Mystery Surcharge Among Taxes, Fees Added To Gasoline In California

By Kiet Do : cbslocal – excerpt

BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — A University of California, Berkeley professor is drawing attention to a gasoline “mystery surcharge” in the state – unexplained price increases in gasoline which have cost drivers $20 billion since 2015.

Severin Borenstein, professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and former chairman of the state’s Petroleum Market Advisory Committee, has spent several years crunching the numbers, trying to account for the state’s gas prices, some of the highest in the country.

“I’m very confident in the calculations, it’s really basic arithmetic,” said Borenstein…

In January, 19 state legislators sent a letter to Attorney General Xavier Becerra asking him to lead a formal investigation. Becerra has not publicly commented and the state Department of Justice typically does not announce investigations.… (more)

BREAKING: Breed’s Rent Board appointee resigns

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Facing a possible rejection at the Board of Supes, Reese Isbell steps down and the mayor appoints a respected tenant lawyer to the job.

Reese Isbell, Mayor London Breed’s recent appointment to the Rent Board, resigned that position this afternoon, meaning the full Board of Supes won’t be voting Monday on rejecting his appointment.

Breed appointed Kent Qian, a lawyer who serves as a non-voting alternate, to the voting position as a tenant representative; he was sworn in this afternoon. Isbell will serve as a board alternate… (more)

Witness describes seeing elderly woman dragged across platform by new Muni train

By Kris Reyes : abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

Muni rider Will Hayworth was at Embarcadero station when he says he witnessed an elderly woman getting dragged across the platform and onto the tracks when her hand got trapped in the door.

The train is part of Muni’s new fleet…

Muni spokesperson Paul Rose insists the trains are safe and have met all safety standards. However, he added that Muni will be adding an extra safety edge that will better sense when someone is trapped between the doors.

Hayworth says he’s shocked that Muni is not calling the issue a defect. He says he has lost all confidence in the service… (more)

48hills sues MTC over secretive housing policy operation

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

We want to know how much public money went into funding a pro-developer operations aimed at promoting more market-rate housing with few protections for vulnerable communities.

48hills filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court today asking a judge to order the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to release full reports of how much public money was spent on the Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA).

The lawsuit demands all documents that show MTC funding going to CASA from the first day the regional transit agency helped create that group, which was chartered with finding a “grand solution” to the Bay Area’s housing crisis… (more)

City Grants Nonprofits First Priority in Building Sales

By Ida Mojadad : sfweekly – excerpt

Housing nonprofits will stand a better chance of permanently protecting rent-controlled buildings from the speculative market.

San Francisco’s ability to preserve its affordable housing stock just strengthened immensely.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously co-sponsored and approved long-awaited legislation that requires building owners to first hear an offer from housing nonprofits. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer calls the bill, known as Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, a “win-win” for landlords who may still sell for market-rate and tenants who can stay in their homes.

“COPA will provide affordable housing nonprofits with a critical tool to stop the bleeding,” said Fewer, who introduced the legislation. “The market will not solve this problem.”… (more)

Who needs cars? Aggressive transit plan for Chase Arena discourages driving

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

When Metallica plays at ear-splitting decibels in the soon-to-open Chase Center in September — the arena’s first-ever event — the thousands of concert goers won’t be humming “Enter Sandman” as they drive home to far-flung points across the Bay Area.

Instead, most will be head-banging on Muni, Caltrain, BART and ferries. At least, that’s according to The City’s plan…

Long-time San Francisco Giants fans may remember Muni shuttles that served Candlestick Park. Well, SFMTA is instituting two similar shuttles for Chase Center, one running down Van Ness Avenue from the waterfront and the other running directly from 16th Street BART


Head-banging takes on new meaning when applied to the new Muni side facing seats. Asses may stay firmly in place, but, heads and shoulders may indeed lunge forward, or sideways, as the vehicle brakes are applied, meaning heads may be jerked into the adjoining seat or head. I am surprised no one thought of this when they designed the seats. The laws of perpetual motion do apply.

After a couple of ventures out, many will take the easiest method to avoid traffic, crowds, and potential head-banging. They will watch the action from their couch. It will be interesting to see how many people take that route, or go the nearest sports bar to drink and cheer or jeer with the fans.

One more thing that concerns everyone is the plan to dig up 16th Street at the time when it is most needed to assure completion of all the other construction projects that are ongoing, and to keep the constant flow of traffic, including the buses and shuttles moving between the Bay and the rest of the city. What will it take to stop work on 16th Street before a reasonable plan is devised to use an alternate route. Only 16th Street and Cesar Chavez cross both 101 and 280. Large numbers of the public are at risk of being cut off if either of those streets are not passable at all times.

Proposed state laws may alleviate SF’s shortage of psychiatrists, ‘step down’ beds for behavioral health clients

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

A statewide shortage of psychiatrists is affecting San Francisco’s psychiatric services

Two state bills could help San Francisco address major gaps in care for its public behavioral health clients, including more than a dozen psychiatrist vacancies and capacity issues in regard to treatment beds.

Assembly Bill 565 would broaden the pool of aspiring community psychiatrists eligible for debt relief to address a growing national psychiatrist shortage that has left one of four psychiatrist positions chronically vacant statewide. Assembly Bill 682 requires the state health department to apply for funds to create a real-time psychiatric bed registry.

Both bills are sponsored by the California Psychiatrist Association (CPA) and were voted out of the Assembly Health Committee last month. Supporters say that they could offer some relief locally, where retention and recruitment of qualified psychiatrists as well as a shortage of “step down” care beds are an issue… (more)

Fixing San Francisco’s behavioral health system is complicated — here’s why.