Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – April, 2017


I just read your story “Blended water in the pipeline.” Thanks for your hard

work in researching and writing this story.

I have a question: Some years ago (at least 10, maybe more), I remember

a lot of discussion in the press about that very same aquifer. It seems that for many

years (dating back to John McLaren putting the windmills at

the western end of Golden Gate Park to provide irrigation for the

new plantings) we, along withcities to the south including Colma and

South San Francisco, had been pumping water from that aquifer.

The issue I encountered at the time was that there was so much water removed that

the natural replenishment couldn’t keep up; and the water level dropped.

The concern at hand was that the water level at Lake Merced had dropped alarmingly,

threatening great environmental damage; perhaps destroying

the lake, or at least dramatically reducing its usefulness and recreational appeal.

The solution was to stop, or greatly reduce, San Francisco’s

use of that water. In addition, the San Francisco water agency negotiated

a reduction or elimination of the use of this water by

the nearby cities; providing them with Hetch Hetchy water to make

up their losses. Lake Merced has substantially recovered from the damage done

at that time, as you can see when driving or walking past.

Does the SFPUC plan take this into consideration? If so, how do they

propose to protect the lake from over-pumping again?

– Ken Keep



Supervisor Katy Tang’s new legislation on the Affordable

Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) adds a local version of it she calls

“HomeSF.” This is an offshoot from the failed 2015 AHBP attempt,

which neighbors were up in arms about. The local version

of the state density bonus program gives developers bonuses

and allows zoning changes (spotzoning).

Although the latest version claims single-family homes

(RH-1) and duplexes (RH-2) are exempt, there are exceptions.

The same rear yard reduction, height increases, parking disallowances,

setbacks and open space placements instead of

ground in rear yards from 2015 are offered. In conjunction with

the local AHBP, are the Urban Design Guidelines (UDG), which

are modeled on the AHBP Design Guidelines that many

neighbors were against. Various density bonuses, with

concessions and waivers, would easily increase the height and

bulk of buildings in residential and neighborhood commercial


Add to that some new overarching citywide urban design

guidelines and this is easily a recipe for out-of-character and

size buildings for the immediate neighboring areas.

What you see next door may be something unimaginable.

Arguments regarding shadows from tall buildings next to somebody’s

home adjacent to a bulky and tall building with Manhattanstyle

design would likely be moot reasons for any protests.

The “creep” concept is also a concern – when something is

built near you that’s really out of character to your area, and it is

used to justify a much larger and  impactful building that could be built

next to you, it starts a domino effect down the block and

eventually the neighborhood. It appears the “local AHBP” is

touting units for everyone regardless of the impacts to existing


This AHBP program will violate the current

SF Planning Code as written and the UDGs can be seen to affect

the violations. If these things are concerning to you, comments on

both the Urban Design Guidelines (http://sfplanning.

org/urban-design-guidelines) and the AHBP legislation (https://sfgov.legistar.com) may

be sent to by e-mail to Anne.Brask@sfgov.org.



On Feb. 7, I mailed (with insurance at a $250 value) a card to

my daughter in New York that included $200 worth of gift cards

and $60 cash. This was mailed from the post office at 22nd

Avenue and Irving Street. The envelope was never received.

I have come to find out that one of the gift cards to Trader

Joe’s was used at a store in Brentwood, CA. The Macy’s gift

card was used to make online purchases.

I filed a report with the postal inspector – a difficult process –

and was told that I can only receive a $15 value for each card.

(All receipts were attached to my complaint.) I was never told at

the post office that the value would equal such a small amount

and not the actual value of $250 for what I insured the envelope.

This experience has been a costly learning experience for

I have always been a strong supporter of the U.S. Postal

Service, rather than seeing it privatized, however, I must say that

my eyes have been opened regarding this. Of course, I do not

have any proof of who stole this envelope but feel the casual attitude

of the staff at 22nd and Irving contributed to this situation.

I want to let my fellow Sunset neighbors know of this situation

and to consider sending valuable mail with a company that will

take ownership of its errors.

– Helene Dorian

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