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SF prices out coach, Bay Area pigs, porta-potties that watch you, and more

Four things to know today

Photo by Sharon Mollerus

Welcome to Curbed Cuts, a tri-weekly digest connecting the dots between shelter, structure, parks, transportation, and more.

A recap worth watching

Mission Local’s its “Developments in Development” column, penned by Laura Wenus, the site’s managing editor, is a comprehensive roundup of SF-focused news on, you guessed it, development.

It’s definitely Mission-centric (as befits a website called Mission Local) and isn’t short on point-of-view—for example, from earlier this month, regarding SF’s Planning Commission:

Honestly I feel for them. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how they should do their jobs. And we’re not very charitable. Approve a development? Catch heat from anti gentrification activists. Reject a development? People who want more housing aren’t pleased. Decide to delay a decision to figure it out? Snarky reporter field day.

Nuthin' like a good scratch...

A post shared by Atticus (@atticusthepig) on

Here, piggy piggy

Atticus the pig is well-known to residents of San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood. His Golden Gate Park-adjacent guardians languished for years on the wait list of a farm known for their teeny tiny porkers, and thrilled when the farmers sent Atticus their way. Despite the farm’s rep, Atticus has blossomed to a sturdy 150 pounds. That’s nothing compared to these Canadians with a similar mini-but-not story, who ended up with a 650-pounder. (In deference to Canada, I should note that that’s 294.8 kilograms.)

I’m thinking about Atticus because this week, the Bay Area city of Benicia will consider an ordinance allowing residents to own pot-bellied pigs, as long as the animals never exceed 100 pounds But according to this article from The Dodo, which has 136 comments but none that claim the article is bunk:

Potbellied pigs ( Sus scrofa domesticus) are wild boar cousins from Vietnam who are in fact miniature pigs when standing next to huge farm pigs (who can weigh more than 1,000 pounds) or even wild hogs (who can weight 450 to 700 pounds). However, potbellied pigs still grow to between 100 and 150 pounds on average — nowhere near small enough to fit into a teacup. In fact, the smallest size that is healthy for these little guys is around 60 pounds (though that could be underweight, depending on the pig).

In fact, many pig guardians who are trying to keep their pigs as small as the city of Benicia demands end up starving their pets, Modern Farmer reports. Marcie and Chris Christensen, founders of the Pleasant Hill-based California Potbellied Pig Association, agree, telling ABC 7 that the weight restriction is unrealistic, but that "If they really want to put some restrictions, put mandatory licensing, mandatory yearly licensing and mandatory spay and neuter.”

At present, Benicia city code has very specific zoning rules on where livestock (sorry, Atticus, that’s what they call pigs there) can be kept, and barring those scenarios, “It is unlawful to keep any pig, hog, sheep, ox, horse, bull, steer, cow, burro, jack, jenny, mule, goat, or similar animal in the city.”

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the laws are much looser, with an Animal Care & Control captain telling SFGate back in 2008, "I don't think we've ever cited someone for having an illegal animal...we're more concerned about the number of animals and their treatment. We're also concerned about neighbors' complaints." And I, for one, have no complaints about Atticus, as you can see here.

Eve, pop, and Atticus the pig.

A post shared by Tim Ehhalt (@tehhalt) on

Move me out, Coach!

We already know that doctors reportedly struggle to buy a home in SF, so it’s probably not that surprising that basketball coaches have it rough, too. That’s why Paul Trevor, who the SF Examiner says is “the best head coach in the history of the San Francisco State University men’s basketball program,” is bugging out for California State University Stanislaus.

Trevor “became the fastest head coach to reach 100 wins with the team while leading it to its best record in the modern era as the Gators logged their most wins (25) since the Great Depression,” the Ex reports. But as the California State University system has a salary structure that pays the same regardless of a specific city’s cost of living, Trevor is paid the same to work in the pricey Bay Area as he would be at the Turlock, CA-based school, where, per Zillow, the median home value is $280,400. Trulia concurs at $280K, flat, with a median rent of $1,475.

This dog, who is named Bebe, also lives in Turlock.
Photo by

So you get why Trevor, who’d been commuting from the Novato home she shares with his wife and daughter for the last seven years, is ready to get the heck outta Dodge. But SF State athletic director Charles Guthrie isn’t worried about attracting a replacement for Trevor, telling the Ex that You might not be able to afford a million-dollar home, but we’ll give you a million-dollar opportunity.”

How smart is your porta-potty?

I don’t know why I hadn’t heard about online shoe retailer Zappos’ smart porta-potty before now — perhaps it’s because my outhouse attention has mainly been directed toward San Francisco’s infamous Toilet Torcher, who terrorized the city’s portable commodes throughout 2009. While in San Francisco last week, Zappos “fungineer” Tyler Williams argued that the johns are “a way to disrupt the $2 billion industry with something that makes going to the bathroom in crowded and messy places like music festivals a little more fun,” Ad Week reports.

Wait, “fungineer?” Is this all a prank? Perhaps not, as per the “The Gathering,” which bills itself as “the annual coming together of the world’s most coveted brands to share secrets and learn from the courageous leaders and trailblazers who are reaping the benefits of unbreakable brand affinity and loyalty” and also prompts me to ask “is this real life?”

Tyler Williams is the Fungineer for online retailer Zappos.com. No official schooling, accomplishments, or achievements were required to earn this title since there are no titles at Zappos. Tyler is currently the Lead Link for the Brand Aura circle which energizes the following purpose statement: “Zappos universally known as unique, slightly irreverent, customer service focused, employee focused, and always makes everyone say WOW!”.

You should really read the whole thing here. Don’t bother to check your calendar, it’s not April 1. Anyway, the fungineer says that the devices make “going to the bathroom quite the experience”and also track the behavior of those inside their hallowed walls. “For example, Williams said, the company’s data shows that only 38 percent of people who enter a Porta-Party wash their hands.” Here it is in action.

Any hopes that you might get a chance to have your bathroom habits tracked at a porta-potty heavy place like Bay To Breakers should be set aside, I’m afraid. Not only are the commodes reportedly sold out through 2017, but SF’s iconic race which since 2015 was branded as “Zappos Bay To Breakers” is now the “Alaska Airlines Bay To Breakers,” according to their website. Guess B2B wasn’t fuengineer enough for the shoe/toilet company after all.