Norman Patrick Doyle
Resident, The Commons
The Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association's Sunday Social on March 3rd drew an overflow crowd of Coasters to the 5A5 Steak Lounge on Jackson Street. Perhaps, like myself, they had come to hear guest speaker John King of the San Francisco Comical who was billed to speak on "the Barbary Coast, the Contentious Waterfront, and the Changing City."
Alas, instead of an energized discussion of the developments on the Embarcadero, we were subjected to a rambling monologue of disparate musings about Pier 70, how the Transamerica Pyramid became an icon, and street life on Valencia.
We learned that King and his wife had recently been in Philadelphia, that the worst building he had seen built is the Hotel Vitale, and that if you do architecture wrong, it doesn't get fixed (!). Those who were hoping to open the 8 Washington can of worms were sorely disappointed.
King ran on so long, 40 minutes instead of his allotted 20, that there was essentially no time for questions. Theo Armour, bless his heart, managed to get one in about short-term versus long-term residents, and that was it.
John King is described as an "Urban Critic." I don't altogether know what that is; it certainly doesn't include dynamic public speaking.