Suspect Hunters Point shipyard contractor did similar work at Treasure Island

Corporate managers accused of directing an extensive fraud in the cleanup of San Francisco’s toxic shipyard led similar projects at nearby Treasure Island — work that apparently has never been rechecked since fraud at the shipyard was discovered, even as a $5 billion real estate development on the island speeds ahead.

Tetra Tech EC, a subsidiary of the government contracting giant Tetra Tech Inc., is being sued for fraud by whistle-blowers and the Department of Justice. Federal prosecutors say the firm cut corners and falsified radiation tests while serving as a cleanup contractor at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, a mothballed naval base tainted with radioactive substances that last for thousands of years and can cause cancer… (more)

Treasure Island not only is a superfund site tied to the clean-up scandals at Hunters Point, the island has a rash of complaints of health problems and power outages. Not the island paradise it is being sold as.

When we say there is a lack of talented labor we are not kidding. What else explains the new contract awarded Tetra Tech to clean up the Camp Fire sites? There are not a lot of contractors who can pretend to do the job.

Frequent power outages leave Treasure Island residents out in the cold


‘Incentive to create havoc’: Self-driving cars set to turn streets into gridlocked hell – study

RT – excerpt

Driverless cars could spark a gridlock nightmare to avoid paying for parking, a new study warns. Autonomous vehicles could even gang up to create traffic delays, allowing them to continuously cruise around instead of park.

The idea sounds like a smart one: Avoid ever having to pay for parking by getting your car to simply continue to drive around the block until you’re ready to take off again. However, this seemingly savvy hack could turn our urban streets into traffic-clogged hellscapes, roads flooded with driverless cars, making it a challenge to actually get anywhere…(more)

Major Regional Housing Plan – CASA Compact discussion on KQED Forum

Re: KQED Forum on CASA (audio track included)Monday at 9:00 am

Host: Rachael Myrow and Guests: Susan Kirsch, Founder, Livable California;
Michael Covarrubias, CASA Co-Chair, CEO, TMG Partners and Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk.


Who will pay for the CASA Compact programs if they are implemented? Who will finance a new regional development organization composed of unelected officials with authority to collecting new taxes? It feels as if the major theme is to use our taxes against us to create a dense living situation that we oppose.

The unelected bureaucracies that keep us stuck in traffic

By Jackie Lavalleye : californiapolicycenter – excerpt

… In December 1991, the role of the Associations of Governments was expanded by passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. This law provided more power over planning to metropolitan areas; thereby, increasing the authority of metropolitan planning organizations over transportation-related activities. In short, every project related to roads, pedestrians, traffic, and all other issues of relevance to transportation must be discussed by, coordinated with, and approved by these agencies…

Four of the largest Associations of Governments in California are the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). SCAG is the largest Association of Government in the country based on population and geographic territory size. MTC also has shared responsibilities with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). As of late, MTC and ABAG have been working toward consolidating their staffs for improved efficiencies… (more)

This article from 2017, explains the creation and goals of the regional state agencies.

Push by Environmentalists to Build Housing Near Transit Centers Meets Stiff Resistance

By Chris Reed : capoliticalreview – excerpt

Over the past dozen years, the California environmental lobby has never seemed more powerful in the Legislature and in state government. Under Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, the Golden State has passed bold laws and emerged as the global leader in government efforts to combat climate change – with Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom certain to continue this tradition.

But a bracing report from the California Air Resources Board shows that environmentalists’ clout can’t shake the complete control that NIMBYs have over local planning in most of the state – to the detriment of the environment. It found that a 2008 state law – Senate Bill 375 – had been an abject failure. The law requires the state’s 18 regional intergovernmental agencies to push to put new housing near transit stations and to add new transportation options so as to decrease pollution from vehicle commuting…

69% of Californians want local control of housing

But the appetite of state lawmakers to take on NIMBYs may be limited in the wake of new evidence that NIMBYism isn’t just espoused by activists who see every new housing project as detrimental to quality of life. Instead, it’s a core belief of state residents. A USC Dornsrife/Los Angeles Times survey released in October showed 69 percent of Californianspreferred local control of housing decision-making…

This article was originally published by

SB 827 is not the answer. Advancing equitable development is.

Wiener’s new housing bill is radically unfair

By Tim Redmond : 47hills – excerpt


Mission Bay residents are leaving due to bad air caused by constant construction as they  see no end in sight. Photo by zrants.

The senator assumes the private market will solve our problems. That has never worked.

State Sen. Scott Wiener has introduced a new version of his housing bill that went down in flames last year, and while the current version, SB 50, includes more protection for renters, is still has the same basic flaws.

The new measure is still based on the same assumption: that the private market can and will eventually solve the state’s housing crisis – and that the problem is almost entirely on the supply side… (more)

Here we go again. Wiener world is coming at us. Considering the shellacking his YIMBY minions took at the polls in San Francisco, it appears that the glow is off the grow rose, and Scott may be barking up the wrong tree as his constituents lose faith in his plans to densify an already over-populated 49 square miles of real estate.

With constant bad news MUNI in the headlines, and a bevy of City Hall leaders jumping ship, the leadership is shifting away from the developer-led options  and forced state oversight is losing appeal among the his constituents. More on this subject will be coming out of efforts to fix the broken system before expanding it. The market may also put a damper on his and other plans as the over-bloated government treasuries shrink. This may not be a good holiday season for the growth models stacking up in Sacramento offices.

Lafayette city manager quits over lack of movement on new housing

By Kimberly Veklerov : sfchronicle – excerpt

The top official of the small and affluent East Bay city of Lafayette last week announced his resignation because of residents’ intransigence on building more housing, saying he could not stay in the role he has held for three decades when his views diverge so sharply from the community’s…

City Manager Steven Falk is the latest Bay Area official to air his frustration at housing shortages and policies that slow development. He said Lafayette has an obligation to take regional needs into consideration in its city planning…

In his resignation letter, Falk pointed to two recent ballot measures he spearheaded that voters quashed. One, in 2016, would have enacted a 1 percent sales tax to pay for downtown parks, restoring a historic theater, protecting open spaces and increasing police patrols, among other services. The other would have authorized a project with up to 44 homes and new recreational facilities. Voters rejected that plan in June.

“Elections have consequences,” Falk said, “and one is that Lafayette residents deserve a city manager who is better aligned with their priorities.”…(more)



Affordable homes, not developer giveaways

By Maya Chupkov, Lisa Awbrey and Tes Welborn : sfchronicle – excerpt

In a recent op-ed published in the Examiner, Corey Smith, the paid Campaign Organizer for the citywide advocacy group for market-rate housing developers known as the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, or HAC, put on his “community hat.” The piece titled “Homes Not Cars on Divisadero” tilts non-existent windmills (no one is proposing any cars to replace any “homes” on Divisadero) in order to argue against a community-devised plan calling for more neighborhood-serving retail, affordable housing, and bike and transit improvements in exchange for a density giveaway after a recent upzoning of Divisadero…

Smith’s hasty dismissal of Affordable Divis made short work of the efforts of hundreds of neighborhood residents who devised the Divisadero Community Plan ( created over a four-month open planning process. The plan sought to balance the impacts of an ill-conceived massive density bonus conferred on the area by former Supervisor London Breed three years ago with no community participation.

Both SF Planning Director John Rahaim and Supervisor Breed later recognized the rezoning as deficient. In December 2015, Breed finally agreed with Affordable Divis that granting a huge development bonus without an increase in required affordability was an error, which she committed to correct by amending her rezoning legislation. No corrective legislation was advanced for over two years, and then the Mayor’s race took her complete attention(more)

Can AB 2923 be knocked out?

By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views :  citizensjournal – excerpt

Next Monday in a obscure Sacramento meeting room, an important event is set to transpire that affects the course of California politics for years to come.  The Senate Appropriations Committee will determine if AB 2923, which has already been passed by the Assembly, is to be sent to the floor for a vote.

The  legislation co-sponsored by Assemblymen Tim Grayson (D) Concord  and David Chiu (D-San Francisco, is expected to be approved in the Senate  If the vote is affirmative and Governor Brown signs the bill,  local government’s authority to determine what is to be constructed within a half mile of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART ) stations will be obliterated.

Outside of property within station boundaries that the transit agency owns, they will be able to purchase land and use the power of eminent domain to procure building sites to construct what is expected to be stack and pack housing… (more)

In the suburbs where most of the construction is to take place, approximately 20,000 units are planned to be built. As might be expected, opposition is fierce.  Last week the Mayors of Contra Costa County unanimously passed a resolution opposing AB 2923. Such a negative reaction did not resonate with the proponents of the bill which is a loose coalition of developers, labor unions, and low income housing advocates.

In an article this group wrote on the editorial page of the East Bay Times last Sunday authored by Michael Lane of The Housing Association of California, he stated

“The bill would require the elected BART Board of Directors to establish guidelines for transit-oriented development for BART-owned land at or around a BART station. Cities would then update their local zoning to be consistent with these standards while retaining control over community design standards and final permitting authority.”


From reading this it does not appear that communities where BART wants to build would have much of a choice in determining zoning options near or around where the transit agency puts up their so called affordable housing.  How existing neighborhoods would be changed does not seem to be even a minor consideration of theirs.

Of course Lane did not take into account what would transpire if local communities did not want to go along with BART’s plans.  In his mind the need for affordable housing along with the interests of developers, and their crony capitalist pals in crafts unions, who would do all the work under Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), is all that matters…

It apparently matters not that BART has no experience as a developer.  In reality the transit agency is eager to receive revenue generated by leasing lands to large developers to offset deficits in their operating budgets and pension liabilities.  With such objectives, how could they possibly care about their negative impacts on life in suburbia?…

We can also talk about a myriad of other issues about BART’s history of never bringing construction of new track or train equipment to meet estimated budget allocations…

Is this the type of organization that should be increasing their responsibilities to overrule democratically elected local representatives where new construction of residential housing is planned?

If the answer is “no” then the Senate Appropriations Committee should do the right thing and kill AB 2923 before this political cancer spreads to Southern California.  Sources indicate that officials in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) are closely following the passage of the BART bill in Sacramento.

If it goes into law the MTA can be expected to introduce a bill tailored to its plans and find a way to overrule local decision making in passing their own version AB 2923.

This entire Draconian scenario goes on with no end in sight.  When can we expect the real will of the people to persist?

One such person is BART Director Debora Allen, who represents nearby residents of planned Stack and Pack projects in Concord.  She and a couple of her colleagues wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee which goes into more detail of why AB 2923 is such a horrible idea.

If after reading this brilliantly composed argument any sane person who would even contemplate passing this bill, should be ordered to receive psychological counseling and sent to a half way house for treatment. But then again as we all know being “progressive” is indeed a mental disorder.

Good luck next week in killing AB 2923. Below is the link to Debora Allen’s correspondence.

OpLetter2923 -Final Signed

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.

The day of the hearing in the Senate Appropriation Committee is today. If this bill is not stopped in committee it may go to the full Senate to be voted on soon. Contacting your State Senator to let them know you oppose this bill, may be the best action at this time.

Where indeed are the voters in this fight? How many know about this legal blitzkrieg that is going on in Sacramento? How many of the thousands of victims of the wildfires will be helped by this legislation in their dire needs for help? This bill is poorly timed and off track for delivering the housing we need in the state right now. See updates and action items here :

New amendments to Scott Wiener’s SB-827 are here

This the latest edition of Amendments to SB-827. We are still concerned with many aspects of the bill.


  1. Local inclusionary %affordable requirements apply (anticipated this, doesn’t really change anything)
  2. Rent controlled homes cannot be demolished for SB 827 without local govt demo permit; every displaced tenant will have a Right to Remain Guarantee – which is really only a right of first refusal upon completion at the rent previously “enjoyed” by the tenant in their demolished unit (see #4)
  3. Local demo permit process shall remain
  4. Displacement protections: moving expenses & 42 months rental assistance for comparable unit in the area; right of first refusal…
  5. Local setback and yard requirements remain enforceable
  6. State density bonuses may be added
  7. Transit rich projects only qualify within 1/4 of a transit stop on a corridor; not the corridor itself
  8. Street width changes from curb to curb to property line to property line; the width threshold for the taller heights is now 75 feet instead of 45 feet.
  9. Parcels affected are residential and mixed use; not industrial
  10. SB827 projects may be eligible for SB35 streamlining

This really doesn’t change much. It’s still a power grab, and the heights didn’t change, if anything state density bonus impact is confirmed. We always anticipated the local inclusionary requirement would be present.

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