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(Formerly No North Beach Dig)

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Central Subway and North Beach

"The extension of the Subway tunnels to Washington Square to make a 'removal pit' will transform North Beach into something it mustn't be-- and permanently mar its traditional village feeling. With the extension of the Chinatown Subway into the very heart of historic North Beach, the special ambience of this fragile quarter will be greatly diminished."
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti & City Lights Books

"If they build the Subway, it will ensure major major new development at the stops in Chinatown and North Beach, and in terms of scale, these neighborhoods will never be the same again."
— Allan B. Jacobs, former San Francisco Planning Director and former Dean of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design

From CCC: William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers (November 4, 1879 - August 15, 1935) was a Cherokee-American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor. He was the father of U.S. Congressman and WWII Veteran Will Rogers, Jr. Apropos to the Chinatown Subway aka Billion Dollar Boondoggle, Will said:

“When You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop Digging.”

"The evidence is persuasive that we must honestly reassess our commitment to a deeply flawed Central Subway project — and that we should do so before it turns into a fiasco every San Franciscan regrets." — City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Zack Marks, July 2011

SF without Chinatown and North Beach?

What made SF famous in the 1950's were the Beatniks on Upper Grant in North Beach and the busy poultry markets on Lower Grant in Chinatown. Sandwiched between the two distinctly colorful neighborhoods on the two Grant Avenues was Broadway, with Carol Doda at the Condor, Enrico's cafe, and many others ...

Today? Upper Grant is so "peaceful and clean," except for a few bars, and lower Grant is so quiet, that merchants wish more pedestrians would shop at their art goods stores. As for Broadway? What can one say?

Chinatown and North Beach were both recently recognized for their unique neighborhoods. Both 'hoods contribute to City Hall with a hefty yearly $7 billion in revenue from the tourist industry. City Hall takes for granted that this cash cow will survive on its own and turns a blind eye and a deaf ear on its number one green industry, instead opting for the destruction of historic buildings for a questionable Central Subway, and chasing every artist out, claiming they are "driving customers away" on Broadway!

I ask, what is SF without its street musicians, living artists, historic buildings? Will visitors ditch the cable cars, instead riding the subway all the way to Fisherman's Wharf?

— Wilma Pang, December 2013

Subway alternatives

Houston's former Mayor Bob Lanier must have foreseen the Central Subway and T Third Line:

"First they say, 'It's cheaper.' When you show it costs more, they say, 'It's faster.' When you show it's slower, they say, 'It serves more riders.' When you show there are fewer riders, they say, 'It brings economic development.' When you show no economic development, they say, 'It helps the image.' When you say you don't want to spend that much money on image, they say, 'It will solve the pollution problem.' When you show it won't help pollution, they say, finally, 'It will take time. You'll see.' "” — Bob Lanier 1990

Subway curiosities

Described as “one of the city’s biggest embarrassments,” subway construction began during the early twentieth century but was halted by the Great Depression, World War Two and the rise of the automobile. Numerous attempts to revive the project have failed, but on a positive note the Cincinnati Subway conducts bi-annual tours, offering a golden opportunity for historians, photographers and urban explorers to take a look around.

Urban Ghost Media

(Future San Francisco tourist attraction? "See the empty tunnels 7 stories beneath Union Square and Chinatown! 50 cents (cheap)" )

Transit & Muni

Paul Page

Paul has been dubbed the "Dave Barry" of the No Dig campaign. Just when things look bleakest he comes along with a song or yarn to brighten the day.

Sittin' in a hole by the Transbay

Cost to build SF transit center rises by $300M, SF Chronicle, July 25, 2013

The $300M debacle, mismanagement and fraud calls for song, laughter and mirth.

So I've revised Otis Redding's Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay for our festivities. Between this and the Central Subway, the city is nearly a half billion in the hole. That's progress.

Spendin' in the morning sun
MTA will be spendin' when the evening comes
Watchin' the dough roll away
And I watch 'em roll away again
Sittin' in a hole by the Transbay
Watchin' the dough roll away
I'm just sittin' in a hole by the Transbay
Wastin' dough
Looks like Muni never gonna change
It still remains the same
It can't do half what it's supposed to do
So I guess I'll be late again
So I'm just...
Sittin' in a hole by the Transbay (refrain)

Paul Page

Ode to Muni

From: paul page
To: SF Bay Guardian <>
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:25 AM
Subject: Ode to Muni

Another day, another fix for MUNI. Beyond all logic, the Board of Supervisors voted on May 27 to add more fare increases and route cuts to further cripple MUNI. Since this is beyond rationality and beyond the capability of verse to explain, I have turned to a Joyce Kilmer poem.

I think that we shall never see
A poem as lovely as MUNI
A MUNI whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the city’'s tax treasure chest
A MUNI that is late all day
And prays for more parking meter pay
A MUNI that may in summer wear
A host of advertisements up her rear
Upon whose seats graffiti is lain
Which intimately causes us pain
Poems are made by fools like me
But only comedy can fix MUNI

Paul Page

Taxpaying riders of Muni may look dumb with our faces squished against bus windows, but we are not stupid.

Paul Page, San Francisco Letter to SF Examiner, May 7, 2013

Tara DeMoulin

Tara is a talented singer, songwriter and poet, and is often seen and heard performing in North Beach and around SF.

The 30 Stockton Shanty

by Tara DeMoulin (to the tune of "What shall we do with the drunken sailor?")

Video of Tara singing this song

Chinese man with an open zipper
Grossin' out a tired stripper
Pickin' at his toes with a nail clipper
Earl-y in the mornin'
Oh, hey, come on guys
Can't believe my eyes
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'
Cluster-f**k at the old back door
Little old ladies shoving through in hordes
They jabbed me 'til me ribs were sore
Earl-y in the mornin'
Oh, hey, come on guys
Can't believe my eyes
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'
Casualties of Ronald Reagan
Homeless guys who've lost their bacon
Freakin' out the tourists with their rantin' and ravin'
Earl-y in the mornin'
Oh, hey, come on guys
Can't believe my eyes
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'
Wannabe gang kids in the back
Shouting over hip-hop static
Say a thing, and you're under attack
So we stare at our hands and ignore them
Oh, hey, come on guys
Can't believe my eyes
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'
Creepy guy's crotch just brushed my side
For the twenty-seventh time
Hey--it's not that bumpy a ride!
Get a magazine if you're horny
Oh, hey, come on guys
Can't believe my eyes
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'
Fascist driver won't go forward
If we don't move back some more
Startin' up the 3rd World War
Earl-y in the mornin'
Oh, hey, come on guys
Can't believe my eyes
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'
Yeah, it's punks 'n taggers, drunken staggers
Kids in the backseat shootin' daggers
Lonely sadsack heel-draggers
Earl-y in the mornin'
Deal-seekers, daytime tweakers
Foreign-born non-English speakers
Standin' on the back door step in sneakers
Earl-y in the mornin'
When I die, if I'm not meant for Heaven
I'm sure I'll spend all eternity gettin'
No peace, no space--on this line I'll be standin'
It's the worst fate I could ever imagine
In this life and the next it is the ride that lasts forever
All of us, we take a sort of masochistic pleasure
Ridin' on the 30 Stockton
Earl-y in the mornin'

Jack Hirschman

Jack is a former SF Poet Laureate who is active in the literary scene in North Beach, SF, and around the world.

No to 24/7

by Jack Hirschman (composed for and read at the Pagoda work protest August 6, 2014)

Never mind the "legal" exception
Winston and his wife can't
sleep at night
with all the clanking at the Pagoda
site of the new subway station,
and the moving of metal
and the pounding after midnight and through
the early morning hours
We don't have to be sleepless in North Beach!

No more 24/7 in North Beach
We're a village not a jampacked train,
at least not yet.

We're a village and we want to sleep like
village people
who can still say Hi to each other on the
street in daytime and evening
and who say to the city government:
Give your workers nights off so they can
get some shuteye too.
No big rush for the tourist buck.
No two-four-slash-seven slave-labor
work on the ol' plantation.
We wanna see sleepers dreaming
of mutations of heaven
in peace and quiet
closing our eyes to violent greedy bux.

Web site updated September 7, 2014;