Peskin Shoots Down Measure to Speed Development of Middle-Class Housing

By Mike Ege : sfstandard – excerpt

Mayor London Breed’s proposal to streamline certain housing construction through a City Charter amendment put to voters this summer was killed Wednesday in an unusual decision by the Rules Committee.

The Affordable Housing Now charter amendment would have expedited the city’s approval process for certain housing projects which add on 15% more affordable units, as well as 100% affordable projects. The affordable units would also be price-adjusted for households of up to 140% of median income, essentially creating a new category of affordable housing for families with higher incomes. Developers would have had to commit to paying prevailing wage as well as other labor concessions.

After a contentious session which featured close to an hour of public comment, mostly from affordable housing and preservation activists opposed to the measure, the committee uncharacteristically moved to accept minor amendments to the item before tabling it by a 2-1 vote. Committee chair Aaron Peskin and Supervisor Connie Chan voted to block the ballot measure, while Supervisor Rafael Mandelman opposed their decision…(more)

Court rejects PG&E, sides with SF in major public-power case

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Ruling not only saves the city hundreds of millions, but could pave the way for a real , green, public-power system.

A federal appeals court has sided with San Francisco in a longstanding battle over the use of the city’s public power that could have major implications for clean energy and an end to the corrupt company’s private monopoly.

At issue is PG&E’s refusal to connect municipal facilities and customers of the city’s power system to its grid without charging exorbitant fees. A Trump-era Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sided with the company, sticking San Francisco with a bill for as much as $600 million.

The background: San Francisco runs its own electric utility. A lot of folks don’t realize that, because the major news media never talk about it, but the city has a massive hydropower dam at Hetch Hetchy the generates enough power to run everything from the lights at City Hall to Muni—and more.

But thanks to a scandal more than 100 years old, (you can read all the history, which I wrote for the Bay Guardian, here) the city never built its own local power lines.

So the city has to pay PG&E to distribute its own clean, carbon-free power over the ancient private utility lines…(more)

California Urban Forests Could be Lost To SB 9 and SB 10

Since SB9 and SB10 passed and were signed into law by Governor Newsom, the only chance we have to save these urban forests and the most important canopies in our cities that cool the planet is to get the enough signatures to put the State Ballot Initiative for a State Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot to revers the state bills overriding local control of land use and zoning. See the details here:

WAM and Friends of Muir Woods Park win lawsuit against Dipea Ranch Project

Posted by: Andrea Montalban : marinpost – excerpt

On Monday, January 10, 2021, Judge Andrew Sweet of the Marin County Superior Court issued a ruling in favor of the Watershed Alliance of Marin and Friends of Muir Woods Park (the Petitioners), overturning Marin County’s approval of the Dipsea Ranch homes subdivision. The development, proposed by Developer Daniel Weissman, is planned for an 8+ acre site that sits at the top of Redwood Creek in Muir Woods.

Judge Sweet found that the County’s Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) failed to provide required information under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) regarding the proposed development.

The suit was brought against the County by Watershed Alliance of Marin (WAM), a 501c3 non-profit, and Friends of Muir Woods Park, comprised of 150 concerned neighbors. Neither the County nor the Developer contested the preliminary ruling at a hearing on Friday, January 7th… (more)

Spaceship-sized detection system could help determine future of CA water supply, where to store it

By Spencer Christian and Tim Didion : abc7news – excerpt

The technology is able to penetrate the ground, yielding vital data on the geology of natural groundwater basins.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — If it looks like something that could transport you into the future, in a sense it is. A spaceship-sized hoop suspended from a helicopter is actually part of an advanced water detection system. The information it’s gathering, could help determine the future of California’s water supply – and where we store it…(more)

Big changes on the horizon for California net metering for 2022

By Ben Zientara : solarreviews – excerpt

Net energy metering (NEM) – the utility billing arrangement under which solar owners earn credit for energy they send to the grid during the day and then use that credit to offset energy they draw from the grid when the sun isn’t shining – has been the law of the land in some form or another in California since 1995. The longstanding program is now up for review and the changes could affect the viability of future solar projects throughout the state.

The matter of the so-called “successor” to net metering is now being considered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), with comments and input from groups representing every conceivable interest, including utility companies, ratepayer advocates, the solar industry, and even AARP. The results of the CPUC decision will have a huge impact on the solar industry in California and anyone who wants to install solar panels on their home…

A very brief history of California net metering(more)

A new measure would layer EJ mandate over CEQA

By Brad Hooker : agri-pulse – excerpt

A new bill revived debate in the Legislature this week over the reach of the California Environmental Quality Act as it relates to environmental justice.

Asm. Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens is seeking to ensure that any environmental mitigation efforts actually take place in the communities impacted by the development project. During a committee hearing, Garcia said such efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or other pollutants often happen away from the communities of concern…

“Are we going to keep telling the disadvantaged communities that this is as good as it gets?” she asked.

Business groups leading the opposition to the bill argued it would duplicate existing standards, add ambiguous language, lead to lawsuits that stall projects, and worsen the state’s housing crisis. Several agriculture groups registered opposition…(more)

Brad Hooker is Associate Editor of Agri-Pulse West

All those cargo ships sitting in the San Francisco Bay are going away, maybe forever

By Andrew Chamings : sfexaminer – excerpt

The sight of a dozen or more container ships, each the length of the Salesforce Tower, sitting in the bay chugging diesel has become the norm for Bay Area residents and those driving over the Bay Bridge.

That’s about to change, after the organizations responsible for the movement of the 200,000-ton ships in and out of the Port of Oakland launched new rules this week.

Previously, ships joined a queue on approaching the coast and anchored in the bay while awaiting their docking space. As of Monday, the vessels will instead receive an assignment time from the port and remain 50 miles off the coast while they wait, outside of a new zone named the the “Safety and Air Quality Area,” leaving the bay waters open…(more)

Nothing affordable about early SB 9 plan

Opinion By Marty Klein : mercurynews – excerpt

While we all agree that more a ordable housing around the Bay Area would

be good, SB 9 is the state’s nu- clear bomb on local communi- ties trying to control their own zoning and neighborhoods.

The article about archi-
tect Randy Popp’s applica-
tion for a permit to transform a Palo Alto residential lot into a 6,000-square-foot mansion, an auxiliary unit and two large 3,800-square-foot homes says it all (“Lot-split housing requests trickle in,” Page A1, Jan. 10).

The new homes will appar- ently sell for around $5 mil- lion each. Popp — who will
bill over $100,000 on the proj- ect — ridiculously says these mansions will help our hous- ing-starved region: “Individual drops eventually ll a bucket.”

Yes, SB 9 reveals that devel- opers are really civic-minded people who will help relieve our terrible shortage of $5 mil- lion homes. Mr. Popp, who do you think you’re fooling?

— Marty Klein, Palo Alto

Nearly extinct salmon spawn in the Bay Area for the first time in 18 years

By Amanda Bartlett : sfgate – excerpt

At first, barely visible beneath the rippling waters of Montezuma Creek in Forest Knolls, the bright red tail of a coho salmon suddenly emerged, splashing along the surface as it swam upstream.

The recent sighting by Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) biologist Ayano Hayes was a milestone for the Bay Area, marking the first time the endangered fish has been spotted in the small tributary of the San Geronimo Valley in Marin County since 2004…(more)

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