Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sara O'Neill's letter to PKDW stakeholders

This is the letter Sara O'Neill, my wife, wrote to the stakeholders of my son's preschool, Potrero Kids at Daniel Webster. We're trying to stop the preschool from closing.

To the stakeholders at PKDW: MNC Board members, SF Foundation, LIIF, Eastern Neighborhoods Public Benefit Trust, SFUSD, First Five, Children's Council, DCYF, San Francisco Supervisors and Mayor, Neighbors, Fellow PKDW Parents and Friends

A terrible thing is happening at Potrero Hill Kids at Daniel Webster (PKDW) preschool. I am attaching recent correspondence between Mission Neighborhood Centers (MNC) and Potrero Residents Education Fund (PREFund) so that you can better understand each of their points of view. [I did not include the correspondence in this post - JMO] I will offer my own below as a parent at PKDW.

My son, John Haley, loves his preschool. Our neighborhood, Potrero Hill, is family-friendly and close-knit. He attends preschool with children he has known since infancy. We can barely afford it, but we chose PKDW because we wanted to support this fledgling neighborhood ideal as part of a tremendous community movement launched by PREFund.

As a parent, I have been involved with several committees: Parent/Staff Relations, Finance, Daniel Webster Liaison and the Staff Search Committees. I watched the drama unfold for months and desperately hoped that the tension between MNC and PREFund would not affect the classroom experience for my son. It was clear to everyone that MNC and PREFund could no longer work together. The attached letters will tell you as much.

I'm writing because the conflict has devolved into MNC temporarily closing PKDW's doors, with slightly less than 30 days notice, on April 1st. Many of the stakeholders in PKDW have an intimate understanding of preschool and childcare in San Francisco. For those of you who don't, please allow me to explain that this is a disaster. One family has been "lucky" enough to re-establish their child in the program she was in prior to PKDW. Most families will have no such luck. In fact, most families will have no options. Many application processes for preschool in September are already closed. Almost every preschool in San Francisco has a waitlist. MNC may offer slots in their existing preschools -- and I hope they do -- but the parents that I have talked to (and I've talked to a lot of them in the last 24 hours) have lost faith in MNC.

I'm writing to plead with you, the stakeholders at PKDW, to immediately intervene to prevent the doors from closing. I am confident that the doors can remain open if MNC is willing to work with PKDW families, the stakeholders and, yes, PREFund.

Please come to the meeting this Friday, March 6, 2009, 6pm, at PKDW, Staff Bungalow (lower yard), 465 Missouri St at 20th St in support of the families at PKDW.


Sara O'Neill
Parent of John Haley O'Neill, a Potrero Kid at Daniel Webster

CC: MNC and PREFund

Monday, February 25, 2008

Our dishwasher is broken

I'd forgotten how much time one can spend washing dishes. I wonder which has a greater environmental impact: washing dishes by hand, which, presumably, uses more water, or washing them in a machine, which probably uses more energy. Anyway, we gotta get our dishwasher fixed, or get a new one. I can't keep this up. There are only so many hours in a day, and I'd rather spend them playing with my kids than washing dishes.

Nevertheless, we're renters, and we're a little timid about asking our landlord to repair or replace this appliance. I remarked to Sara yesterday that even if we had to buy our own new dishwasher it would be cheaper than moving.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

40 minute delay

A co-worker stopped by my desk just before I left work to let me know that she'd heard about Caltrain delays. "Caltrain is running 10 to 40 minutes late in both directions," she said.

No sweat, I thought. I've endured 10 to 40 minute delays many times. I'll just go to the station and find out how late the trains are running. I called Sara to let her know that the trains were running late.

When I got to the station, the flashing sign read,


Later, I heard on the radio that there was a big crash on Meadow St. in Palo Alto.
Here's the story from the San Jose Mercury News: "Woman dead after Caltrain slams into car on tracks in Palo Alto."

I called Sara, and she offered to drive down to San Mateo to come get me. No, I'll just ride back to work and beg one of my co-workers who lives in San Francisco for a lift home.

Then I saw one of my friends from Caltrain leaving the platform and riding away, going north. "Riding home?" I asked her.

"BART!" She replied.

Now that's a good idea, I thought. Another cyclist was riding north, so I followed him and confirmed that he was going to BART too. I rode down El Camino, which was a little scary, because there's no shoulder in Burlingame. I suspect that El Camino is the route for n00bs riding from San Mateo to Millbrae BART; I'll have to look up a better way for next time.

I just happened to have a BART ticket in my pocket, and there was a train waiting for me when I got there. We arrived at the 24th St. station at 6:35, and I was home by 6:50, only 40 minutes late.

The sign should have read, "Expect major delays, unless you have a bike!"

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Economic Decision

My sister, econoblogging for her seven year old daughter by proxy, displays this analysis of two purchasing choices. The amusing diagram explains why Selma prefers one choice over the other.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Least Punk Rock Song in the World

For the past several days, I have had this song going through my head and have been wondering, "What is that tune?" It's a song that, although I heard it all the time in my childhood, I have almost never heard since the 80s. Finally, this morning, I couldn't stand it any longer. I called my Dad, who should know because he was an adult when it was popular, and hummed it to him.

He identified it immediately: "It's, 'A Taste of Honey,' from the movie of the same name. You have heard it because it was recorded by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass some time during the sixties and it was very popular for several years thereafter."

As I was leaving for work, I realized that this song (as performed by HAATTB) is the antithesis of punk rock. It's the least punk rock song in the world, which means it's ripe for being covered by a punk rock band. Who will be first?

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Friday, January 05, 2007

My war on clutter

My Mom and I are annoyed. We read the article in the New York Times, "Saying Yes to Mess," and we think it's just a rationalization for laziness.

Now, clean your room!

Here's my comment on the article posted on Lifehacker.

Would a ballet dancer perform on a stage littered with dirty costumes and unused set pieces? Would a pianist leave music strewn over the keyboard? A messy desk contains stuff in the wrong space. Storage goes in storage -- only the active project belongs in the workspace.

To those who assert that an empty desk is a sign of an empty mind I reply, my desk isn't empty! It contains only active projects because I can work on a few things at a time. My interpretation of GTD is that semi-active projects, those being worked on today but not right now, go in easily accessible storage, not on the desk.

Closet a mess? Well, that's all right. I put "clean the closet" on the project list and forget it for now. Work space a mess? I clean it up. If that means "Throw everything in the closet," so be it. I can't work in clutter.

As for general neatness, I think "active" clutter is OK -- if it's on its way to the right place, it's not a mess. On the other hand, piles of stuff gathering dust are yucky. Eventually, you want to use the space where the piles live. If you live in a 3000 square foot suburban starter mansion, maybe you can just use a different room. If, like me, you live with a family in a 1200 square foot flat, you need to optimize the way space is used.

And then what happens when you want to have people over? Moving twenty piles to set up a guest bed is a big headache. It's easier to set up for guests when everything is already stowed.

Finally, there's the matter of beauty. I want to live and work in a place that's elegant, that's nice to look at. If I look around the room and see clutter, it causes stress, just like an uncaptured project does. Neatness is the physical analogue to the informational organization of GTD.

- johnmarkos, 12/30/06, 12:27 PM

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Finally, a law with some cents

As we all know, melting pennies to sell the metal would disrupt the nation's critical "Give a penny/take a penny" system.

Link to Boing Boing's post on this new law.

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