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Vote ‘no’ on Regional Measure 3, which discriminates against East Bay residents

May 9, 2018

By Zelda Bronstein : berkeleyside – excerpt


Voters are being asked to increase bridge tolls by $3, supposedly to help relieve bottlenecks, improve BART and buses. But the measure will do little to relieve traffic congestion.

On the June 5 ballot, Regional Measure 3 asks voters in nine Bay Area counties to approve a $3 increase in tolls on all the region’s bridges but the Golden Gate “to reduce auto and truck traffic, relieve crowding on BART, unclog freeway bottlenecks and improve bus, ferry, BART and commuter rail service.” Its supporters, who include the Bay Area Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, SPUR, Facebook, and YIMBY Action, call it “a bold, coordinated, region-wide traffic relief plan.”

Regional Measure 3 is bold all right: it’s a massive con that dedicates $4.5 billion to a hodgepodge of disconnected projects that will bring the Bay Area little traffic relief…

RM3 authorizes the Bay Area Toll Authority to raise bridge tolls more than $3, if the region’s cost of living goes up, or if BATA’s debt service requires higher tolls. As of last December, the agency’s portfolio included variable rate bonds worth $2.1 billion. In 2010, BATA paid a “wolf pack of banks” $104 million in bridge tolls after some of its credit swaps went bad…

The Official Statement that accompanied BATA/MTC’s issuance of bonds last summer included among risks to bondholder a decrease in tolls. In other words, the agencies’ bottom line depends on increasing automobile traffic. (They treat their creditors with candor—just the opposite of how they treat the voting public.) – Zelda

One of the problems with the regional quasi-government agencies being set up by the state of California, is that autonomous, and semi-autonomous entities rarely question their own decisions or do a proper cost analysis of anything they deem necesaary. Other people’s money  (OPM) is rarely treated with respect. Do us all a favor and Vote No on RM3.

If you haven’t signed the Stop SFMTA petition yet, please sign it and follow us on metermadness for updates on the exciting world of nonpartisan politics and grass roots actions relating to Transportation issues. We are following the SFMTA Ordinance through the legislative process.

Election 2018: Bay Area Voters to Consider $3 Bridge Toll Hike : TRANSDEF’s blog What’s Hot, is where we post recent developments
in High-Speed Rail and Bay Area Transportation. Check it out! : On the June ballot, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, MTC, is asking voters to approve Regional Measure 3, a $3 bridge toll increase, phased in over 6 years.


NBC Investigates Tech Bus Deals

May 6, 2018

via San Francisco Accused of Giving ‘Tech Buses’ Free Ride

Residents question wisdom of give the SFMTA too much authority. Support Ordinance and Prop E Charter Amendment.

Plan for marina at Clipper Cove gets no support from supervisors’ committee

May 1, 2018

By Dominic Fracassa : sfchronicle – excerpt


Sailing near Clipper Cove photo by zrants

A long-running and controversial proposal to build a private marina at Clipper Cove, a stretch of calm water between Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, appeared to suffer a setback Monday at the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee.

After extensive public comment, the committee unanimously passed a resolution affirming the city’s commitment to preserving Clipper Cove as an important public recreation space and educational area. The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district includes Treasure Island.

Kim’s resolution doesn’t kill the marina plan. But the tenor of the measure, with its repeated calls to preserve the cove for public use, provides a glimpse at how city lawmakers want to see it used.

Clipper Cove is a cherished spot for sailing enthusiasts, and given its calm waters and protection from winds, it’s used extensively for sailing instruction, largely through the nonprofit Treasure Island Sailing Center.

That’s a big reason for the public’s concerns behind the proposal to build a 313-slip private marina at Clipper Cove capable of parking boats up to 80 feet long. Critics say a marina of that size would take up about 32 percent of the cove, potentially eliminating opportunities for amateur sailors, who would otherwise be forced to head farther east, into choppier waters….

“My preference is that we keep our commitment to public recreation and environmental protection in this public open space,” Kim said.. (more)

Proposed Treasure Island marina faces hurdles :
“Clipper Cove is the Dolores Park of the bay,” said Bryan Schrayer, a sailor who frequents Clipper Cove. “You wouldn’t let somebody mow that over for a parking lot.” Around 2,000 fourth and fifth graders from San Francisco Unified School District’s sailing and STEM program flock to Clipper Cove each(more)

PG&E wants to remove a marina from SF’s Marina district

Would it still be the Marina district with one less marina?

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has proposed getting rid of one of the San Francisco neighborhood’s two namesake marinas and turning it into a shoreline, complete with a small beach, a fishing pier and tiny islands for roosting birds.

It’s the latest twist in a nearly decadelong effort to clean up contaminated soil left behind by two old fuel factories that occupied the neighborhood’s eastern end until the 1906 earthquake destroyed them. For years, PG&E has been buying up multimillion-dollar Marina homes, scooping out their backyards to get rid of the pollutants, trucking in fresh dirt, and then putting the homes back on the market… (more)


Standing up to the cops

April 30, 2018

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

In an unprecedented move, most of City Hall is demanding that the police union accept reforms before getting a raise…

It appears that most of City Hall —  including the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Human Resources, and most likely the Board of Supes – is united in demanding that the San Francisco Police Officers Association agree to stop blocking reforms in exchange for a hefty raise in contract talks… (more)

Bay Area transit agencies among several to receive billions in state funds

April 29, 2018

via Bay Area transit agencies among several to receive billions in state funds

Trolling thru the murky world of Lennar

April 24, 2018

by Richard Eber : capoliticalreview. – excerpt

False Claims Act Filed Against Largest U.S. Builder: $1 Billion Abuse Claimed

CalPers, while going after numerous firms that ripped them off, did not request repayment of one billion dollars, taken from the retirees of CalPERS by famed builders Lennar. A False Claims Act was served on Lennar on April 17, 2018.

“It is stated in the False Claims Act suit that Lennar engaged in massive fraud in the inducement of the CalPERS funds in addition to the 1.5 billion they borrowed in a loan syndicate arranged by Barclay’s Bank. It is alleged that Lennar transferred 1.4 billion dollars to themselves and a sister company LNR and caused the bankruptcy of LandSource. Principal assets of LandSource included Newhall Ranch in Valencia, CA. and a massive development on the former military base on Mare Island in Vallejo.

The suit contends after LandSource went under, Lennar allegedly manipulated the bankruptcy process and ended up buying back these two properties at pennies on the dollar from the bankruptcy court in Delaware.  These entities are controlled to this day by LandSource’s successor Five Point Holdings (more)

Trolling thru the murky world of Lennar

At first glance, Lennar Corporation might look like an ideal stock to purchase. Being considered to be the largest home builder in the United States after its merger with Cal-Atlantic last year, and many financial analysts including the Wall Street Journal and Baron’s have recently predicted Lennar to experience positive growth in the near future.

Guess again!  This company under the leadership of Stuart Miller and Jonathan Jaffe has a dark underbelly that threatens not only the recent$ 54.00 dollar per share stock price; but even the long term future for this 9 billion dollar plus concern.

This week Lennar was served with a California False Claims Act lawsuit in Sacramento pertaining to an alleged swindle of the giant California Public Employees Retirement System – CalPERS.  Lennar entered into a contribution agreement with CalPERS through a controlled entity called LandSource. LandSource filed bankruptcy 9 years ago, and the pension fund lost almost a billion dollars…

With such serious allegations, the discovery process involving Lennar and CalPERS should be pretty interesting. At the time of the alleged contribution agreement and fraudulently obtained loan, Fred Buenrostro, now serving time in Federal prison on corruption charges, was at the helm of the pension fund…(more)

Someone must be working on the book and there must be movie rights on this one. This rivals most conspiracy theory plots by a long shot, and, half the names involved in this swindle are famous and the other half are infamous. Read the article for the names. Not many are left out of this picture. One wonders how many political campaigns received payouts from this scheme. How many careers in government were launched.

Here is a typical paragraph:

“Over the past decade Brown, though his company Golden Gate Global, helped arrange nearly one half billion dollars in loans to Lennar projects via EB-5 programs…Under Golden Gate’s deal with Bonner, Brown’s company sold Green Cards for 1 million dollars per family to immigrants primarily from China. The proceeds were used to create construction jobs on work done by Lennar in San Francisco…”

It will be interesting to see where the case goes next.



Wiener upzoning bill dies in committee

April 18, 2018

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

SB 827 appears dead for this year — but the senator isn’t giving up

State Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill that would give the state more control over local zoning and mandate taller buildings on transit corridors died in committee today, but Wiener has vowed to bring it back…

SB 827, which has galvanized tenant groups, anti-displacement advocates and neighborhoods around the state, lost 3-7 at the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

That’s a huge setback for Wiener, since the committee is by no means a center of progressive thought – and most of the members don’t represent cities that could be heavily impacted by the bill… (more)

Breed is the only mayoral candidate who supports SB 827. None of the other candidates do either. The message is clear, if you support the way San Francisco has been run since the tech community, big government and big tech took control of City Hall, vote for the candidate who supports NO CHANGE. If you are unhappy with the state of the city, vote for CHANGE.

Don’t stop with the mayoral candidates. Ask Ting and Chiu why they support SB 827, and the state’s control over local community development decisions. Ask the Supervisor candidates as well. They have tremendous responsibility for shaping our city.

We need representatives in all levels of government who protect us, not the interests of corporate giants who seek to buy our elections and control our lives.

For anyone who wants to view the hearing on the meeting here is a link:

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