Mission residents sound off on neighborhood design guidelines

By Ricky Rodas : mission local – excerpt

In conjunction with Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, the San Francisco Planning Department and the Office of Workforce and Development held a special area guidelines workshop at Cesar Chavez Elementary School on Wednesday. Amy Beinart, legislative aide to Dictrict 9 Supervisor Hilary Ronen, was in attendance.

The project’s planning manager John Francis told the crowd of fifteen, “We’re going to reflect on the character of 24th Street,” and that community feedback will be a critical part of establishing guidelines for design elements such as windows, business signs, outside art, and building facades… (more)

City to buy 1515 South Van Ness for 100-percent affordable housing development

By Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

After the homeless Navigation Center located at 1515 South Van Ness vacated in June 2018, the building sat inactive, waiting to be demolished and transformed into a mostly market-rate development.

Only, nothing happened. For a year.

Today, Mayor London Breed announced that the city will be purchasing the site in order to build a 100-percent affordable housing development — “potentially 150 new family units,” as Breed put it on Tuesday morning…

“We know that this community has a goal of getting to 2,500” affordable units, Breed said to about 30 community members gathered at the site. “This is a step in the right direction.”…(more)

Haney moves to save Mezzanine — and Soma nightlife

By Jeantelle Laberinto : 48hills – excerpt

Proposal would make it harder to turn venues into tech office space.

Supervisor Matt Haney announced Thursday that he will introduce a resolution that would give an added layer of protection to nightlife and entertainment venues in Soma.

If passed, this measure would provide interim zoning controls in Western Soma for 18 months to ensure that entertainment venues are not converted to other uses without going in front of the Planning Commission, and if needed, at the full Board of Supervisors…(more)

Déjà vu Culture Clash all over again. If you don’t fix past mistakes you will never outlive them. It’s another round of emergency 18 month resolutions to freeze the moment in time. If the 18 month reprieve goes through, we have 18 months to pass some new longer term fix to protect the venues. If you were here for the Prop X campaign, you may want to review the history of that ballot initiative that is meant to protect PDR space in some limited way in a few distinct parts of San Francisco.

The absurd, failed economics of the jobs-housing linkage fee

By John Elberling : 48hills – excerpt

Developers would pay for only 20 percent of the demand their projects create – so why are we still building so much office space?

The long-awaited Nexus Study documenting how much affordable housing is actually needed for the added workforce of new office developments has finally been released by the city. It concludes that 810 new low/moderate/middle income-affordable housing units are needed for the employees of every 1 million square feet of new office buildings…

And every year the Prop M annual limit allows the Planning Commission to approved 950,000 square feet of office development. So each year, on average, the city’s affordable housing situation gets 616 units worse thanks to new office development for the Tech Industry.

Of course, other city housing funds badly needed to build new affordable housing for today’s San Franciscans could be diverted to meeting this shortfall. That is, essentially, the city would be subsidizing the growth of the tech industry in San Francisco in those new office buildings — at the expense of the city’s existing Central City communities and their residents!.

And that is exactly what the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development now proposes. It has also just released a feasibility study that concludes new office developments cannot pay much of a JHLP Fee increase at all now, despite the record office rents the tech industry is willing to pay (up to $100 per square foot per year), due to the high costs of construction and other city fees.

It’s very clear what the top priority of the Mayor’s Office Of Economic Development is – tech industry growth – not the needs of the city’s people.

But of course there is another option – STOP BUILDING OFFICE BUILDINGS! Stopmaking that problem – the jobs-housing balance – worse. Use the city’s housing funds for the needs of the city’s existing communities first!…(more)

San Francisco’s Transbay transit center reopens July 1 — but without buses

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

When San Francisco reopens its $2.2 billion Transbay transit center on July 1, buses won’t be rolling through — but yoga mats may be rolling out.

That’s because the three-block-long structure isn’t quite ready for transportation. Instead, after the center opens at 6 a.m. July 1, people can once again stroll through the 5.4-acre rooftop park and join knitting circles, yoga classes and fitness boot camps. Food trucks will line the surrounding streets, and visitors may enter the art-bedecked terrazzo floor. The buses, however, will come later.

Muni and Golden Gate Transit buses will start rolling out of the plaza at Beale and First streets sometime in early July. Greyhound, Westcat Lynx and AC Transit’s bus lines will start service from the bus deck — which connects to the Bay Bridge — in late summer…(more)

It helps to have a sense of humor

CVP and Livable CA file Petition for Writ of Mandate against ABAG for Brown Act violations

Posted by: Bob Silvestri marinpost – excerpt

On April 17, 2019, Community Venture Partners and Livable California filed a “Demand letter to cure or correct Brown Act violations at the January 17, 2019 ABAG E… more »

On April 17, 2019, Community Venture Partners and Livable California filed a “Demand letter to cure or correct Brown Act violations at the January 17, 2019 ABAG Executive Board meeting” (click on the highlighted text to read the full document). Based on the facts and circumstances described in that letter, CVP and LC alleged that the ABAG Board’s vote to endorse the CASA Compact was illegal and therefore null and void.


The full explanation and backstory on why the cease and desist was filed is found in Livable California / CVP’s cease & desist letter with ABAG Board for Brown Act violations, Marin Post, April 18, 2019.

The Board of Directors responded to our letter through Deputy General Counsel Cynthia E. Segal, at the end of the very last day they were legally required to do so.

In her letter, she adamantly denied that ABAG violated the Brown Act, even though the violation was clearly captured on videotape, and that ABAG refused to cure the violation or to take any “remedial action’ whatsoever. She went on to suggest that agencies are allowed to violate the Brown Act so long as they can show that no one was “prejudiced” by their violation. And finally, the violation doesn’t count if it’s not “willful” or “deliberate.” In other words, if they broke the law by mistake or even on purpose with some rationale, it doesn’t count.

I’m going to try to remember these arguments the next time I get a speeding ticket.

In any case, as noted in our April 18th article, what is so unusual here is that in 2013, the California State Legislature enacted SB 751, which was signed by Governor Brown to address this exact same violation by ABAG. That legislation, which amended the Brown Act, contained very, specific language. Effective on January 1, 2014, Government Code § 54953(c)(2) states,

The legislative body of a local agency shall publicly report any action taken and the vote or abstention on that action of each member present for the action… (more)

The only oversight the regional agencies seem to have is citizen oversight. The citizens are claiming a violation of the Brown Act.

Should community colleges build housing?

By Felicia Mello : calmatters – excerpt

…Think of a community college, and you’ll likely picture a commuter school with low-slung buildings and massive parking lots. And you’d be right—out of California’s 114 community colleges, only 11 offer on-campus housing. But some of those parking lots could soon become dormitories as community colleges look to build their own solutions to the state’s affordable housing crisis…

“Our thought was to have some housing on campus so our students can just concentrate on learning without worrying so much about, ‘Can I make rent?’ or ‘Where am I going to live?’ ” said Juan Gutierrez, public information officer for Orange Coast College.

Surveys showed the overwhelming majority of Orange Coast students was interested in living on campus, Gutierrez said. Half of the student body comes from outside Orange County, he said, with many avoiding the area’s steep cost of living by commuting from as far as San Diego or the Inland Empire. The project is set to open in the autumn of 2020…

Finding affordable solutions

Community college students facing similar dilemmas without the option of on-campus housing are increasingly resorting to couch-surfing or living in their cars. As state lawmakers debate measures that would allow homeless students to park overnight on campus and provide them with housing vouchers, building dorms offers an alternate path, one that colleges can pursue on their own…

Colleges as social service agencies

Despite the challenges, some advocates say providing housing is simply part of community colleges’ expanding mission. With rampant income inequality darkening the prospects for many young Californians, they say, colleges must play the role of social service agency if they want to remove the obstacles that can prevent students from graduating… (more)

This appears to be the crux of the matter. Should colleges get into businesses outside of their role and educators and take on social services and housing as well? Is this the proper use of administrators time and energies? How will expanding the role effect the primary purpose of providing education for community residents? Should this not be part of a larger conversation that informs the public and allows for more public involvement? Are these new roles taken on by administrators responsible for the outrageous increase in college tuition? Are these deviations in priorities not responsible for creating the problem they are trying to solve?