As National Park Service regional HQ struggles with soaring Bay Area costs, Sen. Feinstein pushes back on plan to move out of state

By Hannah Norman : bizjournals.- excerpt

The U.S. National Park Service has become the latest casualty of San Francisco’s soaring office rents and housing crisis.

The federal agency plans to uproot its west regional office, which supervises 60 national parks throughout the western United States, from San Francisco’s Financial District for Vancouver, Washington.

“We have struggled with recruitment in San Francisco for years due to the high cost of living,” said Regional Director Stan Austin in a staff memo obtained by KQED. The move could save the agency $1.8 million a year with less money allocated toward paying its staff… (more)

The Park Service is not alone in its fight to attract workers as housing prices rise far faster than compensation. Just last month, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state’s largest power companies, said it will be relocated many of its jobs from San Francisco to Sacramento. This move to decentralize comes after a more than 100-year stint in the city by the bay. The California Association of Realtors recently reported that a household in San Francisco needs to make $333,000 per year to afford a median-priced home of… (more)

How is this not somewhat amusing to those of us who are calling the PUC out for failing to regulate tech buses, Uber, Lyft, and the whole menagerie of “sharing” on-demand transportation systems that is largely responsible for the gentrification they are now fleeing. Does no one else see the irony in this? PUC is leaving the nightmare they created for San Francisco. How is this fair?

Advertisements

2018 mayoral candidate questionnaire: Mark Leno

hoodline – excerpt

Mark Leno interview re: how he anticipates supporting small businesses:

Many small business owners we interview complain about the city’s permitting and approval processes. What are your plans for making it easier for San Franciscans to become entrepreneurs?.

Today, one of the greatest roadblocks to the expansion and success of our small business community is the difficulty many face when working their way through our permitting and approvals processes. No small business owner or prospective entrepreneur should have to hire an expediter to do what city government itself should be doing. Far too often I’ve heard from small business owners who find themselves forced to pay for services that city government should provide. As mayor, I will be looking closely at the many hurdles our small business community faces, including the permit and appeals processes.

Rising commercial rents have driven many small businesses out of business, leaving vibrant corridors with an abundance of vacant storefronts throughout the city. Furthermore, delays and construction costs on transit improvement projects have been a major source of frustration – for residents, merchants and visitors. As a small business owner, I absolutely understand the negative effects merchants in the impact zone are facing.

One of my first priorities will also be to ensure there is a small business voice on the SFMTA, where the lack of small business representation is so clearly hurting our small businesses citywide. One example of this impact can be seen in the ongoing delays of the Geary BRT. Small business owners and prospective business owners along Geary struggle with the uncertainty of the completion of a project which would greatly affect their ability to attract and retain customers amid construction. SFMTA should be working with business owners to ensure important decision-making takes into consideration the impact on merchants and merchant corridors… (more)

Mark Leno promises to shake things up if he is elected Mayor and we anticipate some new faces at City Hall if that happens, as the status quo is obviously not working for the average citizen. The status quo is turning San Francisco into a corporate sports and entertainment arena. Our biggest effort to compete with Time Square for gaudiness is a giant pulsing tower raised to the skies.

Regardless of who is elected Mayor we will have new Commissioners and Board members. Hopefully new SFMTA Board members would consider unwinding the corporatization of our streets that has flourished under our current Board and, if it is Mark Leno, he can use some influence in Sacramento to suggest for changes to the PUC and state legislature. For some time we have been pointing to the PUC and we will continue to point that way until someone gets the message and takes action at the state level to reign in the corporate takeover of our state.

The myth of long-term housing “underproduction”

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Mission-Bay-at-Third

New Mission Bay condos on Third Street next to the T-Line near the ballpark, by zrants

Has California—and SF—failed to build housing for the past 50 years? The data show otherwise

In an interview with Phil Matier on CBS April 1, State Sen. Scott Wiener repeated a line I’ve heard from him, and from many others in politics and the news media, over and over:

“There’s a reason we don’t build much housing,” he said, “and it’s been that way for 50 years.”

This is one of the central pieces of the housing market mythology that defines the debate over SB 827 and the larger question of development policy in the city, the region, and the state.

And when you look at the actual facts, it doesn’t seem to hold up…

Here’s how Fernando Marti, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, puts it:…

What the data shows is that, while the rate of production generally tracked population growth, often faster, it crashed in 2008, and even with the booming economy, it hasn’t come back. The sooner we start understanding what’s really been happening since 2008, rather than blaming a fictitious “50 years of underproduction,” the sooner we can get to real solutions that matter.. (more)

We don’t need to destroy the Sunset to save San Francisco

By Jane Kim : medium – excerpt

State politicians have been rushing forward a “transit oriented” housing proposal that will allow virtually unlimited construction of luxury condos throughout San Francisco.

The proposal is Senate Bill 827 (SB 827) and it allows developers to build up to 8 stories of luxury housing in areas that meet “minimum levels of transit service.” 96% of San Francisco’s parcels, including the Sunset, Richmond, Excelsior and Chinatown meet this standard. And the proposal upzones our entire City without increasing developer contribution to transit, parks, schools or other services critical to sustaining our neighborhoods. This is not how we build housing or grow livable cities…

Meanwhile, the cities who refuse to invest in public transit aren’t required to build any new housing. In fact, SB 827 rewards bad actors who refuse to build public transit or housing — sorely needed throughout the region. The Sierra Club California opposes this “pro-environment” bill writing, “While infill development near transit is the most desirable option, we believe that [SB 827] is a heavy-handed approach to encourage development that will ultimately lead to less transit being offered and more pollution generated, among other unintended consequences.”…

This plan is a failure. We can build more housing without destroying our neighborhoods...(more)

 

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…

 

 

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)