Report: Navy using outdated standards in cleanup at Hunters Point Shipyard

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Cleanup standards used by the Navy in the radioactive remediation at the Hunters Point Shipyard over the past decade were outdated and far less protective than current standards required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report is the third in a series of independent projects examining the shipyard cleanup conducted over a three-year-period by former researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, under the nonprofit Committee to Bridge the Gap…

The report also alleges that cleanup levels used by the Navy for contaminated soil were set in 1991 and are “much less protective” than current EPA requirements…(more)


Trump memo orders Central Valley water changes

by Chris Reed : calwatchdog – excerpt

The Trump administration has launched a bold effort to up-end water policies in the Central Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, calling for big changes that would favor farmers over endangered species in allocating water.

Helping craft the administration’s new approach: Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former lawyer and lobbyist for the Westlands Water District, which is the nation’s largest agricultural water district with 600,000 acres of farmland in Fresno and Kings counties.

As CalWatchdog reported in June 2017, the prospect of having Bernhardt overseeing the federal government’s California water policies was opposed by nearly all Democrats in Congress because of his history. Meanwhile, to GOP lawmakers from the Golden State, his nomination was seen as confirmation of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to abandon the old status quo involving Central Valley agriculture… (more)

Transbay Documents Show Confusion Over Need for Access Holes Tied to Cracks in Support Beams

By Jaxon Van Derbeken : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit first reported on those weld access holes as possibly being responsible for cracks in two critical support beams across Fremont Street

Back in 2015, contractors and engineers disagreed about the need for the weld access holes now suspected of causing giant cracks in critical support beams, Transbay documents reviewed by NBC Bay Area show.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit first reported on those weld access holes as possibly being responsible for cracks in two critical support beams across Fremont Street. Cracks that forced the new Transit Center to shut down just weeks after it opened.

This week, San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin asked Transbay construction manager Dennis Turchon whether the access holes may be to blame… (more)

SF Withholds Funding for Phase 2 of Transbay Transit Project


U.S. government joins lawsuits against company implicated in botched Hunters Point Shipyard cleanup

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

The United States government has joined lawsuits against the civil engineering firm at the center of a botched and possibly fraudulent radioactive cleanup at the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Recent audits by the U.S. Navy, which formerly operated a base at the shipyard and is tasked with overseeing remediation efforts at the radiologically contaminated site, as well as by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that as much as 97 percent of data produced by Tetra Tech EC, which has been spearheading the cleanup for nearly a decade, may have been compromised… (more)

Explosive new Vallco allegations: Cupertino official plans to sue city

By Marisa Kendall of Bay Area News Group : mercurynews – excerpt

CUPERTINO — City Attorney Randolph Hom said Monday he was ousted from his job over his objections to the planned redevelopment of Vallco Mall — an explosive allegation that could raise new questions about the legality of the controversial housing, shopping and office development that stands to transform this small Bay Area city.

Hom, who says in a new legal filing that he questioned whether the Vallco plans complied with state law, is accusing the city of putting him on administrative leave in an attempt to silence his objections and push the project forward. Now Hom plans to seek millions of dollars in restitution from the city in a retaliatory discharge lawsuit that could intensify debate over developer Sand Hill Property Company’s plan to turn the failing mall into a massive housing, shopping and office complex.

Hom filed a claim with the city Monday — the first step in suing a government entity. The city has 45 days to respond, and Hom will then have six months to file a lawsuit… (more)


8 Out of 10 New Apartment Buildings Were High-End in 2017, Trend Continues in 2018

By Nadia Balint : rentcafe – excerpt

There is no better visual depiction of urban development than seeing an old parking lot replaced by an edgy tower apartment building. If just a few short years ago it was a sensation to see the incessant rise of luxury rental buildings in our cities, by now they are beyond pervasive. As recent as 2015, three-quarters of the new apartment construction completed that year were high-end. In 2017, the construction of luxury rental properties had risen to 79% of all apartment construction in the U.S... (more)

So the voters are not wrong in their assumption that “the rents are too damn high”. Building luxury housing is being built on the assumption that the new owner/managers will be able to raise the rents at will. Pass Prop 10 and the new luxury housing may not be so profitable of an investment. The land values may stop escalating if there is a cap on the rents.

Experts say California needs to build a lot more housing. But the public disagrees

By Liam Dillon : latimes – excerpt

Academic researchers, state analysts and California’s gubernatorial candidates agree that the fundamental issue underlying the state’s housing crisis is that there are not enough homes for everyone who wants to live here.

The problem, a new poll says, is that the public doesn’t believe it.

Carolyn Coleman, executive director of the League of California Cities, said she wasn’t surprised by the results.

“This affirms what has been true for many years,” Coleman said. “Residents put most of their trust and faith in local leaders to address these issues.”

She said state officials should consider mayors and city councils as essential partners in fixing California’s housing problems instead of trying to take power away from them… (more)

Lack of Rent Control and too little funding are the top reasons citizens blame for the high cost of housing. 69% of California voters polled believe their local government should retain authority over approving developments.

Politicians can’t accept a cheap easy solution to housing because everything they do has to generate jobs, profits, and taxes, not just housing. The cheaper the solution the less likely it is going to be supported by the politicians. but, the voters don’t see it that way. They see a lot of high-priced units they can’t afford on their wages.

People resist forced density, traffic, water shortages and other environmental changes being pushed at them at ever faster rates. Families need stability not constant change.

Gavin Newsom’s bullet train to nowhere

By John Sexton : hotair – excerpt

Gavin Newsom is the Democratic candidate for Governor of California who is widely expected to win next month thanks to the state’s overwhelming blue tilt. This week Newsom was asked about his plans for California’s bullet train project and he said he would settle for building half of it as a way to rescue the project that is already way over budget. From the LA Times:…

Newsom will concentrate on completing a high-speed rail line from the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. The southern half of the ambitious project, from the valley into Los Angeles, will be delayed until the initial line proves to be financially feasible and can attract more money from taxpayers or private investors…

It’s not hard to see why Newsom is looking to cut back the scale of the project. Here’s a summary from a previous LA Times story(more)


It’s Time to Put Roads Over Transit

By Richard Bailey : voiceofsandiego – excerpt

More than 50 percent of local transportation dollars are spent to move just 3.5 percent of commuters. This huge disparity is part of the reason why the vast majority of us sit in traffic each day.

Nearly 14 years after voters approved a one-half cent local sales tax measure to collect $14 billion to fund regional transportation projects, commuters are still waiting — in traffic.

In San Diego County, public transit, such as buses and trolleys, receives over 50 percent of all local transportation funding, while highways receive just 13 percent. What makes this disparity even more astounding is the fact that only 3.5 percent of commuters ride public transit…

The Mid-Coast project is paid for by a combination of local and federal tax dollars and will end up costing $2.17 billion. Although trolley lines rarely achieve their estimated ridership, even if the predicted 17,000 daily round trips are reached, it would still be cheaper to issue a $125,000 check to each rider today and continue paying them nearly $1,000 a year for the next 30 years, than to build and operate the Mid-Coast trolley line…

As more vehicles switch to alternative fuel sources, with less greenhouse gas emissions and greater mileage, the negative environmental externalities experienced today will be significantly reduced and, in time, eliminated. Improving technologies will provide new transportation options to disadvantaged communities that will be more efficient for riders and cheaper for taxpayers.

Later this year, SANDAG will be voting on a new plan to build San Diego County’s transportation network over the next 30 years. While autonomous vehicles are still a decade or so away, commuters are stuck in traffic today. Fortunately, the fix for congestion relief now is also an investment in the future of transportation. The next regional transportation plan must prioritize highway investments to provide immediate congestion relief and simultaneously prepare our region for the future.

Richard Bailey is the mayor of Coronado and a SANDAG board member… (more)


Transbay Transit Center: Breed, Schaaf want new oversight in probe of beams

By Michael Toren : sfchronicle – excpert

Construction began this week on the first phase of the Geary Rapid Project, intended to bring safety improvements and more reliable bus service along Geary Boulevard and O’Farrell Street, officials with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said Tuesday.

The first set of improvements includes almost two new miles of transit-only lanes in each direction on most blocks between Stanyan and Gough streets, and new bicycle markings to help bicyclists cross Geary Boulevard at Webster, Steiner, and Masonic streets… (more)

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