Forget earthquakes. San Francisco is slowly sinking

By Jessica Wolfrom : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Franciscans have always occupied shaky ground. But now, parts of our quake-prone city are literally sinking under our feet.

Areas like San Francisco International Airport, Treasure Island and Mission Bay are falling prey to subsidence — the term used to describe the downward settling of ground — at a moment when climate change is causing sea levels to rise.

Now, new studies show rates of subsidence in coastal areas are happening at a faster clip, meaning coastal areas will be challenged by flooding much sooner than projected by sea-level rise models. While the most rapid subsidence is happening in parts of Asia, researchers have observed such sinking across the globe — including in the Bay Area.

Here, subsidence is caused by several factors, said Roland Burgmann, professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley. Areas built on old landfills or young sediments, like bay mud, experience compaction over time, but groundwater extraction also exacerbates sinking.

“Wherever you have development of landfill — so SFO, Mission Bay, Treasure Island, the Marina and much of the area South of Market — that’s still compacting,” said Burgmann. “It is very young, loose stuff … So if you build on that, you have to either take certain procedures or steps to mitigate that.”…(more)

Court temporarily prohibits UC Berkeley from demolition, tree clearing at People’s Park

By KTVU staff : ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

BERKELEY, Calif.UC Berkeley is temporarily prohibited from moving forward with plans for demolition at People’s Park to make way for student housing after a stay was granted by the California Court of Appeals.

“All construction, demolition, tree clearing, or other landscape alteration activities at People’s Park in Berkeley, California, are temporarily stayed,” the court ruled on Friday

Earlier this month, we reported the university was in the process of relocating homeless people who sleep in the park to transitional housing in Berkeley.

Cal was set to begin building student housing this summer.

The park has been the site of many protests during the 1960s and was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places… (more)

San Jose Spotlight: No More Parking Incentives For Electric Cars In San Jose

By Jana Kadah : sfgate – excerpt

Despite San Jose’s lofty goal to reduce its carbon footprint, City Hall is eliminating a program that incentivizes people to drive electric vehicles.

The city’s clean air parking permit program that provides free parking for electric vehicles at city-owned parking lots and on-street parking meters, is sunsetting at the end of June. The program began in 2001…

Despite San Jose’s lofty goal to reduce its carbon footprint, City Hall is eliminating a program that incentivizes people to drive electric vehicles.

The city’s clean air parking permit program that provides free parking for electric vehicles at city-owned parking lots and on-street parking meters, is sunsetting at the end of June. The program began in 2001…

Environmentalists like Ballard say all cars, regardless of emission status, pollute the environment…(more)

Who are these environmentalists that claim electric cars pollute? What other electric options polluts? Do these environmentalists oppose rooftop solar options as well because they are not equitable?

Airbnb bans parties at listings worldwide

wbtw – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Airbnb has banned “all parties and events” at its listings effective immediately and indefinitely.

Airbnb further announced an occupancy cap of 16 people for stays booked through the platform.

“We’ve historically allowed hosts to use their best judgment and authorize small parties – such as baby showers or birthday parties – if they’re appropriate for their home and their neighborhood,” Airbnb stated in a press release. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Airbnb temporarily banned parties as part of pandemic-related restrictions…(more)

Legislators, Newsom negotiating behind closed doors over energy deal

by Julie Cart and Rachel Becker : calmatters – excerpt

In summary Environmentalists and clean-energy experts say Newsom is pushing to give the Energy Commission sole control over siting of energy plants, usurping local control. The deal also would prolong the life of natural gas plants…

California’s top-ranking legislators, under pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom, are privately negotiating to include a far-reaching energy package in their budget deal that would give the state Energy Commission sole control over siting of clean-energy facilities.

The effort aims to streamline approval of solar and wind projects, and deliver more electricity to California’s aging grid while scaling back reliance on fossil fuels.

But it also could usurp local decision-making over projects, and already has triggered vehement objections across California from city and county officials. The deal also would sideline other state agencies and raise concerns about the environmental impacts of the energy projects…(more)

New state housing laws curb power of Berkeley homeowners

By Nico Savidge : berkelyside – excerpt

The fight over a plan to build a 6-story apartment building on a vacant lot illustrates a power shift driven by California’s housing crisis.

When a developer’s plan to build a six-story apartment building next door to her house came before Berkeley’s zoning board earlier this year, Yvette Bozzini and her neighbors turned out to try to block it.

They argued that the 66-unit building proposed for what is now a vacant lot at 1201 San Pablo Ave. would be too big for their block. That it would overwhelm their neighborhood with traffic from new residents’ cars, putting pedestrians and bicyclists at risk and making it harder to find parking on the street. That it would cast shadows on their yards and one resident’s solar panels…

That’s because of a 2019 state law, SB 330, which requires local governments to approve housing developments that comply with zoning and design rules in most cases, and limits the number of hearings they can be subject to. The project at 1201 San Pablo Ave. met those rules, which meant zoning board members had to approve it that night — and they did…

Laws outflank resistance

Despite opposition from its neighbors, the project at 1201 San Pablo Ave. has cruised toward approval with SB 330 on its side.…(more)

Jeff Bezos-Backed Real Estate Investment Platform Acquires Another $23 Million Worth Of Single-Family Rental Homes

by Kevin Vandenboss :yahoo – excerpt

Arrived Homes, the single-family real estate investment platform backed by Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos, is ramping up its acquisitions as demand from retail investors grows stronger for fractional real estate.

In the past 30 days, the platform has fully funded approximately $11 million worth of rental properties, compared to $5 million for the entire first quarter of 2022. The number of investors using Arrived Homes has doubled in the last two months, making it difficult for the company to purchase enough homes to meet demand…(more)

Court Says California Utilities Commission Must Obey State Public Records Act

By Seth Rosenfeld : sfpublicpress – excerpt

After Edison International asked customers to pay some of the costs for the shutdown of San Onofre nuclear power plant, the California Public Utilities Commission fought their requests for related public records until a court ordered the release of some records three years later.

In a broad victory for government transparency, an appeals court has ruled that the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with a state law requiring all agencies to promptly release information to the public.

In a unanimous decision issued Friday, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said the commission’s lengthy and open-ended administrative procedures violate the strict timelines of the California Public Records Act.

The ruling could bring more accountability to the commission, which has faced criticism of excessive secrecy and ineffectiveness, advocates said. It regulates corporations ranging from utilities to ride-hailing services.

The commission had claimed that a century-old law — intended to prevent abusive litigation by railroad barons fighting regulations — required people requesting records to undergo a convoluted administrative process before they could sue the agency to compel the release of public records.

Citing that section of the Public Utilities Code, the agency over the years has blocked requests for records on its handling of disasters such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s Camp fire, the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant and thousands of collisions and assaults on Uber and Lyft rides(more)

San Francisco not meeting its goal to plant 4,000 trees annually to reduce emissions

By Jessica Wolfrom : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s urban tree canopy is one of the smallest in the nation — and some fear it’s on the decline. While the reasons for this are myriad and complex, new plantings have struggled to keep pace with removals or mortality rates, reports show, leaving thousands of sidewalk basins barren and treeless.

Trees have also been inequitably distributed across The City, which is all too clear on hot, fogless days when neighborhoods like SoMa and Bayview are degrees warmer than areas with ample canopy cover…(more)

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