The Result of Two Minutes of Testimony

The Result of Two Minutes of Testimony at the Land Use Committee Meeting is that discussions about CEQA reform will continue in San Francisco.

In a stunning display of organization and passion, the Community CEQA Improvement Team together with speakers including former Supervisors Jake McGoldrick, Aaron Peskin and John Bardis pushed the popular agenda, resulting in Supervisor Jane Kim speaking out forcefully in favor of her version of CEQA reform, rebuffing Supervisor Wiener’s version of the legislation in this afternoon’s Land Use Committee hearing.

The outcome of today’s hearing will be a fresh review of new CEQA legislation from Supervisor Kim and the renegotiation of five points of Supervisor Wiener’s version:

  • 1)  Board Hearings of CEQA appeals should continue v. subcommittee hearings only
  • 2) The “Fair Argument” standard should be applied to every appeal
  • 3) Website notices of CEQA decisions should be published, but should also be circulated
  • 4) Documentation deadline for appeals should be maintained at the current standard
  • 5) Both ‘First Approval” and “Last Approval” triggers for CEQA-based appeals need to be reevaluated.

The number of speakers on opposing sides of the argument was very high–approximately 23 speakers came out in favor of Wiener’s version, and 49 against. Thanks to all who showed up or generously donated their time to contribute to tonight’s hearing. Thanks for your ideas and for speaking out clearly and forcefully. – Roland

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One thought on “The Result of Two Minutes of Testimony

  1. Supervisor Kim’s proposed legislation is the only one with any significant citizen involvement.

    Wiener was forced by San Francisco speakers and the Land Use Commission to meet with the public. He deliberately cancelled meetings so neighborhood groups and stakeholders wouldn’t come, then met anyway without them. Many groups that should have been invited were not, until others told them. He stonewalled every decent suggestion for changes that would allow citizens to have a voice in forces that would affect their well-being. Consequently, over 35 neighborhood organization, environmental groups and labor unions met to shape alternative legislation that would meet their needs, not disenfranchise them completely.

    Almost NO notice would be given for important developments, and the very first approval, even for just a site plan, would trigger a 20 day time limit for appeals if people were notified and a 30 day limit if they were not even notified at all. The project could then unfold for years with many outrageous changes to the original approved plan with NO possibility of appeal. In addition, citizen comment would be heard by only a three member committee not by the full board.

    Wiener eliminated completely section 31.16 regarding the EIR, then claimed that large projects such as Treasure Island, CPMC and Parkmerced’s demolition would not be affected! This is patently FALSE! Developers like Daniel Mudd, CEO of Fortress Investment Group hedge fund when he started the PM Expansion idiocy (now under prosecution by the Feds and SEC for keeping two sets of book in the demise of Fannie Mae to the tune of a $250billion taxpayer rescue…you paid for that losers!), could then file a sugar-coated first approval then rape and pillage all the way to the bank. Wiener is crying for these crooks and whines about his need to go to bat for them. They plan to eliminate rent control and move working class families out of the city. It is clear that small projects and homeowners can be screwed in this process sometimes–I have been myself and cannot afford a bit of it–but Kim’s new proposal avoids al the problems you are worried about here; she separates all the single permit projects from the others, and almost all the projects you talk about are single permit. This is why at the hearing on Monday, yesterday, there were only 23 people who spoke for Wiener and 49 who spoke for Kim. Wiener was pathetic in the hearing and was thwarted by the group and the other committee members when he tried to subvert the process and get his leg voted in. He did the same thing months ago before he was forced to reach out to groups like ours. He paid only lip service to us and denied every substantive request.

    Wiener compared the urban infill he did on Octavia Street (where he got a freebie when the freeway came down…he could build new housing where nobody had lived before) to the demolition of Parkmerced’s 1,538 beautiful garden apartments with courtyards where kids can be safely raised that were designed by Charles Dolliver Church, the godfather of modern landscape architecture. He said I did it in my district so you have to do it on the west side in Parkmerced. As if comparing no homes lost to 6,000-7,000 working class men women and children’s homes lost is an honest claim to make. This is why nobody trusts him to do the right thing and has to hold his hand and show him how. He will not get away with ruining CEQA and that is why Kim, with all her brilliance, identified the only leg that had public input and defended it brilliantly and with tough perseverance yesterday. She deserves a lot of credit…she is working for you AND me on this.

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