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Luxury housing will destroy the last low-income community in Soma

October 21, 2021

By John Elberling : 48hills – excerpt

Oh, and on a site with very shaky ground, the building could be the next Leaning Tower.

A 27-story 400-unit market-rate housing development at 469 Stevenson, if approved, will drive the gentrification of Soma’s Sixth Street community—the last Soma low-income neighborhood left today—beyond the point of no return.

The city’s environmental review of the proposal also has serious problems, including a near-total ignorance of the seismic safety hazards of building a tower on that site.

Alternatively, this is the most important and promising potential affordable housing site in Soma…

TODCO has worked and fought to assure a stable future for the thousands of residents of the Sixth Street Community since it was hit hard by the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989. TODCO spearheaded the city’s Sixth Earthquake Recovery Redevelopment Project that resulted in a dozen affordable housing developments there, and community facilities like the Bayanihan Center, Bindlestiff Theater, and the South of Market Health Center.

But the future of our Sixth Street community has never been more at risk to “market forces,” and that is what is at stake, here and now. We are determined to protect it.

This is why we have appealed the Planning Commission’s approval of the 469 Stevenson project’s Environmental Impact Report to the Board of Supervisors. The EIR is badly flawed legally. But more important, Build’s proposal is the Wrong Project, in the Wrong Place, at the Wrong Time.

The appeal of this project comes before the Board of Supes Tuesday/26 at 3pm.

John Elberling is executive director of TODCO.(more)

‘I’d have done things differently.”

October 20, 2021

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

part ! : District inspectors say DBI director Patrick O’Riordan kept them off connected builders’ sites

he president of the Fire Commission is, to the best of our knowledge, not given deference by firefighters to light buildings ablaze. The police do not allow the president of the Police Commission a complimentary number of free crimes. But for the president of the commission overseeing the Department of Building Inspection — well, life is different.

So, when asked how the Department of Building Inspection didn’t notice its powerful, longtime former commission president Mel Murphy erecting a five-story, 11-unit structure at 3418 26th St., a literal stone’s throw from the major intersection of Mission and 26th streets — all without the benefit of permitting or inspections — the former building inspector for the district says that, actually, it did.

It just didn’t want to…(more)

part 2 : ‘I feel like I was preyed upon:’ District inspectors say DBI director Patrick O’Riordan kept them off connected builders’ sites

Before his recent retirement, Norman Gutierrez was perhaps the Department of Building Inspection’s longest-serving employee. He was hired in 1987 and worked there for 34 years. As such, you see his name festooned upon many, many jobs.

Even the ones he did not do…(more)

The High Residential Densities of California (and “Wild Wild” Texas)

October 10, 2021

By Wendell Cox : newgeography – excerpt

US major metropolitan areas show considerable differences in their median house sizes and median lot sizes among major US metropolitan areas. Reviewing the median square footage for owner occupied housing units (single-detached and manufactured/mobile homes) and median lot sizes for single unit houses varies significantly between metropolitan areas although, by contrast, median house sizes are remarkably similar.

The Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey (AHS), provides data on housing by metropolitan areas, with the latest posting on the American Fact Finder website covering metropolitan areas in 2011 and 2013 (Note 1). These surveys use “AHS areas,” which roughly conform to metropolitan areas or metropolitan divisions (in the few cases where metropolitan areas are divided for analytical purposes).

Lot Sizes

The largest existing lot sizes are about three times that of the national median lot size for one-unit lot of 0.26 acres. The largest median lot sizes for existing 1-unit houses are principally in the South and Northeast. Birmingham and Nashville share the top positions, with a median lot size of 0.75 acres. Hartford’s median lot size is 0.66 acres. Richmond, Atlanta, and Charlotte each have half-acre median lot sizes. This is to be expected, since each of these metropolitan areas has an urban density below 2,000 per square mile (Figure 1)…(more)


The United States, Ranked by Yard Size: Vermont Residents Have the Biggest Yards! #InfographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

Herrera statement on victory over bank that sued seeking a taxpayer bailout

October 5, 2021


‘This case was always about a bank bailout, plain and simple. None of that money would have gone to taxi medallion holders. We’re pleased the jury saw through the disinformation being put out by the other side.’

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 4, 2021) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement today after a jury in San Francisco Superior Court rejected a lawsuit brought by the San Francisco Federal Credit Union against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency over loans the credit union issued for taxi medallions:..

“The City and the Credit Union have a contract. The City has not broken that contract, so taxpayers should not have been forced to bail out this bank. For years the Credit Union kept the profits its medallion loans generated. It didn’t share those profits with taxpayers. Now under new management, the Credit Union was seeking to have taxpayers foot the bill for its investment choices. If the Credit Union had succeeded, not a penny of that money would have gone to drivers.”

“We’re looking forward to putting this case behind us so the focus can return to meaningful improvements in the taxi marketplace.”

Additional information is available on the City Attorney’s website at:

Banks will think twice before offering to partner with the city of SF.

California could soon have its own public banking service, under new law signed by Gavin Newsom

October 5, 2021

By Andrew Sheeler, Sacramneto Bee : msn – excerpt

California set a course to offer the nation’s first zero-cost, public option platform for personal financial services, under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Assembly Bill 1177, authored by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, calls for the state to conduct a market analysis of a state-backed program that would give Californians a public option for banking services like debit cards.

The study would aim to determine with that service would be viable within six years. The commission must complete the analysis by July 1, 2024. Then, the Legislature could decide whether to launch a public banking program…(more)

More actions and a date to watch for.

Pandora papers: biggest ever data leak exposes financial secrets of rich and powerful

October 4, 2021

Via marinpost : theguardian – excerpt

The secret deals and hidden assets of some of the world’s richest and most powerful people have been revealed in the biggest trove of leaked offshore data in history.

Branded the Pandora papers, the cache includes 11.9m files from companies hired by wealthy clients to create offshore structures and trusts in tax havens such as Panama, Dubai, Monaco, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

They expose the secret offshore affairs of 35 world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state. They also shine a light on the secret finances of more than 300 other public officials such as government ministers, judges, mayors and military generals in more than 90 countries.

The files include disclosures about major donors to the Conservative party, raising difficult questions for Boris Johnson as his party meets for its annual conference…

After more than 18 months analysing the data in the public interest, the Guardian and other media outlets will publish their findings over the coming days, beginning with revelations about the offshore financial affairs of some of the most powerful political leaders in the world.

Gerard Ryle, the director of the ICIJ, said leading politicians who organised their finances in tax havens had a stake in the status quo, and were likely to be an obstacle to reform of the offshore economy. “When you have world leaders, when you have politicians, when you have public officials, all using the secrecy and all using this world, then I don’t think we’re going to see an end to it.”…(more)

US political will to protect corporate wealth might take a hit when the public finds out about the amount of US corporate wealth being hidden. How easy will it be to convince citizens to pay more to cover for the corporate interests. Are our San Francisco officials paying attention? Do they really want to sell us another sales taxes increase or parcel tax?

Millions of dollars of event tickets doled out to city workers, commissioners in ethical quagmire, report finds

October 2, 2021

Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt


Nuru’s dance is over, but his party is still going strong.

Trustees given $516K in free performance tickets in past decade; Rec and Park disseminated $431K of Outside Lands tix in four-year stretch

An unusually strongly worded report from the city’s Ethics Commission condemns the ethical murkiness and inadequate reporting measures regarding the millions of dollars worth of tickets and other perks gifted to city departments and doled out to employees, politicians, and their guests.

The report, which was quietly released on Sept. 29, outlines the problematic nature of the $1.29 million in tickets disseminated by city departments since 2009. In some cases, third-party vendors are actually contractually mandated to provide the city with loads of free tickets — a longstanding San Francisco tradition the Ethics report bluntly described as “a culture of expectation that is the basis of a pay‐to‐play system.”

Along similar lines, the War Memorial Board of Trustees — which oversees the auditorium building and is populated by some of the city’s wealthiest elites — has received more than $516,000 worth of free performance tickets since 2012…(more)

Where is this going and when does it end?

Protesters block Golden Gate Bridge to mark ’20 years of failed promises’ on immigration reform

October 1, 2021

By Celine Castronuovo : thehill – excerpt

A group of protesters temporarily blocked traffic along San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to bring attention to what they called “20 years of failed promises” on immigration reform, including the lack of providing a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented migrants.

Footage shared on social media showed demonstrators driving onto the bridge before parking and exiting their cars around 7 a.m. and leading chants in support of the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently estimated to be in the U.S.

One video showed people at the front of the demonstration along the northbound lanes holding up a banner reading, “Override the Parliamentarian,” referring to the protest organizers’ demand for Senate Democrats to challenge the decision made Wednesday by Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough to remove immigration components from the proposed $3.5 trillion social spending package…(more)

Supes call for City Attorney investigation of Angus McCarthy, propose ballot measure to remake Dept. of Building Inspection

September 30, 2021

By Joe Eskenazi : missionolocal – excerpt

Defiant president of Dept. of Building Inspection oversight commission denies claims in Mission Local story

A pair of supervisors today called for a City Attorney investigation of allegations made in a Saturday Mission Local story. That story documented a series of permit irregularities at both the home and on properties owned by Angus McCarthy, the longtime president of the Building Inspection Commission, which oversees the Department of Building Inspection.

The Saturday Mission Local article also documented McCarthy’s statement in a Sept. 20 sworn deposition in which he acknowledged sending material written by Department of Building Inspection personnel to his private builder colleagues at the Residential Builders Association to be edited and redrafted…(more)

Let’s see the plan to revamp the department. Let’s also see some effort on the part of the city authorities to protect whistle blowers and to set up a funding mechanism that aides public citizens in their efforts to bring actions and file complaints against city employees when they have information and cause to do so.

SMa.r.t. Column: Densification Fiction Converted To Fact Through Repetition

September 19, 2021

By Marc L. Verville for SMa.r.t. : smmirror – excerpt

In the final scene of the obscure 2004 sci fi action-adventure film “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” the heroes have tracked down the mastermind behind the unstoppable massive machines that are tearing up cities to steal power-generating infrastructure in the service of launching an improved human race. When the mastermind is finally found, he is sitting at his desk, dead, having died 20 years earlier. In his lifeless hand is a scrap of paper with the words “forgive me.” His machines are autonomously executing his plan.

The Origin of the Densification Narrative

This storyline foretells what we are facing today with the rise of the Urban Growth Machine (UGM) as the State takes over city land regulation. The State has passed 100 or so pieces of land-use legislation since 2016 when it declared a 3.5 million point-in-time housing unit “shortage” that is entirely devoid of any quantitative expiration criteria. The declaration is essentially a permanent “solution” to a point-in-time, narrative-defined, “problem.”…

Residents can stop this madness. An upcoming grass roots ballot initiative to prohibit state involvement in local land use has been submitted to the state by Californians for Community Planning Initiative. They can be found at

By Marc L. Verville for SMa.r.t. (Santa Monica Architects for a Responsible Tomorrow)(more)

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