The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s awesome Instagram account, which primarily shares photos of crazy items the TSA has found while screening airline passengers, is not new, but it did see significant new attention on the Internet this week. Whoever is running it has made an effort to include wild finds from many different airports across the U.S., including several from San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport. At SFO the TSA confiscated a brush dagger and a bullet-knife, child’s play compared to the novelty bomb belt, throwing star, seven pounds of weed, and 81 more pounds of weed (pictured) taken at OAK. Wow, you’d think that last one would’ve just slid right through, huh?
The TSA’s photos offer a fascinating look at human naiveté, stupidity and stubbornness. They expose some very weird parts of the black market. The TSA’s Instagram is great, but I can’t help but notice an alternate purpose that it serves: scaring us into liking and trusting the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security by giving us the impression that “threats” are much more frequent than they actually are. The Instagram gives the illusion that the TSA is constantly confiscating tons of weapons, many deviously disguised, in every airport. A few hundred or thousand weapons is certainly many weapons, but it’s not so many when one considers that the TSA screens 600-700 million passengers every year. That means the TSA finds ~3 firearms for every million people it screens. The TSA’s posts are entertaining, but whether they intend it or not, and whether we realize it or not, they serve another purpose too. Thoughts?
Andrew Dalton, for SF Weekly, takes a look at some changes coming soon to one of them:
On a Wednesday night in January, in the cafeteria of a private high school just across Interstate 280 from the Balboa Park BART station, a group of 100 or so neighbors and activists gather to discuss the future of the neighborhood. Specifically, they come to deliver their opinions regarding what should be done with the Balboa Reservoir, a nearly 18-acre plot of city-owned land next to the City College of San Francisco.
The Balboa Reservoir is an odd space, not least because it doesn’t look much like a reservoir at all. It’s an open and flat parking lot (unusual for the area) smack in the middle of a neighborhood mostly populated by single-family homes. The reservoir sits, sunken a few feet below the surrounding area, between Mt. Davidson to the north, CCSF to the east, and a new low-rise condo building with a ground-floor Whole Foods to the south. New residents of the complex, which fronts Ocean Avenue, can look straight out their third-floor windows and enjoy a view of the three-story earthen dam that separates the reservoir from the quaint Westwood Park neighborhood to the west. On a recent Saturday, the parking lot that serves as the reservoir’s asphalt bottom was empty save for a man on a recumbent tricycle pedaling laps around the perimeter while a woman waited for him in the passenger seat of a parked Prius.
Read on for lots more background and astute reporting. (Also, take a walk around this area if you get a chance. I was there a lot when I was a CCSF student in ’03 or so, and there’s heaps of history and geography and interesting vibes around there. Randy’s Place, am I right??)
Our pal Daisy, longtime proponent of the Upper Haight, has finally had enough:
You know how you can talk crap about your family, but if someone else does, it’s totally not okay? That’s kind of how I feel about everything I’m about to say. See… I’ve lived in the Upper Haight since 2006. And I’ve been going to Haight St since I was a teenager. And sure, maybe that’s not nearly as long as a bunch of other people who live in the ‘hood, but it’s long enough for me to know that where I was once enamored with the street, I now pretty much can’t stand it.
Don’t get me wrong — there are a lot of great things about the Upper Haight: Magnolia, Alembic, Amoeba Records, Aub Zam Zam, Murio’s Trophy Room, Hobson’s Choice, Best of Thai Noodle, Off the Grid, The Booksmith, Second Act… I love all of those spots and wish I could regularly patronize them. Unfortunately, in order to get to any of them, I have to actually set foot on Haight St. Which, I’ve recently realized, is just not something I want to do anymore.
Read on for a whole heap of specific reasons Daisy doesn’t want to set foot on Haight.
(How long do you reckon it’ll be before I’m writing a listicle about being done with the Mission?)
Holy cow, Susie Cagle‘s new piece on the gentrification situation in Oakland is a barnburner. Here’s how it starts:
Gentrification: We think we know it when we see it. Pour-over organic coffee, double-wide designer strollers, gluten-free options. Millennials and their unrelenting desire to live and work in cities that pushes out longtime residents. A tide rising, cresting and washing over. An act of nature.
These demographic and economic shifts in cities aren’t the result of organic social and cultural trends; the changes are wrought by decades of investment and public policy choices, and inextricably bound to histories of racism, exclusionary land use policies and exploitative banking processes that left certain communities vulnerable to a steamroller of new investment.
“If you don’t know what the problem is you definitely can’t stop being a part of it, and I think a lot of people don’t know what the problem is,” says DeeDee Serendipity, a native of Oakland who now owns a salon in the city.
Read on for an exhaustive examination of how exactly gentrification works and what exactly is happening in Oakland.
Capp Street Crap reports:
On a quest for a burrito on my last full day in Bangkok, I found a scene almost worthy of a Twilight Zone episode: a food court Mission taqueria. Yes, that’s a taco truck and a mini Mission District in the belly of the fanciest mall I’ve ever been to. They’ve even got a Michelada on the menu.
The burrito looks pretty good:
Read on for more info and lots more pics of the place.
Laying on the beach at Crissy Field on a 90-degree afternoon is pretty cool for a lot of reasons, so I did it two days in a row. Here’s a list of stuff I saw:
[Photo and additional reporting by Jess Kelso]
Delarosa is cool because it’s like Beretta but with more light, more beers, more pasta, a deep fryer — and it’s open for lunch! And there’s sidewalk seating and great big open windows so even if you’re inside you feel like you’re outside. It’s in the Marina though, so I don’t recognize many of the people walking past. Here’s a complete list:
That’s it! Only one person.