Newsom’s lawyer says voters can’t be trusted

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

In stunning argument, Lite Gov’s legal team says land use decisions should be taken away from voters — and that the Port’s future should be all about big-money development

It leaves Newsom, who is running for governor, in the odd political position of saying that the voters can’t be trusted.

Deputy Attorney General Joel Jacobs also argued that the main issue at hand was money – how much the Port could make from commercial development. In essence, he said that the five commissioners, all appointed by the mayor, should be allowed to approve whatever sort of tall buildings they wanted if it would bring money into the agency, and the rest of San Francisco should have no check on their decisions.

“The more revenue generated by profit-making projects, the more the Port can do to promote other uses,” he said… (more)

IF THEY DON’T TRUST US HOW CAN WE TRUST THEM?

While our readers are pondering that amazing claim, we are working to put together a list of all the bills currently running through Sacramento that are base on one theme: Removing voters’ rights to determine how the state government functions by changing the laws that limit the state’s rights to decide for them. These claims prove that the state legislature does not trust us. Why should we trust them?

There is a long list of bills. Let’s start with AB 943, authored by Santiago, that raises the bar for referendums on developments in California by requiring a 2/3rds majority to pass. This bill has already bee passed by the Assembly and was sent to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee this week.

Find out who voted for this bill and let them know you are onto them. Call or write the Senate members to stop them from passing this one. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more bills to fight.

City Hall erupts in drama as budget negotiations hit impasse

Welcome to the $10 Billion dollar budget city that features a homeless encampment at City Hall while thousands of homes are sit empty, according to the latest studies. Those studies are not cheap.

by Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Negotiations over San Francisco’s budget proposal fell apart Thursday night, despite an expected deal.

Among the main reasons cited was that Mayor Ed Lee refused to meet with Supervisor Aaron Peskin after being invited by Supervisor Malia Cohen to join talks with the mayor to try and wrap up budget negotiations, according to those involved in the process.

Peskin was kept waiting while the mayor met with Cohen, who chairs the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, and would not meet with Peskin at all.

Peskin then simply left City Hall. Some attributed his departure to being offended — Peskin has had contentious relationships with past Mayors Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom even though they’d still managed to hammer out policies — and the budget negotiations, which many described as being rocky and tense since the morning, continued to unravel.

When reached for comment later at his home by the San Francisco Examiner, Peskin said, “When the mayor is not interested in negotiating, I’m not interested in sitting around wasting my time.”… (more)

DeJesus hearing becomes a debate on Tasers

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Police Commission nominee grilled over stun guns; Safai loses 2-1 vote

The Board of Supes Rules Committee moved forward the nomination of Petra DeJesus for another term on the Police Commission Thursday – but not before a lengthy hearing in which Sups. London Breed and Ahsha Safai challenged DeJesus repeatedly, particularly on the issue of arming cops with Tasers.

DeJesus was the only candidate for the job. Safai and Breed had tried to oust her and replace her with Olga Miranda, a political ally of Safai, but they clearly didn’t have the votes so Miranda withdrew…(more)

Robots could soon become skilled enough to do white collar jobs

http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=1982365

Robots are becoming so skilled, some experts believe nearly half of all human jobs could be at risk in the decades ahead.

“The most important thing we should understand is that this is potentially an enormous disruption,” says Bay Area futurist Martin Ford.

Ford predicted as much in his bestselling book, “Rise of the Robots.”

“The key thing that makes a job vulnerable is the nature of the work. Is it something that’s fundamentally routine and predictable,” he says.

Longtime San Francisco residents unhappy with city, says poll

by : curbed – excerpt

SF-skyline

San Francisco’s view-killing wall on the waterfront seen from the bay is unpopular with many long-term residents – photo by Zrants

The longer you’ve been living in San Francisco, the less likely you are to be happy with it.

That’s one of the lessons from the 2017 San Francisco City Survey released Tuesday, in which those with more than 30 years of San Francisco living under their belts generally gave City Hall a thumbs down.

The controller’s office conducts the survey every two years to measure general satisfaction with public services.

Overall, public opinion seems fairly mellow this time; most of the 2,166 randomly selected phone respondents gave the city either a B or a B- grade on things like public safety, transit, and parks. Libraries got a B+.

The public ranked homelessness as the city’s biggest problem, with 33 percent of responses highlighting it as their top concern… (more)

What is to like about a city that sold its soul for a few buckets of gold. People used to come for art, culture, social equality and other non-material qualities of life because there was no money. The new San Francisco draws get-rich-quick schemers who believe their virtual reality and future vision is more important than anyone or anything else and can’t wait to kick us out of our homes.

 

Scott Wiener’s housing straw man

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

The senator misses the point — and the facts — when he attacks people who don’t think the private market will solve our woes

State Senator Scott Wiener, in a recent blog posting, attacked nameless critics of his efforts to produce more market-rate housing by removing local governments from the approval process if those local areas failed to meet regionally determined “housing needs.” Since all localities in the state currently fail to meet these needs, his legislation would, in effect, deregulate housing development all over California, since most housing regulations exist at the local level…

What Does Work? The voters of San Francisco and the Bay Area have an answer: market controls to keep existing housing within reach and public subsidies to build new housing they and their neighbors can afford. As argued earlier on these pages, the passage of more than $1 billion in bonds and sales taxes to build homes affordable to moderate income earners and people at risk of homelessness or homeless is sound public policy. Moreover, the passage of rent control measures is a rational response to a red hot real estate market. Continued effort to regulate Airbnb and other short term rentals is critical — the 10,000 STR’s in San Francisco just about equals the current vacancy rate for apartments. Imagine what would happen to rents if the vacancy rate were doubled because un-registered Airbnb listings were placed back on the rental market…. (more)

Might it be cheaper and easier to give landlords a reason to stay in the game? What would it take to make being a landlord easier and less stressful? Money is not the only thing that motivates people. Onerous laws and regulations and jumping through hoops gets old real fast, convincing many people to get out of the rental business and just sit on the property. As long as the values are going up, why sell?

What the Airbnb settlement means

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supervisors appear to be coming to terms with the need to keep people in their homes. Airbnb legislation is being followed by legislation to curtail illegal evictions by beefing up enforcement of the laws already in place. Photo by Zrants

I am going to let Doug Engmann, former chair of the Pacific Stock Exchange and president of the SF Planning Commission, make the point about the city attorney’s settlement today with Airbnb:

It’s a game changer. If other American cities follow San Francisco’s lead and hold Airbnb accountable for facilitating illegal activity, it could have a material impact on the company’s revenue and $30 billion valuation. Venture capitalists, private equity funds and institutional investors should be having second thoughts about an enterprise with a business model that ignores local laws, deprives working families of needed housing, and disrupts the lives of tenants, property owners and neighbors.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced yesterday that the tech giant had dropped its ill-conceived suit against the city. The city clearly had the upper hand: Cities can regulate land use; cities get to decide where hotels go and where residential areas go…(more)

Maybe it is the Donald that has removed a lot of the divisive politics from City Hall by reminding us what is important. Lately, the only disagreement is over the housing mix, density and height limits. Event the homeless are getting more sympathy these days. Airbnb settlement is just the tip of the nasty iceberg. Hopefully the Supervisors will continue to work together to solve the next round of nasty problems.