Water for firefighting could be problematic after earthquake

by Thomas K. Pendergast : richmondreview – excerpt

More than 15 San Francisco neighborhoods could burn to the ground due to a lack of water at the SF Fire Department’s disposal after a major earthquake.

A plan to expand the city’s emergency firefighting network was stalled for years because of political interference and one city agency’s refusal to ask voters for the money that is needed to protect neighborhoods in the southern and western parts of the city. Critics say alternative plans being promoted are likely to fail, leaving vulnerable city residents, like seniors and the disabled, to perish in a firestorm of the city’s making or to suffer the consequences of disease and other maladies due to a lack of fresh water after a disaster…

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ THE FULL STORY

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ THE COMMENTARY BY THOMAS W. DOUDIET, RETIRED ASSISTANT DEPUTY CHIEF WITH THE SF FIRE DEPARTMENT

After reading these articles you may want to suggest a change in priorities on how the public’s money is spent.

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Transit, Vision Zero, Livable Streets, and other Highlights of the “Focus on the Future” Conference

: streetsblog – excerpt

hat if San Francisco becomes the next Detroit?” asked Jonathan Miranda, Director of Strategy at Salesforce.com, during a keynote speech this morning at the “Focus on the Future” conference in downtown San Francisco. Given the region’s meteoric growth, that may seem far fetched–but no more so than Detroit’s fall after the booming years of the auto industry. He said that given San Francisco’s inability to build sufficient housing, that’s a real possibility. “Companies are moving to Austin, Denver, Seattle–what happens if software and Silicon Valley start looking for a different place?”

Miranda’s warning was part of a theme at the conference about how important it is for the Bay Area to address issues such as housing costs, transportation, and the safety and livability of our streets. The conference is run by the “Self-Help Coalition,” an organization of 24 different California transportation authorities and government organizations which share planning and policy intel. The event also featured tours of the Central Subway, the Transbay Transit Center, and a discussion of the Better Market Street plan. (more)

GENTRIFICATION is the word that is making the rounds these days to describe the economic disparity that is plaguing the nation. Pretty much everyone is concerned about it but no one is attempting to solve the problem of extreme cost of living increases that are exasperating the homeless crisis and causing much of the stress in our cities.

GROWTH has limits and inviting disruptive high tech industries to experiment with our society is exacerbating the conflicts between the top and bottom levels of society as everyone scrambles for empty units like empty seats in a game of musical chairs.

DISRUPTION is not a game to be taken lightly, but, it is the new tech mantra that is being sold to cities that want to partake in the technology revolution. Citizens get no say in the matter and many are unaware that they are being sacrificed on the corporate alter of progress until it is too late.

COMPANY TOWN is the title of a movie that Investigates Tech Industry’s impact on tow of SF’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. There is a new attempt to mitigate some of the housing crisis by creating “company towns” that include housing on the corporate campus to alleviate some of the housing crunch.

Should we build lots more housing in San Francisco? Three reasons people disagree

by Julia Galef – excerpt

Some people, such as YIMBYs, advocate building lots more housing in San Francisco. Their basic argument is:

Housing in SF is the priciest in the country, with the average one bedroom apartment renting for over $3,000 per month (compared to the nationwide average of $1,200.)

The main reason rents are so high is because the supply of housing has been artificially restricted — new developments are constantly getting blocked by land use regulations and neighborhood associations. Meanwhile, demand to live in SF continues to rise. And since supply is not keeping pace, rents go up, as a growing number of would-be tenants outbid each other for the limited housing available.

Therefore, it’s important that we find a way to increase the rate at which we’re building new housing in SF, or it will be a city in which only the rich can afford to live.

I’ve been trying to understand why others are critical of this argument. I think there are three main areas of disagreement between what I’ll call the advocates and the critics, and I’ll briefly explain each in turn. (Note that I’m trying to present the strongest version of each argument, which may be different from the most common version.)… (more)

Bicyclists Boycott Bernal Businesses Seeking Removal Of Bike-Sharing Stations

by Todd Lappin :  hoodline – excerpt

photo by zrants

An effort by some merchants along Mission Street in Bernal Heights to seek the removal of a new Ford GoBike station on 29th Street triggered a strong response from local bicyclists, with some saying they plan to avoid businesses that oppose the bike-share program.

Last week, the Examiner reported that the MIssion-Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to immediately remove a new Ford GoBike station installed in front of the UPS Store at 60 29th Street between Tiffany and Mission.

Bernalwood has confirmed that MBMA also raised concerns about the new bike-share stations on Valencia at Cesar Chavez and in Precita Park, as all three stations fall within MBMA’s membership “blueprint area.”

The association claims it wasn’t properly notified about the installation of the new stations, with most merchants only learning about them when notices went up a few days before installation began.

At least one other Bernal neighborhood organization echoes the complaint about notification…

In a statement sent to Bernalwood, MBMA president Eden Stein and co-coordinator Ani Rivera said:

“MBMA’s request to SFMTA is to immediately remove/suspend the Ford Bike Share Program on 29th Street and a comprehensive analysis (study and survey) to be conducted to determine if the program is suitable, desired and safe in any future identified locations.  In addition, we also request that SFMTA include in its outreach MBMA’s input when decisions and designs are being made that will affect any aspect of the MBMA corridor.”… (more)

RELATED:
KQED broadcast a program on the Ford GoBikes and their affiliations with a public/private corporate arrangement that uses public funds and is backed by Ford to ensure this program will “succeed” whether or not it makes any money. The point is not to make money. The point is to remove public use of public property by selling or leasing it to private entities. Nobody asked the taxpaying voters if they want to sell or lease their rights to use public property.

As subway construction drives away customers, SF debates helping businesses

 By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

It’s lunchtime, but the tables are empty at Oasis Grill, a Mediterranean restaurant that sits next to a bulldozed gully at Fourth and Howard streets in San Francisco. Several blocks to the north, work crews are jackhammering outside the stores of Union Square.

And farther north in Chinatown, shop owner Nancy Cai wipes away tears, lamenting the customers she’s lost since the city started building the Central Subway, which ends at a station under construction at Stockton and Washington streets.

While the $1.6 billion line is expected to bring a flood of development and tourists when it opens in 2019, some of the businesses along its route might not survive to see those benefits.

“It’s like a 60 percent drop” in business, said Cai as she surveyed her stock of traditional gowns, toy cable cars and other souvenirs languishing on the shelves of Nancy’s Fashion….

Peskin is proposing a controversial plan that centers on Chinatown but would affect the entire city: create an “impact zone” around Stockton Street, and offer financial assistance to businesses within the perimeter. Similar zones could be applied to other big projects….

Maybe there’s a solution other than handing out cash, Yee said. He suggested the city could provide indirect subsidies for these businesses, like exempting them from annual registration fees, gross receipts taxes or payroll taxes.

Peskin said Yee’s tax-exemption approach interests him, with the caveat that “the benefits being discussed (must) directly help small-business owners.”

Over the last few weeks, San Francisco’s infrastructure boom and its side effects have become a topic of interest at City Hall. Several officials, including Lee, are walking the political tightrope of celebrating new infrastructure, while wanting to protect small businesses… (more)

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Evicted by SFMTA: When living in your car is illegal

– excerpt

When your car is your home, SFMTA becomes your landlord. 

The following is a public comment statement by Melodie, a woman who lives in her vehicle, in regards to SFMTA’s Engineering hearing on Friday, August 4, 2017 regarding the establishment of new tow-away zones: Specifically, on the east side Jerrold Avenue between Barneveld and Bayshore and on the west side of Barneveld Avenue between McKinnon and Jerrold Avenues. The former would be no stopping anytime, while the latter would establish the tow-away zone between 10pm and 2am. While these may seem inconsequential to many, the hearing comes at a time as more and more families and individuals are forced to live in their cars—and there are less and less locations available in the city for people to park without being harassed by city officials. This industrial area is one of the last remaining areas in the city where people have been able to park their vehicles in peace. When there is no where else to go, courageous people like Melodie fight everyday to keep from being evicted from their homes—which often times may be a vehicle…(more)

SF family’s RV was their home. Then it got towed.

By Kevin Fagan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Marielle Lowes spent the past five years traveling the nation in buses and recreational vehicles as a dreadlocked hippie, trailing the remnants of the Grateful Dead and hitting Rainbow Nation bohemian gatherings while selling her art. Then, eight months ago, she gave birth to her first child, and she longs to go home to New Orleans “to settle down and be a mom.”

But she’s stuck in San Francisco. The recreational vehicle that she and her boyfriend have lived in for nearly two years and just fixed up to take them to Louisiana was towed by city parking officials more than a week ago — and they can’t get it back…

If Lowes and Wassell can’t pay the fees or get them waived, they will have to leave the RV behind and it will become city property to be sold.

Meanwhile, Compass Connecting Point, the city agency that places homeless parents and their children in shelters, has put the couple and their baby on a waiting list of 50 other families without permanent housing.

“We get this kind of thing several times a year, with a family losing a vehicle that was their home,” said Carla Praglin, agency case management director. “When you lose your car and your valuable documents like ID, it’s an additional trauma, can really set a family back on getting things done.”…(more)

Wasn’t there some sort of effort to drop charges or lower them for people with limited means? This has got to be an argument for that.