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Ruminations of a Former Supervisor / Quentin Kopp

2700 Sloat
YIMBYs (Yes in my backyard) are excited by the proposed high-rise in the Sunset—the neighbors? Not so much. Maybe they should be called YIYBYs? (Yes in your backyard)

Don't Let High Rises in the Sunset Overshadow Other City Hall Absurdities

• • • • • • • • • • August 2023 • • • • • • • • • •

It's reported that half of all accidents happen at home. Apparently, the rest happens in voting booths!

Between state legislators in Sacramento like Senator Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Matt Haney and our spirited supervisors in City Hall, plus their obsequious, obnoxious YIMBY (i.e., “Yes In My Backyard") cheerleaders, the clamor for housing monopolizes airwaves, the San Francisco Comical and State Capitol minions who've decreed that San Francisco must produce 82,000 new housing units by 2030. Why? The Census Bureau reported last month that San Francisco's residential population has declined from 870,000 or so in 2019 to approximately 808,000 in 2022. A Park Merced resident notes cessation of materials promoting occupancy of City Hall-approved construction of about 11,000 units to replace many existing rented units.

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Have any such housing units been built? Of course not! Why? Probably because there’s no market for them. Why not? Because the population has declined.”

Remember the controversy about Stonestown reconstruction? The plan was to add housing units by demolishing commercial portions which have existed for over 50 years. Have any such housing units been built? Of course not! Why? Probably because there’s no market for them. Why not? Because the population has declined.

Have you heard recently about a proposed 50-story housing high-rise on Sloat Boulevard? It's meant to replace the Sloat Garden store next to the Irish Cultural Center. Want to bet that it doesn't proceed with hundreds of units? And the Irish Cultural Center reconstruction plan, which included housing units but needed money to build, appears moribund. And, the notion of creating apartments in vacant downtown offices appears fanciful because of construction improbabilities — according to one retired sub-contractor I quizzed. My conclusion: watch the census figures regarding our population decline.

It's 30-day vacation time for the Board of Supervisors members and staff — until the middle of August. The $14,600,000,000 annual budget was effectuated before their shutdown. I'm reminded that, before district elections, supervisors met every Monday without recess. They now receive $158,000 yearly, with not just two aides as we had as citywide elected officials, but four aides paid $112,000 to $137,051 annually.

Once the California Supreme Court next month authenticates Santa Monica's use of at-large elections for its council members, expect Sunset stalwart Robert Guichard to begin the campaign to abolish district elections and restore at-large election of all supervisors as he did in 1980. I'll assist. So will the San Francisco Taxpayers Association.

An example of City Hall ignorance occurred last month when Supervisor Joel Engardio announced his plan to convert parking space at the Cow Palace into a San Francisco homeless camp for thousands, including the RV inhabitants on Lake Merced Boulevard. He did so without consulting Cow Palace offices, directors, or managers. He was supported only by Supervisor Ahsha Safai, who represents a tiny portion of the 68-acre Cow Palace, 67 of which are in Daly City. He didn't bother any Daly City council members or staff with his “plan.” (You'll hear more about Safai next month.) Engardio must think the Cow Palace is now a dumping ground. It isn't; It receives no taxpayer money. (The state, owner of the property, stopped giving it money in the 2008 recession.) As of May, it reported cash on hand as $8,796,192, cash in excess of liabilities as $7,224,840 (a continuing high) and total assets of $14,997,463.22, which is about a $12,000,000 increase over 2022! Event promoters rent space every week. (The 75th Grand National Rodeo occurs October 6-7, 2023; tickets on sale now.)

By the way, Engardio's public statement includes an announcement of “;bringing state officials into the fold.” He obviously doesn't even know the Cow Palace operates with a governing board that is independent of state control, like all county fairs in California.

Yahoo News announced on May 22, 2023, that two more “progressive” chief prosecutors resigned because of malfeasance and inaptitude, the first as US Attorney for Massachusetts appointed by President Biden in July 2021, after serving as Boston's district attorney; the other as chief prosecutor in St. Louis for neglect of duties.

Meanwhile, former San Francisco Police Commissioner John Hamasaki, a district attorney aspirant years ago, was quoted in March, characterizing crime in S.F. as “basic city life experiences.” He was responding to tech CEO Snehal Antani, whose automobile was broken into while dining at Fisherman's Wharf, thus suffering a loss of passports, $10,000 in property, and smashed car windows. Hamasaki taught at U.S.F. law school, too.

A banker fell overboard from a sailboat. A friend grabbed a life preserver, held it up, not knowing if the banker could swim, and shouted: “Can you float alone?” “Obviously,” the banker replied, “but this is a heck of a time to talk business.”

Judge Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, SF Ethics Commission member and retired Superior Court judge who was president of the California High Speed Rail Authority governing board, 2006-2008.

August 2023

Quentin Kopp
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