Thursday, May 18, 2023

Music, Art and a Parking Meter Protest in SF!

Hey Everybody! 

Dropping a note on the internet and hopefully past your spam filter into your inbox to give you a heads up about a few things: 

Singing this weekend! 4 - 8 pm at The Saloon 1232 Grant Avenue, Saturday, May 20th. Hope you can make it! I know parking has been challenging for many years in North Beach, even more so with the parklets, but when the weather is nice, it's fun to sit outside. Plus, carpooling is fun, and so is going to see live music with your friends! 

Speaking of parking in SF, please take a minute to send a note to the myopic brainiacs over at the SFMTA, who have decided that extending parking meter pay hours will - get this -- reduce carbon emissions by reducing the amount of times someone has to circle the block to find parking!? Talk about a stretch! I don't have the time to poke holes in every one of these ridiculous so called selling points, but it seems that some folks in power keep trying to make SF more like NY. NY is the BIG City, SF is the Little City, and we like it that way. It has already been overbuilt downtown, and it is time to convert some of those empty office downtown buildings into housing - not build 50 story towers in the midst of a single family home neighborhood! Search something like "SF 50 foot tower Sloat nursery" for more info on that ridiculous mess. 

Extended Meter Hours Project

Yes, since we are now on the subject of bad ideas, a lot of folks left last week's special San Rafael City Council meeting feeling extremely disappointed because a local builder, Monahan-Pacifc, received approval for their plan to build a seven -  eight story rectangular box on the West End of San Rafael. 

Although I was not surprised, it reminded me of that whole sidewalk fiasco. I lost count of how many of my former neighbors apologized to me for not getting more involved, because after it was built, they realized they were on the wrong side of that argument. It's really ugly, and there have been at least five accidents in a street that used to have a 100% safety record. It's hard to argue with people who have a limited ability to envision what something will look like, especially when they have been sold on something "for kids and seniors" using false information.

Anyway, the sidewalk was illegal, but thanks to some new YIMBY CA state density laws, developments that are way out of scale and will negatively impact the environment will be legally allowed to move forward quickly, without public process. These laws were sold to the public as a tool to increase our affordable housing stock, but have now morphed into a gift for real estate speculators, some who care only about maximizing profit and nothing about context, neighborhood sensitivity, or even decent design.  

I get the concept of pre-approved requirements, but these requirements to skip CEQA are too broad, have and not been properly thought out or clarified. Yes, many of us would like to see additional housing built, but prefer a more organic, gradual approach. Supposedly, construction costs have risen about 35% since before the pandemic, but how does that justify building 162 housing units on a lot where there used to be none? The only justification is greed and the desire to push your agenda with little consideration for anyone else. 

Thank goodness for music and art. Speaking of art, check this out, happening tonight - a film screen fundraiser for Artworks Downtown - an entity that understands the definition of "affordable housing." They need to raise money to fix some leaks in the building. 

It's not all bad - look for and support the good! 




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