June 15, 2012

Sue Hestor Seeks To Stop Transit Center Tower Development Short

Speaking of the Planning Commission approved Transit Center District Plan necessary for the Transbay Transit Tower and Terminal to rise, yesterday Sue Hestor filed an appeal of Planning’s approval on behalf of the Save Our Parks Sunlight Coalition, membership of which is comprised of Ms. Hestor’s organization, San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth.

The appeal alleges the Transit Center District Plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR): "Understates the shadow impacts on parks under the protection of Proposition K, a voter-approved ordinance that precludes new shadows on parks under the jurisdiction of the Recreation & Parks Commission" and "[m]isapplies Proposition K by assuming that the Planning Commission and Recreation & Parks Commission can increase the amount of shadow allowed on downtown parks."

In the opinion of Reuben & Junius:

Though the appeal is completely without merit, CEQA nonetheless mandates the Board of Supervisors consider it-an exercise that will needlessly consume the time and attention of elected officials and waste public funds. To add insult to injury, none of these costs will be paid by the appellant. San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, which to most regular observers seems to be an organization consisting of one person, apparently received a fee waiver as a “community organization.”

The appeal will likely be heard by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next month.

Planning’s Towering Transit Center District Plan Decision: Approved [SocketSite]
Transbay Tower Timeline Moved Up, Payment To City Stays Down [SocketSite]
Shining Light On The Shadows Of The Proposed Transit District Towers [SocketSite]
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Transit Center EIR Appealed [reubenlaw.com]

First Published: June 15, 2012 10:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Law Office of Sue C. Hestor
870 Market St., Ste. 1128,
San Francisco
U.S.A.
hestor@earthlink.net
415-846-1021

Posted by: sf at June 15, 2012 10:35 AM

^^^ That's bizarre. For some reason I pictured her operating from a quaint little mud cave. As usual, a complete hypocrite -- her office building casts a lot of shadows on the adjacent park.

Posted by: kg at June 15, 2012 10:45 AM

Which parks are threatened by a shadow from this building? The closest SF parks locations from here are the ferry plaza and south park which are each over a half mile away. Though a building this tall can cast a shadow that far when the sun is low, the effect is minimal.

This smells like a shakedown of a developer with deep pockets. The shadow ordinance needs to be revised to prevent frivolous claims like this.

[Editor's Note: As linked above: Shining Light On The Shadows Of The Proposed Transit District Towers.]

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 15, 2012 10:47 AM

Sue hestor is a PITA who paints her self as the saviour of SF, but in reality has done more to ensure gentrification then probably any other single person in SF.

Posted by: Joe at June 15, 2012 10:52 AM

For those wondering how Hestor and Peskin earn a living, they sue people, stall projects, and then get paid a ransom as part of a "settlement." The latest comes from the America's Cup controversy: "The draft settlement, which now moves to the Board of Supervisors for approval, requires The City to provide $150,000 for the U.S. Geological Survey to do a multi-year bird study and $75,000 for Waterfront Watch attorneys’ fees. In exchange, a consortium of groups including the Sierra Club, the Golden Gate Audubon Society and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, will not be allowed to further challenge race preparations, including the America’s Cup Village at the northeast waterfront’s Pier 27, which is slated to eventually become The City’s primary cruise ship terminal."

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/06/port-moves-settle-lingering-america-s-cup-lawsuit#ixzz1xt0RvvAn

Posted by: Rome is Burning at June 15, 2012 11:05 AM

870 Market Street is of course the Flood building.

An appropriate location for someone who started out as an architectural preservationist, but who unfortunately long ago became the Grover Norquist of progress.

Posted by: redseca2 at June 15, 2012 11:05 AM

Thanks for the contact info @sf. Email sent!

Posted by: gellan at June 15, 2012 11:05 AM

Rome is Burning,
I see how other parties are paid fees but not Peskin or Hestor. Can you elaborate...I don't see how they are personally making financial gains from these lawsuits.

Posted by: anon at June 15, 2012 11:08 AM

Hestor's mature response to my email:

I would like to know why your law office, located at 870 Market St. 11th floor, casts a shadow on the nearby public plaza??
You are a part of the problem!

Response:

Subject: Silly twit
The Flood building was built over 100 years ago and WAY pre-dates any plaza that you happen to talking about.

And I think you know that.
Whoever you are.

Posted by: sf at June 15, 2012 11:10 AM

Awesome response from S. Hestor showing her lack of civility and intelligence.

She is the biggest, single most complainer of anything about change and growth to this city since time began.

Posted by: futurist at June 15, 2012 11:12 AM

^Uh, you think they are working for free? Out of the kindness of their luddite obstructionist hearts?

Want to buy a bridge? Cheap?

Posted by: Joe at June 15, 2012 11:12 AM

@sf, I'm no fan of Sue Hestor but I think her response to your immature harassing (if that is indeed the email you sent her) was perfectly appropriate.

Posted by: James at June 15, 2012 11:29 AM

anon, Sue Hestor is Waterfront Watch's attorney, so when the City pays $75,000 in attorney's fees, they will go to Hestor. Peskin and Hestor have collaborated for years, and the more effective he is at generating controversy, the larger the settlement. He's way too smart not to have some "profit sharing" arrangement in place. Simple extortion.

Posted by: Rome is Burning at June 15, 2012 11:40 AM

@James
I would agree with you if it weren't for the "Silly twit" in the subject line.
Who's harassing who here?

Posted by: sf at June 15, 2012 11:41 AM

Sue hestor deserves some harassment IMO. She is literally the go to attorney for anyone wanting to litigate development in the city.
She has likely earned hundreds of thousands of dollars litigating against the city in her 30 year career of obstructionism.

Posted by: bob at June 15, 2012 11:46 AM

My mistake; Hestor was not the attorney on the America's Cup EIR appeal. I had confused it with 8 Washington. Nonetheless, this is how she earns her living - sue, settle, get paid.

Posted by: Rome is Burning at June 15, 2012 12:12 PM

Ever watch Sue Hestor in action at a Planning Commission meeting?

She is a negative, cranky, irritable obstructionist.

Posted by: futurist at June 15, 2012 12:27 PM

@ James: How was that 'harassment'? Her response was much more childish than the email sent to her. She is a toxic, typical extortionist who has done nothing better than profit off of stalling progress. She is ironically (one of the many) reasons San Francisco is such an expensive place to do busines.

Posted by: realistic at June 15, 2012 1:20 PM

if you walked up to a stranger and said the text of that email to her face without introduction, explanation, or provocation, I'd say you were harassing her, and she'd be justified in calling you a twit, replying curtly, and walking away.

Posted by: James at June 15, 2012 1:29 PM

I don't think there was a hint of "harassment" to Sue Hestor in that email that Sf sent.

He asked a simple question that touched a nerve with her. She is a public figure, well known here in SF for slowing and stopping responsible progress. Her tactics often smack of harassment.

Her response to that email was nothing short of childishness, immaturity, and meaningless.

Posted by: futurist at June 15, 2012 1:37 PM

Why does your city give this one woman so much power to impact so many?

Posted by: Cade at June 15, 2012 1:42 PM

@ James: Ummm...she's not a stranger. She's a high profile anti-development attorney that makes a point of making herself EXTRMELY visible and outspoken. The tallest blade of grass is the first to get cut.......

Posted by: realistic at June 15, 2012 2:18 PM

I have to agree that while the email to Sue Hestor may have been silly and slightly sarcastic, it certainly did not constitute harassment, unless you mean to use the word "harass" in its most technical sense of "to cause annoyance."

If @SF had used vulgarity, threats, insults, or sent a repeated series of emails, then that behavior would constitute harassment. However, sending a single email to ask a pointed question about a public issue of an individual who has willingly made herself into a public figure is certainly not harassment. Ms. Hestor could have simply hit delete and moved on with her day; instead, she chose to spend her time and energy sending a childish response.

If Ms. Hestor truly believes she is doing righteous work, then she should either be able to ignore her critics or calmly respond to them with a reasoned argument that makes them shut up. The reason she is snippy instead is because she long ago stopped being an advocate for what is right, and instead became a professional pain-in-the-butt making her bucks being a thorn in the side of the city, developers, and neighborhoods that need and support new development.

Posted by: Chris at June 15, 2012 6:56 PM

I have always been really turned off by people who get a charge out of being nasty to other people.

This individual truly does -- I know from personal experience.

There is never, ever any initiative, ideas, inspiration or constructive action. Instead its always and only about negativity, obstruction, blocking and using the paper tiger of legal fiat to intentionally provoke people.

Its an outcome of a kind of misery and low self esteem that would be pitiful were it not affecting others. I suspect that's the whole point: an attempt to project misery and self-hatred onto others.

Posted by: Stucco_Sux at June 15, 2012 7:36 PM

Wow! strong, direct comments about the behavior of one Ms. Hestor.

I completely, whole heartedly, 100%

AGREE.

Posted by: futurist at June 15, 2012 7:57 PM

Sue Hestor in all her glory:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKEXI1fkglg

Posted by: sf at June 15, 2012 8:19 PM

Thanks for the pointer to the shadow projection diagrams, editor.

So if I read this correctly then the maximum effect on shadowing Union square from *all* of the proposed transbay developments is 10% of the park for 10% of the day for 25% of the year. That's a total loss of 0.25% when averaged for the whole year. Is it really worth fighting these developments for a nearly imperceptible change?

I agree with the spirit of the ordinance, new developments shouldn't plunge sunny parks into darkness. But the implementation of the rule is a mess. I wonder if voters would have supported this measure if they knew that tiny changes to the light received in Union Square would be enough to block development many blocks away and south of the slot.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 16, 2012 2:07 PM

I honestly thought she had died. Unfortunately, I'm wrong. She and her "organization" should be required to pay the fees.

Posted by: Michael B at June 18, 2012 1:06 PM


This is also how it works over in the central waterfront area, I will refrain from being more specific. So you write a five or six figure check to the spouse of the person who runs the neighborhood association who says they will act in your behalf as a "neighborhood consensus consultant" or the association uses it's official letterhead to obstruct, interfere, delay and in any way they can add misery to your development process by using the city building / planning machine to throw every roadblock possible in front of your project, no matter how trivial the project may be. The carrying costs and costs to respond to all the chaos they have then caused to your project results in tens or hundreds of thousands in additional professional expenses plus whatever carrying costs the project already brought along take away from your bottom line.

They have gone so far as to demand new restaurants allow their menu items to be approved by them, they being a cabal of a couple self appointed tyrants.

The entire pattern of behavior sounds a lot like RICO activity to this reader, though I am not a lawyer.

Posted by: End SF Neighborhood Group Corruption and Shakedowns at June 22, 2012 12:50 AM

It's pretty ridiculous to have so much hate for someone who simply provides a counterpoint to extremely wealthy developers. Sure, it is silly to oppose progress, but to offer some resistance is to ensure that progress moves in a more generally acceptable direction. If this city were to give up resisting developers, we'd lose our character and the city would certainly be uglier for it.

Posted by: philipthemholes at November 2, 2012 5:13 PM

^I'm not sure how an extremely wealthy attorney is some kind of counterpoint to extremely wealthy developers. Why should we assume that she provides any kind of counterpoint worth providing? Why are her motives considered more "pure" to you?

Posted by: anon at November 2, 2012 5:25 PM

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