An empty lot at 22nd Street and Mission Street surrounded by fence.
The empty lot at 22th St. and Mission St. Photo by Xueer Lu. September 26, 2023.

Last week’s results

So, you may remember that the trivia challenge from Joe’s column on the city’s budget described the budgetary add-back process — during which organizations plead for city money — as “…a spectacle: Competing community groups are made to line up and tell piteous tales during public hearings like a deranged municipal version of ‘Queen for a Day.'”

We asked for a pop culture reference in which someone has to plead their case.

The entries were excellent. Peter Wong suggested: “Community groups must come to public hearings and plead for desired funding like petitioners seeking the favor of ‘Game Of Thrones” King Joffrey.”

Eve Harris suggested: ” … community groups had to line up to sing and dance for their metaphorical supper. They strive to hit the high notes with moves as smooth as Mayor London Breed at a nightclub during Covid-19 lockdown.”

We disqualified the funny Harris entry because it wasn’t strictly a pop culture reference. 

In the end, we favored Julian Bermudez’s entry, that community groups have to show City Hall “What they got” like the giant heads from “Rick and Morty.” So Bermudez takes home the tote bag this week! 

YouTube video

This Week’s Contest 

In this week’s column, Joe describes the vacant lot at 22nd and Mission streets as “An imposing jet-black fence, unlovely sloping wasteland and a vast puddle resembling the putrid swimmin’ hole Sheriff Andy Taylor would’ve told Opie to avoid.” 

Is there a better pop-culture reference for the barren lot and vast puddle? 

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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