Apartment owners take on Ed Lee, pour in $50k to defeat transportation bond measure

: sfgate – excerpt

It’s looking like the fight over an otherwise hum-drum ballot measure has turned more interesting — and immensely personal.

The San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents landlords and usually spends its time fighting City Hall over housing issues, has poured more than $50,000 in recent weeks into the fight against Proposition A.

Yes, that Prop. A — the $500 million, nearly universally popular transportation bond that Mayor Ed Lee has staked his political future on and every single supervisors is backing.

Some of the money went toward two mailers sent out by a group called the San Francisco Taxpayers Association that claim the ballot measure authorizes a “billion-dollar blank check” and “could raise taxes on homeowners and renters.” The mailer is signed by a number of groups, including the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and the San Francisco Green and Republican parties…

“We have lost faith that this administration is able to lead the city, and if you look at the reasons why — you will see huge contributions by the tech industry into this (measure),” she said. “Something is broken, and until all parties are brought in to formulate policy through his leadership, we will oppose a continuation of this.”…

“The reality is we have a congested city and we have to have a better transportation system,” he (Mayor Lee) said. “What about the $250 million in Proposition A we are willing to spend on pedestrian safety?”… (more)

I am laughing so hard at the Mayor’s comments I can hardly write.  “The reality is we have a congested city, (duh?) and we have to have a better transportation system,” he said.
The Mayor answered his own question. The SFMTA was given sole responsibility for fixing traffic problems over the last two years and they have only succeeded in creating gridlock and confusion and pissing everyone off, including their drivers and riders.

Their tactics are backfiring on them BECAUSE THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for the gridlock and everyone knows it. You don’t reduce traffic lanes and street parking to ease congestion, and we suspect the voters are smart enough to figure that out.
Money will not win this argument. The people who are mad as well and aren’t going to take it anymore will.

Twitter conference blocks off scores of parking spaces for no apparent reason

: sfgate – excerpt

There’s an oft-repeated claim these days that San Francisco is up for sale to the highest bidder. We’d say that seems to be the case when scores of parking spaces in the Civic Center are closed off for a Twitter conference, but payment to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is a mere $1,194.

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was the site Wednesday of a one-day conference called Flight, put on by Twitter for mobile developers. At the request of conference producer Another Planet Entertainment, the SFMTA gave the go-ahead for signs to be posted notifying drivers they’d be towed if they parked on Grove between Larkin and Polk streets or on Larkin between Grove and Hayes.

The spaces were reserved for set-up Tuesday, the conference Wednesday and clean-up Thursday, though almost all the parking spaces Thursday morning were empty or dotted with just a neon green cone. Just three small trucks were parked in front of the auditorium. Meanwhile, some people driving to City Hall circled for 30 minutes before finding a spot — far away.

Copies of the permits for temporary signage restricting the parking spaces show that Another Planet paid the standard rate,  which, it could be argued, is the first time in history any city fee has ever seemed low.

Eric Sainz, operations manager for Another Planet, said his company requested the number of spaces Twitter said it would need. He acknowledged they weren’t really needed all day Thursday, but the signs remained up.

Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, e-mailed, “We had all the proper permits for the spaces, just like any of the other large event-holders in that area, like Salesforce. In fact, we were required to keep many of those spaces open as part of the security protocols.”

Paul Rose, spokesman for the SFMTA said, “Based on the information presented, this was an appropriate plan.”… (more)

Looks like it is time to re-visit the protocols.  Hopefully Supervisors Cohen can include these reports into her legislative efforts to free up overly broad toe-zones for construction sites. The problem appears to lie in some regulatory code that was probably sneaked in while no one was looking. Let’s start by requesting a copy of the security protocols that require blocks of reserved parking when none is required.

Cutting off blocks of traffic always impacts Muni as well as everyone else. How far behind schedule did this event put Muni? And how many Muni riders missed out on their regular routes because of this?

How do you find out about the route changes if you don’t have a computer or smart phone to refer to? If SFMTA is going to send out notices that way, they should hand out phones to everyone who can’t afford them so they can check from home to see if their routes have changed.