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SF supervisors want special police units to target property crimes

September 20, 2017

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Infuriated by the steady escalation of burglaries in San Francisco, two supervisors are trying to breathe life into a neighborhood policing idea that Mayor Ed Lee shot down last year.

The ordinance that Supervisors Norman Yee and Hillary Ronen will introduce Tuesday closely resembles an ill-fated measure that Yee sponsored in October. It would have required each of the city’s 10 police stations to devote a special unit to property crimes. 

Lee vetoed the legislation a day after the Board of Supervisors approved it. In a chastening letter to the board, the mayor said the idea was “motivated by ballot politics and not public safety,” and that the property-crime units would divert officers away from more serious and violent crimes.

But now Yee and his co-sponsor, Ronen, believe public opinion is on their side, with police records showing thefts up significantly and residents jolted by the death of 23-year-old Abel Enrique Esquivel Jr., who was killed in the Mission with a gun stolen from a police officer’s personal car… (more)



September 20, 2017

by Nathan Falstreau : hoodline – excerpt

After Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced legislation to allow the city to lease land and create parks beneath elevated freeways maintained by the state’s Department of Transportation, some homeless advocates are not entirely happy with the decision to create parks in the space.

Instead, one told us that the parcels could be used for transitional living space.

“There are thousands upon thousands of unhoused people currently living on CalTrans property in cities throughout California,” said Amy Farah Weiss, founder of the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge, via text message.

Pointing to Seattle as a successful example of sanctioned encampments, Weiss has advocated for the city to utilize the CalTrans property to develop transitional villages, organized sites where people can stay as they transition from street to home.

Should the bill (AB-857) become law, it would allow up the city to lease ten parcels—controlled by Caltrans—for park, recreational, or open-space purposes at 30 percent of the fair market lease value… (more)

Where are our priorities? Parks under freeways? Really? How healthy is that?

Affordable Housing by Plan Bay Area

September 19, 2017

Plan Bay Area Housing photos by zrants

Landowner-tenant laws may be contributing to homelessness

September 19, 2017

Source: Landowner-tenant laws may be contributing to homelessness

Disruption’s double standard / Tech firms get rich but street vendors get fined

September 19, 2017

: .theguardian – excerpt

In a region where companies like Uber and Airbnb have cashed in on unauthorized cabs and boarding houses, vendors trying to make a living selling food without a license face police crackdowns

For a region that champions entrepreneurship, the San Francisco Bay area can be tough on hardscrabble business people trying to make a go of it.

For street vendors, legal compliance – even for someone delighting children with cold treats on a hot day – is no mean feat. A document explaining San Francisco’s process for obtaining a mobile food facility permit looks like a parody of government bureaucracy, and requires as much as $1,500 in application and licensing fees.

Those challenges were on display in a viral video captured on 9 September of a University of California, Berkeley, police officer citing a man selling a local favorite (bacon-wrapped hot dogs) outside a college football game…

“This is law and order in action,” the officer said as he removed $60 in cash from the wallet of the vendor. The money was taken as “evidence of the suspected proceeds of the violation”, the university explained amid an outcry from many of the millions who watched the video.

Meanwhile, the region’s tech industry has fetishized certain entrepreneurs’ willingness to “disrupt” the petty regulations that hold less savvy businesspeople back. While the former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s wallet was stuffed with billions by venture capitalists eager to invest in his unlicensed taxi cabs, Beto’s wallet was emptied for no greater a violation of the law.

What’s ironic about the disconnect between these entrepreneurs and the ones who are able to cash in with VCs is that so many of the internet era’s most successful startups have succeeded by monopolizing a previously informal – and frequently illicit – sector of the economy. Think Uber for unlicensed cabs, eBay for garage sales, Airbnb for unauthorized boarding houses and subletters, and StubHub for ticket scalpers.

Small business owners still trying to make a go of it in sectors dominated by those tech monopolists find themselves facing what can feel like an uneven playing field… (more)

Unfair Business Practices

Ford GoBikes are  the poster child for a new disruptive industry being propped up by realtors in order to gentrify neighborhoods. Corporate officers backing the GoBikes admit they are doing this, and that they rely on government entities allowing them to take over public property to succeed. The games are playing out in our public arenas almost weekly as our officials put the stamp of approval on them. (See the agenda for the September 19, 2017 SFMTA Board meeting, Item 13, to see SFMTA use their regulatory role to pick winners and loses.)

Disruptive ideas that would die are sustained through public/private partnerships, such as we discovered in our investigations of Ford GoBikes, Motivate, and Related Holding Companies, LLC. The bikeshares were losing money until Related rescued them and devised a plan to partner with governments to supply public streets for their private enterprise.

Many unicorns, (well-funded start-up companies pushing failing business plans), turn to real estate and other juicy investments to sustain their failures long after they should have died and the paradigm shifts as money follows money regardless of where it came. As long as the returns are there investors are happy to throw money at bad ideas. It is up to the public to stop these policies and programs by demanding through investigations into these programs.

Limebike Hopes to Roll Out Dockless Bike Rentals
Pandora box has been flung open

Planning commissioner’s dual roles spur questions of conflict

September 17, 2017

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt


Photo of San Francisco’s rising skyline that many feel not not so smart by zrants

Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson, who also serves as SPUR’s San Francisco director, voted to approve an environmental impact report to clear a massive housing project at 1500 Mission St, pictured. The developer of the project, Related California Urban Housing, was one of SPUR’s donors in 2016…

Watch how commissioners vote on various share programs.

As you know if you are following any of our posts on Motivate’s Ford GoBikes, (Ford’s deal is with Motivate, SF does not make a penny off it.) Motivate is owned by Related Holding Companies, LLC. Related officials said they acquired failing bikeshare programs to gentrify neighborhoods and raise property values. They also admit they must rely on cities to “give” them street parking for the bike share program to succeed.

According to their PR campaigns and reported by several sources, a national bike-share program was set up by Bikeshare Holdings LLC to soften local opposition by removing street parking, claiming they are complimenting public transit for everyone.

The company that became Motivate started working on the plan to take over our streets with MTC as early as 2012 and signed an agreement in 2013. SPUR is tied to MTC so you can blame them for the reduction in parking and bad street design as well as the gentrification of our cities on all of them.

Now look back over the last five years at the decisions that were made that got us where we are today and figure out who is pulling the strings for whom and who is benefiting from the “agreements” MTC and SFMTA signed in your behalf in 2015 to privatize public property.

One of its commissioners, Christine Johnson, just started working for the policy think tank SPUR as its San Francisco director in early March.

SPUR’s website describes Johnson’s role as a fundraiser responsible for “city-level decisions” in San Francisco. So, she’ll be a leader in asking for big bucks from the titans in local housing projects… (more)

Johnson said in an email Monday that working at SPUR is a “dream come true … a chance to work full time on solving some of the larger challenges that San Francisco faces.”

She also said the City Attorney’s Office reassured her there would not be a conflict, so long as SPUR doesn’t advocate directly to the Planning Commission while she is a member.

Well, at least one member of the San Francisco Ethics Commission thinks Johnson’s dual roles are an obvious conflict of interest: Quentin Kopp.

Kopp told On Guard he plans to introduce at the Ethics Commission’s next meeting legislation “to bar service on a city commission of anyone whose salary or independent contract income is derived partially, or fully, from entities or individuals with applications for permits.”(more)

City officials admit that infrastructure is not keeping up with population growth and now there is a new movement to stop the job growth that is creating the housing demand, and it is coming straight out of heart of Silicon Valley. This adds a new complexity to the arguments and new opens new options for solving the affordable housing crisis by damping the rising costs of housing that is swelling the streets with homeless people and lowering the quality of life for everyone.

Accountability depends on transparency, which is under siege

September 14, 2017

By Dan Walters, : calmatters – excerpt

If we – the California public – are to hold politicians and other government officials accountable, we must first know what they are doing or not doing.

Thus, the first point of conflict is always access to records of official action or inaction.

The current legislative session is the first one affected by a 2016 ballot measure (Proposition 54) that requires final versions of bills to be in print for 72 hours before lawmakers vote on them. They – particularly the dominant Democrats – don’t like it because it makes sneaking legislation through the process more difficult… (more)

One step forward and two steps back. The issue of arbitration versus open public courts may be taken up by the Federal Supreme Court. There are major privacy issues at stake regarding access to records, but, this article covers California laws that may overturn voter requirements for transparency and open records policies.

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