Public Comment: Planning to Fail
Feb 28, 2017
Metro Observer web master and SF Bay Area Renters Federation founder Sonja Trauss spoke at the Board of Supervisors’ Technical Advisory Committee last week urging considerable scrutiny over the city controller’s report. Trauss also published her concerns in an op-ed for the Bay City Beacon last week, in which she argues that the city’s affordable housing policy should not be based on the current crisis as a baseline expectation. For a brief summary, watch the video below: more
Open Letter: Commentary on Central SoMa Plan EIR
Planning Department Staff, Members of the Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors, I’m writing today to express my extreme disappointment in the Central SoMa Plan and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR). I live at 6th and Market near the edge of the plan area, and also write as a member of the SF Bay Area Renters Federation and SF YIMBY Party. The most critical paragraph in the Central SoMa plan for understanding why it must be sent back to the drawing board for a thorough... more
More Housing Coming to Mid-Market
Feb 2, 2017
Several high-rise projects have recently overcome significant challenges in the Mid-Market area, whether financial or political, likely due in part to favorable zoning updates. Among them, a 242-unit market-rate development was able to forge a deal with local activists and the city to provide 68 units of affordable housing and resources for transgender cultural amenities. San Francisco developer Group i announced an agreement with appellants of their 120-foot residential and hotel project at... more
Thousands Protest Travel Ban at Airports
Jan 30, 2017
It was precisely 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, January 28th when a wave of humanity poured into the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). In response to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and reports that several immigrant families had been detained at the airport, groups like Resistance SF called upon San Franciscans to rally and demand their release. The protests began with a few hundred people occupying the sidewalk with a rainbow of... more
Bay Area Mayors United over Sanctuary City Status
Mayor Ed Lee joined Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in vowing to defend “sanctuary city” status in their respective cities. After President Trump signed an executive order to withhold federal funding from cities that do not cooperate with the ICE, many Bay Area activists and politicians redoubled on their commitments to keep local law enforcement from collaborating with deportation efforts. Though it is unclear what power, if any, the... more
San Franciscans Stand with Standing Rock
Jan 27, 2017
In the wake of a pair of executive orders, protesters gathered last night to protest ongoing plans to build the Dakota Access Pipeline and the KeystoneXL pipeline expansion. Before sunset, a phalanx of federal Homeland Security police cars and motorcycles outnumbered a half-dozen protesters holding signs for the Standing Rock Sioux in front of the Federal Building on 7th and Mission Street. By nightfall, over one hundred held signs and banners in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. Corrina... more
Farrell Proposes Ban on "Dark Money" in Affordable Housing Oversight
Jan 25, 2017
During yesterday’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Mark Farrell (District 2, Marina / Cow Hollow) announced plans to tighten regulations on affordable housing funds. Specifically, the ordinance will aim to prevent the use of public funds for anything other than “unrelated to the creation, development, or preservation of affordable housing.” Farrell’s proposal comes in the wake of revelations that John Elberling, Director of the nonprofit development firm TODCO,... more
We’re On A Boat: The Lab Takes Noise for a Joyride
Sandy Buschman left San Francisco a year ago to open a bar in Puerto Rico. La Boveda, in San Juan’s Viejo San Juan district, hosts weekly experimental concerts largely of the same noisy, challenging nature that Sandy brought to the Bay Area. We really want her back. So much so, in fact, that Mission-based music non-profit collective The Lab paid to fly her back for a one-of-a-kind (okay, four total) party on a boat cruise around the San Francisco Bay. Reunited with Oakland-via-Venezuela... more
Feeding the Hungry, Studying Shadows Top Priorities at Planning Commission
Jan 13, 2017
Dennis Richards (pictured above), acting president of the San Francisco Planning Commission, told a pair of French nuns, “I’ll even try your food,” before moving to approve their application for a use permit to run a non-profit soup kitchen out of vacant retail space. “You can donate, too,” one Sister replied. “I’ll come volunteer,” Richards added without missing a beat. Thus concluded the first, heartwarming half of the Planning Commission’s Discretionary Review agenda yesterday. The stars... more
SF Sketchfest Brings Local Flavor and Global Laughs
San Francisco is perpetually a city of rising stars, but conventional wisdom dictates that once they rise, they must flee for Los Angeles with all deliberate haste. SF Sketchfest has established itself as a global institution to counter the tinsel-town dominance of show business, pushing the envelope with new and innovative comedians alongside the star power of established stalwarts. If you find yourself staring at a list of obscure names, don’t worry—it’s as much of a celebration for... more