First mayoral debate has no winners and too much agreement

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

None of the candidates made a case for why they are different than the others; that’s a problem when the city is in a serious crisis and so many voters are undecided

The first mayoral debate of the spring had no clear winners or losers; in fact, none of the candidates stood out as dramatically different from any of the others. That may be in part because this event was sponsored by the decidedly moderate United Democratic Club, with the decidedly conservative Chronicle Editorial Page Editor John Diaz asking all of the questions.

There’s clearly a lot of interest in the race: So many people came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that the Koret Auditorium at the main library filled to capacity, as didn an overflow room, and still people were turned away.

The candidates had a chance to define themselves as different in a crowded field, and I don’t think any of them did that.

Mark Leno came the closest: From the start, he said that he is convinced that “we need a new direction at City Hall” and that he would offer “a fundamental change from the status quo.”…

I give Kim and Leno credit: They were the only two who said, when asked about homelessness, that prevention is as important as responding…

Leno suggested that the city ought to sue the speculators who are abusing the Ellis Act by purchasing building after building and in each case claiming they want to go out of the business of being a landlord.

Weiss correctly pointed out that it does not good to put people in shelters or medical facilities if they are released back to the streets with no place to go. She’s a fan of Seattle-style “supportive villages.”…

They all seemed to be buying into the concept that all growth is good, and that we don’t need to control or moderate it

When it came to traffic congestion, we saw a few minor differences. Breed is not in favor of a London-style toll system that charges drivers for the right to head into congested areas; Kim and Leno said that’s an idea worth pursuing…(more)

Missed this Mayoral debate, as I attended the much more divisive Senator Wiener Town Hall. This event attracted a crowd of people from outside the city and a lot of folks from Wiener’s district 8, who oppose the housing legislation he is pushing, outlined in this article: “Scott Weiner’s War on Local Planning

All of the issues involving housing, displacement, homelessness, crime, and economic inequalities are based on the belief that “unlimited growth is good”. Where in California has dense housing resulted in a decease in displacement, homelessness, crime, or a better lifestyle for residents?

Followup: After watching the tape I see quite a bit of difference between the candidates on some of the issues I care about.
https://www.facebook.com/SFUnitedDems/videos/940340022786081

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Livin’ in the City, by the Numbers: Public Press Weekly

By Michele Anderson : sfpublicpress – excerpt

Homeless line the sidewalks of SOMA and the Mission, by Bluecat

Many city dwellers have a lot to complain about these days: sky-high rents and home prices, housing for the few, sketchy roommates, skimpy parking, hellish traffic, clutter, litter — you name it. And then there’s homelessness. The numbers of San Franciscans living on the streets are increasing, right?

Well, actually, no. 

The numbers are relatively unchanged, but what’s happening is there are more tents and the unhoused population is more visible. Thanks to redevelopment, there are fewer alleys, parking lots and cheap rooms that are far from foot traffic where people can stake out a place to live.  (KALW/Crosscurrents)…

Let’s Talk Politics

RELATED:
SF set to start process for building modular housing for formerly homeless

The narrow loophole that lets Breed control both branches of government

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

She’s the acting mayor, has all the powers of the mayor — but didn’t take the oath of office. That’s why, according to the city attorney, she can do both jobs…

City Attorney Dennis Herrera says that London Breed can be both mayor and Board of Supervisors president for the duration – because of one little loophole in the law.

Attorney Dean Preston has questioned whether Breed can do both jobs, since the City Charter makes clear that mayor of San Francisco is a full-time position…(more)

I think the majority of the residents of the city share the concerns noted here regarding the duties of Mayor needing to be separate from the duties of supervisor. We look forward to a resolution on this soon as the Board of Supervisors can agree on who to appoint as interim mayor.

Meanwhile, a lot is going on at City Hall and some of it is not bad. These stories on 48hiils should get some attention. Read on…

Breaking: Key rent control bill dies in Assembly committee

Two key Democrats side with the landlords to block repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act.

The effort to allow cities to impose effective rent controls failed in a state Assembly committee today after two Democrats refused to vote for the bill.

The repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act needed four votes to move forward. It died, 3-2, when Assemblymembers Jim Wood of Healdsburg and Ed Chau of Arcadia abstained from voting

Protests erupted in the Capitol after the vote, with tenant groups occupying the rotunda… (more)

This is not over. The solution is to contact their constituents and apply pressure.

Planning Commission rejects condo application after 100-year-old was evicted

In a stunning, unanimous decision, planners say you can’t evict a centenarian, lie about it on your condo application, and get a lucrative permit…

The San Francisco City Planning Commission unanimously rejected an attempt by the building owners who evicted 100-year-old Iris Canada to convert their property to condos after every single commissioner said that the application submitted by the owners, and the information provided by the planning staff, were inaccurate… (more)

 

 

 

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)

 

 

 

 

SF mayor, supervisor feud over use of site for housing

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The homeless Navigation Center that Aaron Peskin proposed for a North Beach parking lot has led to a power struggle between the supervisor and his longtime political foe, Mayor Ed Lee, who wants to use the site for affordable housing.

Peskin’s Navigation Center would likely interfere with the 178-unit development that’s scheduled to break ground next year at 88 Broadway, now a city-owned parking lot just off the Embarcadero. And last week a sympathetic constituent gave Peskin ammunition that could help him forestall the project, making room for his temporary homeless facility…

One North Beach resident, Marc Bruno, filed an appeal with the city Planning Department to stall the development because it would eliminate 180 parking spaces, which he says would create traffic congestion.

Bruno, who describes himself a fervent supporter of Peskin, told The Chronicle he is also concerned the affordable housing units, which would go to low-income seniors, families and formerly homeless people, wouldn’t serve “the poorest of the poor” in his neighborhood…(more)

 

 

San Francisco ballot measure on affordable housing would test voters

By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt

Homeless people have taken up residents on the side walks near the recently emptied PDR buildings in the Mission as businesses move out due to high rents. There are quite a few large empty bakeries and car lots and former construction shops. These photos by zrants.

San Franciscans are famous for complaining about the city’s homeless problem, high housing costs and fleeing middle class, and in the same breath, blasting affordable housing projects planned near them.

The homeless encampments sprawling all over city sidewalks are outrageous! Build affordable housing for homeless people in my neighborhood? No way!

So it’ll be an interesting test to see how a ballot measure planned for June fares with city voters. The love-it-or-hate-it group known as Yimby Action (for Yes in My Backyard) wants voters to make it easier for developers to construct 100 percent affordable housing and teacher housing.

The measure, being reviewed by the city attorney’s office and set to hit the streets soon for signature collection, would eliminate discretionary reviews for those two housing categories.

That means that if a 100 percent affordable or teacher housing project met all zoning and other requirements, it would get the go-ahead automatically. It could speed the process for getting permits from several years to a few months, said Laura Foote Clark, executive director of Yimby Action…(more)

The state recently passed a law that covers most of this and the major problem we are facing is a lack of space to build without disrupting current residents and a lack of money to build the affordable housing. As a recent housing balance report pointed out, there is a major problem with adding additional affordable housing when you are losing existing at almost the rate you are building, or approving. Not all of the approved projects are being built. It is cheaper and easier for everyone to preserve the existing housing and a lot more humane. There is already a move or two to repeal Costa Hawkins at the state level that could do just that.