Lawsuit challenges California’s approval of $16 billion to fund Delta Tunnel without CEQA review

By Dan Bacher : redgreenandblue – excerpt

In the latest battle in California Water Wars during the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, five environmental groups sued the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today in Sacramento Superior Court for adopting a resolution approving the issuance of the Delta Program Revenue Bonds to build the controversial Delta Tunnel.

The coalition filing the lawsuit today includes Restore the Delta, Sierra Club California, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Planning and Conservation League and Friends of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The lawsuit challenges DWR’s approval of Delta tunnel funding without first conducting any review under the California Environmental Quality Act…(more)

Environmental laws work better for some than others when they are not applied equally.

Falling Rents

By Wolf Richter : worlfsheet- excerpt (includes a lot of charts)

I’m in Awe of How Fast Rents Plunge in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Other Expensive Cities. Rents Decline Even in Houston & Dallas. National Average Turns Negative

Work-from-anywhere, unemployment crisis, oil bust, people chasing a cheaper less crowded place to live, the land rush to buy homes.

There was even a story on NPR: People from big, densely populated, expensive cities showing up in small towns in beautiful rural areas for a few weeks to get away and then getting stuck, now that they can work remotely, and buying homes and sending their kids to local schools. These are just stories, and there are now millions of them. But it’s showing up in asking rents in those big expensive markets, where vacancies are rising and landlords have to compete with each other to fill their units, and tenants are moving within the city in order to get a nicer place for less money – the free upgrade they’ve been waiting for, after years of costly downgrades…(more)

Even Bigger Plans for Assembled SoMa Site

By socketsite – excerpt

As we outlined back in 2014: Residents in north-facing condos at the Palms – or fans of the Marina Auto Body shop – take note: plans to raze the auto shops at 565-585 Bryant Street, between 3rd and 4th, have been submitted to planning for review. And in their place, an eleven-story building is proposed to rise. Due to the cap on office space development in San Francisco imposed by Proposition M, two variants for the Central SoMa development have been drafted…

In 2017, the aforementioned plans were scrapped and bigger plans for a 300-room hotel to rise up to 12 stories upon the Central SoMa parcels, with a 120-car garage, re
staurant and 1,600 square feet of retail space fronting Bryant, were drafted…

In fact, a seven-lot merger is now proposed. And as envisioned, a 503-unit, 16-story apartment building would rise up to 160 feet in height on the 555-585 Bryant Street site, along with roughly 9,000 square feet of replacement PDR space and a ground floor garage for 100 cars and 225 bikes, leveraging California’s Density Bonus Law for the additional height and to bypass the required residential open space, maximum lot coverage and mid-block pedestrian pathway requirements of San Francisco’s Planning Code, as roughly massed below:…

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in…(more)

Here is a project that proves that it is easier to look backward than to predict the future. As offices are emptying out and the tech titans are restlessly looking outside the state for easer pickings, and even government agencies are accepting telecommuting as a cost saving measure during an economic decline, we need to put these monster projects on ice. Who at City Hall is willing to call for a pause and a reset? Who at City Hall is ready to let the residents who remain have a say in how their neighborhood is developed?

Electrifying Homes And Cars Could Save The Climate — And $2,500 Per U.S. Household

By Alexander C. Kaufman : huffpost – excerpt

In a counterintuitive twist on what’s become green dogma on decarbonization, “it’s actually suburban households that do the best,”...

New research shows that the U.S. can rapidly decarbonize with existing technology and no real lifestyle changes.

Optimistic visions of America’s climate future look dramatically different from life today. The population abandons the suburbs for dense, efficient urban housing. Personal cars give way to bikes and green public transit. Those who can make the sacrifice sweat out the summer heat, rationing the air conditioning for those who most need it. 

The alternative, so goes this line of thinking, is apocalyptic chaos.

But what if Americans could drive the same miles and blast the A/C to cool single-family suburban homes all summer long and actually reduce U.S. emissions of climate-changing gases by 40%? Not only is it possible, according to a new study, the average household would save up to $2,500 a year and do it with technology that’s on the market today. 

The finding, published Thursday morning, is the second major report from Saul Griffith, the physicist, MacArthur “genius grant” winner and energy researcher behind the group Rewiring America.

 The group, which aims to rapidly decarbonize the U.S. by electrifying all aspects of the economy, made its debut in July with a report that found doing so would create 25 million good-paying jobs and eliminate roughly 75% of the country’s carbon emissions in the next 15 years(more)

We will soon find out how well solar performs, as our building is having an EV system installed on one of our roofs this year. We were told to anticipate a $50K dollar a year savings in electricity once the system is up and running.

It seems that Citizens are better off when they are capable of taking care of themselves and less reliant on government systems that are overly complex, subject to fail, and lack accountability when they do not perform as anticipated.

 

Rachael Tanner set to become SF’s next Planning Commissioner

By John Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Rachael Tanner is expected to serve as the newest member of the Planning Commission after a Board of Supervisors committee approved her nomination Monday.

Tanner has served on the Board of Appeals since November 2018 and is employed as a city planner for Palo Alto.

“I have a lot of technical planning understanding, but really what has been my greatest asset as a member of local government is my ability to listen, to bring people together and try to understand all sides,” Tanner told the committee… (more)

Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and demolition debris to reduce the more than 100,000 tons that end up in the landfill annually instead of being recycled.

Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced legislation last week that would require those who transport construction and demolition debris for disposal to obtain city permits in an effort to ensure the waste is recycled at city-registered facilities — not illegally dumped.

“It’s going to weed out some of the bad actors,” Safai told the San Francisco Examiner Friday… (more)

Good to hear our civic leaders are concerned about our trash. Wish they would concern themselves with the real environmental toxic hazards on superfund sites they insist on developing without proper cleanup.

One way to cut the construction debris is to slow the process down, but, that is the opposite of what they are doing. How many old cabinets and bathroom fixtures can you use up? Everything you recycle cuts into the growing economy strategy so it’s not clear what the recycling plan may be other than to raise the cost of construction by charging higher fees.

Bringing the outside into the office: Coronavirus bolsters push towards healthier building design

By Emma Newburger : cnbc – excerpt

1. The coronavirus pandemic has bolstered corporate interest in redesigning work space to simulate nature, have better air filtration systems and use more sustainable materials.
2. More companies are embracing biophilic design — the concept of bringing the health benefits of the outdoors inside.
3. Buildings are also adapting to demand for more outdoor work space like terraces, and widespread expectations that employees will be more mobile after the pandemic is contained.
4. “We’re blurring the line between work and home. Your office doesn’t have to be enclosed at your desk, said Asheshh Saheba, a managing partner at the architecture firm Steinberg Hart in San Francisco… (more)

To that I would add opening windows in all rooms and replace building HVAC systems with individual room ventilation systems. Lower heigh limits to reduce elevator reliance. All those plants will require sun and water to survive. Looks like a return to a less centralized development plan. There is a process to fireproof wood that was developed in Japan and is now being used in Europe that American companies need to investigate.

Opinion: We Need Parks, Not High-Rise Housing—Vote ‘No’ on Measure E

By John McNab : timesofsandiego – excerpt

Record heat has punished San Diego over the last three months. Coastal beaches and parks have been overwhelmed. By 8:30 a.m. on weekends, beach parking lots are full and access roads clogged. The need for more, not less, coastal parks has never been more apparent. The one perfect spot for such a park is the Midway-Sports Arena-Marine Corps Recruit Depot-NAVWAR district.

This district, sitting in the coastal zone between two bays, is the historic outfall of the San Diego River. Even today, river water runs under the land into San Diego Bay. The year-round climate is as good as anywhere in the world for outdoor sports and recreation.

This is the opportunity to create a River Trail Park extending from San Diego Bay up to the Sports Arena, with a spur to the Old Town Transit Hub. This takes outdoor adventures on our coast to another level. The spur to Old Town does what no city plan has ever imagined — creating a small water craft channel flanked by bike, skating, and walking paths from a transit hub to the beach.

And proudly we can see all of MCRD preserved for public benefit that honors its legacy, just like all Army bases around San Francisco. They are now part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Yet this practical, doable vision cannot happen if Measure E passes in November…

Lifting the 30-foot height limit is monetizing our quality of life. Air rights are the right to build as high as possible. Under the city’s ballot measure, these air rights are worth $2.5 billion to $5 billion in profits to developers. Not a penny of compensation for the air rights was given to the general public.…(more)

Sounds familiar to us. We hope San Diego citizens will choose wisely. Monetizing public property invites more carpetbaggers to swoop in.

Trump administration blocks California wildfire relief

By Andrew J. Campa, of LA Times : sfexaminer – excerpt

he Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief funds aimed at cleaning up the damage from six recent fires across the state, including Los Angeles County’s Bobcat fire, San Bernardino County’s El Dorado fire, and the Creek fire, one of the largest that continues to burn in Fresno and Madera counties.

The decision came late Wednesday or early Thursday when the administration denied a request from Gov. Gavin Newsom for a major presidential disaster declaration, said Brian Ferguson, deputy director of crisis communication and media relations for the governor’s Office of Emergency Services…(more)

On November 3, Vote to End Attacks on Science

By editors : scientificamerican – excerpt

Choosing Donald Trump for president is choosing fiction over fact—a fatal mistake

As president, Donald Trump’s abuse of science has been wanton and dangerous. It has also been well documented. Since the November 2016 election, Columbia Law School has maintained a Silencing Science Tracker that records the Trump Administration’s attempts to restrict or prohibit scientific research, to undermine science education or discussion, or to obstruct the publication or use of scientific information. By early October, the tracker had detailed more than 450 cases, including scientific bias and misrepresentation (123 instances), budget cuts (72), government censorship (145), interference with education (46), personnel changes (61), research hindrances (43) and suppression or distortion of information (19).

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) also keeps a tracker of the administration’s attacks on science. It details antiscience rules, regulations and orders; censorship; politicization of grants and funding; restrictions on conference attendance; rollbacks of data collection or data accessibility; sidelining of science advisory committees; and studies that have been halted, edited or suppressed. The fact that so many types of abuse have occurred, and so often that they each warrant their own category, is scary…(more)

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