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Naomi Kelly resigns as SF city administrator amid corruption scandal

January 12, 2021

By Michael Barba, Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

City Administrator Naomi Kelly tendered her resignation Tuesday after federal authorities charged her husband with fraud for allegedly accepting bribes including a paid family vacation to China.

Kelly is resigning after taking a six-week leave of absence Dec. 2 in light of the allegations against her husband, former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly.

Naomi Kelly denied the allegations in her resignation letter Tuesday to Mayor London Breed and said the case was “based on the false statements of an admitted liar.” She was casting doubt on the credibility of Walter Wong, the permit expediter who cooperated with the FBI against her husband in exchange for leniency in his own federal case…(more)

Why those joining the Bay Area exodus no longer see Montana, Hawaii or Utah as going off the grid

January 11, 2021

By Mark Calvey : bizjournals – excerpt

There was a time when Bay Area entrepreneurs and executives leaving the region for Montana, Hawaii or other small states were seen as wrapping up their careers and heading into retirement.

But no more. Those working with the wealthy or studying migration out of California say that the embrace of remote work and the technology to make it possible tells only part of the story.

The spread of cultural values long associated with liberal California and the speed of communication has made it easier for Bay Area residents to move away. Moving to a small town no longer means giving up timely delivery of major-market media, thanks to the Internet. Or a gay couple giving up the right to marry by moving to a major city in a southern state, thanks to the 2015 Supreme Court decision that expanded same-sex marriage nationally… (more)

California First Appellate District Court of Appeal publishes its opinion in LC/CVP v ABAG

January 9, 2021

Posted by Bob Silvestri : marinpost – excerpt

On January 6, 2021, the First Appellate District Court of Appeal issued an Order Granting Publication of its opinion in the case of New LivableCA/Community Venture Partners v ABAG, stating that

“For good cause, the request for publication is granted. Pursuant to rule 8.1105(c) of the California Rules of Court, the opinion in the above-entitled matter is ordered certified for publication in the Official Reports.”

That means the opinion of the Court of Appeal is now case law. This opinion will have broad applicability and impacts throughout the state’s legal system. To put it plainly, this is a very big deal.

The significance of this reversal of the decision by the San Francisco Superior Court, to dismiss this case, and its publication cannot be over-stated. The Appeal Court’s opinion has now become case law and as such is the law of the land in California that will impact future Brown Act petitioners for years to come.

To read the appellate court’s opinion CLICK HERE(more)

UCSF to build more than 1,200 units of workforce housing as part of deal reached with city

January 6, 2021

By Ida Mojadad : sfexaminer – excerpt

Massive expansion will add another 1.5 million square feet to Parnassus campus

City officials have reached an agreement with UC San Francisco around community benefits the university will offer as part of its major Parnassus expansion in the Inner Sunset, officials said Monday.

UCSF is moving forward with plans to add another 1.5 million square feet in housing, offices, research facilities, and a new hospital in the area…

Details of the memorandum of understanding, which is not yet final, come just a few weeks before the UC Regents will vote on the project. As a state institution, the University of California is not subject to The City’s typical land use laws. (Disclosure: Janet Reilly, a co-owner of The San Francisco Examiner under Clint Reilly Communications, is a UC Regent.)…

“Just as a doctor’s oath requires them to do no harm to their patients, we want to make sure that the UCSF development plans do no harm—and in fact, benefit—surrounding communities and the city,” Preston said Monday…

“The MOU is not there yet,” Melgar said. “The mayor’s office has done a good job in pushing for more housing, transit improvements, [and] I think UCSF has come to the table in good faith. I wanna keep negotiating.”…(more)

The details of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) have been changing for decades, so it is not really written in stone and as pointed out here, there is no legal way to control the situation anyway.
The public needs to understand the where the power lies and how difficult it is for city governments to stand up to state power. This is but one example of how important it is for cities and counties to retain the power they have.
The issue has become so critical to many local officials are taking actions to protect their communities from state overreach. See: https://localcontrolca.com

Former Governor Jerry Brown – two video interviews

January 3, 2021

kron4 – excerpt (includes video) December 13, 2020

Nikki Laurenzo talked to former California Governor Jerry Brown about problems the state faces during the pandemic and several other issues.

“Looking across the country, from the White House to New York to California handling this virus is not straightforward,” Brown said. “The virus is ahead right now.” …(more)

LA Times article: Jerry Brown: Still Relentless (another video) October 22, 2020.

Pandemic-Inspired Remote Work Could Ease California’s Housing Crisis

December 30, 2020

By Matt Levin : CalMatters – excerpt

Homeowners1

Is a suburban single family home in your future?

A year from now, what will your Monday morning look like?

After your umpteenth consecutive weekend hugging your mother, your friends and complete strangers in poorly ventilated spaces, do you picture yourself pouring coffee in your thermos to begin your bleary-eyed commute into work? Or are you about to begin your bleary-eyed all-staff on the morning Zoom?

The answers to those questions will depend on your job, your income level, your employer and, if you’re lucky enough, your preference. They will also dictate whether the next decade of California’s housing affordability crisis looks radically different from the last.

Within a matter of months, the pandemic-necessitated rise in teleworking has inverted parts of the state’s real estate market in ways housing economists never imagined possible. The median rent in San Francisco has dropped nearly 25% since stay-at-home orders began in March. Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego have also seen rents drop or at least taper, instantly flattening a decade-long spike…(more)

LA Weekly owners buy Marina Times, Village Voice

December 24, 2020

By Ida Mojadad : sfexaminer – excerpt

The owners of LA Weekly have bought San Francisco’s Marina Times, the publishers announced Tuesday.

Street Media, which publishes LA Weekly and Irvine Weekly, will take over ownership from publisher Earl Adkins and Editor-in-Chief Susan Dyer Reynolds for an undisclosed sum and rename the paper the Bay Area Marina Times. The company also bought the iconic but shuttered Village Voice in New York City, expanding its reach outside of California…(more)

Big changes are coming to local media.

CPUC head Alice Stebbins reported $200 million missing. Then she was fired.

December 24, 2020

By Scott Morris, Bay City News : sfexaminer – except

Earlier this year, the governing board of one of California’s most powerful regulatory agencies unleashed troubling accusations against its top employee.

Commissioners with the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, accused Executive Director Alice Stebbins of violating state personnel rules by hiring former colleagues without proper qualifications. They said the agency chief misled the public by asserting that as much as $200 million was missing from accounts intended to fund programs for the state’s blind, deaf and poor. At a hearing in August, Commission President Marybel Batjer said that Stebbins had discredited the CPUC.

“You took a series of actions over the course of several years that calls into question your integrity,” Batjer told Stebbins, who joined the agency in 2018. Those actions, she said, “cause us to have to consider whether you can continue to serve as the leader of this agency.”

The five commissioners voted unanimously to terminate Stebbins, who had worked as an auditor and budget analyst for different state agencies for more than 30 years…(more)

Alex Padilla becomes California’s first Latino US senator, replacing Kamala Harris

December 22, 2020

By Phil Willon and Patrick McGreevy, LA Times : sfexaimner – excerpt

Alex Padilla, a Los Angeles Democrat who once developed software for satellites but later rose through local and state political office to become California secretary of state, was chosen Tuesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve in the U. S. Senate — an appointment that tears down a barrier for Latinos that has stood as long as California’s statehood.

Padilla, a longtime Newsom ally, will become the first Latino to represent California in the Senate, succeeding another history-making politician, Sen. Kamala Harris. Harris, who was the second Black woman and first South Asian to serve in the Senate, in November became the first woman elected vice president of the United States.

The son of Mexican immigrants who settled in the San Fernando Valley, Padilla’s rise to the upper echelon of state politics closely shadowed the steady, decadeslong ascension of Latino power and influence throughout California, from L.A.’s towering City Hall to the chandeliered chambers of the state Capitol…(more)

S.F.’s building department is a mess. It’s no wonder pay-to-play rules the day

December 14, 2020

By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt

Myrna Melgar wants to scrap the old, flimsy aluminum gazebo in the fenced backyard behind her Ingleside home and build a wooden one.

But this is San Francisco, which like a cantankerous president of a homeowners association, likes to stick its nose into everything its residents and business owners want to do to their own property.

Does Melgar need a city permit to build a gazebo in her own garden? She’s the well-connected, savvy former president of the San Francisco Planning Commission, but she has no idea…

And if Melgar, who will be sworn into the Board of Supervisors next month, can’t figure it out, no regular person has a chance…(more)

Melgar is a former Planning Commissioner. If she can’t figure it out, who can?

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