Berkeley Neighbors sue UC Berkeley for adding students without required housing

press release : berkeleydailyplanet – excerpt (video included)

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods filed suit today against UC Berkeley (Cal) for increasing its student numbers by five-fold more than allowed in Cal’s 2020 Long Range Development Plan (2020 LRDP). The citizen organization charges the excess increase of more than 6,500 undergraduates has led to student homelessness and skyrocketing rents for student housing.

The organization said the suit filed in Alameda County stems from Cal’s refusal to sit down with local residents to discuss the dramatic impacts of the enormous increase in students and develop plans to maintain the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding the campus…

date, major impacts of the extra students include displacement of many low-income renters, increased homelessness, additional burden on police, fire and emergency services, and growth in trash and noise throughout neighborhoods surrounding campus. The student crisis is documented in a YouTube video

(see the links attached to a number of student films made by students that left UC Berkeley. Looks like the school has out grown its charm for many.)

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods is a non-profit organized to provide education and advocacy to improve the quality of life, protect the environment and implement best planning practices for Berkeley citizens… (more)

Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore was Honored at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Meeting.


Planning Commissioner Moore slipped away with her husband, Bill, after swarms of photographers and well-wishers piled on the love and affection at the City Hall ceremony honoring one of our own for her years of exceptional service. Photo by zrants.

“This notable occasion, the celebration of Commissioner Moore’s election to the position as Fellow of the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners, gives us the opportunity to thank her for her past service and appeal to both her and the Board of Supervisors to continue her invaluable service on the Planning Commission.  This recognition by her peers reinforces what we have seen consistently now for nearly twelve years.” – Jim Warshell, Co-Chair, Van Ness Corridor Neighborhoods Council 

Thank you Commissioner Moore and congratulations on this honor.

Commissioner Moore’s continued service is supported by Noe neighborhood council  and many other neighborhood groups who she has worked with to bring about better projects that satisfy developers and neighbors. Please encourage Kathrin’s continued service: Petition Please Reappoint Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore


California Lawmakers Kill Housing Bill After Fierce Debate

By Conor Dougherty : nytimes – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — Just before a committee of California state senators voted on a landmark bill to ramp up housing production by overriding local resistance, legislator after legislator talked about a dire affordable-housing crisis that demanded bold action and a marked increase in new building.

Then they killed the bill.

The vote here on Tuesday evening highlighted the emergence of California’s housing and homeless problem — and the fraught question of how to address it — as a potent election-year issue that promises to dominate the state’s politics for years.

The ferocity of that debate was on display throughout a meeting of the State Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee, which met to vote on a divisive bill that would force local governments to accept higher-density projects around transit centers like train stations.

The bill, called S.B. 827, was introduced by Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, and would have allowed developers to build five-story condominiums and apartment buildings near rail stops, even if local governments and zoning codes prohibited developments of that size…(more)

There are some details about construction around San Francisco that should be addressed to see the whole picture. We have a labor shortage that is slowing production of the housing projects that are already entitled. When you can’t find a contractor that wants to bid on a project, you can’t build the project. Passing a bill damanding cities build more does nothing to solve a labor shortage. We also have a problem with toxic soil. Three of the largest projects in San Francisco are on hold waiting for toxic cleanups on old navy properties. Harassing cities with draconian legal obligations is not going to solve these problems.


SB 827 is up for reconsideration on April 24 after the bill lost this week.

Clearing up the details of the SB 827 vote

A number of misinformed statements regarding the vote on SB 827 have been circulating. This is the official statement signed by the Chair of the Transportation and Housing Committee, Senator Beall. The vote was 6 no, 4 aye, and 3 not voting. If Scott can talk some into changing their votes, he can still pass this out of committee, however, he faces a much more difficult time getting it passed in the next committee in time to get it through the to the full Senate by the deadline. Still, some people will show up to oppose this one, since they will be opposing SB 828 as well.

Thanks to these bills, and a few others our Northern representatives are forcing on the state residents, many Southern California citizens are rising up to flex their rather large and powerful political powers. This year could see some changes coming to our state legislature that may shift the power away from the Bay Area. Too much too fast and too disruptive is creating a bad environment for the easy-going California lifestyle we have come to love and appreciate and there is a movement to resurrect it.

Here is a link to the Senate Transportation and housing committee schedule:

Here is a link to the official voting results on SB 827 and a copy of the page below:


The following is a link to the Senate Transportation and housing committee schedule:

The next link is how they voted on SB 827:

SB 831: Senator Wiener’s Wacky World on Steroids Must be Defeated!

By Hydee R. Feldstein : citywatchla – excerpt (includes a great graphic)

CALL TO ACTION-On January 4, 2018, Senator Bob Wieckowski introduced SB 831, a bill that would have amended the just-last-year enacted “Granny Flats” sections of state law to require, rather than simply permit, cities, states and other municipalities to provide by ordinance for the creation of “junior accessory dwelling units”, or so-called ADUs…

The original version of Senator Wieckowski’s bill left the substance of the ordinance up to local authorities and expressly permitted the local authorities to include the type of restrictions included in the 2017 version of the ADU law – restrictions on the size and number, compliance with typical utility, safety and habitability regulations and requirement of owner occupancy.

As originally proposed, SB 831 appeared to have little effect on Los Angeles, a city that has already passed an ADU ordinance since SB 831 left in the express requirements that a locality could require a permit for and otherwise expressly regulate the plans, size, setbacks and other attributes of an ADU, including limiting ADUs to a single 500 square foot structure per owner occupied lot.

Then, on March 13, 2018, as cities and their residents were becoming aware of Senator Wiener’s authored bills – SB 827 and 828 – he signed on as a co-author to Senator Wieckowski’s SB 831 with amendments. Those “amendments” twisted the concept of ADUs into a junior version of Wiener’s dystopian landscape – tall, skinny buildings filled with dorm rooms and bike racks dropped in to disrupt, displace and destroy single family and small multi-family residences. SB 831, as amended by Senator Wiener, now:..


Please read and comment on the source and check out the graphics.
Agenda and action item is SB 831

Who is causing California’s housing shortage?

Wiener World on your block
If you don’t want Wiener World on your block, learn more about the attempts to remover local community jurisdiction over land use and zoning and the players in Sacramento who are trying to gentrify the state. Attend the April 28th forum on SB 827 and Beyon.

Everyone has a theory about who’s to blame for the housing shortage that’s driving up prices and chasing families out of the region and state.

A new poll offers surprising insights into where most of us point the finger: not at the government officials who control what homes are built where, but at the tech companies and the real estate developers trying to maximize profits.

Experts say finding someone to blame is not that simple. The real answer, they say, lies tangled in a complicated web that implicates everyone involved, from businesses to local elected officials to your next door neighbor. And the stakes are high for policy makers trying to untangle that web as the housing crisis intensifies. To solve the problem, it’s crucial to understand the factors that turned the state’s real estate market into one of the country’s most dysfunctional… (more)

Who do you trust and who do you blame for the sorry state of the state of California? Why are there so many empty units if housing the homeless is a priority? Getting those units filled should be the top goal, not centralized top down planning. Attend the April 28th forum on SB 827 and Beyond.


Bayer-Monsanto Merger and Stack and Pack housing Is Bad News for the Planet

Op-Ed by Zrants


Grapes depend on birds and insects to reproduce. What will we use when the natural pollinators die off? Robotic insects? photo by zrants

Merging corporations are a huge threat to every industry, including food production. Ellen Brown generally writes about the economy and public banking. This article, The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet, goes back to her original focus on holistic heath solutions and deals with the problems that come from not upholding anti-trust laws. Too-big-to-fail banks are not our only problem. When you look at the issues raised over government involvement, or lack of oversight, in the global food industry in conjunction with government manipulations in the housing industry, the future does not look rosy.

Stack and pack development theories go beyond concerns over how to live independent lives. Sucking people into dense housing and work environments does nothing for the planet but it does force everyone to live in dependence of the government-sanctioned grids: electric, water, sewer, media, wifi, transit, and alt currency banking systems, to name a few. Landless Americans Are the New Serf Class, questions the legitimacy of the current development decisions by pointing out some of the major inconsistencies and problems with the way the government is directing us to live.

Our education system is turning out perfect on-demand consumers hooked on instant gratification, not independent thinkers capable of solving problems. Important jobs are unfilled because no one bothered to learn the skills. Do we know what we are losing or what kind of world we are building?


Old and new versions of bus shelter designs photo by zrants

What kind of future are we designing and who is it for? We need designers who base design on science, not theory. Look at the new bus “shelters”, if you can call them that, for a perfect example of bad design. Whoever designed these non-shelter shelters should not be qualified to design anything. There is no utilitarian integrity in a bus shelter with less seats and no protection from the rain. The deal SFMTA cut for these non-shelters is indicative of what is wrong with the SFMTA and many government agencies. What did the public get put of the deal? a shelter that is not a shelter in exchange for ad space, that brings in less ad revenue.

We do not need an economy and society modeled on future projections on predictive behavior handed down to us from top level public-private entities that are more concerned with controlling public behavior than corporate behavior. What will it take for society to prioritize human development and creative thinking over financial growth?

please continue to support our efforts to control our land use and zoning by stopping bills like SB 827. Sign the petition and write your state reps.


Brisbane Baylands development moving to voters

By Austin Walsh : smdailyjournal – excerpt

Amidst local control fight, officials push ahead mixed-used plan despite reservations

Indicating they felt backed into a corner by state legislators ardently pushing for housing development along the Baylands, Brisbane officials reluctantly agreed to permit building at the highly-watched site.

The Brisbane City Council unanimously approved moving toward a ballot measure allowing construction of as many as 2,200 housing units and 4 million square feet of commercial space in a potentially transformative development, according to video of a meeting Thursday, March 22…

The challenge in balancing health and environmental concerns borne by a proposal to build on contaminated land against the constant encroachment on local authority relating to land use decisions was the source of great discomfort for most officials…

Under the decision, city officials will return before councilmembers with a proposed General Plan amendment allowing to build between 1,800 and 2,200 housing units as well as up to 4 million square feet of commercial space at the Baylands. The upcoming discussion will also detail environmental remediation requirements and a fiscal impact analysis of the project. The decision is slated to ultimately give way to a fall ballot measure, allowing voters to have the final say in determining whether development is allowed at the site…(more)

How is it environmentally sound to build homes on contaminated land? Will the new homes come with a disclaimer that reads: “Enter at your own risk, home may contain carcinogens and other unhealthy contaminants that may cause cancer, asthma, and other respiratory ailments that shorten your lifespan by over 10 years.” This is not the only project that may need major cleanup. How long will it take when Hunter’s Point and Treasure Island are already in line? This project could take longer than the housing crisis. What happens if the residents vote it down? Will the state sue them the way it did San Francisco to take back the right to determine the use of land?


Scandal on Treasure Island

San Francisco taxpayers are barely aware that Treasure Island suffered a major clean-up scandal involving the Navy and Tetra Tech, EC, Inc., seven years before recent media attention was focused on the “faked” cleanup at Hunters Point.

It took entities who were not the Navy to bring to light mishandled cleanups at both Treasure Island and Hunters Point. As early as 2001, Lisa Davis wrote the SF Weekly article, “Fallout,” that, with close public scrutiny, would have raised huge red flags about the Navy’s pattern of faulty Bay Area cleanups and the danger of constructing housing on their bases… (more)

In San Francisco we have at least one ballot initiative coming up. This may become the only way voters have to SAY NO when their leaders refuse to do so.


Stronger rent control supported by just one major candidate for California governor

: sacbee – excerpt

Delaine Eastin is the only major candidate for California governor to unequivocally support a potential November ballot measure that would allow stronger local rent control laws across the state.

Eastin, a Democrat and former state schools chief, said she supports the outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents rent control ordinances from applying to housing built after 1995, as well as single-family homes, duplexes and condos.

“It hasn’t worked and it’s time to repeal it,” Eastin said at a candidate forum Thursday hosted by the advocacy nonprofit Housing California. Proponents of repeal, financed in part by Los Angeles activist Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, have gathered more than 250,000 of the 365,880 signatures they need to qualify by next month…

Eastin is trailing in the polls behind other Democrats — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang. Rent control advocates voiced strong support for her after she backed Costa-Hawkins repeal at the California Democratic Party convention last month. She won 20 percent of delegate votes, behind Newsom and Chiang, while Villaraigosa got 9 percent…(more)

Rent control and health care: Liberals fight for the soul of the California Democratic Party

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