Letter to the Editor: Housing Pirates

hanfordsentinel – excerpt

California has a housing problem, a homeless and ‘poor’ problem. California equally has an ‘Environmental Pirate’ problem. The first two problems are impeded by the Pirates. Pirates in California use the rules to destroy what they don’t want. Local politicians and Supervisors don’t stand up for you against these Pirates.

No project, business or housing, can proceed without an “California Environmental Quality Act-CEQA) Process”. While San Francisco politicians propose it vanish with a re-invigorated AB50 by using a Conditional Use Permits, law requires the public be informed and there are unknowns, as usual.

Thomas Elias “Link housing fix to High Speed Rail (HSR) Commentary “ignores the Pirates, their procedural control and the problems location. Homeless and poor are predominately a major cities problem. Really, the ‘Best’ solution is to have them live in the Central Valley?Why not spend the $80 Billion on HSR on the homeless and poor?

California’s staggering housing Pirates and micromanagement are the inequality drivers in the state…

Gavin mentioned housing as a problem 35 times in his official speech on the State of California (Sentinel 2-20). Yet, Gavin has pushed through exceptions for “homeless shelters”; why not similar compassion for homeless and home needs. INNOVATION CANNOT OVERCOME MICROMANAGEMENT.… (more)

Major hospital redevelopment wins approval in San Francisco

By Laura Waxmann : bizjournals – excerpt

The San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved the redevelopment of the five-acre California Pacific Medical Center campus at 3700 California St. into 31 residential buildings with 273 units.

Developers TMG Partners and Grosvenor Americas have described the project as targeting families, with over 70% of its units offering two bedrooms or larger, and neighborhood groups have expressed support for the project.

Five of the hospital’s six existing buildings and a two-level parking garage will be razed to make way for the project…(more)

Building a house in California is expensive. These new proposals would slash city fees

By Hannah Wiley : sacbee – excerpt

California Democrats unveiled on Monday a package of eight proposals that attempt to spur construction of new homes by slashing some of the fees that local governments charge for building permits.

Those fees can run into the tens of thousands of dollars per house, driving up the cost of construction and leading developers to favor luxury homes over affordable ones, advocates say.

One new proposal would direct cities to set charges on the square footage of a project, which could free developers to build smaller units for a lower cost. Another would use state funds to reimburse local governments that waive impact fees on affordable units

(more)

The author added this information:

The bill analyses aren’t out yet, so what you see is just basic legislative language. There will be more information in the coming months as the committees analyze the bills and release their reports. That’s why I didn’t put the bill numbers in yet. Some of them are very technical and wouldn’t do much; others are much more heavy lifting.

AB 1484 – reforming how cities and counties analyze the fees
AB 1924 – requires assessing fees on square-foot basis
AB 3144 – reimburses local govs for waiving impact fees
AB 3145 – Establishes fee ceiling based on median home price
AB 3146 – Requires data reporting
AB 3147 – Impact fees payable under protest
AB 3148 – lowers fees on units built through state density bonus law
AB 3149 – modernizes fee alert system

Public beware. What is left out of the conversation, is who will pay the bills for the infrastructure that is no longer being paid for by the developers? They will probably turn up as a property tax or sales tax increase, or they might just get tagged on your utility bills.

You should not be in the dark

solarrights – excerpt

The lights went out on millions of people this fall. This doesn’t need to be the new normal. Here are four things to know about how we can protect our homes and communities from power outages, and five actions our leaders should take to get us there… (more)

Regulators loosen California’s groundbreaking rule to require residential rooftop solar

cal matters – excerpt

California regulators eased off the state’s groundbreaking new law requiring solar rooftops on most new homes, agreeing to allow developers to use a Sacramento utility’s off-site solar installations instead.

In a closely-watched vote on the future of California’s groundbreaking rooftop solar program, state regulators today approved a proposal to power some new Sacramento housing developments using offsite solar panels instead.

The California Energy Commission’s decision ended a months-long standoff between rooftop solar advocates and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, commonly called SMUD. SMUD had asked regulators to allow developers to use its offsite solar installations rather than the rooftop solar panels required in California starting Jan. 1…(more)

What Lennar really wants?

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview – excerpt

The March 31st deadline imposed by the Concord City Council soon approaches for Lennar-Five Point Holdings LLC and The Contra Costa County Building and Construction Council. They are trying to reach an agreement on a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the first phase of the Naval Weapons Depot Project.

It would appear that both sides are putting in all of their chips on the table to come out victorious in this struggle.

Much is at stake. At the end of March if the two parties cannot agree on terms, the City Council has an option to extend the negotiations or say “adios” to Lennar and find another developer to work with…(more)

Read this article for an expose of Lennar-Five Point Holdings LLC. One of the readers ask the question that the public needs to ask more often. “With all the legal problems this company has why are they even allowed to bid on any government contracts?” Why indeed!

Wholesale bakery that supplied SF with bread for nearly 40 years is closing

By Madeline Wells : sfgate – excerpt

Bakers of Paris, a wholesale bakery that has been supplying the Bay Area with fresh French bread and pastries for nearly 40 years, has announced that it is closing. Since opening in 1981, the company had storefronts across San Francisco in the Haight, Noe Valley and Parkside, but eventually pivoted to wholesale, currently supplying 330 clients, including the Marriott and Hilton hotels and SFO Airport, according to Eater.

Owners Lionel Robbe-Jedeau and Gilles Wicker said in a letter to customers that the bakery’s last day will be March 20, according to Hoodline, who broke the story. With their lease at 99 Park Lane in Brisbane (where they’ve been located since 1997) about to expire, their landlord has nearly doubled the rent to $650,000 — which they simply can’t afford.

Many businesses across the Bay Area rely on Bakers of Paris for their bread, from Vietnamese banh mi shops and corner delis to Safeway and Whole Foods. A Union Square hotel chef told Hoodline that the bakery’s closure will have a significant impact on San Francisco’s hotels as well.

Who needs bread? How will the other backers make up for this loss? Expect the price of bread to go up soon as everyone competes for access to it. Soon the entire Bay Area will be a food desert.

Becerra sues Trump administration over Delta water diversions

By Bay City News : sfexaminer – excerpt

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued President Donald Trump’s administration in federal court in San Francisco Thursday to challenge biological reports justifying increased water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Central California.

Becerra filed the lawsuit on the day after Trump at a ceremony in Bakersfield signed a presidential memorandum supporting the development and delivery of more water supplies in the Central Valley. The memorandum and a related operations plan by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation rely on biological opinions in which two federal agencies concluded that increased water diversion from the delta would not harm three endangered or threatened fish species: the Delta smelt, Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead trout… (more)

Vacancy Tax Proposal Seeks to Motivate Landlords to Fill Storefronts

By Laura Wenus : sfpublicpress – excerpt (includes audio track)

Even on main commercial corridors in the city, empty storefronts have raised concerns about blight from merchants, customers and politicians. In response, Supervisor Aaron Peskin drafted a vacancy tax measure that now appears on the March ballot for voter approval as Proposition D. Lee Hepner, a legislative aide to Peskin, explains how the proposed tax is designed to motivate landlords to rent properties, how it could stabilize existing small businesses, and how the city will know if it’s working.

“It’s successful if it’s collected in limited circumstances. I think it’s successful already inasmuch as we’ve seen a couple property owners in our district put up ‘for lease’ signs in their window.” — Lee Hepner…(more)

State Senator Introduces Bill Targeting Problem of Vacant Homes

By Bay City News : nbcbayarea – excerpt

Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow local jurisdictions to use vacant single-family homes as affordable housing and give them the authority to fine corporations that keep homes vacant for long stretches of time.

Senate Bill 1079would give tenants of a foreclosed property the exclusive opportunity to buy the house for a reduced price within 90 days of its foreclosure. If the tenant chooses not to buy the house, cities, counties, community land trusts and affordable housing nonprofits would be able to buy the house before it hits the open market and convert it to affordable housing.

The bill would also give cities and counties the authority to levy fines against companies for keeping a property vacant for more than 90 days. Funding from those fines would then be used for homeless services and affordable housing assistance.

Skinner credited the Moms 4 Housing group for bringing the issue of vacant homes to light after four members of the group occupied a vacant investor-owned house in West Oakland in November…(more)

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