Endorsements 2013

Stop the 8 Washington project! No, no, no on B, no on C, yes on A, re-elect Hererra. Our guide to the Nov. 5 elections

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We're heading into a lackluster election on Nov. 5. The four incumbents on the ballot have no serious challengers and voter turnout could hit an all-time low. That's all the more reason to read up on the issues, show up at the polls, and exert an outsized influence on important questions concerning development standards and the fate of the city's waterfront, the cost of prescription drugs, and the long-term fiscal health of the city.

 

PROP. A — RETIREE HEALTH CARE TRUST FUND

YES

Note: This article has been corrected from an earlier version, which incorrectly stated that Prop A increases employee contributions to health benefits.

Throughout the United States, the long-term employee pension and health care obligations of government agencies have been used as wedge issues for anti-government activists to attack public employee unions, even in San Francisco. The fiscal concerns are real, but they're often exaggerated or manipulated for political reasons.

That's one reason why the consensus-based approach to the issue that San Francisco has undertaken in recent years has been so important, and why we endorse Prop. A, which safeguards the city's Retiree Health Care Trust Fund and helps solve this vexing problem.

Following up on the consensus pension reform measure Prop. B, which increased how much new city employees paid for lifetime health benefits, this year's Prop. A puts the fund into a lock-box to ensure it is there to fund the city's long-term retiree health care obligations, which are projected at $4.4 billion over the next 30 years.

"The core of it says you can't touch the assets until it's fully funded," Sup. Mark Farrell, who has taken a lead role on addressing the issue, told us. "The notion of playing political football with employee health care will be gone."

The measure has the support of the entire Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Labor Council. Progressive Sup. David Campos strongly supports the measure and he told us, "I think it makes sense and is something that goes beyond political divides."

There are provisions that would allow the city to tap the fund in emergencies, but only after it is fully funded or if the mayor, controller, the Trust Board, and two-thirds of the Board of Supervisors signs off, a very high bar. So vote yes and let's put this distracting issue behind us.

 

PROP. B — 8 WASHINGTON SPECIAL USE DISTRICT

NO, NO, NO!

Well-meaning people can arrive at different conclusions on the 8 Washington project, the waterfront luxury condo development that was approved by the Board of Supervisors last year and challenged with a referendum that became Prop. C. But Prop. B is simply the developer writing his own rules and exempting them from normal city review.

We oppose the 8 Washington project, as we explain in our next endorsement, but we can understand how even some progressive-minded people might think the developers' $11 million affordable housing and $4.8 million transit impact payments to the city are worth letting this project slide through.

But Prop. B is a different story, and it's something that those who believe in honesty, accountability, and good planning should oppose on principle, even if they support the underlying project. Contrary to the well-funded deceptions its backers are circulating, claiming this measure is about parks, Prop. B is nothing more than a developer and his attorneys preventing meaningful review and enforcement by the city of their vague and deceptive promises.

Comments

While it was predictable that the SFBG would oppose the 8W project, it's disappointing that the writers appear to know so little about what the project actually includes and how it got approved by the City.

This project has been approved by 5 City Commissions, the Board of Supes (by 8-3 twice) and the State Lands Commission, who approved its use of public land. 8W has been subjected to more community meetings and public hearings than any SF project in recent times.

Your narrative is that building housing for the wealthy is a terrible thing, neglecting how much financial benefits it pays SF. The SFBG doesn't discuss how the surface parking lot on SWL351 currently pays the City about $100k per year where the proposed project would pay the City over $100M. In addition, the 8W would deliver 50-55 low-income homes in exchange for the 134 high-end ones. Isn't opposing that that cutting off your nose to spite your face?

When the SFBG talks about protecting our "precious waterfront", it's not clear which city they're describing. By simply walking along the Embarcadero one can see that almost all remaining open land is used to park our cars - that's how precious it is - it's parking lots!

Either Prop B is a vast conspiracy of corruption and deceit that was snuck onto the ballot or the SFBG doesn't understand it and cannot accept the City obtaining fair value for our public land.

A arithmetic error: 8W doesn't raise height limits by 62 percent, it raises them by 38 percent.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

The measures raise the allowable height limit from 84 feet to 136 feet, which by my calculation (difference of 52 divided by the reference number of 84) is a 61.9 percent increase. As for the rest of your points, we chose to focus on the key facts at issue, not the diversions that you'd like voters to focus on.

Posted by steven on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

that. But in the end you do not like this project because it will be housing successful people. And you think SF should have less successful people, and more losers.

It's not about architecture. It's about class warfare and the politics of envy. You are even willing to reject tax revenues and the affordable housing set-aside just to stock it to successful people.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

NEW VIDEO: 8 REASONS TO VOTE NO ON 8 WASHINGTON - NO ON B&C

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h45bzFsMQDM

Posted by Just say No on B&C on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

8 Washington’s developer argues that we must let him raise height limits on the northern waterfront for the first time in 50 years OR be stuck with that “ugly green fence and parking lot” forever. Its either his $5+ million condos or a wasteland. Really?

In 2011, Asian Neighborhood Design (AND) worked with local stakeholders to create “A Community Vision for the Northeast Waterfront” that calls for the same mix of ground floor shops/cafes on the 8 Washington site but without its 60% height increase or 400-car garage. The AND plan also includes the same parks 8 Washington purports to provide—most of which are there right now.

As for that “ugly parking lot” on the Embarcadero, it is owned and kept ugly by the Port, a financial partner in 8 Washington.

The “ugly green fence” is owned and kept ugly by another player in the 8 Washington deal, the man who owns 80% of the site now and gets to keep a third of it, the new $12 million private swim club, once the developer builds it for him. Clearly he’s had a financial interest in keeping the “ugly green fence” ugly to justify this project.

Hearing 8 Washington’s partners now rant about the “ugly fence and parking lot” as the main reason to let them build a wall of condos only the 1% can afford sounds a little like hearing Congressional Republicans feigning outrage at a government shutdown they themselves caused.

Once voters reject 8 Washington, a better alternative WILL be built there, one that includes active ground floor uses and parks without a precedent setting height increase or a 400-car below sea level garage. Several developers are interested in pursuing such a plan once the dust settles.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 20, 2013 @ 11:39 am

"Succesful People?"

Poo widdew "Successful People..." They have so much to endure from the hoi polloi. They give us so much (actually they take so much more than they give)... and they pay so much in Taxes (actually they write off a larger percentage of their income than "regular people.")... etc..

You did manage to parrot every Faux Snooze Talking point... kudos for that.
Damn... You are a serious elitist sociopath.

Posted by Another Guest on Nov. 05, 2013 @ 8:33 am

that the failures should vote to confiscate from the successful.

So much easier than all the hlard work involved in succeeding, and so tempting for some.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 05, 2013 @ 8:53 am

you are fooling nobody but yourself. No on B and No on C.

Posted by NO on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 6:15 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

Polling indicates otherwise.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

The only one I saw shows Ed Lee with a 65% approval rating.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 7:47 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 8:18 am

does not exist. There are no credible polls on the 8-Wash building.

Of course, it is possible that there are enough petty-minded envy-walla's in SF to nix any condo building that the average voters cannot afford.

But even so, architecture by voter initiative is a horrible idea, as well as costing the city millions in tax revenues.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 8:50 am

You just perfectly made the case for voting 'No' on both of these initiatives.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 9:25 am

already passed Planning and the BofS should not be put to the voters, then one should vote to build it as approved.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

My point was that you made a great argument for voting 'No' on both measures regardless of how or why they got on the ballot. It's the easiest way to solve the development problem we are faced with.

The point of the referendum is simply to say, "The Board of Supervisors screwed up. Vote 'No' on 8 Washington to cancel their screw-up." Easy question.

But all of the convoluted gobbledygook that 8 Washington -proponents- are arguing as reasons to vote 'Yes' is clearly a bunch of nonsensical Wall Street bullshit PR that should simply be ignored.

So the easy task for voters, is to just vote 'No' on both of them and end the nonsense.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 10:24 am

decisions should go to the people, I still have an opinion on whether 8Wash should be built, and I think it should go ahead, partly because it is approved already, partly because it looks like it will be an architecturally stunning addition to the waterfront, and partly because of the tax revenues and BMR units it will bring to the city.

The logical way to vote if you don't think it shoudl be voted on is to abstain. but I do not like to see end-run's being done around our elected representatives.

And the Supes did not "get it wrong". they followed the rules and the advice they got. That is how the process is supposed to work, and it's only going to the ballot because a On Percenter put up the funds. Do you always do what a OnePercenter tells you to?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 10:37 am

I understand that point perfectly.

(And by the way, what is this nonsense that the Board of Supervisors can't be wrong? Give me a break...)

Here's the more important point.

When voters are faced with a bunch of confusing and conflicting bs about two measures on the ballot, their inclination is to vote 'No' on both of them. And in this case that is both the easiest and best move.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 10:54 am

All you are really saying is that you disagree with their decision. So what?

This development passed the same tests and processes that every building does, and we don't scream for a voter initiative for other buildings - that's quite a ridiculous idea.

I'd agree it's confusing having two props on the same topic, although that is hardly rare either. But my point is that people should not vote to not build the project just because they don't like having one, let alone two, ballots on the topic.

If you like the project, and the revenues it will bring us, then vote to have it built. That will also discourage people doing this nonsense again since it would have been built if there had been no ballot.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 11:28 am

If the people feel that -their- elected representatives made a mistake and approved a project that is bad for the city, they should vote that decision down.

The -people- run democracy, not elected officials by -themselves-.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 11:36 am

As I said, we cannot have a voter initiative on every proposed new building, even if you happen to disagree with all of them.

This one only happened because a couple of OnePercenters didn't like the slight interruption with their million-dollar views. It had nothing to do with any sense of justice or equity.

Given your views, you must hate almost all the decisions the Mayor makes, and yet there is very little you can do about it. And that is how it should be - we elect these people to make decisions on our behalf.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

This is very simple and definitely not about just one project. It is about retaining strict height limits which keep the city beautiful and livable.

There are 99%ers all over the city who oppose 8 Washington for exactly that reason.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 12:18 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 12:49 pm
Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barr ier on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

because it is surrounded by taller buildings anyway.

So there is no rational reason to oppose it.

There are irrational reasons though, e.g. envy.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barr ier on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

Indeed, well-meaning people can arrive at different conclusions on the 8 Washington project. But Prop. B is NOT simply the developer writing his own rules and exempting them from normal city review.

Why is Proposition B Even On the Ballot?
Prop B is for the SAME project eight Supervisors approved, i.e., the same site plan, building plans, conditions of approvals, EIR mitigation monitoring program, and adds this as a Special Use District within the City’s zoning.

Opponents’ Prop C Referendum, if voted down, would overturn the Supervisor’s approval of the height limit increase, but does NOT describe the project itself. Prop B describes the whole project and enables voters to consider the project in its entirety and not just its heights. The Ballot Question for Prop B describes both the project AND the height limit increase. The Ballot Question for Prop C simply asks about the Supervisors approval of a height limit increase on Drumm Street. The SFBG seems to want voters to rely upon the campaign ads and mailers they receive rather than having everything set forth in the unbiased SF Voters Handbook.

Are Prop B’s “ Administrative Clearance” Provisions a Problem?
The SFBG says that Prop B is bad because it prevents further discretionary reviews and planners using their own judgment…but in fact, that is what happens when a higher level within the City has already approved a project.

Once the Board approved 8 Washington, the Planning Department was obligated to review and approve an initial building permit or site permit if it was in compliance with the Board of Supervisors’ approval. To do otherwise would circumvent the will of the Board of Supervisors, the highest level of authority within City government.

For the SAME reason, if the voters approve 8 Washington, Prop B requires Planning to review the project under an Administrative Clearance procedure confirming the project’s compliance with the voters’ approval before approving an initial building permit or site permit. To do otherwise would circumvent the will of the voters, an even higher authority than the Board of Supervisors.

Don't be misled by the SFBG's "inside baseball" arguments about these procedural issues. Get the facts about what's in the 8 Washington proposal and decide for yourself whether it would be a waterfront asset - replacing a surface parking lot and a private club's 3-block long fence with housing over retail, a smaller club, and extending now-blocked Jackson St and Pacific Ave as park spaces along the Embarcadero.

Alec Bash

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 7:18 am

Here's the deal.

Multimillion dollar condo developers want to throw under the bus, the height limits that establish our beautiful views of the Bay, which make this city so special.

Voting a big 'NO' on both B & C will keep them from getting away with it.

Simple.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 8:31 am

It's a parking lot and a private tennis club for executives that probably would not admit you as a member.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 8:46 am

Of course there are beautiful views of the Bay there.

But you are missing the much more important point. We are talking about protecting views to the Bay from all over the city, not just right there on the waterfront.

If these Wall Street developers succeed in throwing our height limits to the wolves, it will set a devastating precedent that will ruin the views throughout the -entire- city.

So vote 'NO' on B & C!

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 9:22 am

any thing of the Bay.

The Embarcadero and GG Tower have long blocked the view there - are you proposing demolishing those?

Dressing your envy up as losing a nice view that you don't have anyway is disingenuous.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 9:48 am

more vantage points from which a view clears the other buildings.

And of course it is a very attractive building in itself and so becomes part of the view, just like other iconic buildings like the Pyramid, the Ferry Buildings, the BofA building and One Rincom.

Even the Sutro Tower has its fans now and I'm sure all the NIMBY's opposed that too.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 10:02 am

by allowing height limits to be -further- exceeded?

The first 'Guest' is simply lying and distorting.

And the second...

Well, I guess if you actually think Sutro Tower is attractive, then you are willing to accept just about anything...

Vote No on B & C. ;)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 11:08 am

tower then it hardly matters of someone builds a 300 foot tower either in front of it or behind it.

The Sutro Tower has, apparently, gone from everyone hating it to people liking it. If nothing else it is a really handy navigation beacon when driving around the city.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 11:29 am

As soon as one moves to the left or right of a large building other buildings in front or behind it obviously matter immensely to views of the Bay. Why are you insulting everyone with these obviously ridiculous arguments?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

I defy you to identify any place in that vicinity where you have a clear, unfettered view of the Bay.

By your argument, there would be no buildings there.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 12:16 pm
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