UCSF nurses union comes out against S.F. Warriors arena

By J.K. Dineen : sfgate – excerpt – (video)

The Golden State Warriors could face some unexpected opposition in their drive to build an arena in Mission Bay: nurses.

On Monday, the California Nurses Association, a union that represents 900 UCSF nurses, came out against the plan for an 18,500-seat arena across the street from the new UCSF Medical Center on the southern edge of Mission Bay.

In a statement, the nurses union cited “impacts on access to care, patient health and the ability of patients, family members and health professionals to access Mission Bay’s hospitals and clinics in gridlock traffic.”

At a news conference Monday, three nurses expressed reservations about the Warriors’ plan, although they all admitted that they were unfamiliar with the details of the team’s recently released 800-page environmental impact report, which analyzes the arena’s potential effects on traffic and parking.

Backed by Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco’s political establishment, the Warriors’ Mission Bay arena plan faced minimal public opposition until April, when a mostly anonymous group of UCSF donors and wealthy biotech executives announced it would fight the proposal. The group, the Mission Bay Alliance, has hired no fewer than four law firms and has vowed to spend millions of dollars on legal challenges.

While the Mission Bay Alliance’s legal threats have not eroded support for the development at City Hall, concerns voiced by rank-and-file nurses could help bolster the case against the basketball arena in the court of public opinion.

“Delay of care is a big concern for our nurses,” CNA member Lili Cooper said at Monday’s news conference… 

“The city is planning to tackle potential traffic jams through beefed-up public transit and a “traffic separation” plan aimed at funneling arena-bound cars onto certain streets while hospital and neighborhood vehicles are routed onto others.”… (more)

And which of our neighborhood streets would the SFMTA be re-routing traffic that is not already overwhelmed? Do they plan to bulldoze a new thoroughfare through a residential neighborhood? There are no streets around Mission Bay that are not already impacted by the traffic jams. And the trains and buses are already jammed with long lines of commuters and sports fans jostling for seats.


By Carolyn Tyler : abc7news – excerpt (video)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 12:00AM
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — If your car is towed in San Francisco, you’re going to be paying some of the highest rates in the country to get it back, but now for one group of motorists — those whose cars were stolen — it appears some relief is on the way.

Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, San Francisco residents were reimbursed the towing expenses for stolen cars, but that changed in 2005, perhaps due to the economy.

Adding insult to injury, San Francisco resident Luis Rodriguez will spend big bucks to get his Chevy Malibu from the towing yard. Every month on average, nearly 200 stolen vehicles end up at AutoReturn.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener said, “It’s a real hardship — especially for lower income people who rely on their car as a lifeline to get to work — to have to pay a lot of money to get their car, when they didn’t do anything wrong.”

Wiener has authored legislation with the backing of the Municipal Transportation Agency. If approved, starting this December through next March there would be changes. And when the towing contract comes up for renewal, it is also expected to include the new previsions.

Muni’s $266 SFMTA administrative fee would be waived for San Francisco residents and cut in half for non-residents. The $225.75 towing fees would be waived for everyone. And rather than the current four hours you’re given to get your car before the storage fees accumulate, residents will have a 48 hour grace period. The grace period will be 24 hours for non-residents… (more)


Originally posted on SF Public Transit Solutions:

By Carolyn Tyler :abc7news – excerpt – (video)

Thursday, June 25, 2015 09:19PM
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Work on a regional connection for Bay Area commuters is quickly taking shape. With much of the construction on the Transbay Terminal completed underground, we’re finally seeing it rise above street level.

At First and Mission streets in San Francisco commuters are watching an icon rise, one that might actually make their trip into San Francisco easier someday. “You absolutely get a feel for what that experience is going to be when the transit center opens in late 2017,” Dennis Turchon said.

Turchon is senior project manager of the $1.1 billion new Transbay Terminal project.

It is designed to be the Grand Central Station of the west, a hub for Bay Area transit.

Regional bus lines will carry commuters to and from the city on the upper levels, while underground Caltrain and…

View original 28 more words

Activists prod Mayor Lee over Caltrain extension

By Hannah Albarazi : sfbay – excerpt

Environmentalists and transit enthusiasts are urging San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to prioritize a ballot measure that passed in 1999 that required an extension of the Caltrain line to the Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco.

The passage of the 1999 ballot measure, known then as Proposition H, required that Caltrain be extended to the Transbay Terminal and prohibited the city from taking any actions that would conflict with extension.

Alex Doniach, a spokeswoman for the Mission Bay Alliance, a non-profit group that wants to see the Caltrain downtown extension brought to fruition, and also stands unwaveringly against the proposed Golden State Warriors stadium, said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee should honor the original Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) agreement.

Transit enthusiasts from groups such as the Train Riders Association of California, Bay Rail Alliance, Friends of Caltrain, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, and the Coalition of San Francisco neighbors, among others, gathered outside City Hall today to urge the mayor not to postpone the DTX project any longer..

The 1999 measure, however, did not set a strict timeline for construction of the project, resulting in years of postponement by elected officials….

A public hearing by the city’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure Commission is scheduled for 1 p.m. on June 30 in Room 416 in City Hall at which time comments from members of the public regarding the Draft SEIR on the construction of the arena will be heard… (more)

Here lies one of the problems with using the ballot to govern. So many details must go into a piece of legislation to make it enforceable, and , as we are finding out, enforcement is largely lacking unless the administration makes it happen.

So, be careful who you put in office in administrative posts.

And, as Scoop Nisker said, “If you don’t like the news…”

Opinions Are Divided On North Beach’s Proposed Traffic-Calming ‘Bulb-Outs’

Next Tuesday, June 30th from 6:30-8pm, North Beach Neighbors is hosting another meeting at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club (1630 Stockton St.) to discuss traffic-calming measures slated for the community.

As part of the Columbus Avenue Safety Project, SFMTA is proposing bulb-outs at four intersections in North Beach, and some neighbors are concerned they’ll slow down response times for emergency vehicles. Others say the bulb-outs will help reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities, as they slow down traffic and improve pedestrian visibility.

Either way, North Beach Neighbors President Trish Herman wants more information presented to the community before bulb-outs are installed. “In my opinion, they’re trying to shove this down everybody’s throat,” she said.

The previous meeting, on April 30th, included testimony from three firefighters opposed to bulb-outs (they did not speak on behalf of the Fire Department, but as individual citizens). They expressed concern about potential delays in emergency response times and damage to fire trucks. Among the crowd of a few dozen neighbors, several shared concerns that the bulb-outs would further clog traffic, and one was worried about bulb-outs placing pedestrians closer to traffic, which would actually decrease safety.

At this next meeting, representatives from the San Francisco Fire Department and SF Public Works will speak. Herman hopes a representative from the SFMTA will be there as well, though she said there was some confusion on that, because they initially scheduled a meeting for the same time and date upstairs from the North Beach Neighbors meeting. “We’re unsure whether the MTA will come and speak,” she said. “If they don’t, I’ll present what they presented to us at our board meeting.”… (more)

Herman said her goal is to get hard facts on the effects of traffic calming on a community and to determine whether it will be good, specifically, for the complex intersections in North Beach. “I’m saying that one size does not fit all,” she said, noting that bulb-outs in the Castro have caused traffic back-ups. She said she filed a Sunshine Ordinance request with the SFMTA for documents with proof that bulb-outs work, and the packet she received consisted of studies from 2001 and 2005. “We’re dealing with old data,” she said.

Removing parking spaces for the bulb-outs is another concern. “They’re not considering the vehicle public,” Herman said. “Parking has been removed at high rates throughout the city.” She expressed particular concern for elderly and disabled people, for whom walking and biking isn’t always a realistic option. Another concern is people coming from across the Bay Area who support the business base in North Beach, and need to park to frequent shops and restaurants. “Muni is so grossly inefficient,” she said. “North Beach is a difficult neighborhood to get to using Muni.”… (more)

San Francisco cabbies protest mayors visiting Uber headquarters

Uber Vs. Taxis: One City’s Incredibly Simple Solution To The Turf War

By Andrew Bender : forbes – excerpt

From coast to coast and overseas, ride share companies like Uber and Lyft are kicking taxi ass, and taxi drivers are urging governments to impose restrictions on them. But this week, the city of Long Beach, Calif. took the opposite tack: encouraging taxis to operate more like ride share companies.

It’s almost too simple. Because fares and other conditions for the taxi trade are regulated by municipalities, operators can’t move with the market on pricing and ease of use. William Rouse, general manager of Long Beach Yellow Cab, the city’s sole licensed taxi operator, blames the decline in taxi ridership on “increased competition from businesses that don’t face the same regulatory burdens.” Read: Uber and Lyft.

On the other hand, says Long Beach’s Mayor Robert Garcia “Uber and Lyft are both popular in Long Beach,” and show no signs of going away. Throughout Long Beach’s county of Los Angeles, locals say that ride sharing is transforming the local travel culture at lightning speed.

So working together with Yellow Cab, the city council of Long Beach (population: 469,000) this week approved a pilot program that removes taxis’ fare floor, allowing Yellow Cab to discount fares as conditions warrant, comparable to ride sharing services’ less expensive fares. The company will also get an ordering app, be allowed to increase its fleet size from 175 to 199 cars, and be permitted to add additional capacity at peak times… (more)

SFMTA’s plan for the Warriors and Giants new developments

NO PARKING DURING GAME DAY OR EVENTS AT THE NEW STADIUMS IN MISSION BAY is the SFMTA’S parking plan for you. The cute domino calender is their idea of a fun game for you to play unless you do something to stop them. See these live on Illinois now. Good luck figuring them out.


Uber, the Conference of Mayors, and the taxi drivers

by 48hills – excerpt

Expect protests from (real) cab drivers as Uber helps host US Conference of Mayors — just as that company is getting hit for failing to treat its workers as employees

JUNE 18, 2015 — On Monday, June 22, Mayor Ed Lee will lead the Conference of US Mayors on a tour of Uber headquarters. It’s part of his ongoing promotion of tech in the city; other tour locations include Autodesk and Twitter.

The Uber tour comes just as that company is taking some serious political and legal hits that could undermine the entire concept of the “sharing economy” – at least on the level of employment.

Companies like Uber try to get away with keeping the number of actual employees low – most of the people who make money for the outfit are drivers who are treated as independent contractors.

That saves Uber (and Lyft, and TaskRabbit, and so many other outfits) the cost of providing health insurance, disability, workers compensation, retirement and all of the other benefits that typically come with real employment.

But the regulators are starting to crack down.

Why the US Conference of Mayors would want to make a company that has been operating in so many cities in violation of local laws a stop on a goodwill tour is a bit confusing – except, no: Uber is a big sponsor of the mayor’s conference.

But the mayors who choose to go to Uber will be greeted by angry taxi drivers – real taxi drivers – who will circle the HQ, hold a press conference out front, and hand out leaflets.

That’s going to part of series of protests against Uber that will focus on the Conference of Mayors. The drivers will be out protesting Lee’s Saturday speech to the conference and the City Hall party Friday night. And on Monday they will be at Uber.

As Ruach Graffis, a longtime driver who works with the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance, told me, “we aren’t against the Uber drivers, because they’re workers like us. But we want Uber to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

There’s some indication now that Uber may have to act more like a real employer – and business analysts say that could deeply damage the company’s bottom line. The state Labor Commission just ruled that Uber drivers are not independent contractors but employees. The ruling applies to only one driver, who will get a little more than $4,000 in back pay, and will be appealed. Ultimately, the question will wind up in court – and possibly at the state Legislature and Congress.

A similar case against FedEx just wound up with a settlement that’s going to encourage drivers (and their lawyers) to pursue a lot more of these claims.

The tech folks, most of whom are young, love the model of everyone working as a freelancer, and sympathetic economists talk about how most people these days can look forward to having dozens of jobs (or gigs) over their lifetimes. That’s all fine and good for some, but as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich puts it in the NYT:

“For anybody who has to pay the bills and has a family, having no labor protections and no job security is at best a mixed blessing. At worst, it is a nightmare. Obviously some workers prefer to be independent contractors — but mostly they take these jobs because they cannot find better ones.”

So the existing laws, which make it hard for companies to turn employees into freelancers, are starting to come up against the great wealth of companies that live by keeping workers off the payroll and not paying benefits.

I assume the Uber lobbyists are already plotting their legislative strategy… (more)