Ballot Measure Battle Royale, Episode 1: Charter Amendments

by Diego Aguilar-Canabal : thebaycitybeacon – excerpt

What is a charter amendment, and which could end up on your next ballot?

Charter Amendments are explicit changes to the city charter, which must be approved by a citywide vote. These are the hardest-sought ballot measures that can have the most meaningful impact on how city government operates. Some of these are spats between factions or rivalries, while others represent more significant power struggles between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Others may be more mundane or popular issues that, for whatever reason, can only be addressed through the city charter.

Whether the Board of Supervisors votes to put it on the ballot, or activists gather thousands of signatures to qualify, here’s an exhaustive list of all the proposed charter amendments under consideration: … (more)

If you do not understand how the local government operates you will be confused by what is going on at City Hall. This article describes this year’s list of ballot initiatives up for consideration.

Metermadness will only concern itself with the Charter Amendment to Split the SFTA. read the rest of the article for the issues in the article.

Splitting Apart the SFMTA:

Despite their endorsements of rival candidates in the 2016 election, Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Aaron Peskin joined forces to introduce a ballot measure that would rescind authority over automobile traffic from the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Parking and traffic policy would instead by governed by a new Department of Livable Streets, under the auspices of a commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors…

Supervisor Safai’s office believes constituents may want to see car traffic decoupled from the central agency’s jurisdiction, as a bureaucracy under mayoral control may be less politically responsive than your District Supervisor. Ingleside residents repeatedly requested a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Avalon and Edinburgh—if the SFMTA hadn’t denied these requests, Safai contends, then Supervisorial control these sorts of traffic decisions could have prevented several injuries.

If passed, the ballot measure would give a Supervisor receiving such complaints “final oversight on mobility management, parking, and traffic calming” under the Livable Streets Department, according to Safai’s office…

Safai’s legislative aide Cathy Mulkey Meyer was notified by the Ingleside Police Station that a pedestrian had been hit at the intersection. A car crash followed just last week, on January 18. According to Meyer, the SFMTA only provides “significant” traffic calming measures—like a stop sign—“if the SFMTA engineers observe right number of pedestrians are interacting with a hazardous number of cars travelling at rapid speeds during a few hours on one day of the year.”

Meyer added that these traffic audits “don’t reflect the nuances neighbors plan their daily lives around, whether walking across the street or deciding what time to leave for work”—or, in the case of this intersection, three schools within a three-block radius. One local traffic engineer, speaking to the Beacon under the condition of anonymity, insisted that “any assessment” for traffic calming purposes would have “absolutely” included factors such as nearby schools(more)

SF transit agency must cease questionable practices

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

There are now two incidents in which officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency have used handshake agreements with companies to either expedite a process or to avoid it altogether — as was the case with recently revealed news about commuter shuttles. The egregious backroom dealing by the SFMTA and its proxies needs to cease immediately.
In an SF Weekly article in early January, the newspaper documented a handshake deal for new Muni buses that would have the coaches in San Francisco in a more timely manner. The issue is that the buses were delivered to an East Bay facility before the Board of Supervisors approved the contract for the new buses. Officials argued that the deal would have allowed the agency to send the buses back if the contract was not approved.
Then in a Wednesday front-page article, The San Francisco Examiner outlined a handshake agreement between the SFMTA and commuter shuttle companies for the buses to use Muni stops without being penalized. The deal — outlined in a series of emails between the charter companies, the companies that contract with those firms and SFMTA officials — was apparently solid enough that the companies felt they could ask for fines for blocking Muni stops to be waived.
In both cases of the handshake deals with SFMTA officials, it is clear that the agreements sped up what could be a laborious process. And in both cases, it is also clear that the deals may not have exactly broken the letter of the law, but they surely toed that line and broke the spirit of the public process…
If the agency is unable to admit its shortfalls in these situations, it perhaps needs to be left up to the Board of Supervisors or another city office to step in and put additional safeguards into place… (more)

Boundaries, we don’t need no stinkin boundaries!

Then they don’t need no more of our stinkin money. Will someone please put these people out of their misery or must they completely destroy our streets first?

Emails show ‘handshake agreement’ for tech buses using SF transit stops: Emails from The City’s transit agency over the past three years indicate that a “handshake agreement” exists for commuter shuttles to use Muni stops without being cited.
The correspondence also shows that there was internal discussion at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency about whether to ticket for the illegal use of the public-bus facilities, while companies and their lobbyists called for leniency and requested citation dismissals.
The inquiries include emails sent to the SFMTA by shuttle providers and the companies that use shuttles…
The identified representative of Google was lobbyist Ross Guehring of the well-known local firm Barbary Coast Consulting, who wrote in an April 10, 2012, email, “I think it would go a long way if these tickets could somehow be reined in during this policy development process.”… (more)

8 Washington opponents seeking to delay decision

By: Joshua Sabatini : SFexaminer – excerpt

Opponents of the proposed 8 Washington luxury condo development are calling on a state commission to postpone a vote on a crucial land exchange agreement that the project hinges upon.

The State Lands Commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday on an exchange that would allow developer Simon Snellgrove to develop his 134-unit project on Seawall Lot 351 and the adjacent privately held land. The agreement would swap the state’s public trust oversight of the public property for oversight of other Port lands.

The opposition is not surprising. Project opponents recently collected enough voter signatures to request a referendum seeking to overturn the project. As a result, the Board of Supervisors must re-vote in September on the project’s height increase. If approved, the project would go before the voters in November 2013, halting the project until then…

One suit hinges on parking rights agreed to in a signed contract.