Political muscle and dealmaking got Prop. E passed

By Paul Kozakiewicz : richmondreview and sunsetbeacon – excerpt

Political muscle and deal-making got Proposition E passed, which created the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). The proposition was on the November, 1999 ballot.

According to an article in the SF Examiner, SF Mayor Willie Brown worked hard during a re-election year to muster support for Proposition E. The work paid off. The SF Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 to put the measure on the ballot. Supporting the plan was a combination of progressive and moderate supervisors: Tom Amman, Alica Becerril, Amos Brown, Leslie Katz, Barbara Kaufman, Mark Leno, Gavin Newsom, Mabel Teng, Michael Yaki and Leland Yee. Only supervisor Sue Bierman voted against the plan.

In the ballot pamphlet supporting their position, the 10 supervisors said, “Proposition E will make Muni much more accountable for service delivered. It will take strong steps to reduce traffic by finally making transit a real alternative to the automobile, and it will ensure Muni is fully funded to meet the City’s transit needs for years to come.” None of those goals have come to pass…

If political muscle can create it political muscle can kill it. Make sure you grill all the supervisor candidates on how they plan to take back public control of the agency and then hold them to their promise.

Proposition E is a SF Charter revision, which means it is a part of the City’s guiding document and can’t be changed without a vote of the people. It had the support of many of the city’s political leaders, including SF Mayor Willie Brown, state Sen. John Burton, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Assemblyman Kevin Shelley and the Democratic and Republican parties. They all called for improving bus service in the City, but they gave up control over the agency responsible for performing the task, changed the city’s Transit First Policy to be hostile to private vehicles, and created a super-organization responsible for thousands of employees – without supervision from any elected officials. No one is held accountable at the SFMTA…

Prop. E also gave the SFMTA the power to tax, which it tried to do in the November 2016 election by requesting a half-cent sales tax increase for transit projects that the agency refused to spell out. Trust us. Just give us the money, the SFMTA said. The voters, in their wisdom, said “no!”  Prop. E was passed by San Francisco voters on Nov. 2, 1999, by a 61- 39 percent vote… (more).

I you want an excuse for owning a car, you need to look not further than the fires in the north to see why a car is you best refuge in a disaster. All these thousands of people in shelters got there by private vehicle. The public transportation system is the first to close down during a crisis event that requires mass evacuations, and who wants to carry you life in a backpack? In the event of an emergency, your vehicle is your emergency vehicles and possibly your home for a while.

RELATED:
Transportation Madness

Advertisements

Pandora box has been flung open.

You are no longer dealing with just Ford GoBikes.

Thousands more are coming unless the pubic does something to stop them. Its plastered all over FACEBOOK that LIME bikes expanding into San Francisco and they are already signing up new members.  https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/15/limebike-raises-12-million-to-roll-out-bike-sharing-without-kiosks-in-the-us/  and another company called SPIN started dumping hundreds more on streets across the financial district. The only thing that will stop this is legislation.

We heard that a company called Arup was awarded a $550 Million contract to construct a bicycle lane across the Bay Bridge. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/13/bay-bridge-bike-lane_n_1146310.html

It is said that the lead designer for the $550M Bay Bridge bike lane is married to Ms. Brinkman, the chair of the SFMTA Board. See the following: https://bridge2017.sched.com/richard.coffin?iframe=no&w=100%&sidebar=yes&bg=no.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why all of these bikes are getting shoved down our throats for the sole purpose of removing parking from our streets. Is this what the voters wanted when they handed over management of the streets to what became SFMTA? Is this what City Hall supports? The complete privatization of our city streets and thoroughfares? If this is what our city leaders want do we want them?

If this is what our taxes are paying for do we support higher taxes?

Read about the holding company behind Motivate if you missed it to see who and what is behind the Ford GoBikes for proof that the bikes are being used to clear the way for dense urban development and luxury housing. Each day more proof of this comes out. What will you do about it? Leave or fight to stay. Pretty soon your choice will be made for you.

Fight gentrification: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Holding Company behind Motivate is Bikeshare Holdings LLC. By most counts this is not a neighborhood friendly organization.

 

Bikes and more bikes, everywhere you look are blue Ford GoBikes in the stations in the Mission. Don’t see many peddling around but there are a lot on them parked at the stations, especially near public parks and in front of businesses like grocery stores. photo by zrants.

We just unearthed a lot of details about the Motivate group behind Ford GoBikes. Motivate is held by Bikeshare Holdings LLC, one of the largest luxury developers in New York City. If you oppose gentrification sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/hillary-ronen-no-corporate-bike-rentals-in-the-calle-24-latino-cultural-district

Motivate has a private/pubic partnership agreement with MTC. MTC allocates government tax and grant funds including your tax dollars. We already already covered the relationship with MTC and SFMTA. We were lacking in details about Motivate. This should fill in those gaps. To see the rest of the story go here: Ford-gobike-bay-area-bikeshare-update/

According to their PR campaigns and reported by several sources, a national bike-share program was set up by Bikeshare Holdings LLC to soften local opposition by removing street parking, claiming they are complimenting public transit for everyone. The real goal is to gentrify neighborhoods, raise property values, and make room for the luxury housing Related Company builds. (Details can be found in their press releases and on streetsblog and other articles). 

Bikeshare Holdings LLC was founded in 2014 by two CEOs – Jeff Blau is (or was) the CEO of Related Companies. Related builds luxury housing. Harvey Spevak is the CEO of Equinox, an American luxury fitness company that operates several separate fitness brands, including Equinox, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle.

If this news bothers you, you may want to attend the next SFMTA board meeting, that is scheduled for next Tuesday the 6th of September in room 400 at City Hall at 1 PM. You  may want to let SFMTA Board know how you feel about the deals they are cutting without prior public notice or debate. You might also object to using your tax dollars against your interests or contracting with known criminals. Recent article in the SF Examiner: SF awards $3.2M in contracts to company connected to alleged bid-rigging, federal indictment.

Ford GoBike (Bay Area Bikeshare) Update

Potrero Boosters August Meeting agenda includes this issue:

In Boston, it’s Hubway, sponsored by New Balance; in Portland, the Nike Biketown. Chicago has the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Divvy, and New York has the CitiBike. And now the Potrero has Ford GoBike, an expansion of the newly rebranded Bay Area Bike Share. Bike pods have appeared at 16th and San Bruno, in front of Whole Foods, at the Arkansas and 17th corner of Jackson Park, at Mississippi and 17th, and at the 19th and Minnesota corner of Esprit. They’ll soon be at the 22nd Street Caltrain Station.


The recent expansion has not been without controversy. Further expansion plans promise additional pods in the southern parts of Potrero Hill and Dogpatch, extending into Bayview.

Justin Nguyen, the Outreach/Marketing Coordinator of Motivate, the company operating the Ford GoBike (and the other cities’ bikeshares mentioned above), will respond to our questions and comments regarding the program.

If you want to go find out more about Motivate and the Ford GoBikes, here is your chance. If I were going I would ask these questions:

What does this mean? “the newly rebranded Bay Area Bike Share” We assume the new brand is Motivate, which we recently learned from a program on KQED radio program, is the private/public entity that was created between MTC (the regional pubic funding entity that distributes government taxes and grants) and, what appears to be, a private corporate entity or entities.

Three questions arise from this information:

  1. Re-branding: What was the original brand before the re-branding?
  2. Expansion: Expansion of what? Who or what was in the original organization and who or what is in this iteration? Which government agencies or departments are involved and which private or corporate entities are involved in this deal?
  3. What is the government’s role and goal in these partnership agreements?

As a voting taxpayer, one must determine where or not this is a proper task for a regional transportation funding organization and how this effects our eagerness to pay higher taxes knowing how they are being used.

How did all of these contracts get signed by our government officials without our notice or discussion or consent? Do we want a government that excludes public from the discussion until after the contracts are signed? Are these legitimate contracts when the pubic is kept in the dark until they are signed?

San Franciscans want happy trails — not rocky roads

by Aaron Peskin: marinatimes – excerpt

Budget season has drawn to a close, and the city has made a significant investment in our city streets with the Board of Supervisors approving an additional $90 million in road work and resurfacing funds to be spent down over the next two years.

These are the funds that will be used to repave our city streets (600 blocks annually), extend or repair our sidewalks, paint our bike lanes, and fill pesky potholes. San Francisco Public Works is hiring more workers, and San Francisco has slowly increased its Pavement Condition Index Score…

The wrong signs get posted for the wrong projects on the wrong streets, construction equipment lies inactive for months in on-street parking spots, while a seemingly never-ending parade of orange-and-white striped A-frame signs line the streets letting merchants and residents know that they should brace for yet another construction project that might or might not have an actual public benefit. At the very least, it could be coordinated much better.

In addition, the hearing revealed that some repetitive projects are dropped from the city’s database, in violation of the city’s moratorium on digging up the city streets more than once in a five-year span. For example, the corner of Green Street and Columbus Avenue has been dug up at least four or five times in the last six years, yet San Francisco Public Works did not have that data for those jobs on file.

I am working with Supervisors Jane Kim and Norman Yee on legislation that would create stricter conditions for subcontractors and would trigger a construction mitigation fund for projects that run over budget or drag on endlessly.

The time has come to make sure that we are managing San Francisco taxpayer money responsibly when it comes to our city streets; these safety and road resurfacing projects are priorities that shouldn’t have to be painful… (more)

This pretty well covers the frustrations that residents and businesses are feeling with the street construction repair program being set up and “managed” by the SFMTA. The subcontractors were a problem for the residents dealing with street trees and damaged sidewalks and the Supervisors solved that one. Now it is time for them to take on the street subcontractors.

At the top of the list of issues, is the lack of skilled labor in the construction business due to the overwhelming number of projects underway. We are doing too much too fast and the quality of the work is suffering because of the unrealistic pace. This is why we need to slow it down. We will be having talks this month over various options for solving this problem. Thanks to supervisors Peskin, Yee and Kim for taking this on.

NO NOTICE: A number of other issues were raised at the meeting described here. One is the most familiar of all that accompanies every complaint being raised from “overnight” tow-away signs to sudden contractors tearing up sidewalks without a visible permit – NO NOTICE ahead of the sudden pop-up construction work. Obviously the multi-million dollar noticing system that SFMTA is using to communicate with the public is failing to do the job. We need a new procedure of noticing.

As Supervisor Breed pointed out at the meeting, unnecessary controversial bulblouts and other street “improvements” are going onto small side streets with no accident history under the guise of “Safe Street improvements.” The SFMTA staff had no real excuse for this when quizzed on the matter.

A similar issue is ongoing with regard to the hated Red Lane “experiments” that were put into areas of the city, in including Mission Street, that were not designated as “experimental” areas, and the required “studies” for the “experiments” were not done in a timely fashion.

Concerned citizens conducted their own “unpaid” studies and discovery, and obtained documents showing an uptick in accidents on certain Red Lanes were not included in the final reports given to the state agency in charge of approving the extension of the Red Lane “experiments”. The SFMTA cherry picked the test areas that proved the Red Lanes improved the speed of the buses yet neglected to “share” the data that showed an increase in accidents on some of the “experimental streets.

Complaints were filed and if the judicial system works, the matter should be investigated.

Supervisors attempt to reduce mayor’s powers with suite of new measures

Supervisor Yee needs support to get a Charter Amendment on the November ballot that would split the MTA Board appointments between the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.

Grassroots Actions

By Riley McDermid :sfbusiness – excerpt

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have introduced a suite of measures aimed at taking power away from Mayor Ed Lee in five major departments, as the deadline to introduce charter amendments for the November ballot arrived Tuesday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a charter amendment introduced at the meeting by Supervisor Aaron Peskin would reconfigure how much oversight the mayor has over the Department of Real Estate, Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

In addition, Supervisor Norman Yee introduced a charter amendment that would allow the board to appoint three of the seven board members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors, while taking away the mayor’s power to appoint all seven.

The mayor’s office immediately pushed back against the measures late Tuesday, saying the moves came as a surprise and weren’t necessary –…

View original post 242 more words

Lack of Transparency Dogs Community Trust Fund

By Lori Higa : potreroview.net – 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.