San Francisco Just Put the Brakes on Delivery Robots

wired – excerpt

San Francisco, land of unrestrained tech wealth and the attendant hoodies and $29 loaves of bread, just said whoa whoa whoa to delivery robots.

The SF Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, December 5 to severely restrict the machines, which roll on sidewalks and autonomously dodge obstacles like dogs and buskers. Now startups will have to get permits to run their robots under strict guidelines in particular zones, typically industrial areas with low foot traffic. And even then, they may only do so for research purposes, not making actual deliveries. It’s perhaps the harshest crackdown on delivery robots in the United States—again, this in the city that gave the world an app that sends someone to your car to park it for you.

Actually, delivery robots are a bit like that, though far more advanced and less insufferable. Like self-driving cars, they see their world with a range of sensors, including lasers. Order food from a participating restaurant and a worker will load up your order into the robot and send it on its way. At the moment, a human handler will follow with a joystick, should something go awry. But these machines are actually pretty good at finding their way around. Once one gets to your place, you unlock it with a PIN, grab your food, and send the robot on its way.

Because an operator is following the robot at all times, you might consider the robot to be a fancied-up, slightly more autonomous version of a person pushing a shopping cart. “But that’s not the business model that they’re going after,” says San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who spearheaded the legislation. “The business model is basically get as many robots out there to do deliveries and somebody in some office will monitor all these robots. So at that point you’re inviting potential collisions with people.”… (more)


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.

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.


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.

Save the SF Sierra Club Redux


Did you read last week’s stunning Chronicle article revealing that the same Donald Dewsnup who led last year’s failed real estate lobby attempt to hijack the SF Sierra Club plans to work as a pollworker handling voter ballots next Tuesday — the day after he will be appearing in court on criminal charges of felony voter fraud?

If that’s not bad enough, now Dewsnup’s real estate lobby group is once again this year trying to frantically pack the Sierra Club membership rolls with their supporters so they can elect a pro-development corporate slate in next month’s SF Sierra Club election.  Here is their campaign website so you can see what they’re saying:
Monday, October 31st at 5:00 pm is the final deadline to be a Sierra Club member eligible to vote in the SF Sierra Club election next month.

Please take 5 minutes right now to join the Sierra Club for just $15 or renew your Sierra Club membership so you will be eligible to vote in this critical election next month.

Join or renew your Sierra Club membership online by clicking here:

Or join or renew by phone by calling Sierra Club Membership Services at (415) 977-5500, #2

Once you’ve joined or renewed or if you have done so already this year, please send me an email to let me know.

I realize we all have next week’s big election foremost on our minds.  But the election to decide the future of the SF Sierra Club’s will also have huge significance for the future of San Francisco and our environment next year and beyond.

Be sure to make your vote count by renewing your Sierra Club membership or joining by 5:00 pm on Monday, October 31st.  If you have already done so, please ask a friend to do the same.

The Clean & Green Slate of experienced environmental leaders nominated by the SF Sierra Club Nominating Committee in this year’s upcoming election is Becky Evans, Linda Weiner, Sheila Chung-Hagen, and Kathy Howard.  They are a talented, dedicated, and experienced group of environmental leaders, but they will need all of our help and every vote to defeat the real estate lobby this time.

When we fight back, stand together, and organize, we win.

Jon Golinger, Save SF Sierra Club

Beach Chalet CEQA Trial – Superior Court

A lawsuit was filed last year by the SF Coalition for Children’s Outdoor Play and other individuals, regarding the Beach Chalet EIR.  This suit will finally be heard in court. You’ve been instrumental  in the struggle to save Golden Gate Park for years.  It will be great to see you Friday morning at this important trial.  See history in the making!

  • Courtroom opens:  9:15 a.m.  Come early to get a seat in the courtroom — yes, there will be Rec and Park project supporters there, also!
  • Trial start:  9:45 a.m.
  • Length of trial:  Unknown – 2 to 4 hours?
  • Building Location:  San Francisco Superior Court of California, 400 McAllister St., (Polk & McAllister), SF.
  • Room location:  Room 503, Courtroom of Judge Teri L. Jackson (Dept 503)
  • Attend and give silent witness to preserving Golden Gate Park:  The attorneys will present the case, and there is NO public comment.  Nevertheless, your presence will show the court how many people truly love Golden Gate Park and want to protect the Park from this unnatural development.
  • We know you know this, but…  it is very important that we all dress well and act respectful to the court and to all parties at this hearing.



Help Us Save Golden Gate Park!



SF Chronicle –  expresses “outrage” at political pressure exerted on Coastal Commission regarding Big Sur

For over 3 years, The SF Chronicle has supported putting artificial turf and sports lighting in Golden Gate Park, next to Ocean Beach, with no concern for the impact on the environment or on coastal issues.  Now, the Chron is criticizing the Coastal Commission (CCC) for bowing to political pressure and big money regarding actions in Big Sur!   See the attached article, “Sean Parker buys a slide from Coastal Commission.”

Write to the Chron and let them know that Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach are important, too, and that the CCC bowed to enormous political pressure in approving the Beach Chalet project, a project which will have long-term damaging impacts on wildlife, on your coast and on your enjoyment of the park and the beach.

Take Action Today! – Submit your persuasive letter to the editor at:

SF Ocean Edge.