We sometimes think that Seattle alone has "the Seattle malaise," meaning long-drawn-out disputes over development that often end in stalemate or ugly compromises. We are not alone. Consider this story from San Francsisco's Octavia Boulevard, as reported by John King of the San Francisco Chronicle. It's a cautionary tale for Seattle because it involves development of an area where once loomed an elevated freeway. Tear it down and you get, well, a street fight. Once the viaduct was demolished, part was replaced by a four-block boulevard for commute and local traffic. A small neighborhood park was built, and then it came time to award four empty lots along the route to architects and developers who submittied winning designs. Those lots are still empty. What ensued is fairly typical of cities with many well-educated, articulate, and empowered citizens. Utopian demands. "Nobody's shy about gumming up the works if he doesn't get what he wants." High-minded guidelines that keep getting higher. All kinds of hard-to-mesh visions (quality architecture, affordable housing, restrictions on parking, ever-higher developer fees) that eventually produce stalemate, fleeing developers, and glorious mud-slinging opportunities between mayor and council. The mantra for the game in San Francisco, according to the reporter, is: "Always push for more, and never feel qualms about changing the rules." Gee, we could have told them that one.