Ontario tosses a wrench in cap and trade program

zRants

By Dan Morain :calmatters – excerpt

A populist’s victory in the Canadian province of Ontario could affect California’s cap-and-trade program, as legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown prepare to divvy up $1.8 billion in revenue from the program this week.

Brown will take a slice for high-speed rail. Other money likely will go for fire prevention. Projects must lower greenhouse-gas emissions, although any reduction from high-speed rail would come years from now.

As explained by CALmatters’ Julie Cart, polluters subject to the cap and trade—think oil refineries—pay to offset the impact of their emissions.

Complications: Doug Ford, a conservative, won election as premier in Canada’s most populous province on June 7 and says his first act will be to end Ontario’s involvement in the cap-and-trade program. That would leave Quebec as California’s only partner… (more)

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City could subsidize wheelchair-accessible taxis

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City is proposing to subsidize the purchase and upkeep of taxi cabs equipped with wheelchair ramps, in a bid to restore service for the disability community across San Francisco.

The problem is stark, taxi industry insiders say.

The advance of ride-hail giants Uber and Lyft led to sharp declines in the taxi industry — that part of the story, many know. But a lesser-known fallout of the rise of tech-enabled rides is the decline of drivers behind the wheel of specially-equipped taxis for those who use wheelchairs.

As taxi drivers flee an ailing industry, so too have drivers for ramp-equipped taxis, leaving wheelchair-users largely unable to hail a cab. Uber and Lyft do not run ramp-equipped cars in large number, and have been sued by disability nonprofits for discrimination.

The decline of ramp taxi service is a chicken and the egg problem, said John Lazar, former owner of Luxor Cab, which specializes in disability-community service…

Hansu Kim, co-owner of Flywheel Taxi, said boosting ramp taxi service is not just a moral imperative, but also makes good business sense.

“It’s not as lucrative, but the taxi industry, by embracing paratransit services, is a focus other industries aren’t doing,” Kim said, referring to Uber and Lyft. And those new SFMTA incentives will do the trick. Kim said. “It gives me more incentive to put out these more expensive vehicles.”… (more)

SFMTA launches new ‘community response team,’ hires board member to lead it

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s transit arm is hiring a director from its politically appointed board to lead a new community outreach team.

Joel Ramos, a seven-year member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors, was hired near the end of May to lead the agency’s new Community Response Team, which is aimed at reaching out to neighbors about new stop signs and other small-scale street changes…

The SFMTA estimates there were around 575 such decisions in 2017, all subject to potential appeal with the Board of Supervisors.

Ramos’ departure from the SFMTA Board of Directors leaves a vacancy on the seven-member body, all of whom are appointed by the mayor. The body approves projects both great and small, from the $1.6 billion Central Subway project to the recent red painted transit-only lanes throughout The City. He recalled the approval for the Central Subway as a particularly heated moment in his board career…

Farrell, who will be replaced by a newly elected mayor by mid-July, said he will decline to appoint a new member to the SFMTA Board of Directors in his remaining few weeks in office.

“As mayor, I am focusing on appointments to boards and commissions that lack quorum, require key appointments or have ongoing searches for a director,” Farrell said in a statement.

That leaves the task of appointing a new SFMTA board member to the next mayor — whoever that may be… (more)

A San Francisco man was living in his car when it was towed. Now he’s suing the city

: kalw – excerpt (include audio tape)

Last December, James Smith’s car was towed as a consequence of unpaid parking violations. Smith was homeless, and the car was his only shelter. Now, Smith filing suit against San Francisco, arguing that towing for debt-collection is unconstitutional.

James Smith, a 64-year-old San Franciscan, used to volunteer for the Coalition on Homelessness. He would help families find places to stay for a night. Sometimes he’d even open up his own little apartment.

Smith never expected that one day, he’d be the one living on the streets.

“Never, ever,” says Smith. “I asked myself, ‘what did I do wrong?’”… (more)

Why we oppose Regional Measure Three (RM3)

rm3-300

It would take too long to explain all the reasons why we oppose this inflationary bridge toll so we will quote some of the opposition sites. Current tolls are confusing already, and explain the differing figures on the end results of RM3. It depends on when you drive and how big are. See them here. Trucks are already paying $15-$35 to cross the Bay Bridge depending on axle size. This sort of explains our high costs of living in San Francisco.

Let’s start by saying the geniuses in Silicon Valley who are bankrolling RM3, do not have the public interest in mind as they expand their empires, and passage of RM3 would greatly benefit them. Even though Silicon Valley has no bridges, the bridge toll funds would be used to establish toll roads and HOT lanes where there are no bridges, so everyone would pay. This has not been lost on some of the elected officials in San Mateo and Santa Clara County who have campaigned against RM3.

Nine-County-Coalition on RM3 Campaign:

The Regional Measure 3 campaign — whose backers include Facebook, Salesforce, Google and a number of other businesses — had its informal kickoff the other day, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced her support during a “fireside chat” hosted by the tech-boosting Silicon Valley Leadership Group… So far, the campaign has amassed a $2 million war chest, including $350,000 from Facebook, $250,000 from Kaiser Permanente Health Care, $125,000 from Dignity Health Care and $125,000 from Salesforce. – passage of RM3 would greatly benefit Silicon Valley…

We cannot help but wonder why such big “power players” are willing to spend so much time and treasure on ensuring the passage of RM3 — as they did with Measure AA — if indeed “there has been no organized opposition.”

Maybe it is because they know other legislators besides Mark deSaulnier and Catharine Baker are questioning the efficacy and transparency of RM3.  This from another Matier & Ross article,

Even with the sweeteners, there was opposition from Contra Costa County, with state Assembly members Jim Frazier, D-Brentwood, Tim Grayson, D-Concord, and Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon, all voting “no.”  Frazier, who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee, said that while there was a need for transportation improvements, “adding another tax on commuters is not the answer.” He likened an $8 toll to “highway robbery.”

Or maybe it is because they know there is opposition from small players like smaller businesses that need to truck goods across California’s state-owned bridges, or lower-income folks whose realities of life prevent them from taking public transit to and from their workplaces, or people who see through a poorly managed RM3 plan.  These smaller unorganized players are the quiet threat to the big and powerful… (more)

There was no money spent to defeat the last transit sales tax in San Francisco either and that one lost. San Francisco residents are so fed up with the SFMTA they convinced the Board of Supervisors to do something to take back control over the agency that ignore the public, miss-manages projects and excels only in backslapping, self-aggrandizement, and pissing off the public. The message to starve the beast worked to stop the sales tax and there was no publicity. This time there are a lot more vocal opposition covered by the media. We shall see who is listening soon.

RELATED:
Regional Measure 3: Empty Promises
Occupymtc.org
Savesfmuni

New RM3 Flyer for printing and distribution or posting on your website.  Contributed by a Nine-County Coalition participant.  Download.

Lyft Nears Acquisition of Motivate, U.S. Bike-Share Leader

By Amir Efrati and Cory Weinberg : theinformation – excerpt

Lyft has agreed to buy Motivate, which runs some of the biggest U.S. bike-share programs, according to two people briefed about the deal. The acquisition, which is likely to be worth $250 million or more, will quickly insert Lyft into the small but fast-growing U.S. bike-sharing market.

The two companies have agreed on the terms of the deal, although it hasn’t been finalized, one of these people said. If a deal is consummated, it would put Lyft ahead of ride-sharing rival Uber, which acquired another bike-share service called Jump in April for around $200 million…(more)

That is what we really need on our streets. A takeover by Lyft and Uber. No doubt Conway has his fingers in this pie and will grease the wheels of the PUC and anyone else who needs convincing that Lyft and Uber are going to make them rich, or whatever motivates the sell-out to tech.

We called it the corporatization of our streets, and that is what it looks like. Lyft and Uber are the new Airbnb menace. There is no point in new entrepreneurs coming to set up shop in SF and because if there is am app that has not been crated to extract money out of our streets, these geniuses will invent it.

I suspect we will see a lot more street actions and disrupted traffic as soon as people figure it out. The only play voters have, is to oppose Regional Measure 3 and all the tax and bond proposals to pay for their roads. Don’t give them any more money. The 11 billion dollar budget is enuf. (Hope that is a typo and the real figure is still 10 billion.)

When you vote for Mayor and Governor think about who is most likely to support the public instead of corporations.

Protesters toss scooters into street to block tech buses in SF

By Sarah Ravani : sfgate – excerpt

Protesters in the Mission District blocked tech buses from leaving San Francisco on Thursday morning, tossing scooters into the street to waylay the commuters.

The activists, blocking buses at the intersection of 24th and Valencia streets, set off smoke bombs and carried signs that read “Techsploitation Is Toxic,” and “Sweep Tech Not Tents,” in reference to the city’s recent efforts to clear homeless encampments(more)

They couldn’t have picked a better foil to protest tech. Those scooter things are like mosquitoes. You just want to swat them away. Too many and too annoying. They should be a minimum radius for wheels allowed on the streets. Have you heard the one about the two scooters on the Bay Bridge?

2 people with motorized scooters on Bay Bridge cause traffic jam.

If you watch the video you can see that the “riders” ran into an obstruction. Of course they have no helmets. Toys do not belong on the roads. They should be off-road vehicles only. If you agree, tell the SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors.
(Contacts here)

More Scooter Scoops:

Activists block tech bus commute, say e-scooters treated better than homeless

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Tenants-rights activists blocked at least nine tech buses Thursday morning in San Francisco’s Mission District with a scooter blockade, claiming “shared” scooters are treated better than The City’s homeless.

Nearly 60 protesters piled a dozen of the controversial e-scooters in front of a Google bus at Valencia and 24th streets, placed an orange smoke grenade atop the pile and lit it. Plumes of orange clouds puffed above the protesters, who were wearing hazmat suits, as they cried out “One, we are the people! Two, a little bit louder! Three, we want Google off our streets.”…

It’s absurd scooters have more rights than the homeless do,” said Chirag Bhakta, 30, a San Francisco native from the Tenderloin who participated in the protest. He said while the scooter companies were treated politely in city hearings that were expedited by officials respectful of monied interests, homeless denizens were simply wiped away.

The homeless, he said, “deserve the same consideration in City Hall.”…

Protesters decried “techsploitation” of San Franciscans, and held aloft signs that said “your disruption is our displacement” as they blocked traffic…(more)

Equal time and respect for humans. If corporations can get a pilot program approved by the SFMTA, citizens should receive the same option to design a pilot program to test our theories on the street. Where is the data behind the scooter pilot project that proves it does anything other than provide entertainment for some people while annoying others?. Does entertainment belong on our streets or in the parks and off-street playgrounds? We know there is a problem with loud annoying noises. How about annoying toys?

Legislation reduces risk of e-scooters

By Christopher B. Dolan : sfexaminer – excerpt

Long story short, if you see a scooter blocking the sidewalk or you are injured by a scooter, moving or parked, you have rights. You should report any injury to the SFMTA and obtain the advice and counsel of a good trial lawyer to help you hold the drive and company responsible… (more)

The other side of the toll hike story

By Dave Price : padailypost – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Bay bridge at sunset photo by zrants

There are two sides to every story, and there’s another side to the story about the proposed 60% toll hike on seven of the bridges that cross the Bay.

What’s come out in the press so far is that the increase will pay for “three-dozen much-needed regional public transportation and roadway improvement” projects, as the Chronicle put it in a news story. The italics are mine.

That’s the spin: Give us more of your money for these much-needed projects and we’ll reduce traffic.

But it never seems to happen. We have one of these transportation measures on the ballot every year or two, and the traffic keeps getting worse. The money is shifted to mass-transit projects like BART while little or no capacity is added to the freeways. Mass transit doesn’t work for most people (less than 1% of residents use Caltrain regularly) and carpooling and carpool lanes have been a flop.

As a result, it gets longer and longer to get from one point to another. And the people who use those congested highways to get to work are asked to shell out more, not the fat cats like the tech companies.

Highways get short-changed

In the case of the toll hike, called Regional Measure 3 on the June ballot, just 22% of the $4.5 billion raised will be devoted to highway improvements, with most of that going to the East Bay. In the mid-Peninsula, a mere $50 million will be earmarked for highways — money to fund a fraction of the cost to rebuild the Highway 101-92 interchange in San Mateo.

Oh, I forgot to mention that there is $300 million on the spending list to give us toll lanes on our freeways, where a lane that could be devoted to free-flowing traffic will be restricted to carpoolers or those willing to pay a toll that will be electronically collected using Fastrak type devices. Toll lanes make people pay twice for their roads.
If you put toll lanes into the category of highway improvements, then the percentage of the toll hike going to highways increases to 28.6%. But I don’t see toll lanes as an improvement…

It just doesn’t stop. And they’ll keep putting these increases on the ballot as long as voters keep saying “yes.” It’s time to say “no.”.. (more)

Lot’s of reasons to oppose RM3. One of them is the big money being thrown at it.

Big business funds campaign to convince voters to raise tolls

Lot’s of reasons to oppose RM3. One of them is the big money being thrown at it.
Why don’t the tech titans who are paying millions of dollars to pass RM3 and other pro-developer pro-growth bills just pay for the projects they support instead of turning it into political currency? Vote NO on RM3. Keep controls in the hands of the taxpaying public.

New Format for SFMTA Engineering Agendas

Changes are coming to the SFMTA. Thanks to the Board of Supervisors for hearing our complaints and insisting on changes in the department by passing Ordinance 180089. As we stated earlier the Supervisors anticipate working with the public at earlier stages of SFMTA projects to deal with problems before they get to the final stages of implementation. This week we have the rollout of a new public notice systems including the agenda formats. We anticipate new public notice systems to be going up on the streets as well.

After years of complaints about notices and the difficulties of reading them, the SFMTA has finally taken our complaints to heart and figured out an easier to read format for their Engineering Agendas that document and describe the street alterations and parking changes they are planning for the public to read and respond to.

In order to respond to items on this agenda, you pretty much have to attend the 10 AM Friday Engineering hearing or take your concerns to your Supervisor. This is one step in the chain of events that may result in changes you disagree with. Here is the latest copy of the “improved” version of the Engineering Hearing agenda. Here is a link to this week’s Engineering agenda. One improvement is the Districts are now noted, making it easier to see your areas of concern, and each project is now numbered and taken as a separate item.

There are supposed to be new street signs with better more easy to understand information as well. Let us now if you see the new signs how they work by commenting here. Are they properly placed and is it easy to read and follow the instructions on how to respond?

S.F. Will Be Scooter-Free While City Chooses Permit Holders

By Ida Mojadad : sfweekly – excerpt

Sidewalks will be largely free of scooters in June, while SFMTA demands tech companies abide with a new permit program.

Starting June 4, San Francisco will go nearly a month without seeing scooters on its sidewalks, city officials announced Thursday.

Any shared electric scooters found on the sidewalks after June 4 will be confiscated and used as evidence, City Attorney Dennis Herrera says Thursday. In turn, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is accepting permit applications for a 12-month pilot program and hope to issue the permits by the end of June… (more)