Mayor Lee strikes deal to allow Uber, Lyft vehicles to use SF curb space

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor Ed Lee and tech giants Uber and Lyft struck a deal this week to provide city curb space for ride-hail vehicles as part of a new pilot designed to ease San Francisco traffic, the San Francisco Examiner has learned…

In exchange for traffic data from Uber and Lyft that The City will use to combat congestion, Lee agreed to a pilot program to convert some parking spaces — in a yet-to-be determined commercial corridor — into painted curbs that could be legally used by ride-hail drivers…

The deal struck by Lee, Uber and Lyft comes after months of negotiations behind the scenes(more)

This is the biggest most blatant public “behind the scenes” property grab yet by City Hall. Our mayor is privatizing public property, taking it from the public commons, and handing it over to private corporations. In this case the corporate commuters City Hall has decided deserve to park are the worst, most dangerous drivers in the city. How is this making us safer?

Wonder how 60 Minutes would like to run this story as a followup to the sinking tilting Millennium Tower failed cheap foundation experiment. The Ford Gobikes and tech bus abuses were already enraging people. The excuse for the decision to take more public curb space for the use of a preferred corporate entity is a need for data? I suspect there are a lot of citizens who will giving you a lot of data you don’t want to hear real soon.

This just in. Aaron Peskin is threatening to put this on the ballot if it goes through, according to KPIX. Stay tuned.

Why Is the ‘Sharing Economy’ Starting So Many Arguments?

By Rob Walker : yahoo – excerpt

In London, Paris, and other European cities, widespread taxi strikes against the startup Uber have been gridlocking traffic. In New York, renting out spare living space to short-term visitors via Airbnb has become a heated regulatory issue. In San Francisco, the city attorney has just ordered Monkey Parking, a service built around auctioning off public parking spaces, to knock it off.

The uniting source of all this controversy is a concept that sounds like a friendly idea but that’s sparking some startlingly unfriendly responses: “the sharing economy.”

If you’ve bumped into these controversies, you may be confused about how this “sharing economy” thing can sound so virtuous — it’s sharing! — yet spark such vociferous opposition.

Here, then, is what you need to know about the sharing economy and its discontents…

In short, it’s a system that uses technology to link supply and demand in previously impossible ways. For instance, lots of people own extra space — from a spare room to a vacation home that sits unoccupied most of the year. And lots of people need somewhere to stay while traveling — and end up anywhere from a friend’s couch to a hotel…

The recent parking space kerfuffle in San Francisco is a case in point: “We will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit,” San Francisco’s city attorney said… 

Unless the city can make a buck on it the way they are doing with “SFMTA-sponsored private companies.”

This is where things are getting dicey.


Finally: In practice, it’s a system that privileges the privileged. To those who observe that a service like TaskRabbit has been “a godsend to people with more money than time

In other words, the “sharing economy” is only for folks who can afford to pay for the “privilege of sharing,” which makes it discriminates against the less privileged, and is being widely blamed for the rapid displacement of the less privileged San Francisco residents.


That’s as it should be. If you want to be a disruptor, you should be ready to be disrupted…  (more)



The park bond battle

by : – excerpt

Why environmentalists and neighborhood groups are opposing more money for parks – Recreation and Parks clubhouses are privatized and cut off from public access. Public spaces like the Botanical Gardens and the Arboretum in Golden Gate Park are closed to people who can’t pay the price of admission. Event fees and permit processes have become so onerous that they’ve squeezed out grassroots and free events.
It’s been enough to infuriate a long list of neighborhood groups who have been complaining about the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department for years.
And now those complaints have led to a highly unusual coalition of individuals and groups across the political spectrum coming together to do what in progressive circles was once considered unthinkable: They’re opposing a park bond…
The bond got unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors…
But that doesn’t mean all the supervisors are pleased with the way Rec- is being run, either. In July 2010, Sup.  David Campos and then-Sup. Ross Mirkarimi tried to pass a Charter Amendment to split the appointments to the commission among the mayor and the supervisors… (more)

Neighborhood groups are opposing more bond money. We see a theme here. The Board of Supervisors tried to fix another out of control city agency  with a Charter Amendment in 2010, and failed to get six votes. It is time for some restructuring to regain public control over public servants and public property.