Fed-up locals are setting electric scooters on fire and burying them at sea

: latimes – excerpt

They’ve been crammed into toilets, tossed off balconies and set on fire. They’ve even been adorned with dangling bags of dog droppings.

As cities like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills struggle to control a rapid proliferation of electric pay-per-minute scooters, some residents are taking matters into their own hands and waging a guerrilla war against the devices. These vandals are destroying or desecrating the vehicles in disturbingly imaginative ways, and celebrating their illegal deeds on social media — in full view of authorities and the public…

In Santa Monica, where Bird is headquartered, City Council members voted to cap the number of scooters on city streets while officials craft longer-term regulations. Beverly Hills officials ordered them banned for six months. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz asked officials last week to take “all available measures” to outlaw the scooters within the city.

While most tech entrepreneurs expect some criticism and calls for regulation when they introduce new and potentially disruptive products, they don’t necessarily anticipate the outright destruction of their property. They also don’t expect to see such carnage celebrated and encouraged on social media.

Yet mayhem directed at dockless scooters is the order of the day on Instagram’s “Bird Graveyard,” whose contributors relish publishing photos and videos of scooters that have been set aflame, tossed into canals, smeared with feces and snapped into pieces. The account has more than 24,000 followers… (more)

RELATED:

Bird Graveyard

If a bird or lime scooter has died, please send us pictures or video so we can honor its death. RIP https://www.instagram.com/birdgraveyard

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Costa-Hawkins Repeal on November Ballot – It’s Complicated!

nine-county-coalition – excerpt

California voters will see Proposition 10 on their ballots on November 6, 2018.  Proposition 10, The Affordable Housing Act of 2018, a voters’ initiative, aims to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995.  Costa-Hawkins was sponsored by Senator Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Assembly Member Phil Hawkins (R-Bellflower), became Assembly Bill 1164 which passed both chambers of the California Legislature, and was signed into law by then California Governor Pete Wilson.

Proposition 10 is the latest battle in the ongoing war between California renters and landlords.  The 1970s were plagued with “stagflagtion,” stagnant wages in the midst of inflation.  In response, cities passed rental controls in an attempt to keep housing prices down.  Then came Proposition 13 in 1978, and the hope that landlords would share their property tax savings with renters thus significantly lowering rents.  When that did not happen, renters started to organize in earnest. But so did landlords, and the result was Costa-Hawkins, which prohibits imposing rent controls on new construction, single-family homes, condominiums, and vacant housing units.  Controls were thus limited by Costa-Hawkins to rental buildings in existence at the time cities passed their rent control ordinances, and limited to the period of time each tenant occupies each unit.

The animosity between renters and landlords over rent control is especially remarkable because at present there are only 15 municipalities (cities and towns) out of California’s 482 with some form of rent control….

Although the populous progressive coastal cities in California will likely expand rent control should the repeal of Costa-Hawkins occur, they could also provide sufficient incentives to avoid bringing construction of rental housing “to a halt.” Dialing down the current focus on construction might actually be helpful to residents not happy with all the stacking & packing going on. Hopefully, city leaders will comment between now and November.

Voters opposed to state-wide mandates such as the recently demised Senate Bill 828, could consider capitalizing on all the talk about repealing Costa-Hawkins in order to bring decisions on rent control back to the cities. The downside of that approach is that if those same voters are also opposed to expansion of rent control, it will take some effort to prevent expansion in their cities… (more)

Please read this most excellent article that explains the facts of how we got here and where we might be going with and without the repeal of Costa-Hawkins. We appreciate authors who take the time to show us the facts and let us decide after careful deliberation.

Court overturns eviction of North Beach poet

By Julie Cheever of Bay City News : sfexaminer – excerpt

A state appeals court has overturned a ruling allowing the eviction of North Beach poet Diego De Leo.

A state appeals court in San Francisco has overturned a judgment allowing the eviction of an 83-year-old man who has lived in a cottage in the North Beach district of the city for more than 30 years.

Diego De Leo’s landlord, Martin Coyne, sought in 2016 to evict him by invoking the state’s Ellis Act, which allows owners to go out of the rental business if they withdraw all units on a property from the rental market.

At a Superior Court trial in 2016, a civil jury ruled by a 9-3 vote that Coyne had a good-faith intention to leave the rental market and could therefore evict De Leo.

But in a decision issued on Monday, a three-judge Court of Appeal set aside that verdict. It said De Leo should have been allowed to present evidence on his claim that another tenant on the property received a sham ownership deal, allegedly indicating that Coyne did not have a good-faith intent to go out of rental business.

The ruling clears the way for a new Superior Court eviction trial, also known as an unlawful detainer proceeding, in which De Leo will be able to present the alleged evidence… (more)

Waymo begins experimenting with self-driving taxi prices

By : theverge – excerpt

Alphabet unit is also taking early steps to position itself as a link to public transportation

Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has kept mum about how much it will eventually charge people to ride in its autonomous taxis. But according to Bloomberg, the self-driving company has begun testing out trip fares with its early riders as it moves closer to launching its commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix.

In interviewing members of Waymo’s “Early Rider” program, reporters from Bloomberg got to see a mock-up of the company’s still-underwraps ride-hailing app, complete with probable fare prices. Waymo insists those numbers are just placeholders, but they would appear to be aligned with preexisting services like Uber and Lyft…

Like its Silicon Valley brethren, Waymo is sensitive to its impact on public transportation and is trying to cushion itself from any possible blowback that suggests it is poaching transit riders or adversely affecting service. Those criticisms have been leveled at companies like Uber and Lyft, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see Waymo come under scrutiny as well. And with fares as low as Uber and Lyft, it will be hard for Waymo to overcome the argument that it is drawing customers away from public transportation, which could effect how cities fund its buses and rail projects. .. (more)

All these companies plan to get rid of drivers and put robot cars on our streets. Is SFMTA management helping them by enacting the policies that are pushing Muni riders off the bus?

Axis Development abruptly abandons proposed 117-unit Folsom Street project

By Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

A potential 117-unit residential project at 2675 Folsom Street will not be moving forward in its proposed current form, Mission Local confirmed today. Its developer, Axis Development, has put the fully entitled site up for sale, Axis Managing Partner Theo F. Oliphant said Thursday.

“I have no comment beyond that,” Oliphant told Mission Local. He declined to name the development company’s desired price and why he is not moving forward with the plans.

This is a surprise move following a fierce battle between community activists and the developer to offer more affordable housing and community benefits. It was resolved last May after District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen brokered a deal between the developer and activists.

With that deal apparently dashed, the land could potentially yet house a 100-percent affordable structure — and the Mission District’s affordable developers are already beginning to queue up… (more)

Upzoning property to raise the value of real estate appears to be a national past time for wealthy government officials of both parties. Neither party cares about protecting affordable housing for working class Americans.

The real reason for upzoning is not to build more housing. The real reason for upzoning is to raise property values and this project a prime example of how that works. For a closer look at the national trend under the current administration and how this program is being sold to to California read the New York Times article linked here.

Ben Carson, is the HUD secretary. He was recently sued for his part in raising rents of HUD-managed properties. His aides are quoted as saying, “…he is focused less on federal solutions than on prodding local governments to ease barriers to construction. He has ordered his policy staff to come up with proposals to push local governments to reduce zoning restrictions on new projects, especially low-cost manufactured housing. HUD will also begin working with landlords around the country to come up with ways to make housing vouchers more attractive and more inclusive, aides said.

Stop state overreach! Find out what you can do to stop SB 828 and similar bills attempting to remove local jurisdiction over zoning and development decisions from local communities. livablecalifornia.org

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HUD Secretary Ben Carson to be sued for suspending Obama-era fair-housing rule
Complaint filed against HUD Secretary Ben Carson

Breed calls for increased services, street cleaning in walk through SOMA

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor London Breed on Thursday said she wants more engagement with homeless people on the street and greater frequency in power washing sidewalks, and reiterated her commitment to opening a safe injection site…

She said that she would like to see regular engagement with those living on the streets by city officials, such as members of the Homeless Outreach Team. “I envision them walking on the streets and being out here where we know there are people who are homeless. We should be out there every day, ‘What can I do to help you? What can I do to help you? What can I do to help you?’ Till the point where they are like: ‘Fine you can help me,’” Breed told the Examiner…

Breed is a proponent of opening safe injection sites to reduce syringe litter and help steer drug users into treatment, but since heroin and other intravenous drugs are against federal law, The City is wary of the legal ramifications. Breed, however, said she is committed to figuring out a way to make it work.

“I am going to aggressively push to try to get it done this year,” Breed said.

When asked about why the delay, she said, “I am trying to open one. I wish we can open one yesterday. But I also have to be responsible in the approach.” She said she wanted The City to be prepared for any “fall out” and for those “putting their lives on the line to work at these facilities, I don’t want them in jail. I have to make sure that I am responsible in my approach.”… (more)

Looks like our Mayor is concerned about both state and federal laws. That could put a damper on injection sites for a while, even though many support them. Perhaps the medical community could come to the rescue or the rules and regulations re: methadone could be altered to make it easier to procure for those who want it.

Push to scrap downtown cap meets resistance

by Gennady Sheyner : paloaltoonline – excerpt

Citizens’ initiative would cap new office space at 850,000 square feet between 2015 and 2030

A divisive proposal to eliminate the limit on commercial development in downtown Palo Alto ran into a wall of resistance Wednesday night, when the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission opted not to advance the change.

In a decision that ran counter to wishes of the City Council majority and that overruled the recommendation of planning staff, the commission voted 4-0 to keep in place — at least for the time being — the existing 350,000-square-foot cap on non-residential development in downtown…

The vote followed testimony from about 20 residents, including members of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which favors slow-growth policies and which is spearheading a November initiative that would halve the citywide cap on non-residential growth. Every speaker urged the commission to keep the cap in place. They pointed to downtown’s ongoing parking and traffic problems and argued that taking up the issue at this time — just months before the voters are set to opine on the issue of office growth — is an affront to democracy. ..(more)

We shall see if the citizens of Palo Alto will be allowed to set the commercial growth limits or if their decision is overturned by the courts as Prop M was in San Francisco.

RELATED:
Measure to limit office growth qualifies for November election
A citizens’ initiative that would roughly halve the amount of new office space that Palo Alto would allow to be built between now and 2030 has officially garnered enough signatures to land on the November ballot… (more)