The SFMTA touts license plate recognition tech

By Eve Batey : curbed – excerpt

It will be interesting to hear what San Francisco privacy advocates, who’ve previously opposed things like speed-limit enforcement cameras, will respond to a press release sent by the SFMTA this morning. Intended to tout the “new parking access and revenue control systems” in the city’s 22 SFMTA-owned garages, the release says that one of the improvements that “will make parking in city-owned garages Hassel-free [sic]” is a “New system [that] will address lost tickets with a license plate recognition system.”

It appears that this system was nearly a year in the making, as a June 3, 2016 press release from the SFMTA announced the kickoff of the systems’ installation. And it’s not like this is the MTA’s first foray into license plate recognition, as it’s obviously used to send tickets to double-parkers that block camera-enabled Muni vehicles.

A July, 2016 article from Parking Today, reports that a German company called SKIDATA was awarded a $19 million contract for the parking lot upgrades. That includes the “License Plate Recognition (LPR)” which “will be deployed in most garages to secure revenue and add exciting new use cases.” According to SKIDATA’s site, those who oversee the new system have the ability to see “operational data in real time,” including the license plate information of those who arrive and depart the parking facilities. On the plus side, as the SFMTA notes, you likely won’t get stuck with that “full day” ding for a lost ticket. On the possible negative, your movements just got tracked a little bit more (more)

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

 

California gas tax increase is now law. What it costs you and what it fixes

By Jim Miller :  sacbee – excerpt

SF Bay Bridge has one of the most hated commutes, but will get worse as gas taxes are pumped into road diets and bike lanes on access streets in SOMA street “improvements”.
Big companies are losing patience and expanding elsewhere. Photo by Zrants

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law billions of dollars in higher fuel taxes and vehicle fees, the state will have an estimated $52 billion more money to help cover the state’s transportation needs for the next decade

California Republicans accuse Democrats of diverting road repair funds

By Mike Luery : kcra – excerpt (including video)

Some of the many potholes in a single block of Carolina St, in San Francisco by Zrants. Join the international movement and “Adopt a Pothole” if you care about them.

$15 million spending measure pulled after controversy

California’s crumbling roads are supposed to get billions of dollars in repairs under Senate Bill 1. It raises taxes by 12 cents a gallon for gasoline and 20 cents a gallon more for diesel in order to fund road and bridge repairs across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed for the bill to pass the Legislature two weeks ago, hasn’t even signed the $52 billion road repair bill.

The bill was controversial before it passed. But, new discussions beginning in the Senate are raising concerns as some lawmakers look to allocate $15 million to non-transportation projects…

Meanwhile, Republicans are accusing Brown of illegal vote trading after some lawmakers were promised millions of dollars in special project spending in their districts to help enlist their support for the gas tax.

But, Brown said deal making is all part of the political process.

“When somebody says, ‘Here, here’s $10,000, I want your vote,’ you’ve got bribery. It’s illegal,” Brown said. “When someone says, ‘You know, I think this bill will be better if you included these projects, these ideas or these rules,’ we listen because that’s democracy.”… (more)

Thanks Governor Brown for the lesson in diplomacy. It is still scratch my back and I will scratch yours. In this case, we suggest you follow the meaning and intent of the law if you sign it and apply ALL the funds to road and bridge repair.
We are already hearing that the $52 billion is insufficient so there is no legitimate reason to spend any of that on non-road repairs.
Keep in mind that potholes are most dangerous for pedestrians and two-wheelers and probably do more damage to public and emergency vehicles than other conditions on the road.
Where are the studies on accidents caused by potholes? Where are the estimates on costs to public services?

Broken promises with SB-1

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview. – excerpt

At first glance State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) would not seem to be a candidate for a yet to be written chapter for the sequel to Profiles in Courage.  Prior to taking office, Glazer spent his career as a lobbyist, consultant, fixer, and campaign manager, in the sleazy world of Sacramento politics.

Few people took much notice when Jerry Brown’s campaign manager in 2010 pledged when elected that he would ignore the special interests that previously employed him.  After less than two years in office, Glazer has made good on this promise while confounded his critics by not following the Democratic Party line in every instance.

Last week he further committed “progressive” treason (beyond opposing public transit worker strikes) by casting a vote against the passage of SB-1 which is the 52.5 billion dollar tax increase pushed by Governor Brown to pay for California’s deteriorating transportation system.  By raising the gasoline tax and increasing vehicle registration fees, Brown claims there will be enough funds allocated to get the job done.

Glazer, whose district is considered moderate by Bay Area standards, said that it was unnecessary to raise taxes rather than re-directing spending from the costly high-speed rail project and other questionable expenditures.

Glazer’s opposition to SB-1 might have worked if all Republican’s in the Senate opposed it because a two thirds vote was required to pass the measure.  This did not happen as Governor Brown enticed, or should we say bribed Republican Senator Anthony Canella (R-Ceres) to support SB-1 with 450 million in perks promised for his district.

Cannella does not care about the ire of the GOP as he is termed out in 2018 for his Senate seat.  No one would be surprised if Governor Brown gives him an appointment to a high paying state commission for his parting gift when leaving office.  That’s how things work in Sacramento… (more)

If you appreciate Senator Glazer’s no vote on SB-1, let him know: http://sd07.senate.ca.gov/contact

 

Join the Campaign to Repeal the Car Tax

posted by Carl DeMaio : iheart – excerpt

STOP the Car Tax
With virtually no notice to the public, Democratic politicians in the California State Legislature crammed through a massive hike to the Car Tax and Gax Tax.Fortunately, former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio has unveiled a strategy for getting citizens involved in overturning these tax hikes! More on that in a bit, but first you need to understand how these tax hikes will cost YOU!

Car Tax: Pay More, Get Less!…“Politicians have been caught stealing gas tax monies and recent audits show billions in waste that should be going to road repairs,” notes Carl DeMaio. “The Car Tax and Gas Tax hike contains zero reforms of wasteful spending, meaning we are throwing good money after bad,” DeMaio warns…

The Gazelle Strategy to Repeal the Car Tax: Recalls!…

THE DEMAIO REPORT: Carl DeMaio provides investigative journalism and inside knowledge with an eye on solutions. The show focuses on the issues that matter most to you… (more)

RELATED:

Proposal to Divert Tax Monies Away from Roads Delayed After Public Criticism
Proposal Pulled From Committee Agenda for Further Discussion in the Future

Senator Jim Nielsen, 4/20/17
SACRAMENTO – Following public outcry over the diversion of the state’s massive $52 billion car and gas tax to pay for restroom repairs at state parks, the purchase of land for animal travel and grants to encourage people to visit parks, the majority led committee pulled the proposal off its agenda and promised to revisit the proposal at a later time, without giving a reason for deleting the diversion proposals off of Thursday’s agenda.

“We, the people, expect transparency and honesty from our government,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama). “The spending of our tax dollars should be done with great care and in the open to retain the trust of our constituents, and to keep government accountable. Without this trust, our democracy does not work.”

Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), said, “While the discussion of diverting road tax funds has been pulled from today’s budget hearing, it doesn’t mean the threat is gone. Sacramento Democrats aren’t being transparent about the true cost of the gas tax increase. It’s the largest gas tax increase in the state’s history, and it will automatically increase each year with no sunset date. Californians deserve better.”…

Despite the fact that the Governor has yet to sign Senate Bill 1, legislative Democrats proposed to steer tax dollars that will be collected in November on non-transportation proposals including:

  • $5 million for park restroom maintenance
  • $5 million to buy land for improved animal travel e.g. corridors
  • $5 million for grant programs to encourage people to visit parks

These proposals are not fixing our crumbling roads, highways and bridges. They will not get us to work or home any faster nor will they lower the cost of car repair as claimed…(more)

ACT NOW TO STOP SPEED TRAPS IN CALIFORNIA

ACT NOW TO STOP SPEED TRAPS IN CALIFORNIA
Sign the petition and contact your state representatives

Assembly Bill 342 which would allow speed cameras to be used in California for the first time. The bill makes the vehicle owner responsible for the ticket, not the driver and takes away your right to a trial.

Assembly Bill 342 would eliminate virtually all current protections afforded to motorists in speed related cases and allows jurisdictions to run speed traps in their cities, ensuring that the program will be used as a revenue generation scheme, not for public safety.

Assembly Bill 342 would add to the license-scanning cameras on our streets that is part of the growing surveillance system that may be used against the public. The ACLU is alarmed by this and has filed complaints about the SF Airport scanners, that were supposedly meant to track and charge taxis, but are now tracking all the vehicles entering and exiting the area.

THIS IS A PRIVACY AND DUE PROCESS ISSUE.
ACLU opposes the San Francisco Airport scanners, that will hold the data for four years. WHY?
We don’t need to add any more surveillance cameras to our streets. You can read here about all the terrible things that will happen if AB-342 becomes law.

WE NEED YOU TO TAKE ACTION TODAY! CALL THESE NUMBERS AND REQUEST A NO VOTE. More details here.

Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee Members:
Call and post on their  facebook pages.
Ed Chau (Chair) Dem – LA Area (916) 319-2049. Facebook
Kevin Kiley (Vice Chair) Rep – Rocklin/Auburn Area (916) 319-2006 Facebook
Catharine B. Baker Rep – San Ramon (916) 319-2016 Facebook
Marc Berman Dem – Mountain View (916) 319-2024 Facebook
Ian C. Calderon Dem – LA Area (916) 319-2057 Facebook
Matthew Dababneh Dem – LA (916) 319-2045 Facebook
Jacqui Irwin Dem – Oxnard (916) 319-2044 Facebook
Ash Kalra Dem – San Jose (916) 319-2027 Facebook
Jay Obernolte Rep – Hesperia (916) 319-2033 Facebook
Eloise Gómez Reyes Dem – San Bernardino (916) 319-2047 Facebook

Once you have completed those calls, call David Chiu’s Capitol office at (916) 319-2017 and tell him you don’t appreciate him introducing legislation that takes away your rights!

Today’s SB-1 as Amended

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB1

If this is the Governor’s Pothole bill, it is badly labeled as most the money will not be going to potholes. Potholes look like an afterthought. Here is the law as amended today according to the official site. I dare you to find how much of this tax will go to fixing the potholes.

If you object to these new taxes being marketed as a pothole tax, without a clear description of how the money will be applied to fixing potholes, call the state reps and request a no vote on SB-1. Insist they give us the option of a “pothole only” tax: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

RELATED:
Editorial: Gov. Brown’s roads taxes veer way off course  

Stop the Speed Camera Pilot Program in San Francisco and San Jose

AB-342 is scheduled to be heard in the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. The link to the committee members is here: Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee. Please send your request to them directly online and call them if you can.

STOP THE SPEED CAMERA BILL AB-342, AUTHORED BY DAVID CHIU.
SIGN THE PETITION. CALL AND EMAIL YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVES IF YOU OBJECT TO A FIVE-YEAR PILOT PROGRAM IN SAN FRANCISCO AND SAN JOSE.

www.saferstreetsla.org has a full explanation of the bill, a petition to sign, and phone numbers of legislators to call. Call David Chiu at (916) 319-2017 and tell him you don’t appreciate him introducing legislation that takes away your rights!

Assemblymember David Chiu from San Francisco has introduced legislation to allow speed cameras to be used in California for the first time. The bill, AB-342 does not simply allow enforcement of speed laws using an automated enforcement system rather than a live police officer.

AB-342 drastically changes California speed laws and enforcement in very negative ways. While some might view the use of speed cameras as a tool in promoting roadway safety,

AB-342 is seriously flawed. It eliminates virtually all current protections afforded to motorists in speed related cases and allows jurisdictions to run speed traps in their cities, ensuring that the program will be used as a revenue generation scheme, not for public safety.

AB-342 makes the vehicle owner responsible for speeding tickets and takes away a defendant’s right to a trial. Instead, the ticket is treated as a civil violation which will be adjudicated in an administrative hearing without traditional due process rights.

Now sign the Petition to Protect Your Rights! Tell David Chiu you don’t appreciate his legislation that takes away your right to a trial, makes you responsible for the actions of others, and eliminates protections against cities running speed traps.

A BETTER CHEAPER SOLUTION TO SAFER DRIVING: EXTEND THE TIMING ON YELLOW LIGHTS TO GIVE PEOPLE MORE TIME TO STOP.

RELATED:
Violations Plummet with Longer Yellow Light Time

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)