Can Big Tech Be Tamed?

by Gary Kamiya : modernluxury – excerpt
(includes Photo-illustrations of Tech Titans by Clark Miller)

As the tech industry grows to unfathomable proportions, San Francisco needs to grow to match it. A call to arms for a city under siege.

I. A MIGHTY RIVER

Cities, it’s been said, are like rivers, and San Francisco has always been a leaping, unpredictable one, constantly jumping its banks and fed by the most varied and unlikely springs. I’ve been splashing in this unruly current for almost half a century. But several years ago, something happened upstream. A great deluge of money of a magnitude not seen since the bonanzas of the 19th century began to crumble our protective levees, hoisting San Francisco’s skyline, swamping its housing, stalling its traffic, and profoundly altering its character…

The combined market value of Apple, Facebook, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, all headquartered within 40 miles of downtown San Francisco, is more than $2.2 trillion—about the same as the gross domestic product of Italy, the eighth-largest economy in the world… (more)

 

 

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San Francisco mayoral debate: Candidates promise housing, axe for planning department

Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt (including video)\

At debate organized by YIMBY groups, Breed, Leno, and Alioto pitch housing and take aim at department heads

Mayoral candidates London Breed (current president of the Board of Supervisors, former acting mayor), Angela Alioto (former supervisor), and Mark Leno (former supervisor, state assemblyman, and state senator) convened with YIMBY Action and San Francisco Housing Action Coalition at the Swedish American Hall Monday night to debate housing, win over YIMBY voters, and address what moderator J.K. Dineen called the city’s “pathetic track record of building housing.”

All three candidates promised more housing to one degree or another and all made a point of criticizing San Francisco’s long and difficult entitlements process and, if elected, promised less red tape. (They also took time out to joust at each other over how each finances his or her campaign, drawing occasional boos from the packed house.)… (more)

Mayoral Debate. 3.5.18

Fear and Loathing of L.A. and S.F. on the Campaign Trail

By Joe Mathews : zocalopublicsquare – excerpt

Our Gubernatorial Race Could Turn on Which City Californians Resent Most

Which city—San Francisco or Los Angeles—do you love to hate more?

This is shaping up to be California’s question for 2018. Each of the two top contenders for governor is a former mayor of one of those cities, with each embodying certain grievances that Californians hold about their hometowns. And so their campaigns—and the many moneyed interests with a stake in the outcome—are already playing to resentments about these two places.

Gavin Newsom, like San Francisco, is derided as too wealthy, too white, too progressive, too cerebral, too cold, and so focused on a culturally liberal agenda that you might call him out of touch. Antonio Villaraigosa, like Los Angeles, is portrayed as too street, too Latino, too instinctual, too warm, and so unfocused in his economically liberal ideas that you might say he lacks a center…(more)

“Which city—San Francisco or Los Angeles—do you love to hate more?”

That would depend whichever city you reside in. San Francisco was sued by former Mayor Newsom, who came to his senses and agreed to settle. If he does become Governor there is no guarantee he will not continue to attempt to undermine his former home town. There is not widespread support for him among those in the know about the case.

No sure how Los Angeles feels about their former Mayor. Do most enough pepole blame him for the traffic and stack and pack housing that is gentrifying their neighborhoods to bother to vote against him?

After years of anti-car legislation and a failed attempt to get people out of their cars? It seems the more dollars cities pour into fighting cars the more cars their are. Maybe the best solution is to do nothing and see what happens. Given the higher power and more time, will either of these former mayors quit beating that dead horse?

The state Democratic Convention delegates failed to anoint anyone, showing just how divided the party is and leading one to believe that other candidates may stand a chance. Stay tuned…

 

 

Housing bill raising local control fight

By Austin Walsh : smdailyjournal – excerpt

San Francisco senator’s most recent bill drawing mixed perspectives from elected officials, others

The ongoing battle between local control advocates and a lawmaker seeking to overhaul state housing policy ramped up over a recent proposal seeking to incentivize residential development near public transportation.

Senate Bill 827, authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, served as the most recent catalyst for debate between the local legislator and those wishing to preserve the authority of local elected officials when considering housing proposals.

Wiener, who represents San Francisco and a slice of northern San Mateo County, said the bill loosening density regulations near public transit stops could combat the state’s affordability crisis. Most notably, the bill aims to boost allowable building height limits in certain cases to a maximum 85 feet, while also exempting qualified projects from local parking and density limits…

Critics though claim the proposal merely seeks to take away the ability of city councils, planning departments and other local representatives traditionally charged with guiding community development.

“The biggest issue is stripping away planning documents and handing this decision over to developers,” said Jason Rhine, a legislative representative with the League of California Cities…

Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, lent his support to Wiener’s most recent effort, while also noting the need to keep an eye to local control…

Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, meanwhile was reticent to lend his support to Wiener’s bill while it is still in its formative stages…

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, also was reticent to take a position on the most recent bill, with an assumption it will continue to take shape over the coming weeks and months…(more)

You may want to contact the above representative with your concerns about SB 827. Emails according to the format are linked above.

 

 

Opinion: $3 toll hike probably won’t deliver reliable commute

By Marc Joffe : mercurynews – excerpt

Anyone hoping that a $9 rush-hour toll on the Bay Bridge will fix BART and alleviate commuting misery should take a trip to the Big Apple.

It now costs $12.50 to cross the Hudson River into Manhattan ($15.00 if you don’t have New York’s FasTrak equivalent), but public transit is deteriorating. Subways are crowded and frequently delayed; service disruptions — both scheduled and unscheduled — are common.

Meanwhile, Penn Station — the city’s primary intermodal transportation facility — is the “Most Awful Transit Center in America,” according to a recent Bloomberg story. Not only is the station itself unpleasant, but the 107-year-old Hudson River tunnels serving the facility are severely corroded and in danger of collapse… (more)

Marc Joffe, a Walnut Creek resident, is a senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation.

Charter Amendment – Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters

Here is the first draft of the language put forth to as a proposal to amend the charter that establishes the authority of the SFMTA, referred to as the SFMTA Charter Amendment ballot initiative. Please review this and let your supervisors know how you feel about this amendment. Contacts are here.  Read FILE NO. 171309 and follow the updates here.

LEGISLATIVE DIGEST
(First Draft, 12/12/2017)

[Charter Amendment – Jurisdiction Within City Government Over Parking and Traffic Matters]

Describing and setting forth a proposal to the voters at an election to be held on June 5, 2018, to amend the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco to eliminate the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s jurisdiction over parking and traffic regulations; to grant the legislative authority over parking and traffic to the Board of Supervisors; to create a new Livable Streets Commission and Department to manage parking and traffic; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Existing Law

Currently the Charter grants the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) exclusive jurisdiction over local public transportation, taxis, and a variety of parking and traffic related functions. The SFMTA Board has legislative authority to adopt regulations related to parking and traffic. The SFMTA Board also serves as the Parking Authority Board with responsibility over a number of garages.

Amendments to Current Law

The proposed Charter Amendment would eliminate the SFMTA’s exclusive jurisdiction over parking and traffic issues, and taxis. It would create a new Livable Streets Commission and Department that would have authority over parking and traffic functions and taxis. The Livable Streets Commission would be comprised of the members of the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors. The Board of Supervisors would have legislative authority over parking and traffic. Under the amendment parking and traffic functions under the responsibility of the Livable Streets Commission include:

  • Setting rates for off-street and on-street parking, and all other, rates, fees, fines, penalties and charges for services provided or functions performed by the Department;
  • Controlling the flow and direction of motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic;
  • Designing, selecting, locating, installing, operating, maintaining and removing all official traffic control devices, signs, roadway features and pavement markings;
  • Limiting parking, stopping, standing or loading as provided by state law and establishing parking privileges and locations subject to such privileges for categories of people or vehicles as provided by state law;
  • Establishing parking meter zones, setting parking rates, and selecting, installing, locating and maintaining systems and equipment for payment of parking fees;
  • Establishing policies for the enforcement of regulations limiting parking, stopping, standing or loading and the collection of parking-related revenues and, along with the Police Department, have authority to enforce parking, stopping, standing or loading regulations;
  • Cooperating with and assisting the Police Department in the promotion of traffic safety, among other things;
  • Having authority over taxi-related functions and taxi-related fares, fees, charges, budgets, and personnel; and
  • Coordinating the City’s efforts to address emerging mobility services.

The proposed Charter Amendment also provides that the Livable Streets Commission would serve as the members of the the Parking Authority Commission. The Livable Streets Commission would have authority over City-owned off-street public parking facilities, except those specified as under the jurisdiction of other City departments.

The proposed Charter Amendment provides for an operative date for the transfer of jurisdiction and the creation of the Livable Streets Commission of July 1, 2019.

(First Draft, 12/12/2017)

The two related stories below describe why government agencies are expanding public transportation programs. It is not about cars, parking, transportation or affordable housing. It is about controlling public access to housing and transportation while increasing land values.

RELATED:

Transportation gentrification: How Bus Rapid Transit is displacing East Oakland

SB 827 (Skinner, D-Berkeley) will destroy local land use control

“…A dramatic increase in new housing near transit stations could be on its way across California under new legislation proposed by a Bay Area legislator. Subject to some limitations, the measure would eliminate restrictions on the number of houses allowed to be built within a half-mile of train, light-rail, …

A Return to the Ballot

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

June’s local election was expected to be a quiet one — but then the mayor died, the YIMBY party drafted a ballot measure, SFPD pushed for tasers, and an eviction law was introduced that could change the future for every renter in the city…

With only a couple weeks left to file for mayor and the Feb. 3 signature deadline looming for ballot measures, our hilly city is officially in election season. Here’s a quick guide to some of what’s coming…

Leading the pack is Mark Leno, who had already announced his intention to run in 2019… He pledges to fight for “regular San Franciscans — the immigrants, tenants, homeowners, and small businesses.”…

Currently, the other candidate of note is Sup. Jane Kim. As one of the progressives on the Board of Supervisors, Kim offers a stark contrast to Sup. London Breed — should the latter decide to run. Although she’s got less political experience than Leno, as a current supervisor and candidate for the state Senate in 2016, Kim arguably has more city name recognition…

Two other women of note who signed applications so far are Angela Allioto and Amy Farah Weiss. The link to watch for updates: http://sfgov.org/elections/candidates

Potential Ballot initiatives for the June 2018 ballot:

No Eviction Without Representation Initiative: More information can be found at sfrighttocounsel.com

Muni Department Split: Supes. Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai are behind this measure, which would split the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency into two separate agencies. One side would handle Muni, and the other would oversee San Francisco’s parking and streets. Added on would be the ability for supervisors to appoint the Board of Directors, a right that the mayor currently holds…

YIMBY Automatic City Housing Approval: The YIMBY — Yes in My Backyard — party launched its own ballot measure this year, cheerfully titled the “Affordable and Teacher Housing Now Initiative.” More information is at prop.yimbyaction.org...

Flavored Tobacco Repeal: Sup. Malia Cohen spearheaded a ban on flavored tobacco products earlier this year, citing statistics that 80 percent of Black smokers consume menthol cigarettes…

San Francisco Arts and Family Funding: A revival of 2016’s failed Proposition S, this ballot measure would retain part of the city’s hotel tax to fund the arts — particularly the Cultural Equity Endowment, granted to artists and organizations that cater to underserved populations...

Relocation of Professional Sports Teams Initiative: this measure would give San Franciscans a voice for future relocation of professional sports teams. More information can be found at goodneighbor-coalition.org...

SFPD and Tasers: Last but not least is this controversial measure, which would bring the San Francisco Police Department’s desire for Tasers to the voters…(more)