Irish Famine Memorial

Supervisors support of historic resolution

On Tuesday March 5th Supervisor Gordon Mar introduced a resolution supporting a memorial to honor the victims and survivors of the Irish Famine (An Gorta Mór). After two weeks, on March 19th, they were unanimously in support.

Supervisor Mar represents District 4, Sunset & Parkside Districts. He explained: “The Great Hunger was a sad and tragic event in Ireland with international consequences. In San Francisco today, more people can trace their ancestry to the Irish Famine than they can to the American Revolution. Consequently, the Irish Famine is a significant part of the history of the people of San Francisco. This Famine Memorial will educate the public on the contributing factors that lead to the Great Hunger and will remind us all of the devastating effects of famine which persist in many parts of the world to the present day.”

The Irish Famine Memorial Committee (IFMC) represents a broad coalition of Irish organizations and friends of the Irish Community. Among other goals, the memorial is intended to connect the Irish American community with their immigrant origins and recognize the contributions that the earliest Famine-era immigrants made.

Pat Uniacke, Chair of IFMC welcomed the resolution. “The committee has for some time been working with City officials and elected representatives articulating the need for a fitting Memorial. We are grateful to Supervisor Mar for being the Lead Sponsor of the resolution and humbled that all 11 supervisors have publicly proclaimed support for the memorial in San Francisco.”

Diarmuid Philpott, former Deputy Chief SFPD also welcomed the result of the resolution vote. “The Memorial will serve to thank the State of California and City & County of San Francisco for the welcome and opportunities that were afforded the Irish upon their arrival and will revive the memory of that great tragedy and remind those of us living in great material comfort of our own obligations to the poor of the world.”

John Riordan is the Chair of the Irish Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

Stay in touch with the progress of the San Francisco Famine Memorial Committee -

MAY 2019

Howard Meehan

Howard Meehan, of the Meehan Brothers comedy team, died on Valentine's Day. Family and friends gathered at Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Geary Blvd on Feb. 22 in a memorial service to honor him. He was 57 years old.

As part of the Meehan Brothers, Howard was well-known among the comedy circuit of San Francisco. Much of his material, and that of the Meehan Brothers, came from being born and raised in a large Irish-American Catholic family "out in the Avenues" of San Francisco.

When not performing on stage, or traveling to gigs with his brothers Mike and Chris, he was busy working, earning money to support his family. Usually, Howard was either painting and working in construction like his late father did, or he was driving a taxi. No matter what the job, Howard considered comedy and a spot up on stage his primary goal.

Comedy gave him a tremendous outlet for his boundless energy and "kid-at-heart" spirit. Even as the established comedy venues like the legendary Holy City Zoo on Clement Street closed, and the Purple Onion folded, Howard persevered. Like many performers, including his brothers Mike and Chris, if no venues were available to perform, Howard would make one.

Out-pourings of grief and recollections of many happy times filled the feed-thread lines of Facebook as news of Howard's death was released by the Meehan family on social media.

Fellow local comedians such as Paco Romane described Howard as one of a kind. Romane was shocked and saddened by his death. Howard was in Romane's eyes, "talented, funny and continually creatively searching." Romane and Howard worked together many times throughout the years. Howard made many appearances at Cobbs Comedy Club in North Beach, appeared in SF Sketch Fest, Fringe Festival, and productions in the City and greater Bay Area.

Howard strove very hard to bring comedy shows to the people. He was among a considerable circle of comedic talent that makes San Francisco its home base.

No matter where Howard traveled or where he lived, he always considered San Francisco home. He will be missed by family and friends, as well as the many extended family members with whom he formed a bond in the comedy circuit of San Francisco.

Jonathan Farrell contributed this memorial to Howard.

March 2018


Former Contributor to the Westside Observer, Previous Roxie Cinema Co-Owner, Supporter of Independent Film and LGBT Activist – helped save the Historic Fallon Building from the Wrecking Ball.

Longtime San Francisco resident Tom Mayer, 62, passed away in late July from a massive heart attack suffered just steps away from the Castro Movie Theatre where he was delivering articles he had just written about the Jewish Film Festival.

Raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Mayer received his degree in film from Boston University where he lived from 1970 until moving to San Francisco in May 1976. An avid lover and supporter of independent film, Mr. Mayer was part owner of The Roxie Cinema from 1976 to 1983. A natural speaker, whose rich, charismatic voice had a resonantly authoritative ring with minimal effort, Tom never needed a mike to silence a crowd. He wrote about film in several media and lately had been a prominent editor on Wikipedia and a writer for online film publications.

An engaging, intelligent man with a wide variety of interests, Tom was very thoughtful of others, volunteering his time and skills in support of many local and national candidates”

Mayer was very involved in the leadership circle of Operation Upgrade – later known as the North Mission Association --for a number of years in the the mid-70’s shortly after he arrived in San Francisco. The group was started to combat the frequent arson attacks in the 16 th Street/Valencia area and expanded its vision to include fighting for low cost housing, starting a neighborhood business association, and a community newspaper called the North Mission News.

Passionate about fighting whatever he perceived to be wrong and unjust, Tom Mayer was the founder and instigator of the Friends of 1800, an organization he started to keep the LGBT Center from tearing down the Fallon Building at 1800 Market Street. Bright and outspoken about the cause, Tom understood the broader issues and knew the political battlefield and conflicts surrounding the proposed project. The Fallon Building is a significant Victorian and survivor of the Great 1906 Earthquake and Fire and marks the line where the fire was stopped. When the Fallon Building was finally landmarked on October 9, 1998, Tom was in the Mayor’s office along with Mark Leno, Tim Kelley, Gary Goad and Gerry Takano when Mayor Brown signed the designation legislation -- several months after the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, Planning Commision and Board of Supervisors voted for the designation.

Mr. Mayer was also instrumental in saving the historic Victoria Theater in the Mission District. A recent StoryCorps interview of Mr. Mayer’s life as an activist by his partner Luiz Netto is now in the Library of Congress collection.

An engaging, intelligent man with a wide variety of interests, Tom was very thoughtful of others, volunteering his time and skills in support of many local and national candidates. If you mentioned that a friend or family member was sick, he would always inquire about them. Tom learned a lot about computer software while working as a technical writer for Hitachi. Often seen at film festivals, and theatre openings, Mayer never missed the Annual SF Heritage Holiday Open House held at the Haas Lilienthal House. In spite of the high cost of living and too few economic opportunities to senior gay men, Tom made every effort to stay in San Francisco. Survived by his partner Luiz Netto, and one brother in Pittsburgh, Tom Mayer’s passion and energy will live on in the hearts and minds of all those he inspired.

Funeral services were held on Friday, August 21, at 10 a.m. at Most Holy Redeemer Church, 100 Diamond St., San Francisco.

Linda Ayres-Frederick, Theatre Critic/Writer.Westside Observer.

September 2015

Lake Merced’s ChampionJerry Cadagan and Lake Merced

Jerry Cadagan was a tireless advocate for Lake Merced, as San Franciscan and friend Dick Morten noted, “I became acquainted with Jerry for over 15 years, through his advocacy for the Lake. Lake Merced was important to Jerry as a parent because his daughter, Kim, rowed for St Ignatius.” But even more important, as Morten pointed out, “Jerry founded ‘Friends of Lake Merced’ as well as a ‘Lake Merced Task Force.’”

The Westside Observer lost a leading advocate and voice for the community when Jerry Cadagan died suddenly on May 17. A memorial service was held in his honor at the Boathouse of Lake Merced this past June 24.

Jerry’s initial profession was as a corporate attorney for Crown-Zellerbach, a major supplier of paper. But when Jerry discovered river rafting in the 1970’s his life took on a new direction.”

Morten noted that it was “Jerry who fought for Lake Merced, when others could not.”

Cadagan was very much aware of the decline of the Lake and its natural habitat. His concern for it went beyond just a small circle of family and friends. His love for Lake Merced was part of his passion for all the waterways and great outdoors. As Morten explained, “the depth of his water resources knowledge, legal analysis, political acumen gained in various water wars, was immense. And so was his media savvy and most of all, his tenacious advocacy for nearly 20 years.  He did not give up in his efforts to revive the City’s environmental jewel, Lake Merced.”

Ironically as Morten pointed out, “Jerry’s initial profession was as a corporate attorney for Crown-Zellerbach, a major supplier of paper. But when Jerry discovered river rafting in the 1970’s his life took on a new direction.”

He and his wife Kristin Ann (Sullivan) Cadagan shared a love for the outdoors and concern for the environment, so much so that they moved from the SF Bay Area to Senora, to be closer to another one of Cadagan’s concerns, the Tuolumne River.

Staff at Tuolumne River Trust, like Peter Derkmeier, hold Cadagan in high esteem because of the work he did not just for Tuolumne or Lake Merced, but for all of the waterways. Organizations like “Friends of the River” remember Cadagan for his commitment to preserve, protect and defend the natural habitat of the rivers, not just in the Bay Area but throughout the State of California and the nation.

John Amodio, who worked with the Sierra Club back in the 1980s and ‘90s, admitted he was a bit wary of a former corporate lawyer who had worked for a paper company. Yet like Morton, he too recognized that Cadagan’s legal training and sharpness served the cause of environmental issues very well. “He brought the rare combination of a keen strategic mind that could dissect both policy and political ramifications, and then devise strategies that were not only effective, but fun to pursue,” said Amodio.

While Cadagan’s interest and concern for environmental issues broadened, the Westside Observer witnessed Cadagan’s deep affection for Lake Merced. Even though he had to commute from Senora, Cadagan was in attendance at just about every meeting and proceeding concerning the lake. His voice was at times the only one that could withstand the on-going bureaucracy that entangled Lake Merced and its future.

“Jerry was often the only one able and willing to fight ‘the two headed monsters,' the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and SF Recreation and Parks,” said Morten. The SFPUC, often referred to as SF Water Power Sewer, Assistant General Manager of the Water Enterprise, Steven Ritchie and Cadagan would clash, as some of the various meetings and community gatherings could get heated and go on for hours.

“But Jerry was never antagonistic,” said Morten. Jerry always maintained his ground very respectful of the opposition or adversaries he faced.”

Along with Morten, many referred to Cadagan as “a warrior.” Cadagan was always willing to go up against the larger powers that can often sweep away any concerns a local community might have about something near to them, like Lake Merced.

Despite his wit, humor, tenacity, fortitude and charm, Cadagan was only human. His son Brent told the Westside Observer that the death of his wife Kristin was a tremendous loss to the Cadagan family. She had been driving to visit with friends during the Thanksgiving season this past November of 2014 and died from a car accident.

Morten said, “Kristin’s death was too much for Jerry.”

The family of Jerry and Kristin Cadagan ask that donations be made to a favorite environmental charity in their memory.

Jonathan Farrell is a local journalist.

July/August 2015

Frank Calegari at 94 : “Something New To Learn Every Day”Frank Calegari

Lake Merced area resident Frank Calegari turned 94 this past April 18. Pacific Rod and Gun Club member Fred Tautenhahn thought the Westside Observer would appreciate a mention about Calegari’s life. “How often do you meet someone at his age that is so enthusiastic about technology and about life,” said Tautenhahn.

Calegari has a Samsung 4-G Smartphone and “it does everything,” he said. Calegari prides himself on the fact that he knows every one of his 100 or so contacts. “I know them all personally,” he told the Westside Observer. “It takes me a couple of hours each day to go through my emails.” But Calegari enjoys keeping in contact. Even though he takes life “day by day” in his ninth decade of life, he affirms that there is something new to learn every day.

He is fascinated by the technology that is available today. “People really don’t realize what a marvel it is. I like to ‘Google’—you just type in a subject or a question and up pops an answer—it’s amazing! Everything is in my pocket with a Smartphone.” While he likes using the technology, he is not much of fan of the social networking sites like Facebook. “That is really best for business—I have nothing against it,” he said. “I much rather people contact me directly.”

He is fascinated by the technology that is available today. “People really don’t realize what a marvel it is. I like to ‘Google’—you just type in a subject or a question and up pops an answer—it’s amazing! Everything is in my pocket with a Smartphone.”

Calegari lives within walking distance of the Olympic Club in the same house he and his wife Alice bought in 1954. “This house I purchased with the G.I. Bill,” said Calegari. “Alice passed on a few years ago—lots of happy memories as we were married for 68 years. This is why it is important to keep in contact with friends.” In addition to lunching and playing golf at the Olympic Club, Calegari likes to eat at Lakeside Cafe and stroll a bit at Lakeside Village on Ocean Ave between 19th Ave and Junipero Serra Blvd. “My wife liked the cakes at Ambrosia Bakery,” he said.

“I see Frank at the club every week,” said Attilio Mossi. He and his wife, McGuire Real Estate realtor Leanna Mossi, have lived in the Lake Merced/Lakeshore Acres area for decades. “When I see Frank I call him ‘Paladini’ and he calls me ‘Til’ (short for Attilio),” he said. “Paladini comes from the Latin, way back from ancient Roman days and it can be translated as ‘great one, or honored one’.”

Like the Mossi’s, Calegari is a native San Franciscan and together they are among the remaining few that recollect “the old neighborhood - North Beach and the Marina.” Not to say they don’t appreciate Lake Merced and West Portal, for they do very much. Yet those memories of days in North Beach and the Marina growing up and first married are cherished.

“I was born in North Beach,” said Calegari. “My grandfather and family survived the Earthquake and Fire of 1906.” He is proud to have been born on the April 18 anniversary. He credits some his longevity to that pioneer and survivor spirit of his grandparents and ancestors. “Many of the Italians who immigrated to San Francisco were from Genoa, like my grandfather,” said Calegari. Italians from Genoa at that time, according to Calegari, were tradesmen, shoemakers, and bakers, and many were farmers.

“Yes, that’s true many of the Italians were from Genoa or from Tuscany,” said Leanna Mossi. And, both she and Til said, Sicily was another place from which many immigrated. Calegari is proud of the fact that, even though his grandfather lost everything in ’06, “he restored his fortune by baking bread with one of the few working kitchens in the City.” It’s that persevering determination that Calegari admired about his grandparents.

While San Francisco attracted people from literally everywhere on the globe, neighborhoods like North Beach and the Marina were like little hometowns, and Calegari and the Mossi’s are thankful to have had the blessing to grow up there.

“It was a different time then,” said Calegari. “People today don’t know that just after World War II, prosperity did not happen right away, it took some time. I remember Union Street then as being an economically depressed area—there were lots of vacant shops, not much business,” said Calegari. After serving in WWII as a combat medic with the U.S. Army, Calegari worked at the Horseshoe Restaurant on Chestnut Street, working his way to manager. “But I quit because of the long hours and it was not fair to Alice,” he said.

Shortly after that, Calegari found work in his uncle’s meat market on Green Street near Fillmore. His uncle trained him as a butcher and, eager to open a shop of his own, he found a spot on Union Street near Steiner at the Modern Meat Mart. “The man who owned the little grocery store needed a butcher, because the butcher he had wanted to retire,” said Calegari. With only $600.00, Calegari set up his own butcher shop and eventually bought out the entire grocery store, owning it and operating it himself.

“Supermarkets had not been established like we know them today,” said Lynn King, a native San Franciscan who recalls those days. “Each neighborhood had their own market. They were the ‘mom and pop’ type places,” she said. Leanna Mossi explained, “everyone had their favorite butcher shop where people got all their meat and poultry.” Calegari sold the shop and the grocery store when he retired in 1978. “That is what afforded me to join the Olympic Club,” he said.

“I don’t think I would be here today if it were not for my friends at the Olympic Club,” said Calegari. He noted that he has lived an ordinary life that has been very blessed. When asked if he had any advice or words of wisdom to share, he said, “keep busy, make friends and play golf. As you get older, golf is one of the few sports you can play when you’re 94 years old.”

Jonathan Farrell is a San Francisco free lance reporter.

May 2012

Two Tough Little Dogs Survive Attack of Two Hungry Coyotes Simone and Xena

Two small dogs were attacked by coyotes in Glen Park at around 10 am on Thursday, October 20. The dogs ran away in two different directions, pursued by the coyotes, which also split up. One of the dogs, Simone, a wiry-haired 20 pound girl was recovered several hours later at a friend's house, but the other, Xena, an all-black, 25 pound girl with pointy ears wearing a bright red collar seems to have taken a tour of the City and finally was recovered two and a half days later.

Jean Butler was walking her dogs in Glen Canyon Park, a few blocks from her house. "Out of nowhere my two dogs were ambushed by the coyotes," she said. "One ran down the hill after Xena," a very shy rescued Formosan Mountain dog from Taiwan." The other chased Simone, who is smaller than Xena, up the hill. Simone and the other coyote disappeared.

Jean chased the coyote pursuing Xena down the hill, yelling loudly and successfully chased it away. Assuming Xena was safe, she turned her attention to Simone. "Against my better jugement I turned and went in the other direction. This proved to be fruitless, not least because I was exhausted from racing after Xena's attacker, but I had heavy hiking boots on, and we're talking about a very steep hill." Simone, who is as fast as a greyhound, ran for her life that day and escaped, but Xena ran too and they both took off out of the park and were lost.

"I missed finding Xena several times despite sightings of neighbors and passers-by." Simone was found up at the top of another hill above their house after three or four hours. But Xena was gone. "Simone and I hiked inside and outside the park for hours. We went up to Diamond Heights and searched some more. I must have hiked easily 20 miles that day and 20 miles the next. My friends helped look. We put notices in neighborhood listserves, put something on craigslist, posters everywhere she'd been spotted and called Animal Care and Control." Animal Care and Control was helpful, "the guy helping me must have called me four times in one day with tips he got," she said. "I spent a very sleepless night worrying about where she could be and whether she was anywhere the coyotes could get her, never mind get hit by a car."

But all those things helped, especially the fact that she was wearing a bright red harness that was unmistakable. "A woman called me on Friday morning to say she'd just seen Xena walking down the middle of Market Street —two lanes of fast traffic— going against traffic towards Clayton possibly towards the Haight Ashbury. I raced over there with Simone and spent many hours walking, driving, calling. Nothing. Then in the afternoon a dog walker called to say she had just talked to another dog walker who saw her in the parking lot of the Randall Museum—she had turned east away from the Haight—naturally I had gone west looking for her. I went over there and searched and searched, but Xena had clearly gone. I drove down the street and in despair realized that she could only have headed for the Castro and the busiest section of Market Street. I could not possibly imagine her making it across the street, or not freaking out being around all those people, all of whom scared her.

But somehow Xena did make it back across Market Street. She headed up Church and went to Dolores Park. "I got a call from the ACC officer that she'd been spotted there in the park. I got there—nothing." By this time it was 6:00 PM and Jean and Brian were worried that it would soon be dark. At least she seemed to be heading in the right direction towards home.

"Then at 3:30 in the morning we got a call from a woman that had—minutes before —seen Xena walking down the middle of Dolores Street. We raced down there in two cars." Simone, was by now very depressed and walking in circles in the back yard. "Brian drove up and down every street calling her and Simone and I walked two miles to the park at 4 in the morning, putting down a scent trail that she might be able to use."

Then it happened. "Just as I reached the park, Brian called. He had found her. Xena had moved steadily in the right direction towards home. "He was hysterical, crying, and Xena was so happy to see him," she did not walk, but crawled on her belly over to him.

"It was an amazing community response," said Brian, "calls came in every few hours. We were touched by how many people were concerned, San Francisco never fails. Everybody watches out for everyone, it doesn't matter who you are, black or white, gay, Asian, it doesn't matter, people care. It's why we love this City."

Doug Comstock, feedback:

November 2011


Life on the Line

A Muni driver talks about driving and politics

Muni bus driver Howard Nelson has hazy memories of the drivers’ strike in 1976. He remembers riding his bike past crowds of people walking to their jobs, desperately trying to hail already-packed cabs, and venerable little-old-ladies discreetly holding a thumb up to catch a ride. “We may see that again,” he said.

It’s hard to talk to Nelson as he drives his bus. There is not a lot of conversation between the bus driver, and the 350-500 people he transports through treacherous traffic each day. At most, riders get a nod as they present their various passes, transfers or occasionally pay in cash.

At “40 plus,” Nelson handles the 14 Mission Express, with a calm certainty. He keeps one eye on the traffic behind him as he stares straight ahead and hands a transfer to one passenger, assuring another, an anxious lady who speaks little English, that he will make sure she knows when the bus gets to Cortland. He jabs himself then points to his mouth as he says “Cortland” loudly. She smiles confidently and takes a seat behind him. Mostly, he keeps both hands on the steering wheel. Signs directing passengers to “avoid unnecessary conversation with the driver” are prominently displayed and discourage friendly chatter.

He sat for a chat at an outdoor table of a coffeeshop near the Bus terminal at 15th and Harrison, a rare industrial patch that has escaped gentrification. Ignoring the September chill, he warmed both hands on his paper cup. He was happy to talk about his job.

“I’ve been driving a bus now for over 11 years, not counting the part-time driving,” he said with a proud smile. He has a perfect driving record. It’s one of the reasons he chose to become a driver when his previous full-time job at Schlage Lock moved to Denver. “If they were still here, I’d still be there,” he said. “San Francisco is where my roots are, but that old job had better wages and benefits than I get from the City.”

…reneging on that piece of the charter—the part that promises drivers the second-highest wage of any transit workers in the country in exchange for promising not to strike—that sounds like a deal-breaker.

He first stepped foot in San Francisco when he was 4 years old, moving here with his mother, his sole provider. She found work more plentiful than it had been in New Orleans. Driving a bus provides for his wife and two children. Mentioning his “kids,” a broad smile brightens his face, revealing a father’s pride and a beautiful set of white teeth below a wispy moustache with more than a few gray hairs.

“It is a long, hard day for Muni drivers,” he said, the smile disappearing. The typical day starts before most people are awake. His bus must be at the first stop at 6:25 AM for the beginning of the commute. “Sometimes, between runs, we get 10 or 15 minutes for coffee,” but drivers have to be cautious about liquids, as rest stops are not allowed. “You can’t just park the bus and walk away. Sometimes there are facilities at the end of a trip, sometimes there are none,” he said, turning both hands up. Then there’s the down time from 11:17 to 1:27, unpaid ‘dead time.’ It takes 12 hours to work the commute but you only get paid for 10.” By the end of Nelson’s commute, it’s 6:30.

The danger worries him too. “There were 2,500 incidents reported on coaches last year,” he said. “We’re vulnerable—we have to do cops work, social work, hospital work—with no weapons and no authority. All we can do is ask people to behave and threaten to call the police, but by the time they get there it’s usually too late. Most incidents don’t get reported, because of the downtime and paperwork. Night shift is even tougher.”

Tonight the union meeting is on Nelson’s mind. “All the drivers are worried about Proposition G,” he said, frowning impatiently as the discussion turned to Supervisor Sean Elsbernd’s November ballot proposition. “Drivers are feeling scapegoated. There will be a lot of unhappy folks tonight.” Union meetings are members only, and a strike is likely to be discussed even though it is forbidden by Sec. A8.346 of the City’s charter. It requires that drivers be terminated and lose their seniority—they would be hired back as rookies—if they resort to a strike. However, the City’s Municipal Code also forbids hiring strikebreakers, which paints the City into a lose-lose corner.

Nelson points to the Prop G literature he brought with him; “Elsbernd says he wants to change the charter to ‘let Muni operators be treated like every other city worker,’ but he doesn’t mention his own salary,” he said. It’s a similar charter stipulated mechanism; Elsbernd’s salary is based on salaries in other cities as well, but he makes twice as much as drivers. At $29.16 an hour, drivers are not among the highest-paid City workers.

“I don’t know why the voters are picking on us,” he said “reneging on that piece of the charter—the part that promises drivers the second-highest wage of any transit workers in the country in exchange for promising not to strike—that sounds like deal-breaker. Contra Costa’s SamTrans drivers are the third highest paid drivers in the country,” he adds.

“The last bus strike lasted 37 days,” Nelson said. According to an SF Chronicle editorial written May 7, the day after the strike ended, it was “one of the longest strikes of public employees in United States history.” It cited the costs to the economy, to business and the City as well as to people “who are being inconvenienced by the shutdown of buses and cable cars, by littered streets, by a deteriorating Golden Gate Park, by cascading waters from broken water mains, by unusable toilets…”

Bus drivers joined that strike in sympathy for City crafts workers. If the drivers strike now, other unions would likely follow suit. But the word “strike” is curiously absent from discourse as voters proceed to a ballot that may just trigger another one.

“If the voters defeat Prop B, we won’t have to worry about whether drivers will still honor the ‘no strike’ clause,” Nelson said, “being illegal didn’t prevent a strike before,” referring to the strike of ‘76 that ignored Judge Clayton Horn’s Injunction. “It’s up to the voters, if they choose to break the contract we’ll find out.”

Coincidentally, the ‘76 strike revolved around two anti-union measures that were on the ballot: Prop E, which would fire City workers who strike and Prop K, a two year pay freeze. Both were put on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors, but were withdrawn in the settlement brokered by Mayor Moscone.

Bus driver Stanford Johns, driving a packed 5 McAllister, agrees with Nelson, “drivers are not the problem. The public is mad about the scheduling, so are we. It’s not the drivers who control the scheduling,” he said, wincing as he passed a stop without picking up waiting passengers. “We can’t make a bus suddenly appear. We can only work with what they give us,” he said to the passengers crammed into the isle and in the well of his bus.

“I might need to start looking for that old bike again,” Nelson said.

October 2010