Index
Tuesday
Oct282014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (Bay Area): San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee signature, Airbnb legislation: "Mayor signs law regulating Airbnb -- and that could mean a ballot fight" ....

***Following up on most recent earlier item noted here (San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein -- Airbnb)....

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Mayor signs law regulating Airbnb -- and that could mean a ballot fight" - From the Chronicle:

With two quick strokes of a pen on Monday, Mayor Ed Lee legalized the use of Airbnb and other short-term home rentals in San Francisco, a landmark and perhaps short-lived move in a city weighted by a housing crunch.

Even as Lee — backed by 20 short-term rental hosts and the legislation’s author, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, signed it into the law — protesters being kept at bay by sheriff’s deputies were holding a mock memorial ceremony for the “death of San Francisco’s neighborhoods” outside the mayor’s office door.

Opponents, concerned that precious rental housing will be converted for more lucrative vacation use,  are organizing a ballot initiative to curtail Airbnb rentals drastically in San Francisco. They plan to bring the issue to voters next year, when Lee faces re-election. “We’re definitely going to the ballot in 2015,” said Dale Carlson, a PR professional who joined with housing activist Calvin Welch and former Planning Commissioner Doug Engmann to craft the initiative. “The only question is whether we go with what we have now, or something else.”

Depending on how the measure is crafted, it could earn the support of one of Lee’s most famous backers, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has publicly voiced her disapproval of the legislation Lee signed.

Lee was hustled from the signing ceremony by aides and didn’t take questions from reporters, including a shouted one about Feinstein’s opposition...........................

Tuesday
Oct282014

POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION (Bay Area): Bay Bridge, construction of new eastern span, "monster crane," commentary (Matier & Ross): "$50 million Bay Bridge crane given to builders for free" ....

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "$50 million Bay Bridge crane given to builders for free" - From the Chronicle:

Bay Area commuters paid $50 million for that monster crane that was used to help build the $6.4 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge — only to see it later handed over to the builders for free. Now, it turns out, those same builders are cashing in on it — putting it to work constructing a new taxpayer-funded bridge in New York.

“The optics are hard, but it was the right thing to do,” said Bay Area Toll Authority spokesman Randy Rentschler.

The huge, custom-built Left Coast Lifter, which for years was a fixture on the Oakland side of the span, weighed anchor at the Port of Oakland in December for a 6,000-mile voyage down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal, across the Gulf of Mexico, up the East Coast and into New York Harbor.

The Lifter has been rechristened the I Lift NY super crane and has been put to work on the New Tappan Zee Bridge going up over the Hudson River. For the next three years, it will be used to hoist heavy pieces of the new bridge in place, and then to help dismantle the old Tappan Zee. New York Gov .Andrew Cuomo praised the crane for saving the state money by reducing labor costs and cutting project time. “Any crane that saves the state of New York over a billion dollars, I love,” he said.

Cuomo really should be loving Bay Area toll users who footed the bill for the crane.......................

Tuesday
Oct282014

POLITICS/SPORTS (Bay Area): San Francisco, Proposition F, commentary (Matier & Ross): "Giants watching election with waterfront development in mind" .... :  

* San Francisco Chronicle (Matier & Ross):  "Giants watching election with waterfront development in mind" - From the Chronicle:

The San Francisco Giants aren’t just about building World Series teams — they are also about becoming one of the biggest waterfront real estate empires the city has seen. And that has them keeping a close eye on the scoreboard in the upcoming election.

In the coming months, the Giants will be putting forward a revised plan to transform the parking lots adjacent to AT&T Park into a new neighborhood of offices, shops and condos — the final piece in the multibillion-dollar transformation of China Basin that began when the Giants moved to the area in 2000. While no date has been set to break ground, the project eventually would fill in the gap between the South Beach area and Mission Bay.

   ****

The planned development gives the Giants — just valued at a whopping $1billion by Forbes — a chance to turn the neighborhood into a money-making attraction based on the tens of thousands of fans who visit the ballpark during the year. By bolstering profits, team insiders tell us, they also hope to ensure that they can keep paying rising player contracts — some of which currently top $18million to $25million a year. And unlike baseball’s revenue sharing — which requires teams to toss a percentage of their earnings into the league piggy bank — the Giants get to keep all the development profits for themselves.

The Giants are also playing a bit of defense. It’s the Port of San Francisco that actually owns the team’s parking lot — and when it decided to take bids to develop the property, the Giants needed to act to keep control of the site.

The new development is also a reason the team was not happy about the Golden State Warriors’ plan to move into a new arena up the street at Piers 30-32. Not only did it threaten to steal some of their thunder, the Giants also worried it would further hobble traffic along the Embarcadero and into China Basin.

Add in the fact that a number of the team’s owners. . . .  are themselves in the development business, and the Giants believe they are as capable as anybody of pulling it off. They’ve even hired an in-house development team. . . . . . . .

The jump into San Francisco’s real estate boom is the reason team bosses have their eye on Proposition F, the Nov. 4 measure asking city voters to approve a huge development on the southern waterfront............................

Tuesday
Oct282014

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, nomination of Melba Culpepper to fill slot previously held by Kafi Blumenfield ....

***Mayor Eric Garcetti, nomination of MELBA CULPEPPER to Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners, to fill slot previously held by Kafi Blumenfield....

Tuesday
Oct282014

LOCAL GOVERNMENT (County of Los Angeles): Los Angeles County Fire Deparment: "Investigation: Family Members Beat The Odds In Winning Prized Firefighting Jobs"; also, editorial, "Nepotism is no way to staff a fire department" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Investigation:  Family Members Beat The Odds In Winning Prized Firefighting Jobs" - From the LAT:

Offering six-figure pay and generous benefits, jobs at the Los Angeles County Fire Department are among the most sought-after in the field. Nearly 95% of applicants are turned away.

Department officials say the hiring of firefighters is based purely on merit, with the best candidates selected through an exacting regimen of testing and interviews. But a Times investigation has found that the process favors one particular type of applicant: sons of L.A. County firefighters.

At least 183 sons of current or former firefighters have served on the force since the start of 2012, according to an analysis of payroll, pension, birth, marriage and other records. All told, sons represent nearly 7% of the county's 2,750 firefighters. When brothers, nephews and other relatives are included, at least 370 firefighters — 13% of the department ranks — are related to someone now or previously on the force, The Times found.............................

***ALSO, Related:

* Los Angeles Times (editorial):  "Nepotism is no way to staff a fire department"