Even Buddha can’t catch a break in San Francisco.
The 15-ton, three-headed copper sculpture that was unveiled in Civic Center Plaza last month for the 30th anniversary of San Francisco’s sister-city relationship with Shanghai has already been defaced twice by graffiti.
Officials retained an art restorer to remove the tags, including one scrawl proclaiming, “Jesus is the one.”
Now, City Hall fears that the giant Buddha may prove too inviting to booze-fueled partygoers from the nearby World Cup big screen telecasts and Gay Priders looking for a little climbing fun during their upcoming post-parade party.
So the $1.6 million sculpture, on loan from artist Zhang Huan, is in protective custody for the next three weeks, surrounded by a 6-foot-tall screened fence to deter climbers and anyone else.
Check swing: The odds of San Jose getting an A’s ballpark plan on the November ballot appear to be slipping fast – in large part because of inaction by Major League Baseball.
“We keep waiting for the ‘swing away’ sign from baseball, but so far – nothing,” Mayor Chuck Reed said.
Baseball officials have been sympathetic to the Giants’ argument that the South Bay is their territory, which means no other team can move in. They would have to do a 180 to bless any proposed stadium for the A’s – and publicly say, “Thanks, but no thanks” to the city of Oakland as well.
The City Council’s meeting next week will be its last before a month-plus summer break. It’s already too late to get any stadium plan on the agenda for that session.
The next meeting is Aug. 3 – just days before the deadline for putting a measure on the November ballot.
Reed said the council could put something before voters without baseball’s blessing, and he’s confident it would still pass.
But Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone, one of the ballpark’s biggest boosters, said that going ahead without a commitment of a team would “not be very productive. It just gives the opposition too much ammunition.”
Fading power: San Francisco is tapping the brakes on its plan to offer a green alternative to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
The proposal outlined by Power Choice LLC, the consortium picked by the city’s Public Utilities Commission to deliver green energy, came with some pretty thick strings attached.
For starters, to keep rates competitive with PG&E for at least the first three years, Power Choice has proposed borrowing an estimated $400 million – which customers would then have to repay over 15 years in the form of higher rates.
Power Choice also wants the city to use its credit to back the plan, meaning the city would be on the hook if the consortium went belly up.
PUC General Manager Ed Harrington tells us those terms “would not be satisfactory to the city.”
Even San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, a major proponent of the city’s green power movement, said it may be worth scrubbing the Power Choice proposal altogether and putting the contract back out to bid.
Ready, set … : Word is, Jim Hammer may not be the only San Francisco Police Commission member looking to replace Kamala Harris as district attorney.
David Onek, a former criminal justice deputy to Mayor Gavin Newsom and a senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law – as well as the son-in-law of 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis – reportedly is eyeing a run as well.
We’re told he will soon step down from the Police Commission to concentrate on the campaign. Stay tuned.
Sugar mountain: The tickets weren’t cheap – ranging from $85 to $199 – but the mountain man of Half Moon Bay, Neil Young, still managed to sell out two 2,000-seat shows at Oakland’s Fox Theater in less than 10 minutes. Promoters have since added a third for when Young comes to town next month.
Job application: Alameda County Sheriff Deputy Keith Lydon was gassing up his patrol car the other morning at the San Leandro substation when he heard a wrenching sound from the next lot.
Walking over, he came across an obviously blitzed 34-year-old man holding an electronic side view mirror – wires and all – that he’d just broken off a squad car.
When Lydon asked what he was doing, the guy replied: “I want to get a job with the sheriff’s office.”
“He’s going to get a job with us, all right,” said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson – “as an inmate at Santa Rita.”