Thursday Morning Roundup

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HBO Filming New Series In City

A new HBO television series began filming in San Francisco this week, according to the mayor's office.

"Looking," a show about three gay men in San Francisco starring Frankie Alvarez, Murray Bartlett and Jonathan Groff, will complete filming in the city in November for its first season on the popular cable channel, Mayor Ed Lee announced.

Producers of the series signed a lease for stage and office space in the city's Mission District, according to Lee's office.

HBO filmed the show's pilot in April after previously filming "Hemingway & Gellhorn," a film starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen, in 2011, according to Lee's office.

"I am thrilled to have HBO return to San Francisco," the mayor said in a statement.

"Productions like this help showcase our world-class city to the world."

HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo said the show "is as much about San Francisco as it is about the characters" and said "we are thrilled to be shooting in the city."

 

Campaign Launched On Voters To Reject Waterfront Condo Project

Current and former San Francisco officials Wednesday called for voters to reject two measures on the November ballot that would allow a condominium project to move forward along the city's waterfront.

With Propositions B and C, San Francisco voters will decide the fate of the 8 Washington project, a proposed 134-unit condo complex located just north of the Ferry Building in the city's Financial District.

The project was approved by the city's Board of Supervisors last year but opponents gathered tens of thousands of signatures to put the plans on hold and place a referendum on the ballot in the form of Proposition C.

The 8 Washington project's proponents have also placed a separate competing initiative on the ballot in the form of Proposition B.

Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, former Mayor Art Agnos and others gathered near the site of the proposed development Wednesday morning to call on San Franciscans to vote "no" on both measures, calling it a "wall on the waterfront."

Agnos said the city tore down the double-decker Embarcadero Freeway and has been working to make the waterfront more accessible and appealing to the public.

"It belongs to all of San Francisco" but "is being sold to the highest bidder" in the form of condos costing about $5 million each, Agnos said.

Chiu said the development would also be built on top of the city's largest sewer line, which handles 20 million gallons of sewage daily.

Chiu said if something went wrong on the project that caused a sewage spill, "it really could jeopardize the neighborhood and create a major liability for the city."

Organizers of the Yes on B campaign say the 8 Washington site is currently an asphalt lot and private club blocked off by a 1,735-foot-long fence and that the project would create 30,000 square feet of new public open space in the area.

Campaign spokesman David Beltran said the 8 Washington opponents were just putting out misleading information and scare tactics "geared to distract from the fact that there's vast public benefit from the project."

More information from opponents of the project is available online at www.nowallonthewaterfront.com while the Yes on B proponents have more information at www.openupthewaterfront.org.

 

'Jerry Garcia Amphitheater' To Keep Its Name After Tentative Plans To Revamp Mclaren Park Dropped

The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater at San Francisco's McLaren Park will continue to carry on the name of the Grateful Dead bandleader who lived near the park in his youth.

A community group based out of the Excelsior neighborhood where the park is located formed earlier this year to oppose a potential proposal from the city's Recreation and Park Department to partner with Los Angeles-based nonprofit Levitt Pavilions.

The organization helps fund renovations and operations at outdoor park venues for shows and performances.

Levitt Pavilions executive director Sharon Yazowski said about a month ago the two entities decided that the site was "too small to accommodate the Levitt program."

Under the proposal, Levitt would have brought in 50 free concerts a year to the space and repair the aging amphitheater and the park department would have renamed the site as the "Levitt Pavilion San Francisco at Jerry Garcia Meadow."

Part of the proposal at the park included putting in lawn seating for about 5,000 where there are only 2,000 seats.

"We knew the space was tight while the conversation with the naming was happening," Yazowski said.

The parks department had reached out to Levitt in 2009 to explore a partnership and began in earnest to look into feasibility of the project in late 2012, according to Yazowski.

Yazowski said the park amphitheater seemed like a venue that could benefit from a Levitt partnership.

"The park could benefit from some improvements," she said, adding that the organization would still be interested to work with the city at another location.

As part of the Levitt public-private partnership, the group would have given about $400,000 of seed money to build or improve a bandshell that usually costs up to $2.5 million.

The proposed name change and other modifications prompted the formation of the "Save Jerry Garcia Amphitheater" group.

One of the group's leaders, Tom Murphy, who once lived in the neighborhood and had been on a committee that pushed for the performance space to be named after Garcia in 2005, said the group is pleased that the space will continue to "honor a local legend."

Murphy said the Levitt vision for the space "just wasn't the right fit for that community."

He credited the organization, along with the parks department and mayor's office, for being professional and respectful during conversations about the proposed changes.

"They definitely wanted to do what the community wanted," he said.

The group is now focusing on "getting the place activated and promoted properly," Murphy said.

He said other than Jerry Day festivities once a summer there has been a decline in use of the amphitheater, which was renovated in 2005 with money from the late guitarist's estate.

"We're trying to figure out a way to get it more active," he said. "We want to preserve this. We all think it's important to preserve the heritage of an icon who grew up in the area."

 

Weather Forecast

Sunny skies are expected in the Bay Area this morning.

Highs are likely to be in the mid 60s to upper 70s, with westerly winds up to 15 mph in the afternoon.

Clear skies are expected this evening.

Lows are likely to be in the upper 50s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph.

Partly cloudy skies are likely Friday morning.

Highs are expected to be in the 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph in the afternoon.

 

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Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137