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California Center for Sustainable Energy Roadshow Guides Californians to Home Energy Savings

Center for Sustainable Energy’s mobile Energy Center travels around California.


The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) wrapped up the Energy Upgrade California Roadshow on Sunday, Nov. 18 in Cupertino, California, the eleventh stop on the energy education tour. The program, Energy Upgrade California, took energy education for homeowners on the road with the Energy Upgrade California Roadshow, a statewide mobile exhibit on energy efficiency. The roadshow started in San Diego on Nov. 1 and ended in Cupertino last Sunday reaching hundreds of homeowners throughout the state.

The Roadshow spent the last two weeks of November traveling the state to educate homeowners on the Energy Upgrade California program, how to increase home efficiency, provide energy cost savings and improve home comfort.

The roadshow made eleven stops in nine cities including Woodland Hills, Pacific Palisades, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Francisco, Antioch, Oakland and Cupertino. The stops included local farmers markets, community workshops and UC Santa Barbara. In the Bay Area, the Roadshow stopped at the Greenbuild Global Conference in San Francisco, a Contra Costa Homeowner Workshop at the Antioch Community Center, Oakland Tech High School and Sears at the Vallco Shopping Center in Cupertino.

Energy Upgrade California provides a “whole house” approach that focuses on a house as a system and looks at how various elements affect energy use. The program presents residents with an array of improvements to increase home health, comfort and safety while saving money on their utility bills.

The program educates homeowners on basic improvements to increase home efficiency and provides eligible homeowners a chance to sign up for an assessment, the first step towards improving their home and receiving rebates. Rebates range from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the energy savings achieved.

Eligible California homeowners can sign up for a home assessment by visiting the Energy Upgrade California website at and typing in their county name or zip code.

About Energy Upgrade California

Energy Upgrade California™ is a program of the California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission to reduce residential energy use, curb greenhouse gas emissions and create more comfortable and healthy homes. For more information on Energy Upgrade California, visit

About Energy Upgrade California Roadshow

The Energy Upgrade California Roadshow is a mobile exhibit in a trailer designed to inform and inspire Californians to learn about and install energy-saving improvements in their homes. The Energy Upgrade California Roadshow is funded in part by the Department of Energy in support of the goals of its Better Buildings Neighborhood Program. It was built by CCSE, an independent nonprofit organization that accelerates the adoption of clean and efficient energy solutions, based in San Diego.

About the California Center for Sustainable Energy

The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) is an independent, nonprofit organization that accelerates the adoption of clean and efficient energy solutions via consumer education, market facilitation and policy innovation. For more information and workshop listings, visit or call (866) 733-6374.



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MadMaps Introduces The Definitive Scenic Map Of The West Coast

Third in the RIDES OF A LIFETIME SERIES is  complete with over

3,000 miles of scenic roads from San Diego to Seattle

MadMaps — the San Francisco-based producer of back roads maps for bikers, RV owners, weekenders and out-of-towners – just introduced the definitive map of the 3,000 mile Pacific Coast.  The newest map is the 3rd in their RIDES OF A LIFETIME series.   The Pacific Coast map includes off-the-beaten-track attractions, scenic rides, and turn-by-turn directions from San Diego to Seattle

“We spend years compiling information from our customers, and are constantly adding great rides and attractions that are unknown to most travelers,” according to Jenny Lefferts, Founder of MadMaps.  “The Pacific Coast map is the culmination of three years of research and a great addition to the Route 66and Southwest maps in our RIDES OF A LIFETIME SERIES.”

With a portfolio of over 1000 US routes, MadMaps relies on scouts from coast to coast to find the most interesting and fun experiences for travelers.    Each map has turn-by-turn directions and mileage calculations, along with suggested roadside attractions; inter-connectable routes and roadhouses that make each road experience a unique ride tailored to the curious off roader in every corner of the country.

The map retails for $16.95 and is printed on heavy-duty, water-resistant stock.  All three maps in the RIDES OF LIFETIME series are available in a tri-fold nylon case that perfectly fits into a glove compartment or backpack.

To purchase, or for additional information, contact



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Airbnb Study Finds Online Travel Service Has Positive Effects on San Francisco Economy, Neighborhoods

Airbnb, the world’s leading marketplace for booking, discovering, and listing unique spaces around the world, today released a study that highlights Airbnb’s impact on local economies.

The study was conducted by HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading real estate and economic development consulting firm, and demonstrates that Airbnb provides a major economic boost both to its users and the neighborhoods and cities where they visit and live.  HR&A conducts sophisticated economic impact analyses for a wide variety of industries and clients, and cities around the United States come to HR&A for guidance on fostering strong and sustainable local economies and attracting new sources of economic activity.  Drawing on this expertise, HR&A developed a customized approach to quantify the unique impacts of the new kinds of tourism that Airbnb brings to San Francisco.

The study found that people who rent their homes on Airbnb use the income they earn to stay afloat in difficult economic times. Additionally, the study determined that travelers who use Airbnb enjoy longer stays, spend more money in the cities they visit, and bring income to less-touristed neighborhoods.

“Airbnb represents a new form of travel,” says Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky. “This study shows that Airbnb is having a huge positive impact – not just on the lives of our guests and hosts, but also on the local neighborhoods they visit and live in.”

The economic impact study underscores the significant benefits that Airbnb, a pioneer of the new sharing economy, has on cities and their residents. Some highlights from the study’s findings:

- From April 2011 to May 2012, guests and hosts utilizing Airbnb have contributed $56 million in total spending to San Francisco’s economy, $43.1 million of which supported local businesses throughout the city’s diverse neighborhoods.

- 90% of Airbnb hosts rent the homes they live in to visitors on an occasional basis, and nearly half the income they make is spent on living expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, and other bills).

- Airbnb guests stay an average of 5.5 days and spend $1,045 during their stay on food, shopping and transportation, compared to hotel guests who stay an average of 3.5 days and spend $840.

- 72% of Airbnb properties in San Francisco are located outside the central hotel corridor. More than 90% of Airbnb guests visiting San Francisco prefer to stay in neighborhoods that are “off the beaten track.” Over 60% of Airbnb guest-spending occurs in the neighborhoods in which the guests stay.

Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, Calif., Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone.  Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences at any price point, in more than 30,000 cities and 192 countries.  And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

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Blu Homes Protest Greets 30,000 at Pacific Coast Builders Conference Opening Day in San Francisco

The 30,000 attendees today at the annual Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) were greeted by a major protest from the employees of a green home building company seeking unionization of its northern California production facility.

More than 100 Blu Homes employees and members of the Carpenters Union Local 180 armed with giant 30-foot tall inflatable effigies of The Grim Reaper and a pig leafleted outside the largest gathering of the home building industry in the western United States today, the opening day of PCBC.

Blu Homes’ production workers are in a labor dispute with Blu Homes after company management has refused to recognize the union even after 38 of 45 workers at the company’s Vallejo signed a petition this year demanding representation by the Carpenters Union. More than 17 unfair Labor Charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board against Blu Homes.

The Carpenters Union charges that Blu Homes’ President Bill Haney and his behavior toward its workers and environmental practices do not match the pro-environment and pro-worker projects that have marked Mr. Haney’s career or the efforts of people on the company’s Board of Advisers, including Robert Kennedy, Jr., whose father played a pivotal role in the unionization of California farm workers.

Blu Homes Inc., a Massachusetts-based company that designs and builds pre-fabricated single family green homes, opened a new facility inside Vallejo’s historic Factory Building 680 on Lennar Mare Island in December 2011.

Shortly thereafter, workers approached Carpenters Local 180, asking for help in resolving issues of poor bathroom facilities, lack of gender specific bathrooms, job safety and the lack of a retirement plan.  The overriding factor was a lack of respect for the workers from management, according to Carpenters representatives.

Haney has been described in the NY Times as one of America’s leading environmental entrepreneurs.  In addition to his business and investment successes that made him a multi-millionaire, he is also a documentary filmmaker, taking his camera to places where social injustice was met with resistance by those on the ground.

From the Dominican Republic, where he focused on the struggle of Haitian sugar workers in “The Price of Sugar,” to the mountains of West Virginia, where he chronicled a community’s fight against mountain top removal mining, Haney’s films emphasize the power of ordinary people. Along the way, he has spoken forcefully against the evils of corporate greed, against environmental degradation and union busting, and for the powers of workers organizing into a union.

Haney, being interviewed about his documentary, “The Price of Sugar” and the struggle of Haitian sugar workers in the Dominican Republic said: “…one of the most interesting things that took place for me was to be present at the birth of a union. It was extraordinary to see the power and vitality of a union and how desperate these workers were without it and what improvements could be ripped from the plantations owner’s hands if there was one…”

Haney, commenting on Massey Energy and the fight against mountaintop removal mining: “…you know, there are miners working there who are getting a pathetic fraction of what they would have gotten even 10 years ago when they had protection with the unions. So, they’ve destroyed the unions, they’ve beaten up on the environment, they’ve violated federal health and safety standards, to what appears to be really the enrichment of a very small number of people, primarily the executives of the company.”

The Carpenters’ union thinks Haney is a hypocrite. Haney has positioned himself as a champion of the environment, an ally of the poor, and a defender of unions. So one must ask: why can’t he live up to his own words at his own company?

The Blu Home workers in Vallejo have overwhelmingly petitioned for union representation and they are being denied this right by the very same man that encouraged unionization in the Dominican Republic and in the hills of West Virginia. That’s not irony–that’s hypocrisy, some on the picket line said today.

In March 2012, Blu Homes raised $25 Million in Capital from new investors Brightpath Capital Partners and The Skagen Group in the Netherlands. According to the company, this brings total investment in Blu Homes to $50 million since 2007.

One can only hope that Mr. Haney and Robert F. Kenney Jr. and the other board members will recognize the right of workers to organize and have decent and safe working conditions and benefit from the growth of Blu Homes.

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On the Scene with Bill Wilson at the Church of Sant’Ancieto

Text and photo by Bill Wilson

Church of Sant’Ancieto is on the second level of the Palazzo Altemps

Church of Sant’Ancieto is on the second level of the Palazzo Altemps

If one has the wealth and clout to have a church, not the usual chapel, but a full church with relics of a saint and everything, installed in your own palace then I guess a chance to spin a little history doesn’t much matter.

General view of the Church of Sant’Ancieto

General view of the Church of Sant’Ancieto

The church was built by Giovanni Angelo Altemps starting in 1603 and was completed by 1618. Sant’Ancieto was one of the early popes from 154-167 AD.  And he is seen on the north wall pleading with authorities for his life. Except it is not really believed that the Pope died that way. So why would he be portrayed that way? Therein lies a tale of love, family pride, and devotion to duty.

Frescoes by Pomarancio showing Christ on the way to Calvary, the martyrdom of Sant’Ancieto and a woman gathering innocent blood that has fallen on Roman soil.

Frescoes by Pomarancio showing Christ on the way to Calvary, the martyrdom of Sant’Ancieto and a woman gathering innocent blood that has fallen on Roman soil.

Giovanni’s father was Roberto Altemps the illegitimate son of Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps. When Sixtus V became Pope in 1585 he tried to clean up the corruption and graft. He became known as the law and order Pope. Roberto was accused of adultery, a crime that in those days was a capitol offense. Ordinary the punishment would have been to require Roberto to marry the woman, but in this case that was not possible since Roberto had just been married to a member of the Orsini family. Unfortunately this was the  same Orsini family that Pope Sixtus V held responsible for the death of his nephew.

 Close up of Pope Sant’Ancieto

Close up of Pope Sant’Ancieto

Roberto Altemps was punished by beheading in 1586. Did Roberto get a fair hearing? Was he the victim of the Pope’s reluctance to show favor to any one? It depends on what history you read, but clearly the Altemps family felt him innocent and his son chose to honor Sant’Ancieto in a way that would remind people of that innocence.

View from the church window of the Painted Loggia which contains the Gallery of the Twelve Caesars.

View from the church window of the Painted Loggia which contains the Gallery of the Twelve Caesars.

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Ludovisi’s Marbles

Text and Photos by Bill Wilson

In the years 1621 to 1623 Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi assembled a collection of ancient marble sculptures that have become known as the Boncompagni Ludovisi Marbles to be displayed at his villa. These sculptures were to have a great influence on the Baroque culture. Having been restored by sculptors like Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Alessandro Algardi, they were reproduced in various medium and served to inspire artists such as the Spanish painter Velazquez, who saw then while staying in Rome and John Singleton Copley who used them in the background of his elegant portraits.

When Rome was named the Capitol of the unified Italy in 1861 there was pressure to build in the area of the Villa Ludovisi because its open parkland provided much needed space. The collection was dispersed but the Italian state was able to acquire much of it in 1901. Currently the sculptures are part of the display at the Museo Nazionale Romano/ Palazzo Altemps. In addition to the sculptures that were kept part of the collection, also on display is the famous “Ludovisi Throne” which was discovered in the area of the villa in 1887.


The front of the Ludovisi Throne showing the birth of Aphrodite  

The front of the Ludovisi Throne showing the birth of Aphrodite

In the English version of the guidebook, Museo Nazionale Romano, Nunizo Giustozzi explains, “It is now generally agreed that the craving on front represents the mythical birth of Aphrodite from foam, the perhaps not so allusive fruit of the severed genitals of Uranus after his son Cronus threw them into the sea…she is helped to emerge by the young and strong arms of the Horai.”

The left side is adorned with a Flute player

The left side is adorned with a Flute player

The right side is adorned with a bride.

The right side is adorned with a bride.

There isn’t the same general agreement on how it might have been used, where it came from or when it came to Rome.

The Juno Ludovisi is another famous part of the collection that has inspired poets, artists and writers. Goethe declared her his first Roman love. In a story by Henry James she comes alive.

Juno Ludovisi

Juno Ludovisi

Most scholars have identified this head as a young and idealized portrait of Antonia Minor, the Emperor Claudius’s mother, who was deified after her death in 37AD. Others think it may be the head of Livia the wife of Emperor Augustus. 
The front of the Grand Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus

The front of the Grand Ludovisi Battle Sarcophagus

This Sarcophagus found in Rome in 1621 is one of the largest ever found. The theme of victory over the Barbarians is a common one in decoration of sarcophagi from the second half of the 2nd century to the first half of the 3rd century AD. The deceased is the figure in the center with his arm outstretched.
The Palazzo Altemps contains so many things to see at every turn

The Palazzo Altemps contains so many things to see at every turn


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On the Scene with Bill Wilson: A walk in Rome

A close up of the statue of the Virgin Mary that sits atop an ancient Roman column in Piazza Mignanelli, which is adjacent to the Piazza di Spagna.

A close up of the statue of the Virgin Mary that sits atop an ancient Roman column in Piazza Mignanelli, which is adjacent to the Piazza di Spagna.

We took our usual afternoon walk through the neighborhood, but today we picked a more distant neighborhood. A bus ride from the Tiburtina station took us to Via Del Tritone were we got off just before Via Del Babuino. That put us in a direct line to the Piazza del Popolo with the Piazza di Spagna along the way.

The view of the Colonna dell’Immacolata from the Piazza di Spagna.

The view of the Colonna dell’Immacolata from the Piazza di Spagna.

The statue of the Virgin Mary was put atop an ancient roman column in 1857 to celebrate Pope Pius IX’s declaration of the doctrine of Immaculate Conception. The statue was visible most of our walk along the Via Del Babuino. One of three roads called the Trident that converge at the Piazza del Popolo.

The condition of the Fontana del Sileno lead people to call it Babuino (the  baboon) and gave the street its name.

The condition of the Fontana del Sileno lead people to call it Babuino (the baboon) and gave the street its name.

Easter is considered the start of the tourist season in Rome. If our excursion was any indication it is off to a good start. The Spanish steps were covered with tourists. It was a beautiful sunny day that made the colors of the building seem even more vivid.
Fernando Orlandi stands in front of the Spanish steps in the Piazza di Spagna.

Fernando Orlandi stands in front of the Spanish steps in the Piazza di Spagna.

The guidebooks recommend a very circuitous route around this world famous shopping district, but the shops along the Via Del Babuino were enough for us. There were a great variety of shops, some of the names of which Americans would recognize.

A famous American name

A famous American name

A recognizable Italian name

A recognizable Italian name

It was fun to just walk along this street because you never knew what the next window might bring. You also never saw a price.

This little ring can inflict a lethal bite to the budget of unwary tourists.

This little ring can inflict a lethal bite to the budget of unwary tourists.

Before the camera became portable and easy as a click, a painting was the only way to share a view of what you had visited.

Before the camera became portable and easy as a click, a painting was the only way to share a view of what you had visited.

 Not made necessarily for comfort, they sure look good

Not made necessarily for comfort, they sure look good

Household items of quality available here

Household items of quality available here

Shopping isn’t the only reason to walk along the Via Del Babuino. The international flavor of Rome is reflected in the area. The Piazza de Spagna was named because when Spain had it s Embassy to the Holy See in the area it was considered Spanish territory. Along the Via Del Babuino is the All Saints Church, which holds Anglican services.

This photo was taken several blocks from the Piazza del Popolo, but looking back to where we started. The Virgin Mary statue can just be seen in the distance.

This photo was taken several blocks from the Piazza del Popolo, but looking back to where we started. The Virgin Mary statue can just be seen in the distance.

“Porta del Popolo” The door of the People was at the end of our walk.

“Porta del Popolo” The door of the People was at the end of our walk.

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On the Scene With Bill Wilson: Europe

Golden Gate view from the air after take off from SFO.

Golden Gate view from the air after take off from SFO.

Yes, we took a chance flying on April 1, but the fools were the ones who didn’t take advantage of the lower fares that started April 1. We were on our way to Rome for a 2 /2 month stay with my husband’s mother. Our flight took us through London’s Heathrow. Leaving San Francisco in the afternoon we arrived in London in the morning.

Buckingham Palace stands aloof from its London surroundings, but will soon be the center of attention during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.

Buckingham Palace stands aloof from its London surroundings, but will soon be the center of attention during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60 years on the throne, is currently underway as she takes tours of areas of Britain and various boroughs of London. With the Jubilee events in June and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games coming in July and August, a busy travel season is expected for London this year. We didn’t have a long delay getting into Heathrow only a ten minute wait before heading down the Thames and getting a bird’s eye view of the sites famous world-wide.

30,000 plus feet above Paris makes the landmarks hard to detect, but the Seine is clearly visible as it winds its way through the city.

30,000 plus feet above Paris makes the landmarks hard to detect, but the Seine is clearly visible as it winds its way through the city.

The flight from London to Rome is a little more than two hours and takes you directly over France, the Alps and northern Italy.  The alps are almost always a breathtaking sight. Even on cloudy days some of the higher peaks can be seen rising above the clouds.

The Alps higher peaks break through the cloud cover

The Alps higher peaks break through the cloud cover

Once across the Alps the countryside of northern Italy is visible and the beautiful green countryside of Tuscany comes into better view as the descent into Rome’s Fumicino  airport begins. At the risk of being a little bit sentimental. I am really looking forward to this trip.

The northern Italian countryside from the plane on the way to a landing at Rome’s Fumicino Airport.

The northern Italian countryside from the plane on the way to a landing at Rome’s Fumicino Airport.

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San Francisco named Cleantech Capital of North America

Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced today that San Francisco has been named the Cleantech Capital of North America by the Cleantech Group, a leading cleantech industry research firm. The Cleantech Group presented the Mayor with the award at the EcoCity Showcase during the 10th Cleantech Forum conference being held in San Francisco this week.

“Through bold policy leadership and aggressive economic development efforts, San Francisco has become a leading center for the cleantech industry,” said Mayor Lee. “Thank you to the Cleantech Group for recognizing San Francisco as the ‘Cleantech Capital of North America.’ I am deeply proud of this important milestone, and I believe this is just the beginning as we are committed to making San Francisco’s cleantech ecosystem even stronger, more sustainable and more robust.”

“Cleantech Group is proud to name San Francisco the ‘Cleantech Capital of North America’ in recognition of the City’s ongoing support for all things clean and green,” said Cleantech Group CEO Sheeraz Haji. “No other city has done more to foster the innovation and deployment of cutting edge clean technologies.”

The Cleantech Group reported that San Francisco is home to 208 cleantech companies and cleantech investors – one the largest and most concentrated cleantech clusters in the world. This number does not include cleantech partners, sustainable construction and other green companies which would increase this number even further.

“From passing a tax exclusion for cleantech companies to recruiting international renewable energy firms, the City has made supporting the growth of the clean tech industry a priority,” said San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development Director Jennifer Matz. “San Francisco offers leading cleantech firms access to top talent, unmatched proximity to investors and partners, and a City government which actively supports the cleantech sector.”

“A thriving clean tech sector is necessary to further San Francisco’s ambitious sustainability goals,” said San Francisco Department of Environment Director Melanie Nutter. “With the cutting edge products and services from our clean tech entrepreneurs, San Francisco continues to serve as hub for innovation, growth and sustainable excellence.”

Eleven companies in the Cleantech Group’s Global Cleantech 100 have locations in San Francisco, the most of any city. Seven of these cleantech firms are headquartered in San Francisco. The Global Cleantech 100 Companies located in San Francisco are: Adura Technologies, Mission Motors, Nexant, Project Frog, RelayRides, SCIenergy, SunRun, AMEE, Harvest Power, Heliatek and OPower.

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Mayor Lee announces the return of “Sunday Streets”, beginning March 11th

Mayor Edwin M. Lee has announced the return of the popular Sunday Streets program with a full schedule of car-free events starting Sunday, March 11th, along the Embarcadero. The eight-month Sunday Streets 2012 season opens streets to pedestrians, cyclists and people-powered wheels of all kinds by temporarily removing vehicular traffic on select Sundays, transforming street-space usually reserved for cars into recreational space for everyone to enjoy safely.

“Sunday Streets not only showcases San Francisco’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, it is a proven cost-effective way to better health for San Franciscans,” said Mayor Lee. “We’re committed to ensuring the program’s continued growth and success in 2012 and beyond. We look forward to returning to Chinatown, doing a more frequent Mission route, and adding a new route in the Southwest neighborhoods of our City to bring the benefits of Sunday Streets to more San Francisco neighborhoods.”

Founded in 2008, Sunday Streets has grown from two events to 10 and creates miles of car-free space on City roads. San Francisco was the third city in the United States to premier this free, community-oriented initiative. Since then it has become the nation’s largest, and one of the City’s most exciting initiatives promoting benefits such as biking, walking, recreation, and community-building. The program was one of only eight programs in the country to be selected for possible inclusion in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign.

Highlights this year include:

Continuing and possibly expanding the new Chinatown event;

Increasing the popular Mission District event to four consecutive events held on the first Sunday of May, June, July and August; and

Introducing a new route in Southwestern neighborhoods.

Sunday Streets is presented by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Livable City, Sunday Streets’ non-profit fiscal partner. The 2012 season is co-presented by Bank of America. The Mayor’s Office, San Francisco Police Department, Department of Public Works and the Recreation and Parks Department. “We are proud to host our most ambitious Sunday Streets program to date,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “The Sunday Streets program has a tremendous impact on San Franciscans and visitors alike, who have started to envision the streets in a whole new way; not just as a means to get from place to place, but as an opportunity to create a healthier, more connected City for all.”

“Sunday Streets brings tens of thousands of people outside to explore more than 20 distinct neighborhoods of San Francisco. As a global company founded in San Francisco, Bank of America is proud to support this wonderful event,” said Bank of America San Francisco and East Bay Market President Martin Richards. “Sunday Streets and Bank of America share a commitment to building economically strong, connected, healthy communities in San Francisco and to celebrate the many diverse communities that benefit from the program.”

Financial partners include: AT&T, Shape Up SF, Kaiser Permanente, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, California Pacific Medical Center, PG&E, Lennar, Park Merced, The Seed Fund, The California Endowment and UCSF. Neighborhood sponsors include Sports Basement, Mikes Bikes, REI, CH2MHILL, Clif Kid, The New Wheel, Darling International, Bi-Rite Markets, and The Exploratorium. Major in-kind support is provided by The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, which provides Emergency Medical support, City CarShare and Parkwide LLC. The San Francisco Examiner and Clear Channel Radio are media sponsors. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition runs Sunday Streets’ volunteer program.

Business community support includes Fisherman’s Wharf, Tenderloin and Fillmore Community Benefits Districts, Lower 24th Street (Mission), Bayview, Taraval and Outer Sunset and Valencia Corridor Merchant Associations, San Francisco and Chinese Chambers of Commerce, and dozens of community groups representing host neighborhoods along Sunday Streets routes.

Sunday Streets 2012 Season Schedule (subject to change):

March 11: Embarcadero- Season kick off

April 15: Great Highway/Golden Gate park- new route through the park

May 6: Mission

June 3: Mission

July 1: Mission

July 22: Bayview

August 5: Mission

August TBA: Chinatown

September 9: Western Addition/N. Panhandle Alamo Square

October 21: Outer Mission/Excelsior

Click here to become a Volunteer for Sunday Streets 2012: Volunteer

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Gold Dust Landmark Submission is Pyrite Effort Property Owners Speak Against ‘Historic’ Designation for Tourist Bar

The tenants of the Gold Dust Lounge, a tourist bar since 1966, are seeking historic landmark status, but the owners of the property call the effort a mockery of historic preservation.

The Handlery family, which owns the Elkan Gunst Building at 301 Geary Street, already designated a Category 1 Significant Landmark, is speaking out to oppose the application by their tenant, the Gold Dust Lounge, to have the bar inside the building listed as an historic landmark itself.

“The attempt to use San Francisco’s important landmark process to give historical status to the Gold Dust Lounge is a cynical attempt to misuse the process in a landlord and tenant dispute,” said Sam Singer, a spokesman for the Handlery family which owns the property.

The proposal by the Gold Dust Lounge for historical preservation comes on the heels of the landlord providing notice to the Bar, according to the agreed upon conditions of their lease, that it had 90 days to find a new location for their establishment. The land marking effort is a tactic by the bar to remain in the building, but it won’t work because the lease for the Gold

Dust Lounge expires in early March and they must be out by that date or face significant legal and financial penalties.

The materials to landmark the bar, submitted by the Gold Dust Lounge, appear to be grasping to pull together a comprehensive history of this schizophrenic bar. In the report the author tried to explain how the bar is an example of an “American’ cocktail lounge of the mid-twentieth century’ with art deco overlaid by ‘Gay Nineties’ and a bar ‘associated with important aspects of the San Francisco nightlife culture.’” The description begs the question, what exactly is the historical importance of the Gold Dust Lounge?

Back in the 1985 submittal to landmark the entire Elkan Gunst Building, the interior of the Gold Dust Lounge was rated as “fair/poor” and was not deemed worthy of inclusion into the historical designation of the Handlery’s building as a character-defining feature then, and should not be considered one now, Singer said.

The 1960’s bar does not convey, nor contribute to the historical significance of the Elkan Gunst Building. The baroque style of the historic building and the Kearny-Market-Mason-Sutter Conversion District is historically respectable unlike the tawdry exterior of the Gold Dust Lounge, he added.

The proposition that the bar could be individually eligible for the land marking status under the well-established National Register Criteria is meritless and is discouraged by the Office of Historic Preservation and various National Register Bulletins. The criterion for this honor applies to properties significant for their design or construction, including such elements as architecture, landscape architecture, engineering or artwork. It cannot be sufficient that a bar is an example of an “American’ cocktail lounge of the mid-twentieth century,” as suggested – there is no scarcity of those. There, Singer added, the landmark status should be rejected by the preservation board.

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On the Scene With Bill Wilson – In the Wake of Queen Elizabeth

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

Detail of the No Stopping sign in front of the Cruise Terminal. Bill Wilson photo

Queen Elizabeth was in San Francisco just a day ahead of the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the English throne. Of course it was the ship, Queen Elizabeth not the actual monarch, but it makes a wonderful connection to the story I was going to write anyway, just to show off my royal portrait of the Queen.

The Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth as viewed from the Butterfly Restaurant’s outside seating. Bill Wilson photo

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were five days into a five month around the world trip when her Father, King George VI passed away in his sleep. They had arrived in Kenya and were spending a private day in a remote area watching wildlife. They had spent the night at a place called “Treetops” where high above a water hole they could observe the wild animals come to drink.

Tradition says that once a reigning monarch’s heart stops their heir becomes monarch in that instant. Princess Elizabeth remained unaware that she had become Queen for several hours. It was only realized that the King had died when his staff was unable to wake him. The message that the King had died was sent in code to the various officials, however the person who had the codes was on his way to meet the Princess so it wasn’t until reporters traveling with the Princess were called by people at their papers that the Princess’ staff was made aware of the situation. It was Prince Phillip who broke the news to her that her father had died.

Queen Elizabeth 2 dressed in mourning descends the steps of the plane that returned her from Africa to London. Prince Phillip is five steps behind.

In a book, whose title I’ve forgotten, on the Queen’s coronation, the author observed that it might be considered morbid if someone was to pack black clothes in their travel bags, but for Princess Elizabeth, it was just a matter of duty. In a recent story (January 9) in the “Daily Mail” reporter Chris Slack revealed that there was a mix up about the clothes. He wrote, “Arrangements were quickly made for the Royal party to return to London, with a plane flying them from Nanyuki, a nearby town, to Entebbe where a plane was waiting. During the flight, another problem arose in that the Queen’s mourning outfit had already gone ahead and she only had a floral dress to wear. The aircraft decided to land in North Africa where a message was sent ahead and a second black outfit was taken to London airport. Upon the flight’s arrival, the dress was taken aboard after it stopped in the remote area of the airport. The Queen changed quickly before emerging, meeting a line-up including her uncle the Duke of Gloucester and Churchill.”

During her 1976 visit to Washington, DC I was able to get this photo of the Queen as she did a walk about at the Lincoln Memorial. Bill Wilson photo

Back to the ship, the Queen Elizabeth is Cunard’s newest ship having just been put into service in 2010. It is the second largest ship in the Cunard fleet, second only to the Queen Mary 2. In making her maiden call to the Port of San Francisco the Queen Elizabeth follows in the wake of her sister ships, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria.

The Queen Mary 2 does fit under the Golden Gate Bridge on February 4, 2007 just five years to the day before the QE maiden call to San Francisco Bill Wilson photo

The Queen Mary 2 is Cunard’s largest ship and thousands of people on both land and water came to witness and welcome her as she traveled under the Golden Gate Bridge on February 4, 2007. It wasn’t as close a fit as some had speculated it might be.

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from one of the lounges on the Queen Victoria which made her maiden call to the port of San Francisco on January 27, 2010. Bill Wilson photo

The Queen Victoria made her inaugural stop in San Francisco on January 27, 2010. Invitation only tours were given of the ship and her beautiful interiors in an effort to give people a taste of cruising.

The upper decks of the Queen Elizabeth tower above the Pier 35 where she docked in San Francisco.

The stop in San Francisco is part of the world cruise that Queen Elizabeth is currently on. Spending little more than 13 hours in Port by 9pm she was on her way to Hawaii.

The Bridge of the Queen Elizabeth can be seen through the windows of the Cruise Terminal at Pier 35.

Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at

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On Scene with Bill Wilson Above London Royal Views

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2012

The first time we flew British Airways to Rome via London I wasn’t prepared for the fact that the flight path seemed to take us right over the Thames and London’s famous landmarks. This time I was prepared but the weather wasn’t as good.

Big Ben is in the center of this photo, Westminster Abbey on the left and the London Eye can be seen at the top right.

From the air you can see the stark contrasts between the old and new London. The sleek new buildings erected along side buildings that have stood for centuries.

Buckingham Palace is almost obscured by the buildings on one side but surrounded by beautiful parks and greens on the other sides.

Coming back from Rome to London on a smaller plane the flight path took us around London rather than down the Thames, but it did take us almost directly over Windsor Castle and the surrounding countryside.

This is only about half of Windsor Castle. The State Apartments are on the top side of this photo.


Key to plan (right)

  • A: The Round Tower
  • B: The Upper Ward, The Quadrangle (as this courtyard is known)
  • C: The State Apartments
  • D: Private Apartments, overlooking the East terrace
  • E: South Wing, overlooking The Long Walk
  • F: Lower Ward
  • G: St. George’s Chapel
  • H: Horseshoe Cloister
  • L: The Long Walk
  • K: King Henry VIII Gate (principal entrance)
  • M: Norman Gate
  • N: North Terrace
  • O: Edward IV Tower
  • T: The Curfew Tower

A better view of the East Terrace.
With any bit of luck this is Eton, Britain’s famous public (meaning private) school.

It is difficult to tell from the sky what the various towns and places are, but I think this is Eton because when I searched the internet for photos they looked very similar to me.

Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York TimesThe San Francisco ChronicleThe San Francisco ExaminerSFistSFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at

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Quake in Turkey kills 75, collapses buildings in 7.2 Earthquake

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, killing at least 75 people and sparking panic as it collapsed buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete.

Desperate survivors dug Sunday into the rubble with their bare hands, trying to rescue the trapped and injured.

State-run TRT television reported that 59 people were killed and 150 injured in the eastern town of Ercis, and 15 others died in the provincial center of Van. Another person died in the nearby province of Bitlis.

PHOTOS: Powerful quake strikes Turkey

As many as 80 buildings collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory, and 10 buildings collapsed in Van, the Turkish Red Crescent said. Some highways also caved in, CNN-Turk television reported.

“There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed. There is too much destruction,” Ercis mayor Zulfikar Arapoglu told NTV television. “We need urgent aid. We need medics.”

Rescuers in Van scrambled to find survivors in a flattened eight-story building that had shops on the ground floor, television footage showed. Residents sobbed outside the ruins, hoping that missing relatives would be rescued.

“My wife and child are inside! My 4-month-old baby is inside!” CNN-Turk television showed one young man crying.

Witnesses said eight people were rescued from the rubble, but frequent aftershocks were hampering search efforts, CNN-Turk reported.

Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis.

“There are many people under the rubble,” Veysel Keser, mayor of Celebibag, told NTV. “People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent help.”

He said many buildings had collapsed, including student dormitories, hotels and gas stations.

The quake’s epicenter was in the village of Tabanli, 10 miles (17 kilometers) from Van. It struck at 10:41 a.m. local time, at a depth of 12.4 miles (20 kilometers), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Turkey lies in one of the world’s most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. Lake Van, where Sunday’s earthquake hit, is in the country’s most earthquake-prone region.

U.S. scientists recorded eight aftershocks within three hours of the quake, including two with a magnitude of 5.6.

Atalay said authorities had no information yet on remote villages but the governor was touring the region by helicopter to assess the damage.

The Kandilli observatory, Turkey’s main seismography center, said the quake was capable of killing many people.

“We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000,” Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, told a televised news conference.

In Van, terrified residents spilled into the streets in panic as rescue workers and residents using their bare hands and shovels struggled to find people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings, television footage showed. At least 50 people were treated in the courtyard of the state hospital, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

There was no immediate information about a recently restored 10th century Armenian church, Akdamar Church, which is perched on a rocky island in the nearby Lake Van.

Houses also collapsed in the province of Bitlis, where an 8-year-old girl was killed, authorities said. The quake also toppled the minarets of two mosques in the nearby province of Mus.

NTV said Van’s airport was damaged and planes were being diverted to neighboring cities.

The earthquake also shook buildings in neighboring Armenia. In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Ercis, people rushed into the streets fearing buildings would collapse but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

Armenia was the site of a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed 25,000 people.

The quake’s epicenter was in the village of Tabanli in eastern Van province, bordering Iran. It was felt in northwest Iran, causing some panic in major cities, Iranian media reported, but without any mention of casualties or damage.

The quake was felt in Iran’s cities of Orumiyeh, Khoy and Salmas near the border, the official IRNA news agency reported.

It was also felt in Tabriz, an Iranian city about 200 kilometers east of the epicenter, the Mehr news agency reported, quoting the regional governor general, Jafar Zolfaqari.

The tremors were strong enough to cause “scenes of panic among the population of the cities,” according to several Iranian media.

However, there was “currently no indication of damage or casualties” in Iranian territory, Zolfaqari said.

Israel on Sunday offered humanitarian assistance to Turkey despite a rift in relations following an 2010 Israeli navy raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead. In September, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended military ties because Israel has not apologized. Israel has sent rescue teams to Turkey after past earthquakes in times of closer ties.

Turkey sees frequent earthquakes. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people.

More recently, a 6.0-magnitude quake in March 2010 killed 51 people in eastern Turkey, while in 2003, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingol.

Turkey’s worst earthquake in the last century came in 1939 in the eastern city of Erzincan, causing an estimated 160,000 deaths.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line. Authorities say Istanbul is ill-prepared for a major earthquake and experts have warned that overcrowding and faulty construction could lead to the deaths of over 40,000 people if a major earthquake struck the city.

By the Los Angeles Times: Special correspondent Ramin Mostaghim from Tehran contributed to this report.


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San Francisco Rug & Textile Show Opens This Week: More than 40 Oriental Rug and Textile Dealers From Around The World to Present Carpets, Rugs, Textiles for Home Decorating and Collecting


The Marina District’s Capri Hotel is turned into a souk (market) that resembles Marrakech this week for the annual rug and textile show that draws dealers, collectors and decorators from around the World.


If you love oriental rugs, textiles and tribal arts, this week marks the third annual gathering of dealers of Oriental rugs and textiles in San Francisco from around the World. The dealers take over San Francisco’s Capri Motel in the Marina District and turn it into a souk (market) that resembles Marrakech and sell their wares to collectors, decorators, and people interested in acquiring historic and artistic textiles.

The 3rd annual Antique Rug & Textile Show will be held in San Francisco’s Marina District this week Friday to Sunday, Oct. 21 to 23 at the Motel Capri, 2015 Greenwich St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Admission is free and open to the public.

Prior to the show on Thursday evening Oct. 20, there will be an opening reception hosted by the Antique Rug & Textile Art Association (ARTAA), host of the annual event, now one of the largest annual rug shows and sales worldwide.

More than 40 international dealers will be participating in the show. The event also features a special exhibition of Turkmen bags from three highly regarded private collections.

This is THE event of the year for the most serious textile enthusiasts, but the show also makes a special effort in educating the public and encouraging appreciation for textile arts. To this end, there will be a special theme room dedicated to introducing new patrons to the art. The room will be staffed throughout the show by knowledgeable specialists from various areas of textile art. The room will also host the annual Show & Tell at noon on Sunday, Oct. 23.

The public and collector community are encouraged to bring in rugs and textiles from their collections for free appraisals.

Free seminars from several experts specializing in various areas of textile arts will be available to explain nuances of structure and materials of rugs and textiles, geographic attributions and identification of pieces and any related questions. This year’s seminars include talks by experts on Baluch Group Weavings and Sumak Flatweaves Attributed to the Shahsevan.

Join the fun and buy and learn about real textiles and rugs from the best in the business. If you’re a hardcore textile-head or just someone wanting to buy oriental carpets for your home, the Antique Rug and Textile Show is the show of the year.

Dealers participating in the show include:

Alberto Levi – Milan, Italy; Ali Aydin – Germantown, MD; Amin Motamedi – Hamburg, Germany; Andy Lloyd – Bath, United Kingdom; Ben Banayan – San Francisco; Bertram Frauenknecht – Istanbul, Turkey; Bob Brundage – Petaluma, Calif.; Chuck Paterson – Santa Fe, NM; Craig Hatch – Nomadic, USA; Cuneyt Yesilcay – Istanbul, Turkey; DeWitt Mallary – New York, NY; Ed Koch / Herat Gallery – Miami, FL; Fred Hazin; George Fine – Santa Fe, NM; Hamid Rafatpanah – Bryn Mawr, PA; Hagop Manoyan – New York, NY; James Cohen – Milan, Italy; Jeff Dworsky – Stonington, ME; Joe Loux-San Francisco; John Collins – Watertown, MA; John Ruddy – Santa Fe, NM; Linda Pastorino/Sinkiang – Chester, NJ; Mark Berkovich – Galilee, Israel; Mete Mutlu – Chicago, Ill.; Michael Craycraft – Stuttgart, Germany; Michael Phillips – Arvada, CO; Mohammad Tehrani – Hamburg, Germany; Nick Wright – Williamstown, MA; Nunzio Crisa / Uroburo – Milan, Italy; Owen Parry – London; Patrick Pouler – Santa Barbara, Calif.; Peter Pap – San Francisco; Reyn Staffel – Springfield, OR; Rodney McDonald – Rochester, NY; Rudolf Geissmann – Cardiff by the Sea, CA; / Wesley Marquand – Culver City, Calif.; Saeed Imani; Seref Ozen / Cocoon – Istanbul, Turkey; Stolp Fraser – East Hampton, NY; Thom Mond – New Hampshire; Udo Langauer – Vienna, Austria; Ulrike Montigel – Stuttgart, Germany; Wayne Barron – Cambridge, MA.





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