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Westside San Franciscans are none too happy about new water mix

May 28, 2017

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

an Franciscans take pride in drinking pristine water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which they treasure as among the purest in the nation.

So a recent move by the Public Utilities Commission to introduce ground water gradually into the city’s drinking supply prompted anxiety and suspicion…

City water officials began pumping the new mix in March from wells that draw from an acquifer about 400 feet below ground. They plan to add more ground water over the next four years, but it will allow for more than 15 percent of the mixture…

Supervisor Norman Yee, who called the hearing, asked the PUC to perform new quality tests and return with a new analysis… (more)

A lot of questions remain, especially for people with compromised immune systems and chemical sensitivities. You can’t fault people for drinking bottled water as that will be the preference for many, much to the dismay of the water expert, who was “was actually mildly shocked to hear that, ‘Oh my God, people will obviously turn to bottled water’.”

No doubt many will choose bottled water at a time when there is great concern about increasing bottles in our environment. The issues must be weighed and a balance found. Are we going to increase the use of pesticides into our drinking water and increase the number of bottles to recycles or can we return to clean pure Hetch Hetchy water coming out of the taps?

Rec and Park did not show up to explain their use of poisons on our parks that will end up in our water and neither did the health department official. They will be asked to come to the next hearing along with some answers and new data on the actual tests results since the blend was initiated, not based on questionable forecast data.

Fine Dust Linked to Asthma, Cancer and Heart Attacks

May 25, 2017

Investigations by Jaxon Van Derbeken, Robert Campos, Jeremy Carroll, and Michael Horn : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

New skyline seen fro the Bay photo by zrants

San Francisco’s political and spiritual leaders recently hailed the city’s newest tallest building, the 61-story Salesforce tower, as the centerpiece of its ongoing building boom. But residents who live three miles away are left to wonder whether the boom is taking a toll on their health…

At San Francisco General’s child asthma clinic, Dr. Robert Blount, a lung specialist, suspects that bad air is contributing to the Bayview-Hunter’s Point asthma epidemic…

NBC Bay Area took the data that Ray Tompkins gathered around the cement plants to Peter Weiss, an environmental chemist at UC Santa Cruz. He confirmed that the samples do contain the fine 2.5 micron sized particles, and that’s a cause for concern. “This high point does suggest that the people in close proximity to these facilities would definitely be at risk,” he told us…

For complete statements from the two cement facilities, click here.

Tompkins told us that although he continues his own testing, the air quality management district recently pledged to pay for more extensive sampling to allow everyone to fully understand what is in the air in the Bayview.

“We breathe it, and we die by it … it’s my friends, neighbors and people I grew up with,” he told us. “I have go to the funerals, I speak at the funerals … it’s not a laboratory rat, it’s somebody I cared about … dying too damn soon.”… (more)

If you have questions or concerns direct them to NBC Bay Area Investigations

In historic vote, Democratic Party supports rent control

May 25, 2017

By Dean Preston : 48hills – excerpt (includes video)

Although landlord lobbyists control the state Capitol, the party members overwhelmingly sent a pro-tenant message last weekend

Here’s some big news from last weekend’s California Democratic Party Convention that won’t make the papers: Delegates voted to pass a resolution expressing “the Support of the California Democratic Party in Protecting Renters from No-Fault Evictions and Illegal or Excessive Rent Increases and Support Rent Stabilization.”

You read that right: The California Democratic Party supports rent control and just cause for eviction…

Here’s the full resolution approved on the floor Saturday. Congratulations to resolution Authors Deepa Varma, AD17; Dotty LeMieux, AD10; Jane Demian, AD51; and Susie Shannon, AD50. The measure also had more than 100 sponsors. And a special shout out to Santa Cruz City Councilmember Richelle Noroyan who introduced the amendment taken on the floor to strengthen the resolution to explicitly reference support for “rent stabilization.”…


Expressing the Support of the California Democratic Party in Protecting Renters from No-Fault Evictions and Illegal or Excessive Rent Increases and Support Rent Stabilization…

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party affirm its commitment to prevent homelessness and protect renters by opposing no-fault evictions and illegal or excessive rent increases and support rent stabilization; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to each member of the Democratic delegation in the CA State Legislature…

The challenge now is to make sure Democratic lawmakers and candidates listen to their constituents and grassroots party leaders. Real estate money still dominates Sacramento and change will not come overnight. But for those helping to bend the arc of the moral universe toward housing justice, this represents an important step forward. … (more)

Quite a few cities have voted for rent control and just cause evictions are gaining in popularity, so it is good that the state legislature is catching up with the trend. Hopefully the call for repeal of Costa Hawkins will follow soon.

If the Democratic Party won’t bend, it’s going to break

May 23, 2017

By Peter Gallotta : 48hills – excerpt

The state convention showed how the establishment has failed to recognize the importance of grassroots action

It was exhausting marathon weekend at the #CADEM convention with the SF Reform Democrats crew. It was a politically and emotionally charged experience, and the first time as delegates for most of us.

The good news: Three resolutions proposed and supported by SF Reform Dem delegates were heard on the convention floor and PASSED! I was proud to co-author our Medicare for All resolution with Alysabeth Alexander Tut and support Deepa Varma’s two housing resolutions to protect renters from no-fault evictions and excessive rent increases, and to restore state funding for affordable housing.

I was also proud to support Kimberly Ellis in her race for state party chair. She is currently behind Eric Bauman by 62 votes, and has not conceded despite the Bauman campaign declaring victory. At a speech in Caesar Chavez Park, Kimberly announced that she has requested an audit to validate votes before she concedes. There remains a question about the validity of many of the proxy votes that were cast. The party, to its credit, is allowing the audit…

I think if the Democratic Party doesn’t learn to bend, it will break. And that was clear by the disappointment of many who left the room during that General Session. I’m still wrestling with how we can best confront the system and make it more transparent, responsive, and inclusive of the grassroots. The call for Democratic unity should not discount the need for a reality check. It’s time for a man in the mirror moment for our Party… (more)

Why ABAG housing quotas lead to displacement

May 23, 2017

By Thomas Lord : 48hills – excerpt

Places with more low-income residents will be forced to add more higher-income people

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), a product of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), assigns to each Bay Area Jurisdiction quotas of new housing. Each city is urged to incentives and permit construction of its assigned number of new housing units, with some reserved for “very low,” some for “low,” and some for “moderate” income households. The majority of units to be built are supposed to be market rate units. Most of this new development is planned to take place in designated “priority development areas.”…

These quotas, sometimes erroneously called a city’s “fair share” of new housing, are taking on steadily greater legal significance. There are pushes these days in Sacramento, such as Scott Wiener’s “streamlined approval process” bill (SB-35), which are meant to make RHNA quotas mandatory by reducing local control over development decisions. Wiener’s bill would make certain project approvals automatic in cities that have not met their assigned RHNA quotas… (more)

So far Wiener’s “By Right” has not gotten out of the first committee, unless something happened today. Meanwhile, Assembler Member Phil Ting has a much more popular, so far, bill (AB-915) that is making better progress that would counter the Wiener bill by throwing the authority back to local jurisdictions.

As we are looking at the snarled traffic, and considering the why’s of blended water, one must question what kind of lifestyles we are giving up and what quality of life we will have if we are forced to “take” more people and cram them into this small plot of land instead of spreading out a bit so we can appreciate our life and our air, and our water, and maybe even preserve a few views, that brought us here in the first place.

It’s no Serial, but it’ll do

May 17, 2017

by Eve Batey : curbed – excerpt

The San Francisco Business Times is getting into the podcast game with Structures, a podcast on “the Bay Area’s sky-high housing costs, new skyscrapers, and development fights” starring the SFBT’s Blanca Torres and Roland Li.

The inaugural episode is 25 minutes of local wonkery (term used with affection), including their take on a CEQA suit on a Fremont development and the search for teacher housing in SF. They’ve put the episode up on Soundcloud here, but it just might be easier to click on this link here to subscribe through Apple’s podcast app(more)

Dissecting Aetna’s surprising single-payer health care stance

May 16, 2017

By Sarah Kliff : cnbc – excerpt

Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini told employees in a private meeting Thursday that he thinks the United States “should have” a debate about single-payer. “Single-payer, I think we should have that debate as a nation,” Bertolini said in a video tape of his remarks provided to Vox by an attendee at the meeting. You can read his whole answer in my story — but here in VoxCare, I want to catch you up on what has happened since the video leaked this morning…

I think instead of shouting back and forth across the stage, let’s discuss what single-payer means. Is it a single source of financing, which does not yet get at the cost structure? Is it a health care system where the government owns the doctors and hospitals and operates them as well, like the NHS in the UK? What is that? So that when we start yelling single-payer back and forth, let’s discuss that…

Right now, in this country, the government doesn’t run anything in health care other than the ACA, and they’re doing a poor job of that. Aetna was the first financial intermediary for Medicare. We have the first check somewhere in my office to Hartford Hospital. We ran Medicare. The government didn’t. So what is single-payer, what does that mean? Let’s be clear when we say that, so that as the American public hears this comment about single-payer, they know what we’re talking about…. (more)

Some surprises in this article. Read it and see what you think.

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