Forest Hills Clubhouse

News And Views from the West of Twin Peaks Central Council

Stephen Martin-Pinto, Secretary

The meeting of January 2020 for the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a robust turnout, with 18 people in attendance. President Mark Scardina opened the meeting at 7:35 and a roll call was made verifying a quorum.

President Mark Scardina
Scardina started the officers’ reports by giving a short president’s report, detailing that a letter was sent to Supervisor Yee confirming the WOTPCC’s opposition to the Edgehill Way project, which was voted on last month. The proposed project is 5 houses at Kensington and Vasquez. The SFPD Park Station has a new Captain and Scardina has been trying to have someone from the station speak to the attendees, but so far, no one has been scheduled. The president asked the attendees to consider volunteering to assist with the WOTPCC website in 2020, with a commitment of 20-30 minutes per month. The council has received the application from the Sherwood Forest Association (with a payment) and a vote will be held next month. Finally, he addressed the fact that several people are running for District 7 supervisor and he asked that candidates not “wear their campaigning hat” while attending meetings at the WOTPCC or doing business with the council.

Treasurer Carolyn Squeri gave the financial report. The organization has $5598.43 in the account and 2020 dues statements have been sent out. Any organization that does not pay by June loses its voting privileges until the account has been cleared.

George Wooding gave a public health update on the Coronavirus, explaining that all U.S. personnel have been evacuated from Wuhan and are being routed through Alaska, then to Ontario in SoCal. He stressed that everyone should treat this the same way as the flu virus; wash hands often and stay home if ill. The virus seems to be similar to the SARS virus in 2002 where approximately 800 people died worldwide.

No reports were given by the Secretary, or Open Space committees.

Stephen Martin-Pinto, Secretary

Stephen Martin-Pinto represented the WOTPCC at the SF Policy Advisory meeting to discuss the Downtown Congestion Pricing Study by the SFCTA, the county transit authority. Basically, the SFCTA is looking at a plan to create a downtown sector (yet to be designated) where vehicles will have to pay a toll when entering the core area. There are many questions such as where will the core be and how will tolls be collected, and the fact that currently collecting tolls on public streets is prohibited by State Law. This will require additional meetings and will not be a quick process. It is not known how local businesses and the Governor and Legislature feel about supporting this idea.

A discussion on modifications to SB50 was next describing the concessions made such as local government “local flexibility plans” where local control can be planned, but still will have to be approved by Sacramento. No local plan could preclude the building of 4 units in each single-family zoned lot. This would basically eliminate single family parcel zoning. There would be no CEQA or conditional use hearings as well. (As of this writing, SB50 failed to be passed and is dead for this year.)

Joel Engardio spoke on an upcoming “Judges Forum” event that his organization “StopCrime SF” is sponsoring on February 5 where the 6 judicial candidates will be addressing the attendees in panels of 2at a time, not all 6 at a table. He asked if the WOTPCC would consider a sponsorship in the amount of $50. The sponsorship was voted on and approved.

Scardina next spoke on future possible agenda items: having the new District Attorney speak at the February meeting; a participatory budgeting discussion; the CCSF fiscal issues with a $800M bond measure.

Finally, Publisher Mitch Bull announced to the delegates that the Westside Observer will be ending its print run in 1-2 months and will be an online-only distributor of neighborhood news.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 pm

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, February 24 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

February 2020

February 2020

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council held their October meeting on Monday, October 28. The meeting centered on discussions of future planning and land use, with future ideas of Westside development as well as a glimpse of the future of Stonestown Galleria thrown in as well.

President Mark Scardina opened the meeting at 7:35PM. Following the roll call and attaining a quorum, he gave his President’s Report. He reported that the Sherwood Forest HOA group is in the process of submitting an application to join the WOTPCC. He also reminded the delegates that his recent request for contact information for officers of individual associations should include telephone numbers and email addresses as well as named representatives to the WOTPCC.

the Plan is generally to accommodate population growth in existing urbanized areas without sprawling further outward or developing greenfield open spaces and agricultural lands…

There was no Vice President’s report or Treasurer’s report, as Dena Aslanian-Williams and Carolyn Squeri were not in attendance. George Wooding (Public Health) informed delegates that Mayor Breed and Supervisors Haney and Ronen were unable to compromise on their plans for improving Mental Health within the City, so they are placing competing ballot measures on the November ballot with the measure receiving the highest number of votes becoming law.

President Scardina alerted the group that he had reached out to the SFPD brass at the Park Station in District 4 with an invite to the meeting, but had not received a response for this month. He will continue to follow up.

Joshua Switzky
Joshua Switzky, SF Planning Dept.

The first guest speaker of the evening was Joshua Switzky, of the SF Planning Department, who gave a presentation on Plan Bay Area, and “priority” based planning.

Plan Bay Area is a long-range (30-year) regional plan for the 9-county Bay Area adopted by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), and the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) that is required to meet state and federal laws and must be updated every four years. The plan must comply with Senate Bill (SB) 375, which mandates a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) that achieves state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction targets by linking land use to transportation. The plan must accommodate all projected housing growth in the region for projected increases in jobs and population. The basic premise of the Plan is generally to accommodate population growth in existing urbanized areas without sprawling further outward or developing greenfield open spaces and agricultural lands, while meeting objectives for equity, environmental resiliency and mobility. The Plan framework focuses on three designations: Priority Development Areas (PDAs), Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs), and Priority Production Areas (PPAs). These plans and are created and nominated by local governments in an effort to receive grants for transportation and infrastructure that are tied to transit corridor upgrades to spur transit-oriented development sites.

The Plan for San Francisco will be submitted through planning and approved by the SF Board of Supervisors to be submitted to Regional Planners by January 15, 2020. The designations of the PDAs. PCAs, and PPAs, are voluntary and are an incentive-based program that makes the areas depicted eligible for grants and infrastructure support.

The designation of sites as PDAs do not override local control, land-use control, or zoning plans, and does not mandate any particular use outcome. The Plan is non-binding, and does not force the City to adopt any particular zoning controls or growth populations by area.

The Plan also does not require similar treatment of all areas within a PDA, or across PDAs. An association can define a plan based on zoning, geography, and controls that make sense on a local basis.

Switzky showed a draft new PDA concept showing housing growth across all districts, including the Sunset, Richmond, and Marina districts, based on transit lines. The draft is non-binding. The plan has to be submitted to the regional authorities by 1/15/2020.

Jen Low, representing Norman Yee’s office, spoke next about ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units) and stated that the City Attorney has stated that the office will not defend “Private Right of Actions” against HOA’s, as it is not clear how CID’s differ from HOA’s.

Reuel Daniels
Reuel Daniels, Brookfield Development

Reuel Daniels, from Brookfield Development, spoke next, with a presentation on possible development items on the Stonestown Galleria site, as Brookfield has purchased the site from General Growth Properties and Forest City Development. She detailed how this is the first meeting in a long process of having public discussions with community stakeholders on what people would like to have happen to the Stonestown Galleria property, as related to both retail and possible future housing development. Daniels shared that the site formerly occupied by Macy’s will be multi-level with a plan for Sports Basement on the lower level, Whole Foods Market on the main (street) level and a

Regal 11-screen movie theatre on the upper level. In the recently vacated Nordstrom space, they are planning for a new Target store, as well as other tenants to fill the space. She explained that the entitlement process could take up to 5-years to complete.

George Wooding and Mark Scardina led a short discussion on a Planning and Land Use Update, stating that much must be done to help implement a plan of action from those on the Westside. Their idea is that the plan needs to come from the “bottom up” and not from the top-down methods of the planning department. They stated that a zoning plan needs to be in cement.

Scadina asked about “Future Agenda Items” and was greeted with those who would like to invite those doing the Kensington Development. Other ideas were the head of the Youth Guidance Center (slated to be closed); the possibility of a Navigation Center coming to the Westside, the rollout of 5G network capability throughout SF, and a discussion of the most-recent scandal involving patient abuse at Laguna Honda.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, November 25 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. More information www.westoftwinpeaks.org.

November 2019

Mark Scardina
President Scardina explains the various land use bills facing the Senate

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council kicked off their 2019-2020 session in September with a meeting packed with robust discussions of land use, the myriad of Assembly and Senate bills on housing, a crime report from the Taraval station and a discussion of a proposal to build 5-6 very large houses on slide-prone Edgehill Mountain above Kensington Drive.

President Mark Scardina opened the meeting at 7:35. and following the roll call and attaining a quorum invited two members of the SFPD’s Taraval Station up to give the delegates and attendees a quick report.

Officers
Officers from the Taraval Station had good crime statistic news and some not so much

The two SFPD officers gave the delegates a snapshot of the crime statistics (year over year) from September 2018 to 2019 (at the Taraval Station). As of September 11, robberies are down 12%, burglaries are down 39%, while motor vehicle thefts are flat to last year, and motor vehicle robberies are up 9%. The officers stated that most of the vehicle thefts and robberies occur at the Stonestown Mall, with rental cars being targeted over 90% of the time.

Carolyn Squeri reported that the numbers could be a little skewed as it is very difficult to report a vehicle robbery, as there have been “more than a few” smash and grabs in cars in St. Francis Wood. The officers said that the SFPD doesn’t take reports over the phone. but welcome online reporting, coming in person to the Taraval station, or having an officer come out for an investigation. The officers feel that 3 or 4 “boost crews” are responsible for 99% of the break-ins.

Bridget Chernin also spoke to the officers about homeless people breaking her irrigation water faucet trying to get water, and leaving feces in her back yard, and also noted that dispatch didn’t feel it could be investigated. The Taraval Officers said that if a citizen doesn’t like the answers they are getting from dispatch, they can always ask for a higher up. The website for online reporting is: www.sanfranciscopolice.org. It was also noted that the staffing for the SFPD is still below the targeted staffing numbers as recent academy graduates only offset the number of officers retiring out of the force. The officers estimated that the SFPD is down probably 300 officers from the guidelines. They said it is not only an issue in SF, but all across California.

The next discussion was a presentation by WOTPCC President Mark Scardina about the language and impacts of the five State Senate and Assembly bills (regarding land use and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) that have been signed or are awaiting signature by the Governor.

AB670 was signed into law on 8/30/19 and has language that appears to make rules and regulations set by communities and groups such as HOAs null and void. The question is whether the CCRs that have been in place for 100+ years are now unenforceable and voided by this new legislation. It is an important issue, as these pieces of legislation achieve the “rezoning” of California across the board, especially in areas that are currently RH1 and RH2 zoned. Someone asked, “Do these new laws represent eminent domain and the taking for value from homeowners?” These laws allow ADU’s on almost any parcel as long as the ADU is under 50% of the square footage of the owner-occupied home up to 1,200 square feet. One piece of legislation also allows for the “main” house on the lot to NOT be owner-occupied when applying for an ADU permit.

The discussion also focused on the future plight of Westside seniors, who make up a large percentage of the population of SF, but have no developed “single-story” type of senior apartments for those who may not need “assisted living”, but are possibly in a large multi-story home with challenges such as stairs and mobility.

Matt Chamberlain followed with a recap of the 1997 landslide on Edgehill Mountain and the instability of the soil on the slopes. He brought everyone up to date on the new proposal by a developer to build 6 houses on the slope where Kensington meets Vasquez. The houses, planned to be up to 4,500 square feet in size, would require a very large amount of excavation and very large pilings and foundations to be installed to try and stabilize the hillside under the houses.

The Planning Commission is having a preliminary permitting meeting on September 26 at 4 pm at the SF Planning Department (1650 Mission Street, Suite 400) to discuss the project. It is hoped that a large turnout of concerned residents will attend the meeting to voice their concerns about this project.

WOTPCC Vice-President Dena Aslanian-Williams informed the delegates of a new law that requires owners of 3 unit (or larger) parcels to send a letter to and notify SF qualified housing non-profit organizations of any intention to sell property. The nonprofits have 3 days to respond and 28 days to complete financing for purchasing the property. This legislation gives the non-profits an early-leg up on the general public.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, October 28 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

October 2019

After housekeeping items, Roll Call, Quorum Declaration and Approval of Minutes were out of the way, the meeting proceeded with Officers Reports.

President Mark Scardina announced convening of the Nominations Committee to Nominate Officers for election at the June meeting. He also reported that he had been participating in the Mayor’s housing bond effort with special emphasis on housing density in the transit corridors.

Treasurer Carolyn Squieri reported that the Council has $6,729.18 in the bank, but that the invoice for insurance had not yet been received.

In the first item of the Committee Reports President Scardina said the Land-Use Committee is in the process of organization, and he called on any members who are interested to contact him, and you don’t have to be a delegate to be a member.

Barbara Chionsine of the Public Safety Committee reported concern about problems on Lake Merced Blvd. with campers, and that some homes in the area had been broken into. Another concern is that the City may be looking at the Circle at the end of Sunset Blvd. as a possible location for a navigation center. Other delegates thought they were looking at Junipero Serra at Ocean. Also disputed was the City’s count of 81 homeless in the campers.

George Wooding, speaking for the Health Committee, cautioned that Mayor London Breed is contemplating a ballot measure that would allow affordable housing on any public land not already designated as a park. (Possibly Laguna Honda campus or the Youth Guidance Center?)Dom-i-city plan

Eugene Lew, AIA Emeritus presented his Dom-i-City plans for compact Senior and moderate and middle-income housing along transit corridors. “We need another kind of housing. A single family home on its own individual lot simply can’t be built because there is a need for much more housing, and yet there is no land available, and high-rises are not suitable for neighborhoods.” He proposed and has preliminary drawings for 4-6 story buildings with 3-4 bedrooms each, as well as 2 baths in a 1200-1400 sq. ft. area. Much like buildings that are common in Paris, his proposal has met with considerable enthusiasm.

Tom DoudietTom Doudiet, SF Firefighter, Ret. addressed the fire preparation for an earthquake on the west side of town. His assessment is that we are woefully unprepared should an earthquake similar to the 7.9 1906 quake occur. “We have little to no way to fight multiple fires should they spring up on the west side.” Those little white fireplugs common on every block would be essentially useless as they are connected to the domestic water main. In multiple emergencies, these hydrants, which serve 260,000 residents, would be tapped out, and it is likely that tens of thousands of their service connections would break, rendering them all but useless. The less common red-top high pressure hydrants of the Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS) are fed from the Twin Peaks Reservoir, two salt water pump stations and fireboats. Installed over 100 years ago, they were chiefly installed in populated areas of the City at that time. As the population has shifted west and south, there are few in the Richmond, Sunset, and Bayview, which have hundreds of blocks of wood-frame houses. See a video of his presentation at CSFN.

… red-top high pressure hydrants … were chiefly installed in populated areas of the City at that time. As the population has shifted west and south, there are few in the Richmond, Sunset, and Bayview, which have hundreds of blocks of wood-frame houses.”

In 2010 and 2014 voters were sold bonds that, they were told, would expand the high-pressure system to all neighborhoods. Improvements were made to the system, but there was no extension. Now we are told that a new bond will be forthcoming in 2020. Hope you’re not holding your breath.

In 2016, not only did we not get the promised expansion, but the SFPUC announced a plan to auction the pipes and parts that were likely to be used for the expansion. On questioning, water and fire officials explained that, miraculously, we no longer need to do the expansion, because they bought high-capacity hoses instead, and they can be ferried around on flatbed trucks. This leads to more questions: where was the manpower to drive the flatbed trucks around? Where would the hoses be kept? Where would the flatbeds be parked? The plan was abandoned.

Doudiet recapped several subsequent plans, each less satisfactory than the first, for which we don’t have room to recount.

He recommends, however, if you do nothing else, read Sally Stephens article in the SF Examiner.

A third speaker, Ashley Murray from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, was not available, so some housekeeping items proceeded.

The Membership Committee encouraged accepting Mt. Davidson Manor as a new member of the WOTPCC. By unanimous consent it was affirmed.

Future agenda item requests included: extending the Auxilliary Water system, review upcoming bond measures on the November ballot, homeless and Navigation Center plans, conservatorship, a DA election forum, new fire chief, and closed psych wards.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, June 24th at 7:30 pm at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

JUNE 2019

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council in April featured a light turnout, with the lovely weather dampening the attendance figures. President Mark Scardina set the agenda to focus on the local $500,000,000 Housing Bond Measure set for the November ballot; discussion on Senator Wiener’s SB50 legislation; a presentation from Clean Power SF, and a discussion centering on the newly proposed criteria for membership for homeowner groups within the WOTPCC.

Opening the meeting at 7:35 PM, Scardina also took the roll, as Secretary Davis Golden was absent. With 12 delegates of the 20 attendees, a quorum was reached and the minutes from the March meeting were approved. Treasurer Carolyn Squeri was also not in attendance at the meeting so there was not a treasurer’s report.

Scardina started the officer’s reports by giving a short president’s report, detailing items on which he has been following up. He started by reporting that he had attended a Supervisor’s Session, 4 Bond Committee hearings, and the WOTPCC subcommittee that is revising the eligibility and membership processes for associations wishing to join the WOTPCC.

He also asked for feedback from the delegates on the issues regarding secondary units (ADU’s) and short-term rentals (STR’s). The general feeling was that since these are not allowed under some neighborhood organizations CC&R’s, really no one is doing much investigation into them, and there has not been a recognized push against the regulations. As there are several pieces of legislation in Sacramento that would “legalize” and greatly expand ADU’s throughout the state, this is a topic that will continue to be debated and questioned at the HOAs and WOTPCC. Will state law override local ordinances and CC&R’s?

Norman Yee
Board President Norman Yee
More information was next presented by President of the Board of Supervisors and District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee. He opened his discussion by addressing the land use issues and the “direction of SF” within (last year’s) SB827 and the current revised legislation, SB50.

He posed the question of “How does the legislation affect the neighborhoods?” Members of the Board of Supervisors have opposed SB50 through a resolution but have not detailed why they oppose it and what amendments and changes would be acceptable to them. Yee would like to see a consortium of neighborhood groups also give feedback on what amendments would make legislation such as SB50 more acceptable, as he believes that some sort of SB50 derivative will be approved by the legislature. It is also his opinion that a state law such as SB50 would over-ride city ordinances as well as CC&R’s. Yee said that the full Board of Supervisors is not hearing from enough neighborhood groups on these types of legislation (including the ADU legislation) and that an organized effort may be needed. As it is today, there is not an existing Westside area plan for development. It’s catch as catch can.

The Board President also spoke about the issues with creating huge amounts of housing without the infrastructure in place to support the growth. The infrastructure question is not being discussed in Sacramento. A question was asked whether City Attorney Dennis Herrera is looking into the “state vs local control” issue. Yee stated that he did not know at this time.

Next, President Mark Scardina and George Wooding discussed the proposed $500,000,000 housing bond measure slated for the November ballot. Both Scardina and Wooding sat on 4 committees looking at: Public / Low-income housing; Middle income housing; Preserving housing; and Senior Housing. Wooding spoke on the problems of having an Annual Median Income base that is a combination of citizens in San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties. Different sections and neighborhoods within SF have large differences in AMI, and this results in a family of 4 making an income of $80,000 to $140,000 being designated as “poor’, but not qualifying for housing programs.

Scardina shared that he sat on middle-income and senior housing committees, and ideas discussed included down payment loan programs, and teacher housing programs. He also reminded everyone that the monies from the proposed bond measure can only be used for capital projects and expenditures.

He also spoke of a need for a “Sustainability of Income” program to prevent gentrification of units housing under 25 people, and suggested a plan of pre-approved types of generic projects housing 5-15 units that could be placed within transit corridors. Such pre-approval could cut the time frames and costs for developers to build housing.

Senior housing was discussed across all of the housing sectors, as seniors can be in all classes: low-income, middle income, and those that are existing in a “house-rich/ cash poor” situation. He detailed that there are virtually NO senior-citizen based housing alternatives West of Twin Peaks. In addition, there are no non-profit developers in the West of Twin Peaks areas either. He concluded by speaking of the “Dom-i-city” program.

Jackie Randazzo from CleanPowerSF
Jackie Randazzo from CleanPowerSF
Jackie Randazzo, of the SFPUC, spoke next on the PUC’s CleanPowerSF program, a CCA program that gives citizens an alternative to purchasing electricity from an investor-owned utility (in our case, PG&E). The program is an “opt-out” program that can allow residents to purchase power that is generated using 40% renewable sources, super-green power using 100% renewable sources (at a premium price), or to “opt-out” and purchase your power from PG&E, as has been done in the past. (PG&E’s power is from approximately 39% renewable sources), per the presentation. Each citizen is required to receive 4 postcards from CleanPowerSF during the sign-up phase of the program. You are automatically enrolled in the program but can “opt-out” if desired.

For additional information visit the website: CleanPowerSF@sfwater.org.

The next discussion focused on a set of proposed Eligibility and Membership Requirements for new HOAs wishing to join the WOTPCC. The delegates deliberated the new procedural process and after discussion voted to approve the new eligibility requirements and the process. The measure passed with a single vote against the adoption of the new requirements.

To close the evening, Scardina and the delegates discussed items to be added to future agendas: a Participatory Budgeting recap; having the SFPUC and SFPD address the issue surrounding the AWSS system; getting more information about the “Dom-i-city” project; a discussion of the proposed Board of Supervisors effort to close the JUVI facility; and a presentation and discussion on what is happening regarding the Cow Palace.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, May 20 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Please note that it is a week earlier due to the Memorial Day holiday. INFO: www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

MAY 2019

The meeting of March 2019 for the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a light turnout, with the rain dampening the attendance figures. President Mark Scardina set the agenda to focus on the changes coming to the Sutro Tower and a review of the Mayor’s Budget outreach meeting for Districts 4 and 7.

Opening the meeting at 7:35 PM, Scardina turned the meeting over to Secretary David Golden, who took the roll. A quorum was reached as a total of 12 of the potential 20 delegates were in attendance.

Scardina started the officers’ reports by giving a short President’s report, detailing items that he has been following up on. He started by reporting that he had sent letters to members of the State Assembly and State Senate regarding the WOTPCC opposition to SB50 proposed by Senator Weiner. A letter was also sent by the President to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on behalf of the WOTPCC requesting a public hearing on SB50 as well. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s staff responded with a SF Planning department presentation on how SB50 would impact San Francisco. Scardina also reported that he was invited by Mayor Breed to join a committee to discuss a proposed $300,000,000 Bond Measure for the November ballot. He has not decided on serving on the committee as of March 25. His final announcement was to speak about the WOTPCC process for adding or admitting a new homeowners’ group. As it stands today, the by-laws are a little loose on this, with the process being handled in an ad-hoc type of process. Scardina said that he would like to put together a subcommittee to hammer out a more formalized procedure and process for adding new members to the WOTPCC. Mt. Davidson Manor homeowners have reached out to request admittance to the WOTPCC. Dave Bisho, Matt Chamberlain and several others agreed to be on the committee to draft a new procedure.

Treasurer Carolyn Squeri reported that the WOTPCC has $6827.38 in the bank account. David Golden asked for approval of the February minutes as prepared by Matt Chamberlain. The minutes were approved in a unanimous manner.

George Wooding stated that he too was asked to serve on the Mayor’s Housing Subcommittee. It was also stated that the WOTPCC reach out to Supervisor Gordon Mar (D4) to have him speak on his stance against SB50 and the alternatives that he has proposed. Wooding also informed the delegates about a planned 2 ½% cut to the budget of the SF Department of Public Health. He feels that the budget trimming will result in large layoffs within the department.

The planned attendance of new Taraval station Captain Rainsford was again postponed as he was a no-show at the meeting. Scardina said that the group would reach out to the other local stations to report on the SFPD status in upcoming months.

Sutro TowerPlanned changes to Sutro Tower was the next topic on the agenda and Eric Dausman, VP and COO of Sutro Tower, Inc. and Dave Hyams, PR Manager filled in the attendees on both the history of the tower and planned changes that will be started this year if approved by the SF Planning Department.

Television reception came to the city in 1949 with the first antenna being constructed at the site of a Sutro mansion by KGO. The antenna measured 508 feet tall in elevation. Even at that height the antenna was performing optimally, and plans were laid for a new tower. 24 years later the Sutro Tower replaced the KGO antenna, soaring 977 feet into the air.

Today, the tower supports antennas for 50 television stations and 249 other antennas that support radio stations, ambulances and other first responder services, public agencies, city agencies, state agencies, the FBI and other public and private companies. Oversight is provided by the FCC and the SF Dept. of Building Inspections regulates it. Any changes to the tower must be approved by the SF Planning Department.

Hyams explained that, not unlike the Golden Gate Bridge, the tower has to be maintained on a constant and continuous basis. RF Emissions are regulated by the FCC and Department of Public Health. The tower never exceeds 1/5 of the permissible level of emissions, which are measured regularly at over 200 local points throughout the Westside of the city.

Over the past several years, the US Congress has authorized the FCC to move 30% of the TV bandwidth spectrum to wireless communication companies. The spectrum locations were sold via auction. Effective in 2019-2020 this “repack” program will require the installation of 9 new TV antennas. This is one of the projects up for approval at the Planning Department. The second new project is one that will improve the tower’s wind standard. The tower was originally designed to withstand 50 mile per hour winds, but the new code is to withstand 100 mile per hour winds.

To achieve this were two options considered: Option 1 involves the removal of 1500 “non-structural siding panels”, creating an “open truss” look for the legs of the tower. This would save an estimated 40000 pounds and take one year to accomplish. Option 2 involves the removal of the siding panels, then replacing them with a much heavier version. This would add 30000 pounds in addition to what is there currently and would take approximately 3 years. The plan now is to remove the non-structural panels and have the steel painted in its familiar red and white configuration. For more information on the tower, visit the website: SutroTower.com.

Next, Scardina and VP Dena Ashlanian-Williams spoke on the Mayor’s District 4 and 7 Budget Planning Meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to provide the Mayor with feedback from citizens on items they think are important.

The meeting was attended by HOAs, school representatives, merchants, and other interested parties, as well as department heads from many of the city agencies. Both Scardina and Williams felt the Mayor actively engaged the groups on topics such as public safety, housing (the Mayor is in support of SB50), transportation issues, and the issues that district merchants are facing with homeless issues. The Mayor spoke on having a Navigation Center to help this issue, but it was not received warmly by the attendees.

The discussion also focused on the problems with the green scaping on both Sunset Blvd. and Junipero Serra Blvd. and DPW Director Nuru has promised to have these areas redone. One problem is that the city has had budget for plants, but not for planting them, so that volunteers were recruited to do the landscape work. Often times, the types of plants selected, and the quality of the work was not of a good standard. In the future the Sunset Blvd. greenway will be connected to the irrigation system for Golden Gate Park.

The last topic of the evening was a discussion led by Scardina on a pooling of information and resources regarding Short-term rentals (STRs) and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). He asked for a show of hands from delegates whose Home Owners Associations prohibit these types of units through written and enforced Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions. He mentioned how the city is taking a non-enforcement position in these areas, even actively supporting and encouraging ADUs. He feels it is important to have the member HOAs of the WOTPCC share their information on their individual CC&Rs so that they can create an overall method to fight ADUs and STRs. The delegates voiced their support to share documents and to form committee to examine ways in which they can enforce the CCRs. (Of course, it is rumored that if SB50 passes, all CCRs could become null and void.)

To close the evening, Scardina and the delegates discussed items to be added to future agendas. Clean Power SF; a Participatory Budgeting Recap; reviewing a new challenge to Costa-Hawkins; and an update from D4 Supervisor Gordon Mar were all discussed.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, April 22 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. More information at www.westoftwinpeaks.org.

April 2019

The meeting of February 2019 for the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a robust turnout, with over 20 people in attendance. President Mark Scardina set the agenda to focus on the push for housing from Sacramento and what it could mean for the neighborhoods in western SF (and California).

Opening the meeting at 7:35 PM, Scardina turned the meeting over to Matt Chamberlain, who took the roll. A quorum was reached as a total of 11 of the potential 20 delegates were in attendance.

Scardina started the officers’ reports by giving a short president’s report. There were no other officer’s reports and George Wooding gave a short report on public health.

The planned attendance of new Taraval station Captain Rainsford was postponed as he was off-site responding to an active shooting incident within the district. (As reported by the President of the SF Board of Supervisors, District 7’s own Norman Yee.)

Scardina next called for the assembled delegates to discuss and vote on three proposed changes to the WOTPCC by-laws. The first revision deals with the ability to amend the by-laws to allow for the use of having a meeting and vote via “speakerphone” rather than in-person (if an attempt was made to have an “in-person” meeting but a quorum could not be reached and the timing of an alternative meeting was necessary due to a “vote” on an item or position that cannot wait until the next scheduled meeting. The “voice conference” type of meeting would still allow for discussion and discourse prior to any binding vote. A motion was made to adopt this change. It was seconded and unanimously approved.

The second revision addresses defining a quorum, and how abstentions are counted. This change would disqualify delegates that are abstaining from a prospective vote from counting towards a quorum. A binding vote would be accepted by a vote of the remaining delegates, as long as a quorum remained. This revision also passed unanimously.

The third revision clarifies the voting privileges of member organizations and defined when membership action needs to occur to define the ability of a delegate to be allowed to vote on issues brought before the WOTPCC. The revision states that member organizations who fail to pay dues in a timely fashion for 3 consecutive months, or whose member misses three consecutive meetings, shall be considered not in “good standing” with the organization. A member organization may be reinstated by having its representative attend three consecutive meetings, with membership being reinstated on the event of the 3rd meeting, or by bringing its dues up to date. It was unanimously approved.

The housing crisis/dilemma next took center stage with speakers from both sides of the SB50 legislation addressing the gist of the new legislation and how it would affect San Francisco and the state as a whole.

Todd David
Todd David, SFHAC
Todd David of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition represented the “pro -SB50” side of the discussion and gave an account of how this would affect (an estimated 96%) of parcels in San Francisco. He went on to detail the heights of buildings in the transit zones would be allowed to be 45-55 feet, and with a density bonus for affordable housing and smaller units, the height can rise to 75 feet. He went into detail with numbers showing that SF has only built an average of 1800 units per year for the last 30 years, when an average of 5000 units per year are needed to keep pricing and the housing market stable.

Dennis Richards
Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards
Dennis Richards, a member of the SF Planning Commission, agreed with much of what Todd had said regarding the numbers, but showed photos and drawings of what a 75’ tall structure would look like next to a single-family home. He agrees that there is a crisis but is concerned that bills such as SB50 and the Housing Accountability Act will together create an environment where local jurisdictions (like SF Planning) will have virtually no method to turn down any project that meets the guidelines of the legislation. He is against the “one size fits all communities” approach that Sacramento is forcing the cities to accept. For that reason, he is against SB50.

Lee Hepner from Supervisor Aaron Peskin's Office
The next speaker was an aide from Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s office. Lee Hepner spoke on a piece of legislation that the supervisor has introduced, the Housing Preservation Act, that would discourage the wholesale demolition of single-family homes and smaller units to build multi-story units on small lots or to construct large multi-tenant buildings in the middle of neighborhoods.

Following the presentations from the speakers, Dave Bisho made a motion for the WOTPCC to prepare a letter stating that the WOTPCC strongly opposes SB50 and its attempt to eliminate zoning laws, local land use, height restrictions and the value of private property. After discussion on the large number of people who should receive it, the motion was seconded and unanimously approved. President Scardina will prepare a draft and distribute it to the delegates before sending it to the many intended recipients. A second motion was made to contact Supervisor (and Board President) Norman Yee asking him to conduct a hearing on SB50. It also passed unanimously.

Scardina then went over several topics to gauge interest for future agendas. Topics such as: Changes to Sutro Tower; Candidates for the S.F. District Attorney race; an update on Short-term rentals and an update from Mayor Breed’s Policy Transition Team. All were given favorable responses by the attendees. A topic regarding neighborhood issues with the Outside Lands concert did not generate enough interest to be added to the list for a future agenda.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, March 25 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

March 2019

Police Officers Report
SFPD presented an update on public safety issues in the district
The February, and first, meeting of 2019 for the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a robust turnout, with over 28 people in attendance. President Mark Scardina set the agenda to focus on community, including law enforcement reports, an overview of current state government-driven housing plans, and a recap of district 7 results in the local and statewide 2018 election.

Opening the meeting at 7:40 pm, Scardina turned the meeting over to Secretary David Golden, who took the roll. A quorum was reached as a total of 15 of the potential 20 delegates were in attendance.

Scardina started the officers’ reports with items the delegates can expect for 2019, detailing that 2 weeks prior to meetings a preview of agenda items will be available. There will always be an available time slot for delegates to present homeowner group issues at each WOTPCC meeting. 1 week prior to the meeting an agenda will be sent to delegates and posted on the organization website. He also noted that each meeting will have time allocated for reports from the Supervisor’s office and the SFPD Taraval station. (Delegates asked to have the Ingleside and Park SFPD stations considered as well.)

District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee made a special appearance to speak to the group, his first since being elected to President of the SF Board of Supervisors. Yee is the first District 7 Supervisor to hold this position and it is quite an achievement. He said that so far, it has been very interesting as he is trying to align some facets of the agendas of the Supervisors with that of Mayor London Breed. As the President he thinks it is his position to try and keep things moving and not get locked into “stalemate” situations where no progress can be reached.

He also spoke of the first Lunar New Year celebration to be held in District 7. It will be held adjacent to the Ingleside Library on February 9 from 11 am- 3 pm and will have lion dancers, as well as the other things that we associate with the Lunar New Year celebration.

Following Yee, the Board officers gave reports; starting with Treasurer Carolyn Squeri, who thanked those organizations who have paid their dues. The WOTPCC has $5973.38 in the bank account. Secretary David Golden followed by asking for an approval of the minutes from the September, October, and November meetings, since there was now a quorum present. The motion was forwarded, seconded, and unanimously voted to approve the minutes from the 3 meetings.

In committee reports, George Wooding (Public Health) commented on the facts that show that from 2001-2015 SF lost a total of 1315 skilled nursing beds throughout the public health system, resulting in the most recent figures showing 1479 SF residents being displaced and shipped to skilled nursing locations outside of SF.

Two SFPD Police Sergeants reported on the crime statistics from the Taraval station. Most sectors of crime have shown significant decreases, including home and auto burglaries. Similar results have been recorded in the Park and Ingleside districts as well. They spoke of a scam that is prevalent that is targeting senior Asian residents who are having their money, jewelry, and other possessions stolen by people who are offering a “blessing” of their valuables. In some, cases residents have lost all of their valuables to these con-artists.

The early January home invasion robberies that occurred in St. Francis Wood were also discussed, with little information being given out as the investigation is still on-going. It was mentioned that people should put their valuables in safes and safe deposit boxes, have a dog, and more importantly, have an alarm device or at least a sign showing that a device is on the premises. One of the police officers stated that in her career she has investigated over 2000 break-ins, and only in 2 cases have the burglars continued to work in a house after the alarm has sounded, making an audible alarm a very good deterrent.

They also spoke about the rash of telephone IRS Tax scams, I-Tune card scams, and other scams that are being used by people calling or on e-mail. They encourage everyone to report these types of calls and emails to their local police station (not using the 911 call function).

Ozzie Rohm / SF Land Use Coalition
Ozzie Rohm / SF Land Use Coalition

The meeting continued with a presentation from Ozzie Rohm and Gary Weiss of the SF Land Use Coalition, who briefed the crowd on three pieces of legislation they are tracking. 1). Supervisor Aaron Peskins’ Housing Preservation and Expansion Reform Act - which is trying to preserve existing housing structures by preventing total tear downs and “remolitions” to better preserve the spirit of the neighborhoods and discourage large scale development and the “McMansions” that are popping up in neighborhoods.

Gary Weiss of the SF Land Use Coalition
Gary Weiss of the SF Land Use Coalition

2). Senate Bill 50 (Scott Weiner) that is a redux of last year’s failed SB 827 to allow every lot within ½ mile of a bus stop, or transit hub to be uprated and redeveloped. This year, there is a more agreeable State Senate and Governor, and the bill is being discussed in committee currently. Height limits have been added, but not depth limits, basically eliminating many set-backs from the boundaries of the lots being developed.

3). A Rental Database Collection to track and record retain storefront vacancies and ID all rental properties to help devise and formulate better local plans and policies, and to establish a firewall against ill-conceived state legislation.

Rohm and Weiss also detailed the specifics of Assembly Bill AB68 (Phil Ting), which would allow new Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) in the back yards of SF single family homes. This legislation would decrease the setbacks needed to 4 feet from the back and sides of the lot, allow heights of 16 feet, and allow up to two units per lot.

For more information on their work, they can be contacted at: www.SFLUC.org

The results of District 7 voting in the 2018 election were evaluated next as Jay Cheung, of the Edwin Lee Asian Pacific Democratic Club and RTB IQ Political Analysts shared his findings on the major issues of the 2018 election. Generally, he found that District 7 has one of the highest voter participations in the city (trailing only District 8) and in many cases leads the city in choosing the winning sides in local issues. In most cases, D7 voters trend more like California voters in general, not specifically like SF voters, as there are more homeowners in D7 than renters. In the major propositions like Rent Control, and the Gasoline Tax Repeal initiative, the district voted in a way similar to the rest of California, while San Francisco embraced the failed rent control issue due to the large number of renters within the city (less so in D7).

When asked how he sees the current make-up of the Board of Supervisors, Cheung believes that the board is trending more progressive, but is actually more anti - large development rather than just embracing the traditional progressive agenda.

By-Law changes were the next topic as Matt Chamberlain discussed the results of an ad-hoc committee of the WOTPCC that has been examining possible changes. Chamberlain noted that the last update to the by-laws was in 2012 and resulted in the change that it is now OK to send meeting minutes via e-mail. This committee is recommending the delegates examine changes in three areas: A) Taking Action (lack of quorums / too many abstentions, etc.) and, allowing for special meetings, either face to face or by conference call; B) How does the organization count a quorum and count votes; and C) What is the status (voting and otherwise) of organizations who fail to pay dues or send a representative to successive meetings? The delegates will be receiving information to consider these topics in the near future.

WOTPCC President Scardina then asked for topics for future meetings and several were put forth: Westwood Highlands looking at taking action against ADU’s and Airbnb’s in violation of their CCR’s; a speaker to give an update on the major remodel of the Sutro Tower; and follow-up on the land use issues discussed earlier in the meeting.

In “new business” Rae Doyle spoke on the 1938 3D model of San Francisco which will be exhibited at the various city libraries over the next month. A presentation and discussion will be held at the West Portal Public Library on February 23. For more information please reference the website at the San Francisco Public Library. (sfpl.org).

The meeting was adjourned at 9:18.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, February 25 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

February 2019

The November and final meeting of 2018 for the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a lighter than usual turnout. President Mark Scardina set the agenda to focus on community, including the D7 preparatory budgeting process, and building a strong and connected neighborhood through NERT training.

Opening the meeting at 7:45 PM, Scardina turned the meeting over to Secretary David Golden, who took the roll. A quorum was not reached by 1 delegate, the slimmest of margins, at 7:40 PM.

Scardina started the officer's reports by thanking VP Dena Aslanian-Williams for running the October meeting in his absence and announced that the SF Land Use Coalition will be presenting at the January meeting. He then posed a question, asking if the delegates were receiving the agenda and information through their listed e-mail addresses. He is concerned that some of the delegates may not be receiving them, resulting in lower than usual turnout, and asked the group to consider other ways to get input from members for voting purposes. Matt Chamberlain commented that as the current by-laws are written, physical presence is required for delegate votes to be counted, and that if a delegate votes to abstain from an issue, it is treated as a "no" vote. Following more discussion, Chamberlain volunteered to form a temporary committee during the break to look at the by-laws and come up with some revisions. Three other delegates agreed to assist him.

Treasurer Carolyn Squeri announced that the WOTPCC has $3874.85 in the bank and that she is distributing the final dues letters for 2018. Discussion took place about the timing of the letters, and if they reflect 2018 or 2019 dues. (They reflect 2018 dues). Matt Chamberlain offered assistance to look at getting the 2019 dues requests out in the first quarter of the year, and to update the e-mail addresses of the contact names for the many homeowner organizations.

Secretary David Golden let everyone know that the minutes for the September meeting were updated and available on the WOTPCC website, as well as the October minutes.

VP Aslanian-Williams had no report for the evening.

George Wooding commented on Planning and Land Use, speaking on a process by the Board of Supervisors to eliminate the minimum mandatory parking requirement for developers. This action could allow developers and builders, for example, to replace 10 units of parking in a 10-unit structure with a bicycle rack holding 10 bikes. He feels it is another way to eliminate vehicles from the streets within the city, as a "one size fits all" approach, although the needs of the western districts is much different than the needs of the downtown districts. He will send the link to the effort to President Scardina who will distribute it to the delegates.

Wooding continued, giving a report on Public Health, speaking on a small fire that started near Laguna Honda hospital on November 3. Although it was small it was adjacent to a eucalyptus grove, bringing on the threat of fire in the trees. It was stated that although San Francisco is densely urban, there are opportunities for destructive fires in the forests on the westside.

Sally Stephens had no report update from the Open Space and Parks committee.

Mark Scardina next brought the delegates up to date on the actions by Officer Mark Pinetta of the Taraval Station to solve an issue that many neighborhoods have. In many areas on the westside, there are paths and walkways in neighborhoods, that are unnamed and in many cases have "unknown providence," relating to which group is responsible for ownership or maintenance (homeowners, associations or the city itself). If not the city, they are considered private property and it limits the ability of police and other city departments to access them. Recently there were some issues with a pathway in the Ingleside area. Officer Pinetta worked with SF Planning to go through the process of having the path (between Urbano and Ocean) officially recognized and created as Ingleside Way. Now the SFPD has jurisdiction over the area for future citizen complaints. The delegates of the WOTPCC expressed a desire to officially thank Officer Pinetta and the SFPD in early 2019.

Erica Maybaum from Supervisor Yee's office

Special Guest Erica Maybaum of D7 Supervisor Norman Yee's office spoke next on the 2018-19 Participatory Budgeting program for D7. This year, Supervisor Yee has procured $650,000 for community driven projects. The grants can be applied for within three categories: General Projects ($300K available); dedicated to areas such as Neighborhood Services, Culture, Small Businesses, Schools-Education-Youth, Activate Space for Play, and other innovate programs; Pedestrian Safety/Vision Zero ($250K available), and new for this year, Emergency Preparedness ($100K available).

The projects must be one-time expenditures benefitting the residents of D7 and cannot name a specific organization to receive the funds. The projects are coordinated by city departments working with the neighborhood groups. For General and Emergency Preparedness Projects the Minimum amount is $5K, with a max set at $25K. For Pedestrian Safety projects there is no minimum or maximum.

Proposal submissions are due by January 5, 2019 before midnight. Once received the programs will be listed and voted upon by the D7 residents. Those receiving at least 400 votes will be ranked and the top vote-getters in each category will be considered for funding.

For more information on this important program, contact Erica at Supervisor Yee's office, (415) 554-6517 or at Erica.Maybaum@sfgov.org

Joanie Van Rijn, President, Miraloma Park Improvement Club

The next discussion was centered on the process of building a connected community and given by Joanie Van Rijn, President of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club. She gave an overview of a project started by MPIC in 2014 to build a connected community that can be much more self-empowered in the event of a disaster than those that are not connected through planning and practice. As she clearly explained, "A garage full of emergency preparedness supplies are not going to save a life without training and skills."

In the event of a disaster such as an earthquake, only 300 SF Firefighters may be available and will be concentrating on the largest fire centers, she told us. Those in the neighborhoods will likely have to take up local action themselves. Four years ago, the MPIC determined that a large percentage of their citizens (seniors, children, disabled) would be at risk in the event of a disaster. They decided to form and train a NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team) that meets 7x per year, reviews CPR, first aid and other life- saving skills, and learns and practices how to do utility patrol and control to turn off gas, electricity and water to structures where the utilities could cause a danger. With training they also could conduct localized search and rescue using tools and supplies.

They accomplished these things over the course of 4 years using three grants from the D7 Participatory Budgeting Program. Their first grant enabled them to conduct "Senior" training, giving over 50 bags of preparedness supplies out to seniors in their neighborhood. This process also allowed them to identify and connect with their senior neighbors. The second grant helped them set up the community structure of block captains and block champions; secure emergency preparedness and search and rescue equipment; gain skills in first aid, CPR and basic search and rescue. The third grant allowed them the resources to design and implement the "Senior Connected Community Program," an exercise and support group for their senior neighbors that enabled everyone to get to know each other and to connect seniors to others in the neighborhood, while also conducting exercises and practicing the emergency skills that will be needed when a disaster occurs.

Their program was so successful that "Emergency Preparedness" was separated out as a separate D7 Budgeting options for neighborhood grants. The program does take a core group of neighbor volunteers and organizers, and continual outreach and training, but will pay huge dividends when the next disaster occurs.

WOTPCC President Scardina next asked for ideas for future topics for the agenda. Topics such as SF Citizen Power; a recap of the Election results and impact of the Propositions, and the expected resubmittal of Senator Weiner's' SB827 legislation were discussed.

An update on the issue of "non-active" homeowner associations was tabled until the January 2019 meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 PM. The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, January 28 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

December 2018

VP Aslanian-Williams and Treasurer Squeri
VP Aslanian-Williams and Treasurer Squeri fielded the meeting

The October meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a slimmed down dais as President Mark Scardina and Secretary David Golden were absent. Vice President Dena Aslanian-Williams, and Treasurer Carolyn Squeri manned the dais and pulled the meeting together with Aslanian-Williams bringing the meeting to order at 7:40 pm. The roll was taken and with a lighter than usual turnout, a quorum was not reached for voting purposes.

There were no reports from the officers, although VP Aslanian-Williams reminded the delegates that President Scardina has asked that agenda items be submitted by the delegates and their respective neighborhood associations, and that he would also like to have committees filled by delegates who also work on committees within their respective organizations.

George Wooding commented on Planning and Land Use, by reminding everyone that it is participatory budget time again. District 7 has been allocated $550,000 through Supervisor Yee’s office, with $250,000 allocated for safety improvement types of items and the remainder being budgeted for neighborhood beautification projects submitted by community groups, with grants up to $25,000 being considered.

John Farrell commented on a past grant award, the beautification of Dewey Circle. The upgrade will feature a newly-cast urn to replace the damaged one, as well as new landscaping with flowers, etc. The project is in process (from 2017) and landscape planting should commence in November.

George Wooding spoke next, giving a report on Public Health, acknowledging that although he is not a physician, his doctor has recommended the following vaccines for seniors: Flu shot; 10-year tetanus vaccine; Shingles vaccine; Pneumonia vaccine; and the Chicken Pox vaccine. Please check with your primary health care provider.

Assessor Carmen Chu
Assessor Carmen Chu

Special Guest San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu arrived to take the floor and discuss the ongoing actions of the Assessors’ office and how progress is being made. For the latest city fiscal year (July 1-June 30) her office calculated an assessed value of $240,000,000,000 for the 210,000 properties within San Francisco. This represents an 11% increase from 2016-17 assessments. SF assessments have risen the fastest within California for the 3rd year in a row. Part of the reason has been new construction; the new Salesforce tower is valued at $1,300,000,000 and the Warriors project at $1,000,000,000 respectively. Changes in ownership in properties also contributed to the increase, although there was a decrease in “Transfer Tax” income for SF in 2017 ($304,000,000) as compared to 2016’s $411,000,000. Chu attributed the drop in the fact that fewer “very large” buildings changed hands in 2017, but that a decrease was planned for and budgeted.

The Assessor then spoke of the over 3-year backlog she inherited when she took office 4 years ago. ‘This year we will close the assessment roll on time for the first time in 25 years”, said Chu, noting that the large backlog has been cleared. She also spoke of modernizing the department infrastructure with more modern computers and planning tools to track the 210,000 properties, and property histories, within SF. This will require moving forward from the departments’ COBAL-based software to new systems that are much more modern and user friendly. All documents have now been scanned and the property tax files and history are now in digital form, rather than paper files. The 210,000 properties generate more than $3,000,000,000 in SF revenue each year.

Her office is also conducting Family Wealth Forums which expose families to professional experts in Estate Planning; Financial Planning; Education Planning and Low Market-rate Housing Planning. Her office has connected over 1000 families with financial professionals during her groups’ four programs held so far.

Chu closed by detailing where Property Tax dollars go: 65% of the monies paid in Property Taxes stay in San Francisco to fund city government and programs; 34% is transferred to the State of California for Public Education, and the other 1% is allocated to BART.

The next discussion was “Pro” and “Con” takes on Proposition 10. On the “Yes on Prop 10” side was George Wooding, who explained that San Francisco first enacted rent control on properties in 1979, and that the Costa-Hawkins act was enacted in 1985 to apply limits to when and where rent control can be used. He said that if passed, Prop 10 would ensure that the rent control policies in the 15 cities where it has been enacted in California would still be in effect, and other cities would be able to enact their rent control measures as well. It could also be applied to single family homes and condos, and keep pricing controls in local government, not Sacramento. According to Wooding, large developers are fighting Prop 10. He believes that we do not have a housing crisis, it is really more of an affordable housing crisis. A single person in SF is considered to be eligible for low income housing if they have a salary under $117,000 annually. It is estimated that there are 29,000 empty units of housing in the city. He summed it up by stating that it is about maintaining local control and imposing equitable rental controls rather than have Sacramento impose California standards.

John Farrell countered by stating that Prop 10 is bad for both Landlord and Tenants. It would repeal the protections of Costa-Hawkins and allow cities to impose rent control on existing single-family homes and condos, as well as setting pricing for yet to be developed projects. Farrell believes that, if passed, it could actually reduce the number of housing units on the market as landlords and property owners could decide to sell the units and take them off the rental market, rather than be constrained by controls. This would tighten the inventory and result in additional evictions using the Ellis Act to clear properties for subsequent sale. He believes that Costa-Hawkins guarantees some sort of sanity on rental pricing and a repeal will make the housing crisis worse.

Stephen Roditti, of the Monterey Heights Homes Association, followed with an update from the “Hubhaus” case in his neighborhood (at 255 Maywood). The property, which is currently housing 7 tenants in a single-family house has been declared in violation of the building and planning codes and the owner of the home has been told to abate the situation.

An update on the issue of “non-active” homeowner associations was tabled until the November meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM. The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, November 26 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

November 2018

The September meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured a new President and Vice President of the council, Mark Scardina and Dena Aslanian – Williams, respectively. Scardina opened the meeting at 7:35 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a good turnout of delegates by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in enough delegates being present for a quorum. The Mount Davidson Manor Homeowners Association was represented at the WOTPCC for the first time in many years.

New WOTPCC officers: VP Dena Aslanian-Williams, and President Mark Scardina at center
New WOTPCC officers: VP Dena Aslanian-Williams, and President Mark Scardina at center

After the approval of the minutes, President Scardina gave the President's report. His first point was an emphasis on reforming some of the committees that have been dormant in the past. He asked the delegates to submit a list of the committees each of them is on. He has also participated as a citizen with Mayor London Breed's transition team and policy summit, offering input. He spoke about the Mayor's initiative, which is comprised of 12 teams across different disciplines within the city. These teams are comprised of citizens and city staff members to try and work together to craft solutions to the various challenges that exist within the city.

Carolyn Squeri followed with the Treasurer's report, showing a bank balance of $3971.61. She informed the delegated that she is in the process of preparing invoices for the homeowner groups and will be sending them out in the very near future.

George Wooding spoke next, giving a report on Public Health, detailing the departure of Barbara Garcia, the Director of the SF Department of Public Health, amid issues involved with the letting of departmental contracts. Wooding feels that this change will affect the operations at SF General Hospital and Laguna Honda Hospital. The reduction in mental health beds at the hospitals has caused a shortfall of beds, and Sutter Health has also reduced or eliminated mental health beds at its sites within the city.

The next item on the agenda as a discussion about "Group Housing" in RH1/1 (D) neighborhoods. Stephen Roditti, of the Monterey Heights Homes Association, cited an example in his area of a company named Hubhaus that is leasing a single-family home to 7 young tenants in a RH1 zone. Corey Teague of SF Planning explained the differences between "family" housing and "group" housing related to the number of related or non-related persons who are renting a house. Group housing of non-related individuals is not permitted in any RH1 zoned single family house, so the house in question is most-likely being operated in violation of the city zoning ordinances. SF Planning can investigate if contacted. The challenge is that many owners of larger single-family homes are finding out that the homes are too large and/or expensive to lease out to a single family, so they are working with firms such as Hubhaus to place as many tenants in a house as can be accommodated.

Two ballot measures, Proposition A and Proposition C, were discussed next. Prop A asks the voters to approve a General Obligation Bond to rebuild and strengthen the Embarcadero Seawall to protect against sea level rise and earthquakes. David Aldridge spoke in favor of the ballot measure, citing the seawall being over 100 years old and the problems with king tides flooding the Embarcadero twice a year currently, with more expected in the future. Michael Denny countered with a study claiming sea level rise is a fabrication, and that the Port of SF cannot be trusted to effectively manage the bond financials. He also feels that people not at the port should not have to pay for rebuilding and maintaining the wall.

The discussion on Prop C was also lively. "C" is an effort to add a tax on businesses that generate over $50,000,000 in gross receipts to raise as much as $350,000,000 for use in funding homeless housing and services. Nick, from "Our City, Our Home 2018" coalition spoke in favor of the ballot measure, citing the need for additional funding to continue to improve street homelessness, and provide additional mental health and medical services to those most in need. He stated that much of the $300,000,000 currently spent annually on homeless programs is being used to keep people in housing through subsidies/housing grants, etc., while more is needed to alleviate the street homelessness that we see each day. Danny Baldocchi spoke against the proposition, pointing out that companies that report $50,000,000 in gross receipts may not be making a large profit, and that adding additional taxes could cause firms to cut staffing or move out of the city. He felt that the legislation, although well intentioned, is not well thought out, and with no sunset clause, the $680,000,000 that would result would be a huge set aside.

Paul Conroy took the floor next to update the delegates on the project to redevelop the historic El Rey Theatre on Ocean Avenue. The theatre, built in 1931, added to the city's landmark registry, has been closed for many years, serving most recently as a church. The property was recently purchased through the bankruptcy of the church organization, and the new developer is working with the city and community on constructing two "art-deco" inspired buildings that will contain a total of 42 housing units. The buildings are proposed in the rear of the theatre building on former parking lots. It is planned for the façade of the theatre to be restored to its 1931 appearance, with the tower and neon "El Rey" lighting returned to the design that architect Timothy Pflueger designed it, including the beacon on top of the spire. (Pflueger also designed the Castro Theatre, Roosevelt Middle School, 450 Sutter Medical building and other iconic structures in SF.)

An update was given on the issue of "non-active" homeowner associations, with it noted that the Mount Davidson Manor Homeowners Association was in attendance for the first time in many years. But despite repeated efforts, no one from the Sherwood Forest neighborhood has responded.

Scardina asked the group for ideas for upcoming meeting agendas and ideas such as Prop 10 (Repeal of Costa-Hawkins), continued discussions on Housing Density, and Merchant Issues were brought forth.

Neighborhood activist Ozzie Rohm next introduced herself to the delegates and let everyone know that she is following and working on City and State planning issues with the Coalition for SF Neighborhoods and the SF Land Use Coalition.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, October 22 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

October 2018

 

Mayor Mark Farrell
Mayor Mark Farrell at the Central Council

NEWS AND VIEWS…

The June meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council was highlighted by Mayor Mark Farrell sharing his experience as the Mayor of SF. President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:30 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a good turnout of delegates. Stephens started by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in just enough delegates being present for a quorum.

Mayor Mark Farrell took the stage speaking about the three issues that he tried to focus on during his brief tenure as Mayor: Reducing crime, Street Cleanliness and Homelessness. Poised to leave office in a little over two weeks, he looked relaxed as he addressed the delegates.

He first spoke of the honor to serve as the Mayor in the city where he was born and raised, and that he could do some things during his time in Room 200 that others have more difficulty with since he was not worried about running for re-election. In addressing street crime, he detailed his work with SFPD Chief Bill Scott to craft a hiring plan to add an additional 200+ officers to the ranks of the SFPD. Additionally, with an added focus by the department on visibility and foot patrols, the statistics are showing a beneficial trend. From a high of 31,000 auto break-ins last year, in 2018 there has been a 20% drop, year to date. Violent crime has fallen even more, with a 40% drop so far this year.

In addressing street cleanliness, he detailed new action, adding a Needle Pickup Team of 10 people to address the scourge of injectable needles littering the city. He has also added a 44-person team of additional street cleaners to work primarily in the commercial corridors throughout the city.

The Mayor also addressed the ongoing issue of homelessness and the sprawling tent cities that have sprung up across the city. He ordered city crews to break up the largest of the compounds, and said that as of today, there are no more tent “cities” that have more than 10 occupants. He also said that he feels that San Franciscans are “turning a corner” as they fully understand the need to be compassionate, and help should be offered, but the tents should not be a permanent landscape component of SF’s streets. This is the area where not running for reelection proved valuable.

Farrell also addressed the formation of a street medicine team, charged with bringing healthcare and treatment to those fighting opioid addiction on the streets, and trying to meet them where they are, to administer care and attempt to get them into treatment centers. This led to the passage of state and local legislation addressing conservatorship when dealing with those who have severe medical and mental health issues on the street.

He feels that San Francisco is as financially stable as it has been in a very long time, with a doubling of budget reserves over the last 4 years, and is in much better shape than 8 years ago, with an AAA bond rating for the first time in the city’s history.

When asked “What’s next” for him, he replied, “Nothing political for now. I am going back to a normal life, working in my business, and coaching my children’s soccer team.” He didn’t, however, close the door on holding office in the future.

SFPD Sargeant Rick Santiago
SFPD Sargeant Rick Santiago from Taraval Station

The next speaker was SFPD Sgt. Rick Santiago, from the Taraval Station. He spoke about local crime and updated the attendees about the continuing decrease in auto and home burglaries tied to increased foot patrols and citizen awareness. He said that many of the burglaries are just crimes of opportunity, with thieves seeing items left in plain sight in a car. He also answered questions about the SFPD’s Tasers. (He believes they would be a good, non-lethal alternative.)

The meeting continued with the minutes being approved for both April and May, and discussion on the three associations that were considered to be non-operational. Contact has been made with two of them, Mt. Sutro Woods and Sherwood Forest, and both may be back in the group in the near future. The SFPD events coordinator at Taraval may have a contact name for Merced Manor for follow up. Additional groups such as Mt. Davidson Manor, Westwood Highlands, and Westwood Park were also mentioned. Dave Bisho noted that Mt. Davidson Manor was one of the founding members of the WOTPCC in 1936. More information will be brought forth in the September meeting.

George Wooding gave updates on Planning and Land Use, citing changes to the rules governing notification periods (30 days, reduced to 20 days) and notification distances (dropping from 300 feet to 150 feet), and Public Health, weighing in on discussions to possibly make changes on the grounds of Laguna Honda Hospital in regard to building new structures.

Nominating Committee chair Dave Bisho spoke next, representing the Nominating Committee (Dave Bisho, Paul Conroy, Denise LaPointe and Matt Chamberlain) in putting forth a slate of proposed officers for the 2018-19 year. The slate: President Mark Scardina, VP Dena Aslanian-Williams, Secretary David Golden and Secretary Carolyn Squeri was announced. Nominations were asked for from the floor, and as none were offered, the slate was voted on an approved unanimously. The new officers will take office at the September meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 PM.

The next meeting will be on Monday, September 24 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

July 2018

NEWS AND VIEWS…

The May meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on an assortment of topics ranging from the Transportation Bill (RM3) on the June ballot, to the continuing discussion about inactive or non-participating homeowner/neighborhood associations, as well as nominations for the WOTPCC officers for 2018-19.

Central Council meeting: Board

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:35 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a good turnout of delegates. Stephens started by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in just enough delegates being present for a quorum.

SFPD's TIm Paine
SFPD's TIm Paine of Taraval Station

The first guest speaker was SFPD Lt. Tim Paine, from the Taraval Station. He spoke on the topic of local crime and updated the attendees about a decrease in auto and home burglaries tied to arrests being made of some of the participants in the gangs that have been targeting cars and homes. Approximately 12 individuals have been arrested out of 30 that were identified as part of a burglary crew. Many are using cars that feature temporary paper license plates. Paine asked the delegates to contact the SFPD if they see a car (with paper plates) acting suspiciously.

Patrick Collum
Patrick Collum from Regional Measure 3 on the ballot

The next discussion centered on RM3, a transportation bill on the June ballot that will increase the bridge tolls on seven Bay Area bridges (not the Golden Gate) by $3 over a series of increases over the next 5 years. Patrick Collum spoke in favor of the toll increase, while David Schonbrunn, who heads the Transportation Solution Defense and Education Fund spoke against it.

Collum cited the increasing congestion and traffic in the nine county Bay Area. He stated that the Bay Area traffic congestion is 3rd worst in the U.S. (behind Los Angeles and NY) and 5th in the world, and that the 30+ transportation projects to be funded by the toll increase would help in pivotal areas to reduce bottlenecks and gridlock. Large projects such as the purchase of new BART cars and MUNI busses and cars, the expansion of BART in San Jose and the extension of CalTrain from 4th and King to the new Transbay Terminal are some of the larger areas where the $4.5 billion will be spent by the MTC.

David Schongrunn of Transdef (at the Berkeley Library)

Schonbrunn sees the measure differently, citing it as a giveaway to the MTC, which he believes is an agency which is very poorly managed, as well as unaccountable. He said that the proposed fixes "won't work" and are "not fair" as drivers of lower incomes will be paying the increased bridge tolls, yet much of the money will be spent on projects in the South Bay and BART. It is also his view that the MTC has no real plan, and this measure is a retread of past failed strategies that encourage solo driving. By the year 2040 he predicted that there will be 21% more drivers and an increase in the commute time by 44%. Schonbrunn made the claim that this is not just a toll increase but is in reality a tax on drivers over the bridges. Using the example of Portland (OR) as a city with a well-designed and run mass transportation system, he suggests an "employer" tax on the tech companies that are creating many of the jobs that are resulting in the congestion. He is advocating to defeat the ballot measure because the "MTC cannot be trusted and needs to be overhauled."

The next discussion of the evening centered on the continuing process to "expel" three neighborhood groups from the WOTPCC that have not been active (or paid dues) for several years.

President Sally Stephens and Vice President Matt Chamberlain next discussed with the group about the continuing process involved in removing inactive homeowner/neighborhood organizations from the WOTPCC. There are three organizations that have been "deemed" as inactive, and following discussion last month a vote of the delegates was taken to remove them from the WOTPCC roster. The three groups (Sherwood Forest, Merced Manor and Mt. Sutro Homeowners) have not paid dues for several years, attended meetings, or sent correspondence. In an effort to reduce the number to reach a quorum from 11 to 9, and to accurately state who is represented by the WOTPCC. Stephens followed up on last month's action by the WOTPCC that resulted in a 10-1 initial vote to expel the three groups. Per the by-laws another vote had to be taken, and the motion was made to vote to expel. Following a very passionate discussion by the delegates, with several delegates making the point that the WOTPCC needs to be inclusive of all of the citizens (in active groups or not) a vote on the expulsion motion was taken and the measure failed to secure enough votes. Several delegates have volunteered to make another concerted effort to contact individuals within the three neighborhoods.

Although Nominating Committee Chair, Dave Bisho was not in attendance, Stephens asked anyone who is interested in serving as an office or committee chair for 2018-19 to contact her prior to next month's meeting. The election of offices will be finalized next month, prior to the Summer break.

A final discussion was held on the ongoing issues of street repairs and the scheduling of PG & E trenching within neighborhoods and streets that were recently repaved.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, June 25 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

June 2018

NEWS AND VIEWS…

The May meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on atopics ranging from the upcoming Mayoral Forum, to the Twin Peaks Tunnel Project slated for this summer, as well as a recap on Senate Bills 827 and 828.

Phillip Pierce
Phillip Pierce of the MTA

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:35 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a good turnout of delegates. Stephens started by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in just enough delegates being present for a quorum.

Guest speakers Phillip Pierce and Wen Huang from the SFMTA informed the gathering about the upcoming Twin Peaks Tunnel project. The tunnel, which opened in 1918, was last retrofitted with new tracks in 1975. Here we are in 2018 and the tunnel is in need of new tracks, new cross ties, as well as seismic work, safety work and other improvements. The plan is for the tunnel to be closed for limited hours on weekend evenings through June 25, after which time the tunnel will be closed for a continuous 60-day period during which time the SFMTA hopes to make all of the repairs and improvements.

Wen Huang of MTA
Wen Huang of MTA

Each day approximately 80,000 commuters ride MUNI Metro through the Twin Peaks tunnel. For the time being, the K-L and M lines will be serviced using buses, shuttles and modifications to keep access to downtown moving. There will be more transfers to be made for the commuters.

The SFMTA is working with the West Portal Merchants Association, and the Mayor's Office of Economics and Workforce Development to assist merchants who may be severely impacted by the shutdown. Grants and loans are available through the OEWD.

For more information on this important project go to the website: www.SFMTA.com/TwinPeaks.

Phillip Pierce explains the tunnel construction
Pierce explains why the tunnel will be closed for 60 days.

President Stephens followed the SFMTA presentation with an update on the Mayoral Forum to be held on April 26 at 7 PM at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park. All of the eight mayoral candidates are expected to be on hand with the four "lesser known" candidates starting the discussion at 7 PM with the four "major" candidates (Alioto, Breed, Kim and Leno) following the lesser known candidates. With 8 candidates, the forum will be limited to four questions to which each candidate will have an opportunity to reply.

SB 827 and 828 were discussed next, as the group was updated on the failure of SB 827 to get out of committee and move on. George Wooding moderated the update relating to SB 827 (dead for 2018) and SB 828, which would allow the State of California to impose zoning guidelines and principles with little local oversight and control, resulting in large increases in density, and buildings up to 5 stories high that are exempt from local zoning and planning rules. Wooding sees it as an attempt to break down single-family home ownership and the homeowners' groups. He is coordinating a "town hall" meeting on Saturday, April 28 at the Main Library (in the Koret Auditorium) and would like people to get the word out, as he is worried that few will show up now that 827 has died in committee.

Stephens and Vice President Matt Chamberlain next discussed with the group the process involved in removing the inactive homeowner/neighborhood organizations from the WOTPCC. There are three organizations that have been deemed inactive, and following discussion, a vote of the delegates was taken to remove them from the WOTPCC roster. The three groups (Sherwood Forest, Merced Manor and Mt. Sutro Homeowners) have not paid dues for several years, attended meetings, or sent correspondence. In an effort to reduce the number to reach a quorum from 11 to 9, and to accurately state who is represented by the WOTPCC, this action was started.

Although the vote passed 10-1, an attempt will be made to contact the organizations to determine if indeed any of the three are still active, have members, and wish to continue with the WOTPCC. A second (final) discussion and vote is required to be taken at the next meeting for the action to be completed.

It's time to nominate and elect WOTPCC officers for 2018-19. Stephens asked the delegates in attendance to let her know if anyone has interest in serving on the WOTPCC Board for next year, and/or volunteering to serve on the nominating committee as elections will be held prior to the Summer break.

The meeting was adjourned at 9 pm.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, May 28 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

May 2018

NEWS AND VIEWS…The March meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on an assortment of topics ranging from What bin does this go into? (Recycling) to a lengthy presentation on Water and Sewer construction and its impact on the new rates that have been proposed for July of this year. SB827 and the project at 250 Laguna Honda Blvd. also were discussed at length.

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:35 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a smaller turnout of delegates and attendees compared to the February meeting. Stephens started by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in just enough delegates being present for a quorum.

Stephens followed by introducing the first speaker of the evening, David Yew, from the Forest Hills Association, who gave an update on the proposed development project at 250 Laguna Honda Blvd. Mr. Yew informed the attendees that both Supervisor Norman Yee's office and the Mayor's office have withdrawn their support of the project. Geotechnical tests and surveys of the site reported problems with hillside stability that could worsen significantly with the construction of the project, proposed by Christian Church Homes, and the Forest Hills Christian Church.

He also reported that the church structure, is being considered a structure of historic significance for its mid-century expressionist architecture. It is unclear what this fact could mean to future development on the site. The Forest Hills Association representative said the local homeowners owe a "debt of gratitude" to Supervisor Yee, who took the leadership on the issue as it related to the geotechnical safety, as well as trying to ensure that the childcare facility and preschool had a new location to move to (within the district). The pre-school is currently looking to move due to issues with the hillside behind the structure.

Recology's Eddie Ashley and He Jian talk the art of recycling

Bin Science took the stage next, as Eddie Ashley and He Jian led a conversation and presentation highlighting the new directives that Recology is putting into place on recycling.

The firm has expanded the types of items that can be recycled. Now, the following items can be placed into the blue recycling bins: coffee cups, orange juice type containers, cardboard soup and broth type containers, in addition to the "hard" types of plastic containers. Soft plastic bags and soft plastics, such as newspaper sleeves and produce bags can now also be placed in the blue bins, but with a catch: All of the soft plastic types of items must be put into a bag (or large Ziploc bag) and double knotted.

The "foil lined" type of Mylar bags used for potato chips, Fritos, etc. cannot be recycled, and must still be placed into the black bins. Styrofoam still should be placed into the black bin, however if you take Styrofoam to the Recology site on Tunnel Road, it will be separated out from the landfill materials and sold or reprocessed.

Even empty paint cans, or aerosol cans (such as hair spray) can go into the recycling blue bin; as long as they are empty.

The new configuration for most residences will be three bins (as in the past), but the sizes are changing from all bins being 32 gallons, to a 32-gallon compost bin, a 64-gallon blue recycling bin, and a 16-gallon black landfill bin. If your household wishes to have a different mix of sizes, you should contact Recology to discuss your needs. For more information on the new recycling guidelines consult their website at: sfrecycle.org.

John Scarpulli, SFPUC
John Scarpulli of SFPUC
John Scarpulli, and Erin Franks, representatives from the SFPUC gave the next presentation, focusing on the many projects that the SFPUC is undertaking to improve the water and sewer system and the associated rate increases that are being proposed for implementation in July.

Scarpulli opened his portion with a detailed slide show of both the water procurement side of the "business" (Hetch-Hetchy, groundwater, etc.) and the water treatment and disposal side (Sewage treatment, rainwater treatment, etc.). The SFPUC has been implementing upgrades and seismic strengthening to allow the water system to bring water to your tap within 24 hours of a 7.9 earthquake, through 87 projects in 7 counties. The cumulative project cost was $4,800,000,000 and is 95% complete.

San Francisco is one of a few municipalities that treats all rain runoff as well, which puts a large strain on the city's three treatment plants but is needed as rain runoff is one of the largest sources of pollution for our waterways, washing oils, pesticides and other chemicals into the bay and ocean. The PUC has a 20-year project plan to upgrade the 50-year-old Southeastern treatment plant, upgrade the sewer mains, and install green infrastructure projects for storm water collection. The expected cost for this is $6,900,000,000 of which $1,200,000,000 has been approved.

Erin Franks, SFPUC
Erin Franks of SFPUC
On the financial analysis side of the SFPUC, Franks spoke to the group on the proposed rate hikes that could take effect in July of 2018. The SFPUC receives 100% of their revenue from rate payers and users, not from tax revenue. In this way, they cannot show a profit (if there are revenue overages, refunds are worked into the equation), and is transparent as their rates are studied by an independent rate group every 5-years.

For value, she showed that it takes about $.04 (4 cents) to bring 1 gallon of water to the tap, or to process 1 gallon of water for disposal. Compared to a gallon of bottled water ($.99-$1.69) the value can be readily seen.

The proposed 2018 rate process is currently underway and is expected to go into effect on July 1. For an average single-family home in SF, the rates are expected to increase an average of $10 per month (per year) over the 5-year period, with the average bill being $40 higher in June of 2022 than today's rates. Franks estimates that approximately 80% of the rate increases will go to help fund the capital improvements. For more information on the new rates, you can access the SFPUC website at: sfwater.org/rates.

A Mayoral Forum to be held on April 26 at 7 pm at the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park was discussed next. Coordinated by the neighborhood group SHARP, the WOTPCC voted unanimously to contribute $500 towards the costs associated with the event (as a co-sponsor) as long as WOTPCC has some input in formulating and asking questions of the candidates.

The last discussion of the evening was moderated by George Wooding, and involved discussion relating to SB827, which would allow the State of California to impose zoning guidelines and principles without any local oversight and control, resulting in large increases in density, and buildings up to 5 stories high that are exempt from local zoning and planning rules. Wooding sees it as an attempt to break down single-family homeownership and the homeowners' groups. He is coordinating a Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, April 28 at the Main Library (in the Koret Auditorium) and would like people to get the word out.

Following the report, a motion was made for adjournment, seconded and approved.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.
For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

April 2018

The February meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on legislation aimed at spurring additional housing, as well as an expanded system to protect them in the event of an emergency.

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:30 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a large turnout of delegates and attendees. Stephens started by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in enough delegates being present for a quorum.

Scott Weiner
State Senater Scott Weiner
Stephens followed by introducing the first speaker of the evening, State Senator Scott Weiner, appearing before the gathering to speak about SB 827, designed to spur the development of more housing throughout the state.

SB 827 is a major change to the long-held zoning principles that have been in place throughout California for decades. The bill would make it legal to build small and mid-rise apartment buildings near high-quality transit by exempting these areas from certain restrictive zoning standards.

Weiner, who was formerly the Supervisor for District 8, spoke passionately about the need for California (and San Francisco) to build additional housing, as housing stock has been underbuilt over the past 40-50 years. Zoning that focused on R1 single family homes at the expense of small apartment buildings has resulted in low-density throughout much of the city, and as the population of San Francisco and other cities in California has continued to rise, many people are being displaced due to the supply and demand economics that causes rents and housing prices to rise disproportionately. The Senator cited numbers showing that California is about 4,000,000 housing units short of what is needed. For every 10 jobs created in California, only 1 housing unit has been built.

The bill, as written so, that parcels within ½ mile of a major transportation hub, or within ¼ mile of a bus stop, would be exempt from zoning regulations banning multi-story, multi-unit construction, allowing for small and mid-sized apartment construction of up to 4-5 stories. He acknowledged that the bill was crafted to garner comment and feedback, and to provide a method to create more housing units. He stated that while the bill does not override inclusionary local statutes for affordable housing, existing CC and R's in neighborhood associations would be overridden.

Weiner answered questions from the attendees and stressed that the bill is a work in progress and would be amended based on input from the public before a final version is voted upon.

Following the presentation, delegate Dave Bisho forwarded a motion to the WOTPCC to craft a letter to be presented to legislators and committees aligned with SB827 that the WOTPCC and its member organizations strongly oppose the changes proposed in SB827. The motion to develop language and a letter was passed 16-0 with 1 abstention.

John Scarpulla from SFPUC

John Scarpulla, a representative from the SFPUC, was the next speaker, with a presentation showing the proposed expansion of the AWSS system to meet the needs of the fire department in the event of an emergency. His presentation focused on the history of the high-pressure fire suppression hydrant system (AWSS) that was developed after the 1906 earthquake and fire. Much of that system is centered in the parts of the city where the population was largest at that time, and not in the western and southwestern parts of the city that have been heavily developed over the past 80 years. The hybrid potable AWSS system that is being proposed by the SFPUC will provide the ability for the SFFD to fight the fires that could occur in areas not served by the high-pressure AWSS, and would also provide a means to distribute potable (drinkable) water in case water lines are disrupted by the major disaster. The system is being designed to withstand a 7.8 magnitude quake, and will be rely on the 90-million-gallon North Basin of the Sunset Reservoir, which can be refilled by the Hetch-Hetchy system within 24 hours if every drop were drained.

The proposed system will cost the city approximately $109,000,000 with $40,000,000 already allocated, meaning that 69 million still needs to be raised after the present program runs out of funding in 2021.

The only area in SF that will have minimal AWSS coverage is Glen Park, due to the large issues of topography and elevation.

Following the SFPUC presentation, a delegate spoke on a ballot measure to reverse the SF Board of Supervisors decision to eliminate "Columbus Day" in favor of "Indigenous People's Day."

Following the report, a motion was made for adjournment, seconded and approved at 9:05 PM. The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, March 26 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

March 2018

The final meeting of the calendar year of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on the new Captain at the Taraval station, Captain Robert Yick.

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:40 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a light turnout of delegates and attendees. Stephens started by welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in not enough delegates being present for a quorum.

Stephens followed by introducing Captain Yick, who took the floor and gave a lengthy overview of not only his background, but of his methods of policing, statistics on crime in the district and his outlook on where things stand after his initial four weeks managing the Taraval station.

Yick is a long-time SFPD officer who grew up in the Laurel Village area of the city, so he has history in SF and has seen the changes that have occurred in both crime and policing over the years. As a new Captain, he is focused on community interaction and how the officers under his jurisdiction look, act, and work with the public at large. He detailed the challenges of covering 25% of the land mass of SF with 115 officers, with the intent being to have officers deployed where they are needed.

He said that although violent crime is relatively low on this side of the city, he is concerned with property crimes and the "Hot Prowls" where teams of burglars case homes and are sometimes in the house at the same time that the homeowners are there. Yick touted the TNT-Taraval Neighborhood Team at the station that looks for patterns and trends to try and collect leads to break up these theft rings. To combat retail property crimes, he has foot patrols on West Portal Avenue, Irving Street, and Ocean Avenue, joining other areas where offices in patrol cars also are charged with getting out and walking the neighborhoods to give a greater sense of presence. Officers are also riding on the buses and MUNI. He did state that large shopping areas like Stonestown Galleria attract criminal gangs that can shoplift like "shooting fish in a barrel." Teams of thieves take merchandise in a store location then try to return the items for refunds or store credit at another store location. The SFPD is working with retailers to try and better identify stolen merchandise so it cannot be returned in this way.

Captain Robert YickThe topic turned to the differences between "petty theft," a misdemeanor that can have (county) jail time, versus a felony, where a convicted person would spend time in a state institution. The qualifying bar has been raised from $400 to $900, so that more property theft is now classified as misdemeanors rather than felonies.

In discussing the crime trends, Yick said that robberies at Taraval are down about 40%, with an average of 25 per month, while residential burglaries are trending at about 30/month or 1 per day. Crews are working homes in the Westside of SF as the value of items stolen is much larger than in other parts of SF. Thieves are looking for items such as cash, jewelry, credit cards, passports and keys for cars parked on the property or garaged. Auto burglaries have increased again this year, with approximately 25,000 being committed in SF during this year so far.

To combat crime and help the SFPD apprehend suspects, homeowners and merchants should look into placing alarms and cameras in (lower) areas where faces can be seen. He said that the department solves more crimes with camera footage than with anything else.

Public Safety is a big concern with the homeowner groups, and Yick took the time to answer questions from the attendees. As part of the discussion, he highlighted that the SFPD is still trying to add 300-400 additional officers above the "charter-designated" 1971 members of the SFPD, but that it will take some time for the approval, recruiting and training processes to happen. He also fielded questions on the "gray area" of Patrol Specials - basically security staff who look like SFPD, but are not sworn SFPD officers and have been used by neighborhood groups and merchants since the gold rush days to provide additional security. He also spoke on the ability of neighborhood groups and homeowner associations to hire private security services on a 24/7 basis.

He concluded his discussion by handing out his business cards to everyone in the audience.

A short report by D'vonte Graham highlighted the upcoming Shared Schoolyard Project– West Portal Playground Festival on December 16 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the West Portal Playground. Food, games, and other activities will be featured. The city is asking those who wish to attend to RSVP on the Park and Rec website.

Dena Aslanian-Williams spoke about a group that is supporting the inclusion of renovating the plants/shrubbery of Dewey Circle as part of the D7 Participatory Budgeting Process. Without a quorum, the WOTPCC was unable to formally endorse the effort, but will take it up again in January. She also let the group know that the Forest Hills Association will be holding a meeting regarding the 250 Laguna Honda Blvd. project at the Forest Hills Clubhouse on January 8 at 7:30 PM with all of the project principals in attendance.

George Wooding gave a report on the status of the blended groundwater project. Currently, about 8% of the Westside water supply is blended groundwater from a single source, the well at Lake Merced. By 2020 it is estimated that the blended percentage will be 15% as the two other planned wells are brought on line. Even though is seems that the Board of Supervisors was not in favor of starting the program, it has moved forward with little or no comment from that group of officials. Wooding also mentioned that it seems that the "Natural Areas Program" is using more weed eradication herbicides this year.

Following the report, a motion was made for adjournment, seconded and approved at 8:55 PM. The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, January 29 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (www.westoftwinpeaks.org).

December 2017

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