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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.

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