Trial begins over SF waterfront height limits as state seeks to overturn Prop. B

By Michael Barba : sfeaminer – excerpt

A trial that will determine whether San Francisco voters will be stripped of their power to decide how tall developers can build along the waterfront began Wednesday with an attorney questioning the decision-making ability of voters…

The State Lands Commission, which manages public land in California including the waterfront and is chaired by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, sued San Francisco over the ballot measure that year.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos must now decide whether to invalidate Prop. B.

Jacobs argued that voters are too uneducated on ballot issues to decide the future of major development projects and limited in their ability to tweak the projects by either voting yes or no on a project. Instead, Jacobs said the Port Commission should be in charge of waterfront height limits…(more)

Are the stupid San Francisco citizens dumb  enough to vote for a former mayor who sues and insults them while he is running for office? The power grabs are coming at us from the top down brigade.

“They are attempting to put the very notion that citizens in California have a right to govern themselves on trial,” Golinger told the San Francisco Examiner…(more)

 

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Prop. 54: A Ballot Initiative That Worked

By Atlas Novack : smmirror – excerpt

There’s nothing politicians and lobbyists in this state hate more than the ballot initiative process to which they all pay hypocritical verbal homage every chance they get.

It’s easy to see why they don’t like lawmaking by the public, the essence of initiatives: The process takes important issues out of their hands. It can alter their working conditions in ways they don’t like.

Sure, politicians will occasionally make use of initiatives, as Republican businessman John Cox and Orange County GOP Assemblyman Travis Allen are doing now in making pet initiatives the centerpieces of their underdog campaigns for governor. Cox is pushing a measure to multiply by 1,000 the number of state legislators, while Allen has virtually appropriated the effort to repeal the state’s new gas tax increase…

But politicians generally hate ballot initiatives unless they’re making such use of them. Brown, for example, opposed the landmark 1978 Proposition 13 property tax cuts because they interfered with his own efforts at tax reform. Most legislators fought tooth and nail against Proposition 20, which created the Coastal Commission and has limited development near beaches and view areas.

But it’s hard to find an initiative that has affected legislators more than Proposition 54, which passed just over one year ago and requires that proposed laws cannot be passed unless they’ve been available in print or via the Internet for at least 72 hours before passage.

Because of Prop. 54, voters could see the final form of Brown’s proposal for California to join a Western regional electricity grid before it actually passed, rather than having to react after the fact as has happened with many last-minute bills in recent years. Because of that notice and the possibility this plan might cause a new energy crunch, opponents could organize loud protests and the proposition died – for now…

No one can be sure just how many lousy measures Prop. 54 spared Californians, because the notorious gut-and-amend proposals that have been common in recent decades were drastically lessened this fall. In that process, legislative proposals which already have a name and number have often been totally changed to cover subjects unrelated to those affected by the original bill. When that’s done at the last moment, the public has no chance for any input… (more)