What, exactly, is going to get built on Geary and Masonic?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

It was first described as a mixed-use development, then as housing for families …. and now it’s furnished studios for ‘students and visiting professors.’

Just before the Board of Supes voted to approve a new 101-unit project on Geary and Masonic, we learned a critical piece of information:

The developer isn’t planning just to build housing for “working people and families” It’s going to be at least in part furnished rentals, which often becomes corporate rentals.

Sup. Dean Preston said that the developer told him the project only “pencils out” if a significant amount of it is furnished rentals – which bring in higher prices.

“All of their projections are based on furnished rentals,” Preston said. He said the developer needed 19 percent return, that 17 percent wasn’t enough.

The project, the supervisors were told, will be financed by a union pension fund…

So the project – whatever it actually is going to turn out to be – was approved 10-1. But the question still remains: Why is the city going along with a developer’s demand that the rules be relaxed for financial reasons – when nobody but a few supervisors have been able to see the data?… (more)

A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street

By Francesca Mari : nytimes – excerpt

Hundreds of thousands of single-family homes are now in the hands of giant companies — squeezing renters for revenue and putting the American dream even further out of reach(more)

The (above) New York Times article states that private-equity firms have grabbed roughly $60 billion worth of single-family homes.Although, the strategy of the investors, described in the article, has been somewhat different (it seems they have bought distressed homes) than what their strategy would be if they bought up single-family homes in order to convert them to triplexes as allowed by SB-773, it shows that private-equity firms have a strong appetite for single-family homes.

Per our attached list of problems with SB-773: “By prohibiting local agencies from requiring a homeowner to live on the premises, SB-773 incentivizes large-scale investors to buy up single-family homes, convert them to triplexes and then operate them as commercial enterprises. Over time, as supply of single-family homes diminishes, the price of single-family homes would rise more rapidly for residents.”

Recap About Senate Bill 773:
SB-773 is a “clean-up bill” and corrects chaptering errors in accessory dwelling unit (ADU) legislation enacted in 2019 (AB-68, AB-881, SB-13 and others). The bill combines all the ADU legislation enacted last year into one bill. It passed through the State Senate on January 27th and is now being heard by the State Assembly Rules Committee.

We believe that amendments to the bill could correct much more than just chaptering errors. This is an opportunity to amend the flawed ADU bills that were signed into law last year. All further comments about SB-773, also apply to the other newly enacted ADU bills.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) can be very beneficial. However, by requiring ministerial review and stripping away local control of land use and local development standards related to second units, SB-773 goes too far. This is particularly true in high fire risk areas.

This detrimental bill eliminates single family zoning and enables the transformation of beneficial accessory dwelling units (second units and granny flats) into overcrowded multifamily triplexes with potentially multiple adverse impacts.

Besides other mandates, SB-773 requires local agencies to approve detached ADUs that exceed the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), provided the ADU is 800 square feet or less, 16 feet or less in height, and 4 feet or more from the rear/side property lines.

In addition, SB-773 prohibits cities and counties from requiring additional off-street parking spaces in any of the following instances:

(1) The accessory dwelling unit is located within one-half mile walking distance of public transit. [**SB-773 defines ‘Public transit’ as “a location, including but not limited to, a bus stop or train station, where the public may access buses, trains, subways and other forms of transportation that charge set fares, run on fixed routes, and are available to the public.”]
(2) The accessory dwelling unit is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.
(3) The accessory dwelling unit is part of the proposed or existing primary residence or an accessory structure.
(4) When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the accessory dwelling unit.
(5) When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the accessory dwelling unit.
(6) When homeowners convert garages to new housing.

Best regards,


Breed Defends Endorsing Bloomberg for President: ‘I Don’t Take the Easy Route’

By Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt (includes audio track)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s backing of former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign may have caused some to do a double take.

As in, “She endorsed who?”

“I know that it may come as a surprise to a lot of people,” Breed told reporters after an event Thursday morning where she appeared defensive about her decision.

“But, you know, the easy thing would have been to stay out,” she said. “I don’t take the easy route. I do sometimes what may be hard or unpopular to do for the right reasons.”

Breed, the city’s first female African American mayor, had previously endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris of California. But when Harris dropped out, she left a lot of politicos in California with empty dance cards… (more)

There is a joke a friend used to tell about zebras and whether they were black with white stripes or white with black stripes. In the end, it dose not matter. Why do environmentalists identify as greens when that is the color of the American Greenback? In the end the arguments are always about money.



Massive new development would transform Dogpatch area

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Lots of office space, hotel rooms, housing — but how’s it going to work without massive new investments in transit?… (more)

Not to speak about the massive amounts of water and power and sewer and trash support this new “city in a city” will require. When exactly is enough enough?


SF Democrats side with mayor’s candidates for supe, DA

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

A Reform Slate elected to oppose real-estate interests can’t prevent the industry’s favorite candidate from winning the D5 nod.

The progressive majority on the Democratic County Central Committee splintered last night.

Although a reform slate was elected in 2016 specifically with the mandate to move away from real-estate-industry control of the party, the candidate for D5 supe who has the support of real-estate won a party endorsement

By a one-vote margin, the DCCC backed Sup. Vallie Brown and refused to give Dean Preston, who has the backing of every major tenant group and most progressive organizations in town, a shot at a Number Two endorsement.

The mayor’s candidate for district attorney also got the party nod…(more)

CVP and Livable CA file Petition for Writ of Mandate against ABAG for Brown Act violations

Posted by: Bob Silvestri marinpost – excerpt

On April 17, 2019, Community Venture Partners and Livable California filed a “Demand letter to cure or correct Brown Act violations at the January 17, 2019 ABAG E… more »

On April 17, 2019, Community Venture Partners and Livable California filed a “Demand letter to cure or correct Brown Act violations at the January 17, 2019 ABAG Executive Board meeting” (click on the highlighted text to read the full document). Based on the facts and circumstances described in that letter, CVP and LC alleged that the ABAG Board’s vote to endorse the CASA Compact was illegal and therefore null and void.


The full explanation and backstory on why the cease and desist was filed is found in Livable California / CVP’s cease & desist letter with ABAG Board for Brown Act violations, Marin Post, April 18, 2019.

The Board of Directors responded to our letter through Deputy General Counsel Cynthia E. Segal, at the end of the very last day they were legally required to do so.

In her letter, she adamantly denied that ABAG violated the Brown Act, even though the violation was clearly captured on videotape, and that ABAG refused to cure the violation or to take any “remedial action’ whatsoever. She went on to suggest that agencies are allowed to violate the Brown Act so long as they can show that no one was “prejudiced” by their violation. And finally, the violation doesn’t count if it’s not “willful” or “deliberate.” In other words, if they broke the law by mistake or even on purpose with some rationale, it doesn’t count.

I’m going to try to remember these arguments the next time I get a speeding ticket.

In any case, as noted in our April 18th article, what is so unusual here is that in 2013, the California State Legislature enacted SB 751, which was signed by Governor Brown to address this exact same violation by ABAG. That legislation, which amended the Brown Act, contained very, specific language. Effective on January 1, 2014, Government Code § 54953(c)(2) states,

The legislative body of a local agency shall publicly report any action taken and the vote or abstention on that action of each member present for the action… (more)

The only oversight the regional agencies seem to have is citizen oversight. The citizens are claiming a violation of the Brown Act.

Potrero Bus Yard Project meetings turn up many suggestions, little consensus

By Gisela Pérez de Acha and Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

After four public meetings on a development project that could add nearly 1,000 new units atop the Potrero Bus Yard, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will review the comments from the 100 or so people who attended the gatherings and try “to figure out consistency and trends, if they exist,” said Licina Iberri, one of the planning managers.

The project, now in the planning stages, seeks to not only upgrade the 100-year old bus and Muni transportation facility but to add as many as 900 new units – at least 25 percent affordable – as well as add ground floor retail space. The market rate housing would help finance the project(more)

Projects like these, that are opposed by the public, are forcing many people to leave San Francisco and the state. New figures on population exits from Silicon Valley are showing zero population growth. We don’t need more houses in the pipeline when there are already over 40,000 NOT being built. SFMTA staff is supposed to run the Muni not build future housing for non-existent residents.

If SFMTA staff managing the Muni system they would not have time to develop 1,000 market rate units and they would not need the money to support the Muni system if they quit tearing up the streets.

SFMTA staff who do not want to manage the Muni system, but prefer to design the future are in the wrong business. Voters should loudly oppose all future development projects that are built to hold investor dollars and add to the cost of living in this city for everyone who is stuck here. Quit treating San Francisco residents like cattle to be moved about in crowded containers. No wonder ridership is going down. and people are leaving.

The department that can’t keep the trains running on time now due to major switching problems can’t wait to put in more switches. The department that can’t provide a safe ride on the monster buses wants to hire security guards for bigger buses, instead of hiring more drivers to for smaller buses that hold fewer riders, with comfortable seats for everyone. Where is the humanity at SFMTA?