San Francisco Waterfront Alliance’s simple goals: transparent, fair, and thoughtful process
|April 21, 2013||Posted by jamie under Activism, Piers 30-32, Warriors Arena||
The wolf is in the hen house, but residents can unite to muzzle the wolf a little by joining the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance. The Alliance have pretty noble and seemingly simple goals that City employees should embrace: “fighting for a fair process where all the facts are known and all voices will be heard.” Agree with that simple goal? Please go endorse their group on this web page right now.
The problem is that since the Willie Brown administration, San Francisco City government has been doing its best to use public relations professionals and other alliances to make everything seem just fine even when honest evaluations indicate everything is not fine.
Recent revelations that the City and County of San Francisco’s employees who should be looking out for the best interests of the residents of our great city failed us again by allowing the America’s Cup Organizing Committee (ACOC) to agree to “endeavor” to raise money instead of commit to pay the City’s costs for transportation, public safety, trash pick-up, and so on has fueled more distrust among residents of our City government. Such incompetence by City employees will cost us taxpayers about $8 to $10 million in other needed services (reference: L.A. Times article from March 29, 2013, San Francisco all wet in regatta deal). With the reminder of terrorism in Boston fresh in our minds, these costs may go up significantly for the City’s taxpayers. Why should the City taxpayers subsidize a boat race by billionaires? And now we have the Warriors Arena proposal …
Combine the financial resources of billionaires proposing projects, the strings that political lobbyists influence over our elected politicians at the local and state levels, one of our local newspapers more interested in upzoning of their properties for real estate deals to come instead of fixing a dying newspaper, building trades labor unions that only care about next week’s job opportunities and not about murdering residents with the ill health effects of the projects they’re building, and non-profits that find themselves willing to sell out their principles of social justice as long as they’re only selling out people who they don’t know, and you have a very stacked deck against residents of San Francisco who naively think that the City government is looking out for the best interests of the people of San Francisco.
The San Francisco Waterfront Alliance has the following goals on their website:
- Stop the shortcuts. Developers and the city are rushing the process, conducting an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) while changing the project behind closed doors. We believe the city should reformulate the schedule, including a restarted EIR process with new public comment, and provide adequate time for the Citizens Advisory Committee, local and regional regulatory bodies, the Board of Supervisors and the public to understand all the facts and impacts of this project before making a decision.
- Protect the Bay. Right now, the developer is pursuing state legislation to remove Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and the State Lands Commission — both well-respected Bay watchdogs — from the approval process. This legislation must be withdrawn or defeated or the developers will have a blank check to do whatever they want to the Bay and the waterfront.
- Erect story poles so the public can see the true mass of the project. Instead of changing drawings behind closed doors, the developer should erect story poles so that San Franciscans can see the true mass of the private parking garage and basketball arena to be built right in our Bay.
- Reduce or eliminate the $120 million gift of public funds to developers. The current plan calls for San Francisco to subsidize the project by up to $120 million – including paying an exorbitant 13% rate of interest to billionaire developers. This subsidy must be reduced or eliminated.
- Explore alternative sites. Instead of asking the developers to review alternative sites that are not on the waterfront, the City has embraced building this massive structure on the Bay and refused to disclose what other sites might be considered. The Board of Supervisors should hold hearings to determine whether there are other viable sites that require less taxpayer subsidy, have less negative impact on transit, and don’t hurt our environment.
- Determine the real transit impacts before approval. The City, MTA, Caltrans and BART have yet to disclose what the real impacts of this development will be on MUNI, BART, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The Board of Supervisors, sitting as the SF Transportation Authority, should immediately begin hearings to determine the real costs of this development to our transportation systems – to ensure transportation and transit costs of serving the entertainment complex are identified now and payment by the developer is guaranteed in the term-sheet.
- Give SF residents an independent process. The official voice of citizens on this project is the Citizens Advisory Committee. Yet, they have been denied the funding to hire their own transportation and financial experts. The developer should be required to fund independent experts for the CAC, so they don’t have to rely only on information supplied by the developer.
The next public meeting related to the Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 project is the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee meeting on May 6, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Keep an eye on their agenda for the May 6, 2013 meeting date when it comes out 3 or so days beforehand for any changes to the time and for the room location as their meeting room varies from room 250 to 263 depending on the anticipated interest in the agenda topics (crowd size). There is also a Piers 30-32 Citizens Advisory Committee that is planning to meet on that same date, Monday, May 6, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at The Port of San Francisco’s offices at Pier 1, but also check their website a few days beforehand to confirm as one could get whiplash trying to plan their calendar around the moving menagerie of meeting dates related to this arena project proposal.