A Backlash Against Cities Would Be Dangerous

By Scott Wiener, Anthony Iron : theatlantic – excerpt

Undue fears of urban density warp public policy—and make Americans more vulnerable.

Cities are a boon for public health—even now. As public-health experts have known for decades, people who live in a city are likely to walk and bike more often, and they live closer to community services such as grocery stores. Urban density also supports faster emergency-response times, better hospital staffing, and a greater concentration of intensive-care beds and other health-care resources.

In fact, no correlation exists between population density and rates of COVID-19 infection, according to recent studies examining the disease in China and Chicago. But if state and local governments still conclude that density itself is a problem, they are more likely to promote suburban sprawl as a matter of law—instead of making the accommodations, in their housing stock and their streetscapes, that allow people to live in cities safely and move about them comfortably…

One difference between New York City and San Francisco? The Bay Area responded to the pandemic earlier and more decisively than New York did, imposing social-distancing measures before major cities on the East Coast.…(more)

There is a difference between opposing cities and opposing unlimited growth in cities. The headline is misleading and the logic is missing. Senator Wiener aligns himself with the administration in Washington if he suggests we should return to business as usual. Most of his constituents disagree.

After being cooped up in tight quarters for weeks people are eager to get out. There was an exit from cities underway before the pandemic. Now the pace is picking up. Many workers have successfully transitioned to working at home and do not plan to return not the office. Employers are re-thinking their need for office space.

Cutting down on commuters does a better job of clearing the air than building dense transit-oriented housing and offices. The new normal will not be dense development. New health standards will require more space between people, throwing the crowding for profit principal  out. This will probably devalue property and reduce local taxes. Downsizing seems inevitable.

RELATED:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York was blunt about the rationale behind this time of quarantine.

“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive,” he tweeted Sunday, after similar comments at one of his daily press briefings. He’d seen New Yorkers out in parks together, behaving as if this were a normal sunny spring weekend, and he was dismayed. Togetherness itself could now be deadly.

“It has to stop and it has to stop now,” he tweeted. “NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density.”… (more)

Google plans to add tens of thousands of new jobs as it expands in 14 states

Edward C. Baig : usatoday – excerpt

Want a job at Google?

Google plans to hire tens of thousands of employees across the U.S. this year, through investments in new data centers and offices. CEO Sundar Pichai announced Google’s plans in a blog post Wednesday.

According to Pichai, Google’s investment of more than $13 billion in 2019 will lead to major expansion in 14 states and also create more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

“These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs,” he posted… (more)

Good news for the over-saturated cities in SF Bay who have had to take all the growing pains of rapidly (or is that rabidly) expanding tech firms. Good idea for them to grow elsewhere for a while.

California Lawmakers Push for Oversight of Delta Tunnels Project

By Nick Cahill : courthousenews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – A group of Northern California lawmakers seeking more sway over a mammoth $17 billion water project introduced a proposal Friday that would require new construction contracts to be reviewed by the Legislature.

The Legislative Delta Caucus says because of the scope of the California WaterFix, the project should require more scrutiny from both the public and lawmakers now that former Gov. Jerry Brown has left office.

Brown fiercely advocated for the expensive public works project that he and supporters believe will both update the state’s aging water delivery infrastructure and protect it against sea level rise and other effects of climate change. Also known as the Delta Tunnels, the project calls for two 30-mile tunnels that would funnel water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to aqueducts that supply farmers and cities farther south.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, believes his proposal will shed new light on the “flawed” project that environmental groups bitterly oppose….

Senate Bill 204 would require the state agencies in charge of WaterFix, namely the state Department of Water Resources, to submit information about pending contracts with private companies to the Legislature before finalizing deals…

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier, whose district covers parts of the delta, called SB 204 a “common-sense, good-government bill.”. (more)

 

Gov. Newsom must mop up Brown’s water mess

By Jonas Minton : secbee – excerpt

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up…

During his last month, Brown quietly signed an agreement with the Trump administration to transfer water from Southern California and portions of the Bay Area to corporate farms in the San Joaquin Valley. In return, the Trump administration dropped its threatened opposition to Brown’s legacy project — the massive tunnels that would divert water from the San Francisco Bay Delta. This was done with no public notice, hearing or environmental analysis…

Scientists have concluded that the effects of this closed-door deal are likely to cause the extinction of multiple California fish species. As a result, there are already over 20 lawsuits from water districts, farmers and environmentalists… (more)

 

 

BARC-ing Up The Wrong Tree

By Polly Baker : nine-county-coalition – excerpt

What if your government set up and operated a regional system of agencies with the goal of eliminating your legal political power and jurisdictions while it took control of your life? If this sounds crazy, I assure you it is not. Check it out for yourself: https://barc.ca.gov/

The Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC) works on climate change, sea level rise, and the many other existential crises facing the human race. They don’t really have the data, and one wonders if they have ever verified the true facts. Whatever you think of climate change, these crises require that you give up your money, property, privacy, freedom and country as you submit to a Soviet style patronage system of unaccountable appointed people and their five-year plans of the collective. It is the Soviet system of central planning. Does climate change really require this level of control over us?(more)

Regulators mull massive changes to PG&E management, structure

: sfchronicle – excerpt

California regulators are considering whether Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should shake up its leadership, split its core operations into separate companies or be transformed into a publicly-owned utility.

In an announcement late Friday afternoon, the California Public Utilities Commission stressed it had not drawn conclusions but listed those possibilities among a series of provocative questions it will explore in the next phase of a long-running investigation into PG&E’s corporate culture.

The inquiry could have far-reaching consequences for PG&E, the state’s largest investor-owned utility, which is facing existential questions after two years of historically devastating wildfires and a recent pipeline record-keeping scandal that renewed questions about its commitment to safety in its gas operations… (more)

What caused nearly 20,000 quakes at Oroville Dam? Scientists weigh in on mystery

: sfchronicle – excerpt

The earthquakes hit just days after last year’s near-catastrophe at Oroville Dam, when the spillway cracked amid heavy rains and 188,000 people fled in fear of flooding.

The timing of the two small tremors about 75 miles north of Sacramento was curious, and frightening. Were the quakes part of a seismic hot spot that caused the giant concrete spillway to tear? Was the weight of the water behind the dam triggering the quakes? Could all of Lake Oroville be prone to slipping?

A group of seismologists, summoned from the U.S. Geological Survey’s research facility in Menlo Park, was put on the case. Their findings were published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America on Monday…

Fortunately, the researchers concluded, the nation’s tallest dam is not in imminent danger. They don’t think earthquakes caused the fracture. Just the opposite may be true, they said… (more)

 

Elon Musk unveils underground tunnel, offers rides to VIPs

By: AMANDA LEE MYERS : wsoctv – excerpt

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Elon Musk unveiled his underground transportation tunnel on Tuesday, allowing reporters and invited guests to take some of the first rides in the revolutionary albeit bumpy subterranean tube – the tech entrepreneur’s answer to what he calls “soul-destroying traffic.”

Guests boarded Musk’s Tesla Model S and rode along Los Angeles-area surface streets about a mile away to what’s known as O’Leary Station. The station, smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood – “basically in someone’s backyard,” Musk says – consists of a wall-less elevator that slowly took the car down a wide shaft, roughly 30 feet (9 meters) below the surface.

The sky slowly fell away and the surprisingly narrow tunnel emerged… (more)

SF builders struggle to keep transit center from rising

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Its neighbor, the Millennium Tower, might be sinking, but — get this — the new $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center has the potential to go in the opposite direction. One of the main challenges the builders faced was keeping the three-block-long monster from rising.

“It’s like a ship — we are tying it down,” Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Mark Zabaneh explained at a news conference Wednesday when asked if the cracked beams that forced the new terminal’s closure might be the result of the building sinking.

According to the Transbay’s website, “Unlike adjacent high-rises that generally have foundations anchored into bedrock to keep from sinking, the transit center’s foundation must keep the building from floating up.”… (more)

What will we learn next about this poor landfill mass that everyone in the world, according to some people, wants to live and work on? How is this going to work when large quake comes or tsunami come to town? Will it all float away into the Bay? or out itno the ocean? Maybe it is time to have a lesson in geology? Let’s get the Science guy to explain it to us. We could start with an elevation view of the downtown soil conditions and the various types of foundations and experimental projects engineers have built so far, including steel rods into bedrock. floating slabs, tie downs. (comments welcome here or at the source.)

Advocates seek to bar Hunters Point Shipyard contractor from radiological work

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Environmental advocates have renewed legal efforts to revoke U.S. Navy contractor Tetra Tech’s license to handle radiological materials based on the civil engineering firm’s connection to a toxic cleanup fraud at the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Last June, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice moved to bar Tetra Tech from conducting radiological remediation work nationally by filing a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a federal agency charged with licensure.

More than a year after the national petition was filed, the NRC confirmed earlier this month that it will hear Greenaction’s claim. Steven Castleman, an attorney for the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic of the Golden Gate University School of Law, which filed the petition on behalf of Greenaction, said that a date has not been set for the hearing, but that he expects it to take place sometime in September… (more)

About time someone takes action on this. You would think the evidence would have already promoted investigations by government agencies. But, he evidence points directly at the government where coverups are concerned. For more details read the article that ran in the SF Chronicle below: Working in a Wasteland.

 

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