San Francisco has long been above the fray of California’s water wars – both literally, because Hetch Hetchy Reservoir sits at 4000’ elevation, and figuratively, as the water conveyed from the reservoir does not go through the Delta and its messy politics. That’s about to change
The construction of the federal and state water projects have resulted in the diversion of least half and sometimes up to 65% of the water that once flowed through the Delta and out the Golden Gate. The impact on California’s unique biodiversity, particularly our iconic salmon runs, has been devastating.
In 2009, the State Legislature passed the Delta Reform Act, which made several changes in how the Delta was managed. Most significantly for San Francisco, it required the State Water Resources Control Board to develop instream flow needs for both the Delta and its tributaries in order to protect public trust uses.
In 2016, the Board turned its attention to the main tributaries of the San Joaquin River – the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers. A 2010 science review recommended that 60% of the unimpaired flow remain in the river. Unfortunately, only 21% of Tuolumne River reaches the San Joaquin River currently, with senior water rights holders Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts joining the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in diverting from this river. Rather than adopt the scientists’ recommendations, the Board chose to require restoration to just 40% of unimpaired flows, with options to lower diversion to 30% or raise them to 50% depending on how the river responds to the additional water and other management actions.
A few years ago, a renowned San Francisco political figure passed away due to a brain tumor. He insisted that he knew the cause: his cell phone. When he started running for office, he bought a cell phone that was indispensable – always pressed to his ear. That’s where the tumor developed. Now, scientific research demonstrates the dangers of electromagnetic pulses on animals and humans. The proximity of the cell phone to the body is critical and possibly lethal. Never carry your cell phone next to your chest or near your pelvis and use ear buds instead of pressing it to your head. Like other maladies, individuals have varying levels of susceptibility to random pulses, which is why many countries have regulatory precautions.
You may want to watch this video on YOUTUBE: Cell Phone Dangers | Dr. Devra Davis @ National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (1:01 hours)
~ Howard Wong
News of Trump’s election, and the appointment of Dr. Ben Carson to run the Housing and Urban Development Department, brought cringes through housing agencies and rights groups in San Francisco. Concerns over what will be cut first, and how to ensure that projects entitled or initiated are moved on quickly to prevent any last minute shut-downs, are the order of the day.
Various facets of the RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration, a public-private enterprise under HUD) rehabilitation of multiple sites and units, and the transfer to private managing entities, are now in progress. The HOPE SF (a local RAD manifestation) projects at Alice Griffith and Hunter’s View continue at a slow, plodding rate; meanwhile two larger-scale projects, Sunnydale and Potrero, are about to take off, initiating parcels and projects that will transform a good deal of the city’s remaining public housing space.
San Francisco spends $241 million on homeless services, according to a February 5, 2016 Chronicle article. Part of this funding goes to 76 private organizations to deal with the homeless, in effect a job-making vehicle. Or one could characterize it as a bureaucratic nightmare.
This vast amount of money, some $30,000 each, is spent for an estimated 8,000 homeless souls. Yet, homelessness is getting worse. Then there is the $20 million of the Police budget that goes to moving homeless people from one area of the city to another. That adds $2,500 to each homeless person.
A McDonalds fast food worker makes between $16,000 and $20,000 a year. If those workers can survive on less, why not just pay each homeless individual $32,625 and see if that would cure the problem?
Claire Lau (my wife) had the idea for the San Francisco Berniecrats just after the primary in May of last year. Like so many young Americans, Bernie’s run for president was unlike anything we’d experienced in our lifetimes. An American political leader ran on a platform of altruism, virtue, and populism, and changed our concept of what we could demand from our politicians. He didn’t just shift the Overton window, he hit it across the park. Claire knew then that Bernie had come to unite and embody a cluster of previously disparate progressive desires. Say the name “Bernie Sanders” and everyone from the gas station attendant to the college professor has an idea of the platform: economic and social equality.
An error was made in SF Tomorrow’s most recent newsletter (Issue 374, Jan/Feb 2017). The article “NAP EIR approved” incorrectly stated the position of SF Tomorrow and the Sierra Club. Both organizations oppose the inclusion of the Sharp Park golf course project in the Natural Areas Program Plan and EIR, and the Sierra Club has appealed the decision of the Planning Commission to the full Board of Supervisors. We apologize for the error.
By Barbara Lee and Denise D’Anne
Those of us who are concerned about global warming should not shop at Amazon.
Amazon packaging includes the cutting of countless trees, the use of oil to ship, manufacture plastic and bubble wrap. Most Amazon products are made in other countries preventing homegrown products to get a foothold. The negative impact on our air quality and use of fuel is incalculable.
Some 36,000 robots at work in Amazon warehouses are replacing American
jobs. Our U.S. postal labor force, now contracted to deliver Amazon
packages day and night creates a physical strain on postal workers as they lug huge packages up stairs, across the street and … On the other hand, shopping locally has many benefits. The community receives the taxes, money circulates within the community, and job opportunities increase. Consumers can view their purchases, try them on or return items easily. Personal relations develop and the sense of community enlivens our lives.
On-line shopping creates a monopoly that denies competition and ultimately
results in price gauging.
Barbara Lee is a member of Gray Panthers and on its editorial board.
By Jon Golinger on January 24, 2017
San Francisco Tomorrow’s 2016 Holiday Party is coming up Wednesday, December 14. As always, we’ll have lots of local politicians and journalists to socialize with, as well as folks from many of your favorite NGOs and city departments.
To RSVP, mail a check to SFT, 351 Guerrero SF 94103, or call (415) 585-9489. Please include your name, telephone number, and email, as well as your sponsorship level (if any), and the names of any guests, if available. All party reservations also pay your 2017 membership dues.
SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 1: Sandra Lee Fewer
SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 3: Aaron Peskin
SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 5: Dean Preston
SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 7: Norman Yee
SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 9: Hillary Ronen
SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 11: Kimberly Alvarenga
STATE SENATE DISTRICT 11: Jane Kim
BART BOARD DISTRICT 9: Bevan Dufty
Prop S – YES. Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds – Ordinance
San Francisco’s Hotel Tax was originally created in 1961 to support the city’s arts industries and the construction & operation of convention facilities. In the 1970s, funds from the Tax were also allocated to low-income housing. In early 2000s, the city started reducing arts funding gradually, ultimately repealing specific allocations altogether. Money that went towards low-income housing from the fund was eliminated.
Currently, the hotel tax consists of an 8% base tax and an additional 6% tax surcharge on the rental of hotel rooms. Half the base tax money is spent on upkeep & operation of Moscone Center. The BOS may appropriate any portion of the remaining money raised by the base tax, less admin costs and refunds, for advertising of San Francisco. The City deposits any remaining amount into the General Fund. Surcharge money is also deposited in the General Fund, and may be allocated for any public purpose.
Prop O – NO. Office Development in Candlestick Point and Hunters Point – Ordinance
Prop O would remove Hunters Point Shipyard from the 1986 Proposition M citywide limitations on office development. The proponent (the developer) argues that progress on the Hunters Point development, including creation of more than 10,000 affordable housing units (and over 5 million square feet of office and R&D space), is being held up by the Prop M limits, and that Prop M was intended to address downtown development and should not apply to this development.
According to the Planning Department, “…the Annual Limit Program aims to ensure a manageable rate of new development and to guard against typical ‘boom and bust’ cycles, among other goals.” A total of 950,000 gross square feet of new office development becomes allowable each year, with 75,000 gsf reserved for projects with between 25,000 and 49,999 gsf of office space and the remaining 875,000 gsf available projects with at least 50,000 gsf of office space. About 8 million square feet of office space is now awaiting approval, so there is a backlog – but Hunters Point Shipyard gets priority under that cap, second only to Transbay Transit Center and Mission Bay South, which were both approved as redevelopment areas before the shipyard. Approval of this measure would benefit downtown highrises in the pipeline – and encourage other projects to try to get a special exemption from Prop M through the ballot box.. The argument that it is not a downtown development is therefore not valid.