Breed calls for public power study in wake of PG&E bankruptcy announcement

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Following the announcement that PG&E is filing for bankruptcy, Mayor London Breed assured residents Monday there will be no impacts to their power service and asked the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to study possible responses — including transitioning to a public power system.

Options to be considered include buying the existing electrical infrastructure outright, according to city officials.

PG&E announced early Monday morning that it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as the San Francisco-based utility company faces an estimated $30 billion liability for damages from deadly Northern California fires during the past two years… (more)

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Lawsuit filed challenging San Francisco’s new Central SoMa zoning plan

A nonprofit housing group has filed the first of what is expected to be several lawsuits challenging the rezoning of San Francisco’s Central South of Market area, suits that could significantly delay the development of more than 6 million square feet of office space and thousands of housing units.

In the lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, the Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium, the legal arm of the affordable housing group Todco, argues that the plan’s environmental study was inadequate because it didn’t take into account the impact the neighborhood changes would have on public services such as police, fire and recreation…

The deadline for filing a legal challenge to the plan’s environmental study is Thursday, and as many as three other lawsuits could be coming…

Even if there were no lawsuits, the realities of the time required for approvals and permitting in San Francisco means it’s unlikely that any construction would start before 2020. Elberling added that delays beyond that could be avoided if the city agrees to community demands.

“It’s up to the city. If the city wanted to work with us and address the problems, it would be finished this year,” he said. “If we resolve the problems this year, we could drop our lawsuit.”… (more)

Thousands of SF properties could come with flood risk warning for buyers, renters

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

After a deluge of costly settlements with the owners of properties damaged by flooding, San Francisco is employing new strategies to curb impacts of the heavy rains — among them, a proposed “buyer-beware” requirement for property buyers.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission earlier this month approved a resolution calling on the Board of Supervisors to require sellers and landlords of properties prone to flooding due to rainfall and related stormwater runoff to disclose the risks in writing to prospective buyers or renters.

The proposal is only for those 2,100 properties, or 1 percent of parcels citywide, located in the agency’s new 100-year storm flood risk map. About half are residential properties and the others commercial, industrial or public parcels… (more)

 

California Senate passes bill to build more housing at BART stations

By Kate Murphy : mercurynews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — A state bill to replace surface parking lots with housing at East Bay and San Francisco BART stations passed the California Senate on Thursday, propelling the proposal one step closer to becoming law.

After a passionate debate on the Senate floor, the bill passed 26-13…

Championed by housing, transit and business interests but fought by some cities and others wary of losing local control over land-use decisions, Assembly Bill 2923 would force cities and counties to zone BART property in accordance with an ambitious policy the transit agency adopted in 2016. That policy calls for 20,000 new apartments and town homes — 35 percent of them to be rented at below market rate, system-wide — by 2040.

Perhaps more significantly, the bill would also fast-track the approvals of such developments, a process that has been known to take decades… (more)

REGIONAL POWER: This is an example of state elected officials handing power to non-elected regional officials to override the constitutional authority of elected city and county representatives. This is the picture of the new REGIONAL GOVERNMENT being developed to avoid public scrutiny and review of changes in our communities.

So far as we know, this power is only being use to usurp local zoning and development decisions, however, since much of these decisions were the purview of environmental review and studies, this does not bode well for the environment at a time of great concern over the supply and quality of our water and other essential elements needed to expand these communities. Who is protecting us now?

Will the voters fight back in court and will they reward the elected officials who cut their power by re-electing them to office, or will they start recall proceedings in protest against those elected representatives? If San Francisco Bay Area can pass local regional control laws, so can other other regional groups.

Google Didn’t Transform San Francisco. A Baseball Player Did.

By Conor Sen : blomberg – excerpt

Barry Bonds’s popularity laid the foundation for tech to build up once-overlooked neighborhoods.

Over the weekend, the San Francisco Giants retired the jersey number of Barry Bonds for his performance with the team over 15 years. While his baseball achievements were significant, his more lasting impact may have been on real estate development in San Francisco.

The tech industry has transformed San Francisco over the past several years, but in many respects those forces merely leveraged the foundation put in place during Barry Bonds’s heyday. Neighborhoods like South Park and South Beach would look a lot different if Bonds hadn’t signed with the Giants 25 years ago… (more)

 

 

Opinion: How big should SF be — and for whom?

By Mayor Art Agnos :48hills – excerpt

A former mayor has some advice for the next mayor — and the people of the city

This is a critical time for our city. There are a lot of important issues at stake that matter to all of us. Income inequality. Homelessness. Drugs. Auto burglaries. Educational reform. The list goes on and they are all important.

From my perspective as a former mayor, though, the biggest issue that is to be decided in San Francisco is this question:

“How big does SF want to be, and who do we want to build for and where?”

The answer will determine where most people like us or their families will be able live here in the future…

How big do we want to be – and for whom?

We can seek a requirement for a Prop B like citywide vote on projects over a certain size.as we did on the waterfront.

We can seek a requirement to decentralize the Planning Department to support neighborhood planning committees like those in New York city and Washington DC.

No matter who is in charge of City Hall, the ultimate power resides with us, the people of San Francisco.

No one can take it. But we can lose it by not staying informed, organized, and engaged every step of the way…(more) 

 

Which SF High-Rises Could Collapse in an Earthquake

By Joe Kukura : sfweekly – excerpt (includes list of 39 at risk buildings)

Transamerica Pyramid and Embarcadero Center towers are among nearly 40 high-rises at risk of collapse in an earthquake, according to a new study.

This ridiculous image from the 2015 San Andreas movie poster may have an ounce of truth to it, according to a recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey. The Transamerica Pyramid is among 39 San Francisco high-rise buildings that could collapse in an earthquake the magnitude of the 1906 quake, according to a new report the New York Times.

If you live or work in a downtown high-rise, you might want to immediately scroll down to the bottom of this article to see if your building is one of the 39 San Francisco high-rises built with an engineering technique that is now considered flawed… (more)

Maybe San Francisco is not such a great place to up-zone. No mention here of the fires that accompany earthquakes, or the power outage that will make all the electric systems obsolete, including banking and the public transportation systems.