Lack of Transparency Dogs Community Trust Fund

By Lori Higa : – excerpt from July 2010

///In 2007, TMG Partners created a $1.5 million community benefits fund as part of an agreement that enabled the developer to convert 650 Townsend – the brick building adjacent to the Concourse –from business services to offices without having to provide the hundreds of parking spaces that would otherwise have been required under the City and County of San Francisco’s Planning Code.  Brokered by Dogpatch-based real estate consultant and community advocate Joe Boss, the Eastern Neighborhoods Public Benefits Trust Fund (ENPBTF) has steadily drawn on these funds to support a number of local nonprofits. However, because of the way the agreement was structured, the Trust Fund’s operations, including the identification of which organizations have received funds, has largely remained secret.
The Eastern Neighborhoods (EN) is a geographic designation created by a decade-long, hotly contested City rezoning plan. The collection of communities that make up EN – Potrero Hill, Showplace Square, Dogpatch, the Central Waterfront and northeast SoMa – sprawls across 2,200 acres, almost twice the size of Golden Gate Park.  The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, approved last year, calls for the creation of up to 10,000 new housing units in the area.  The plan was designed to balance affordable and market-rate housing, and preserve production, distribution and repair jobs …
A complete list of grantees is unavailable due to the ENPBTF’s status as a donor-advised fund, as administered by the San Francisco Foundation, according to Boss.  Because of its legal designation, information on the fund, its grantees and award amounts is not “public domain,” stated Boss in an email to the View…
SFMTA received what appears to be the largest chunk of fund monies “because the greatest potential impact to the area is perceived to be the increased daytime population of the project, and the lack of strong transit service in the area…the donor conditioned that over $500,000 of the funds would…[go] to ongoing transportation planning.”  According to Boss, little progress has been made on the SFMTA transit assessment.  The View was unable to get comment from the agency before this story went to press …
“I’ve never heard of grants and grantees being kept secret,” said long-time local community organizer and author Mike Miller. “What’s going on with the ENPBTF seems typical of the nature of San Francisco politics…There’s no shortage of nonprofits who claim to give voice to the voiceless, but end up excluding their constituents…people are bought off in various ways, the conditions that started the protests, remain the same. What neighborhoods and communities need is the equivalent of a union,” said Miller… (more)

The lack of transparency makes you feel good about dealing with non-profits doesn’t it? When you consider the large percentage of the city’s budget that goes to non-profit contractors you begin to wonder whether farming work out to private entities is really the cheapest way to run a city.

Hill Residents Concerned About Proposed Changes to 22-Fillmore

By Brian Rinker : – excerpt

Many Potrero Hill residents and business owners are skeptical of a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) proposal to reroute the 22-Fillmore bus line from the 18th Street commercial district to 16th Street, from which it would travel north on Third Street toward Mission Bay. “Bus service in general is inadequate in our area,” said Jim Wilkins, Hill resident and Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF) member. “The move of the 22 bus will further diminish that service.” The plan to reroute the 22-Fillmore is part of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), a joint effort by the transportation agency and City Controller which aims to improve Muni services, making transit more reliable, faster and efficient…
Finalizing any plans may take some time. Revising the 22 line has been in the City’s pipeline for decades. In 1998, an environmental impact report for Mission Bay included similar proposals to reroute the 22, expressed concerns about overhead wires, and noted that the proposed plans were similar to those presented in a 1990 report. “Muni has been claiming recently that the 22 rerouting is some sort of transit improvement for the area as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project, when in fact a) it isn’t an improvement, it’s a reduction of service on the Hill, and b) it was in the works long, long before the TEP,” Kelly said. If the City ever reroutes the 22 Kelly hopes that it provides adequate replacement transportation… (more)

Dogpatch and Potrero Hill Thick with New Developments

By Brian Rinker : Potrero View – excerpt

Although the 2007 recession temporarily halted most new construction in Dogpatch and Potrero Hill, since 2009 contemporary-style apartments and condominiums have been emerging in the neighborhoods at a steady pace. Mixed use projects that are in some development stage include 2051 Third Street, 2121 Third Street, 616 20th Street, 2235 Third Street, 650 Texas Street and 480 Potrero Avenue. “It’s been a slow steady drum beat,” said Susan Eslick, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association’s (DNA) vice-president.
According to Eslick, when she first moved to Tennessee Street in 1996 crack was being dealt nearby. Today, the drug dealers are gone, replaced by young families and gourmet restaurants. Development is inevitable, though it can be managed, said Eslick. “We are not afraid of development,” she said, “We just want good development.”…


GreenTrust SF Wants a Greener Dogpatch, Central Waterfront