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Through the cracks journalism

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November 2016 SFMTA Charter Amendment

May 30, 2016

Let City Hall know you are fed up with the SFMTA.
Return the power to the people.

The SFMTA Charter Amendment will split the MTA Board appointments between the Mayor and the Supervisors, 4 to 3 and lower the requirement to reject the SFMTA’s budget from 7 to 6 supervisors, putting the SFMTA management in line with other city departments, and making it easier for the Board of Supervisors to respond faster to voter requests. Link to legislation File No. 160389

The SFMTA is the one that needs to shift policies and goals, not the residents. They work for us. We don’t work for them.  San Francisco needs a transportation system that works today, not a plan for the future. We need a Board who listens to the public not one that dictates to us. Taking seats out of buses and removing bus stops will not help our aging population take public transportation.
Link to a Sample letter to the supervisors

Highland is sued for attempting warrantless snooping on rental property

July 16, 2016

By pacificlegal – excerpt

HIGHLAND, CA;  July 13, 2016: The City of Highland is violating fundamental constitutional rights by trying to coerce landlords and tenants into surrendering their freedom from unjustified, warrantless government intrusion on their property.

So argues a new federal lawsuit against the city.  It challenges the city’s attempt to pressure a rental property owner and his tenants into allowing an open-ended search of their home by city inspectors, without any complaints or evidence that the property has any problems, and without an administrative warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment.

In the civil rights lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District, property owner Karl Trautwein and his tenants are represented by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a national watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and individual rights.  Donor-supported PLF represents all clients free of charge…

This case is Trautwein v. City of Highland, et al.  More information, including the complaint, an explanatory blog post, a podcast, and a video statement, is available at:

About Pacific Legal Foundation : Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country.  PLF represents all clients free of charge…  (more)


Renters and Landlords share rights from warrantless searches. This group has taken on cases against Plan Bay Area.

A Multibillion Dollar Industry Without a Bank

July 14, 2016

By John Geluardi : sfweely – excerpt

As the California campaign for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act gains momentum and state economists forecast an industry that could grow to $15 billion annually by 2020, creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in tax revenue, there’s a dark cloud hanging over potential victory celebrations on Nov. 8: The multibillion dollar industry will have no legal banking options… (more)

Governor’s housing plan would hurt San Francisco

July 14, 2016

By Art Agnos : sfchronicle – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to offer one-time funding of $400 million in exchange for radically deregulating housing development in California cities is a bad recipe for San Francisco and other cities with overheated housing markets.

In cities flooded with development capital, local government would lose the ability to protect neighborhoods and the environment, and also to negotiate large amounts of affordable housing and community benefits. Developers would be enriched at the expense of residents.

Brown’s proposal would require that all new housing developments be automatically approved, bypassing public and environmental review, as long as they meet minimum zoning requirements and include as little as 5 percent affordable units.

In San Francisco, the minimum requirement for affordable units in a new development is a voter-approved 25 percent, and many developers are offering up to 40 percent to win support and approval.

Brown is willing to undercut these standards because he buys developers’ arguments that the high-end housing they want to produce will reduce the pressure on housing stock and drive down prices for everyone. Overheated housing markets, however, don’t work that way.

William Fulton, one of California’s foremost “Smart Growth” experts, captured the reality well in an article last year: “The problem is that under some market conditions, more supply doesn’t lead to market equilibrium because it actually creates its own demand.”

This is the dynamic that many lower- and middle-income neighborhoods are suffering, and opening the floodgates to more market-rate housing will accelerate it, displacing residents along with the local small businesses and nonprofit groups that define our city.

If Gov. Brown wants to help address California’s affordable housing crisis, here are some concrete steps he could take:


SF officials wary of governor’s efforts to streamline housing plans

Art Agnos is on the right track. Cities need to retain their rights to determine their own futures and voters need to elect officials that respect and empower them. Follow the money and vote against it.

A Fox to Guard the Henhouse? Cop Who Shot Luis Gongora Now Part of Police Reform Unit

July 14, 2016

By Sana Saleem : 48hills -excerpt

Community leaders say putting an officer still under investigation for a homicide in a reform group is an insult

UPDATE: At the Police Commission meeting at City Hall SFPD Chief Toney Chaplain said Sgt Nate Steger voluntarily transferred from the Professional Standards and Principled Policing Bureau.

Sgt. Nate Steger, who fatally shot 45-year old Luis Gongora, is now a member of the unit tasked with reforms aimed at preventing officer involved shootings. Let that sink in: A police officer who is currently under investigation for shooting a man on the streets of San Francisco is now part of a unit that is working on solving the very problem, the Examiner reports. That’s right, the fox will guard the henhouse… (more)

Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition in California Qualifies for November Ballot

July 12, 2016

blog.mpp – excerpt

California voters will soon have the opportunity to vote on an initiative that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a system in which marijuana is legal and regulated for adult use… (more)

Text of Prop 64 “the Adult Us of Marijuana  Act”

FYI: So far this is what we have to look at for the text on one of the many state iinitiatives we an expect in November.

First-of-its-kind report details code enforcement cases in SF homes

July 12, 2016

By : sfexaminer – excerpt


San Francisco has been in the national spotlight in recent years for its sky-high cost of living and torrid tales of evictions.

But a lesser-known housing element is setting a national standard for The City as well.

For those who still live in The City, a plethora of building code violations ranging from lack of hot water and heat to rodents and mold continue to plague residents, especially in rented homes.

San Francisco, however, actually saw such violations followed up by city officials more than most major cities in the U.S., according the Department of Building Inspection’s first-ever citywide report on housing code violations in San Francisco, which was released to the San Francisco Examiner last week.

“I’ve always wanted [to do] this,” said James Sanbonmatsu, a senior housing inspector with DBI who authored the report. “We cover an enormous amount of ground and we see a lot of problems and do our best to get them all fixed, so it’s a lot more than any of us realize.”… (more)


Shoring up the city’s edge

July 10, 2016

By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt

History, the future and politics collide as bay waters, aged seawall threaten SF’s Embarcadero

San Francisco’s Embarcadero and the structures along its bayside edge show why the city’s northeast waterfront has become so alluring — and why its future is at risk.

The piers combine robust history with matchless views. There’s high culture and raffish charm, empty benches and a raucous ballpark. The wide sidewalk attracts pedestrians, joggers, cyclists and even pedicabs.

But the atmospheric structures along the Embarcadero and the piers behind them could be inundated regularly at high tide by 2100 if scientific projections of rising sea levels are correct. In the meantime, the cost of bringing the aged structures up to current building codes is so high that the act of physical preservation can violate the spirit of the past, turning funky relics into posh enclaves…(more)


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