Snip Snip

In case you missed it, recently a bunch of folks managed to gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that would ban circumcision in SF. It made national news due to the oddity of such an initiative. Of course as usual, everyone starts over-generalizing about ‘liberal SF’.  I’ll be the first to admit people here are so initiative happy it borders on hysterical. [1]Seriously, if you can get enough signatures, you can put virtually anything on the ballot for people to vote on. Some things should require a little more review and decision making before just putting it to a vote. But while it was a bit of an extreme, the idea itself did have some merit IMHO.

Anyway, I knew right up front the initiative would fail. One, it didn’t allow religious exemptions and two it was very poorly written and overly broad. Circumcision has been part of “religious” ceremonies long enough it would take some serious doing to get something passed that didn’t include said exemptions. Being overly broad, it would have also created to many legal problems for enforcement. In the end, a judge actually ordered it removed from the ballot before it even went to a vote. That in itself is rare so that should tell you just how poorly it was written.

Frankly, I don’t think the government should be legislating something like this. I also think that we’ve become overly dependent on such an unnecessary procedure. While rare, there can be complications from a circumcision. And once done, its very hard to undo and even then its usually not the same. Why risk it unless its necessary? It is true circumcision has shown to be slightly more effective at preventing the spread of HIV. But the studies mentioned were for 3rd-world countries that don’t have ready access to clean water, good hygiene, medicines, etc. How very convenient to leave that detail out. lol And yes, there are cases where it ends up being medically necessary. But said complications are the exception not the rule.

Most people hide behind the “medical benefits” of circumcision to cover up the fact they are just uncomfortable with it. Cosmetically, it may look nicer but that shouldn’t out-weigh common-sense. Making a decision for your child based on a purely cosmetic preference is a bit selfish and extreme. Frankly, I’m glad I still have my hood. Its not overly pronounced or anything weird. When I’m “excited” you barely even notice. Side note here: One time after a “biblical encounter” with a guy, he went off on a tangent about it saying how he disliked it. Wasn’t he surprised when I pulled the sheet down and showed him! lolol True story!

Anyway, for .02, instead of coming up with more laws that limit social behavior, we should focus on community education. Communities rarely focus on public awareness campaigns anymore and its obviously showing. We’ve become a society fixated with telling people what they can/can’t do vs actually teaching people the pros/cons of their decisions.   /rant


1 Seriously, if you can get enough signatures, you can put virtually anything on the ballot for people to vote on.


I rarely weigh in on political shenanigans here in SF but sometimes certain issues really need a proper beating.  The most frightening and potentially catastrophic is proposition B.

Prop B will force city employees to start paying their own retirement and insurance costs in full. Costs for themselves as well as all of their dependents. Forgetting for a moment local unions have already negotiated with the city to restructure retirement payments, it totally misleads people into believing the proposed changes will solve the cities financial problems. Even worse, it bars the city from raising base salaries in any way to compensate for the sudden and significant burden it dumps on the worker’s backs. Oh but it gets better, the person who wrote it works for the city as an attorney. Naturally, he exempted himself and his cronies from the cuts. So he expects us line workers to give up our hard earned benefits while he keeps his. Oh yeah, that sounds really fair.

As a civil service worker, I’m extremely afraid of this initiative passing. If it passes, I will lose roughly $450 a month out of my take home pay. I already give up between 30/40% of my gross salary for taxes/benefits. And I only have one dependent. Imagine what it does to someone who has 2 or 3 kids? Not to mention I’ve already given up almost 15% in cost-of- living increases for the last 3 years and any cost-of-living increases for the next 2 years.

If this initiative passes, I’ll be forced to choose between having insurance for myself and my partner or move out of the City into a cheaper smaller apartment just to make ends meet. I’m lucky in that I make a decent salary for what I do. I shutter at the thought of how all the folks who make much less than I do will be impacted by this initiative.

I’ll be the first to admit the city has fiscal problems. This initiative is being sold to the public as an attempt to fix those problems. The reality is its nothing but a political ploy for power and clout. Besides part of it being possibly illegal, it also would cost the City $100 million in federal funding if it passes. This tiny little detail alone negates any positive impact of the ordinance. Not to mention, the fuzzy math used to sell it is deceiving.

I support budget cuts and initiatives that make sense. But blanket cutting hard-working employees benefits to gain political clout is shameful and extremely damaging for SF. Even worse, this proposition pits the unemployed and non-unionized employees against unionized city employees. It does nothing to solve the real problems we all face. I can only hope that people realize the truth of what this proposition means before its too late.

Not So Zippy

**Update** ~ Apparently, they do pay attention to blogs and cyber “stuff”.  I got an email and a phone call from the corporate office. The guy was nice and very apologetic. He gave me a credit, which at this point I don’t care about but I appreciated the offer. The part I did care about was his genuine concern. He made a real effort to understand my problem and listen. He also gave me his personal work email for future problems.

Don’t get me wrong, all is not forgiven but at least someone is finally paying attention. The face I had to bad mouth the company in a public forum to finally get a response hasn’t escaped my notice either.

I discovered Zipcar when I first moved to SF. For those not in the know, the concept is simple. Instead of having to rent a car by the day or week, you rent by the hour. Your hourly rate includes the cost of the car, insurance, and gas. The process is also very simple. With registration, you get a card with a digital chip in it. You log online via the web or various mobile apps, sign up for an available car of your choice, show up, slide your card over the scanner, start the car and drive away.  Great idea right? It used to be.

Zipcar started out as a bright, fun, spunky little company with a novel approach to renting cars. A niche market for sure, but in a city as dense as SF one would think there is virtually no way to fail.

Where do I start with my frustration? I don’t know if its because they’ve grown too big or just plain greedy. Either way, this fun little company is ranking one step below AT&T for all time worst customer service right now in my mind. Oh yeah, you begin to feel my pain.

It all started about 2 years ago with a car that had a flat tire. I didn’t notice the flat until I hopped in the car to drive away. I made it less than a block, turned around, drove back to the spot and notified the company. Imagine my surprise when 2 weeks later I got a bill for the repair. I called, got a credit, and went on my merry way. A month later I find a suspicious charge on my bank statement. Turns out I got re-billed for the flat. Even though I went out of my way to help, because I physically drove the car before noticing the flat I got tagged with the bill. As disappointing it was, I accepted my part in the process and ate the cost. I figured one hiccup along the way was acceptable.

Sadly, things have gone from bad to worse. I’ve experienced so much frustration since then I’ve lost all faith in the company. Granted, no business model is perfect and one that depends as much on its customers as it does its employees is bound to have problems. I totally understand that. But when I do have problems, the outright lack of concern and open disdain from the employees is not acceptable. More often than not, the line employees seem more intent on putting me in my place and citing policy vs actually listening. Out of the last 10 reservations, 4 have gone smoothly.

Today, I show up to pick up my car and its not their. [1]If the car isn’t in use you can pick it up up to 14 minutes early with no extra charge. My time slot arrives, still no car. I call in to find out what’s going on. I’m already feeling annoying expecting the worst. The rep couldn’t find the car or a previous reservation. After some digging he discovers the car was taken out of service for repair and returned. Apparently not as the car is missing. After some more searching with no luck, he offers to move my reservation. Keep in mind my start time has already come and gone. He ends up moving me to another car 4 blocks away. To be fair, he did adjust my slot and gave me an hour credit. However, at this point neither of which was any consolation. I’m just plain tired of crappy to non-existent service.

I show up at the new location to find my 2nd car parked and ready. While I’m picking it up, I notice the car I was supposed to have is parked 2 slots away. Stupid me, I was considerate enough to call back and let them know where the first car was. The 2nd rep didn’t seem to comprehend. Mind you, I am pretty angry at this point and I’m being none too polite. Her stupidity only made it worse. I finally got her to understand what I was saying or at least I thought I did. As I’m preparing to end the call, she says, “ok sir, I have changed her reservation and your new drop off time is all set.

Excuse me? No ma’am. One, I was already in my new reservation so she was flat out lying to me. Two, my slot was already adjusted so double whammy. I finally lose my temper, let loose a string of obscenities about her stupidity and hung up. I’d had it.

I’m at the point now where I’d dump them all together if there was a easier alternative. [2]Of course, if they keep this up, someone better will eventually replace them. City Car share has a footprint here but they are much smaller and don’t anywhere near the number of cars or pickup spots.

Customer service is a dying art in most companies these days and to see a company with so much potential fall so far in such a short period of time is extremely disappointing.


1 If the car isn’t in use you can pick it up up to 14 minutes early with no extra charge.
2 Of course, if they keep this up, someone better will eventually replace them.


Apparently, this is turning out to be one of the foggiest (read chilliest) summer on record for SF. If you’ve ever been to SF, you know we tend to have Indian summers. [1]Summers that are later in the season than you would normally expect. You also know that June/July are known for their chilly evenings. The chill is from the fog that rolls in late afternoon/early evening. We get plenty of sunshine mind you. We also get very little to no rain once the rainy season is over. And speaking of rain, we had an exceptionally long rainy season this year as well.

Anyway, as I said, this year has been especially foggy. Normally by now the fog has begun to decline and the warm weather has set in full force. Ironically, last summer was extremely warm. [2]But global warming is a total myth.  I think poor Apple guy has begun to get a little frustrated with the lack of warmth. Spending a good many years in Florida, and more recently big ole Texas, he has become accustomed to warm weather. He will adapt in time as we all do but I can tell he gets frustrated at times. I don’t blame him either.

I’m hoping we’ll get lucky toward the end of the month that the fog will finally recede and give us a couple months of warm sunny weather before winter sets in. Only time will tell I guess.


1 Summers that are later in the season than you would normally expect.
2 But global warming is a total myth.

15 years to life in S.F. dog maul death

15 years to life in S.F. dog maul death

It only took 7 years for the verdict to be reached. This dog attack was beyond despicable. It was also one of the most horrific animal attacks I’ve ever been privy to. There are things I am bound not to reveal due to rules that govern my employment. I can say she (and her husband) got off lucky. I shudder to think how much easier it might have been for them both to get off scott-free in other parts of the country. I am personally glad this person will do extended prison time but I feel it is a slap on the wrist compared to what she (and her husband) should have received.

I grew up on a farm and I love animals. I currently don’t own pets because I am not home enough and I would never allow an animal to go neglected. Leaving an animal home alone for hours (sometimes days) at a time is cruel. But, I digress. I would never, and I say NEVER, own such an aggressive dog in a City environment. Dogs are not children but the effort and control involved is similar in many aspects. Large dogs, especially naturally aggressive ones, need a lot of love, attention, and control. If trained properly it is not an overly tasking skill. When left on their own or antagonized, they become even more aggressive. As an FYI, you are solely responsible if your animal attacks a human being. [1]Yes, there are exceptions based on circumstances.

The sad reality is many people who own animals do not take personal responsibility for their animals. And, it is the animal and other helpless victims who end up suffering.



1 Yes, there are exceptions based on circumstances.

Bloody Christmas

(full story) A tiger escaped from the zoo today and attacked 3 people.  One person died, 2 others were injured.  I was on the channel when it happened and lord did the quiet evening take off. [1]Actually, it was the only excitement in the day.

I can’t say much more out of confidentiality rules however, it is still unknown how the tigers got loose.  I feel sorry for the victims but also the poor animal.  The officers had to shoot one and kill it after it attacked another person.  It was probably scared and just reacting to its natural instincts.  Frak, they are predatory animals after all. 

I love zoos but it gives me pause to wonder if caging wild animals is such a good idea.  Most zoos tend to hold animals in tight quarters.  And while they do make a very good effort of maintaining animals physical and mental health, it is not the same as being loose in the wild.  Animals like tigers need room to range and exercise their skills.  In this latest caper, I’m sure it had more to do with the animal being scared and threatened than anything else.  I’m guessing of course.  I can’t shake the feeling that we hold some responsibility though.  We take these animals, who were never meant to be tamed, and introduce them to an environment of confinement and denial of their basic instincts.

It is worth mentioning this particular tiger was the very same tiger from last year this time that attacked a trainer.  Some would say maybe the animal deserved it.  I’m not so sure. 


1 Actually, it was the only excitement in the day.

High Priced Soda

I happen to overhear recently that SF is proposing a tax on businesses that carry and sell sodas.  More precisely, Mayor Newsom has proposed the tax and hoping the Board of Sups. will run with it.

On the surface, I don’t really agree with it but after further thought, I’m not so sure.  Soda (made w/corn syrup, the high fructose kind) is one of the top contributors to obesity in this country.  I challenge you to find a person severely obese who doesn’t drink sugared sodas.  [1]I know I’ve never found one   High Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS as a simple sugar that is absorbed very easily by the body.  What many people don’t know is that it actually reduces the insulin receptors response.  Translated, it means a person is more prone to developing diabetes.  HFCS has also been shown to interfere with the hearts ability to process vital minerals.  I could go on and on but you get the point. [2]I actually stopped drinking sugared sodas during my EMT training.  We got the full laundry list of damages.  The irony is HFCS is much more expensive to make however, because of government contracts and subsidies on corn in the US it becomes more profitable than regular cane sugar.

Soda is also NOT a necessity.  It is a luxury item.  I have no problem with SF taxing luxury items to help offset the growing medical burdens of society. I can’t really see equating corn syrup to carcinogens in cigarettes however, the mounting evidence against HFCS doesn’t lie.  I guess here I’d fall back on the old adage, "everything in moderation."  The problem is we have become a society of excess.  We do almost nothing in moderation. 

I don’t really know if Newsom’s idea will succeed or not.  I applaud him for attempting to do something rather than nothing.  However, his measure is a tiny band-aid on a sore the size of Texas.  Until we educate our children on the value of good nutrition, [3]when was the last time you saw a school curriculum that included more than a passing stab at nutrition? and the dangers of sugared sodas, the problem will continue to grow. (pun intended)


1 I know I’ve never found one
2 I actually stopped drinking sugared sodas during my EMT training.  We got the full laundry list of damages.
3 when was the last time you saw a school curriculum that included more than a passing stab at nutrition?

Menz’es & the Castro

On a completely different and shallow rant, I’m down in the Castro and I’ve forgotten how many really good looking men live in this city. And to think most of them are gay too. Wahooo!

It’s sooo nice to just to sit and watch the world go by. I get a kick out of people watching and of course the castro is never w/o its flare. I mean this is one of the few places in the country where people can just be themselves w/o fear of gawking or bashing. In the past 20 minutes, I’ve seen 2 bears, 3 straights w/kids in tow, 6 muscle men, 4 twinks, 2 tranny’s and a drag queens walk by.

Ain’t tolerance grand?!

Dog or No Dog

So I had a call today that got me thinking. Sf tends to be a very compact city. We have lots of people everywhere. Throw domesticated animals into the mix and you are bound to have a few problems. So todays rant goes like this. . . A man is playing frisbee in a non-dog park (meaning any dogs in the park have to be on a leash). A dog runs up and bites him in a scuffle for the frisbee. The owner shows up afterwards w/o seeing what happened and is very confrontational, denies any wrong doing and flees w/the dog. The victim follows while calling 911. So the police show up and the owner is still very uncooperative even though the victim has an obvious bite to his hand/arm. Needless to say, the dog gets taken away by animal services and will probably end up euthanized. Sad, considering the animal probably wasn’t that dangerous.

My issue is with the owner. First, he invites drama by having the dog off his leash in an area where it’s clearly posted not to. Don’t get me wrong, dogs need room to run. SF has several parks specifically for dogs. Granted there aren’t many but they are located all over the city. Second, instead of just owning up to the issue and possibly avoiding having his dog taken away from him, he acts the complete ass. So now the poor dog gets to suffer for his stupidity. I think they should lock the owner up in a cage for awhile and see how he likes it.