Contractor in SF Muni tunnel death had record of safety violations

By Michael Barba : sfexaminer – excerpt

The company that hired the worker killed by a steel beam during construction on the Twin Peaks Tunnel did not tell transit officials it had a history of workplace safety violations when it applied for the project, public records revealed Tuesday.

The records show Shimmick Construction has been linked to nearly 50 workplace safety violations over the last decade, including citations for serious violations related to the death of a forklift worker in 2016.

The California Occupational Health and Safety Administration also fined a partnership between Shimmick Construction and another company more than $190,000 for willful and serious violations in 2011.

Yet Shimmick Construction and its business partner answered “no” when asked if either had “been cited for any serious and willful violations by Cal/OSHA” over the past ten years in a November 2017 questionnaire from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency…(more)

This is really sad. When does it end? You almost wish they would do something right for a change. The constant missteps get old after a while and you hope the SFMTA will get something right for a change. The workers are over stressed and probably not being as careful as they should be and the contractors are probably pushing them to work faster. We need to limit the number of projects and take greater care with implementing them. How do we pass a resolution that declares there is a limit to how many construction projects can be done at one time?

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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
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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.

SF parks commissioners surprised by news of big 2019 bond

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Last month, in an effort to give the parks department faster access to money needed for a number of major renovation projects, then-Mayor Mark Farrell directed city officials to create one large bond for voters to consider next year by merging two smaller ones originally planned for 2019 and 2025.

Farrell and Recreation and Park Director Phil Ginsburg said that the larger, combined bond would allow the city to begin the renovations sooner, before they become more expensive…

But several commissioners said they were frustrated to first learn about the proposed size of the bond and what projects it would fund from an article in The Chronicle. Allan Low said it felt as though the commission, as well as the public, were cut out of a critical decision-making process.

“I’m concerned that you have moved forward with this bond without commission approval,” Low told Ginsburg during Thursday’s meeting. “When I read the article, my impression was … the number is already set, the projects are already selected and this decision was made before commission approval. It seems that a lot of this is premature. You still have not completed the community engagement on some of these projects,” which could affect their final costs… (more)

That is sort of how the citizens feel about how they are ignored. Maybe they will not approve any of these bonds for projects that they were left out of. That might change the way these projects move forward.

Supervisors move to ban workplace cafeterias

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai are proposing to prohibit companies from providing on-site cafeterias in an effort to encourage workers to buy their meals from local restaurants. The legislation, expected to be announced Tuesday, is inspired by the lavish on-site cafeterias provided by some tech companies in the Bay Area

The measure, proposed by Supervisor Ahsha Safai and co-sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, would adjust zoning laws to ban workplace cafeterias moving forward, but would not be retroactive.

Peskin said the measure, was inspired by tech companies like Twitter and Airbnb, which are widely known to have access to dining in their own buildings, depriving nearby restaurants of the dollars usually spent by nearby workers. The measure has the support of Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and other local merchants.

Under the legislation which is expected to be introduced Tuesday, “you can’t have an industrial kitchen in your office building,” Peskin said…

The measure, proposed by Supervisor Ahsha Safai and co-sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, would adjust zoning laws to ban workplace cafeterias moving forward, but would not be retroactive.

Peskin said the measure, was inspired by tech companies like Twitter and Airbnb, which are widely known to have access to dining in their own buildings, depriving nearby restaurants of the dollars usually spent by nearby workers. The measure has the support of Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and other local merchants.

Under the legislation which is expected to be introduced Tuesday, “you can’t have an industrial kitchen in your office building,” Peskin said… (more)

This legislation was announced during the SF Board of Directors meeting today. Please comment on the source and let your supervisors know how you feel about this legislation.

 

Beyond Blocking Sidewalks

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Scooters1.jpg

The pervasive invasive nature of the rideshares is getting on everyone’s nerves. San Francisco is not a simcity gameboard that anyone should be allowed to test their latest idea on. This is the lineup of companies listed in the article, minus Razor. Scoot is on the streets now. Ridecell is an autonomous vehicle company and should not be included in the list of scooter rideshares.

Scooter companies claim their devices reduce S.F.’s dependency on cars — but that doesn’t mean they’re clean and green.

It’s been more than six weeks since San Francisco demanded that three scooter companies — Lime, Bird, and Spin — pull their hundreds of unpermitted vehicles off city sidewalks and apply for operating permission from the SFMTA. Since then, more than a dozen companies sent in their requests for the 1,250 scooter spots, making their case in PDFs spanning anywhere from 24 to 117 pages.

Investors, CEOs, and scooter enthusiasts wait with bated breath to see if the SFMTA will select Bird, Hopr, Jump, Lime, Lyft, ofo, Razor, Ridecell, Scoot, Spin, UScooter, or Skip — or a combination of several —  for its pilot program, but the city is in no rush to make a decision…

Leading the charge against the rampage of the rogue motorized scooters is Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who drafted a vital piece of legislation limiting scooter companies’ presence on city sidewalks, and who has not minced words regarding his distaste for the “act first, ask for permission later” attitude…

Making massive profit always trumps protecting the public, and innovation is only possible by cutting corners,” Peskin said during a Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting in April. “Our laws, the very foundation of our democracy, are here to be scoffed at, and San Francisco is only here to quite literally — pun intended — be given the bird by tech CEOs who jump from one company to the next after they overstay their welcome.”... (more)

If you think the scooters are green or healthy for the planet because they are taking cars off the street, ready the entire article. The author did his own research without any help from the tech CEOs and what he found does not agree with the claims the CEOs of these companies and their supporters are making.

This is a good time to send your letters to the Board of Supervisors to let them know how you feel about these corporate entities taking over our streets and sidewalks. Link to the Supervisors.

Don’t forget the State representatives and the CPUC. Remind them that you vote and they need to listen to you. If you would like to do learn more about what goes on at the state level, follow Livable California.

Regulating merging tech companies has not proven easy or successful. Now that they are merging and emerging under different business models the companies may be more difficult to control if “their properties and privileges” can be easily manipulated under the present contracts.

Judging by the poor job of contract writing and management we have seen so far coming out of the SFMTA where the street projects are concerned, we hope the Board of Supervisors will insist on some truly independent oversight and strong legal language that will allow City Hall to pull out of future agreements if unforeseen circumstance, or better options, arise.

We need to avoid future public/private partnerships in favor of actual payments for the privileges of doing business on our public streets and sidewalks. How many enterprising projects can one city agency run at one time? SFMTA needs to stick to running the Muni and get that right before they expand.

We also need to insist on better reasons for doing business with these enterprising startups than claims that they are lean and green and taking cars of the street. Most of the traffic these days appears to be theirs not our.

Thanks to Peskin and Fewer for their leadership, and we look forward to more support from the rest of the supervisors and our new mayor.

 

La Victoria bakery tenants told to clear out

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Long-time employees and commercial tenants of La Victoria Bakery at 2937 24th St. have been told that they will have to vacate the more than half-century old Mission District establishment next month.

Beginning last week, a handful of merchants who currently sublease space inside of the the bakery were served with 30-day notices of “termination of tenancy” by Jaime Maldonado, son of La Victoria’s proprietor, Gabriel Maldonado.

The eviction notices followed an announcement in March that the two-story building, in which the bakery has operated for the better part of 67 years as one of three commercial tenants, had been put on the market for $3.4 million.

Maldonado has been running the family bakery for decades, but gradually began subleasing the commercial kitchen space to a rotation of merchants to strengthen his business and support local merchants…(more)