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Through the cracks journalism

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Retired judge Kopp appears headed for reappointment to Ethics Commission

February 23, 2017

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Retired judge Quentin Kopp appears headed for reappointment to the Ethics Commission for a full six-year term.

The Board of Supervisors Rules Committee – on which sits supervisors Norman Yee, Ahsha Safai and Sandra Fewer – voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Kopp’s reappointment. Kopp has served on the commission since September. The full board will vote on the reappointment next week… (more)

What every member of Congress from California said — or hasn’t said — about Trump’s immigration order

February 22, 2017

By Sarah D. Wire : latimes – excerpt

Download: CSV, XLS, JSON

YIMBYs, Smart Growth — and unanswered questions

February 21, 2017

By Zelda Bronstein :48hills – excerpt


The real-estate industry loves smart growth; here’s why

On February 1 I flew to St. Louis for the  New Partners for Smart Growth conference, the largest gathering dedicated to dense, transit-oriented/walkable/bikeable development in the United States.

For many years the event has been run by the Local Government Commission, a non-profit, i.e., private, organization headquartered in Sacramento. In 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded LGC a $208,000 grant to organize and plan the annual conference for five years (2014-2018). The 768 people listed on the 2017 roster of participants included public officials, consultants, developers, educators, health care professionals, and others. To my knowledge, I was the only member of the press in attendance.

What drew me to St. Louis, where the temperatures can (and did) drop below freezing in early February, was a desire to see how smart growth, the dominant paradigm in U.S. city and regional planning, would be presented on a national stage.

I had a particular interest in the session alliteratively entitled “Growing Grassroots ‘Good Growth’ Group.” Moderated by Greenbelt Alliance Executive Director Jeremy Madsen, the panel of three self-declared YIMBYs (Yes in My Backyard) included BARFer and East Bay Forward founding member Gregory Magofña, who was a legislative aide to former Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.

I sat in on that session and four others dealing with smart growth basics, inclusionary housing, urban manufacturing, and public-private partnerships for “shared mobility.” That was a tiny sample of the nearly 90 sessions convened during the three-day event (I was there for two of those days), but it left some strong impressions.

I was hoping that the conference format would allow me to raise forbidden questions—planning issues that are suppressed in public policymaking in the Bay Area and beyond—and to see how smart growth advocates would respond. It did, as I describe in the following accounts of the Good Growth and “shared mobility” sessions… (more)


America Gives Trump an Earful at ‘Not My President’s Day’ Rallies

February 21, 2017

From sea to shining sea, thousands of Americans marked Presidents Day on Monday by denouncing the current occupant of the White House — President Donald Trump.

“Not My President’s Day” rallies were staged in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia and more than two dozen other cities across the nation in a spirited display of defiance against a president who has been in power for just one month… (more)

No love lost between San Francisco and Marin Summer of Love producer

February 19, 2017

by Paul Liberatore : marinij – excerpt

It’s been a bitter winter for the Summer of Love.

Plans for the 50th anniversary celebration of San Francisco’s hippie history have been marred by a conflict between the city and Mill Valley producer Boots Hughston, whose permit for a free June 4 concert on the Golden Gate Park Polo Fields to celebrate 1967’s Summer of Love was denied last week by a unanimous vote of the recreation and parks commission.

The day after the decision, based on rec and park staff’s “serious concerns” about security, park protection and disruption of the neighborhood, Hughston was exploring other options, including resubmitting his application for a permit, moving the concert to another location or, as a more drastic step, filing a lawsuit against the city to get its ruling overturned…(more)

We knew the Park and Rec Department lost its soul, but really guys? At a time when the entire planet needs love and reassurance that American traditions are sacrosanct and our resolve to protect them is intact, how can you nix the FREE 50h Anniversary Summer of Love concert where it all started in Gold Gate Park? Are you selling your favors out for highest profit? All those devlelopment fees and taxes and bonds you get are not enough to feed your insatiable appetite for money? This concert is gift to a fading memory of good times that many want to keep alive. Are you putting a price tag on that?


San Francisco Firing Up A Marijuana Department

February 18, 2017

By Katelyn Baker : 420magazine – excerpt

San Francisco would have its own independent department of marijuana under legislation headed to the Board of Supervisors.

“The goal is to create a single office to manage the onslaught that we are facing come Jan. 1, when recreational pot becomes legal,” said Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.

Sheehy has asked the city attorney to draw up legislation to set up an independent department to regulate the cultivation, sale and distribution of weed within San Francisco.

“Although I don’t think we will be seeing much cultivation here once marijuana is legal,” Sheehy said. “It’s going to be too expensive.”

That still leaves sale and distribution, which Sheehy says are big challenges that will affect neighborhoods throughout the city — as well as existing medical marijuana dispensaries, which are now overseen by the city’s Public Health Department.

“We are thinking of calling it the Department of Cannabis,” Sheehy said.

In addition to issuing the permits required to grow, distribute or sell marijuana in San Francisco, the new department would have inspectors to keep an eye to see that the pot shops aren’t selling to people under 21, are keeping the hours they advertise and otherwise comply with city rules.

“Otherwise we will wind up overlapping with other departments,” Sheehy said.

And because no city department is complete without a commission to make policy, “we would have a director and a commission,” Sheehy said.

In other words, the full bureaucratic treatment — right up there with the likes of City Planning, Building Inspection and the city’s other 60 departments.

City department heads make from $122,070 to $355,992 a year, depending on the level of responsibility.

As for who will pay for all of this?

“At this point, I would say that the high probability — pardon the pun — is that the money will come from fees charged to the marijuana businesses,” Sheehy said… (more)

Transportation and housing have a backlash in common

February 15, 2017

Spencer A Brown : bizjournals – excerpt

Geary Boulevard’s Bus Rapid Transit system is now in the crosshairs of opponents.

Housing and transportation share more than a status as the Bay Area’s most serious, least tractible problems. Increasingly,
they share the same obstacles, while we collectively share the costs of our failure to make progress on them. The destructive backlash against housing development that has swept across the Bay Area in recent years is widening into an equally counterproductive atteIIlPt to block urgent transportation improvements.

As we reported online this week, Geary Boulevard’s Bus Rapid Transit system is now in the crosshairs of opponents. In the works for more than a decade, the project would reconfigure a perpetually congested urban artery, reserving one lane in each direction for buses only…

We get that change is difficult. But change to our creaking, overburdened transit infrastructure and systems is necessary. “Let’s just keep things as they are, and hope for the best” is not a strategy. It’s a delusion, and a dangerous one when the region is in the midst of historic growth spurt that will add more than 2 million people between 2010 and 2040.

Because our housing and transit problems share one other trait: They will most definitely not fix themselves… (more)

The backlash is coming from the citizens who oppose the methods and solutions to the problems outlined here. The backlash, as it is being labeled, is worldwide and growing exponentially.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of cities that have a “save our neighborhood” movement. One in LA has hit the ballot with a 2 year moratorium proposal. Details here:

Google save our neighborhoods and see what else pops up.


Missing Links and Politics

Nationally and globally, people have reason for simmering economic-based anger – despite incredible advances in living.  Political responses are banal – from lashing out to scapegoating to promises of change.  Missing is a response for a new economic paradigm and a vision for a new age of enlightenment.

Merely 120 years ago, people worked hard, had fun, dreamed aspirations – and then died at the early age of 40.  Growing population and life expectancy further stress economic trends, Conventional 9-to-5, non-service and living-waged jobs have wilted with the rise of organization, globalization, mechanization, technology, automation, robotics, sustainability and diversification.  Inflation-adjusted wages declined.  Income-disparity rose exponentially.  Jobs will be reinvented and reorganized at a faster pace – from workers, builders, soldiers, tinkers and tailors to architects, technocrats, doctors, lawyers and executive chiefs.

Politicians are reluctant to acknowledge transformations, clinging to traditional solutions to non-conventional economics.   From 1750 to 2150, the world’s population will have grown from 800 million to 9.7 billion people.  From 1841 to 2100, life expectancy will have increased from 42 years to 88 years.  If the concept of conventional work remains unchanged, older workers will work longer.  Younger workers will find constrained employment and wages – irrespective of education.  A new economic paradigm is inescapable.

…Howard Wong



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