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November 2016 SFMTA Charter Amendment

May 30, 2016

Let City Hall know you are fed up with the SFMTA.
Support Prop L – MTA Board Appointments and Budget
stopsfmta.com

The 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. Contract approvals will still require a majority vote of the Board of Supervisors.
Link to legislation File No. 160389
Proponent: Supervisor Yee   Opponent: Supervisor Wiener

They work for us. We don’t work for them.  The SFMTA is the one that needs to shift policies and goals, not the residents. 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

 

London mayor launches unprecedented inquiry into foreign property ownership

September 30, 2016

in London and in Hong Kong : theguardian – excerpt

Exclusive Sadiq Khan tells the Guardian he will carry out ‘the most thorough research on this matter ever undertaken’ amid widespread concern over rising housing costs and gentrification…

London mayor Sadiq Khan is to launch the UK’s most comprehensive inquiry into the impact of foreign investment flooding London’s housing market, amid growing fears about the scale of gentrification and rising housing costs in the capital.

Khan said there are “real concerns” about the surge in the number of homes being bought by overseas investors, adding that the inquiry would map the scale of the problem for the first time.

“It’s clear we need to better understand the different roles that overseas money plays in London’s housing market, the scale of what’s going on, and what action we can take to support development and help Londoners find a home,” Khan told the Guardian.

“That’s why we are commissioning the most thorough research on this matter ever undertaken in Britain – the biggest look of its kind at this issue – so we can figure out exactly what can be done.”… (more)

Gentrification is a global problem. It’s time we found a better solution

September 30, 2016

First come the artists, then the cranes. As the kamikaze pilots of urban renewal, wherever the creatives go, developers will follow, rents will rise, the artists will move on, and the pre-existing community will be kicked out with them.

Such is the accepted narrative of gentrification, a term first coined more than 50 years ago by the German-born British sociologist Ruth Glass to describe changes she observed in north London – but it is a phenomenon that has been at the heart of how cities evolve for centuries.

Gentrification is a slippery and divisive word, vilified by many for the displacement of the poor, the influx of speculative investors, the proliferation of chain stores, the destruction of neighbourhood authenticity; praised by others for the improvement in school standards and public safety, the fall in crime rates, and the arrival of bike lanes, street markets and better parks

There have been many upsides. But the consequences of the rate and scale of change, the displacement of poor by rich, the loss of workspace and the hollowing out of neighbourhoods by buy-to-leave investors, is now frightening even the most ardent promoters of trickle-down regeneration.

Brownfield developments have too often resulted in lifeless dormitory blocks: clone-town apartments built without the social infrastructure of the corner shops, doctors’ surgeries, pubs and primary schools needed to make viable places to live. Projects that were planned as mixed-tenure neighbourhoods have seen their “affordable” housing quotas relentlessly squeezed out, thanks to the clever accounting of viability consultants and well-paid planning lawyers

My own view is that the best solution to mitigate the impact of the almost inevitable tide of urban gentrification is a tax on the value of land, which would capture the value of improvements for the local community, rather than lining the pockets of investors…

A land value tax shifts this dynamic. Rather than taxing property, it taxes the value of the land itself – determined by its location, not what is built on it. The rise in value that results from neighbourhood improvements is therefore captured and returned to the community, to be reinvested in the area…

Are you experiencing or resisting gentrification in your city? Share your stories in the comments below, through our dedicated callout, or on Twitter using #GlobalGentrification…(more)

RELATED:
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/sep/19/city-resist-gentrification-displacement

How to get involved: Share your stories with us and a selection will be featured on Guardian Cities, which next week will be hosting a special series focusing on gentrification around the world.

You can either contribute using the form online, or using GuardianWitness (just click on the blue “Contribute” button). You can also follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion, using the hashtag #GlobalGentrification.

 

Gentrification heartbreak in San Francisco

September 29, 2016

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Every time I walk up to the Lower Haight, my heart hurts a little. Tucked away on Haight and Fillmore used to be my home — the only place in San Francisco I felt safe. It was the Empire Records-like atmosphere of D-Structure Clothing Company (DSF).

As of May of this year, they had to abandon their store and move everything online. No more art shows, no more PBR shotguns, no more community. I never truly felt the gentrification of this city affected my heart until my favorite place in the world shut down.

I first became acquainted with DSF from an open position on Craigslist. The post read, “Tell me why you want work here, why you are weird and what blogs you read.” I thought to myself, “I am definitely weird,” so I wrote a fabulous cover letter and got an interview.

I had just moved here from Tel Aviv and had no friends in town. I had a job in tech, but I didn’t have a huge team and they were all dudes. So I thought, maybe I would get a retail job somewhere and meet other people. This place that ended up accepting me into their work family.

The Lower Haight was full of eclectic people. It felt like everything was in balance…

It is clear why I am so heartbroken. But even more is how these types of hubs foster creativity and serve as a jumping off point for employees’ careers. Ex-employees now work as professional photographers, musicians, artists at Pixar, teachers at Workshop SF, DJs, tattoo artists and of course, writers. I have not yet found that level of support in any women’s group, meetup or job…

It seems like this story has been told all over the country. It’s just that here, we are actually losing our identity. I know a lot of people who moved here for the eccentricities of San Francisco. The weird fog, the learned people and the awesome food. People moved here for the culture. But with the rise of gentrification in the most artistic places, there is no longer as much room for creative excellence…

All of this begs the question: What came first, businesses closing or creative people leaving San Francisco? It seems like people are leaving for the same reason why the small venues are closing — the rent and cost of living is astronomical. As more and more creatives leave, it may cause these places to close. It is really all about money.

Unfortunately, economics is such a powerful force that these awesome places may not be able to survive. Superior service, great products, atmosphere, as well as a compelling value proposition has to win out. In that way, these very cool places that are no longer around, are really not much different than a tech start-up. The customer ultimately chooses what lives and what dies… (more)

Eviction specialists, Bornstein & Bornstein, are breaking up and suing each other.

September 29, 2016

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Eviction specialists, brothers and gentrification “villains” Bornstein & Bornstein are breaking up. And boy, is it (legally) messy.

Few local landlord attorneys are as storied and vilified as the Bornsteins, who’ve been in business since 1993. The two brothers — Daniel and Jonathan — are known San Francisco-round for their time holding workshops to teach landlords how to legally evict “no-fault” tenants.

Those are tenants who haven’t done anything to breach their leases, for those not familiar with the lingo. The Bornsteins were oft-described as experts at finding every possible loophole to extract profit for landlords… (more)

Has San Francisco’s housing boom peaked? New project proposals drop along with rents

September 28, 2016

by : bizjournals – excerpt

San Francisco is seeing fewer market-rate housing proposals as rents have softened and a major policy change more than doubled the affordable housing requirement, according to an analysis of city planning data.

The slowdown is a sign that the city’s real estate boom may be fading even as the city pursues more concessions from developers to fund affordable housing. A backlash against projects, including lawsuits, rising construction costs, weakening rents and fewer available large sites are also factors that have made it more challenging to build.

major policy change that may be hurting the pipeline is Prop. C, which voters passed in June. The ballot measure raised the city’s requirement for new projects to include 25 percent affordable housing, a move that developers said would make some projects economically unfeasible. Following the new law, between June and the first week of September, new proposed housing units fell by 58 percent to 1,250 units, compared to 3,000 units proposed for the same period in the prior year, according to an analysis of preliminary project assessments by blog Bay Area Metropolitan Observer…

Prop. C’s requirements may eventually be changed by the Board of Supervisors. A study from the Controller’s office recommends lowering the rate to between 14 to 18 percent for rentals and gradually increasing it by 0.5 percent each year to not hurt development. Officials expect lower land values to eventually absorb the new requirements, but right now, the policy has discouraged property owners from selling, as the final requirements remains uncertain…(more)

If there is much doubt as to how Prop C might work, this should answer those questions.

Robots could replace 1.7 million American truckers in the next decade

September 28, 2016

By Natalie Kitroeff : latimes – excerpt

On Sept. 20, the Obama administration put its weight behind automated driving, for the first time releasing federal guidelines for the systems.

Trucking paid for Scott Spindola to take a road trip down the coast of Spain, climb halfway up Machu Picchu, and sample a Costa Rican beach for two weeks. The 44-year-old from Covina now makes up to $70,000 per year, with overtime, hauling goods from the port of Long Beach. He has full medical coverage and plans to drive until he retires.

But in a decade, his big rig may not have any need for him.

Carmaking giants and ride-sharing upstarts racing to put autonomous vehicles on the road are dead set on replacing drivers, and that includes truckers. Trucks without human hands at the wheel could be on American roads within a decade, say analysts and industry executives.

At risk is one of the most common jobs in many states, and one of the last remaining careers that offer middle-class pay to those without a college degree. There are 1.7 million truckers in America, and another 1.7 million drivers of taxis, buses and delivery vehicles. That compares with 4.1 million construction workers.

While factory jobs have gushed out of the country over the last decade, trucking has grown and pay has risen. Truckers make $42,500 per year on average, putting them firmly in the middle class.

On Sept. 20, the Obama administration put its weight behind automated driving, for the first time releasing federal guidelines for the systems. About a dozen states already created laws that allow for the testing of self-driving vehicles. But the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will ultimately have to set rules to safely accommodate 80,000-pound autonomous trucks on U.S. highways…

The companies pioneering these new technologies have tried to sell cost savings as something that will be good for trucking employers and workers…(more)

The boho-drain: bohemians say goodbye San Francisco, hello LA

September 28, 2016

by Rory Carroll : theguardian – excerpt

The once alternative city by the bay has become a playground for tech billionaires, so its artists are fleeing to an unlikely new home: la-la-land

Once upon a time it seemed San Francisco artists visited Los Angeles only on condition they were tripping on LSD, or some other hallucinogen.

How else to survive the concrete landscape and endless traffic, the airheads and flakes, the tinsel and hustle and sheer vapidity of a metropolis which considered la-la-land a compliment?

So the beat poets and hippies and all the other bohemians would make fleeting forays south before returning to their foggy bay area sanctuary with tales of sun-frizzled vulgarians.

Then everything changed.

“San Francisco turned into this billionaire playground. Everything I identified with was being pushed out. The community that I loved was crumbling and disappearing,” said Andrew Schoultz, a painter. “I just didn’t want to be in that city anymore. So I moved to LA.”

Schoultz, 41, who does installations and public murals, moved in 2014 and was among a group of bay area migrants featured in the new site 7×7. “It’s been very amazing. It was a good decision. A lot of art curators, galleries, museums don’t do San Francisco anymore.”

A community of San Francisco transplants – musicians, writers, designers, comedians – appears to be burgeoning, injecting fresh talent into a city which thrums with new museums, galleries, events and artistic experimentation, giving it plausible claim as the US’s cultural capital…(more)

RELATED:
M 064 Freeman of www.morecontentmag.com

The boho-drain: bohemians say goodbye San Francisco, hello LA
The once alternative city by the bay has become a playground for tech billionaires, so its artists are fleeing to an unlikely new home: la-la-land

Once upon a time it seemed San Francisco artists visited Los Angeles only on condition they were tripping on LSD, or some other hallucinogen.

How else to survive the concrete landscape and endless traffic, the airheads and flakes, the tinsel and hustle and sheer vapidity of a metropolis which considered la-la-land a compliment?
So the beat poets and hippies and all the other bohemians would make fleeting forays south before returning to their foggy bay area sanctuary with tales of sun-frizzled vulgarians.

Then everything changed.
“San Francisco turned into this billionaire playground. Everything I identified with was being pushed out. The community that I loved was crumbling and disappearing,” said Andrew Schoultz, a painter. “I just didn’t want to be in that city anymore. So I moved to LA.”…………..continued at  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/26/san-francisco-move-to-la-bohemians-artists-tech-booM.
 

 

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