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)

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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.

Ballot Measure would raise Bay Area bridge tolls $3

By Alexis Smith : KGO – excerpt

No matter how you get to work, you’ve no doubt seen the impacts of the bay area’s thriving economy. Packed trains, congested highways, late ferries and aging transit systems are the norm, but voters are being asked to pass regional measure three to fix them…

“We want to smooth out the system – make it more efficient, we’re not planning to build new freeways here, but we’re going to smooth out the express lane system at the same time try to move more people onto mass transportation,” said Wunderman.

If passed, there would be some road improvements, but, most of the money would be spent on improving the Bay Area’s existing mass transit infrastructure…

“This is the first transportation tax I’ve opposed in oh – the 28 years I’ve held elected office,” said Walnut Creek Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. He says he’s voting “no” on Regional Measure 3. Mostly because those who foot the bill will see the least from its passage….

DeSaulnier was once on the M-T-C board and he says its record of spending money well isn’t good. Starting with the decision to move its headquarters from Oakland to San Francisco.

Congressman DeSaulnier added, “They spent $250 million for a building they didn’t need – and they were $5 billion over budget on the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge.”…

“We have an incredible quality of life here – we have an incredible economy here – but we have challenges as a result of our success and we need to invest in solving those things and this is one way the region can come together,” said Wunderman…. (more)

VOTE NO ON REGIONAL MEASURE 3  Who are the WE with the quality of life here? Certainly not the displaced people who were forced to move to commute to “make room” for people. Their lifestyle sucks now and they are the least likely to afford the additional tolls even though it falls on their heads.

MTC SPREADS THE PAIN TO EVERYONE. Funds from the tolls will be used for toll roads and HOT lanes in Silicon Valley and everywhere else. No one will be spared. The $9.oo bridge toll is the tip of the iceberg.

RM3 REMOVES VOTER CONTROL OVER FUTURE BRIDGE TOLLS. If RM3 passes the voters will never be bothered with the need to vote on another bridge toll. The measure includes built-in increases based on inflation, that bill will ensure by forcing everyone to pay higher prices for all deliveries, including food.

RELATED:
Occupymtc.org
Nine-county-coalition
Oppose RM3

Supes grant themselves power to appeal SFMTA decisions

by Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to give itself the power to hear appeals of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency decisions on issues including stop sign installations, some bicycle routes, parking meter rules and creating or modifying so-called Private Transportation Programs…

The legislation was introduced by Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai, who had previously considered placing a charter amendment on the ballot to split up the transit agency but instead opted to move forward with this “compromise” proposal.

“Supervisor Peskin and I have worked on this legislation for over a year,” Safai said. “The genesis of this, colleagues, was the general frustration that many of us have felt on this board with our interactions with the SFMTA.”

The legislation was approved in an 11-0 vote…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, told the Examiner Tuesday that “we look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors as we continue to make progress on improving all transportation options and making the streets safer for everyone.”

He added that the new appeal process covers “certain MTA decisions, including Residential Parking Permits, color curb coordination, meter time limits, and commuter shuttles.”…(more)

Congratulations to all our readers and supporters! You made this happen by your efforts and demands for changes and improvements to the agency that had until now very little oversight and no reason to listen to complaints or demands. We still have a lot of work to do but now there is a way forward. Put together your request, get the backing of your supervisor and put in your requests. You should expect to see a new noticing system and a new civility at the department. If things do not see any improve, let the authorities know. Details on what is covered are here:
Legislative language: Leg Ver5, Legislative digest: Leg Dig Ver5

 

 

 

 

June Measure Calls for Bay Area Bridge Toll Hikes

By Jodie Hernandez : nbcnews – excerpt (includes video)

Night-Bridge

Crossing the old span of the Bay Bridge into San Francisco photo by zrants

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/June-Measure-Calls-For-Bay-Area-Bridge-Toll-Hikes-481987161.html

Some quotes:
1. “We are asking people to dig a little bit deeper to pay for projects that won’t come from any other source.” Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council. (Most people do not believe it is possible to pay for all the promised improvements using bridge tolls alone. We have evidence to the contrary.)

2. “expanding the express lane network.” (this is where it hits everyone who doesn’t cross a bridge, including the peninsula residents, many of who are opposing RM3.)

3. Two big problems… It won’t work and it isn’t fair. Transit Advocate, David Schonbrunn.

4. Only 18% of the money in the toll measure directly effects bridge corridors. David Schonbrunn. www.occupymtc.org

Angela Alioto Talks About The Richmond Dist. with Resident Antonio White

Antonio White interview Mayoral Candidate Angela Alioto

Why are they Re-doing Streets Again? Angela Alioto wants to know. So do we.

There are a few quotable items here that may be of interest:

Angela was perplexed as we all are over why the streets are torn up repeatedly and asked one of the workers on Columbus why they were redoing a block again.”The gentleman working there was very honest. He is in independent contractor. He is not working for the city and he says, we still have money in our contract…We have a contract that still has money in it to pay us so we are not going to stop till we get all the money that is in our contract no matter what happens to the street.”… (more)

Angela raises one of my biggest beefs when she mentions that the parks are being re-done again. Now we may be getting to the bottom of what is going on within the departments. They have too much money in the capita budget so they are making work for themselves so they can spend the development funds, or whatever, instead of doing the work the public wants them to do. Then they can claim they need more money next year.

Wait until all the experimental curbs and slalom lanes have to be removed. The contractors who poured the $100 million dollar islands and bulbouts will be paid to remove them. And someone will have to dig up the trees or kill them off.

Reviving SF’s taxi industry: The city is looking at solutions

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco’s taxi industry, bludgeoned in recent years by Uber and Lyft, needs to catch up with the changing times to survive.

That’s the assessment of a pair of consultants whose report, released Wednesday, recommends that the Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates the city’s taxi industry, work with cab companies to improve their service and reduce the number of taxis on the streets to match reduced demand but increase the number of cabs capable of carrying persons with disabilities.

What it doesn’t recommend, despite the wishes of taxi drivers, is what the city and the agency are not allowed to do: Regulate the transportation network companies, specifically Uber and Lyft, that have nearly decimated the taxi industry since their drivers arrived in San Francisco over the past decade.

That oversight falls to the state Public Utilities Commission, not the city…

“the MTA is really looking to get the right regulations in place so that the taxi industry can compete,” Toran said.

To accomplish that, the report recommends taxi companies become more customer-friendly by offering mobile-phone apps…

Those companies should also be released from current restraints that prohibit them from offering special or discounted rates …

To help boost interest in operating taxi vans to carry wheelchairs, an often time-consuming effort, the report recommends that drivers be offered up to $300 a month to help buy a van and the same amount per month to cover maintenance and operating costs… (more)

 

 

May Day Media Headline Blitz

Today marks the beginning of a tense month in California politics as we line up to vote on a lot of issues that may effect the social fabric of our state. We will touch on the media headlines regarding the two major ballot initiatives that are in the news us today.

The SB-1 Gas Tax Repeal: for the November Ballot
Conservatives Turn in 940,000 Signatures for Anti-Gas Tax Initiative
California gas tax repeal heading for the November ballot, campaign says

Regional Measure 3 – A Bridge Toll increases and changes in the voter approval process for future bridge toll decisions:
Voters to Decide on Toll Increases for Bay Area Bridges  Bay Area voters in June will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to pay another dollar in tolls on seven bridges starting next year, according to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority… (more)

We have to take exception to this statement. This bill does not add another dollar it adds at least $3.00. This is an example of how the media is being used to sell lies to the public. But the public is on high alert for FAKE NEWS so they are a lot less gullible than they were during previous election cycles.

Beyond cost of living increases, RM3 authorizes the Bay Area Toll Authority to increase tolls above $3 without consulting the electorate, if deemed necessary to service BATA’s huge debt.The law makes the agency’s first commitment to its creditors.) 

To understand RM3, its opponents considered what it would fund as well as how the funds will be raised. They are promising projects to all the counties in the hopes of convincing enough people to support the bill, NBC is labeling a $1 bridge toll increase.

One of the promises made to San Mateo commuters is that their share of the funds would be used to create express toll lanes on 101 from San Francisco to Mateo County, I-680 and other highways in the region. This does little for commuters, while it adds more to the coffers of the MTC. Will the voters see this?

 

 

Why I oppose the Bay Area $3 bridge toll hike

Op-Ed by DeSaulnier : eastbaytimes – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Weekend traffic on the Western span of the Bay Bridge at Sunset photo by zrants

The region urgently needs new investment in transportation. But Regional Measure 3 is not the answer.

Regional Measure 3, the $3 bridge toll hike on the June ballot that would raise money for transportation improvements, is a highly flawed initiative born out of dysfunctional policy-making. Voters should reject it.

There is no question that the San Francisco Bay Area urgently needs new investment in transportation. The fact that many voters are willing to pay substantially higher tolls reflects their frustration with traffic congestion. Workers are facing too many hours stuck in traffic, stressful commutes in crammed BART cars, lost family time and reduced productivity.

As I and others have argued, if the Bay Area fails to address the challenges of traffic and affordable housing, we will lose our competitive edge. However, Regional Measure 3 is not the answer…

The Bay Bridge, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission headquarters acquisition and renovation, and the Transbay Terminal are projects that have involved billions in cost-overruns and undermined confidence in governments’ ability to plan and prioritize.

Now is the time to stop this cycle of waste and frustration and to engage in serious and coordinated planning, because the Bay Area needs and deserves better. Without greater transparency and accountability, Regional Measure 3 would result in, at best, moderate improvements in the short run, but no meaningful solution in the long term…

Regional Measure 3 would result in, at best, moderate improvements in the short run, but no meaningful solution in the long term…

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, serves on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and previously served as chair of the California Senate and Assembly transportation committees... (more)

VOTE NO ON RM3. This controversial bill has been cobbled together by a regional group of transportation politicians with no successful track record that has lost the public trust due to cost overruns on wasteful projects like the Transbay Terminal and MTC headquarters.

VOTE NO ON RM3.  The laundry list of projects was created to offer something to everyone, but no guaranteed deliverables, and the bill contains a poison pill that will allow unchecked inflationary rate hikes in the future without voter approvals.

VOTE NO ON RM3.  If passed this bill will add considerably to the cost of living in the Bay Area and will guarantee inflationary rate hikes on all goods that are delivered by trucks that cross the bridges.

VOTE NO ON RM3. This bill, in conjunction with gas tax hikes, will make commuting into the city impossible for many employees, who will choose jobs in the suburbs closer to their new homes.

VOTE NO ON RM3. As DeSaulnier points out, Regional Measure 3 is a flawed bill that provides:

  • No framework for performance measures or oversight to gauge progress
  • No vision for how residents and commuters will benefit.
  • No analysis to show how congestion on major corridors would be reduced, or when the improvements may kick in.

Figueroa, finally. Here’s what 10 years and $20 million can do for 4 miles of street.

: scpr and kpcc – excerpt (includes audio)

A $20 million project to remake a four-mile stretch of Figueroa Street with better access for walkers, bikers and transit is nearing completion after 10 years of planning and setbacks.

A lawsuit and construction delays, in part to relocate utility lines, slowed the work. The project also began under the Community Redevelopment Agency but was shifted to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation when the CRA closed down.

The My Figueroa project area runs from 7th Street in the heart of downtown south to Exposition Park, covering short portions of 11th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard… (more)