Mayor’s adviser will work to defeat 4 ballot measures

By Emily Green : sfchronicle – excerpt

Winnicker will work with veteran political consultant Ace Smith to try to defeat Propositions D, H, L and M — all of which were put on the ballot by the board’s progressive supervisors…

Prop. D would require a special election to fill a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors. Currently, the mayor appoints someone to fill out the term.

Prop. H would create an Office of Public Advocate.

Prop. L would split the power to make appointments to the Municipal Transportation Agency Commission between the Board of Supervisors and the mayor. Now, the mayor has sole appointing authority. It would also make it easier for the supervisors to reject the MTA’s budget.

Prop. M would create a housing commission to oversee the Department of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development…(more)

Mayor is lining up the opposition to fight the ballot measures that would put limitations on the power of the Mayor’s office. Some feel that power has become too concentrated and needs to be cut back. Stay tuned as the November elections heat up.

 

Kim packs housing forum as former LA mayor hints at gov run

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt – (video link)

Small protest features tents in a sign that Wiener supporters are using homeless people as a wedge issue

The Mission High School auditorium is a big venue, room for more than 1,000 people, and it was packed last night for an event featuring Sup. Jane Kim, former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and BART Board candidate Lateefa Simon talking about housing and transportation policy.

It was part of the Jane Kim for state Senate campaign; Kim sent out mailers promoting the event and her team worked every possible social media angle to get people out…

Kim talked at some length about housing and homelessness, and while there wasn’t anything new that she hadn’t said before, she got a rousing reception.

This is part of her political strategy – to use events to get the word out and increase enthusiasm. “We know we are going to be outspent,” Eric Jaye, her campaign manager, told me. “So we need 1,000 people to each tell ten people why they are supporting Jane.”

It’s something that Dean Preston, who is running against incumbent Sup. London Breed, has also been doing. He’s been holding workshops on housing issues, attracting large numbers of tenants who are worried about staying in their homes…

So the campaigns are heating up even before Labor Day. And from the way Wiener’s folks are acting, it’s just going to get more ugly… (more)

Jane gets in a lot of her issues on a regular basis no matter what the subject matter is. She covers Prop X to keep the arts and at risk jobs in the city, the temporary housing, disparate charges for corporations and the public. There is a link to the video and a little transcript of some of Janes’ comments that relate to transportation are below.

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Personal Property is under siege

OpEd by concerned citizen

A major crime wave is sweeping our streets, killing businesses and putting public at risk, and nothing is being done about it. Crime statics are down because there is no record of the crimes.

This story came from a reader concerned about the decline of the local Safeway. Desperate people are taking desperate measures. Ignoring the problem is not going to make it go away. Dehumanizing people, treating them like animals and feeding and cleaning up after them is not a good solution. City Hall needs a better plan. Mayor Agnos suggests putting them on an air craft carrier. It’s worth a try.

Crimes of personal property are just not prosecuted. I spoke to the manager of the Potrero Hill Safeway because I’m worried it will go out of business due to loss of clientele. He told me when Gus’s opened they lost 70k customers. To stop the losses they cut service and because of a million dollars of theft last year they put ?toothpaste and mouthwash? in glass cabinets. Organized gangs swept toothpaste off the shelves and resold them in the Mission. “When thieves are caught by security, the police are called. Sometimes they don’t show up for 1.5 hours and when they show up they drop the thief off at the corner”.

It’s a real battle in which the “city” is not on our side but the side of the thieves. The police know that jails have a revolving door.  It’s not cost effective to arrest thieves. A portion of the homelessness is a distinct outcast society that survives on crime and begging.

One safe thing you can do is support our local businesses. Please support PH Safeway during this difficult time. The manager said they are doing their best but I don’t think it is good enough to keep their regular customers. They need your feedback.  The displacement of small and large businesses with small margins is another crime that is spiraling downward making it even more expensive and difficult to live here.

– Concerned Citizen

Integrated housing and transit policies are key for San Francisco’s future

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

We’re on the edge of a tipping point in the Bay Area — and in San Francisco especially. People move to great cities because of the opportunities, active networks, arts and vibrant culture cities offer. But as our cities have become more and more crowded, prices have jumped astronomically and everyone is feeling the pinch.

Our cities aren’t building enough affordable and middle-income housing. Longtime small businesses and arts venues are being forced to move out of the neighborhoods they have served as anchors in for decades due to rising rents. Transit options are limited, and many residents commute for hours because they can’t afford to live in the communities where they work. In fact, one million of the Bay Area’s 3.5 million workers commute over at least one county boundary every day on their way to work.

All of these problems are interconnected, and it’s impacting our region and city.

This is urgent, but we still have time to enact smart policies that can help us address these challenges.

I’m hosting a series of forums bringing together thought leaders on important policy topics. Our goal is to work toward real, concrete solutions. The first forum will be on housing, transportation and urban planning on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at Mission High School. I’m honored to be joined by Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Mayor of Los Angeles; Lateefah Simon, a transit activist and California State University trustee; and David Talbot, founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon and the best-selling author of “Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love.”…

These are complicated issues, but there are real solutions out there that can work for our communities…

Contact Jane : janekim.org/housing or email :  info@janekim.org.

I look forward to seeing you there and hearing your thoughts and ideas on how our city can work for all of us.

Jane Kim represents District 6 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.(more)

 

Effective Governance Starts with Accountability

Op-Ed by Norman Yee: sfexaminer – excerpt

From bonds to tax renewals to new revenue proposals, I would not be surprised if San Francisco voters are revolted by the sticker shock in this November’s election.

When there is a $9.6 billion budget and voters are asked to pay more taxes, it begs the question: “Is the government effectively spending your dollars?” When tax dollars are  funding poorly conceived projects that are rubber-stamped with little to no public input, it raises the concern, “Who does your government serve?”

With an astronomically high cost of living and a growing equity gap, residents are asked to give more, yet somehow receive less in return. It is time to challenge this culture of government inattentiveness and apathy.

You will find a number of measures in the upcoming November election that aim to enhance transparency, accountability and balance to government in San Francisco. There is an initiative that will strengthen the department overseeing police investigations and ensure its independence from the Police Department. There is also a measure that will guarantee that tree and sidewalk maintenance (what should be a basic service) will be the responsibility of The City and not be transferred involuntarily to property owners as it has been the common practice for years.

Another measure that I authored would increase balance on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors, the seven-member body that oversees parking, traffic and transit citywide. The proposal would split appointments between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors, rather than a fully mayor-appointed board, which will allow for a broader diversity of perspectives.

These ballot measures being offered are sound and in the spirit of good government; yet, cynics allege that we are “meddling” with the executive branch and its powers. There is something fundamentally unsettling when reforms calling for more accountability are being smeared as a power grab. Our democracy has a system of checks and balances. For those in power, increasing public input and oversight promotes democracy and, ultimately, helps us make better decisions. If “meddling” means scrutinizing budgets to protect from public waste or challenging ill-informed decisions and establishing better protocols for the public good, then, by all means, call it meddling. But it is our job to meddle. As elected officials, it is our chartered duty to ask the hard questions, to shine a light on government when those questions go unanswered and to uphold quality service to the public.

All of us holding political titles recognize that our time is finite. These measures will have impact well beyond the time we hold elected office. Effective governance depends on accountability and trust. We must follow through on what we are asked to do to earn your trust.

I recognize there is no panacea for all the challenges we are dealing with in our city, but we have to strive to make government more accountable. There is always room for improvement, and it is our responsibility as public leaders to move us in the direction of better government. We should not be afraid to hold a mirror to ourselves and reflect the truth and transparency we claim to uphold.

I ask all individuals who are in decision-making positions to put our egos aside and elevate the voices of San Franciscans who are fed up with tired excuses. We must be open to challenge so that we can seek better solutions. Change is hard, but tolerating the consequences of the status quo will be even harder.

Norman Yee represents District 7 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors(more)

 

Supes vote to protect arts space after some disingenuous whining

Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Wiener, Farrell complain that progressives are using the ballot to push their agenda — which is exactly what Wiener and Farrell are doing

The Board of Supes put a measure to protect artist workspace and blue-collar jobs on the ballot yesterday after a long discussion about why this has to get voter approval.

That debate was punctuated by some stunningly disingenuous remarks by Sups. Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell, who said this issue should have been dealt with by the board – but who have put two measures of their own on the ballot that could have been addressed the same way.

There’s no secret what’s going on here. Farrell and Wiener want to have anti-homeless measures on the ballot to create a wedge issue to attack progressive candidates. There’s no way the 6-5 majority on the board would have approved these harsh and pointless laws, so they used their power under the City Charter to put them on the ballot with just four signatures.

Kim’s measure had at least six votes – but not eight, and if she had gone the legislative route, everyone knows the mayor would have vetoed it. Mayor Ed Lee supports the tech industry and the developers who are rapidly taking low-cost production, distribution, and repair space and arts space and turning it into luxury condos and tech offices.

So both sides have gone directly to the voters.

John Elberling, director of TODCO, pointed out the problem: “There has been catastrophic displacement of arts space and PDR, and for five years, the city has done nothing about it,” he testified.

Eric Arguello, who works with Calle 24, noted that Cell Space is gone, Galleria de la Raza is having trouble getting a new lease, Dance Mission is having trouble getting a new lease – and all over the Mission, cultural heritage is under attack.

“We are bleeding blue-collar jobs,” he said, noting that some studies show more than 20 percent unemployment in the Latino community (while the mayor brags about the city’s overall unemployment rate, which shows that white people with engineering degrees who moved here recently are doing fine).

Flora Davis, an artist who recently lost her studio on Soma after 23 years, noted that of the 43 artists she used to share space with, only 16 remain in the city. The building she moved into in the Mission used to have 60 artists; there are 20 left.

Kim noted that a recent study found that 70 percent of the artists in San Francisco are either being evicted or facing eviction – and the other 30 percent fear it… (more)

The attack on blue collar jobs continues

by Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The Board of Supes goes into a recess after Tuesday/2. The November ballot is all set – while much of the news media and the conservative supes were whining about a lack of civility, that progressives actually got some things done…

So what’s still left? For one thing, a measure that would require a conditional use hearing for any project that removed production, distribution, and repair space or community arts space – and an appeal of the Beast on Bryant project, which does both.

The Planning Commission approved the massive Mission development 5-2, and community activists have appealed. They are technically appealing the planners’ determination that the plan doesn’t need an environmental impact report and the conditional-use exemption. The supes very rarely overturn the Planning Department on these appeals, and the case may wind up in court.

At the same time, the supes have to decide whether to require a (separate) CU for a project like this that has a huge impact on PDR and arts space. If that measure passes, and this project is delayed by the board, or by a lawsuit, the process could in essence start all over again – and the developer’s offer of a deal to the city might not matter…

By the time the community made a huge fuss, Podell offered another plan (message here, particularly as we discuss “by right” development: No developer ever, ever comes forward with the best offer up front, and community opposition almost always leads to a better project). He cut the number of market-rate units to 199, and offered to give a third of the site to the city, which would then pay to build about 136 affordable units. He’s agreed to restore some of the PDR – but not necessarily at the lower rents that allowed places like Cell Space to thrive…

The attack on PDR space continues, unabated – and the displacement impact of new market-rate housing in working-class neighborhoods remains a profound issue in the Mission. While those won’t be the technical issues before the board, they will be the background under which this appeal will be considered.

Meanwhile: More PDR space is on the chopping block every week, including Thursday/4, when the commission looks at (and will probably continue) another plan to replace 20,000 square feet of PDR with more luxury housing, which maybe will provide places for people to live and maybe will provide places for very bad actors to park their money… (more)

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