Many San Francisco developers look on attorney Sue Hestor as the local equivalent of Rufus T. Firefly: whatever it is, she’s against it. Born in Maine, Hestor arrived here in 1969 and soon joined the battle against “Manhattanization” that defined city politics in the 1970s. The crusade led her to enroll at Golden Gate University’s School of Law – “I realized we needed a lawyer” – and she passed the bar in 1976. Since then she’s been active in efforts to impose transit and housing fees on developers, to bar towers from casting shadows on city parks, and to require large institutions to file citywide master plans. Her clients include the hotel workers union as well as a steady stream of neighbors concerned about what may happen near their homes.
A Bernal Heights resident who describes herself as “an environmentalist whose values have always been to get the city to accommodate as many working people as possible,” Hestor spoke with Chronicle Urban Design Critic John King in her office in the Flood Building. “I’ve been here since 1980. I’m the third longest tenant in this building.”… (more)
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Sue Hestor is one of a number of attorneys who are fighting developers and city officials who want to Manhattanize San Francisco.
There are many others, backed by a growing numbers of neighborhood groups filled with voters, including some of those “suburban workers” cited in this article, who want to keep the spirit and lifestyle of San Francisco as it is. Many of the young professionals who commute to the peninsula are active members of ENUF, the group that is joining others to fight against the restrictive parking policies being enacted by the SFMTA, one of the primary tools used by developers to make us leave to make room for their vision of our city.
The SFMTA employs restrictive parking policies such as Sunday parking to make life as difficult and confusing as possible. If you disagree with the SFMTA sign our petition to Stop SFMTA: sfenuf.org
San Francisco agencies are developing a wide-ranging program to streamline the funding and construction of improvements for walking, bicycling, and transit…
The Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP) would reform the city’s transportation practices in three key areas: by eliminating reliance on the automobile-centric measuring stick known as Level of Service (LOS), by instituting a system of development impact fees that fund sustainable transportation improvements, and expediting the review process for pedestrian, bicycle, and transit projects. The details are on the wonky side, but if the city delivers on these reforms, SF could be looking at a much more rapid build-out of transit corridors, bikeways, and pedestrian safety measures… (more, including some great cartoons that illustrate perfectly LOS and your tax dollars working against you.)
What lurks behind the green face of SFMTA?
Using massive amounts of tax dollars they plan to destroy SF’s historical neighborhoods and replace them with highrises. This is a complete turnaround. The same people who decried the rise of condos and Manhattanization and condos during the anti live-work movement now they embrace it.
This is why many liberal Democrats are turning into anti-tax libertarians.
Photographer Richard Morgenstein has lived in Pacific Heights since the late 1990s. Before that, he lived in Manhattan and enjoyed it. In many ways, Morgenstein is still very New York. He doesn’t have a car. He relies on public transportation to tote his camera bags around. But the new construction soaring above a growing San Francisco doesn’t really make him nostalgic for his former hometown. Rather, he’s inclined to give a Bronx cheer.
“I do think that one of the issues of multiple large buildings is a sort of a Manhattanizaton of San Francisco and a change in the character of say street life, the character of the light of the city, character of walk-ability,” he says. “I look at them as some sort of negative that comes along with the positive of extra housing.”…
After settlements and environmental impact reports, developers, today, cannot build buildings more than forty feet tall in historically residential parts of Pac Heights and other low-rise neighborhoods, unless they have a permit from the San Francisco planning department. And with active neighborhood associations intent on retaining historic character, those are hard to come by. So San Francisco’s skyline is being reinvented, but only so far, and mostly near downtown; which is one reason why residents like transplanted New Yorker Richard Morgenstein are happy they moved to San Francisco in the first place… (more)
Residents will soon grapple over City Hall plans to grow the city up and increase density to pack more people in.