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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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UncategorizedThe San Francisco Eviction Sale

The San Francisco Eviction Sale

48hillsevicitonnotice

By Tony Robles

For sale:
The empty shoes of poets
A guitar body shorn of strings
Grandma’s cast iron pan with decades of
Built-on grease
A pot minus soil

For sale:

Our black skin
Our brown bones
The yellow leaves floating
In pools of our eyes

For sale:

Grandma’s tortilla hands
The guts of grandpa’s old transistor radio and his
Old racing forms
The squeaky staircase
The stained glass windows stained with wine
The murphy bed whose springs announce spring
All year round

For sale:

The rolling hills
Of the working shoulders that
Built North Beach
For sale:
An arm
A leg
A wing
A thigh
(all parts that gave their lives
To the city of St. Francis)

For sale:

The sacred playground
Where we grew up, where
The asphalt collected pieces of
Our skin like a living scrap book
Making us one with it

For sale:
The bridge that no longer connects us
The bridge with the faulty bolts
The crooked grinning street that leads
To city hall

For sale:
Our soul that is
A thin film floating
On the bay
Our heart that
Was once black, brown, yellow
Red—now bleached the color
Of nothing

For sale:

Our murals
That move across
Our skin and out of
The city
Giveaway:
Our dignity
Our spirit
Our class
At this
Eviction sale

 

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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94 COMMENTS

  1. A bit disingenuous.

    1) America was built on “self-reliance” in the 1700s and 1800s when you could go stake a claim for land for almost nothing. You can no longer do so. Now, all the land in America has long since had claims staked to it, and most of it that’s not public land has been sold and resold many times.

    Even half a century ago, a teacher or someone with a similar job even in California could buy their own home for four figures, just a few years’ pay, or an acre of land for a grand. Today, however, NO teacher can now afford a home anywhere in coastal California; and in Central California, where homes ARE more affordable, there’s been 25% unemployment in recent years.

    2) America has tens of millions of people in poverty, and most of them who aren’t senior citizens or children or disabled work–and work hard. Calling them “unambitious and dependent” essentially lies about them. The poor in America are not suffering because they are “unambitious” or aren’t “self-reliant.” They rely on themselves an awful lot, because they have to.

    I don’t know what the solution to San Francisco housing is, but it won’t be solved by pretending or lying about the nature of poor people. Your janitor likely works two or three jobs, and likely works much harder than you do.

  2. Lot’s of back and forth here. This problem is not unique to San Francisco, it’s just more extreme there because of the limited size of the city. The real problem is the wholesale destruction of the middle class in this country that has taken place over the last 30 years.
    San Francisco? Lived there, loved it, won’t go back. Can’t fight market forces. I’m relocating from SoCal soon, but I won’t breath a word of where I’m going. I’ve found a city very similar to the San Francisco of the ’60’s and the ’70’s. Best rule in life: don’t follow the crowd. Hint: it’s not in the United States.

  3. And the Mission and Hunter’s Point? How do these greedy mofos rationalize 3400 dollar 1 bedrooms?

  4. I would just like to say that this is a beautiful poem that comes from a real pain and a real love. I salute the author for his bravery. I am disheartened by the comments as I often am; bigots and an over-active sense of entitlement seem to be the modus operandi. The diversity of San Francisco has always been at the genesis of its beauty. To see that fall way to affluence and white privilege is truly sad.

  5. OMG, seriously? Is no one going to address the clunky, hammy collection of verse that we are supposed to recognize as “socially important” poetry? Okay, I will attempt to make a contribution to this kombucha-flavored slam.

    It’s no wonder
    You think this city is “yours”
    As self-involved
    And unwilling to accept change
    As you are

    And there you are
    Telling us we don’t belong
    To leave “your” city
    Because your pottery
    And pastoral landscapes done in menstrual blood
    And shitty paintings done on windowpanes
    And crappy political punk rock
    Can’t survive in this swamp of money.

    You tell us that we moved here because of you
    Because we wanted to be near your homeopathic art
    And your organically-grown culture
    And your shitty, shitty paintings
    And that this is why we moved here
    And that now we’re ruining it

    But we didn’t move here for you
    Or your art
    And you don’t get that
    Your shitty paintings are funny
    As is your bad, bad poetry
    That much we will concede
    But maybe
    Maybe
    Just maybe
    The reason your “art” can’t survive this swamp of money
    Is that it sucks
    And that no one cares
    And that your day job bagging groceries at the vegan co-op
    And your second job slinging coffee at the organic grindery
    Won’t support it anymore

    So
    Sorry about that

    Maybe
    You
    Should
    Try
    Getting
    A
    Job
    That
    Pays
    Better

    Or

    Find
    A
    Cheaper
    City
    To
    Live
    In.

    Just saying
    Please also forgive
    This gratuitous
    Line

    Break.

  6. The government subsidizes the military for everyone. Try paying for your own private army and seeing how far you get.

    Rent control is similar to minimum wage laws which some companies have been fighting for over 100 years. The “free market ” will set prices. Yeah right. Even with a free market you have the potential for exploitation and abuse. Without minimum wage laws most people would be slaves

  7. Don’t kid yourself dude. The internet is just an updated version of the telegraph. Google maps don’t even work half the time. And the government subsidizes too many things to list . If the government didn’t subsidize pharmaceuticals over two million people in this country alone would be dead of AIDS. But you would probably like that – after all they could be the losers right?

  8. Do we know what percent of rent controlled units were rented in the last 2-3 years? Because they would be close to ‘market rate’. Also, there is no rent control for businesses.

    Regardless of what the mix is now, clearly the pressure is on the non-high-end of the market. I believe that there is a Maslowvian hierarchy for cities and neighborhoods, and one of the most basic needs to thrive is to not to be under attack.

    We call it growth. We call it gentrification. But in this case we should also call it an attack on the poor and middle class. Once we admit that, we can find solutions that are compatible with all objectives.

  9. Perhaps I should rephrase: It can be gratifying to annoy people who think they are justified in everything they do.

    Most of the wars in history have been fought and are still being fought over the issue of land rights, and many with the theme of “we were here first”. That is one of the reasons the Middle East is such a volatile place, and why the American Indians (Native Americans) feel that they are justified in having their own tax free municipalities regarded as separate nations within the US. The Native Americans did not have any property titles or legal land rights before the settlers came in from Europe and started taking the land. But they were there first, and that argument was justification enough for the federal judges in this country to grant them a separate nation of their own as reparation.

    The Palestinians are still arguing that the Israelies should give up some the land which is historically rightfully theirs, although Palestinians can Jordan their own state as well. Both claim it is their land, although DNa studies show that if you go back enough generations many of the Jews and Arabs are cousins.

    The wars being fought right now in the Ukraine are largely due to land rights relating to ethnic origins. The IRA became the prototype for many of the radical terrorist organizations in the modern world including Al Queda because they felt their land was invaded and it was theirs first. In fact almost all of the terrorism we see today is as much about land rights as religion.
    who knows – maybe the people in San Francisco being thrown out by the Google Gestapo will be awarded their own territories are reparation for pain and suffering just as the Native Americans can now run casinos and sell cigarettes without paying taxes

  10. You need to take a logic class. Linking to academic thought pieces doesn’t make it national policy. You are the one saying there’s a “national consensus” in these countries and your links in no way support that.

  11. You aren’t “sticking it” to anyone – and if you think you are, let me tell you something – you really need to up your game.

  12. Ok, my bad. You did NOT say:”if you don’t like the changes -o- move” as my quote marks imply.

    I said “maybe some … could move” in regards to finding a place more “affordable”; and you said “maybe you … should look for” in regard to finding someplace where the marketplace is valued.

    But you are the person doing the admonishing!

    The difference between “should” and “could” is the difference between a admonishment (to caution, advise, or counsel against something;
    to reprove or scold, to urge to a duty”; and a suggestion “to propose as suitable or possible for some purpose”.

    The fact, at least for me, is that I came to SF when the marketplace was tolerated, if not valued. As an owner-occupier, I didn’t sign up for Rent Control – it landed on many of us. I can (grudgingly) accept changes going forward. But I feel just as ‘evicted’ from what I signed up for as any of those renters selling their “poets shoes’ or ‘tortilla hands’.

    If this Moratorium were to mandate – to not only be effective for “45 days”/ two years/ 30+ months (whatever) out – but to be retroactive for the preceding 6 or 9 or 12 months too, would you be in favor of that? (yeah, I bet you probably would). However, it becomes a totally different animal then. It may still be popular, but not many would consider it fair.

  13. No, I was responding to you who admonished that maybe I and others should move to Philly. Do you even read what you write?

  14. Depends what you mean by “very little” in respect of permanent conversion. It’s not easy to count all the conversions.

    The ones that are easy to count are condo conversions, merges, demolitions and conversion to non-profit owned. Those are maybe only a few hundred a year.

    Much harder to count are conversions to owner occupation (not permanent in theory but usually in practice) via OMI’s, RMI’s, TIC formation and via natural turnover.

    Also more difficult to count are conversions to short-term lets (uncontrolled if for less than 30 days), corporate lets, acaemic lets, commercial lets, and so on.

    And of course units that are just left vacant. Is that “very little”? Perhaps, as it is somewhere between 1% and 2% a year of the controlled stock. But it’s not nothing and it is cumulative, while no new RE units are created to replace them

    We can only guess at the total, therefore, but I would put it somewhere around 3,000 a year

  15. A 50-50 mix of regulated and unregulated units, where the regulated units are protected from conversion? San Francisco is close to that now, at least for residences. Rent controlled units make up around 45% of the total housing stock, and there is very little permanent conversion.

    What funds a 50%-affordable development mandate, the city?

  16. Funny – in an article bemoaning the way SF has become, you are telling someone “if you don’t like the changes -o- move”.

    I’m curious (and ignorant, remember) – what about AZ do you think I’d find compelling?

  17. You’d have to come up with some better material if you actually wanted to ‘stick it’ to anyone. Anyway, most people you don’t agree with here aren’t right wing. Most center-left folks in this town think the progs are crazy.

  18. Insofar as shelter is a right, it is the right to a roof over your head to protect you from the elements.

    A bijou 2-BR apartment in leafy affluent Pacific Heights for $600 a month for life probably doesn’t fit under that definition.

    If society is willing to pay to give you a home that you cannot afford, then you cannot reasonably expect to be able to demand exactly where in the Bay Area that home is. Or maybe even whether it is in the Bay Area

  19. No, but anti-white racism is rapidly becoming the most prevalent form of racism in America, and it is more sinister precisely because in many circles, people give it a pass.

  20. Speak for yourself. I never moved to SF because it is “diverse”. What good does that do me? Having a large unwashed underclass doesn’t pay my bills

  21. “Fair” is a subjective notion. The top 2% in terms of income pay over 50% of income tax. You probably think that it is unfair because it is too little – I think it is unfair because it is too much

  22. Landlords are much less monopolies in SF than in cities like NYC and Chicago, which have far more large corproate landlords rather than the mom’n’pop landlords you typically find here.

    Maybe if you lived here you would know that

  23. You know, I’m not the one trying to change San Francisco to my liking. It is you and your libertarian brothers who are trying to change things, so maybe you all should look for someplace more consistent with your marketplace values. Arizona comes to mind.

  24. Interesting article. I’ve been thinking that a 50-50 mix, including retail establishments would create the most interesting San Francisco.

  25. Which “handful of apts” would you exclude? Units run by the Tenderloih Housing Clinic are not rent controlled. Would you include those?

    What about landlords who entered into contracts, which were then upended and extended by the State? You seem to infer mutual agreement of both parties; but not when one side is coerced or the terms were unitlaterally altered.

  26. I don’t get it. You want SF to be “attractive” yet its attractiveness leads to the very increased competition for resources which that popularity invites.

    Seems to me that if you want to keep something for the current residents, then you hide it, make it seem undesirable, and throw up stiff hurdles to newcomers. Yet we advertize SF as a “sanctuary city’ – so undocumented immigrants come here ane pay $300/ to sleep in a boiler room; and we create high paying jobs in biotech, computers, apps etc which then leads to $3400 apts, $4 toast and $6 ice cream cones.

    San Francisco should put on a collective burkha and stop inviting the lecherous eyes of those who then are tempted to move here. I’m sure certain exemptions could be made for leachs with no money. But otherwise — off to the guillotines with this new sort, eh?, .

  27. ” You could make a very good case that landlords in a place like San
    Francisco are monopolists of a sort – they control a commodity in a
    short supply and are driving the prices up , thus harming the markets in.”

    By your insinuation, it might be more accurate to say that tenants are monopolizing rent controlled units in the City – thus creating a shortage for new vacancies and driving up prices. This would actually be closer to the truth. Renting under rent control is a one-way business: one party can say “see you later” and the other party never gets that chance. Thats hardly anyone’s definition of ‘fair’.

    And its very difficult to posit “monopoly” status on tens of thousands, in the case of landlords, or hundreds of thousands, in the case of tenants. Their are just too many actors. Monopolies – and Oligarchs, by definition, are limited and few.

    BTW, Mary, how are all those vacant units in Philly? A city with only half as many people as 50 yrs ago must have a lot of empty places that could be had for cheap? Maybe some of our renters could move there, buy, and become the burghers they despise on this coast. Then the tables woiuld be turned, and they might experience what they now can only hypothesize. Maybe Gary & jthomas would like to go?

  28. Anti-white racism is the only racism? Wow. Fucking ponderous stupidity. Really, Mr. Smith, I am stunned.

  29. Housing economist Jed Kolko suggested to me a tremendously helpful frame for thinking about these distinctions. What is the basic right are we trying to protect in these fights? Is it a right to affordable housing in increasingly unaffordable cities? Or is it a right to affordable housing in particular neighborhoods? Or is it a right to affordable housing in particular neighborhoods where the character and community remain familiar to longtime residents?

    Emily Badger

  30. It is a forced subsidy by self serving voters. Just like Prop 8 was forced on California by self serving bigots.

  31. It seems like you hate SF. Good thing you don’t live here. Why bother commenting on a city you clearly despise that’s 3000 miles away??

  32. People who expect a free ride on the efforts of other people, drug addicts, petty thieves, illegal aliens. all the riff raff SF glorifies that are really ruining the city, Not self enabled professionals who really contribute great things to society like GOOGLE MAPS I freaking love that or even this internet YOU are using !

  33. Rent control is a form of exploitation and landlords contribute 100 times more than any rent controlled parasites ! Wanna drive rents down?… STOP RENTING

  34. Don’t kid yourself. 20 to 40 years time the city might not even exist. Try buying earthquake insurance when you live right on the biggest fault in the world

  35. The concept that living in San Francisco is a utopian prize that only the elite deserve to enjoy is absurd. It was not always that way. It will not always be that way. Part of what made the city attractive and unique was the diversity and tolerance. If the city is turning into just another habitat of identical yuppie clones working on computers 15 hours a day and drinking soylent green for lunch it is not paradise. It sounds more like hell.

  36. Calling everyone who disagrees with you a communist is trying to take very complex issues in property law and international rent control and turning them into simple headlines worthy of a cheap tabloid. Besides, communism is so yesterday. Even Old Fidel Castro and brother Raul realize its not the way to go.

    Many but not all countries in the EU implement some form of rent stabilization , the largest and most prosperous is Germany. In fact in the German constitution citizens are guaranteed affordable housing as a constitutional right. The origins of this date all the way back to the Protestant reformation and Lutheranism. The German idea is that speculation in property, while not necessarily evil, is not a productive use of time. Rent is a form of exploitation and landlords usually don’t contribute anything worthwhile to society.

    Even the original free market capitalists who founded this country recognized that monopolies and oligopolies distort market prices and must be controlled. You could make a very good case that landlords in a place like San Francisco are monopolists of a sort – they control a commodity in a short supply and are driving the prices up , thus harming the markets in the same way OPEC froze the US economy in the 1970s.

  37. however, your description of “poor and ugly” belongs to you: poor in spirit and empathy and intelligence and ugly with venomous racism

  38. I don’t know why I bother with you, Sam. I guess it’s my Messiah complex. Even you can be saved…..

    “A new study finding an “unfair,” rich-poor balance in state and local taxes has been getting big traction on the Web this week.

    The study, from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, found that “virtually every state’s tax system is fundamentally unfair, taking a much greater share of income from low- and middle-income families than from wealthy families.” It added that state and local tax systems are “indirectly contributing to growing income inequality by taxing low- and middle-income households at significantly higher rates than wealthy taxpayers.”

    In other words, it said the tax systems are “upside down,” with the poor paying more and the rich paying less. Overall, the poorest 20 percent of Americans paid an average of 10.9 percent of their income in state and local taxes and the middle 20 percent of Americans paid 9.4 percent. The top 1 percent, meanwhile, pay only 5.4 percent of their income to state and local taxes.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102341748

  39. The Ellis Act ensures that landlords are not trapped forever into subsidizing losers. Even so the only saving grace is that no new controlled units are being created while a few thousand vanish every year

    I take a long view and in 20-40 years time, when all the sitting tenants have died or moved on, this will no longer be an issue. and then we truly can be a city for winners, not losers

  40. How are the wealthy being subsidized? They pay most of the tax so that losers like you can pay little or nothing

  41. And yet African Americans are the wealthiest blacks on the planet. Your ancestors may have had a bum trip, but you won the black lottery just by being born here.

    So why the attitude?

  42. I don’t agree that government regulation of businesses, and the prices they can charge are “subsidies”, especially when we are discussing things vital to life – housing, utilities, food, education and health. But yes, they are regulations.

    Rent control has been with us for almost 30 years. By now, everyone knows the rules. Those us who don’t like rent control should work to kill it Me? I support expanding rent control to all but a handful of apartments.

    But maligning tenants as being ‘squatters’, entitled, stealing etc because they entered into contracts with their landlords and upheld their side of the contract is making landlords look bad.

  43. If you’re willing to subsidize multi-national corporations, foreign despots, Wall Street banksters, and corrupt politicians, then you should be willing to subsidize your less-fortunate neighbors, you schlub.

  44. Let’s leave my (black) ass out of this.

    Why don’t you be honest and admit you are only interested in seeing how many meaningless, off-topic)posts you can make before you have to change your name. And why don’t you ever have any evidence to back up your Lihmbaughesque claims?

  45. Looks like your google search hit on a UK site.

    No matter, if the government forces me to sell you something for less than it is worth, then that is a subsidy. It is not a grant directly from the government but it is a cross-subsidization arising from a confiscatory and redistributive government mandate,

  46. Full Definition of SUBSIDY
    : a grant or gift of money:
    : a sum of money formerly granted by the British Parliament to the crown and raised by special taxationb
    : money granted by one state to another
    : a grant by a government to a private person or company to assist an enterprise deemed advantageous to the public

  47. If you pay less than something is worth, then that is a subsidy. It’s an implicit subsidy rather than an explicit one, but you are getting a handout just the same. It constitutes a transfer of wealth from one person to another.

  48. Entering into a contract with a landlords in a rent controlled apartment isn’t a subsidy, no matter how you want to spin it.

    If you don’t like rent control, work to change it. But don’t fault those who are renting rent controlled units. They are not subsidized nor are the squatters.

  49. Spain is not about to default on their government debt, and on the eve of the 2008 global economic meltdown, all of their ‘fundamentals’ were in good shape (employment, low debt, etc.) were in mostly in good shape except 1: Not enough economic diversity – too much reliance on one industry sector for employment,etc: Real estate.

    The problem was that banks were making the same bogus mortgages as here in the US, and that cheap money had Spaniards and foreigners buying like crazy, pushing up prices, and the low supply of real estate caused developers to go crazy with construction of new housing units, many of which are now still empty since 2008.

    Back to San Francisco, we are putting too much emphasis on the tech industry and, in the process of making room for tech-related businesses and their workers, we have eliminated many non-tech businesses. One major correction in this bubble and we are toast, and not the $4 kind of toast.

    Regardless of how right-wing nutcases like to re-write history here. prop M saved our asses during a few corrections. I think we need another proposition and/or a moratorium to bring some sanity back to the table.

  50. you just do not want to listen: not everybody wants to be rich and beautiful – why is it so hard for you to accept that –

  51. As long as you pay your way, and don’t demand that others subsidize you, I have no problem with you staying. That is the difference between us.

  52. Wrong, the US is no richer per capita than similar nations like Canada and Australia that never had slavery. That is a myth propagated by self-serving black activists.

    Why don’t you be honest with us and admit that you want the things that being rich and successful bring? But that since you lack the skills to achieve that, you instead try an advance an ideology that says that those who are more successful than you should subsidize your ass?

  53. If Greece is your poster child nation, then you are in more trouble than anyone here can help you with

    Why don’t you move there if it so much better than the US? At least you can afford it.

  54. Nobody has a “right” to live in a place that they cannot afford

    American was built on the notion of self-reliance and mobility. And not on the idea of hoarding some place and whining that those who are more successful should subsidize you.

    Are you really that unambitious and dependent?

  55. Apparently you didn’t get the memo: http://sco.lt/6PM6tt

    “This kind of market-based sorting process ultimately reinforces the advantages of the already well-off. As numerous studies have shown, the ability to locate in advantaged urban neighborhoods provides access to better schools, lower crime, better libraries, and more accomplished role models and peers. The end result compounds economic inequality with a broader inequality of well-being, which reinforces and perpetuates America’s growing social and economic divides.”

    Bottom line: people have the “right” to stay in communities they helped to build.

  56. I’ll take grandma’s cast iron pan! Those things last for ever. Just a little scrubbing and it’s good to go

  57. You’re now arguing like a conservative. I don’t have the facts backing me up so I’ll just make up something. Feel free to provide links that actually articulate that as a national policy. The closest I could find is this link for Greece which is attributed to their on-going fiscal crisis.

    http://www.housingeurope.eu/blog-254/social-housing-in-greece

    And you probably shouldn’t use nations like Greece or Spain which are basically about to default on government debt as exemplars for the US. The reason they have homeless is that their economy is in freefall, not due to any sort of bellwether city attracting investment (literally the opposite). Edit: I shouldn’t link Greece and Spain. Spain is not in great shape but definitely more viable than the Greek economy right now.

  58. Shelter is a basic right, but living in a desirable city that you cannot afford just because you feel entitled to live somewhere “cool” most certainly is not.

  59. Housing may be a human right. A 2-BR in Pacific Heights for $500 a month most definitely is not

  60. The London link was particularly bogus, since control of rents was a policy idea of the UK Labour Party, which was just thrashed by the Conservative Party in the elections a month ago.

    The British voters rejected it

  61. The details are these: “There’s a tentative national consensus that housing is an essential public resource first, a speculative good second.” First Greece, now Spain. Ireland could be next. Do the right thing, or get nationalized.

  62. Ok, I’ll play.

    The Berlin link indicates that the rent control cap will be 20% over 3 years. In the last 10 years in SF the highest allowable annual increase was 2.2%. Hmmmm. Do you see a big difference?

    The Paris link doesn’t even have an explicit cap. Just that a landlord could not rent something 20% over the median per square [unit of measure] in that neighborhood.

    Your last link is a UK paper talking about the Berlin legislation. No where does it even say that London is considering rent control so I’m not sure if you’re being deliberately deceptive in posting the link.

    devil’s in the details…..

  63. Not a SF only problem. Other cities have implemented or are considering rent control. I think it is past time to push for expanding rent control city-wide. From one of the linked articles below: “There’s a tentative national consensus that housing is an essential public resource first, a speculative good second.”

    Berlin:

    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2013/11/has-germany-figured-out-way-keep-rents-affordable/7639/

    Paris:

    http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2013/07/new-rent-laws-aim-keep-paris-becoming-only-rich/6187/

    London (considering rent control):

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/news/11645625/berlin-rent-control-law-housing-crisis.html

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