San Francisco

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Posted by sonny 03/13/2009 @ 00:12

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Recap: San Francisco vs. NY Mets - USA Today
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - David Wright swiped four bases and knocked in the eventual game-winning run in the top of the ninth, as the New York Mets squeezed past the San Francisco Giants, 7-4, in the opener of a four-game series....
SAN FRANCISCO Reprinted from washingtonpost.com - Washington Post
San Francisco's 11-7 victory against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park, highlighted by another monster night from Ryan Zimmerman, doubled mostly as a case study in contrasts. Granted, the comparison between Johnson and Cabrera is blasphemous;...
Arizona cop may be in mix for SF police chief - San Francisco Chronicle
Rumors are swirling that Mesa, Ariz., Police Chief George Gascon is one of the top applicants for the San Francisco police chief job. A Mesa Police Department spokesman said Gascon wasn't commenting on the matter, but mentioned that his phone has been...
Work begins on California's largest ultraviolet water plant - San Jose Mercury News
By Alen Breitler San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom climbed onto the rubber-tired backhoe and fiddled with the levers. Before the machine roared to life, he turned to San Joaquin County Supervisor Leroy Ornellas and said: "For the record, supervisor,...
Fly to San Francisco round-trip for $210.40 - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Here's your ticket-to-fly next week, next month, over the next holiday or into next year to one of the nation's most favored destinations - San Francisco! Clara Bosonetto Maerz's column is published weekdays on ajc.com. NOTE: Good deals disappear...
San Francisco's former military sites have become posts of peace ... - Fort Worth Star Telegram
KODIAK GREENWOOD SAN FRANCISCO — As visitors approach San Francisco Bay from one of the city's steep hills, the panorama encompasses not only ferries, sailboats and an occasional tanker dotting the water, but landmarks such as historic forts and...
San Francisco school board votes to keep JROTC - Bizjournals.com
The San Francisco school board voted 4-3 Tuesday night to keep the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program three weeks before it was set to expire. The board reversed a 2006 vote to remove the program from public high schools, largely because...
San Francisco really is the Golden City that has it all - Daily Mail
Are you ready to leave your heart in San Francisco? When Tony Bennett recorded his signature hit almost 50 years ago, San Francisco was quickly emerging as one of the world's great cities. The city had been slightly overshadowed by the Hollywood glitz...
How six San Francisco swimmers will conquer the Sea of Cortez part II - Examiner.com
Enter Bob Buick, owner of San Francisco's oldest restaurant, the Tadich Grill . Buick, a member of the San Francisco Yacht Club in Tiburon heard about Night Train during their weekly training swims in Tiburon. Impressed with the group's efforts to...
McKillop signs with San Francisco - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Staff and wire reports Friday, May 15, 2009 Former Pitt linebacker Scott McKillop, a Kiski Area graduate, and former LSU defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois signed four-year contracts with the San Francisco 49ers and became the first draft choices to...

San Francisco

San Francisco from the Marin Headlands, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the foreground

The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the 13th most populous city in the United States, with a 2007 estimated population of 799,183. The second most densely populated major city in the U.S., it is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the larger San Francisco Bay Area, a region of more than 7 million people. The city is located at the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and San Francisco Bay to the east.

In 1776, the Spanish established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi. The California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth, transforming it into the largest city on the West Coast at the time. After being devastated by the 1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt, hosting the Panama-Pacific International Exposition nine years later. During World War II, San Francisco was the send-off point for many soldiers to the Pacific Theater. After the war, the confluence of returning servicemen, massive immigration, liberalizing attitudes, and other factors gave rise to the Summer of Love and the gay rights movement, cementing San Francisco as a liberal bastion in the United States.

San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination renowned for its chilly summer fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture and its famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars, and Chinatown. The city is also known for its diverse, cosmopolitan population, including large and long-established Asian American and LGBT communities.

The earliest archaeological evidence of inhabitation of the territory of the city of San Francisco dates to 3000 BC. People of the Ohlone language group occupied Northern California from at least the 6th century. Though their territory had been claimed by Spain since the early 16th century, they would have relatively little contact with Europeans until 1769, when, as part of an effort to colonize Alta California, an exploration party led by Don Gaspar de Portola learned of the existence of San Francisco Bay. Seven years later, in 1776, an expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza selected the site for the Presidio of San Francisco, which Jose Joaquin Moraga would soon found. Later the same year, the Franciscan missionary Francisco Palou founded the Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores). The Yelamu tribal group of the Ohlone, who had had several villages in the area, were brought to live and work at the mission and be converted into the Catholic faith.

Upon independence from Spain in 1821, the area became part of Mexico. Under Mexican rule, the mission system gradually ended and its lands began to be privatized. In 1835, Englishman William Richardson erected the first independent homestead, near a boat anchorage around what is today Portsmouth Square. Together with Alcalde Francisco de Haro, he laid out a street plan for the expanded settlement, and the town, named Yerba Buena, began to attract American settlers. Commodore John D. Sloat claimed California for the United States on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, and Captain John B. Montgomery arrived to claim Yerba Buena two days later. Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco the next year, and Mexico officially ceded the territory to the United States at the end of the war. Despite its attractive location as a port and naval base, San Francisco was still a small settlement with inhospitable geography.

The California Gold Rush brought a flood of treasure seekers. With their sourdough bread in tow, prospectors accumulated in San Francisco over rival Benicia, raising the population from 1,000 in 1848 to 25,000 by December 1849. The promise of fabulous riches was so strong that crews on arriving vessels deserted and rushed off to the gold fields, leaving behind a forest of masts in San Francisco harbor. California was quickly granted statehood, and the U.S. military built Fort Point at the Golden Gate and a fort on Alcatraz Island to secure the San Francisco Bay. Silver discoveries, including the Comstock Lode in 1859, further drove rapid population growth. With hordes of fortune seekers streaming through the city, lawlessness was common, and the Barbary Coast section of town gained notoriety as a haven for criminals, prostitution, and gambling.

Entrepreneurs sought to capitalize on the wealth generated by the Gold Rush. Early winners were the banking industry, which saw the founding of Wells Fargo in 1852, and the railroad industry, as the magnates of the Big Four, led by Leland Stanford, collaborated in the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The development of the Port of San Francisco established the city as a center of trade. Catering to the needs and tastes of the growing population, Levi Strauss opened a dry goods business, and Domingo Ghirardelli began manufacturing chocolate. Immigrant laborers made the city a polyglot culture, with Chinese railroad workers creating the city's Chinatown quarter. The first cable cars carried San Franciscans up Clay Street in 1873. The city's sea of Victorian houses began to take shape, and civic leaders campaigned for a spacious public park, resulting in plans for Golden Gate Park. San Franciscans built schools, churches, theaters, and all the hallmarks of civic life. The Presidio developed into the most important American military installation on the Pacific coast. By the turn of the century, San Francisco was a major city known for its flamboyant style, stately hotels, ostentatious mansions on Nob Hill, and a thriving arts scene.

At 5:12 am on April 18, 1906, a major earthquake struck San Francisco and Northern California. As buildings collapsed from the shaking, ruptured gas lines ignited fires that would spread across the city and burn out of control for several days. With water mains out of service, the Presidio Artillery Corps attempted to contain the inferno by dynamiting blocks of buildings to create firebreaks. More than three-quarters of the city lay in ruins, including almost all of the downtown core. Contemporary accounts reported that 498 people lost their lives, though modern estimates put the number in the several thousands. More than half the city's population of 400,000 were left homeless. Refugees settled temporarily in makeshift tent villages in Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, on the beaches, and elsewhere. Many fled permanently to the East Bay.

Rebuilding was rapid and performed on a grand scale. Rejecting calls to completely remake the street grid, San Franciscans opted for speed. Amadeo Giannini's Bank of Italy, later to become Bank of America, provided loans for many of those whose livelihoods had been devastated. The destroyed mansions of Nob Hill became grand hotels. City Hall rose once again in splendorous Beaux Arts style, and the city celebrated its rebirth at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915.

In ensuing years, the city solidified its standing as a financial capital; in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, not a single San Francisco-based bank failed. Indeed, it was at the height of the Great Depression that San Francisco undertook two great civil engineering projects, simultaneously constructing the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, completing them in 1936 and 1937 respectively. It was in this period that the island of Alcatraz, a former military stockade, began its service as a federal maximum security prison, housing notorious inmates such as Al Capone. San Francisco later celebrated its regained grandeur with a World's Fair, the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939–40, creating Treasure Island in the middle of the bay to house it.

During World War II, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard became a hub of activity, and Fort Mason became the primary port of embarkation for service members shipping out to the Pacific Theater of Operations. The explosion of jobs drew many people, especially African Americans from the South, to the area. After the end of the war, many military personnel returning from service abroad and civilians who had originally come to work decided to stay. The UN Charter creating the United Nations was drafted and signed in San Francisco in 1945 and, in 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco officially ended the war with Japan.

Urban planning projects in the 1950s and 1960s saw widespread destruction and redevelopment of west side neighborhoods and the construction of new freeways, of which only a series of short segments were built before being halted by citizen-led opposition. The Transamerica Pyramid was completed in 1972, and in the 1980s the Manhattanization of San Francisco saw extensive high-rise development downtown. Port activity moved to Oakland, the city began to lose industrial jobs, and San Francisco began to turn to tourism as the most important segment of its economy. The suburbs experienced rapid growth, and San Francisco underwent significant demographic change, as large segments of the white population left the city, supplanted by an increasing wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America. Over this same period, San Francisco became a magnet for America's counterculture. Beat Generation writers fueled the San Francisco Renaissance and centered on the North Beach neighborhood in the 1950s. Hippies flocked to Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, reaching a peak with the 1967 Summer of Love. In the 1970s, the city became a center of the gay rights movement, with the emergence of The Castro as an urban gay village, the election of Harvey Milk to the Board of Supervisors, and his assassination, along with that of Mayor George Moscone, in 1978.

The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused destruction and loss of life throughout the Bay Area. In San Francisco, the quake severely damaged structures in the Marina and South of Market districts and precipitated the demolition of the damaged Embarcadero Freeway and much of the damaged Central Freeway, allowing the city to reclaim its historic downtown waterfront.

During the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, startup companies invigorated the economy. Large numbers of entrepreneurs and computer application developers moved into the city, followed by marketing and sales professionals, changing the social landscape as once-poorer neighborhoods became gentrified. When the bubble burst in 2001, many of these companies folded, and their employees left, although high technology and entrepreneurship continued to be mainstays of the San Francisco economy.

San Francisco is located on the West Coast of the U.S. at the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and includes significant stretches of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay within its boundaries. Several islands—Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and the adjacent Yerba Buena Island, and small portions of Alameda island, Red Rock Island, and Angel Island are part of the city. Also included are the uninhabited Farallon Islands, 27 miles (43 km) offshore in the Pacific Ocean. The mainland within the city limits roughly forms a "seven-by-seven-mile square," a common local colloquialism referring to the city's shape, though its total area, including water, is nearly 232 square miles (600 km2).

San Francisco is famous for its hills. There are more than 50 hills within city limits. Some neighborhoods are named after the hill on which they are situated, including Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, and Russian Hill. Near the geographic center of the city, southwest of the downtown area, are a series of less densely populated hills. Twin Peaks, a pair of hills resting at one of the city's highest points, forms a popular overlook spot. San Francisco's tallest hill, Mount Davidson, is 925 feet (282 m) high and is capped with a 103 foot (31 m) tall cross built in 1934. Dominating this area is Sutro Tower, a large red and white radio and television transmission tower.

The San Andreas and Hayward Faults are responsible for much earthquake activity, even though neither passes through the city itself. It was the San Andreas Fault which slipped and caused the earthquakes in 1906 and 1989. Minor earthquakes occur on a regular basis. The threat of major earthquakes plays a large role in the city's infrastructure development. The city has repeatedly upgraded its building codes, requiring retrofits for older buildings and higher engineering standards for new construction. However, there are still thousands of smaller buildings that remain vulnerable to quake damage.

San Francisco's shoreline has grown beyond its natural limits. Entire neighborhoods such as the Marina and Hunters Point, as well as large sections of the Embarcadero, sit on areas of landfill. Treasure Island was constructed from material dredged from the bay as well as material resulting from tunneling through Yerba Buena Island during the construction of the Bay Bridge. Such land tends to be unstable during earthquakes; the resultant liquefaction causes extensive damage to property built upon it, as was evidenced in the Marina district during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

San Francisco's climate is characteristic of California’s Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and dry summers. Since it is surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco's climate is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean which tends to moderate temperature swings and produce a remarkably mild climate with little seasonal temperature variation. The dry period of May to October is mild to warm, with average high temperatures of 64-70°F (17-21°C) and lows of 51-56°F (10-13°C). The rainy period of November to April is cool with high temperatures of 56-64°F (13-17°C) and lows of 46-51°F (7-10°C). On average, temperatures exceed 75°F (24°C) 28 days a year.

The combination of cold ocean water and the high heat of the California mainland create the city's characteristic fog that can cover the western half of the city all day during the spring and early summer. In fact, a quotation incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain is "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." The fog is less pronounced in eastern neighborhoods, in the late summer, and during the fall, which are the warmest months of the year. Due to its sharp topography and maritime influences, San Francisco exhibits a multitude of distinct microclimates. The high hills in the geographic center of the city are responsible for a 20 percent variance in annual rainfall between different parts of the city. They also protect neighborhoods directly to their east from the foggy and cool conditions experienced in the Sunset District; for those who live on the eastern side of the city, San Francisco is sunnier, with an average of 260 clear days, and only 105 cloudy days per year.

Annual precipitation is about 20.4 inches (510 mm) which occurs mainly during the cooler months of November through April. On average, there are 67 rainy days a year.

The historic center of San Francisco is the northeast quadrant of the city bordered by Market Street to the south. It is here that the Financial District is centered, with Union Square, the principal shopping and hotel district, nearby. Cable cars carry residents and tourists alike up steep inclines to the summit of Nob Hill, once the home of the city's business tycoons, and down to Fisherman's Wharf, a tourist area featuring Dungeness crab from a still-active fishing industry. Also in this quadrant are Russian Hill, a residential neighborhood with the famously crooked Lombard Street, North Beach, the city's Little Italy, and Telegraph Hill, which features Coit Tower. Nearby is San Francisco's Chinatown, established in the 1860s. The Tenderloin is known as the crime-infested underbelly of the city.

The Mission District was populated in the 19th century by Californios and working-class immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Italy and Scandinavia. In the 1910s, a wave of Central American immigrants settled in the Mission and, in the 1950s, immigrants from Mexico began to predominate. Recent years have seen rapid gentrification primarily along the Valencia Street corridor which is strongly associated with modern hipster sub-culture. Haight-Ashbury, famously associated with 1960s hippie culture, later became home to expensive boutiques and a few controversial chain stores, although it still retains some bohemian character. Historically known as Eureka Valley, the area now popularly called the Castro is the center of gay life in the city.

The city's Japantown district suffered when its Japanese American residents were forcibly removed and interned during World War II. The nearby Western Addition became established with a large African American population at the same time. The "Painted Ladies," a row of well-restored Victorian homes, stand alongside Alamo Square, and the mansions built by the San Francisco business elite in the wake of the 1906 earthquake can be found in Pacific Heights. The Marina to the north is a lively area with many young urban professionals.

The Richmond, the vast region north of Golden Gate Park that extends to the Pacific Ocean, today has a portion called "New Chinatown," but also attracts immigrants from other parts of Asia and Russia. South of Golden Gate Park lies the Sunset with an Asian majority population. The Richmond and the Sunset are largely middle class and, together, are known as The Avenues. Bayview-Hunter's Point in the southeast section of the city is one of the poorest neighborhoods and suffers from a high rate of crime, though the area has been the focus of controversial plans for urban renewal.

The South of Market, once filled with decaying remnants of San Francisco's industrial past, has seen significant redevelopment. The locus of the dot-com boom during the late 1990s, by 2004 South of Market began to see skyscrapers and condominiums dot the area (see Manhattanization). Following the success of nearby South Beach, another neighborhood, Mission Bay, underwent redevelopment, anchored by a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco. Just southwest of Mission Bay is the Potrero Hill neighborhood featuring sweeping views of downtown San Francisco.

Ocean Beach runs along the Pacific Ocean shoreline, but is not suitable for swimming because the waters off the coast are perennially cold and form deadly rip currents. Baker Beach is located in a cove just inside the Golden Gate and adjacent to the Presidio, a former military base. Crissy Field, within the Presidio, has been restored to its natural salt marsh ecosystem. All of these together, plus other sites such as Alcatraz and Fort Funston, form part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a regional collection of beaches, parks, and historic sites administered by the National Park Service. The NPS separately administers the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park—a fleet of historic ships and waterfront property around Aquatic Park.

There are more than 200 parks maintained by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. The largest and best-known city park is Golden Gate Park, which stretches from the center of the city west to the Pacific Ocean. Once covered in native grasses and sand dunes, the park was conceived in the 1860s and was created by the extensive planting of thousands of non-native trees and plants. The large park is rich with cultural and natural attractions such as the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden and San Francisco Botanical Garden. Lake Merced is a fresh-water lake surrounded by parkland and near the San Francisco Zoo, a city-owned park which houses more than 250 animal species, many of which are designated as endangered. The only park managed by the California State Park system located principally in San Francisco, Candlestick Point was the state's first urban recreation area.

San Francisco is characterized by a high standard of living. The great wealth and opportunity generated by the Internet revolution continues to draw many highly educated and high-income workers and residents to San Francisco. Numerous lower-income neighborhoods consequently have become increasingly gentrified, and many of the city's traditional business and industrial districts have experienced a renaissance driven by the redevelopment of the Embarcadero, including the neighborhoods South Beach and Mission Bay. The city's property values and household income have escalated to among the highest in the nation, allowing the city to support a large restaurant and entertainment infrastructure. Because the cost of living in San Francisco is exceptionally high, many middle class families have decided they can no longer afford to live within the city and have left.

Although the centralized commerce and shopping districts of the Financial District and the area around Union Square, are well-known around the world, San Francisco is also characterized by its culturally rich streetscapes featuring mixed-use neighborhoods anchored around central commercial corridors to which residents and visitors alike can walk. Because of these characteristics, San Francisco was rated "most walkable" city by the website Walkscore.com. Many neighborhoods feature a mix of businesses, restaurants and venues catering to the daily needs of the community while also drawing in visitors. Some neighborhoods are dotted with boutiques, cafes and nightlife, such as Union Street in Cow Hollow, and 24th Street in Noe Valley. Others are less so, such as Irving Street in the Sunset, or Mission Street in the Mission. This approach especially has influenced the continuing South of Market neighborhood redevelopment, with businesses and neighborhood services rising alongside high-rise residences.

The international character San Francisco has fostered since its founding is continued today by large numbers of immigrants from Asia and Latin America. With 39 percent of its residents born overseas, San Francisco has numerous neighborhoods filled with businesses and civic institutions catering to new arrivals. In particular, the arrival of many ethnic Chinese, which accelerated beginning in the 1970s, has complemented the long-established community historically based in Chinatown throughout the city and has transformed the annual Chinese New Year Parade into the largest event of its kind outside China.

Following the arrival of writers and artists of the 1950s—who established the modern coffeehouse culture—and the social upheavals of the 1960s, San Francisco became an epicenter of liberal activism, with Democrats and Greens dominating city politics. Indeed, San Franciscans have not provided a Republican presidential candidate more than 20 percent of the vote since the 1988 election. The city's large gay and lesbian population has created and sustained a politically and culturally active community over many decades, developing a powerful presence in San Francisco's civic life. A popular destination for gay and lesbian tourists, the city hosts San Francisco Pride, an annual parade and festival.

San Francisco's War Memorial and Performing Arts Center hosts some of the most enduring performing-arts companies in the U.S. The War Memorial Opera House houses the San Francisco Opera, the second-largest opera company in North America as well as the San Francisco Ballet, while the San Francisco Symphony plays in Davies Symphony Hall. The Herbst Theatre stages an eclectic mix of music performances, as well as public radio's City Arts & Lectures.

The Fillmore is a music venue located in the Western Addition. It is the second incarnation of the historic venue that gained fame in the 1960s under concert promoter Bill Graham, housing the stage where now-famous musicians such as the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane first performed, fostering the San Francisco Sound. Beach Blanket Babylon is a zany musical revue and a civic institution that has performed to sold-out crowds in North Beach since 1974.

The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) has been a leading force in Bay Area performing arts since its arrival in San Francisco in 1967, regularly staging original productions. San Francisco frequently hosts national touring productions of Broadway theatre shows in a number of vintage 1920s-era venues in the Theater District including the Curran, Orpheum, and Golden Gate Theatres.

The Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) houses 20th century and contemporary works of art. It moved to its iconic building in the South of Market neighborhood in 1995 and now attracts more than 600,000 visitors annually. The Palace of the Legion of Honor holds primarily European antiquities and works of art at its Lincoln Park building modeled after its Parisian namesake. It is administered by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which also operates the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The de Young's collection features American decorative pieces and anthropological holdings from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Prior to construction of its current copper-clad structure, completed in 2005, the de Young also housed the Asian Art Museum which, with artifacts from over 6,000 years of history across Asia, moved into the former public library next to Civic Center in 2003.

Opposite the Music Concourse from the de Young stands the California Academy of Sciences, a natural history museum which also hosts the Morrison Planetarium and Steinhart Aquarium. Its current structure, featuring a living roof, is an example of sustainable architecture and opened in 2008. The Palace of Fine Arts, built originally for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, has since 1969 housed the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum.

The San Francisco Chronicle, in which Herb Caen famously published his daily musings, is Northern California's most widely circulated newspaper. The San Francisco Examiner, once the cornerstone of William Randolph Hearst's media empire and the home of Ambrose Bierce, declined in circulation over the years and now takes the form of a free daily tabloid. Sing Tao Daily claims to be the largest of several Chinese language dailies that serve the Bay Area. Alternative weekly newspapers include the San Francisco Bay Guardian and SF Weekly. San Francisco Magazine and 7x7 are major glossy magazines about San Francisco. The national newsmagazine Mother Jones is also based in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bay Area is the sixth-largest TV market and the fourth-largest radio market in the U.S. The city's oldest radio station, KCBS (AM), began as an experimental station in San Jose in 1909. KALW was the city's first FM radio station when it signed on the air in 1941. All major U.S. television networks have affiliates serving the region, with most of them based in the city. There also are several unaffiliated stations, and CNN, ESPN, and BBC have regional news bureaus in San Francisco. The city's first television station was KPIX, which began broadcasting in 1948.

Public broadcasting outlets include both a television station and a radio station, both broadcasting under the call letters KQED from a facility near the Potrero Hill neighborhood. KQED-FM is the most-listened-to National Public Radio affiliate in the country. San Francisco–based CNET and Salon.com pioneered the use of the Internet as a media outlet.

The San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL) are the longest-tenured major professional sports franchise in the city. The team began play in 1946 as an All-America Football Conference (AAFC) league charter member, moved to the NFL in 1950 and into Candlestick Park in 1971. The 49ers won five Super Bowl titles in the 1980s and 1990s behind coach Bill Walsh and stars Joe Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott, and Jerry Rice.

Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants left New York for California prior to the 1958 season. Though boasting stars such as Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds, the club has yet to win the World Series while based in San Francisco. The Oakland Athletics swept the Giants in the 1989 World Series, after Game 3 in San Francisco was infamously pre-empted by the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Giants play at AT&T Park which was opened in 2000, a cornerstone project of the South Beach and Mission Bay redevelopment.

Kezar Stadium near the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, former home of the 49ers, hosts the semiprofessional San Francisco Bay Seals of the United Soccer League's developmental league.

At the collegiate level, the Dons of the University of San Francisco compete in NCAA Division I, where Bill Russell guided the program to basketball championships in 1955 and 1956. The San Francisco State Gators and the Academy of Art University Urban Knights compete in Division II. AT&T Park hosts college football's annual Emerald Bowl.

The Bay to Breakers footrace, held annually since 1912, is best known for colorful costumes and a celebratory community spirit. The San Francisco Marathon is an annual event that attracts more than 7,000 participants. The Escape from Alcatraz triathlon has, since 1980, attracted 2,000 top professional and amateur triathletes for its annual race. The Olympic Club, founded in 1860, is the oldest athletic club in the United States. Its private golf course, situated on the border with Daly City, has hosted the U. S. Open on four occasions. The public Harding Park Golf Course is an occasional stop on the PGA Tour.

With an ideal climate for outdoor activities, San Francisco has ample resources and opportunities for amateur and participatory sports and recreation. There are more than 200 miles (320 km) of bicycle paths, lanes and bike routes in the city, and the Embarcadero and Marina Green are favored sites for in-line skating. Extensive public tennis facilities are available in Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park, as well as at smaller neighborhood courts throughout the city. Boating, sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are among the popular activities on San Francisco Bay, and the city maintains a yacht harbor in the Marina District. San Francisco residents have often ranked among the fittest in the U.S.

Tourism is the backbone of the San Francisco economy. Its frequent portrayal in music, film, and popular culture has made the city and its landmarks recognizable worldwide. It is the city where Tony Bennett left his heart, where the Birdman of Alcatraz spent many of his final years, and where Rice-a-Roni was said to be the favorite treat. San Francisco attracts the fourth-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the U.S. and claims Pier 39 near Fisherman's Wharf as the third-most popular tourist attraction in the nation. More than 16 million visitors arrived in San Francisco in 2007, injecting nearly $8.2 billion into the economy—both all-time high figures for the city. With a large hotel infrastructure and a world-class convention facility in the Moscone Center, San Francisco is also among the top-ten North American destinations for conventions and conferences.

The legacy of the California Gold Rush turned San Francisco into the principal banking and finance center of the West Coast in the early twentieth century. Montgomery Street in the Financial District became known as the "Wall Street of the West", home to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Wells Fargo corporate headquarters, and the site of the now-defunct Pacific Coast Stock Exchange. Bank of America, a pioneer in making banking services accessible to the middle class, was founded in San Francisco and in the 1960s, built the landmark modern skyscraper at 555 California Street for its corporate headquarters. Many large financial institutions, multinational banks and venture capital firms are based in or have regional headquarters in the city. With over 30 international financial institutions, six Fortune 500 companies, and a large support infrastructure of professional services—including law, public relations, architecture and design—also with significant presence in the city, San Francisco is designated as one of the ten Beta World Cities. The city ranks fifteenth in the world's list of cities by GDP and eighth in the United States.

San Francisco's economy has increasingly become tied to that of its Bay Area neighbor San Jose and Silicon Valley to its south, sharing the need for highly educated workers with specialized skills. San Francisco has been positioning itself as a biotechnology and biomedical hub and research center. The Mission Bay neighborhood, site of a second campus of UCSF, fosters a budding industry and serves as headquarters of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the public agency funding stem cell research programs statewide.

Small businesses with fewer than 10 employees and self-employed firms make up 85 percent of city establishments. The number of San Franciscans employed by firms of more than 1,000 employees has fallen by half since 1977. City government has made it intentionally difficult for national big box and formula retail chains to expand in the city; the Board of Supervisors has used the planning code to limit the neighborhoods in which formula retail establishments can operate, an effort affirmed by San Francisco voters.

San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, a status it has held since 1856. It is the only such consolidation in California. The mayor is also the county executive, and the county Board of Supervisors acts as the city council. Under the city charter, the government of San Francisco is constituted of two co-equal branches. The executive branch is headed by the mayor and includes other citywide elected and appointed officials as well as the civil service. The 11-member Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch, is headed by a president and is responsible for passing laws and budgets, though San Franciscans also make use of direct ballot initiatives to pass legislation.

The members of the Board of Supervisors are elected as representatives of specific districts within the city. If the mayor dies or resigns, the President of the Board of Supervisors assumes the office, as Dianne Feinstein did after the assassination of George Moscone in 1978.

Because of its unique city-county status, local government exercises jurisdiction over property that would otherwise be located outside of its corporation limit. San Francisco International Airport, though ostensibly located in San Mateo County, is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco was also granted a perpetual leasehold over the Hetch Hetchy Valley and watershed in Yosemite National Park by the Raker Act in 1913.

In 2006, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance making San Francisco the first city in the nation to provide health care services to all uninsured residents, with creation of the Healthy San Francisco program. The municipal budget for fiscal year 2007-2008 was just over $6 billion.

The federal government utilizes San Francisco as the regional hub for many arms of the federal bureaucracy, including the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the U.S. Mint. Until decommissioning in the early 1990s, the city had major military installations at the Presidio, Treasure Island, and Hunters Point—a legacy still reflected in the annual celebration of Fleet Week. The State of California uses San Francisco as the home of the state supreme court and other state agencies. Foreign governments maintain more than seventy consulates in San Francisco.

The estimated 2007 population of San Francisco is 799,183. With nearly 16,000 people per square mile, San Francisco is the second-most densely populated major American city. San Francisco is the traditional focal point of the San Francisco Bay Area and forms part of the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont Metropolitan Statistical Area and the greater San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area (CSA) whose population is over 7 million: the fifth largest in the U.S. as of the 2000 Census.

Like many larger U.S. cities, San Francisco is a minority-majority city, as non-Hispanic whites comprise less than half of the population. As of 2007, the Census Bureau estimated that 45.0 percent of the population was non-Hispanic white. Asian Americans make up 33.1% of the population; Chinese Americans constitute the largest single ethnic group in San Francisco at about a fifth of the population. Hispanics of any race make up 14.0% of the population. San Francisco's African American population has declined in recent decades, from 13.4 percent of the city in 1970 to 7.3 percent of the population in 2007. The current percentage of African Americans in San Francisco is similar to that of the state of California.

Relatively few of the city's residents are native San Franciscans. Only 37.4 percent of its residents were born in California; 35.7 percent were born outside the U.S.

According to the 2005 American Community Survey, San Francisco has the highest percentage of gay and lesbian individuals of any of the 50 largest U.S cities, with 15.4%. San Francisco also has the highest percentage of same-sex households of any American county, with the Bay Area having a higher concentration than any other metropolitan area.

The San Francisco median household income in 2007 was $65,519, with the median family income at $81,136. Following a national trend, an out-migration of middle class families is contributing to widening income disparity and has left the city with a lower proportion of children, 14.5 percent, than any other large American city.

The city's poverty rate, at 7.7 percent, is lower than the national average and among the lowest for cities ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Homelessness has been a chronic and controversial problem for San Francisco since the early 1980s. The city is believed to have the highest number of homeless inhabitants per capita of any major U.S. city.

The rates of violent and property crime, reported for 2006 as 875 and 4,958 incidents per 100,000 residents respectively, are higher than the national average. In 2008, the city recorded 98 homicides.

The University of California, San Francisco is part of the University of California system but is solely dedicated to graduate education in health and biomedical sciences. It is ranked among the top-five medical schools in the U.S. and also operates the UCSF Medical Center, ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the U.S. UCSF is a major local employer, second in size only to the city and county government. A 43-acre Mission Bay campus was opened in 2003, complementing its original facility in Parnassus Heights. It contains research space and facilities to foster biotechnology and life sciences entrepreneurship and will double the size of UCSF's research enterprise. The University of California, Hastings College of the Law, founded in Civic Center in 1878, is the oldest law school in California and claims more judges on the state bench than any other institution.

Founded in 1855, the University of San Francisco, a private Jesuit university located on Lone Mountain, is the oldest higher learning institution in San Francisco and one of the oldest universities established west of the Mississippi. Its curriculum focuses on the liberal arts.

San Francisco State University is part of the California State University system and is located near Lake Merced. The school has close to 30,000 students and awards undergraduate and master's degrees in more than 100 disciplines. The City College of San Francisco, with its main facility in the Ingleside district, is one of the largest two-year community colleges in the country. It has an enrollment of about 100,000 students and offers an extensive continuing education program.

With an enrollment of 13,000 students, Academy of Art University is the largest institute of art and design in the nation. Founded in 1871, the San Francisco Art Institute is the oldest art school west of the Mississippi. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the only independent school of music on the West Coast, grants degrees in orchestral instruments, chamber music, composition, and conducting.

The California Culinary Academy, associated with the Le Cordon Bleu program, offers programs in the culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and hospitality and restaurant management.

Public schools are run by the San Francisco Unified School District as well as the State Board of Education for some charter schools. Lowell High School, the oldest public high school in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, and the smaller School of the Arts High School are two of San Francisco's magnet schools at the secondary level. Just under 30 percent of the city's school-age population attends one of San Francisco's more than 100 private or parochial schools, compared to a 10 percent rate nationwide. Nearly 40 of those schools are Catholic schools managed by the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Because of its unique geography—making beltways somewhat impractical—and the results of the freeway revolts of the late 1950s, San Francisco is one of the few American cities that has opted for European-style arterial thoroughfares instead of a large network of freeways. This trend continued following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, when city leaders decided to demolish the Embarcadero Freeway, and voters approved demolition of a portion of the Central Freeway, converting them into street-level boulevards.

Interstate 80 begins at the approach to the Bay Bridge and is the only direct automobile link to the East Bay. U.S. Route 101 extends Interstate 80 to the south along the San Francisco Bay toward Silicon Valley. Northbound, 101 uses arterial streets Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge, the only direct road access from San Francisco to Marin County and points north. Highway 1 also enters San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge, but diverts away from 101, bisecting the west side of the city as the 19th Avenue arterial thoroughfare, and joining with Interstate 280 at the city's southern border. Interstate 280 continues this route along the central portion of the Peninsula south to San Jose. Northbound, 280 turns north and east and terminates in the South of Market area. State Route 35, which traverses the majority of the Peninsula along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, enters the city from the south as Skyline Boulevard, following city streets until it terminates at its intersection with Highway 1. State Route 82 enters San Francisco from the south as Mission Street, following the path of the historic El Camino Real and terminating shortly thereafter at its junction with 280. The cross-country Lincoln Highway's western terminus is in Lincoln Park. Major east–west thoroughfares include Geary Boulevard, the Lincoln Way/Fell Street corridor, and Market Street/Portola Drive.

Cycling is a popular mode of transportation in San Francisco, with about 40,000 residents commuting to work regularly by bicycle.

Many people in San Francisco use public transportation, nearly a third of commuters in 2005. Public transit solely within the city of San Francisco is provided predominantly by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). The city-owned system operates both a combined light rail/subway system (the Muni Metro) and a bus network that includes trolleybuses, standard diesel motorcoaches and diesel hybrid buses. The Metro streetcars run on surface streets in outlying neighborhoods but underground in the downtown area. Additionally, Muni runs the highly visible F Market historic streetcar line, which runs on surface streets from Castro Street to Fisherman's Wharf (through Market Street), and the iconic San Francisco cable car system, which has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Commuter rail is provided by two complementary agencies. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is the regional rapid transit system which connects San Francisco with the East Bay through the Transbay Tube. The line runs under Market Street to Civic Center, where it turns south to the Mission District, the southern part of the city, and through northern San Mateo County, to the San Francisco International Airport, and Millbrae. The Caltrain rail system runs from San Francisco along the Peninsula down to San Jose. The line dates from 1863, and for many years was operated by Southern Pacific.

The Transbay Terminal serves as the terminus for long-range bus service (such as Greyhound) and as a hub for regional bus systems AC Transit (Alameda County), SamTrans (San Mateo County), and Golden Gate Transit (Marin and Sonoma Counties). Amtrak also runs a shuttle bus from San Francisco to its rail station in Emeryville.

A small fleet of commuter and tourist ferries operate from the Ferry Building and Pier 39 to points in Marin County, Oakland, and north to Vallejo in Solano County.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO), though located 13 miles (21 km) south of the city in San Mateo County, is under the jurisdiction of the City and County of San Francisco. SFO is primarily adjacent to the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno, but also borders the most southern part of the city of South San Francisco. SFO is a hub for United Airlines, its largest tenant, and the decision by Virgin America to base its operations out of SFO reversed the trend of low-cost carriers opting to bypass SFO for Oakland and San Jose. SFO is an international gateway, with the largest international terminal in North America. The airport is built on a landfill extension into the San Francisco Bay. During the economic boom of the late 1990s, when traffic saturation led to frequent delays, it became difficult to respond to calls to relieve the pressure by constructing an additional runway as that would have required additional landfill. Such calls subsided in the early 2000s as traffic declined, and, in 2006, SFO was the 14th busiest airport in the U.S. and 26th busiest in the world, handling 33.5 million passengers.

The Port of San Francisco was once the largest and busiest seaport on the West Coast. It featured rows of piers perpendicular to the shore, where cargo from the moored ships was handled by cranes and manual labor and transported to nearby warehouses. The port handled cargo to and from trans-Pacific and Atlantic destinations, and was the West Coast center of the lumber trade. The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike, an important episode in the history of the American labor movement, brought the port to a standstill. The advent of container shipping made pier-based ports obsolete, and most commercial berths moved to the Port of Oakland. A few active berths specializing in break bulk cargo remain alongside the Islais Creek Channel.

Many piers remained derelict for years until the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway reopened the downtown waterfront, allowing for redevelopment. The centerpiece of the port, the Ferry Building, while still receiving commuter ferry traffic, has been restored and redeveloped as a gourmet marketplace. The port's other activities now focus on developing waterside assets to support recreation and tourism.

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San Francisco Bay Area

USGS satellite photo of the San Francisco Bay Area taken in 1999.

The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, or the Bay, is a metropolitan region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo bays in Northern California.

It encompasses large cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas. Overall, the Bay Area consists of nine counties, 101 cities, and 7,000 square miles. The nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

The Bay Area encompasses the metropolitan areas of San Francisco (12th largest in the country) and San Jose (31st largest in the country), as well as four other smaller, surrounding metropolitan areas. When defined as a Combined Statistical Area, the Bay Area is the sixth largest in the country, including over 7.2 million people. According to the United States Census Bureau it has the highest median household income in the nation at $73,460. The Bay Area hosts many cities, towns, military bases, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a massive network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels and commuter rail. The combined urban area of San Francisco and San Jose is the 49th largest urban area in the world.

San Francisco is the financial center of the Bay Area (and has the second highest density rate in the nation after New York City), while San Jose is the largest city in land area, and the most populous city. In addition to having the highest median household income in the nation, the Bay Area is renowned for its natural beauty, liberal politics, affluence and its new age reputation.

The region north of the Golden Gate Bridge is known locally as the North Bay. This area consists of Marin County and extends northward into Sonoma County and Napa County and eastward into Solano County. The city of Fairfield, being part of Solano County, is often considered the eastern most city of the North Bay, though due to a stronger cultural/socioeconomic similarity to many East Bay cities, it is also often considered the northern most city of the East Bay.

With few exceptions, this region is quite affluent: Marin County is ranked as the wealthiest in the nation. The North Bay is comparatively rural to the remainder of the Bay Area; many areas of undeveloped open space, farmland and vineyards. Santa Rosa in Sonoma County is the North Bay's largest city, with a population of 157,985 and a Metropolitan Statistical Area population of 466,891, making it the fifth largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The North Bay is the only section of the Bay Area that is not currently served by a commuter rail service. However, increased urbanization has lead both Sonoma and Marin counties to begin construction on a commuter rail transit system. The lack of transportation services is mainly because of the lack of population mass in the North Bay, and the fact that it is separated completely from the rest of the Bay Area by water, the only access points being the Golden Gate Bridge leading to San Francisco, the Richmond-San Rafael and Carquinez Bridges leading to Richmond, and the Benicia-Martinez Bridge leading to Martinez.

The area between San Francisco and the South Bay, geographically part of the San Francisco Peninsula, is known locally as the Peninsula. This area consists of a series of small cities and suburban communities in San Mateo County and the northwestern part of Santa Clara County, as well as various towns along the Pacific coast, such as Pacifica and Half Moon Bay. This area is extremely diverse, although it contains significant populations of affluent family households with the exception of East Palo Alto and some parts of Redwood City. Many of the cities and towns had originally been centers of rural life until the post-World War II era when large numbers of middle and upper class Bay area residents moved in and developed the small villages. Since the 1980s the area has seen a large growth rate of middle and upper class families who have settled in cities like Palo Alto, Woodside, Portola Valley, Redwood Shores and Atherton as part of the technology boom of Silicon Valley. Many of these families are of foreign background and have significantly contributed to the diversity of the area. The Peninsula is also home to what used to be one of the deadliest cities in the United States, East Palo Alto. Peninsula cities include: Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, Redwood Shores, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Woodside.

The eastern side of the bay, consisting of Alameda and Contra Costa counties, is known locally as the East Bay. The East Bay is split into two regions, the inner East Bay, which sits on the Bay shoreline, and the outer East Bay, consisting of inland valleys separated from the inner East Bay by hills and mountains.

The communities along the southern edge of the Bay are known as the South Bay, Santa Clara Valley, and Silicon Valley. Some Peninsula and East Bay towns are sometimes included in the latter. It includes the major city of San Jose, and its suburbs, including the city of Morgan Hill, and the high-tech hubs of Santa Clara, Milpitas, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Mountain View as well as many other suburbs like Los Altos, Saratoga, Campbell and Los Gatos. Generally, the South Bay is Santa Clara County, but the northwest portion of the county (Palo Alto and Mountain View) is often considered part of the Peninsula instead. Home of Silicon Valley, the South Bay was also an early development of working and middle class families who left the coastal cities of the Eastern Bay south of Oakland and Alameda. Large numbers of families during the post-World War era also moved there for the aerospace industry. This area has long been developed and expanded and is often featured as a stereotype of the typical California suburban city. Today, the growth continues, primarily fueled by technology and cheap immigrant workers. The result has been a huge increase in the value of property forcing many middle class families out of the area or into nascent ghettos in older sections of the region.

Befitting of the title Silicon Valley, this region is home to a vast number of technology sector giants. Some notable tech companies headquartered in the Bay are AMD, Intel, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Google, eBay, and Yahoo!. As a consequence of the rapid growth of these and other companies, the South Bay has gained increasing political and economic influence both within California and throughout the world.

San Jose, the tenth largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the Bay Area, is the financial and cultural center of the Santa Clara Valley. It contains many neighborhoods and a large demographic comparable to San Francisco. San Jose is also home to NHL hockey team San Jose Sharks. Because the San Jose International Airport's airplane route flies directly over Downtown, this limits the height of buildings in the Financial District of Downtown. Over the past decade, San Jose has experienced rapid growth. To limit the effects of urban sprawl, planned communities were laid out to control growth. San Jose continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

The regional governments in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board include only the nine counties above in their boundaries or membership. (The BAAQMD includes all of the nine counties except the northern portions of Sonoma and Solano; the RWQCB includes all of San Francisco and the portions of the other eight counties that drain to San Francisco Bay or to the Pacific Ocean.) However, the United States Census Bureau defines the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Consolidated Statistical Area as an eleven-county region, including the nine counties above plus Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. Meanwhile, the California State Parks Department defines the Bay Area as including ten counties, including Santa Cruz but excluding San Benito. On the other hand, Santa Cruz and San Benito along with Monterey County are part of a different regional government organization called the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.

Some residents of the Santa Cruz Mountains (Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Felton, Scotts Valley) do not usually consider themselves to be residents of the Bay Area, rather just of the Santa Cruz Mountains themselves. The Santa Cruz Mountains run along the spine of the San Francisco Peninsula, beginning in San Francisco and continuing down to their terminus near the City of Gilroy, effectively creating the Santa Clara Valley.

The city of Santa Cruz is geographically isolated from the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area, and is usually considered a part of the Monterey Bay area since the city lies on the north end of the Monterey Bay. The city is also sometimes regarded as the northernmost point of the California Central Coast, which extends along the state's coastline to Santa Barbara.

This partial inclusion of these two counties in the Bay Area is one manifestation of a "spillover" where, because of high housing prices in the Bay Area proper, people with Bay Area jobs purchase homes in outlying areas and endure long commutes. This blurs the outer borders of the Bay Area, which now can be said to spillover not only to the south (Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties) but to the Central Valley counties of Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Yolo.

According to the 2007 American Community Survey, the Bay Area's population was 6.958 million, up from 6.784 million in 2000. In 2000 the racial makeup of the 9 County Bay Area was 58.10% White, 19.01% Asian American, 0.54% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 7.53% Black, 0.64% Native American, 9.24% from other races, and 4.93% from two or more races. 19.39% of the population was Hispanic of any race. 27.36% of the population was foreign born; of this, 51.31% from Asia, 32.46% came from Latin America, 11.39% from Europe, 4.84% from other parts of the world.

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the U.S, partly due to Silicon Valley. According to the United States Census Bureau, of the 280 defined metropolitan areas, the San Francisco Bay Area has the highest median household income in the nation with $73,460 in the year 2007. It also has approximately 123,621 households classified as millionaires. Among medium-sized cities, Pleasanton has the highest household income in the country, and Livermore the third highest. Nevertheless, disposable income is very comparable with the rest of the country, largely because the increased cost of living offsets increased income.

While only 26% of households nationwide boast incomes of over $75,000 a year, 48% of households in the San Francisco Bay Area enjoy such incomes. The percentage of households with incomes exceeding the $100,000 mark in the Bay Area was double the nationwide percentage. Roughly one third (31%) of households in the San Francisco Bay Area had a six figure income, versus less than 16% at the nationwide level. In June 2003, a study by Stanford University reviewing US Census Bureau statistics determined the median household income in the San Francisco Bay Area to be roughly 60% above national average. Overall the largest income bracket in the Bay Area were households making between $100,000 and $150,000 annually, who constituted roughly 18% of households. On a national level the largest income bracket were households with incomes between $30,000 and $40,000 who constituted 13% of all households nationwide.

Six of the top ten California places with the highest per capita income are in the San Francisco Bay Area (Belvedere, Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Diablo). Of the 100 highest income counties by per capita income in the United States, six are in the San Francisco Bay Area (Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, Alameda). According to Forbes Magazine, published in 2005, 12 of the top 50 most expensive Zip Codes are in the Bay Area (Atherton, Ross, Diablo, Belvedere-Tiburon, Nicasio, Portola Valley, Los Altos-Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno, the Cow Hollow-Marina District of San Francisco, Alamo, and Burlingame-Hillsborough).

A study by Claritas indicates that in 2004, 5% of all households within the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas held $1 million in investable assets.

As of 2007, there were approximately 80 public companies with annual revenues of over $1 billion a year, and 5-10 more private companies. Nearly 2/3 of these are in the Silicon Valley section of the Bay Area.

The popularity of the region, owing both to its mild weather and its cultural and economic diversity, combined with strong anti-growth sentiment (both local and statewide), has led to high housing costs, especially for ownership and for commercial property leases. Owing to the relatively lower costs of outlying housing and limited public transportation, long, expensive, and often unpleasant automobile commutes are common in the region, and these costs tend to trickle down throughout various activities, making many other activities such as dining out, theater tickets, etc., more expensive than in other areas of the country. Wages of only a limited portion of the population have kept pace with the increased expenses, and many minimum wage earners, even those holding multiple jobs, (and many families with multiple members employed) are classified as "working poor," while the higher incomes necessary for a satisfactory lifestyle in the region lead to higher taxes, especially at the federal level for persons not qualifying for high mortgage or self-employment related deductions.

Although most working-class households in the United States earn between $20,000–$30,000 a year, working-class households in the Bay Area earn over $50,000 a year performing the same jobs (such as in the service industry), which would be considered middle-class in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, because of extremely expensive housing costs, disposable income of working-class Bay Area households is only equivalent to the amount of disposable income in other parts of the country because the rest of the income increase goes to pay for an increased cost of living. Therefore, although the great majority of the population is much more affluent (without taking into account the increased costs of living) compared to the rest of the country, the disposable income is nearly identical. This enables low cost goods shops, such as variety stores, to maintain a presence in the Bay Area.

The Bay Area is renowned as being among the most liberal areas in the country. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index (CPVI), congressional districts the Bay Area tend to favor Democratic candidates by roughly 40 percentage points, considerably above the mean for Coastal California or California overall. All but one congressional district in the region voted for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election with only 29% of votes being cast in support of George W. Bush. CPVI ratings ranged from D +14 in San Jose to D +21 in Marin County and D +38 in Barbara Lee's district encompassing Berkeley and Oakland. Nancy Pelosi's district, California's 8th which includes most of the city of San Francisco, had a CPVI rating of D +36 with George W. Bush having received only 14% of votes in the city.

Over the last four and a half decades the 9 county Bay Area has voted for a Republican candidate only twice, in 1972 for Richard Nixon and in 1980 for Ronald Reagan, both Californians. The last county to have voted Republican was Napa county in 1988 for George H. W. Bush.

Because the hills, mountains, and large bodies of water produce such vast geographic diversity within this region, the Bay Area offers a significant variety of microclimates. The areas near the Pacific Ocean are generally characterized by relatively small temperature variations during the year, with cool foggy summers and mild rainy winters. Inland areas, especially those separated from the ocean by hills or mountains, have hotter summers and colder overnight temperatures during the winter. Few residential areas ever experience snow, but peaks over 2,000 feet (610 m) are often dusted with snow several times each winter (including Mount St. Helena, Mount Hamilton, Mount Diablo, and Mount Tamalpais). The coast north of San Francisco, where year-round cool, moist conditions enable redwoods to grow, has almost nothing in common with Livermore, just 40 miles (64 km) inland across the bay, which has desert-like precipitation and heat. San Jose at the south end of the Bay averages fewer than 15 inches (380 mm) of rain annually, while Napa at the north end of the Bay averages over 30 and parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains just a few miles west of San Jose get over 55. In the summer, inland regions can be over 40 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius) warmer than the coast. This large temperature contrast induces a strong pressure gradient, which results in brisk coastal winds which help keep the coastal climate cool and typically, foggy during the summer. Additionally, strong winds are produced through gaps in the coastal ranges such as the Golden Gate, the Carquinez Strait, and the Altamont Pass, the latter the site of extensive wind farms. During the fall and winter seasons, when not stormy, a high pressure area is usually present inland, leading to an offshore flow. While negatively impacting air quality this also clears fog away from the Pacific shore, and so the best weather in San Francisco can usually be found from mid September through early November. Winter storms are typically short, wet, and mild in temperature during this time of year, being caused by cold fronts sweeping the eastern Pacific and originating from low pressure systems in the Gulf of Alaska but during late November into mid March, winter storms are usually several days in length, wet and cool, Occasionally during the Summer, spells of warm humid weather will drift over the Bay Area from the Southwest Monsoon, usually bringing high variable clouds as well, and more rarely, high-based thunderstorms.

The area is well known worldwide for the complexity of its landforms, the region being composed of at least six terranes (continental, seabed, or island arc fragments with distinct characteristics) pushed together over millions of years by the forces of plate tectonics. As a consequence, many types of rock and soil are found in the region. Formations include the sedimentary rocks of sandstone, limestone, and shale in uplifted seabeds, metamorphic serpentine rock, coal deposits, and igneous forms as the basalt flows and ash deposits of extinct volcanos. Pleistocene-era fossils of mammals are abundantly present in some locations.

The region has considerable vertical relief in its landscapes that are not in the alluvial plains leading to the bay or in inland valleys. In combination with the extensive water regions this has forced the fragmented development of urban and suburban regions and has led to extensive building on poor soils in the limited flatland areas and considerable expense in connecting the various subregions with roads, tunnels, and bridges.

Several mountains are associated with some of the many ridge and hill structures created by compressive forces between the Pacific Plate and the North American plate. These provide spectacular views (in appropriate weather) of large portions of the Bay Area and include Marin County's Mount Tamalpais at 2,571 feet (784 m). Contra Costa County's Mount Diablo at 3,849 feet (1,173 m), Alameda County's Mission Peak at 2,517 feet (767 m), and Santa Clara County's Mount Hamilton at 4,213 ft (1,284 m), the latter with significant astronomical studies performed at its crowning Lick Observatory.

The region is also traversed by six major slip-strike fault systems with hundreds of related faults, many of which are "sister faults" of the infamous San Andreas Fault, all of which are stressed by the relative motion between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate or by compressive stresses between these plates. Significant blind thrust faults (faults with near vertical motion and no surface ruptures) are associated with portions of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the northern reaches of the Diablo Range and Mount Diablo.

Some of these hazards are being addressed by seismic retrofitting, education in household seismic safety, and even complete replacement of major structures such as the eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.

Some flooding occurs on local drainages under sustained wet conditions when the ground becomes saturated, more frequently in the North Bay area, which tends to receive substantially more rainfall than the South Bay. In one case, the Napa River drainage, floodplain developments are being purchased and removed and natural wetlands restored in the innovative Napa River Flood Project as the previous channelization of insufficient capacity around such developments was causing flooding problems upstream. Many of the local creeks have been channelized, although modern practice and some restoration work includes returning the creeks to a natural state with dry stormwater bypasses constructed to handle flooding. While quite expensive, the restoration of a natural environment is of high priority in the intensively urbanized areas of the region.

Typically between late November and early March, a very strong Pacific storm can bring both substantial rainfall (saturating and weakening soil) and strong wind gusts that can cause trees to fall on power lines. Owing to the wide area involved (sometimes hundreds of miles of coast), service can be interrupted for up to several days in some more remote localities, but service is usually restored quickly in urban areas.

In the spring and fall, strong offshore winds periodically develop. These winds are an especially dangerous fire hazard in the fall when vegetation is at its driest, as exemplified historically by the 1923 Berkeley Fire and the 1991 Oakland Firestorm.

Some geologically unstable areas have been extensively urbanized, and can become mobile due to changes in drainage patterns and grading created for development. These are usually confined to small areas, but there have been larger problems in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The Bay Area is served by many public transportation systems, including three international airports (SFO, OAK, SJC), six major overlapping bus transit agencies (AC Transit, Muni, SamTrans, VTA, Golden Gate Transit, County Connection), in addition to dozens of smaller ones. There are four rapid transit and regional rail systems including BART and CalTrain and two light rail systems (San Francisco Muni Metro and VTA Light-rail). There are also several regional rail lines provided by Amtrak, notable the Capitol Corridor. In addition to rail lines, there are multiple public and private ferry services (notably Golden Gate Ferry and Blue and Gold Fleet), which are being expanded by the San Francisco Bay Water Transit Authority. The regional ferry hub is San Francisco Ferry Building. AC Transit and some other agencies provide an extensive network of express "transbay" commuter buses from the suburbs to San Francisco Transbay Terminal.

The freeway and highway system is very extensive; however, many freeways are heavily congested during rush hour, especially the trans-bay bridges (Golden Gate and Bay Bridge). Furthermore there are some large gaps in the highways which run onto city streets in San Francisco, partially due to the Freeway Revolt (SF Board of Supervisors decisions made in 1959, 1964 and 1966), which prevented completion of freeways connecting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge western terminus (Interstate 80) with the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge, and U.S. 101 through San Francisco, and additionally due to the destruction of several of those very freeway structures that sparked the revolt, which were damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and subsequently removed rather than being reinforced or rebuilt.

The region is home to many universities and seminaries, most notably Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco. In addition, the Bay Area is home to two of the twenty-eight Jesuit universities in the United States, Santa Clara University (founded in 1851), and University of San Francisco (1855), which are the two oldest institutions of higher learning in the state of California. In 2003, there were approximately 545,000 students enrolled in college or graduate school, while approximately 41 percent of residents aged 25 years and over had a bachelors degree or higher. The San Francisco Bay Area population is near the top in the Nation for overall education level. The San Francisco and San Jose PMSAs rank third and fourth in college graduates, ahead of Boston and behind only Boulder–Longmont, Co PMSA and Stamford–Norwalk, CT PMSA. Santa Cruz PMSA ranks eighth and the Oakland PMSA eleventh.

The San Francisco Bay Area has a very diverse religious life with thousands of churches, pagodas, mosques, temples, synagogues, gurdwaras, and other religious centers. The Bay Area is home to Christians, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Scientology, and numerous other religious communities. Historically, San Francisco has been predominantly Roman Catholic, due to the Italian and Irish immigrants of the late 19th and early 20th century.

The San Francisco Bay Area was home to one of the biggest thrash metal scenes in the United States, along with Tampa Bay, Florida. Containing acts like Exodus, Death Angel, Vio-lence, Megadeth, Testament and Metallica (although Metallica had initially formed in Los Angeles, it wasn't until their relocation to the East Bay area in 1983 that Cliff Burton and Kirk Hammett joined as bassist and lead guitarist, sealing the band's first, formative line-up), the Bay Area Thrash scene was a huge impact on the Thrash metal world, as well as the Death metal scene; as Possessed is considered as one of the first death metal bands.

One of the area's most notable acts was The Grateful Dead, formed in 1965, who played regularly at the legendary venue The Filmore.

The Bay Area saw a large punk movement from the 70s to the present. Bands such as the Dead Kennedys, The Avengers, Flipper, D.R.I., M.D.C. and Operation Ivy were popular in the '70s and '80s, with later bands such as Rancid, Green Day and AFI all coming out of Berkeley.

The Bay Area was the home of the hyphy movement, which started almost 10 years ago. The genre which was pioneered by rappers Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks, Too Short, Keak Da Sneak, and E-40, is now becoming more popular throughout the world. Hyphy themes such as ghost riding, thizzin' and going dumb are now common in other parts of the country. The Bay Area is also home to Hammer and the Hieroglyphics hip hop crew, which is composed of local artists including the Souls of Mischief and Del tha Funkee Homosapien.

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San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport at night

San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO, ICAO: KSFO, FAA LID: SFO) is a major international airport located 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, adjacent to the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO. The airport has flights to destinations throughout North America and is a major gateway to Europe, Asia, and Australasia.

San Francisco International Airport is the largest airport in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the second busiest airport in the state of California after Los Angeles International Airport. As of 2006, San Francisco International Airport is the thirteenth largest in the United States and the twenty-third largest airport in the world, in terms of passengers. It is a major hub of United Airlines and is Virgin America's principal base of operations. It is the sole maintenance hub of United Airlines. SFO is also a focus city for Alaska Airlines.

SFO has numerous passenger amenities, including a wide range of food and drink establishments, shopping, baggage storage, public showers, a medical clinic, and assistance for lost or stranded travelers and military personnel. The airport hosts the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library, and both permanent and temporary art exhibitions in several places in the terminals. Public Wi-Fi is available throughout most of the terminal area, provided by T-Mobile for a fee.

The airport was first opened on May 7, 1927 on 150 acres (607,000 m²) of cow pasture. The land was leased from prominent local landowner Ogden L. Mills, (who in turn had leased it from his grandfather Darius O. Mills) and was named Mills Field Municipal Airport. It remained Mills Field until 1931, when it was renamed San Francisco Municipal Airport. "Municipal" was replaced by "International" in 1955.

The U.S. Weather Bureau began keeping weather observations at Mills Field in May 1927. The weather records have continued under the National Weather Service, which maintained the Bay Area forecast office in the airport's control tower building until forecasting was moved to Redwood City. Although not the official weather observation site for San Francisco (with the official site existing in Duboce Park), data from SFO's automated weather station often appears as belonging to "San Francisco" in media sources outside of the Bay Area.

United Airlines used the Mills Field airport as well as the Oakland Municipal Airport for its services throughout the 1930s.

Starting in 1935, Pan American World Airways used the facility as the terminal for its "China Clipper" flying boat service across the Pacific Ocean. Domestic flights did not begin en masse, however, until World War II, when Oakland International Airport was taken over by the military and its passenger flights were shifted to San Francisco.

After the war, United Airlines used the Pan Am terminal for its flights to Hawaii. It has grown to become one of five United Airlines hubs and SFO is home of United's largest maintenance facility.

In 1954, the airport's Central Passenger Terminal opened for passenger service. Jet service to SFO began in the late 1950s: United built a large maintenance facility at San Francisco for its new Douglas DC-8s. In July 1959 the first jetway bridge was installed in the United States.

In 1989, an airport master plan and associated Environmental Impact Report was prepared to guide expansion and development over the next two decades. During the economic boom of the 1990s and the dot-com boom, SFO became the sixth busiest international airport in the world. However, since 2001, when the economic boom times ended, SFO has fallen back out of the top twenty.

SFO has expanded continuously through the decades. Most recently, a new $1 billion international terminal opened in December 2000, replacing Terminal 2 as the international terminal. This new terminal contains a world-class aviation library and museum. SFO’s long-running program of cultural exhibits, now called the San Francisco Airport Museums, won unprecedented accreditation by the American Association of Museums in 1999.

A long-planned extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system to the airport opened on June 22, 2003, allowing passengers to board trains directly at the airport's international terminal bound for San Francisco or points in the East Bay. In 2003, the AirTrain shuttle system opened, conveying passengers between terminals, parking lots, the SFO BART station, and the rental car center on small automatic trains.

It is not uncommon for SFO to experience significant delays in adverse weather, when only one of the airport's four runways can be used at a time, due to a lateral separation of only 750 feet between runways. Airport planners have floated proposals to extend the airport's runways further into San Francisco Bay in order to accommodate the next generation of super-jumbo aircraft. In order to expand further into the bay, the airport would be required by law to restore bay land elsewhere in the Bay Area to offset the fill. Such proposals have nevertheless met resistance with environmental groups, fearing damage to the habitat of animals living near the airport and bay water quality.

As such, SFO suffers from loss of service as many airlines, especially low-cost carriers, increasingly shift service to the other two major Bay Area airports at Oakland and San Jose, which continue to expand for the time being. However, SFO has more land connections compared to Oakland and San Jose, being directly connected to U.S. Route 101, Interstate 380, and the BART system.

Recently, recovery at SFO has been evident. Spirit Airlines and Qantas began service to SFO in 2006. United Airlines reinstated non-stop service to Seoul and Taipei on June 7, 2007. In addition, SFO has become the base of operations for start-up airline Virgin America. In March 2007, Air China increased the frequency of the Beijing-San Francisco service from 5 times weekly to daily, with plans to increase to two daily. Also Air China is to begin operations from Shanghai Pudong International Airport during March 2009. In 2007, JetBlue Airways and Irish airline Aer Lingus began service, while Southwest Airlines returned after pulling out in May 2001 citing high costs and delays.

A global warming study unveiled in February 2007 revealed that much of SFO would be under water with only a one-meter rise in sea levels.

In April 2007, SFO announced plans to introduce a registered traveler program that would allow travelers to speed through the TSA security checkpoint in about 30 seconds.

Baggage and passenger screening is operated by Covenant Aviation Security, a TSA contractor, nicknamed "Team SFO." SFO was the first airport in the United States to integrate in-line baggage screening into its baggage-handling system and has been a model for other airports in the post-9/11 era.

On October 4, 2007, an Airbus A380 jumbo jet made its first visit and test flight to the airport. About 15 months later, on January 14, 2009, an A380, operated by Qantas, made its first regularly scheduled flight to SFO.

On July 14, 2008 SFO was voted Best International Airport in North America 2008 in the World Airports Survey by Skytrax.

SFO was one of the first airports to implement a Fly Quiet Program which grades individual air carriers on their performance on noise abatement procedures while flying in and out of SFO. The Jon C. Long Fly Quiet Program is an initiative implemented by the Aircraft Noise Abatement Office to encourage individual airlines to operate as quietly as possible at SFO. The program promotes a participatory approach in complying with the noise abatement procedures.

SFO was also one of the first U.S. airports to conduct a residential sound abatement retrofitting program. Established by the FAA in the early 1980s, this program evaluated the cost effectiveness of reducing interior sound levels for homes in the vicinity of the airport, or more particularly homes within the 65 CNEL noise contour surface. The program made use of a noise computer model to predict improvement in specific residential interiors for a variety of different noise control strategies. This pilot program was conducted for a neighborhood in the city of South San Francisco, and success was achieved in all of the homes analyzed. The construction costs turned out to be modest, and the post-construction interior sound level tests confirmed the model predictions for noise abatement. To date over $137 million has been spent to insulate in excess of 15,000 homes throughout the neighboring cities of Daly City, Pacifica, San Bruno, and South San Francisco.

The airport is composed of four terminals (1, 2, 3, and International) and seven concourses (A through G) arranged in a ring. Terminal 1 (Boarding Areas B and C) and Terminal 3 (Boarding Areas E and F) handle domestic flights. The International Terminal (Boarding Areas A and G) handle international flights and some domestic flights. Terminal 2 (Boarding Area D) is undergoing renovations, which will be completed in 2010.

Note: Flights to and from Canada depart from and arrive in the domestic terminals, because they clear U.S. Customs at their Canadian originating airports through a border preclearance arrangement. JetBlue Airways and Virgin America depart from International Terminal Boarding Area A.

Formerly known as the South Terminal, Terminal 1 consists of Boarding Area B and Boarding Area C. A third boarding area, Rotunda A, was demolished in 2007.

Note: All Alaska Airlines domestic and Canadian flights depart and arrive at Terminal 1 Boarding Area B and all Alaska Airlines Mexican flights depart and arrive at International Terminal Boarding Area A.

Note: All Northwest Airlines domestic flights depart from Terminal 1 Boarding Area C and all Northwest international flights depart and arrive at International Terminal Boarding Area A.

Formerly known as the Central Terminal, Terminal 2 consists of Boarding Area D. It replaced Rotunda A as the international terminal in 1983 , and, when the current international terminal opened in 2000, Terminal 2 was closed for indefinite renovation and currently serves as a walkway between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. The SFO Medical Clinic is located on the lower level, and the control tower and most operations offices are located on the upper levels. On May 12, 2008, a $ 383 million renovation project was announced that includes a new control tower, the use of green materials, and a seismic retrofit.

When completed, Virgin America will be the primary tenant and Boarding Area D will have 14 gates. JetBlue and Southwest Airlines are possible tenants.

Formerly known as the North Terminal, Terminal 3 is made up of Boarding Area E and Boarding Area F. This terminal is utilized by Air Canada, Midwest Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines, with the final two accounting for 10.2% and 48.9% of SFO's passenger traffic, respectively.

Note: All United Airlines domestic and Canadian flights depart from Terminal 3 Boarding Area F and all United international flights depart and arrive at International Terminal Boarding Area G.

Boarding Area F has 25 gates: 68-72, 73-73A, 74-76, 77-77A, 78-86, 87-87A, 88-90.

SFO's international terminal, designed by Craig W. Hartman and opened in December 2000 to replace International Departures from Terminal 2, is the largest international terminal in North America, and is the largest building in the world built on base isolators to protect against earthquakes. Following the theme in other SFO terminals, food service focuses on quick service versions of leading Bay Area restaurants. SFO planners attempted to make the airport a destination in and of itself, not just for travelers that are passing through. The international terminal is a common use facility, with all gates and all ticketing areas shared among the international airlines. All international arrivals and departures are handled here (except flights from cities with customs preclearance).

The airport BART station is also located in this terminal, at the garage leading to Boarding Area G.

All the gates in this terminal have two jetway bridges with the exception of gate A2, which only has one jetway; gates A1, A3, and A11 are capable of accommodating two aircraft. Six gates are specifically designed for the Airbus A380, making SFO one of the first airports in the world with such gates when it was constructed in 2000.

For lack of space, the terminal was constructed on top of the airport's main access road at enormous expense, completing the continuous "ring" of terminals. As a consequence, the terminal required its own elaborate set of ramps to connect it with Highway 101.

The design and construction of the international terminal is owed to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Del Campo & Maru Architects, Michael Willis Associates (main terminal building), Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (Boarding Area G) & Gerson/Overstreet Architects (Boarding Area A). The contracts were awarded after an architectural design competition.

If all gates in an airlines' designated international boarding area are full, passengers will board or deplane from the opposite international boarding area.

Despite the terminal's name, JetBlue Airways and Virgin America serve domestic destinations using this terminal from Boarding Area A. Passengers arriving on domestic and pre-cleared Canadian flights into the International Terminal claim their baggage in a separate area outside of customs and immigrations.

All SkyTeam, Oneworld and non-aligned international carriers aside from Emirates and EVA Air operate from Boarding Area A. Asiana is the only Star Alliance carrier that uses Boarding Area A.

All international Star Alliance members aside from Air Canada and Asiana use Boarding Area G. EVA Air and Emirates are the only non-Star Alliance members that use Boarding Area G.

AirTrain is the airport's people-mover system. Fully automated and free of charge, it connects all four terminals, the two international terminal garages, the BART station, and the airport's Rental Car Center.

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) BART station, located in Parking Garage G of the International Terminal, is the only direct rail link between the airport, the city of San Francisco, and the general Bay Area. As of January 1, 2008, the SFO station is served by the Pittsburg/Bay Point – SFO Line. Tickets from the airport range from $1.50 (to Millbrae) to $5.35 (downtown San Francisco), and more for the East Bay. BART is SFO's connection to Caltrain at the Millbrae Station, which requires a transfer at the San Bruno station during most of BART's operating day; only during the first & last hour of BART service does direct service between SFO and Millbrae take place each day.

The San Francisco Municipal Railway, San Francisco's transit agency, does not provide service to the airport. However, SamTrans, San Mateo County's transit agency, does, with three lines (292, 397, and KX) connecting Terminal 2, Terminal 3, and the International Terminal to San Francisco and the Peninsula down to Palo Alto.

Numerous door-to-door van, airporter, limousine, hotel courtesy, and charter operators service the airport. Taxis, along with the aforementioned services, stop at the center island transportation island on the arrivals/baggage claim level of the airport.

In addition, China Airlines operates bus services to SFO from Milpitas and Cupertino.

The airport is located on U.S. Route 101, 13 miles (21 km) south of downtown San Francisco. It is near the US 101 interchange with Interstate 380, a short freeway that connects US 101 with Interstate 280.

The airport provides both short-term and long-term parking facilities. Short term parking is located in the central terminal area and two international terminal garages. Long term parking is located on South Airport Blvd. and San Bruno Ave. and are served by shuttle buses.

Passengers can also park long-term at a select number of BART stations, that have parking lots, with a permit purchased online in advance.

Taxis depart from designated taxi zones located at the roadway center islands, on the Arrivals/Baggage Claim Level of all terminals.

On December 24, 1964, Flying Tiger Line Flight 282, a Lockheed Constellation cargo aircraft departing for New York City, crashed in the hills west of the airport, killing all three crewmembers onboard.

On July 30, 1971, Pan Am Flight 845, a Boeing 747 (registration: N747PA, name: Clipper America), struck navigational aids at the end of runway 1R on takeoff for Tokyo. The aircraft's landing gear and other systems were damaged. Two passengers were aboard were seriously injured by metal components of the runway approach light pier entering the cabin. The flight proceeded out over the Pacific Ocean to dump fuel in order to reduce weight for an emergency landing. Emergency services were deployed at the airport, and the plane returned and landed on runway 28R. During landing the aircraft veered off the runway. There was no fire. After coming to a stop, the aircraft slowly tilted aft, coming to rest on its tail in a nose-high attitude. The forward evacuation slides were therefore in a nearly vertical position. Evacuation using these slides caused all of the additional injuries, some severe. There were no fatalities among the 218 passengers and crew aboard. An investigation determined the cause of the accident to be erroneous information from the flight dispatcher to the crew regarding weight and runway length.

On February 19, 1985, China Airlines Flight 006, en route from Taipei to Los Angeles, lost power over the Pacific in one of its four engines. The pilots of the Boeing 747SP aircraft failed to trim the plane to counteract the asymmetric thrust condition, despite having several minutes to do so. The aircraft eventually rolled over and dived a total of 30,000 feet before being brought under control and diverted to SFO.

On June 28, 1998, United Airlines Flight 863, a Boeing 747-400, cleared nearby San Bruno Mountain by only 100 feet after a pilot erred in correcting for a failed engine during takeoff.

On January 31, 2000, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 lost control and crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles, killing all 88 people on board while en route to SFO.

On September 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked and crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania while en route to SFO.

On May 26, 2007, a SkyWest Airlines jet almost crashed into a Republic Airlines jet on the runways at San Francisco airport, with the newly developed AMASS system helping avoid a runway collision for the first time since its inauguration in 2001.

On January 13, 2008, an empty United Airlines Boeing 757 aircraft, being pushed back to the maintenance hangar, backed into a SkyWest Airlines regional jet pushing back for departure near Gates 79 and 80. No one was injured, but both planes sustained damage to their tails and engines.

On June 28, 2008 an ABX Air Boeing 767 preparing to depart with cargo caught fire and was seriously damaged. The pilots escaped uninjured. The airline had received a threat the week before, but thus far investigations have revealed no evidence of any malicious device on board.

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University of California, San Francisco

UCSF Seal.png

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is one of the world's leading centers of health sciences research, patient care, and education. UCSF's medical, pharmacy, dental, nursing, and graduate schools are among the top health science professional schools in the world. The UCSF Medical Center is consistently ranked among the top 10 hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report . Some of UCSF's most renowned treatment centers include kidney and liver transplant, neurosurgery, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, gene therapy, women's health, fetal surgery, pediatrics, and internal medicine. UCSF also has the nation's leading HIV/AIDS treatment and research centers. Collaborations with African Universities such as the University of Zimbabwe to deal with HIV have been established. UCSF should not be confused with the Hastings College of the Law, a separate institution of the University of California which is also located in San Francisco.

Founded in 1873, the mission of UCSF is to serve as a "public university dedicated to saving lives and improving health." Though one of the ten campuses of the University of California, it is unique for being the only University of California campus dedicated solely to graduate education, and this in health and biomedical sciences. UCSF has developed a reputation for unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the health science disciplines which has led to some of the most important discoveries in the biosciences. The graduate-focused environment of UCSF, its relatively small size, and its culture of collaboration allows for a flexibility to translate new discoveries into new treatments hard to find even at many of the world's other top medical centers.

UCSF traces its history to Dr. Hugh H. Toland, a South Carolina surgeon who found great success and wealth after moving to San Francisco in 1852. A previous school, the Cooper Medical College of the University of Pacific (founded 1858), entered a period of uncertainty in 1862 when its founder, Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper, passed away. In 1864, Toland founded a new medical school, Toland Medical College, and the faculty of Cooper Medical College chose to suspend operations and join the new school.

The University of California was founded in 1868, and by 1870 Toland Medical School began negotiating an affiliation with the new public university. Meanwhile, some faculty of Toland Medical School elected to reopen the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific, which would later become Stanford University School of Medicine. Negotiations between the Toland and the UC were complicated by Toland's demand that the medical school continue to bear his name, which he finally conceded. In March 1873, the trustees of Toland Medical College deeded it to the Regents of the University of California, and it became "The Medical Department of the University of California." On September 15, 1874, the school opened its doors to female students. UCSF also has it's own fully functional police department, which carries out policing duties for it's two major campuses as well as all sattelite sites within the city and in South San Francisco.

UCSF operates four major campus sites within the city of San Francisco, as well as numerous other minor sites scattered through San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Parnassus serves as the main campus and includes the 600 bed UCSF Medical Center, Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, the schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing, the Children's Hospital, and research labs. It also houses the UCSF neurology outpatient practice that serves as a referral center of most of Northern California and Reno Nevada.

UCSF's Beckman Vision Center is also located at the Parnassus campus. It is a center for the diagnosis, treatment and research of all areas of eye care, including vision correction surgery.

Also located on the Parnassus campus is the UCSF Fetal Treatment Center, multidisciplinary care center dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term follow-up of fetal birth defects.

UCSF's Mission Bay Campus is the largest ongoing biomedical construction project in the world. The 43-acre (170,000 m2) Mission Bay campus, opened in 2003 with construction still ongoing, contains additional research space and facilities to foster biotechnology and life sciences companies. It will double the size of UCSF's research enterprise over the next 10 years. The biotechnology company Genentech contributed $50 million toward construction of a building as part of a settlement regarding alleged theft of UCSF technology several decades earlier. Also located on the Mission Bay campus, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Hall was designed by César Pelli and opened in February 2004. The building is named in honor of Arthur Rock and his wife, who made a $25 million gift to the university. Byers Hall serves as the headquarters for the California Institute for Biomedical Research (QB3), a cooperative effort between the UC campuses at San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz. The building is named after venture capitalist Brook Byers, co-chair of UCSF's capital campaign that concluded in 2005 and raised over $1.6 billion. Additionally, the William J. Rutter Center, designed along with the adjacent 600-space parking structure by Ricardo Legorreta, opened in October 2005 and contains a fitness and recreation center, swimming pools, student services, and conference facilities. The building is named in honor of William J. Rutter, former chairman of the university's Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics and co-founder of Chiron Corporation. Finally, a housing complex for 750 students and postdoctoral fellows and an 800-space parking garage also opened in late 2005. A fourth research building, designed by Rafael Viñoly and named the Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, is currently under construction and expected to open in fall 2008. Two additional research buildings designated for neuroscience and cardiovascular research are currently in the planning and design phase. UCSF is also in the early stages of planning for a new specialty hospital focused on women, children, and cancer to be built at the Mission Bay campus and scheduled to open by the end of 2014.

The Mount Zion campus contains UCSF's Comprehensive Cancer Center, its Women's Health Center, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and outpatient resources. The San Francisco General Hospital campus cares for the indigent population of San Francisco and contains San Francisco's only Level I trauma center. The hospital itself is owned and operated by the city of San Francisco, but many of its doctors carry UCSF affiliation and maintain research laboratories at the hospital campus. The earliest cases of HIV/AIDS were discovered at SF General Hospital in the 1980s. To this day SF General Hospital has the world's leading HIV/AIDS treatment and research center.

UCSF is also affiliated with the San Francisco VA Hospital and the J. David Gladstone Institutes, a private biomedical research entity that has recently moved to a new building adjacent to UCSF's Mission Bay campus. The headquarters of the new California Institute for Regenerative Medicine are also located nearby in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

University of California, San Francisco is unique in that it performs only biomedical and patient-centered research in its Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry, and the Graduate Division, and their hundreds of associated laboratories. The university is known for innovation in medical research, public service, and patient care. UCSF's faculty includes three Nobel Prize winners, 31 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 69 members of the Institute of Medicine, and 30 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. UCSF confers a number of degrees, including Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Dental Surgery, and Doctor of Physical Therapy in a variety of fields.

In 1995, the National Research Council ranked UCSF among the top ten schools in the U.S. in the subjects of biochemistry and molecular biology (1st), genetics (2nd), cell and developmental biology (3rd), neurosciences (4th), physiology (5th), and biomedical engineering (7th).

Overall, the campus ranked third in the nation in annual NIH funding with $439 million in 2007.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities, published annually by Shanghai Jiaotong University, in 2008 ranks UCSF 3rd in the world for Life and Agricultural Sciences and 2nd in the world for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy . The professional schools of the University of California, San Francisco are among the top in the nation, according to current (2006) US News and World Report graduate school and other rankings. The schools also rank at or near the top in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the UCSF Medical Center in 2007 was ranked by US News and World Report the 7th-best hospital in the nation, making it the highest-ranked medical center in northern California.

In 2008, it ranked fifth overall among research-based medical schools by US News and World Report; the top in western United States. In rankings of medical schools for primary care, UCSF ranked 6th. It is one of only three medical schools that ranked top 10 in both research and primary care categories. In addition, the magazine ranked UCSF in the top 10 in seven of the eight medical school specialty programs assessed, including first in AIDS medical care, second in women's health, and second in internal medicine. The UCSF drug and alcohol abuse specialty ranks fifth nationally in the 2006 survey, while family medicine ranks 10th, pediatrics ninth, and geriatrics ninth.

In 2007, the School of Medicine was the third largest recipient of National Institutes of Health research funds among all US medical schools, receiving awards totaling $373.1 million.

US News and World Report in 2008 ranked UCSF seventh best overall. In that survey, UCSF ranked third in immunology, fourth in biochemistry/biophysics/structural biology, cell biology, and molecular biology, sixth in genetics/genomics/bioinformatics and neuroscience, and seventh in microbiology.

In 2008, US News and World Report ranked the UCSF graduate programs in nursing as second in the nation. UCSF ranked in the top 10 in all seven of the rated nursing specialties, including first for training adult/medical-surgical nurses and second for its adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health programs. The pediatric nurse practitioner specialty ranked fifth nationally, while the gerontology/geriatrics and nursing service administration programs ranked seventh.

The School of Nursing in 2007 ranked first nationally in total NIH research funds with $13.8 million.

The UCSF School of Pharmacy ranked as the top in the US, according to a 2002 survey published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, which weighed key criteria, including funding for research and the frequency of scientific publications by faculty, that are not considered in other rankings.

In 2008, US News and World Report ranked the UCSF School of Pharmacy number one in its "America's Best Graduate Schools" edition.

In 2007, the School of Pharmacy ranked first in NIH research funding among all US pharmacy schools, receiving awards totaling $19.6 million.

The School of Dentistry in 2007 ranked first among all dental schools in NIH research funding. It received awards totaling $18.3 million from the NIH.

In 2007, US News and World Report named the UCSF Medical Center the 7th-best hospital in the nation, making it the highest-ranked medical center in Northern California. Among pediatric care centers, UCSF Children's Hospital ranked no. 16 — among the highest-rated children's medical service in California.

In the magazine's "America's Best Hospitals" survey, the UCSF Medical Center ranked best in Northern California — as well as among the best in the nation — in the following specialties: endocrinology, neurology/neurosurgery; gynecology; cancer; kidney disease; ophthalmology; respiratory disorders; rheumatology; urology; digestive disorders; ear, nose, and throat; psychiatry; heart and heart surgery; and pediatrics.

In San Francisco Magazine's 2003 survey of the "Best Doctors" in the Bay Area, 55 percent of those honored were UCSF faculty.

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Source : Wikipedia