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When did our Rights Become Privileges?

June 5, 2017

What are we getting for Ten Billion Dollars Mayor Lee?
Why are we paying more for less?

Art by Zrants

Who started the argument that the public commons, streets, access, etc, is a privilege not a right? I guess drinking clean water and breathing fresh air falls into that category now. Not only has San Francisco sold its spirit of love, peace and acceptance to the highest bidder, but, we are no longer a healthy city to live in. The construction dust in the air is filled with nasty micro particles that is making many people sick, and our drinking water is not longer the pure Hetch Hetchy we were lead to believe we could count on.

The president is claiming entry into the country is privilege not a right. As I recall this is the argument the anti-car people used to take over our free street parking, as they made plans to remove off-street parking and create a parking shortage, just as they are creating a housing shortage by jacking up the price of real estate to convince owners to sell or evict long-time tenants and jack up the rent or evict and renovate, to jack up the property values.

One must watch the messages and arguments that come from all sides to undermine our way of life by forcing unwanted change on us. That is how we got where we are now. We allowed our values to be reshaped by the government that is intent on taking more powers as they do the reshaping.

We being the American people, who don’t protect their freedoms. In their defense, the education system has not prepared them to think for themselves and many do not have the motivation or the inclination to figure it out.

Why does our life get more expensive as the quality goes down? We were much better off when we had reasonable rents, good water and air, chose our preferred method of transportation, city services costs a lot less, and fewer people relied on them.

The Mayor’s budget has gone up a billion dollars a year over the last few years. It if now over 10 billion dollars. It would be cheaper if we were all on the dole. Why are they planning to bring more jobs here when we are already saturated? So they can kick more people to the curb?

Let’s find some politicians to run on the platform that they will return power to the people and privileges back into rights. We should also find some who will lower the budget by firing half the future planners. We have under-funded plans through 2040 already. Now we need doers not planners to expedite what they have planned. Someone recently said that it took 20 years to gentrify New York, but it only took San Francisco six years. We need City Hall to slow down and let us catch up, not force more changes on us.

The Fate Of 16.8 Million Medicaid Enrollees Rests On 20 GOP Senators From 14 States

June 2, 2017

By Jeffrey Young, Alissa Scheller : huffingtonpost – excerpt (includes infographic)

The stakes are especially high for this group of lawmakers, as they represent the states that accepted federal funding to expand Medicaid.

The Senate is on the verge of debating legislation to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act, and Medicaid is on the chopping block.

Whatever happens next with Obamacare repeal and the future of Medicaid will depend in large measure on whether GOP senators choose to fight for the combined 16.8 million of their constituents on Medicaid, including 4.3 million who gained Medicaid coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, according to data from state agencies compiled by HuffPost.

See the facts and figures about Medicaid in states with Republican senators in the HuffPost infographic at the bottom of this article.

The Republicans in the House narrowly passed health care legislation last month that would gut the health care program, which the federal government jointly operates and finances with the states, for low-income families, people with disabilities and elderly nursing home patients. President Donald Trump staged a celebration at the White House after the passage of a measure projected to cause 14 million Medicaid beneficiaries to lose coverage. That’s despite repeatedly promising during his campaign not to cut Medicaid…(more)

Flight from Urban Cores Accelerates: 2016 Census Metropolitan Area Estimates

June 2, 2017

by Wendell Cox : newgeography – excerpt (includes graph)

The flight from the nation’s major metropolitan area core counties increased 60 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to just-released estimates from the US Census Bureau (Note). A total of 321,000 more residents left the core counties than moved in, up from 199,000 in 2015. This is ten times the decade’s smallest domestic migration loss of 32,000 for the same counties which occurred in 2012.

Suburban counties continued to attract net domestic migrants, at a somewhat higher rate than in recent years and much higher than in the early part of the decade. The suburban counties gained 235,000 domestic migrants in 2016, compared to 224,000 in 2014 and more than double the low point of 113,000 in 2011 (Figure 1)… (more)

Steve Kawa, Mayor Ed Lee’s chief of staff and longtime City Hall power broker, to retire

May 28, 2017

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

City Hall photos by Zrants

Lot’s of retiring going on at City Hall this week. Many are wondering why and what this will mean to the continuing reign of Ed Lee.

The man who has acted as City Hall’s most influential behind-the-scenes power broker for three consecutive San Francisco mayors is stepping down from his post at the end of June.

The retirement of Steve Kawa, 55, often referred to as the shadow mayor, was officially announced by Mayor Ed Lee in an email to his staffers on Thursday afternoon…

Named as Kawa’s successor is Jason Elliott, who has been serving as the mayor’s deputy chief of staff. Elliott first joined the Mayor’s Office in 2009 as Newsom’s policy advisor, after working for Newsom’s failed campaign for governor, and stayed on to work in Lee’s administration.

For the Lee administration, Kawa marks the latest high-ranking staffer to call it quits as the mayor, who was re-elected in November 2015, is serving out his final years in office. The next mayor elected in 2019 will likely bring in his or her own team.

Olson Lee, the Mayor’s Office of Housing director, announced his retirement effective June 1 last week. In April, one of Lee’s top advisors, Tony Winnicker, resigned from the administration…

Many on Thursday were left wondering what the loss of the powerful captain of the political ship, who applied considerable pressure on members of the Board of Supervisors, will mean.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the Mission, said that with no longer having the “man behind the mayor for decades” at City Hall, “San Francisco right now is at a crossroads and I think a new direction is exactly what we need.”… (more)

It will be interesting to see how the power shifts at City Hall as the change “they” keep telling us is inevitable comes to them. Let’s see how they handle it.

Westside San Franciscans are none too happy about new water mix

May 28, 2017

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

an Franciscans take pride in drinking pristine water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which they treasure as among the purest in the nation.

So a recent move by the Public Utilities Commission to introduce ground water gradually into the city’s drinking supply prompted anxiety and suspicion…

City water officials began pumping the new mix in March from wells that draw from an acquifer about 400 feet below ground. They plan to add more ground water over the next four years, but it will allow for more than 15 percent of the mixture…

Supervisor Norman Yee, who called the hearing, asked the PUC to perform new quality tests and return with a new analysis… (more)

A lot of questions remain, especially for people with compromised immune systems and chemical sensitivities. You can’t fault people for drinking bottled water as that will be the preference for many, much to the dismay of the water expert, who was “was actually mildly shocked to hear that, ‘Oh my God, people will obviously turn to bottled water’.”

No doubt many will choose bottled water at a time when there is great concern about increasing bottles in our environment. The issues must be weighed and a balance found. Are we going to increase the use of pesticides into our drinking water and increase the number of bottles to recycles or can we return to clean pure Hetch Hetchy water coming out of the taps?

Rec and Park did not show up to explain their use of poisons on our parks that will end up in our water and neither did the health department official. They will be asked to come to the next hearing along with some answers and new data on the actual tests results since the blend was initiated, not based on questionable forecast data.

Fine Dust Linked to Asthma, Cancer and Heart Attacks

May 25, 2017

Investigations by Jaxon Van Derbeken, Robert Campos, Jeremy Carroll, and Michael Horn : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

New skyline seen fro the Bay photo by zrants

San Francisco’s political and spiritual leaders recently hailed the city’s newest tallest building, the 61-story Salesforce tower, as the centerpiece of its ongoing building boom. But residents who live three miles away are left to wonder whether the boom is taking a toll on their health…

At San Francisco General’s child asthma clinic, Dr. Robert Blount, a lung specialist, suspects that bad air is contributing to the Bayview-Hunter’s Point asthma epidemic…

NBC Bay Area took the data that Ray Tompkins gathered around the cement plants to Peter Weiss, an environmental chemist at UC Santa Cruz. He confirmed that the samples do contain the fine 2.5 micron sized particles, and that’s a cause for concern. “This high point does suggest that the people in close proximity to these facilities would definitely be at risk,” he told us…

For complete statements from the two cement facilities, click here.

Tompkins told us that although he continues his own testing, the air quality management district recently pledged to pay for more extensive sampling to allow everyone to fully understand what is in the air in the Bayview.

“We breathe it, and we die by it … it’s my friends, neighbors and people I grew up with,” he told us. “I have go to the funerals, I speak at the funerals … it’s not a laboratory rat, it’s somebody I cared about … dying too damn soon.”… (more)

If you have questions or concerns direct them to NBC Bay Area Investigations

In historic vote, Democratic Party supports rent control

May 25, 2017

By Dean Preston : 48hills – excerpt (includes video)

Although landlord lobbyists control the state Capitol, the party members overwhelmingly sent a pro-tenant message last weekend

Here’s some big news from last weekend’s California Democratic Party Convention that won’t make the papers: Delegates voted to pass a resolution expressing “the Support of the California Democratic Party in Protecting Renters from No-Fault Evictions and Illegal or Excessive Rent Increases and Support Rent Stabilization.”

You read that right: The California Democratic Party supports rent control and just cause for eviction…

Here’s the full resolution approved on the floor Saturday. Congratulations to resolution Authors Deepa Varma, AD17; Dotty LeMieux, AD10; Jane Demian, AD51; and Susie Shannon, AD50. The measure also had more than 100 sponsors. And a special shout out to Santa Cruz City Councilmember Richelle Noroyan who introduced the amendment taken on the floor to strengthen the resolution to explicitly reference support for “rent stabilization.”…


Expressing the Support of the California Democratic Party in Protecting Renters from No-Fault Evictions and Illegal or Excessive Rent Increases and Support Rent Stabilization…

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party affirm its commitment to prevent homelessness and protect renters by opposing no-fault evictions and illegal or excessive rent increases and support rent stabilization; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to each member of the Democratic delegation in the CA State Legislature…

The challenge now is to make sure Democratic lawmakers and candidates listen to their constituents and grassroots party leaders. Real estate money still dominates Sacramento and change will not come overnight. But for those helping to bend the arc of the moral universe toward housing justice, this represents an important step forward. … (more)

Quite a few cities have voted for rent control and just cause evictions are gaining in popularity, so it is good that the state legislature is catching up with the trend. Hopefully the call for repeal of Costa Hawkins will follow soon.

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