Through the cracks journalism
The latest catch.
By Nina Alter : thebolditalic – excerpt
Earlier this week, The Examiner reported that the SFMTA is widening its ban on oversized vehicles in the city, adding 61 new locations to the list of areas where people aren’t allowed to park vans and RVs that many use as their homes. “This is just one more tool in SFMTA’s tool box for parking management,” claimed the company’s project manager Andy Thornley, who’s heading the pilot-project initiative prohibiting the parking of large vehicles from 12 p.m. to 6 a.m. on certain streets.
Have we as a city really become this cold?…
“We are not out to evict the homeless but we just want to have the nice neighborhood we deserve,” Eileen Reimonenq, head of the Alemany Clean Committee, told The Examiner…
“In my mind, this is displacement, it’s not effectively getting to the root of the problem, and the problem is people are living in vehicles, and they’re being criminalized for it,”said Nick Kimura, a volunteer at the Coalition on Homelessness.
Entitlement can be a fickle bedfellow. Context and perspective informed by direct personal experiences, an excellent antidote…
My mom was a retired social worker, an upper-middle class divorcee, and an elder struggling with mis-diagnosed bipolar when she fell homeless.
All known data considered, I’m unable to see this ban as anything more than a prejudiced, misinformed effort to clear subjectively defined riffraff for the benefit of appearances to real-estate investors, and as the least-expensive possible “fix” to crime. Crime that, all data compiled, I don’t think has anything to do with our vehicularly housed homeless neighbors, by any association… (more)
Evicting people by parking tickets is a novel approach, but one that a smart city with a smart traffic control system was bound to add to its eviction toolbox. After all there are so many ways to get caught and ticketed in SF and so many government agencies watching cars it is hard to imagine they have time to investigate serious crime.
We counted over 8 different government-sanctioned authorities charged with protecting the public from cars and unruly drivers. The Police Department’s Traffic Division, the Sheriff’s Department, the California State Highway Patrol, SFMTA’s meter minders, the university and college campus police, Federal officers. If you aren’t caught by a human, there are cameras at bridge crossings, on Muni buses and at bus stops and street corners that can tag you. Theoretically any camera can catch you and some can automatically spit out a ticket through the mail.
Anyone who has been evicted or foreclosed upon should sympathize with people living in vehicles. Instead of evicting people from the streets, city authorities could invest time and energy into setting up a legal park for people who still have cars and other vehicles to park with access to standard plumbing and other amenities. The cheapest housing is a trailer park, but, when it comes to housing the homeless, the real goal is creating wealth through public funding for developers, contractors and financiers of low income housing.
by Ellen Brown : ellenbrown – excerpt
n a nearly $13 billion settlement with the US Justice Department in November 2013, JPMorganChase admitted that it, along with every other large US bank, had engaged in mortgage fraud as a routine business practice, sowing the seeds of the mortgage meltdown. JPMorgan and other megabanks have now been caught in over a dozen major frauds, including LIBOR-rigging and bid-rigging; yet no prominent banker has gone to jail. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of all mortgages nationally remain underwater (meaning the balance owed exceeds the current value of the home), sapping homeowners’ budgets, the housing market and the economy. Since the banks, the courts and the federal government have failed to give adequate relief to homeowners, some cities are taking matters into their own hands.
Gayle McLaughlin, the bold mayor of Richmond, California, has gone where no woman dared go before, threatening to take underwater mortgages by eminent domain from Wall Street banks and renegotiate them on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. A member of the Green Party, which takes no corporate campaign money, she proved her mettle standing up to Chevron, which dominates the Richmond landscape. But the banks have signaled that if Richmond or another city tries the eminent domain gambit, they will rush to court seeking an injunction. Their grounds: an unconstitutional taking of private property and breach of contract…
Eminent Domain as a Negotiating Tool
Investors can afford high-powered attorneys to bring investor class actions, but underwater and defaulting homeowners usually cannot; and that is where local government comes in. Eminent domain is a way to bring banks and investors to the bargaining table.
Professor Robert Hockett of Cornell University Law School is the author of the plan to use eminent domain to take underwater loans and write them down for homeowners. He writes on NewYorkFed.org:…
The End of “Too Big to Fail”?
Richmond’s city council is only one vote short of the supermajority needed to pursue the eminent domain plan, and it is seeking partners in a Joint Powers Authority that will make the push much stronger. Grassroots efforts to pursue eminent domain are also underway in a number of other cities around the country. If Richmond pulls it off successfully, others will rush to follow… (more)
Critiquing Richmond’s eminent domain plan — Prof. Hockett’s response to Marc Joffe
citizenmarin – excerpt
Citizen Marin brings you a video describing The Future Of Marin. If we don’t act now to stop the machine, this will be our future.
Originally posted on Meter Madness:
There are now two incidents in which officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have used handshake agreements with companies to either expedite a process or to avoid it altogether — as was the case with recently revealed news about commuter shuttles. The egregious backroom dealing by the SFMTA and its proxies needs to cease immediately.
Originally posted on Meter Madness:
The Sierra Club is urging San Ramon to prepare a transportation master plan to figure out how to solve our transportation problems for the coming decades–before spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects that may not help in the short term and that may close off long-term solutions. (There is a 2009 Countywide Comprehensive Transportation Plan, but it doesn’t really do the job.)
John Coté : sfgate – excerpt
(02-24) 11:04 PST SAN FRANCSICO — San Francisco’s housing crunch has reached Sacramento.
Faced with a surge in evictions and stratospheric prices for homes and apartments, two San Francisco lawmakers are now pushing separate bills in an effort to amend the state law that property owners used to evict hundreds of households in the city over the last year, often to put the apartments up for sale.
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is introducing a bill Monday at the request of Mayor Ed Lee that is designed to prevent speculators from buying up apartment buildings, kicking out the tenants, and flipping the units for sale.
Leno’s bill, which would apply only to San Francisco, would force buyers to own a building for at least five years before they evict tenants using the Ellis Act, a state law that allows an owner to kick out renters if he or she takes the building off the rental market… (more)
This seems like the first reasonable approach that should curb flipping houses, and could calm the rate of increasing costs.
Bill to allow moratoriums
State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, on Friday introduced a bill that would allow local jurisdictions – through the Board of Supervisors or a public vote – to enact a moratorium on Ellis Act evictions when the housing supply can’t keep pace with demand. Ammiano’s bill, AB2405, would also hide no-fault evictions from tenant records or credit checks… (more)
The problem with a moratorium is that is the way we got here in the first place. Turning development on and off rather than regulating it and allowing a slower constant pace makes it easier for communities to absorb changes.
Posted by Joshua Sabatini : sfweekly – excerpt
Supporters of a June ballot measure that could curb high-rise development along San Francisco’s waterfront alleged Monday that Supervisor Scott Wiener has potentially misused public resources in requesting city departments provide a detailed analysis of its impacts.
Jon Golinger, a campaign manager for the June 3 measure, used a public records request to obtain text messages and emails between Wiener and Gabriel Metcalf, who heads SPUR, an urban policy think tank, and Jack Bair, the San Francisco Giants senior vice president and a former deputy city attorney.
The communications include discussions about the analysis request and strategize for its approval. The ballot measure, if passed, would impact the Giants’ plans to build a development behind its ballpark, for which they would need to increase the height limits. The organization is also involved in a lawsuit arguing to strike the measure, which would require that voters approve any height-limit increases for waterfront development, from the ballot.
“It’s a pretty strong indicator public resources were used here to oppose a ballot measure,” Golinger said of the communications. Read the letter Jon Golinger sent to the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office about his allegations… (more)
Wiener – complaint on waterfront proposal “ridiculous”: On Monday, Jon Golinger, the director of the ballot measure campaign, filed a complaint with City Attorney Dennis Herrera‘s office accusing Wiener of misusing public resources for a political campaign in creating the legislation. The Board of Supervisors is set to vote on Wiener’s proposal Tuesday… Texts and e-mails that Wiener’s office turned over under a public records request show that Gabriel Metcalf, the executive director for SPUR, a smart-growth think tank, suggested to Wiener that state law allows the Board of Supervisors to request specific information from departments about the fiscal and other impacts of ballot measures.