Court Will Stop Suspending Driver’s Licenses Over Unpaid Fines

By Matt Fleming : capoliticalreview – excerpt

Under pressure from civil liberties groups, Contra Costa County Superior Court announced last week a moratorium on the practice of suspending driver’s licenses over unpaid fines.

In March, the ACLU of Northern California and other groups urged the California Judicial Council — the policy-making board of the California court system — for action, arguing that suspending licenses for unpaid fines disproportionately affects lower-income drivers.

The ACLU and others have been targeting individual courts as well in Bay Area counties. Contra Costa County Superior Court responded last week saying the Failure to Pay policy was under review.

“The court will suspend all FTP referrals until further notice,” Steven K. Austin, presiding judge of the Superior Court, wrote last week to the ACLU of Northern California and Bay Area Legal Aid. Austin added the moratorium had already begun… (more)

November 2016 Legislation

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Charter Amendment introduced by Supervisor Yee would split the MTA  Board appointments between the Mayor and the Supervisors, 4 to 3. The board currently needs seven votes to reject the SFMTA’s budget. The measure would lower that requirement to six votes.

Supervisors attempt to reduce mayor’s powers with suite of new measures

Supervisor Yee needs support to get a Charter Amendment on the November ballot that would split the MTA Board appointments between the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.

Grassroots Actions

By Riley McDermid :sfbusiness – excerpt

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have introduced a suite of measures aimed at taking power away from Mayor Ed Lee in five major departments, as the deadline to introduce charter amendments for the November ballot arrived Tuesday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a charter amendment introduced at the meeting by Supervisor Aaron Peskin would reconfigure how much oversight the mayor has over the Department of Real Estate, Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

In addition, Supervisor Norman Yee introduced a charter amendment that would allow the board to appoint three of the seven board members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors, while taking away the mayor’s power to appoint all seven.

The mayor’s office immediately pushed back against the measures late Tuesday, saying the moves came as a surprise and weren’t necessary –…

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Unnoticed NON-Permitted Sidewalk Work Spotted on Lombard

Sent by a resident on Lombard

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Today signs were posted in front of our property stating that this will be a tow away zone for the next 30 days. The sign is a Department of Public Works sign. This is the work I emailed the supervisor’s aide about a week ago.

So, today I call the DPW to find out what is going on out there. The “mystery workers” have covered the sidewalk with white and green lines and dots, they have made cuts in the sidewalk around the parking meter, along the building wall and around the PGE boxes on the sidewalk. As if the sidewalk is to be removed. I sent them a photo of the signage.

Drum roll: The DPW has NO PERMITS on record for this project. The person I talked to, Sid Lezama, said that the signs are not the current signs used by the DPW; in fact he said they were false signs. He has nothing in the computer for the work being done. He suggested I call 311, tell them about it and make a formal complaint.

So I did. Guess what? It is TOTALLY ILLEGAL to work on any sidewalk in SF without first notifying the property owners in the area. Obviously that never happened. She registered a formal complaint which will go back to DPW. Then Sid said they can investigate what is going on from there. They are going to call us with the information once found.

This smells like the SFMTA to us! The aide sure knew about this project when she replied to my email, didn’t she? And yet the project was never permitted by the DPW, which is required, and no one there knows anything about it!

The work is supposedly going to begin TOMORROW!!

We will keep you posted, but everyone should be aware of the regulations here and watchdog any project in their neighborhood that even smacks of the City. Make sure permits are in place and that property owners have been properly notified.

Sid’s phone number at the permit department of the DPW is 415-554-5824;
to reach the 311 person you can also phone 415-701-2311.

Feel free to forward to other neighborhood groups. Maybe we can red tag the City’s own projects!!

– Concerned Citizen

Use the Mayor’s new 311 system that goes directly into the record and gives you a case number that you can use to check up on the progress being made on your complaint.

MTA Impact on Mission Bernal – My perspective

Eden.jpg

Walk, Bike, Bus, or drive to support Mission Street Small Business

Two months ago, MTA reconstructed Mission Street, introducing red transit lanes and forced right turns. The bus is running two to five minutes faster, but I have observed a decrease in pedestrian traffic and clientele, especially for daytime businesses. My business is not only a go-to for locals, but a destination for people from all over. The forced right-hand turns funnel drivers away from shopping and local restaurants, making it harder for our customers to show up and support us. This is a direct call to our customers to walk, bike, take public transit, or drive to support local businesses impacted along Mission Street.

My specific concerns for Mission Bernal are to make sure it is safe for pedestrians, residents, and our valued customers. A request has been made to MTA to put in protected left turn signals at 29th and Valencia, remove the right hand turn at Cesar Chavez, and review positions of new bus stops. I am concerned that the Mission-Powers bus stop is not well-lit and is located in front of a preschool. My other concern is when it rains the red paint is causing the buses difficulty in stopping. I have seen the buses slide through the intersection at 29th Street on the red light because they are slipping on the red lanes. This is a safety concern for our whole community. I support public transit, but not at the cost of safety or small business. I am for finding a balance that works for all us.

My grandparents owned a storefront for over 40 years in Philadelphia. Their legacy business was one of the things that inspired me to open Secession Art and Design in an emerging area of the Mission in 2007. Mission Street has been home to my gallery and boutique for 9 years, supporting over 60 local and independent artists and designers. Businesses along Mission Street all want the chance to be legacy businesses, and live out our dream that small business can thrive in San Francisco. This is why I became president of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, so my neighborhood would have a passionate point person who lives and works in Mission Bernal.

I have attended many MTA meetings,sometimes closing my store to make sure my voice is heard. A happy medium needs to happen, so small businesses aren’t forced to shut down. I want to continue my grandparent’s legacy of doing what I love everyday being the owner of a small business. I’m working to help Mission Street culture return back to its vibrant and artistic hustle.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive, encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and speak up for my community, and reminded me to be strong and love what I do!

You rock, Eden

Secession Art & Design • Owner & Curator
3235 Mission St.,SF, CA 94110
Gallery & Boutique open Tues-Sun: Noon-7pm
www.secessionsf.com

 

Muni’s impact on small business

from hoodline – excerpt

May 9 Small Business Commission meeting: From transit-only lanes to the loss of parking spaces, neighborhood activists have been using the Commission as a venue to criticize San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for projects that they say put small business in jeopardy. This meeting was no different.

Staffers from various departments within the SFMTA gave presentations on a variety of topics, including the agency’s public outreach, the residential parking permit program, capital projects and improvement projects on Lombard and Mission streets.

Neighborhood activists attended the meeting to speak during the public comment period on all items. They represented commercial corridors on which SFMTA has ongoing or recently-completed projects, including Mission Street, Geary Boulevard, Lombard Street and Taraval Street.

Safety was consistently cited by SFMTA staff as the reason behind all their improvement projects to heavily-used corridors.

The criticisms of those who commented on each item centered largely on the agency’s re-engineering of streets to accommodate transit, bicycles and pedestrians over private automobiles, leading to reduced auto traffic along commercial corridors and an attendant loss of parking spaces.

Bob Starzel, a representative with the Greater Geary Merchants and Property Owners Association, laid out the small business perspective of transit changes as a counterpoint to the City’s Transit First policy approach.

“If we took [SFMTA’s] numbers, and they were right, and only 30 percent of people drive, think to yourself what it means to your business if now some good proportion of that 30 percent is not gonna come to do business with you,” Starzel said. “What that means is your profit margin is hurt.”

SFMTA staff will continue appearing before the Commission to address how their projects and programs affect small businesses for the next few months… (more) Scroll the the page for this part of the article.

SFMTA is using our taxes to against us

Business owners all over town are doing a lot more than just going to meetings and City Hall. They are organizing to fight for their businesses. Fighting the taxes that feed the SFMTA are a big part of the fight.

Plans to remove traffic from our major commercial corridors are not the only thing SFMTA is doing to close businesses in the city. We know of at least three new taxes they have planned for us that are guaranteed to raise the cost of living and doing business in the Bay Area.

Prop AA – the SF Bay Authority (SFBA) is a new regional taxing entity that wants a $12 parcel tax from all property owners within a 9 county region. The claim they need it is to clean the Bay. There are plenty of other entities working on that already. If Prop AA passes the SFBA will request an additional 10 cents per gallon gas tax next. Do yourself a favor and vote against Prop AA. Look what happened when the voters voted down Prop L. They decided they could get away with tearing up our streets and removing street parking that is what they are doing. (more 0n Prop AA)

Another Sales Tax – The SFMTA assumes the voters will approve another half cent sales tax in November. In fact, they informed the Board of Supervisors that they have budgeted in that tax increase for the next two years. What will that and the parcel tax and the 10 cents per gallon do to the businesses in San Francisco? Let your supervisors know how you feel about these regressive taxes.

If you haven’t yet signed the StopSFMTA petition, please do and share it with your friends. Join the many who are fighting to keep San Francisco for the residents who live here. Leave a comment below if you want to be put in touch with your local business organization.

You’re More Likely to Accept Uber’s Surge Pricing When Your Phone’s About to Die

By Maya Kosoff : vanityfair – excerpt

“One of the strongest predictors of whether or not you are going to be sensitive to surge—in other words, whether or not you are going to kind of say, oh, 2.2, 2.3, I’ll give it a 10 to 15 minutes to see if surge goes away—is how much battery you have left on your cell phone,” Chen said… (more)

Uber Teams Up With Real Estate Developer To Replace Car Ownership

By Brian Solomon : forbes – excerpt

About 90% of U.S. households own a car–but Uber wants to change that.

On Wednesday, Uber announced what it hopes will be the start of many local real estate partnerships designed to encourage residents to ditch their cars for ride-sharing and public transportation. This first partnership brings Parkmerced, a real estate development in San Francisco with over 3,000 rental apartments, into the fold.

The details: new residents will receive a $100 monthly transportation subsidy from Parkmerced to use on Uber and public transit ($30 must be used on Uber, the rest can be put on a Clipper Card). In return, Uber will cap the fares of any UberPool shared ride between Parkmerced and the nearby BART and MUNI stations to a maximum of $5…

“Five years ago we didn’t know who Uber was and now they rule the world,” said Rob Rosania, CEO of Maximus Real Estate, the developer of Parkmerced. “They were the first ones to raise their hands and the most aggressive when coming up with a solution that worked for a long term partnership toward multi-modal transportation.”… (more)

In Depth: Ride-sharing drivers pretending to be taxis in violation of state law, getting huge fines

by e and Stanley Roberts : kron – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — KRON’s Stanley Roberts goes in-depth about the dangers of jumping into a rideshare vehicle you did not call for.

A KRON investigation reveals rogue Uber and Lyft drivers picking up passengers and cutting out the taxi cab.

KRON’s Stanley Roberts was there for a San Francisco crackdown and explains why you need to think twice before hailing a ride.

Only a taxi driver can be a taxi driver, and while that may sound strange, there is a problem where other people are pretending to be taxi drivers.

So, San Franciso police and the SFMTA conduct regular enforcement stings looking for rogue drivers. Basically, they put two decoys out on the street to hail a ride.

If you are not a taxi, you are not allowed to pick up passengers. However, app-based drivers often do, despite knowing it’s a big no-no.

Stanley rode with plain-clothed officers from the San Francisco Police Department on a crackdown funded entirely by the SFMTA to catch app-based drivers behaving badly.

A ticket from the police is one thing, but an administrative ticket from SFMTA can cost as high as $5,000… (more)

The Taraval Boarding Island Question: Q&A with Katy Tang

by Roger Rudick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

Last week, Streetsblog brought you an editorial from Katy Tang about the issue of installing concrete boarding islands on Taraval as part of SFMTA’s Muni Forward project. This was in response to a headline in the SF Examiner, that declared “Supervisor Slams Brakes on L-Taraval Changes.”

As Streetsblog readers may recall, business owners were pushing back against the boarding islands because of the potential loss of parking in front of their shops; Streetsblog brought you the story of the rancorous public meeting about it, and other issues, back in February.

Is it true that Supervisor Tang was holding up safety improvements because of her small-business constituents and their objections? Streetsblog had reached out to Tang several times. Finally, Friday, Streetsblog was able to sit down with the District 4 Supervisor and get her perspective, face to face.

STREETSBLOG: The Examiner story was accurate, with the exception of the headline?

TANG: Factually, it was true. It just didn’t tell people all of what was going on.

SB: So what is going on? Let’s pick this up from that infamous meeting with the community at Dianne Feinstein Elementary about Muni’s proposed improvements to the L-Taraval.

TANG: At that large meeting, everyone was yelling at each other and not giving time to hear people. We heard from people that they were confused about what SFMTA proposals were on Taraval.  It’s not just about boarding islands. It might be about transit-only lanes. Parking removals associated with boarding islands. Traffic signals. Stop removals. So it was a whole host of things. You had to look at every intersection to know what’s going on. Because those meetings were just shouting fests, and it wasn’t just that one, there were several, we felt like, you know what? We’re not being productive. MTA wants feedback, and people aren’t providing feedback, they’re just yelling.

SB: So you arranged smaller meetings?…(more)