Mayor London Breed’s huge political fumble on Prop. C

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

San Francisco’s mayor could have confounded and neutralized the city’s political left for years by embracing homeless measure Prop. C. Instead, she isolated herself, rejecting it with specious arguments.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

London Breed is the mayor, and you are not. We have “takes.” She makes “decisions.” The mayor’s decisions carry weight. They are tangible…

So, make no mistake: Breed’s firm rejection of homeless measure Proposition C — a choreographed Friday announcement coming in lockstep with Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman David Chiu — was a crushing and credibility-destroying decision.

This was rendered even clearer by Monday’s splashy announcement from Marc Benioff, the city’s favored benevolent billionaire, that he was going all-in on supporting Prop. C. The measure’s backers had, previously, likened themselves to David battling the Downtown powers-that-be Goliath… (more)

There are better places to live and work that have nothing to do with Prop C and taxes. Businesses have soured on San Francisco for the same reason we all have. A high cost of living should at least guarantee a high quality of life and San Francisco is not delivering. We are poor has-been version of a once great city and no one seems to know how to pull us out of a race to the bottom, or if they do, they are being ignored.

RELATED:

New study says rent control doesn’t discourage new housing

USC researchers say the data shows that Prop. 10 wouldn’t stifle housing production. That’s a direct challenge to the real-estate industry campaign

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The landlord lobby – and it’s one of the most powerful interests in the state of California – is spending more than $40 million to convince voters not to support Prop. 10 – a measure that would allow (but not require) cities to impose effective rent controls…

The USC study, sponsored by the California Community Foundation, suggests that rent control tends to keep rents lower even in uncontrolled buildings, helps preserve housing and community stability – and has little discernable impact on the construction of new housing.

The study’s authors are not economists. The lead author, Manuel Pastor, is a sociologist. The two other authors, Vanessa Carter and Maya Abood, are urban planners.

But unlike the Stanford economists who put out a complex study on the economics of rent control, complete with equations that almost nobody can understand, the USC report looks at the existing literature on rent control… (more)

The market appears to be in a self-correction mood that could slow development regardless of how the outcome of Prop C and the repeal of Costa-Hawkins.

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Grass roots opposition to SB 828 and AB 2923 mounts

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview.- excerpt

Opposition within the legislature has been minimal in passing various bills intended to streamline the permit process to build so called affordable housing. However, not all the natives are pleased. Battle lines are being drawn in suburbia to fight “Big Brother” in Sacramento when they will be trying to enforce SB 828 and AB 2923 in the coming years.

It comes down to a case of “It’s not fair” that ordinarily refers to children complaining about their parents making them perform disagreeable tasks. Here it is reflected in a grass root political movement of outraged citizens fighting progressive government in Sacramento.

With the ink barely dry from Governor Jerry Brown signing SB 828 and AB 2923 into law, a similar out cry of protests is coming from communities throughout California. A lot of folks are upset by state taking urban planning decisions away from locals and giving them to unaccountable bureaucratic regional agencies they don’t directly vote for.

The purpose of these bills is to encourage the construction of much needed affordable housing by ignoring local zoning laws and streamlining the permit process. An outcry is being heard from cities who are unhappy with the impact these new construction will have on traffic, law enforcement, congestion, schools, recreational facilities and the availability of scare water resources… (more)

San Francisco ranks No. 1 in US in property crime

: sfchronicle – excerpt

It’s official: Your backpack, laptop, tablet or phone — or the vehicle in which you left all these things behind — are more likely to catch the fancy of a thief in San Francisco than any other major metropolis in the country.

FBI data released last week show the city had the highest per-capita rate of property crimes among the 20 most populous U.S. cities in 2017, tallying 6,168 crimes per 100,000 people. That’s about 148 burglaries, larcenies, car thefts and arsons per day.

San Francisco’s property crimes spiked from the previous year, shooting up from about 47,000 in 2016 to 54,000 in 2017.

Los Altos, Danville and Los Gatos had the three lowest rates of violent crime among California’s 245 cities with a population of at least 30,000 people. Each reported zero murders and fewer than 20 rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults for all of 2017… (more)

Looks like we are not imagining it. San Francisco is not only one of the worst major traffic nightmares in the country, but it now can claim to be the property crime capital as well. Lose those famous views and what do we have left to offer tourists other than a peak into their future if they follow our leads? What next? Ask the candidates running for office how they plan to fix the problem. And offer suggestions to the Mayor and our Supervisors. Contacts

Maybe we should quit complaining about how Los Altos, Danville and Los Gatos  conduct their business and consider emulating what they are doing right?

Editorial: Muni’s terrible summer may cost SFMTA head his job

It’s been a terrible summer for San Francisco Muni riders, and Mayor London Breed is losing patience.

In a letter to SFMTA director Ed Reiskin last week, Breed wrote, “I have communicated to the SFMTA Board of Directors that I want to see significant improvements in Muni service, and in fact, in all facets of the SFMTA.”…

The letter felt like a strong hint that Reiskin’s job may be in jeopardy. Replacing him isn’t likely to happen overnight — the SFMTA board is the body that would fire Reiskin. On Tuesday, the board voiced support for Reiskin after he apologized for Muni’s failures.

But Breed fills empty seats on the board, and vacancies could easily allow her to engineer Reiskin’s ouster if improvements don’t happen quickly…

The MTA has said the company failed to disclose those violations — but the MTA should have done its due diligence.

Asked about Muni’s string of woes, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said, “We did not correctly anticipate the level of impact on our system and riders at the time.”

Rose added that the agency is trying to find solutions that can be implemented quickly. To combat a long-standing driver shortage, it’s converting some part-time operators to full-time hours and working to certify more than 200 operators by the end of the year.

Those are fine ideas. Unfortunately, they should have been taken before the June tunnel closure. If they’re not implemented rapidly, they may not be enough to satisfy either City Hall or the hundreds of thousands of frustrated riders who rely on Muni every day.

This commentary is from The Chronicle’s editorial board. We invite you to express your views in a letter to the editor. Please submit your letter via our online form: SFChronicle.com/letters.

Please send your letter as we are invited to do. You may also want to suggest some new board directors if you have any in mind as a new one will be appointed very soon.

Fed-up locals are setting electric scooters on fire and burying them at sea

: latimes – excerpt

They’ve been crammed into toilets, tossed off balconies and set on fire. They’ve even been adorned with dangling bags of dog droppings.

As cities like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills struggle to control a rapid proliferation of electric pay-per-minute scooters, some residents are taking matters into their own hands and waging a guerrilla war against the devices. These vandals are destroying or desecrating the vehicles in disturbingly imaginative ways, and celebrating their illegal deeds on social media — in full view of authorities and the public…

In Santa Monica, where Bird is headquartered, City Council members voted to cap the number of scooters on city streets while officials craft longer-term regulations. Beverly Hills officials ordered them banned for six months. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz asked officials last week to take “all available measures” to outlaw the scooters within the city.

While most tech entrepreneurs expect some criticism and calls for regulation when they introduce new and potentially disruptive products, they don’t necessarily anticipate the outright destruction of their property. They also don’t expect to see such carnage celebrated and encouraged on social media.

Yet mayhem directed at dockless scooters is the order of the day on Instagram’s “Bird Graveyard,” whose contributors relish publishing photos and videos of scooters that have been set aflame, tossed into canals, smeared with feces and snapped into pieces. The account has more than 24,000 followers… (more)

RELATED:

Bird Graveyard

If a bird or lime scooter has died, please send us pictures or video so we can honor its death. RIP https://www.instagram.com/birdgraveyard

Waymo begins experimenting with self-driving taxi prices

By : theverge – excerpt

Alphabet unit is also taking early steps to position itself as a link to public transportation

Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has kept mum about how much it will eventually charge people to ride in its autonomous taxis. But according to Bloomberg, the self-driving company has begun testing out trip fares with its early riders as it moves closer to launching its commercial ride-hailing service in Phoenix.

In interviewing members of Waymo’s “Early Rider” program, reporters from Bloomberg got to see a mock-up of the company’s still-underwraps ride-hailing app, complete with probable fare prices. Waymo insists those numbers are just placeholders, but they would appear to be aligned with preexisting services like Uber and Lyft…

Like its Silicon Valley brethren, Waymo is sensitive to its impact on public transportation and is trying to cushion itself from any possible blowback that suggests it is poaching transit riders or adversely affecting service. Those criticisms have been leveled at companies like Uber and Lyft, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to see Waymo come under scrutiny as well. And with fares as low as Uber and Lyft, it will be hard for Waymo to overcome the argument that it is drawing customers away from public transportation, which could effect how cities fund its buses and rail projects. .. (more)

All these companies plan to get rid of drivers and put robot cars on our streets. Is SFMTA management helping them by enacting the policies that are pushing Muni riders off the bus?

Recent senior pedestrian deaths prompt hearing

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt (includes a video on the HAWK system.)

Seniors in San Francisco are disproportionately affected by traffic collisions, said city officials who work on achieving The City’s goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024, also known as Vision Zero…

Supervisor Norman Yee held a hearing on Thursday at the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Neighborhood Services and called for city agencies working towards Vision Zero, which included the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Department of Public Health and the Police Department, to report on data and solutions to keep seniors safe when crossing city streets.

The City recorded its lowest number of traffic fatalities last year — 20 deaths — but Yee said city agencies need to do more to make streets safer, especially those who are most vulnerable crossing the street:…

Olea said the transit agency has already begun retiming traffic lights in The City after senior advocates called for the transit agency to allow more time for seniors and people with disabilities to cross the street…

Dmitry Scotkin, 69, was struck and killed by a vehicle on July 17 at a crosswalk where Caltrans installed a High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK). Caltrans has jurisdiction over Sloat Boulevard, also known as State Highway 35…

Supervisors had concerns after the death of Scotkin that drivers might be confused about the HAWK system, including what they do on some of flashing lights…

Yee said, “I think that’s half of the solution. The drivers are the ones who are confused.”

Yee said himself he was confused by the lights when the Caltrans installed the first HAWK and also watched drivers not know what to do:

Log into YouTube to let Cantrans know what you think about their HAWK system : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ3OJD6gWT4

CONFUSED DRIVERS AND PEDESTRIANS ARE NOT SAFE!

What happened to basic human communication skills? Quit confusing everyone with new tech gadgets and systems that distract people. Drivers have enough to pay attention to and so do pedestrians. They need to watch each other and not traffic signals and signs. Changing systems are the most stressful and the most confusing thing you can do to a human being. Drivers know how stop on red and wait until the light turns green. Pedestrians know the same thing. Most pedestrians over 60 learned how to drive at some point and know what to expect from drivers. In the daylight you can even exchange glances with a driver. I try to do that when I am walking and may even gesture to confirm that I am going.

All you need to do is lengthen the timing on the red lights and the yellow lights to give people enough time to cross the street. Longer yellows give drivers more time to stop. If you can’t figure it out, hire someone who has a system that works. There are cities with systems that work. San Francisco used to be one of those. Get rid of all the expensive stupid different signals and signs and get back to the old-fashioned system where people paid attention to what was going on around them instead of a machine in their hands.

By the way, there are some colorblind people who see shades of gray who tell me that they judge the color light by the position on the lit light. If you start rearranging the lights and blinking the lights they will not know what is going on at all. The more you change a system the less safe it is!