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Auggie's Journal
Auggie's Journal
September 5, 2023

I think Nick Bosa is being a dick

Nick Bosa has been holding out for a new deal with the 49ers. He'll miss the season opener against Pittsburgh.

No one knows the details of the contract negotiation between Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers, but you can bet the numbers being thrown around are in the neighborhood similar to what Aaron Donald of the Rams receives ($31.7 million a year) or what older brother Joey of the Chargers held out for (a $135 million extension).

I'll guess it's not about the money anymore but this nonsense about respect and acknowledgment to prove he's among the best—or the best—player in the NFL.

Want to really prove your value? Just sign a fucking deal. Anywhere between $31.7 and $135 million sets you up for life.


September 5, 2023

Almost $200K in stolen items from Bay Area stores recovered

Posting because it underscores the breadth of what has been stolen or can be stolen from retail merchants. $200 grand is a lot of clothing and sundries.

This is a recovery from one "fence"—not necessarily the actual thief. Imagine how many more there are out there.

Story from the San Francisco Chronicle:

A Contra Costa County man was arrested last week for his alleged role in a retail theft scheme that pocketed thousands of dollars of merchandise from Bay Area retailers, the California Highway Patrol announced.

Investigators with CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force recovered around $190,000 worth of stolen merchandise from retailers that included Lululemon, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid, Express, TJX, Ross and Victoria’s Secret at a house in El Sobrante on Thursday, CHP Golden Gate said in a statement following the bust. Officials also seized roughly $24,000 in cash.

Ngoc Bui Bach, 52, was arrested and booked at the Contra Costa County jail on suspicion of organized retail crime, grand theft and possession of stolen property, officials said.

The arrest comes after a month-long investigation into the alleged illegal fencing operation, CHP said.

LINK (paywall): https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/retail-theft-bust-lululemon-victorias-secreat-18346022.php

According the article, a warrant to search the home was obtained after receiving a tip.

September 2, 2023

Airline testing an adults-only section

DALLAS (AP) — One airline plans to find out if solitude-seeking travelers will pay a hefty extra charge to avoid sitting near babies and little kids.

Corendon Airlines says that it will sell an adults-only zone — no one under 16 — on flights between Amsterdam and Curacao starting in November.

The Turkish carrier says people traveling without children will get quiet surroundings, and parents won’t have to worry that their crying or fidgeting kids will annoy fellow passengers.

Corendon announced last week that it will set aside 93 regular seats and nine extra-legroom seats in the adult zone in the front of its Airbus A350 jets, which have 432 seats in all. A wall or curtain will separate the section from the wailing masses farther back.


The airline will charge an extra reservation fee of 45 euros ($49) for the no-kids zone. Doesn't sound like a hefty fee to me.

August 31, 2023

FYI: Major Bay Area highway closure set for Labor Day weekend

Drivers in Contra Costa and Solano counties over Labor Day weekend should expect major detours and traffic delays, as all lanes on westbound Interstate 80 will be closed for pavement repairs from Vallejo to Hercules for the entire holiday weekend, according to Caltrans.

The closure, from where I-80 meets Interstate 780 in Vallejo to where I-80 meets Highway 4 in Hercules, including the westbound section of the Carquinez Bridge, will start on Thursday after 9 p.m. and end on Tuesday at 5 a.m.

Travelers planning to cross the bay will be detoured from westbound I-80 to I-780 in Vallejo. On I-780, they will drive eastbound past Benicia to Interstate 680 toward Concord, over the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. Then they will exit onto westbound Highway 4 toward Richmond/Hercules and reenter westbound I-80 at Hercules.

Eastbound I-80, including the eastbound part of the Carquinez Bridge, will remain open.

Link (paywall): https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/interstate-80-westbound-closure-labor-day-weekend-18336477.php

Wish this could be done at night -- it'll create massive traffic back-ups on Westbound I-80 and eastbound I-780, 680, and Highway 4.

August 31, 2023

Real estate shakeup: Buyer found for nearly $1 billion in mortgages tied to S.F.'s largest landlord

A buyer has been selected for the huge $940 million mortgage portfolio tied to 2,149 San Francisco apartments controlled by Veritas Investments, the city’s largest residential landlord, and its partners.

Ballast Investments is poised to take over ownership of 75 apartment buildings and become one of the city’s biggest real estate players, according to a person with direct knowledge of the pending deal who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. The sale has not closed and the price of the mortgages isn’t clear.

Veritas began defaulting on mortgages early this year after the pandemic and remote work weakened demand for housing. The apartments account for around a quarter of Veritas’ holdings, which now total more than 8,000 units, up from around 6,500 units last year.


Ballast, headquartered in San Francisco and owner of the Brick + Timber rental agency, has also been an active local buyer in the past year. The company didn’t respond to requests for comment.

LINK (paywall): https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/buyer-selected-nearly-1-billion-s-f-apartment-18338875.php

HIGHLIGHTS from the link:

• Ballast is partnered with the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms. Last October they acquired a $15.6 million 38-unit Russian Hill property.

• A Ballast and Carlyle affiliate also bought a 12-unit apartment in Pacific Heights for $8.8 million in May 2022.


Buy low, lease high.

A takeover this big, and by a private equity firm with affiliates and layers of management, can't be anything but bad news to San Francisco renters.

These guys are in it for the money, nothing else.

August 28, 2023

ACC moves toward vote to bring in Pac-12 refugees Cal, Stanford

Cal and Stanford have gained traction toward receiving invitations to join the ACC, league sources familiar with the negotiations confirmed with the Chronicle on Monday morning after ESPN reported this latest development.

A decision on the Bears and Cardinal, as well as SMU, is expected in the next couple of days. Though details are being worked out, those three schools appear closer than ever to joining the ACC in all sports the league offers for the 2024-25 academic year.

Many discussions have centered on the biggest question facing Cal, Stanford and SMU: how the new money they bring in would be distributed. With the Mustangs expected to forgo TV revenue for seven years, and the Bears and Cardinal likely to join while receiving 30% shares, the ACC would have a pool of more than $40 million that can be divided among member schools.


For Cal, Stanford and SMU to receive invites, one of the four ACC teams that voted against expansion in an Aug. 9 straw poll — Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and North Carolina State — must change its vote. There is growing optimism that the Bears, Cardinal and Mustangs will get the necessary support.

LINK (paywall): https://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/college/article/acc-move-towards-voting-bring-cal-stanford-18334183.php

August 28, 2023

New type of crime wave sweeps Oakland's waterfront: 'Pirates'


As Oakland police grapple with rising burglaries, robberies and carjackings on land, residents on the water say they’re getting little help and are left on their own to chase out intruders.

Some have discussed arming themselves. Others have ventured out to reclaim their stolen property. Several bemoaned the lack of law enforcement response, saying it’s allowed crime to spiral and encouraged vigilantism. In recent months, a malaise has settled over the kitschy houseboats and lagoons, as boaters who sought an island lifestyle are suddenly finding themselves terrified.


“It’s almost the Wild West,” said Steve MeckFessel, managing investor at the Marina Village Yacht Harbor in Alameda. “It’s almost as if you were on a ship and there are pirates out there, and there’s no government, no one to protect you.”

“We’ve all gotten to the point where we know there is going to be no response” from police, DeLong said, noting that some neighbors have watched helplessly as intruders break their locks and swipe their possessions. Some wake up to find their vessels and storage units pillaged.

LINK (paywall): https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/oakland-pirates-boat-theft-marina-18327425.php

August 24, 2023

Ohtani has UCL tear, won't pitch again in '23

ANAHEIM -- The Angels were dealt a massive blow on Wednesday, as two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after exiting his start after just 1 1/3 innings in a 9-4 loss in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Reds.

It’s the second time that Ohtani has suffered a torn UCL. He had the same injury in 2018, and it forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery and not pitch in 2019. The Angels, though, are waiting on a second opinion on Ohtani before they decide whether he’ll need to undergo surgery.

But Ohtani, the heavy favorite to win the American League MVP Award for the second time in three seasons, will not pitch again this season after he underwent an MRI exam that revealed the tear in between the doubleheader games.


Despite being told his diagnosis, Ohtani asked to remain in the lineup as the designated hitter in Game 2’s 7-3 loss and went 1-for-5 with a hustle double in the fifth. The Angels don’t yet know whether Ohtani will be able to hit the rest of the season or if he’ll need an operation that will cause him to shut it down early. In 2018, he suffered his torn UCL on Sept. 2 and continued to hit the rest of the way until undergoing Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1.

LINK: https://www.mlb.com/news/shohei-ohtani-has-tear-in-ucl

Raise your hand if you're glad your team didn't sign him to the richest contract in baseball.

August 21, 2023

Safeway was caught overcharging. How to find out if your grocery store is doing the same.

Grocery stores and other retailers across the Bay Area have recently been caught overcharging customers, according to county inspectors — a problem that experts say happens far more than most people realize.

In early August, SFGate reported that several Safeway stores in Marin County were charging customers too much for items such as produce, cheese and laundry detergent. And that was after Safeway paid out a $2.25 million settlement in 2014 when inspections revealed pricing inaccuracies at stores throughout the state, and last year, Target similarly reached a $5 million settlement with several California counties.

More than one-third of stores in Sonoma County failed price accuracy inspections over the past year, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported in May. In Santa Clara County, inspectors last year found discrepancies at Walmart, Target, Walgreens and other stores, ABC7 reported.


Inaccuracies at the cash register mainly come down to human or computer error, officials and consumer advocates say.

Link (paywall): https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/grocery-stores-overcharging-18303789.php

Highlights from the link -- how to respond:

• Customers should know the law when they go shopping. The correct price is the “lowest posted, quoted or displayed" price. When there are multiple different prices listed, you are entitled to the lowest one.

• It's a good idea to pay attention during checkout to ensure you’re getting the store’s lowest price listed.

• After checkout, review your receipt for any errors. Do it before you leave the store.

• If you were overcharged for something you purchased and are still at the store, alert an employee and resolve the issue in person.

• If the issue isn’t fixed or you want to file a complaint, contact your local office of weights and measures

Bay Area weights and measures departments

• Alameda County: 510-268-7343, email form at www.acgov.org

• Contra Costa County: complaint form at www.contracosta.ca.gov

• Marin County: 415-473-7888, complaint form at www.marincounty.org

• Napa County: 707-299-1426, weightsandmeasures@countyofnapa.org

• San Francisco County: 415-252-3884, sfweightsandmeasures@sfdph.org

• San Mateo County: 650-363-4700, complaint form at www.smcgov.org.

• Santa Clara County: 408-918-4601 (main line), 866-722-6637 (overcharge complaints), scc.wts-measures@cep.sccgov.org, store scanner complaint form at https://weights.sccgov.org

• Solano County: 707-784-1310, wm@solanocounty.com, complaint form at www.solanocounty.com.

• Sonoma County: 707-565-2371, sonomaag@sonoma-county.org, complaint form at https://sonomacounty.ca.gov

August 21, 2023

S.F. lawmaker shelves bridge toll hike that aimed to save public transit agencies

A proposal to increase Bay Area bridge tolls is dead for the year, the bill’s author Sen. Scott Wiener announced Monday morning.

The bridge toll hike was aimed at helping public transit agencies including BART and Muni stave off a looming fiscal cliff. Wiener, D-San Francisco, announced that instead of trying to muster support for the bridge toll hike in the Legislature this year, he’ll organize meetings in the fall with other Bay Area lawmakers to find another solution to the transit agencies’ budget shortfalls.

Lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom put some money in the state budget to help California transit agencies that have struggled to rebound as ridership has fallen with more people working from home. But public transit agencies say it’s not nearly enough. Those in the Bay Area in particular have been especially hard hit, and have warned that they will have to drastically reduce service if they don’t get an infusion of cash.

Wiener’s bill to increase Bay Area bridge tolls by $1.50 met opposition from some Bay Area lawmakers.

LINK (paywalll): https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/bridge-toll-shelved-18306551.php

IMO Wiener is a bit out-of-touch with reality, though he had sense to drop the bill (with pressure from the public and, as mentioned above, other lawmakers).

FYI: BART salaries: https://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/Salary%20Schedule%20-%202022.0101.pdf

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