From the San Francisco Examiner:

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu’s legislation that would require a special permit or, under certain circumstances, prohibit the building of a parking garage for residential buildings in District 3 neighborhoods, North Beach and Telegraph Hill, appears headed to the full board next week.

The legislation would prohibit garages in cases where it would encroach on a sidewalk or in cases where there were no-fault evictions of tenants within the past 10 years.

Potential 152-162 Jasper Place buyers (as well as others) take note.
New parking garages in District 3 under fire [San Francisco Examiner]
We’re Still At A Loss For Words (Unfortunately The Attorney Wasn’t) [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Embarcadero

    I wish David Chu would use his energy to try to make the city more transit friendly, rather than simply unfriendly to cars. With MUNI about to be utterly gutted because the BOS won’t consider extending the hours of parking meters, or taking other measures that would send the appropriate economic signal to automobile operators, I would think Mr. Chiu would have a good opportunity to actually do something constructive.
    I’m against new parking, but I don’t understand the ongoing obsession with micro-managing the already microscopic building/zoning codes in my neighborhood. It’s bad enough that we can’t have new restaurants or that we have to put up with the Hill Dwellers’ management of color schemes.
    /rant

  2. Posted by wow

    The true sign of a city that lost its way. Creating ad-hoc laws in a whack-a-mole fashion without looking at long term consequences.
    What if the building needs major structural work? Will they freeze all permits that appear like they prepare for the addition of parking? What if the building is ready to collapse? What if the owner runs out of cash in the 10 year wait period? This is a recipe for more blight and more abandoned buildings.
    The stupidvisors are at it again. The city should put a big LCD screen on the 101 around Candlestick point:
    Prospective landlords: Abandon hope all ye who enter here

  3. Posted by Mark D.

    ^^^ You wouldn’t know, based on the comments thus far (and based on comments to come), that the so-called “stupidvisors” are in fact democratically elected officials, and there are opportunities to vote them out of office that occur at regular intervals. If you don’t like David Chiu, don’t think he’s doing anything constructive or don’t think he’s responding to his constituents’ concerns, don’t just whine about it — organize to vote him out and/or to run against him the next time he’s up for re-election.

  4. Posted by sleepiguy

    Well, that’s easier said than done. It’s almost impossible to elect moderate candidates in districts where so few people own property. D3 had several viable moderate candidates during the last election, but were trounced by Chiu, who had essentially been anointed by Peskin. Progressive candidates are backed by unions, have an endless supply of volunteers (few of whom actually live in SF), and receive a suspicious amount of out of state funding for their campaigns. I’m not saying the elections are fixed, but the scales are tipped.

  5. Posted by sacdomc

    One of the most telling points about the direction SF is headed is that Supe Daly moved his family to Fairfield and his kids go to school there. The Supes obviously care nothing about making this town livable; they only care about staying in office & placating the unions and renters.

  6. Posted by Dede

    District elections are the root cause of these types of problems. If you want somebody to solve San Francisco problems, they have to be elected by the entire city, and not just a district. It still amazes me how few votes are required to elect someone to the Board. Get rid of district elections.

  7. Posted by joe

    Ditto on getting rid of district elections.
    I had hoped that Chiu wouldnt be a parrot for Peskin and the THD – but his last few moves have shown that the only thing he is really capable of is telling me what Aaron had for dinner yesterday.
    This guy is singlehandedly going to kill the transbay developements, the moma expansion, and basically any other highrise development in sf – all because poppa peskin says so.

  8. Posted by Mark D

    Re “It still amazes me how few votes are required to elect someone to the Board.” This is an argument for how **easy** it should be to replace Supervisor Chiu, not how difficult it is.
    Re “It’s almost impossible to elect moderate candidates in districts where so few people own property. D3 had several viable moderate candidates during the last election, but were trounced by Chiu.” Unless there was voter fraud, it sounds like the voters in D3 are getting what they want.
    It seems a lot of posters here are implicitly advocating for a kind of government system that is accountable to a district’s property owners rather than its residents/voters. Thankfully, that’s not our system.

  9. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Elections are 10 months away and look at the size of the war chests some of the candidates have amassed:
    http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Paper-trail-Bucks-roll-in-for-supervisor-races-83317757.html
    This democratically elected BoS has chosen to govern in a knee-jerk, whack-a-mole fashion. The City is facing a serious financial crisis – schools and transit face draconian budget cuts – and all Chiu initiates as chair are garage building and park shading prohibitions. Now that’s leadership!!
    I work in his district and parking is a joke. As I look out my office window I see 6 of 8 metered parking spots on Columbus taken by cars with handicap plackards (not a single HC license plate). Same people every day, all apparently able-bodied. Meter revenue is about 75% of what it should be.

  10. Posted by Embarcadero

    I don’t know where Mark D gets the idea that we are not highly organized and that we are not active in city politics. I for one am, and campaigned for someone who did not win this election. Chiu is Peskin’s political godson, and it was an uphill race from the get-go.
    But I digress. The question here isn’t whether we have elected officials, or even whether the elections are rigged. The question isn’t even whether we have district or city-wide elections.
    For me, the question is how to correct a political culture in which everyone is trained from an early age to think small – my district, my term, my neighbors – rather than city wide.
    This proposal is an excellent example. Rather than doing something to make the city transit friendly, Chiu is doing his best to make his district (where I live, sans vehicle) unfriendly to cars. It’s a great example of someone thinking small and doable because he lacks the ambition or ability to think in terms of the city or in terms of a real policy.
    But maybe Mark just enjoys reminding people that they have the officials they deserve. I certainly hope for and demand better than that.

  11. Posted by radar

    With renters numbers 2 to 1 to homeowners, laws such as these will usually prevail. The A**’s that we have as Board of Supervisors pander to the masses who vote for them,..,,,the tenants whether it is for the good of S.F. or not.
    The tenants generally vote for the whack jobs like Daly, Peskin et. all. who think that they are looking out for their best interest…..in other words, screw the owners, screw the city, and screw quality of life for the whole..just make sure my ass is covered……sad.

  12. Posted by wow

    Embarcadero, the reason behind this law isn’t to fight against cars. It is to fight against the recent buyers of 152-162 Jasper Place who have Ellis-ed their building and are evicting the elderly tenants.
    There’s nothing much the city can do without going against California law, therefore Chiu creates a new law out of thin air to slam the Jasper Place buyers with an equity crushing rule.
    Without the prospect of parking these units look less and less interesting to the targeted buyer. No renting. No parking. No condo conversion. The potential profit is melting away as this looks like a “rental alternative” with a high price and little potential for improvement for at least 10 years.
    This is government confiscation pure and simple.

  13. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    It seems a lot of posters here are implicitly advocating for a kind of government system that is accountable to a district’s property owners rather than its residents/voters. Thankfully, that’s not our system.

    And obviously a lot of these bellyaching landlords who think that only the landed gentry should have the right to vote either are fairly new immigrants to the United States or slept through jr. high history class.
    The right to vote hasn’t depended upon ownership of land anywhere in the U.S. since 1850, or before California was admitted to the union. So the put-upon landlords knew what they were getting into before they decided to go into the business of renting out property for a living and should spare us the whine.

  14. Posted by Mark D.

    Re Embarcadero’s “I don’t know where Mark D gets the idea that we are not highly organized and that we are not active in city politics. I for one am, and campaigned for someone who did not win this election….For me, the question is how to correct a political culture in which everyone is trained from an early age to think small – my district, my term, my neighbors – rather than city wide.”
    Assuming the question isn’t rhetorical, the answer is obvious: You do it by organizing, by discussing and reasoning, by understanding a neighborhood’s or a district’s problems and how certain proposals address or don’t address these problems, and by supporting accountable candidates that reflect sensible policies (or by running yourself and persuading people that your policy preferences are sensible). If you are politically organized and active, but your policy preferences are continually on the losing side, you have to start wondering where the disconnect and why your views are more persuasive.
    Re “But maybe Mark just enjoys reminding people that they have the officials they deserve. I certainly hope for and demand better than that.”
    No, I enjoy reminding people that they get have the officials they vote for, and that if they want something different, they can and should vote for something different and encourage others to do so as well (or alternatively, move to someplace different with a political climate that is more to their liking).

  15. Posted by sleepiguy

    Someone mentioned this in the previous thread, but Chiu is allegedly concerned about rampant Jasper Place-esque evictions, which while sad, are in reality somewhat anomalous. How many evictions from legal units to add garages ACTUALLY took place in D3 in the last decade? As with the last pro-tenant proposed legislation – is this actually going to pass, or is it just more pandering? A lot of hot air and internet space wasted for what will amount to nothing.
    The supervisors have no uniform view on how to move the city forward. Their myopic legislation is always designed to benefit the few over the needs of the many. All their legislation is about what we can’t do, rather than what we can. Regardless, they never seem to point their restrictive ideology at their own spending practices. Did anyone else get a lovely letter from the tax collector saying your property was worth more 5 + years ago than the city initially thought, and therefore you owe back taxes? Where the hell did that come from?

  16. Posted by GarageBand

    So this legislation (the Section 723.2 part), written in Chiu and Peskin’s usual way of munging together many little pieces of “agenda” and passing them under the noses of their Stupid colleagues, will prohibit addition of new garages and reconstruction of existing garages throughout the City on *any* residential building: all new garages and most existing garages built on the property line require a minor encroachment permit from DPW which was routinely given unless there were special circumstances.
    And another (possibly deliberate) side-effect: with this new law, whenever a DPW sidewalk inspector decides that a property owner needs to repair a square of concrete sidewalk that lies in an existing driveway/curb-cut, you’ll have to delete the driveway/curb-cut because he’s not allowed to inspect and pass a curb-cut that is not permitted by a minor sidewalk encroachment permit.
    Call me paranoid, but I think this is part of a deliberate plan to make existing off-street parking unusable.

  17. Posted by annony

    The stupidvisors should just pass a law requiring all private property in SF to be sold to the city and be done with it.

  18. Posted by Embarcadero

    Mark D: I didn’t get the official I voted for. But thanks for the invitation to move away. You can always spot a civic superstar based on their propensity to tell you to leave when you say you’re unhappy about something.
    The question here isn’t your 7th grade take on democracy – though that’s an amusing distraction. As I see it, the question here is how policies become unnecessarily and unproductively focused at the wrong level. In this case, the focus is too micro. If WOW is right, we see that Chiu is using city law as a blunt force instrument to fight against what is arguably the unintended outcome of a rent control policy – unwanted evictions.
    Despite Mark D’s best efforts, this thread has actually led to some interesting revelations.

  19. Posted by Democratic Committee

    Once control of the Democratic Central Committee fell into Peskins hands, together with the ability to send out the thousands of “vote demo card” showing the Progressive’s hand picked candidates, the tables were firmly turned. Here are your dealers:
    SFDCCC Executive Board:
    Chair: Aaron Peskin
    First Vice Chair: Melanie Nutter
    Second Vice Chair: Rafael Mandelman
    Third Vice Chair: Mary Jung
    Fourth Vice Chair: Michael Goldstein
    Recording Secretary: David Chiu
    Treasurer: Debra Walker
    Corresponding Secretary: Joe Julian
    Executive Director: Emily Lowe
    Take back the SFDCCC

  20. Posted by Mark D.

    ^^^^^^ Embarcadero: It’s clear now why you have been unsuccessful at advancing your policy views through your political involvement in San Francisco. Rather than engage, you insult, and I doubt the voters in District 3 like being insulted any more than I do. And based on your postings here, I think it’s highly likely that you are going to continue to be on the losing side, all the while wondering why you can’t and don’t connect politically, and why “policies become unnecessarily and unproductively focused at the wrong level.”

  21. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Angry renters vote
    Cold shade falls on City park
    We shall build nothing

  22. Posted by wow

    Something I am still confused about:
    None of the evictions are at street level, right? Because there’s nothing there but a storage/basement that the current owner says can be converted into garages. I passed by the building today and this doesn’t seem to be livable. If anyone is living there, this is illegal.
    If I am right, no unit is being actually destroyed by the creation of new parking. The only evictions are Ellis evictions for the purpose of the creation of a TIC. The garage project is part of the plan for the improvement of the building as a sellable asset.
    Therefore this rule is sold as a way to stop the destruction of units for the purpose of creating parking but is only a way to confiscate a potential usage that the owner used to have. This is done to owners who use their rights under the Ellis act.
    In short, this is punishment for having the guts to try and use your rights.
    Someone correct me if I am wrong.

  23. Posted by Embarcadero

    Mark D,
    Actually, I’m feeling quite successful. I’m pleased as punch with all the organizing and lobbying we’ve done – to good effect, too. The passage of the city’s bicycle plan, the creation of new cycling lanes, opening GG Park to cyclists and pedestrians. These weren’t small victories. But then you know, since you’re the expert on civic participation and all.
    I suspect that Mark D is on the losing side of something. I don’t know what, but I have a hunch it’s bigger than this little thread about Chiu’s misguided attempt to create policy in D3 . For one, your tendency to attack people rather than understand ideas seems to be a bit of an impediment for you.
    Not that I care. I’m just reveling in the delight that the passage of the city’s bicycle plan brought. I’m squeeeling with joy. I’ll be that much happier when meters charge 24/7.

  24. Posted by wow

    The bigger picture in SF: the end result is some of these buildings are bought by developers who will gut them out and create a mansion with a bogus granny unit.
    Net result:
    1 – Net unit loss
    2 – Middle class families kicked out
    3 – Wealthy guy has his week-end pad that he will not use as much as he wishes he could (there are so many of them in SF)

  25. Posted by Mark D.

    Embarcadero: Congratulations on your accomplishment with respect to cycling, but there you go again with the snide, nasty and pointless insult. Whatever.

  26. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    So the progressives are better organized, have more money, work harder and there are more of them?
    It seems like fiddling at the margins is not going to significantly change the composition of the board if all of those things are true.
    The claim that progressives have more money is particularly untrue, what is your evidence that the majority of donors and volunteers are not San Francisco residents sleepiguy? You are usually spot on, so I am not saying you are wrong, just that I won’t take your word for it without more evidence. I have volunteered on one side or another during each of the last three mayoral campaigns and a couple of Supervisor campaigns and everyone I encountered was living in San Francisco.
    Sure, a bunch of the Willie Brown volunteers were in rehab at Waldon House and probably not long term residents. And the hoard of phone callers at the very end of the campaign were mostly union members who had been given a paid day off to campaign. But none of these things are illegal or even unethical, at least not to me.
    The supervisors have no uniform view on how to move the city forward.
    Isn’t that the Mayor’s job? Where is Gavin Newsom anyway? He has been MIA for a long while now. Of course 11 people aren’t going to have a uniform view on anything. If it weren’t for our stupid term limit law, we might actually get some experienced legislators with the ability to execute on a longer term plan.
    We already have a pretty strong form of publicly financed elections and last time I checked, most of the candidates participated. It is hard to say how well it works. I guess it depends on what your criteria for success is.

  27. Posted by Dede

    In all this dubious ranting, I have yet to see an argument for why a board that was elected by the entire city, one where you were able to vote for the best of the best, regardless of district, would not better serve the city. I don’t know about you, but I can only vote for candidates running in my district, for my district. So you only get candidates “concerned” about “their” district. But my concern is not simply my district, it is my city, our city.
    So instead we get people like Daly moving to Fairfield pretending to live in his district to serve on the BoS. Or Ed Jew, or you name it.
    Yet if a Republican, even a moderate one, or hell, a moderate democrat, did the same, the city politico’s would be up in arms. The righteous indignation of the left wingers.
    Let’s look at the following results:
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/elections_page.asp?id=70720
    Some Supervisors were elected with over 22,000 votes, others over 10,000. Yet Avalos was elected with under 7,000. Three loosing candidates in other districts earned more votes, yet still lost. My point is not that Avalos was elected, its that 3 others who garnered more votes were note.
    Seems to be denial of the popular vote to me. Oh wait, this is the same argument for why Al Gore, and not Bush, should have been president. Silly me.

  28. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    The last time we had city wide elections, Willie Brown ended up appointing half the board and the Board of Supervisors were puppets to the Mayor. He promptly expanded the city bureaucracy by 40%. What do those extra 8000 city workers do, anyway?
    No thanks.

  29. Posted by sleepiguy

    I’ve only worked on one district election, but was privy to extensive donor information. However, I don’t have any sort of breakdowns to back up any observations; so take it with a grain of salt. Certain (not all) progressive candidates received a surprising amount of out of state funding (but not a majority by any means); however, I didn’t mean to imply that progressives are at a financial advantage. Of course, some of the more moderate candidates out raised and out spent the progressives. I’m fairly certain that in D3 Alioto out-raised Chiu (Chiu did take about 100k in taxpayer funds). Even so, Alioto was pretty much clobbered in the election. I don’t think there’s anything illegal, but there’s a lot of back room dealing that’s just a fact of life in local politics. Ultimately, my point is that moderates can’t win in most district elections that the interests of particular districts don’t reflect the city at large. I’m not convinced that Chiu’s legislation which has focused on garage restrictions, parking restrictions, building shadow restrictions, and upholding the affordable housing requirement that the Supreme Court of CA found unconstitutional, is pushing SF in the right direction.

  30. Posted by ex SF-er

    I would like to make a side note here.
    I have long found many parts of SF unlivable. one of my personal pet peeves is the terrible public transport (given the size/density of the city) and one of the least bike-friendly places in the country (all IMO).
    I’ve long advocated that SF do what other cities have done and make transit-only and/or bike-only streets. For instance, if you made every 10th street a transit/bike only street then nobody would be further than 5 blocks to public transport, and it would move much quicker than car traffic due to it’s right of way (bus/bike only), which would encourage people to bike and take public transport.
    I often hear “yeah, but that would require changing the street rules of every 10th street. we could never do that! it would be too hard! business and homeowners on the proposed routes would fight tooth and nail to stop it!”
    (which I don’t doubt by the way)
    And yet, there are constant rules and laws passed that are more invasive IMO.
    You can’t put a restaurant here. You can’t have a garage there. You can evict a tenant, unless we decide you can’t despite what the law says.
    so in essences: San Franciscans only support repeated property rights violations if they happen in haphazard and ineffective ways, but never to actually improve the problems that they claim are important. (like public transport and car congestion).
    intersting.
    and yes, I know my proposal would never pass. The #1 reason why it’ll never pass: because nobody in government will even bring up the idea.

  31. Posted by Toady

    “Take back the SFDCCC”
    Or stop being a knee-jerk Democrat and vote Republican.

  32. Posted by Joe

    Someone please explain to me why it is beneficial for the city as a whole for one supervisor who is the lapdog of a former supervisor to push legislation for the ENTIRE city based on his personal vendetta on one particular developer.
    Myopia inextremis
    Chius sunshine ordinance is directly in retaliation to the developers of 555 washington – and the parking restrictions are retaliation directed at jasper place developers (who are paying tenants tens of thousands of dollars to leave property that they do not own)
    These two examples are enough reason to rethink this district elections bs.

  33. Posted by wow

    These elected Nofficials are very good at blocking things, but not at making them happen. Pagoda, library branch, etc… Private initiative is crushed while they can’t figure out on how to make a single productive decision or even agreeing with each other for the good of their consituents.

  34. Posted by Mike

    Love the title. Classic

  35. Posted by Jeremy

    They are already implementing the legislation
    SAN FRANCISCO
    PLANNING COMMISSION
    Notice of Meeting & Calendar
    Commission Chambers – Room 400 City Hall
    Thursday, February 25, 2010
    1:30 PM Regular Meeting
    # 12. 2009.0914D (T. FRYE: (415) 575-6822)
    424 FRANCISCO STREET – north side of Francisco Street between Powell and Mason Streets, Assessor’s Block 0041; Lot 010 – Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2004.01.22.4627 to insert a garage opening within the subject building to accommodate 6 off-street parking spaces. The subject property is within the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District with a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
    Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take discretionary review and approve as proposed (Continued from Regular Meeting of January 14, 2010)
    DR Requestor:
    Chinatown Community Development Center

  36. Posted by lol

    There’s currently a crowd in front of the Jasper place building. A big sign says “Congratulations to Jasper Tenants!”
    The work that Tenderloin Housing Clinic (which publishes Beyond Chron) put into representing these tenants was made possible by a $125,000 grant from the City to fund Ellis eviction defense for indigent tenants.
    Your tax money at work

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