It’s certainly not intentional, but I clearly have a penchant for leaving destruction and chaos in my wake. I worked for the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle when they were solid newspapers, and look at them today. The Chronicle has already picked out the lining for its coffin — glossy paper!
But I had no idea that my one and only trip to Konocti Harbor Resort in Clear Lake this year would cause its demise. Had I known, I would have gone to Santa Barbara instead.
Konocti had its own special charm, reflecting the kind of blue-collar spirit of its originator, the San Francisco plumbers union, which built it and later got sued by the federal government for, shall we say, shady dealings involving the use of its pension funds. But all that serious stuff didn’t stop city natives from flocking to Konocti because there just aren’t many concert venues that offer Pat Benatar, Huey Lewis and Hootie and the Blowfish.
To say that Konocti was rundown when I visited a few months back would be an understatement. Or, to put it another way, Clear Lake was cleaner. Konocti’s tennis courts were so dilapidated that they looked like part of a nature preserve. And its “newly renovated” rooms looked like sets designed for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” — during the first season.
But the beauty of its location and the cheerful spirit of the regulars who vacation there more than made up for its old-fashioned style, a kind of Russian River meets Tahoe for the middle-class Bay Area set.
And here’s the really cool part: It’s up for grabs for a paltry $15 million — the whole thing, including the peewee golf course, the outdoor amphitheater and the cheesy bar where the house band actually played Styx songs. That’s a steal, by any measure, in almost any economy.
There are a thousand possible uses for it, which is why civic benefactors and even city agencies should consider a purchase. It could be a medical marijuana dispensary/weekend getaway, a labor museum or a series of live/work lofts for those who can no longer afford The City’s generous supply of affordable housing.
And if a certain local philanthropist wanted a permanent venue for his bluegrass festival, he could have one, without city interference, 365 days a year. Trust me, you don’t want Sammy Hagar to outbid you on this.
Union flier shows who won’t be a good mayor
It’s no wonder the so-called “progressives” on the Board of Supervisors live in fear of unions such as SEIU. No sooner had the labor group prepared for a mass sitdown in Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office this week — a day before the board was trying to track down nearly $8 million in funding for less than 100 union jobs — than a glossy, four-panel color flier filled San Francisco mailboxes urging the mayor to spend money The City doesn’t have.
The flier contained testimonials from, among others, San Francisco state Sens. Mark Leno and Leland Yee, both of whom are rumored to be among the candidates to succeed Newsom. And it praised the seven supervisors who have backed the union’s demands from the start.
The union claims that losing some 70 jobs will blow a hole through San Francisco’s health care safety net, yet at the same time has been instrumental in fighting hospital expansion plans for California Pacific Medical Center on Cathedral Hill. And only labor muscle could make board members jump like pieces on a game board, ultimately deciding that they would spend about $2 million to save those jobs through the holidays, and then continue the debate next year, when they are reminded about $522 million The City also doesn’t have.
It makes for great theater, if lousy politics, but also it makes you wonder which future mayor will be strong enough to make the tough calls. Certainly it’s nobody listed as a backer on the union’s slick flier.
Fur-brained protesters make you wonder
For all those daredevil consumers doing their part to stimulate the economy today, here’s a public service announcement: Leave the mink at home, next to the alligator boots.
That’s because our nation’s fur defenders will be out in force today to remind you that bunnies and foxes are people, too.
If you want to see them for yourself, In Defense of Animals will be holding a demonstration beginning at noon in Union Square to tell anyone within megaphone distance that the fur industry is evil. And what better time to get that message across than right after Turkey Day?
The organization takes its demonstrations very seriously, going out of its way this year to target Nordstrom, which it wants to become the nation’s first fur-free department store — and that’s probably because almost all the other department stores have gone out of business.
It’s yet another reminder that it’s a jungle out there.
Niners rush Santa Clara stadium plans
You’ve got to give it to the San Francisco 49ers: They may not be able to rush the ball on the field, but when it comes to pushing their stadium-building plans through Santa Clara’s government, they’re like the second coming of Gale Sayers.
Despite a whole host of questions raised about the planned stadium site’s flawed transportation access, the Santa Clara County Planning Commission gave it a stamp of approval and it now appears the City Council may vote on it in early December.
But the questions are very real, since the stadium site has less public transportation available than Candlestick Park and a whole lot (as in thousands of spaces) less parking. The main lot at the proposed site holds about 2,600 cars, and the rest would be taken from nearby businesses and offices.
How’s that going to play out? The report says the team may not be able to hold weekday games because of this little, uh, thing — which means “Monday Night Football” would be a no-go, something the NFL may be interested to know.
It’s clear that the team and the city are desperate to push the plan through, no doubt to capitalize on this upbeat economy. Santa Clarans beware.