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

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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

Ford GoBike again eyes the 24th street BART plaza

By Elizabeth Creely : missionlocal – excerpt

Harrison17th

Ford Gobikes on Harrison, across the street from a public bike rack. There are a few of those GoBikes near public bike stands on Harrison. photo by zrants

…If the proposal for the installation at 24th Street BART is accepted, the location will come equipped with the newest addition to Ford GoBike’s fleet: electric bikes.

There’s no date set for the new 24th street BART docks.

Depending on the location, either BART or the SFMTA has to officially sign off on the proposal before the installation can begin, and each agency has an approval process.

Jim Allison, BART spokesperson, said BART’s goal is to have 8 percent of its passengers accessing the trains by bicycle by 2022.  Already the agency has partnered with GoBike at 16th Street, and Allison said they “will review/approve any equipment on our property.”

If the dock is located on the street, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency will mail notices to all addresses within 250 feet about any pending installation, according to Heath Maddox, senior planner with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Walsh acknowledges some lingering discontent with the service.

“Not everyone’s going to be happy,” she said in the plaza. But she also thinks that this time, the overall reaction might be different.

“Now people are used to seeing the bikes,” she said. “and we can show that people are using these bikes, and that they are providing a service. And so we’re back to engage in the conversation again.”… (more)

RELATED:
Who is taking whom for a ride?, by Joe Eskenazi

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?

 

 

Republicans ready to turn in signatures for ballot measure to repeal California gas-tax increase

: latimes – excerpt

Republican activists said Tuesday that they have collected at least 830,000 signatures for an initiative to repeal recent increases in California’s gas tax and vehicle fees, more than enough to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

The activists need 585,407 signatures of registered voters to qualify the ballot measure.

Because signatures are still being processed and counted by the campaign, backers hope to have 900,000 by the time they begin turning them in to the counties on Friday, according to Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego City Council member and organizer of the drive.

“The breadth and depth of voter anger over the car and gas tax hikes is just amazing,” said DeMaio, who hosts a radio talk show. “We are seeing Democrats, independents and Republicans sign the petition and volunteering to carry the petition, people from all walks of life.”

The initiative targets a law approved in April 2017 by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown that is expected to raise $5.4 billion annually for road and bridge repairs and improvements to mass transit… (more)

 

Denounce the Yimby disruption: An open letter to Sen. Wiener

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt (includes video)

Denounce the Yimby disruption: An open letter to Sen. Wiener

Community leaders ask author of SB 827 to distance himself from the Yimbys who shouted down a community coalition trying to hold a peaceful rally… (more)

Sign a petition to denounce the disruptors:

***
Learn what you don’t know about SB 827 and other pending legislation

Saturday, April 28, 10 AM
100 Larkin St, SF Main Library, Koret Auditorium – SB 827 and Beyond:
 Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods will sponsor a forum on the Scott Wiener legislation that is shaking up the state of California. This will be a great opportunity to learn the real facts behind SB 827 and other controversial attempts to change the way California cities are developed. Find out why people want to protect the local planning process now controlled by our local communities. Speakers: Art Agnos, Former SF Mayor; Zelda Bronstein, Former Berkeley Planning Commissioner; Calvin Welsh, Affordable Housing Advocate; Sophie Maxwell, Former SF Supervisor. Co-sponsors include: West of Twin Peaks Council, Noe Neighborhoods Council, SF Neighborhood Network, Van Ness Corridor Neighborhoods, Stand Up For San Francisco, Livable California. Please come and bring your friends!  Please RSVP as seats are limited.

Sweeping California housing bill attacked on author’s home turf

By : mercurynews – excerpt

Kim-Arron.jpg

Mayoral candidate, Supervisor Jane Kim speaks in front of a cheering crowd, while Supervisor Peskin looks on, in the midst of a crowd of  YIMBYs creaming for up-zoning in all the neighborhoods, one at a time. photo by zrants.

A polarizing housing bill that would force California cities to allow taller apartment buildings by BART stops and other transit hubs has been pummeled with opposition from local officials — a group that now includes former colleagues of the bill’s author, San Francisco Democrat Sen. Scott Wiener.

In the latest blow to Senate Bill 827, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to oppose Wiener’s bill, joining smaller cities such as Lafayette, Cupertino, Palo Alto and Milpitas. A week earlier, the Los Angeles City Council took the same stance, unanimously, with one councilman calling the legislation “insanity.”

“I think this is the craziest bill I’ve ever seen,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz…

Strutting Trauss.jpg

The above photo by zrants was snapped at the press conference arranged for anti-SB 827 supporters, where YIMBY queen Sonja Trauss, who is running for office in D-6 to replace Jane Kim, struts her stuff holding a poster made from art stolen from the opposition. Her antics, along with her small group of disruptive followers yelling over the speakers, backfired. The YIMBY argument that “new and future” citizens are more entitled than existing ones to live in San Francisco and the aggressive nature of these invaders is not winning many hearts and minds among the voters.

Laura Clark, whose pro-housing development YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) coalition is sponsoring the bill, said she was not surprised local officials would take issue with it… (more)

It should be noted that this is not the only bill YIMBY is pushing to move residents out of their homes by up-zoning the city. Backed by developers, they are leading the charge to evict by rent increases and any other means possible to make room for the characterless stack and pack housing projects developers love to build. SB 828 is also making its way through the Sacramento Senate and that will push even higher requirements for density that cities have achieved.

Many people who once supported density are reconsidering due to the negative impacts gentrification is having on communities that are seeing an astronomical increase in homelessness. One way under consideration to keep people housed is to pass  AB 1505 and repeal Costa-Hawkins and allow expansion of rent control rules. Several efforts are also being made to Amend the Ellis Act that is blamed for many illegal evictions.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin mentioned these as preferable alternatives to SB 827 in his statement, before the Board Voted 8-3 to oppose SB 827. So far the San Francisco media has mostly ignored the opposition to the forced growth and density movement. They are not endearing themselves to the public by ignoring them and supporting the developers.

 

Muni Metro stop at Warriors’ new SF arena is one pricey platform

By Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

IMG_3178.JPG

Arena with passing T-Line car going up at 16th and Third Street shot by zrants

The cost of building a bigger Muni Metro platform to handle fans at the Mission Bay arena is growing faster than the Warriors’ injury list.

The plan is to tear out the 130-foot-long Metro platform, just down Third Street from the under-construction Chase Center, and build a 320-foot replacement right in front of the arena.

Building the new platform, however, is just part of the job…

Muni will spend an additional $11 million for new Metro cars, bringing the total cost of setting up light-rail service to the arena to $62 million.

This is a massive undertaking, and my chief concern is how much money the arena will really generate for the city to pay this back,” said Art Torres, a member of the Municipal Transportation Agency board.

Torres’ concern is prompted in part by news that Muni already is coming up short on the project and will need borrow $10 million from the city to complete the job.

Muni will spend an additional $11 million for new Metro cars, bringing the total cost of setting up light-rail service to the arena to $62 million.

“This is a massive undertaking, and my chief concern is how much money the arena will really generate for the city to pay this back,” said Art Torres, a member of the Municipal Transportation Agency board… (more)

Government needs to remember that the real world does not exist on a piece of paper and a handshake with the biggest money man in the room. Government officials need to serve the people not themselves.

Even if money did grow on trees, willing contractors do not. Labor is lacking and not easy to import with the current climate in Washington. Materials and financing costs are going through the roof, and the mood among likely voters favors big changes at City Hall.

“Leno’s first-place finish was “a real boost” for him and “a vote for change at City Hall,” said former Supervisor David Campos, the committee’s chair.”

The likelihood of passing another regional tax and spend scheme among the nine county voters is getting slimmer with the increase in weather temperatures followed by the increase in anger and frustration with the current policies and practices that got us where we are now.

Trust in government is at an all time low. If San Francisco is to survive as we know it, a change must come. Spending $62 million dollars to shift priorities to a sports arena that will serve only the wealthy few who can afford expensive tickets, is a bad idea in this climate. A recent D-10 Superviosor race found NOT SUPPORT among hte candidates at who spoke.

A number of departments heads may soon find themselves without their exorbitant salaries if these schemes continue to roll through. The residents will have the chance to vote against a litany of controversial  projects and waste by opposing Regional Measure 3, the bridge toll $3 increase.

California voters may also have the chance to repeal SB 1 that could roll back the gas tax that is raising the costs of products being brought in on trucks that are hardest hit by this tax. $25 dollar burgers and $8 avocado toast is not joke to the people who are already struggling to stay in their homes.

These two bills alone will determine how the city and region continues to deal with the traffic problems and the transportation schemes they are developing. Our state representatives who are pushing unpopular legislation in Sacramento may also find themselves out of work as the voters will have the chance to replace them soon. Senator Josh Newman is facing a recall election, after being blamed for casting the deciding vote that passed SB1.

More changes in Sacramento may come as a result of Scott Wiener’s unpopular SB 827 bill that would up-zone the entire state around a transit-based up-zoning scheme by “allowing  the state to seize control of your neighborhood” planning and zoning decisions.

With the recent power grabs in Washington, citizens may not be prepared to relinquish any more powers to any government bodies they feel are chipping away at their personal freedoms by centralizing control.

Governor Brown does not believe in Taxation with Representation

News flash!

Governor Brown imposes extra hurdles for voters’ initiated ballot initiative to repeal state taxes and fees imposed by the state legislature. He wants a recount of the signatures!

  • It is not enough that California has the highest valued land and highest inflation rate in the country.
  • It is not enough that the California legislation is passing taxes, fees, and fines onto the citizens at an alarming rate.
  • It is not enough that our state legislators have created a number of regional taxing administrative organizations made up of non-elected bodies of bureaucrats to pass even more taxes, fees and fines at non-governmental levels.

We do not work for them. Governor Brown and the state legislature need a wake up call to remind them that they work for us. That means we can fire them by voting them out of office. We want representatives  who respects our rights and the rights of our local governments to represent the people of California, not the corporate money interests.

Show the Governor who is boss by sending more signatures to count:
Here’s the petition for you to print and get signatures

Rebuttal to Senate Bill 827 Amendments

Map of effected areas in SF indicates 96% of the city property will be up-zoned if SB 827 passes.

(Courtesy of the SF Planning Department)

Senator Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 827 received great criticism on many fronts, including these two topics:

(1) Demolition Protections: The up-zoning SB827 imposes will accelerate demolition of existing housing. Wiener amended his bill to incorporate language that local demolition laws will remain.

(2) Anti Displacement & Eviction Protections: SB827 would lead to developers evict low income tenants building developments that would be offered at higher rents that would displace low income residents.

In February 2018 Scott Wiener made amendments to the bill in an attempt to address these amendments. These amendments are invalid and ineffective for the reasons described below.

Claim: Local Demolition Laws Will Remain

Scott Wiener summarizes his amendments as follows:

“Rent-controlled housing may not be considered for demolition permits unless a local government certifies by resolution, after the passage of SB 827, that the city will consider demolition permits for rent-controlled housing based on criteria and processes set forth in the resolution, and affirm that every displaced tenant will have a Right to Remain Guarantee (#4). After the resolution passes, the city retains full discretion to deny, restrict, or limit issuance of these permits in accordance with its policy.

All local processes for evaluating demolition permits shall apply to SB 827 projects. These local processes may include reviews through a Planning Commission or City Council, or even be categorical bans on certain types of demolition. Additionally, a demolition permit may not be issued for an SB 827 project until an adequate Right to Remain Guarantee for all displaced tenants – regardless of whether the housing was rent-controlled or not – has been approved by the local government.”

Rebuttal: Why these Demolition Amendments are Ineffective

Currently, the Planning and Building Code for demolition controls are routinely ignored as evidenced by illegal demolitions that continue to take place.  Case in point is J.K. Dineen’s article from January 7 of the Chronicle that featured 3 homes.  We have many more that have yet to be ajudicated.  The additional height and number of dwellings offered by SB827 will incentivize more demolitions in a city that is already plagued by illegal demolitions.

Claim: SB827 Introduces the Strongest Possible Eviction Protection Measures & Gives Renters “Right of Return”

Wiener’s bill introduces clauses stating the following:

  • All moving expenses for tenants moving into and out of interim dwellings are paid while the project is being built.
  • Up to 42 months of rental assistance that covers the full rent of an available, comparable unit in the area is provided.
  • Right of first refusal for housing units in the new building is guaranteed, including new lease at the rent previously enjoyed by the tenant in their demolished unit.

Why these Anti-Displacement Amendments are Ineffective

a) Developers Can Easily Circumvent These Provisions: In reality, “renovictions“, buyouts, and Ellis Acting will occur long before any application for permit is filed.  Because Planning does NOT check whether or not an address was previously tenant-occupied, developers can get away with this.  Planning doesn’t keep an inventory of rental units and as such, cannot identify what property is renter-occupied.

b) No Agency is Accountable to Enforce the Provisions: What agency would provide the oversight for any of the so called displacement protections? Who is going to enforce the right to return for tenants that have to move out?  Who would determine what a comparable unit is?  Would something in Antioch be comparable for tenants in the Mission?  A city that has a heck of a time enforcing its current Planning and Building Code will not be able to administer unenforceable requirements such as these ones.

c) Unscrupulous Use of Construction Delays: All construction cycles are unpredictable by nature.  Delays happen all the times because of the market or developers who just want to get the entitlements and then sell them to the next developer.  What if the build cycle goes beyond 42 months?  When does the clock still ticking on that 42 months?  From the time that the developer applies for permit or from the time that the construction begins.  It’s easy for unscrupulous developers to game the system and drag the permit and construction process to go beyond 42 months.

Amendments Are Not the Answer

We are not seeking amendments to Senate Bill 827 to address these concerns. We believe Senate Bill 827 is entirely the wrong approach to solve the housing crisis as it:

(1) Invalidly presumes market rate developers will build enough units to stabilize or reduce rents. This invalidly presumes trickle down (now referenced as “filter down”) economics work, and markets are efficient. It ignores that increasing units generates additional demand from speculators and a continuous flow of new employees to the region.

(2) Removes local decision making imposing a one size fits all mandate that overrides local considerations such as environmental issues (E.g. nature preservation, risk of flood, fire, etc…) and local issues (e.g. capacity of transportation infrastructure, local services such as police, fire and schools, etc…).

We respect that California is facing a housing crisis and advocate solutions focusing on providing truly affordable housing that respect local and environmental considerations and that protect communities of color and low income communities.

Send edits, additions or suggestions to comments for consideration.

Sample letter written by Marina Communities Association