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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

 

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.
 

 

Parkside Housing Approved for Folsom Street

September 28, 2016

By missionlocal – excerpt

Parque Niños Unidos will be getting a four-story, market-rate housing neighbor soon, after a 5-2 vote Thursday at the Planning Commission approved a 117-unit project at 2675 Folsom St. near 23rd Street.

Neighborhood activists and a planning commissioner, however, said the project was out of scale and would exacerbate the neighborhood’s affordability crisis.

“There’s a whole context for why there’s opposition outside this project,” Myrna Melgar, one of two new members of the body. She agreed with local activists who said the project was one of several market-rate developments that would change the neighborhood and its residents unless mitigations were put in place…

“What we need to do is we would like to have this piece of land,” he said. “This is a perfect place for families and teachers that they don’t have a place to live.”

The Folsom Street project would bring 117 units next to the Parque Niños Unidos in a 40-foot tall building and is being developed by the Axis Development Group, a San Francisco firm with a few other projects under its belt, including a 69-unit building at 14th and Stevenson streets and a planned rooftop restaurant near Union Square

Commissioners did not weigh in directly on the claims that new market-rate housing would exacerbate displacement, but Kathrin Moore did say that while the project had made notable changes, she could not support something that drew organized community opposition.

She and Melgar were the only two opposed, however, and the rest of the commission said preventing new construction was not an anti-displacement strategy…

Commissioners Rodney Fong, Dennis Richards, Richard Hillis, Joel Koppel and Johnson voted for the project, while commissioners Moore and Melgar voted against.

This is a first meeting for two new supervisors, one appointed by the Mayor and one by the supervisor, so we wanted to see how the votes may go. Interesting comments by the Commissioners. Articles on bizjournal.com rents are dropping in San Francisco and people may be starting to leave.

Cities to crackdown on unsanctioned surveillance

September 22, 2016

By Sam Thielman : guardian – excerpt

Local officials in 11 cities around the US launched a campaign on Wednesday to crack down on the unsanctioned police use of surveillance equipment, especially devices that imitate cellphone towers. Cell-site simulators, such as Harris Corporation’s Stingray device or Digital Receiver Technology’s (DRT) Dirtbox, fool cellphones into treating them like cell towers can be used to scoop up data from all devices that connect to the fake tower… (more)

Is SF Chronicle is ignoring the real Lennar story?

September 22, 2016

Call for a Cessation of Work and Comprehensive Independent New Testing at the Shipyard and Adjacent Areas Where Radioactive and Toxic Waste May Have Been Illegally Dumped, and Full Cleanup

greenaction-press-release

They just ran this article:

Promise is building in long-neglected SF shipyard site

By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt

Forget those downtown towers clambering toward the heavens. The biggest change to San Francisco’s landscape is taking place 5 miles away — easy to miss unless you know where to look.

Residential landings line new hillside roads. A neighborhood green spills down toward the bay. Balconies with chairs and potted plants look out at concrete being poured and walls being framed. One residential block is adorned with a four-story vegetated wall.
The setting is the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, where the first batch of 208 condominiums and apartments forms the figurative beachhead for what eventually will be a 437-acre extension of the Bayview neighborhood. What’s gone up so far has promising elements, including the most inviting park the city has seen in years. There’s also real promise downhill, where one of England’s leading architects is rethinking how the huge project should meet the bay.

That figure is David Adjaye, in the news this month as the designer of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens Saturday on the National Mall across from the Washington Monument. The Hunters Point development would be his first work in the United States west of Colorado, and his first planning effort in the Americas.

As for what’s being marketed as San Francisco Shipyard, it’s a fast-changing element in a part of the Bayview that outsiders rarely see, except when they visit the artist studios in old naval buildings below the hillside… (more)

 

Century-Old Van Ness Streetlamps To Be Removed For Rapid Bus Project [Updated]

September 20, 2016

By Nathan Falstreau  : streetsblog – excerpt

The city’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, along Van Ness Avenue from Mission to Lombard streets, is set to break ground this year, consisting of transportation upgrades aimed to improve congestion, safety and beautify the two-mile long stretch. But among several other utility upgrades included in the project is a plan to replace the current streetlamps with brighter, more efficient streetlights. And that has San Francisco Heritage, as well as District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, rushing to find a way to protect the lamps which they say are 102 years old. Update, 4:45pm: Paul Rose of the SFMTA clarified some of the details pertaining to the history of the streetlamps and the BRT project, stating that the earliest lighting features on the existing lightpoles date to 1936, making them no older than 80 years…

…Peskin, along with a group formed called the Coalition to Save the Historic Streetlamps of Van Ness Avenue, with the backing of San Francisco Heritage, San Francisco Beautiful, and the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, hopes to find a solution that would either keep the existing lamps, or find a way to replicate them in order to maintain the historical character of the corridor.

Mike Buhler, a representative from San Francisco Heritage, wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors that he is seeking that the SFMTA, “Make every effort to avoid their removal. With the installation of new landscaping and BRT stations, retention and reuse of the “Historic Streetlamps of Van Ness” would provide the architectural framework and historical continuity for new development along the entire Van Ness corridor, and celebrate civic pride to unite old and new San Francisco.”

Unless the Board of Supervisors responds to the resolution and and looks at an alternative to the proposed plans, demolition of the streetlamps should commence sometime later this next year… (more)

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