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“If the broad light of day could be let in upon (people’s) actions, it would purify them as the sun disinfects.” -- Lewis Brandeis

"The best defense against bullshit, is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something." -- Jon Stewart

If City Hall wants people to stay in San Francisco, officials might want to seriously address quality-of-life issues. They need to stop giving preferential treatment to out-of-town corporations, developers, and the downtown special interests -- the ones who finance political campaigns around here. They need to respect RESIDENTS FIRST!

City Hall's corporations-first doctrine permeates local government including the commissions, board of supervisors, planning department, mayor's office of housing, MTA and police department. Specific neighborhood examples follow.

The site is under development. Send us your examples of how city hall is treating San Francisco residents/voters/taxpayers as second-class citizens. We will consider them.

We are starting by focusing on District 6.

Out-of-town corporations are allowed to close busy Howard Street periodically to stage corporate events. This all started so Larry Ellison could put on his Oracle circus. Not only does this create havoc for residents and commuters, it's disruptive for local businesses too. One business at Second and Howard quickly discovered they could not make deliveries to their customers. Their only path out of the horrible gridlock was to go north on Second and make the illegal left turn onto Market. There really is no viable alternative. Before the second Oracle event they contacted the SFPD and asked that vehicles be allowed to make the left at Market for a week. That reasonable request to assist local businesses was immediately shot down, but of course Oracle was allowed to continue with its big marketing event. The payoff for the city? Ellison moved Oracle to Texas. (Apparently he likes a state that runs its own unreliable power grid, that discourages voting, and where leaders openly talk of seceding from the United States.)

[Shadow from 75H on Rincon Park] City Hall’s love affair with luxury condo developers is obvious (left). The New York-based developer of 75 Howard St. (a.k.a. One Steuart Pl), for example, got just about every planning exemption, exception and variance possible. By contrast, the adjacent comparable buildings (similar height), WHICH ARE SF-OWNED, got no such special treatment. The Gap HQ building and Rincon Towers Apartments (which was 1/2 affordable housing when it opened) are loaded with setbacks and publicly-accessible open space (starting with Rincon's 30-foot wide sidewalk along Howard). They taper up to points. Hills Plaza also followed the rules. The boxy 75H has no affordable housing, a flat top, no open space and negligible setbacks. How did the out-of-state luxury condo developer get such special treatment? One gue$$. Who says City Hall isn’t corrupt? Answer: no one. The building is now at full height and its shadow, as residents warned, now shades Rincon Park (right).

[Entrance Hall] While luxury condo developers get special treatment, thousands of certified low-income renters in city "Below Market Rate" (BMR) housing programs have been vulnerable to repeated 4% rent increases all during the pandemic. Many of these individuals -- who must certify that their incomes are low each year -- are unemployed and having trouble paying rent, yet the city's archaic rules allow steep increases -- as high as 9% one year. One city employee admitted the city wants to assist large landlords. We have created a separate web page to track these issues. BMR renters are encouraged to visit the page and share information about their building's program:

The first rule for creating affordable housing should be: "1 - Keep what you have now!" A New York corporation was allowed to eliminate over half of the 160 affordable rental units at its building at 88 Howard St in SF. City Hall failed to protect it. That same year, the corporation's CEO bought the most expensive residence in NYC for himself. According to the "New York Observer," his new home had a 60-foot long entrance "gallery" (right), a dining room that seated 48, and a library with paneling older than the United States. Meanwhile, SF was losing affordable housing.

[No bike lane] [Temp bike lane] After the tragic death of a bicyclist on Howard in March 2019, politicians rushed before the TV cameras to pledge improvements. They promised a "Quick-Build Program." While simple bike lanes are unsafe, they are much better than no bike lane at all. And that's what existed on Howard between Beale and Main streets -- no bike lane (left). After all the promises, this very unsafe situation on Howard was brought to the attention of the MTA Commission on 4/2/19. It was also pointed out to the mayor's office, board of supervisors and Bike Coalition that a simple and inexpensive solution would be to paint a temporary white line and the words "Bike Lane" (which is common -- see Folsom Street at right). Would have taken about an hour. Nothing more needed to be done. Cars were parking at the curb but no spaces were designated for that purpose. What did city hall do? Nothing. Bike riders continued to be forced into traffic for another year and half.

Police response-times are often slow for quality-of-life calls. Even non-stop car alarms in the middle of the night are assigned to the day shift. Police officers tell us that -- when an issue involves a business (such as a restaurant illegally allowing late-night club activity) -- they have been instructed to support the business and not those who live there. Customers at Safeway (Jackson St) were shocked to see a disabled senior physically hauled out of the store by the SFPD for -- wearing a small backpack. The store manager repeatedly claimed the mayor's Covid proclamation prohibited backpacks in stores, which was of course incorrect. There was no disruption or violence until the police arrived. Their only goal was to please Idaho-based Safeway. The cops also omitted from their report any mention of physically removing the senior. So issues include excessive force, inability to diffuse a situation (even a calm one), cover-up of negative facts, and senior abuse. A complaint was filed, but there is zero indication that any corrective action took place. The police commission and chief were notifified but expressed indifference. It is apparent that SF still has a New York-style police department (as it was once labeled by the respected San Jose Chief of Police, Joseph D. McNamara, PhD).

[Hotel Vitale] [Potties] [Discarded Terminal Plans] This architectural monstrosity on the Embarcadero at Mission Street (left) eliminated the city’s 125-year-old transit terminal in front of the Ferry Building. Now residents and ferry riders must hunt for busses at various curbside stops scattered around the neighborhood, and the re-routed busses now get tangled in traffic at intersections like Main and Market. Muni, to their credit, had plans for a first-class transit terminal (right) on the site directly across from the new ferry slips (click on the image to see a larger view). But a previous mayor decided to let some of his backers develop a hotel instead. (The site was zoned for public use and open space.) There also would have been space for light maintenance on vehicles and restrooms for drivers. Now maintenance happens in the streets and we have porta-potties for drivers on our sidewalks (far right, at Main St--a less-safe location).

[Barrier] The original plans for Rincon Park allowed a single, one-story restaurant in the southern end of the park. After the official RFP was released, and a developer had been chosen, the city secretly allowed the project to stretch out into two, two-story buildings. The height limit was discarded and the square footage grew by more than 50-percent. Now picnickers and dog-walkers have to share the same lawn.

Speaking of barriers between the city and bay, ever wonder why the mound under Cupid's Span is so long and high (right)? The park's restaurant had a specific height limit of 17-feet above the park's grade. That's not high enough for two-story commercial buildings, so by raising the height of the mound, the developer claimed the "grade" was higher and buildings exceeding the limit were allowed. Our source? The project manager was proud of this scheme.

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