Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – Richmond ReView

 Editor:

I just read the Richmond Review article about the lack of recycling buy-back centers in

San Francisco (September, 2017).

 

It’s pretty shameful, the lack of any input in the article from city officials, especially

the SF Department on the Environment. Consumers are screwed out of five and 10 cents,

literally nickeled and dimed. In 1986, the state legislature built a recourse into the bottle

bill, which the City now refuses to honor.

 

Consumers and mom-and-pop neighborhood stores lose due to the cozy relationship

with Recology and the SF Department on the Environment. Pretty shameful.

Gerard Gleason

 

Editor:

Coming next door to you!

 

The SF Planning Commission (PC) will hear two bombshell proposals affecting

residential protection on Thursday, Dec. 7, 1 p.m., Room 400, City Hall.

 

First, PC will adopt citywide Urban Design Guidelines (UDGs) without needing

supervisor approval (sf-planning.org/urban-design-guidelines). The guidelines

incorporate vague criteria to inform development with exceptions to rear- and sideyard

setbacks, light exposure and other requirements per the SF Planning Code. The

UDGs even redefine words: “adjacent” can now mean “near,” so the “good” design

and massing of a building located as far as you can imagine can be inserted into

your block.  The UDGs use “form-based density” to sculpt buildings without adhering

strictly to the Planning Code. They are exempt in only one east side supervisorial district.

 

Second, a package of new citywide “RET” proposals (www.sf-planning.org/residential-

expansion-threshold) to:

1) remove entirely current code demolition protections;

2) apply grossly overinflated-to-reality floor-area-ratio size increases;

3) allow incremental iterative increases for non-code-complying units and buildings;

and,

4) allow all low-density residential zones with Accessory Dwelling Units without open

space or exposure limitations.

 

City zones designated RH-1(D), RH-2 and RH-3 are ripe for fall harvesting with

these demolition and expansion rules, coupled with new Urban Design Guidelines.

 

Send comments to supervisors via secretary@ sfgov.org or to planner Elizabeth

Watty at Elizabeth.Watty@sfgov.org.

Rose Hillson

 

Editor:

An open letter to the residents living in the area surrounding the Palace of the Legion of

Honor Museum: I am writing this letter in order to seek the help of the

residents in the Richmond/Sea Cliff/Lands End area to help solve two issues.

 

On the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 19, a friend and I were visiting the Legion of

Honor around 3 p.m. While we were inside the museum, our rental car was broken

into and my backpack was stolen. Inside the pack were research notes that represented

many hours of hard work.

 

There was nothing in the pack of any monetary value (other than a new pair of

sunglasses and an older pair of reading glasses), but the notes are important for

the book project that I have been working on for more than a year.

 

Equally important, I hope this letter will help to open a dialogue with the staff

at the museum to address the chronic problem of vehicle break-ins in broad

daylight. Perhaps it would be helpful in reducing the incidence of this annoying

crime if a security person were patrolling the parking areas in front of, and adjacent

to, the building.

 

I also contacted the SF Police Department and was directed to a 311 call center.

Apparently the SFPD has more important issues to be concerned about than cars being

broken into.

 

Despite this incident, I still retain my love for your great city, having visited there many

times over my lifetime. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our taxi driver,

Youssef, who helped us look for the pack the following morning when we returned to

conduct a further search.

 

The backpack is black with a small “bull” logo on the front. There are two notebooks

(hopefully) inside, amongst other items. I can be reached by phone or

text at (860) 558-6286.

 

Thank you.

Peter Murphy

Connecticut resident

 

Editor:

This is in response to your commentary in the October 2017 issue of the Richmond

Review. The piece attacked the now approved Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

project, echoing many of the same refrains of the self-proclaimed “non-profit” San

Franciscans for Sensible Transit (SFST), a group which has filed a lawsuit against the

Geary BRT.

 

Replete with hyperbole and sensationalism, the commentary misrepresents the project

and the process involved in its creation. I’d like to set the record straight.

 

The Richmond Review claims the project was “never wanted” and that the

committee responsible for putting the proposition that included BRT on the

ballot in 2005 “recommended proponents avoid the Richmond lest they be asked

about it.” Malarkey. 2005 is a long time ago, but San Francisco passed its last transit-

funding sales tax just before that, in 2003, with nearly 75 percent of the vote.

 

For the entirety of the project’s environmental review, the Richmond District elected pro-

Geary-BRT supervisors in 2004, 2008 and again in 2012.

 

Furthermore, GoGeary, a group advocating for BRT on Geary, has more than 1,200

followers on Facebook, and our http://www.change.org petition supporting the project received

more than 500 signatures. The project was unanimously approved by the SF Board of

Supervisors in its role as the SF County Transportation Authority.

 

What’s more, an “intercept survey” in early 2017 found that “55 percent of those

surveyed arrived at Geary Boulevard by transit, and 35 percent arrived by

walking – a total of 90 percent,” and that a majority of respondents felt red transit lanes

improved bus service.

 

Geary is also “San Francisco’s longest high-injury corridor, with collisions eight times the

city average. In the last five years, there have been 546 injury collisions and three

fatalities within the corridor.” Nonetheless, the Richmond Review feels that gutting the

plan and going with the “no project” design is the way to go.

 

That would entail the construction of only 14 pedestrian curb extensions, or “bulb-outs,”

along Geary, with BRT adding 91 (among other improvements). These make it easier for

pedestrians and drivers to see each other, reduce speeding and shorten the distance to

cross a street. This is critical for vulnerable populations like seniors, who are 15 percent

of the city’s population, but account for 44 percent of traffic fatalities and almost 88

percent of pedestrian fatalities, according to the city’s Vision Zero program.

 

This alone undermines the argument that the need for safety improvements on Geary

could be met with the “no project” plan. I find it insulting that The Richmond Review

feels a token investment is sufficient to save lives.

 

City agencies could do a far better job at outreach, but claims that “public outreach by

Muni has been superficial” and that they “turned protocol for the centuries-old public

hearing into an assault on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution” is

wrong. This is a sensationalistic misrepresentation at best.

 

Among other outreach methods, planners met with 65 groups, held more than 250

meetings and had a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) comprised of members living or

working on or near the Geary corridor. This idea that the project team tried to “pull a

fast one” on the public is preposterous. Even if they were trying to slip something by us,

they did a poor job; I wouldn’t exactly describe a decade-long process as “fast.”

 

Ultimately, the “hybrid” BRT project we have in front of us isn’t a transit “tour de force,”

but it is the long overdue steppingstone we desperately need.

 

The data is clear: traffic and safety are better with BRT than without,

it’s financially within our reach and it brings tangible benefits sooner rather than later.

 

The Richmond Review and “Sensible Transit” need to stop peddling misinformation,

drop the lawsuit and step aside. It’s time to get Geary going.

 

To sign up for updates and to help get Geary going, follow GoGeary at

http://www.gogeary.org or www.facebook.com/GoGeary.

Winston Parsons

Chair of GoGeary and former Geary-BRT Citizen Advisory Committee member

 

Editor:

It is gratifying to know that I am not the only person who has noticed that the streets of

this City seem to have been taken over by construction vehicles and heavy equipment of

every description.

 

It would seem to me that nobody is in charge of, or even cares about, the day-to-day

quality of life on our streets.

 

Whether it is the SFMTA folks, or some other out-of-control city agency, or just rogue

contractors doing quickie new garages or sidewalks or removing trees without bothering

to get permits, construction projects that do not ever seem to stop.

 

Even high rollers who paid multiple millions for their elegant homes are living down the

street from gigantic dumpsters and having to put up with the noise and pollution

generated by projects that never seem to stop.

 

Editor Paul Kozakiewicz’s article about SFMTA, and all of the construction it is doing

because the agency was set up to prevent it from acting for political motives,

was very enlightening.

 

The result is a city whose major arteries are continually unusable because of relentless

construction: all of Van Ness; Masonic Avenue; the outer reaches of Irving Street; and

soon, the inner reaches of Irving. These areas have been continually worked on for

years, and the SFMTA never seems to get around to finally putting down a smooth

asphalt top!

 

I drive a lot in the City, and I drive in a lot of neighborhoods. I have gotten so used to

driving on rough roads that when I encounter a smooth one it comes as

a novelty to me.

 

I have at least twice called the 311 complaint line about the excessive

spewing of toxic materials and totally unbearable noise. I plan to donate some money

to the Sensible Transit folks. Pacific Heights or the Outer Sunset, we all deserve what

used to be called the “quiet enjoyment” of our homes and neighborhoods.

Name withheld by request

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