YIMBYs: The “Alt-Right” Darlings of the Real Estate Industry

By Toshio Meronek and Andrew Szeto : Truthout – excerpt

Rising city skyline from Bernal Heights by zrants

In San Francisco’s Mission District, flyers pasted on mailboxes and light poles warn longtime residents of the new “conquistadores,” the hordes of wealthy tech industrialists who’ve descended on the neighborhood en masse over the past few years, displacing many in the Latinx-heavy neighborhood to the outer reaches of the Bay Area.

But it’s not just lower-income people who are feeling set upon. Rich newcomers also see themselves as an interest group in need of a voice. “Someone needs to represent people who haven’t yet moved into a neighborhood,” said pro-development activist Sonja Trauss, who moved to Oakland in 2011, at an April real estate industry soiree in Vancouver. In San Francisco, “the people who haven’t yet moved in” most often means the tech industrialists, lured by high salaries, stock options and in-office employee benefits like massage therapists and handcrafted kombucha.

But these new tech “immigrants,” as Trauss refers to her kinfolk, spell disaster for current San Franciscans. In 2015, the city-funded homeless count found 71 percent of homeless San Franciscans were housed in San Francisco before being pushed onto the streets…

A Campaign to Legitimize the Luxury Condo Boom

A founder of the Yelp.com web empire, Jeremy Stoppelman, bequeathed $100,000 upon new Oakland resident Trauss in 2015, with the stated goal of clearing the way for more housing units, even if those units were only accessible to the richest of the rich. That investment helped to spark a libertarian, anti-poor campaign to turn longtime sites of progressive organizing into rich-people-only zones…

A Grassroots Facade…

YIMBY brings together community groups, advocates, and grassroots organizations,” reads the Toronto YIMBY Party’s website. But North America’s first YIMBY convening, YIMBY2016, was funded by groups, such as the National Association of Realtors and the Boulder Area Realtor Association…

Are the people-of-color-led community groups like Causa Justa that supported a moratorium on luxury condo construction “just as bad” as anti-immigrant Trump supporters? Trauss thinks so, calling people who didn’t support new market-rate condo projects in central San Francisco “nativists” because they don’t welcome with open arms the construction cranes building lavish condos with butterfly gardens and valet parking in traditionally working-class neighborhoods… (more)

The BARFERs (Ms. Stauss YIMBIEs are known as BARFERs) got in trouble when they used the term “nativists” at a Board of Supervisors hearing after Trump was elected. None of the supervisors appreciated that moniker and the project Ms. Strauss was supporting has been radically changed. It is slated to be a temporary homeless shelter.

Deadly Neoliberal Policies

Infill, with its self-aware, geek-chic name, is the podcast that Trauss co-hosts with another YIMBY-to-watch, Laura Foote Clark. When Truthout asked for evidence that the YIMBY trickle-down model would benefit people who aren’t making tech salaries, Foote Clark was quick to send a dozen papers that claim to show how neoliberal deregulation will end the housing crisis, and that rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…(more – Leave comments here if you can.)

This fresh look at San Francisco politics on the national stage contains helpful new observations and about our political divide. Most people want to same thing, they just disagree about how to get there.

“…rich NIMBYs are the main benefactors of further regulation…”

This statement is evidence of a misplaced jealousy of people who own homes, and a misunderstanding of the concept of liquid assets, true values, and security. People who own homes are just as stuck as people who rent. The only thing they have going for them is a little more control over their finances until they lose their source of income and are foreclosed on if they bought into an equity loan scheme.

If you do sell your home to realize an increase in equity value, where do you move? You can hardly afford to trade up in the market.

One of the major things that sets Yimbies apart from the rest of us is that along with a strong sense of jealousy, they live in the perfect future while the rest of us live in the present. Waiting for the world to turn into a perfect vision is not something that appeals to people who live in the present. We built the city to live in, not as a get rich scheme.

The amazing thing is that WE are accused of being the obstructionists, while THE YIMBIEs and BARFERs, along with SFMTA and SPUR are the real obstructionists. They are creating havoc on our streets impeding our movement, while claiming we are impeding their ability to stop us.

Everyone does agree that we have too many homeless on our streets and we need to enforce the eviction laws to keep people in their homes. The entire Board of Supervisors are intent on fixing that problem.

RELATED: Comments on the above article
With development activists compared to the ‘alt-right,’ the housing crisis debate jumped the shark

 

SF’s effort to lead charge in promoting electric vehicles met with cost concerns

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s proposal to require municipal sedans to go emissions free by 2020 won’t come cheap.

And that’s not all; the deadline may not be realistic as well, even though the number of vehicles impacted by the proposal — as few as 759 — is just a small fraction of the total fleet of vehicles owned and leased by The City.

To swap out gas-guzzlers and other polluting vehicles driven by city workers and replace them with electric vehicles — as well as install charging stations — could cost between $31 million and $95.1 million, according to a budget analyst report on the proposal to require The City fleet’s passenger vehicles are zero emissions by Dec. 31, 2020. That’ll depend on how many vehicles are actually impacted and the electric vehicle models purchased… (more)

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Still Need a Lot of Human Help

By Maya Kosoff : vanityfair – excerpt

They can barely go a mile without human intervention, according to leaked documents.

Travis Kalanick has described self-driving technology as “existential” to Uber’s future as a company. But according to recent internal documents obtained by Recode and BuzzFeed News, Uber is still nowhere close to having a fully autonomous vehicle. Recode reports that during the week ending March 8, Uber’s self-driving cars traveled, on average, just 0.8 miles on their own before a human had to take over, in a process known as “disengagement.” That Uber’s cars cannot travel a mile without human intervention does not bode particularly well for a company whose future is predicated on its self-driving technology… (more)

Outreach Launches This Spring to Finalize Details for Geary Rapid Upgrades

by Kate Elliott : sfmta  (includes graphics)\

We’re gearing up to start the first set of Geary transit upgrades later this year.

In the coming months, we will launch further outreach for the Geary Rapid Project, which focuses on early improvements on the stretch of the 38 Geary route between Market Street and Stanyan streets. In the meantime, we will finalize the design and construction of longer-term improvements for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project.

With the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) approved unanimously by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board in January, lead management of the project is transitioning from the SFCTA to the SFMTA, which will design and implement Geary improvements as two separate projects… (more)

Outreach is a joke, or  I should say an insult. Angry people gave up on talking to the SFMTA wall and filed a lawsuit to stop the excesses in this project. the case is making its way through the courts now and many are praying the ruling will stop this and other controversial projects.
Taxpayers revolted in the fall when asked for more money to show their displeasure in how the SFMTA is spending the money but they have hungry contractors to feed and more high-paid planning staff to hire so they could care less what we want.
SFMTA is removing stops and bus seats and constantly forcing the public to deal with their baggage and can’t figure out why ridership is slipping. They are especially short on the weekends and evenings. Why would anyone want to spend their time off on the Muni after putting up with it all week?

Costly Transbay Transit Center in busload of trouble

Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

…“The elephant in the living room is solving the operating subsidy problem, which could be as large as $20 million a year — and without a source of revenue,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who chairs San Francisco’s Transportation Authority…

Taxpayers and bridge commuters will probably be on the hook to pick up millions of dollars in costs, although the exact amount still isn’t known…

“We expect to have an operating deficit,” said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the public Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which is building the center.

Without the foot traffic that high-speed rail could draw, the mall is looking a lot less attractive to potential renters. That means the authority may have to offer sweetheart deals to lure stores — which, of course, means less money…(more)

The City has a lot of nerve coming to the voters and tax payers begging for funds to operate a transit center many never wanted in the first place. When do we quit digging holes to fill and just fill the ones we have already dug?

Given the choice between paying for health care and paying for street diets and sidewalk widening, which do you think the voters would prefer? Housing and transportation are not the only think we need and the sooner City Hall wakes up to that fact the sooner we can start to repair the damage.

Merchants, community organizations sue to block Geary BRT project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project has been in the works for more than a decade, but a newly filed lawsuit wants local courts to “slow down” the project.

An environmental lawsuit against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco County Transportation Authority project was filed Friday in San Francisco Superior Court, taking aim at the controversial project that is intended to improve public transit from the northwest side of The City to downtown.

The SFCTA declined to comment, and the SFMTA could not be reached for comment…

The suit was brought by San Franciscans for Sensible Transit, a nonprofit touted by Geary Boulevard merchant David Heller, a staunch opponent of Geary BRT.

“This action is brought to stop a grave error in judgment from taking form as a bus thruway [sic],” the claim states, “which destroys the quality of life and economic health of the Richmond District of San Francisco.”… (more)

There are a lot of people who oppose the Hybrid Alternative Geary BRT, the mess on Van Ness, and the Red Lanes on Mission. We need a break from constant changes on the streets and musical chairs with bus stops. We need a return to civility, but it is hard to be civil when you are stressed by having to deal with constant change. We need a moratorium on disruptions. This suit is a strike against maximum change and disruption, in favor of a cheaper, less damaging alternative. Who wants to spend an extra $300 million dollars and endure years of turmoil when you don’t have to?

Shuttle Bus Petition

We the undersigned request that the City and County of San Francisco institute measures to relieve traffic congestion and mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the Commuter Shuttle Program. We urge the exploration and adoption of alternative transport modes, such as the use of smaller, more efficient vehicles and ride-share platforms, the consolidation of bus routes, and the wider dispersal of the traffic presently concentrated on a narrow selection of over-burdened streets… (sign here)

Please support this petition if you don’t want this coming to your streets. It is out of control in Noe Valley and many other neighborhoods. The plan comes up for review around the end of March. Get to your supervisor about it before then.

Shuttle bus facts:

  • There is no Environmental Review and that is the problem.  The reference is to the “HUB” Study written by MTA and the SFCTA utilizing the SFChamp Transportation model.   The HUB Study was published in November 2016.
  • The SF CHAMP model was based on assumptions (surveys, studies) 10 to 15 years old.  The HUB study was unable to collect current salary information, travel distance, (only zones on the Peninsula).  The Millbrae BART option was discounted because it was not in SF although it has ten bus bays available.
  • The Bottom line, Retaining the One Seat Commute (in a half empty commuter bus) is the objective of the Bay Area Council justifying the reduction of drive alone autos.  The assumption of drive alone is questionable since many young people do not own autos and rely on Uber/Lyft.

SF for Sensible Transit prepares Lawsuit to block MUNI BRT throughout San Francisco

missionstreetdiscussion

At the heated meeting on the Mission Red Lanes, Ed Reiskin holds the red folder we handed him, containing comments from over 4500 signatories of the StopSFMTA petition. How many do you think he bothered to read? Regardless, these comments are in the public record. Keep them coming. (Ignore the spam on moveon.)

What does it take to stop SFMTA’s destruction of our streets and businesses?
The voters resoundingly opposed the sales tax increase and federal funds could dry up soon, but that hasn’t stopped the SFMTA and their counterparts from digging up more streets. They gridlocked Van Ness and Polk and are aiming for Lombard and the Golden Gate Bridge next. Does it take a lawsuit to stop them?

The redcarpetmess.org website and the petition page have been updated and include a new video introducing San Franciscans for sensible transit. Please share this link with anyone who supports a more sensible approach to transportation in San Francisco:  https://youtu.be/1aezGHnmsD8.

The Coalition to Preserve LA

The whole country is rebelling against, social engineering, forced change, and loss of personal liberties. For a list of many other cities that are fighting this battle do a search for images for “save our neighborhood”

vote-yes-on-measure-s

The Coalition to Preserve LA is a citywide movement that aims to reform L.A.’s broken, rigged and unfair planning and land-use system through Measure S, which has been placed on the March 7, 2017, ballot. Details: http://www.voteyesons.org

For too long, deep-pocketed developers have controlled City Hall by shelling out millions in campaign contributions to L.A. politicians, who, in return, grant “spot-zoning” approvals for mega-projects that are not normally allowed under city rules.

Residents suffer the consequences — increased gridlock traffic, the destruction of neighborhood character and the displacement of longtime residents, including senior citizens on fixed budgets and lower-income Angelenos…(more)

RELATED:
Coalition to Preserve LA Wins Lawsuit; Forces Developers to Retract Lies :
Update: Read the Los Angeles Business Journal‘s coverage of the Coalition to Preserve LA’s winning lawsuit that stopped billionaire developers and their anti-reform campaign from telling outrageous lies to Angelenos via the city’s official ballot guide…(more)

Fight is gearing up over Geary BRT plan tomorrow at City Hall

SFMTA Picks the Wrong time to Demand Fast Tracking $360 million dollar Bus Lanes when residents want to time to deliberate on cheaper plan.

Just as Cogress prepares to remove public health care programs and slash social security allowances that sustain millions of people, SFMTA demands fast tracking  approval for their $350 million dollar controversial Geary BRT Hybrid design. The plan’s opponents want to save money and protect our local economy. Tell the Board of Supervisors what you want to do with $300 million dollars. Read about the alternative plan here: www.sfsensibletransit.org

Attend the Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting at City Hall on the Geary BRT  Thursday, January 5,  2 PM

Letter from San Franciscans for Sensible Transit:

Thursday January 5 at 2pm the County Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners (the Supervisors)will meet in Room 250 of City Hall to consider approving the Final EIR and selection of the recommended $300 million construction project from Palm-Arguello through 27th Avenue of Geary Boulevard.

Many people have written to oppose the hearing. The documents are over 1000 pages and were only available during the holidays. And the January 5 date prevents the newly elected Supervisor of District One, Sandra Fewer, from participating because she will not be sworn in until next Monday Jan 9. She opposed the construction project and wanted questions asked. Voters of District One agreed.

Whether one is firmly opposed or not to the project, the January 5 meeting should be protested. To ignore the vote of 80% of District One for the top two contenders who questioned the project is contrary to our democratic principles.

Please write the Supervisors (who sit as the Board of the TA) asking for them to defer the decision to give time for the four new Supervisors to hear the issues. Many of you have written excellent letters and for those still could, Supervisors’  email addresses are below. If you can, please attend the January 5 meeting to have your voice heard.

Bob Starzel
San Franciscans for Sensible Transit   www.sfsensibletransit.org

Write your own message or see a sample letter here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Email the following:

Subject Line:  Vote to Postpone Vote on Geary BRT Final EIR Scheduled for January 5

Dear Supervisors/Board Members of the SF County Transportation Authority,

I strongly urge you as members of the Transportation Authority to vote to postpone your consideration of the Geary BRT Final EIR for at least 30 days after the currently scheduled SFCTA meeting on January 5, 2017.

To: Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org, clerk@sfcta.orgLondon.Breed@sfgov.org, Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org, Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org, Katy.Tang@sfgov.org, David.Campos@sfgov.org, Norman.Yee@sfgov.org, kanishka.karunaratne@sfgov.orghillary.ronen@sfgov.orgsandra@sandrafewer.comahshaforsupervisor@gmail.com, jess.montejano@sfgov.org, conor.johnston@sfgov.orgmargaux.kelly@sfgov.org, John.Avalos@sfgov.org, sunny.angulo@sfgov.org, Dyan.Ruiz@sfgov.org, chelsea@sandrafewer.com,

Please blind cc:  bstarzel@gmail.com, saveourltaravalstops@gmail.com

Attend the meeting: Thursday, January 5,  2 PMDetails
Room 250 City Hall,
Special Transportation Authority Board Meeting

Write your own message or see a longer sample letter here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

See the OpEd in Sunday’s Examiner at http://www.sfexaminer.com/geary-brt-expensive-pledge-past/

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