Although City planners have generated a great many ideas and goals within the past three years or so, they do not seem to be developing a cohesive and credible plan. One day they speak of the urgent need for affordable housing, below-market-rate units, or safeguards against evictions. The next day they promote high-end ecodistricts, transfer of capitalization and control of public housing to the private sector, and high density areas catering to higher-income workers.
We would like to offer three samples of San Francisco’s current planning and development projects as examples of our point of view.
Central SoMa Eco-District Task Force Recommendations – Released November 2013.
These recommendations call for massive transformation of a 24-block area south of Market Street, from Market Street to Townsend, and from 2nd Street to 6th Street: “This once-industrial area is now positioned to become a growing center of the city’s and region’s high-tech industry. With the construction of the Central Subway (scheduled to begin operation in 2019), undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels in the area offer significant development opportunity. The Central SoMa Plan will propose rezoning this area for dense, transit-oriented, mixed-use growth and hopes to capitalize on rezoning to incorporate district-level energy and water infrastructure.”
To us, this sounds like the normal gentrification that naturally occurs when higher-income workers or residents move in. But the planners say, not so: the plan calls for “Equitable Development,” to “Promote Equity and Local Opportunity,” by establishing a “Locally-based employment program with specific focus on low and medium income workers, to be incorporated into Eco-District project development.” Wherever there is massive gentrification, would anyone not expect the need for custodians, gardeners, security guards, fast food handlers, street cleaners – not many of whom able to live in the area?
You will want to see the report yourself, as well as the extensive list of other similar projects:
Either the designers of the drastic regional upheaval, commonly known as “Plan Bay Area” or “One Bay Area,” thought they could work around the fact that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, of they did not connect this physical law with human behavior, as most common-sense folks do.
The Libertarian Party of San Francisco, as well as many other groups, sprang into action, as should have been expected, as soon as Plan Bay Area started to take form. We began disseminating information, attending public meetings, and reaching out to form coalitions. See our articles "Plan Bay Area: Vision or Micromanagement?" and "Plan Bay Area Adopted Under the Cloak of Midnight, Literally!" In the second article, we joined many other groups in sounding the alarm that Plan Bay Area would be a factor in the disappearance of affordable housing, loss of property values in some areas, increased use of eminent domain, and loss of livability and transportation choices.
The second round of reaction came soon after Plan Bay Area was adopted on July 18, 2013, in the form of lawsuits from the right and the left, aimed at the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the architects of Plan Bay Area. Here is a list of current lawsuits, all of which could use the public’s moral and financial support.
This bill purports to increase transparency in political campaigns by helping voters make well-informed decisions and increase the public's confidence in the electoral process. Well-informed voters should make their decisions based on the merits of the argument, not the identity of the person or persons making the argument. In logic this is a well established fallacy to discredit an argument by identifying the persons making it rather than refuting the argument itself. A side effect of this law would be to make people more reluctant to participate in democratic dialogue because of fear of retribution by opponents to their arguments. This is yet another law that has (possible) good intentions, but also bad consequences.
Community Coffee with State Senator Mark Leno
Mark Leno is a popular figure in California, mostly because he makes an effort to connect with his constituents. One such effort is his Community Coffee, where he explains legislation he has introduced and takes questions from attendees. We attended the Community Coffee of October 19, 2013, at the Greenhouse Coffee House. The audience was friendly, and those who asked questions and spoke out were generally supportive of Senator Leno.
This gathering left us amazed as always at the automatic solution proposed by our legislators to every economic and social challenge: tax, spend, and pass another law. Many laws that are passed create more challenges, for which more spending is proposed, and more taxes must be levied. Meanwhile, an ever-growing number of taxpayers, at increasingly wider income levels, adjust to the idea that tax, spend, and create another law constitutes the only solution to anything that comes up.
The Libertarian Party of San Francisco has upheld its record of recommending the exact opposite of what voters passed in any given election, and we are not at all disheartened! Our aim is to shrink government to a constitutional and sustainable size, while politicians' aim is to sink as much resources as necessary to convince voters to make government grow. We intend to persevere in our aim.
Typically, voters do not turn out in good numbers in an off-year municipal election. November 5th was no exception. As of November 6, the San Francisco Department of Elections reported that ballots cast were 22.59% of registered voters (440,028 registered and 99,417 ballots cast).
Registered Libertarians in San Francisco make up a relatively small number of total registration (2,760 registered Libertarians). However, dedicated small numbers can turn tides. We urge Libertarians to get involved in the political process and promote libertarian ideals via the ballot box. Of course, we also urge more Libertarian Party registration, especially since third parties like ours need to keep up our numbers to maintain our qualified political party status.