.  Vote early and often.