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Proposals for Presidio Parklands

The new Doyle Drive construction of tunnels atop which a new land bridge will connect the Presidio’s Main Post to Crissy Field will create spectacular new open space. Proposals have been received, and the currently popular design calls for a building on the bluff amid the open space plantings and paths.

There should be no building anywhere on the bluff. Building on the bluff would be an unnecessary obstruction to the flow of the landscape connection that has been opened up by the tunnels. The whole purpose of the tunnels creating a new land bridge would be compromised by a building of any kind on this broad vegetated swath linking the upper and the lower Presidio, especially a glass building! A glass building would be especially damaging, causing reflections and creating a hazard for birds that would fly into the reflections in the glass.

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Time for that Low Carbon Diet

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On June 10, the SFT board voted to endorse the national efforts of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an organization of over 7,000 volunteers coast to coast who perpetually lobby Congress on behalf of a revenue-neutral carbon tax (“carbon fee and dividend”). This approach to reducing fossil CO2 has the advantage of allowing for large scale reductions in a short time, without placing an undue burden on the poor or dragging down the economy – indeed, a 2014 REMI study found that it would actually improve GDP by up to $85 billion per year. Coupled with a border tax on carbon-using products, CF&D would also have the effect of persuading other countries to adopt a similar carbon fee of their own.

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New Wall on the Waterfront

Two new proposed luxury towers at 75 Howard Street and 160 Folsom Street across from the Embarcadero threaten to shadow Rincon Park. The Tishman-Speyer Corporation is seeking a 100- foot increase to the existing height

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Proposed building at 75 Howard

limits to build a 400-foot condo tower at 160 Folsom Street. Paramount Group is seeking a 92-foot height-limit increase to build a 292-foot condo tower at 75 Howard Street.

According to the Sierra Club these projects are taking advantage of a loophole in the Proposition K Sunshine Ordinance protection. Prop K does not require the Port of San Francisco to abide by its mandate, and these two projects come under the Port’s purview. The Recreation and Parks department is the only agency that has jurisdiction under the Proposition K ordinance.

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160 Folsom

The Sierra Club informs its readers in the “Sierra Club Yodeler, June-July 2015″ that neighborhood organizations and citizen groups concerned by the loophole have begun working together to protect the waterfront in an effort called “Save Rincon Park.”

Please call or email Supervisor Jane Kim at (415) 554-7970 / Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, or write to her at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall, Room 244, San Francisco, CA 94103-4689 . Urge Supervisor Kim to stand up for parks and our waterfront by rejecting these height-limit-increase proposals.

– Denise D’Anne



Man for the Times

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On March 30, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin announced that he would be seeking re-election to his old District 3 seat. A longtime environmental activist, Peskin led the renovation and expansion of a number of parks in his district, and in 2008 authored the Clean and Safe Parks bond, which set aside $185 million to improve park facilities. He also fought expansion of the airport into the bay.

Aaron early on gained a reputation for supporting housing affordability and opposing overdevelopment. In 2005 he led a successful campaign against the conversion of hundreds of residential hotel rooms into a handful of luxury condos, and later sponsored legislation to curb Ellis Act abuses. Needless to say, this kind of leadership is sorely needed in the city at this moment.

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Muni Musings

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No Improvement in Service

In 2014 San Francisco voters passed a $500 million bond measure to provide funding for Muni. One would be hard-pressed to see any improvement in Muni or in infrastructure; however, construction and utility improvement is going on at a record pace, obstructing Muni flow. Muni is eliminating bus stops, causing a hardship on the elderly and disabled. Nor are hospitals being spared the disruption; for instance the 33 Bus that stops at San Francisco General is slated for discontinuance.

Private Taxi Services Adding to Congestion

As with Airbnb in the housing sector, Uber, Sidecar and Lyft are dictating how we provide transportation services. These supposed new type of taxi service are causing more traffic congestion. In fact, Uber alone is planning on adding additional 120 vehicles on our streets, ostensibly to “improve” traffic flow.

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The Sharing Economy: Who Benefits?

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Airbnb is behind the escalating argument at the Board of Supervisors as to whether a 60-day or 120-day limit on short-term rentals is adequate. Both arguments are a distraction; both sides are using divide and conquer tactics. The real issue comes down to supporting those able to use their housing for short-term rentals at the expense of those who use their housing to live and work in the city.

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Awards Dinner Recap

San Francisco Tomorrow held its annual awards dinner on Thursday, May 21, at Delancey Street Restaurant on the waterfront. While turnout was a bit lower than expected, likely owing to traffic issues, many of our favorite special guests were able to make it by. As you can see from the pictures on our website, the room was gorgeous, and the dinner, as usual, was top-notch.

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Local environmental activist Pinky Kushner presented the Jack Morrison Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Anne Miller for her dedication, verve, clarity of vision, and deep community spirit. Kushner characterized Mary Anne as a Renaissance woman, and recounted her insistence that the renovation of Golden Gate Park’s North Lake be completed using a durable clay bottom rather than concrete, and the way she initiated a campaign to have the new de Young museum faced with copper sidings, rather than the original design of metal cages with field stones, as the latter would likely end up receptacles for cigarette butts and other debris.

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Awards Dinner is May 21

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Once again, San Francisco Tomorrow is celebrating the City’s progressive heroes at our Annual Awards Dinner. This year our Jack Morrison Lifetime Achievement Award honoree is Mary Anne Miller, a longtime board member and leader of both San Francisco Tomorrow and Sunset Parkside Education and Action Committee. An experienced planner, Mary Anne has been of invaluable assistance in developing San Francisco Tomorrow’s positions and comments on planning documents; has served as SFT’s point person on Presidio issues; and has been the keen and diligent editor of San Francisco Tomorrow’s newsletter for more than 15 years.

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