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