Friday, December 30, 2005

The Library Debate

Maybe I'm missing something with the library debate but it looks like we should all support the renovation. If I'm missing something please let me know.

As I understand it, the Bernal Library is slated for a $3.5M renovation that will result in:
  • a new expanded children’s room on the lower level
  • a designated teen area on the main floor
  • The renovations will also include an elevator and accessible restrooms, making the branch fully accessible to all.
An article in the Chronicle earlier in the year wrote:
Under the proposed plan, the 60-year-old Bernal Heights library will get a new electrical system that can handle more computers, including personal laptops, and can power better lighting; a ramp and elevator to provide easy access for all visitors; and anchors, bracing and trusses to improve its ability to withstand earthquakes.
The contentious issue has to do with a pre-school operating in the library's basement. This program can support a maximum of 24 students. This library has agreed to delay construction until the end of the school year at which time the pre-school will move to a larger area at the nearby Paul Revere Elementary School.

It seems to me that the plan allows for a continuation of the City College of San Francisco's morning-only program as well as a new and improved library for all Bernal residents.

Am I missing something?

Bernal Hill is going to the dogs!

Yes, there are more tales of kids getting charged and nipped by dogs on Bernal Hill. The more common issue comes with the small kids who are afraid of dogs -- even the friendly ones. Should small children have to be freightened and slobbered by unknown dogs?

I had to laugh when there were more than 20 dogs being walked by what looked to be cell-phone yapping professinal dog walkers.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Going to the dogs

Below is a note from a neighbor to which I can relate. But first, my perspective on the issue-->

I have two kids -- one who likes dogs and the other who is more hesitant. People on the street ate regularly saying, "Oh my dog loves kids."

Two issues with this way of thinking:
  1. The kids may not love dogs and don't welcome even a friendly face-filling slobber, and
  2. How does Mr. Dog Owner know how the pet might react when a 2 year old unexpectedly and mistakenly pokes the pooch in the eye?

Back to the note from a neighbor:
Last weekend in Holly Park, my son was charged by an unleashed dog. The dog's owner tried to call the dog back without success. My son,who is VERY comfortable with dogs, was terrified. In the ensuing commotion, everything turned out okay. The dog was probably more interested in the scent of our gold en retriever on my son than in anything else, but we were all pretty shaken, particularly Ben.

Upfront let me say that we currently have two dogs in our household and consider ourselves both pro-kid and pro-dog without any conflict. And a large portion of the unleashed dogs in Holly Park seem to be under voice control.

We also walk our dogs in Holly Park daily, but always on leash. (In fact, a year or so ago, we had a much more dangerous and difficult encounter when three unleashed dogs went after our dog on leash. The woman with the unleashed dogs couldn't control them, and we had to pull them apart from a pretty intense fight.)

Bottom line, I am not on a mission to get dogs out of leash-only Holly Park, but I have a hard time with owners ignoring this law(particularly when the top of the Hill off-leash area is just blocksaway.) And recent SF events have probably made us even more acutely uneasy at the sight of an unleashed dog approaching a child.

So, I'm hesitant to raise on old controversy, but I have a couple of questions around this issue.

* Has this happened to other people?
* Apparently, leash law enforcement either doesn't happen or doesn't work as a deterrent. (At a neighborhood safety meeting several months ago, concerns were voiced around unleashed dogs in Holly Park, and the police said that they try to enforce infractions. But, I think we can all agree that the police need to focus on other challenges.) Are there other ways to address this problem?
* Would an enclosed dog run for Holly Park deter the off-leash activity in the rest of the Park? Has that been the case at St. Mary's?
* If yes, was an enclosed dog run ever considered during the Holly Park renovation for any of the large, sloping open space on either side?
* And if a dog run was considered, why didn't it move forward? If not, how would we go about trying to get something like that started?

Apologies for the long message, but I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts.