Garcia: Rethink the rogue mentality 

The laws of physics say every action has a reaction. The standards of San Francisco say that most official actions preclude thought, leaving lots of unintended consequences.

That’s why the overflowing bandwagon calling for boycotts, moratoriums and all manner of punishment for Arizona’s dark and dangerous attempt at immigration reform might be a cause for official reflection, at the very least so the San Francisco Giants don’t have to spend next spring training playing in the Grapefruit League in Florida.

The City’s movement to single out Arizona for its wayward efforts to require police to seek out and detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally certainly is gaining momentum, with the White House and state officials everywhere suggesting some form of sanctions. There will almost certainly be lawsuits coming — some from within Arizona itself — and state business officials are wondering and hoping if and when the storm will pass.

Arizona, not being used to bad weather, apparently doesn’t know what has hit it.

Here at home, city officials were bumping into each other trying to get out front on the charge to hit Arizona where it might hurt most — though nobody could quite figure out how, or how far. City Attorney Dennis Herrera suggested that his office could start pouring through vendor contracts to see what kind of agreements The City has with the Grand Canyon State, and it’s even been suggested that business people here might be compelled to discontinue their own dealings with Arizona contractors — an idea that should probably be buried deep in the Southwestern desert.

Mayor Gavin Newsom adroitly noted that general boycotts are tricky things to pull off, and then mined his own protest field to call for a moratorium on official city travel to Arizona. But as the momentum to make Arizona pay for its untenable policies moves forward, San Francisco’s leaders need to be part of a more concerted front to have any impact, because boycotting Arizona Diamondbacks games when the team is in town — albeit symbolic — will only hurt the Giants and other local employers.

So while the natural step of swinging for the headlines already has taken place, this is a good time for Herrera, Newsom and Co. to take thoughtful leadership in helping California bring its weight to a national battle. Going it alone has never been San Francisco’s strength — though it does generate news.


City native returns to escape Rock

This weekend, Aldo Angeli will try to answer the question of why anyone would travel halfway around the globe to jump into San Francisco Bay off Alcatraz to begin a grueling triathlon.

It appears the reason is that it’s there, his brother is here and he’s long been a prisoner of The City’s allure and tradition because he was once part of it.

Two of six children, Aldo and twin Mike, were born in San Francisco in 1958 and attended school in the Excelsior district. For a variety of reasons, half the family, including Aldo, decided to move to Italy while the other three remained in The City.

In his mid-30s, Aldo’s brother city resident Claudio Angeli started training and running marathons. After competing in several, he decided to tackle the bike, swim and run triumvirate known as the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Aldo took notice, not out of a sibling rivalry but as a possible chance to run the race together.

That was the plan at least, but now Claudio is suffering from an injury (triathlon training, go figure) and Aldo is going to compete alone Sunday when the ferry takes about 2,000 brave souls out to The Rock.

“All my life, I’ve been thinking about this,” Aldo told me. “But I decided to do it now because I’m getting kind of old.”

Aldo wants to bring a similar triathlon to Italy, though I’d say that an Escape from Vieraggio race just doesn’t have the same buzz.


Creative eye reigns at decorating show

You know you’re in some kind of altered space when a designer tells you that a room he fashioned started with a bunch of fluffy pillows. Yet, there are a lot of special visions encased in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, the annual creative forum in which a number of local designers, landscapers, painters and interior artists get to transform a mansion into rooms full of dreams.

The showcase, a fundraiser for University High School, is being held at 3450 Washington St., a house that was once owned by the late Jack Falvey of Hippo restaurant fame. This year’s version has some special treats, including a wizardry den termed the “Hall of Enlightenment” that’s straight out of “Harry Potter” (designer Darin Geise); a space devoted to the measurement of time (designer Brian Dittmar); and a whimsical kitchenette (designer Anastasia Faiella.)

This year’s showstopper is a top-story children’s room that includes a stage, a wall devoted to music (it has a built-in xylophone) and a hideaway closet for sleepovers.

“It’s all about scale,” said designer Jessica Weigley, who did the makeover with partner Kevin Hackett.

And if you’ve got about $20 million, it could all be yours. For more information, visit www.decoratorshowcase.org.


It must be spring: RocketBoat lands in Bay

The fastest way to tour the Bay is back — and this is one ride even the sea lions notice.

RocketBoat — the flame-colored high-speed ferry that jets under the Bay Bridge, around Treasure Island and through McCovey Cove — returns to Pier 39 today. It’s proof that spring is truly here.

The 40 mph thrill ride is the coolest vessel in the Blue and Gold Fleet. The twin-engine boat can carry up to 135 people at a time, but short people take note: You have to be 40 inches tall to ride. Tourists have discovered that it’s a good way to get a taste of the Bay — literally — but you shouldn’t be on the water if you’re afraid to get wet.

Purists may prefer sails to engines, but it should be noted that our green-conscious fleet managers made sure RocketBoat is powered by biodiesel fuel.

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Ken Garcia

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