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)


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.

Plan Bay Area 2040 Draft Plan

If you are one of the unhappy San Francisco residents or a middle class citizen this plan will not please you.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will host an open house to receive comments regarding Plan Bay Area 2040.  The open house is Wednesday, May 17, 2017 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm at the MTC headquarters at 375 Beal Street ( about a 10 minute walk for Embarcadero Station). DRAFT PLAN LINK

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is now available; comment on the DEIR and the Draft Plan through June 1.

Some statistics include:
*  501,000 jobs added between 2011 and 2015
*  65,000 housing units built between 2011 and 2015
*  Regionally 1 house built for every 8 jobs created.

Where will the region plan for the 820,000 new households forecasted between 2010 and 2040.  Regionally by 2040, 3.4 million households are forecasted. 46% will be in the “Big 3 Cities”  — SF, Oakland, San Jose.

1.3 million new jobs  (36% in the Big  3 Cities)

So what does it all mean?  Climate Change, Housing costs and displacement, Economic Development and Environmental Impact and Transportation.

A question raised at a recent MTC committee meeting was: Should cities seeking economic development take responsibility for housing?  (Think the Menlo Park Facebook Expansion).  The local Menlo Park approval for 6,000 more jobs has regional impact.

No mention of a Public Regional Express Bus System to move the population.   More Private Commuter buses operating on your residential street?

Draft Plan and Draft EIR at Plan Bay Area 2040 Draft Plan


It’s not surprising that President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan would hollow out the middle class. Income tax reductions will be robust for corporations and those in the highest income brackets. Others won’t fare so well.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren warns of the demise of the middle class in her book, “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.” She writes about growing up in the 1950s, when minimum wage supported a family of four. In 2017, minimum wage can’t support a household of two.

But hold on a minute before simply bashing Trump. Are you surprised that progressive California Democrats are implementing strategies that increase economic inequality?…

Now Plan Bay Area 2040’s “Regional Forecast of Jobs, Population and Housing” shows the rich and the poor growing to the highest numbers, but not the middle. The historic bell-shaped curve is inverted…

The plan forecasts: “The ‘hollowing out’ of the middle is projected to continue over the next 25 years. Household growth will be strongest in the highest income category, reflecting the expected strength of growth in high-wage sectors combined with non-wage income — interest, dividends, capital gains, transfers.”…

Further: “Household growth will also be high in the lowest-wage category, reflecting occupational shifts, wages stagnation, as well as the retirement of seniors without pension assets.”…(more)


Longtime San Francisco residents unhappy with city, says poll

by : curbed – excerpt


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.


What Is The Market Demand For Micro Housing In San Francisco?

By Scott Beyer : forbes – excerpt

San Francisco, CA–There’s no doubt that the demand for living in San Francisco would, under an open market, create far more housing; this, in essence, is what the high prices and Nimby battles are all about. But one remaining mystery would be—void of the regulatory barriers, what type of housing would all this demand create? Existing data and anecdotal observation suggests that a lot of it would be micro housing.

Indeed, micro units—which vary by definition, but are generally thought to be studio apartments of under 300 square feet—are taking off in U.S. cities. Before Seattle’s government effectively regulated them away, they were accounting for a quarter of the city’s new housing starts. Other prominent projects have gone up in New York City, Austin, Denver, and other places where density and high prices require smaller living arrangements. The nation’s largest micro-unit project is even being built near downtown Houston, a city where big, cheap sprawl housing is still readily available, even close in (although some of the project’s units have since been converted to condo hotels)… (more)

Neighbors Ask UCSF to Help Pay for Mission Bay Growing Pains

By Noah Aroyo : sfpublicpress – excerpt

Looking to improve the quality of daily life in Mission Bay, local groups are pressing for more bike lanes, new bus routes and more green space as the city’s newest neighborhood grows.

Rather than lobby developers or City Hall, residents want the area’s dominant presence — the University of California-San Francisco — to help pick up the tab, which could be tens of millions of dollars.

UCSF will soon expand its Mission Bay campus, further crowding streets and public transit. Normally, the city would charge a private developer tens of millions of dollars in fees and taxes to pay for offsetting the long-term impact of the construction — more traffic, less parking and crowded public buses and streetcars. But because UCSF is a public institution, it is exempt from such levies. It also pays no property taxes, like all government entities and nonprofit organizations.

Residents of Dogpatch want better Muni service, more parkland, a community center and parking structures to relieve the daily scramble for streetside spaces. Top on the list: more buses…

Since September, the Dogpatch Community Task Force — community groups and staff from UCSF and City Hall agencies — have met monthly to find agreement.

The university will respond with “a comprehensive offer” at the next public meeting, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Genentech Hall at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, said Barbara French, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications and University Relations. She declined to provide details, but said that the task force would be able to “help to shape the final plan.”…

UCSF’s discussions with the task force are required as part of the real estate development process. The last meeting is slated for March 21.

If UCSF sticks to its schedule, the housing project will be finished by summer 2019 and the clinic by spring 2020. 777 Mariposa St. is still under its previous owner’s lease until 2018, the earliest that UCSF can assume ownership…(more)

Developer allies again try to take over Sierra Club

By Tim Redmond : sierraclub – excerpt


For years, the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club has been part of a progressive environmental movement. The Club has worked on clean energy, better transit, and sustainable development – and has opposed giant, out-of-control projects like the Wall on the Waterfront. It’s worked with tenant advocates on affordable housing. The influential Club slate card typically endorses the same candidates as the Milk Club, the Tenants Union, and the Bay Guardian.

But for the past couple of years, developers and their allies have been trying to take over the chapter and change its politics. They want a more growth-friendly board that will support market-rate housing development and big commercial projects – and they want the club’s endorsement to go to developer-friendly candidates.

That would be a huge blow to progressive politics in San Francisco.

Last year, a pro-development slate of candidates was defeated after its controversial members attracted critical media scrutiny. But now a well-funded funded new organization, the YIMBY Party, is running a slate of stealth candidates for the club’s Executive Committee.

While the individual candidates have been vague about their “urbanist” agenda, their sponsoring organization promotes an explicit platform of weakening environmental controls on real-estate development in the city.

The YIMBY Party was formed this year by Sonja Trauss, who previously created the SF Bay Area Renter Federation (SF BARF).  Trauss and her cohort have a simple solution to the housing crisis: Build more luxury housing.  Last year, Trauss told 48 Hills:

          New housing is expensive, because it’s new, and SF has tons of rich people. It’s appropriate to build new, expensive housing for rich people in expensive neighborhoods. Sierra Club (and No wall on the waterfront) are just rich people using their political capital to block housing in their fancy neighborhoods.

Trauss, whose crazy comments about the Mission helped delay construction of a big project on South Van Ness, is not running for the Sierra Club leadership this year. Nor is her former colleague, Donald Dewsnup, who has been charged with voter fraud.  Instead, Trauss’s new YIMBY Party is running a slate of lesser-known allies who all recently joined the Sierra Club with the express purpose of taking over the local chapter…

The YIMBY effort to take over the local Sierra Club is being countered by a volunteer effort of club members who seek to protect the club’s independence and progressive record. If you’re a Sierra Club member, you can get more information here.

Voting for the Sierra Club’s officers ends December 16…(more)

Dense development is a developer’s wet dream. People who want to retain their privacy, and views, and build solar powered self-efficient homes prefer lower, less dense housing with shade free roofs.

Build your dense cities connected to desert-array power grid systems, on higher, more stable ground, up near route 5 so you can step off the train onto your bicycle and whiz home after your commute from LA or Sacramento.

San Francisco has a history and a reputation to maintain. People who don’t like it should go build their urban vision concept somewhere else and make a history of their own.

Negotiations Fail for Controversial Mission District Housing Project

By missionlocal – excerpt

After two weeks of last-minute negotiations between the developer of the largest housing project planned for the Mission District and its opponents, the scene is set for a contentious hearing at City Hall on Thursday as officials weigh the merits of a development that is going forward as-is.

“Everything fell through,” said Spike Kahn, the founder of the arts space the Pacific Felt Factory and a principal opponent of the project. “We presented reasonable compromises, went below what we originally asked, and still got nowhere.”

Earlier this year, the developer of 2000-2070 Bryant St., Nick Podell, decided to split his site in two and dedicated 34 percent of it to affordable housing. That move — though it bumped up the affordable housing on-site to 41 percent, an unprecedented number — put the city on hook to finance and construct those affordable units and local activists fear that means the units will be built later.

Activists like Kahn wanted Podell to increase the amount of affordable housing to 50 percent of the project site, to secure financing for it, to promise to retain light industrial space formerly on the project site, and to use union labor in construction.

They did not estimate how many more affordable units could be built on half the land as opposed to the third Podell dedicated.

Instead, Podell offered two more “flex units” that could be used as live-work space for artists, but that was too little, activists said. The project — a nearly block-long site on Bryant Street between 18th and 19th streets — will go before the Planning Commission on Thursday for final approval with the design envisioned by Podell.

“He hasn’t made any concessions at all from the first time we talked to him,” said Kahn of the years-long delays faced by Podell. “He’s said, ‘It’s mine, I’ll do with it as I wish.’”…

Dennis Richards, the vice-president of the Planning Commission, said opponents of the project need to make their case that the Bryant Street development “is not necessary or desirable and not compatible” for commissioners to delay or vote down the project.

“Loss of PDR space, the amount of affordable housing proposed and when it gets built, and labor’s opposition are the main areas of contention that I see remain unresolved,” he said.

Even if the project is approved, Papadopoulos said activists would continue to push for more affordable housing, light industrial space, and union labor, vowing to appeal the decision to the Board of Supervisors.

“If it goes forward tomorrow, we intend to try to appeal the decision,” he said. “This is only beginning.”… (more)

After Years of Delay, Bryant Street Housing Project Moves Forward

It was a bittersweet moment of some successes, some disappointments, and some very disturbing behavior on the part of the Sheriffs who were only allowing Carpenters Union members into the room for the last two hearings. This was a first and complaints are being filed so hopefully this practice will not repeat itself. This is what the room looked like: