News And Views from the West of Twin Peaks Central Council

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, 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, 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

November 2019

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 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: 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 (

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?)

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 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?

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, 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:

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:

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.

Planned 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:

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

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, 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.

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 (

March 2019

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

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

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:

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. (

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 (

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

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 (

December 2018

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

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 (

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

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 (

October 2018


Mayor Mark Farrell at the Central Council


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 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 (

July 2018


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.

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 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 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 (taken 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 (

June 2018


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 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

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:

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 (

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:

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 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:

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 (

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.

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 (

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 (

December 2017

Once the regular housekeeping items were dispensed with, the meeting began with a plea from George Wooding about Planning’s scheme to increase density, then proceeded to the new developments in the Balboa Reservoir plan.

George Wooding, President of the Coalition for SF Neighborhoods, said the Planning Department will move to gut height and depth restrictions with proposed code changes to Article 3, Zoning Procedures § 317 and that homes could easily become twice as big if the measure passes on December 7th. He urged members to speak against de-facto demolitions, which occur with a remodeling permit. For more information review the June 1 presentation (Residential Expansion Threshold), also see his article on page 1.

Lisa Spinali

Sunnyside’s Lisa Spinali, who chaired the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) on the Balboa Reservoir project, briefly described the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) bidding process and timeline that brought us to the selection of Avalon Bay Communities, BRIDGE Housing and Mission Housing, Habitat for Humanity and Pacific Union Development Corp, based on for-profit developers and non-profit builders with the experience and capacity to handle complex multi-year projects, and sufficient financial wherewithal. The selection was made by a team from Planning, SFMTA, SFPUC and two non-government people. The Request for Proposal (RFP) lasted several months. Of the presentations from developer proposals, the winning proposal brought questions from the members.

While there will be two more years of input from the public on various aspects the CAC will remain to monitor the progress and solicit input from the public. The next meeting will be Nov. 13, 6 pm, at the Multi-Use Bldg, Rm. 140 at City College.

What the housing stock will look like, how much open space, parking, affordable units, rental to ownership ratio, as well as considerations regarding the “fit” into the current neighborhood, the patterns of student parking from City College in relation to parking patterns for residential uses, as well as the relationship to the primary business district along Ocean Avenue, are all subject to change. “…the average age of City College students is 27-28 … we would never want to discourage students from going to City College,” Spinali said. Another consideration is the citywide planning goal of moving from one parking space per unit to .5 per unit. The five existing neighborhoods communities adjacent to the development are also a factor in the final look of the project, from Westwood Park, a historic district with beautiful houses that are smaller, to the college with its traffic and congestion, and the business district on the south. Transportation element is key, “we can’t build anything until we resolve the transportation problems.”

Brad Wiblin

Brad Wiblin, Bridge Housing, the master development entity, described the 17-acre project criteria and perimeters that include a minimum two acre public park, four acres of open space. He outlined the relationship with his 50-50 partner Avalon Bay Communities. “It’s nice to have a partner who is a well-capitalized public company.” Mission Housing will be building one of the buildings and providing a child-care facility. Habitat for Humanity will be building homes for first-time homebuyers. Avalon Bay will build the market-rate rental component. Pacific Union will develop the parking. Another partner, yet to be named, will build the town hall portion, he told the group. He added that half of the project units will be affordable, and half will be market rate.

Karen Murray

Karen Murray, a partner with Van Meter Williams Pollack, a design firm, explained the transportation connections, streets, pathways and parking through the public realm to the various communities that surround it. The edges that abut Westwood Park, Riordan, and Ocean Avenue, are scaled to “fit” with those factors.

Scott Falcone

Scott Falcone, an affordable housing consultant with Mission Housing Development Corporation and a resident of Sunnyside, spoke about the public input process that has occurred and the ongoing opportunities to engage with the planning of the site. He gave as the email for more information. The topics for upcoming meetings of the CAC have not yet been set; Community feedback will be another year-long process and community walks are planned. Engagement with the City: Planning Department, SFMTA and SFPUC will response to the public input.

Many member questions were about parking. The consultants agreed that getting the parking right is the major challenge. Green roofs and solar panels will be major components. No storefronts onsite, so that the Ocean Avenue businesses will benefit. City College’s plans are uncertain. Developers are hoping to help build the parking garage with housing above for teachers, but the proposed Performing Arts Center will not impinge on the plans. The majority of the traffic generated at Ocean and Phelan, they said, is from City College, i.e., if you provide free parking, it encourages more automobile traffic. They are planning to transition parking to market rate parking—in the right balance. The proposed 100 for-sale homes, affordable and market rate, will have one-to-one parking, and will be from 450 to 1250 sq ft. There will be 1000 rental homes, half affordable and half market rate, that will have .5 parking spaces per unit, as well as shared parking with City College. Plans are tentative, and will be built in multiple phases. Opening date is targeted at 2025.

This month’s Report is from Doug Comstock in Mitch’s absence.

The next meeting of WOTPCC will be on November 27 at the Forest Hill Clubhouse, 381 Magellan Avenue at 7:30 pm.




November 2017

The September meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on the district and its challenges, with Supervisor Norman Yee speaking on current legislation efforts, and Frank Noto of StopCrime SF speaking about his group's efforts to instruct citizens to recognize and report crime.

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:40 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a moderate 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. (Several additional delegates arrived later to make a quorum)

Supervisor Norman Yee explains his legislation

Supervisor Norman Yee opened the meeting by speaking to the attendees on legislation that he has pursued over the last several months, starting with a 2-year study that his office has been doing to push the City into approving "true" family housing units, such as 2-3 bedroom units with family amenities within the site proposals. He next discussed the work he has done for Vision Zero, the effort to increase pedestrian safety and reduce the numbers of people killed or injured by motor vehicles. The supervisor discussed additional lighting on O'Shaughnessy; trying to get the crosswalk lights to operate correctly on West Portal Avenue, and improving pedestrian safety at Detroit and Monterey.

Small business woes were also discussed with the release of a study showing that large-scale city projects had damaged local merchants the most in the Castro and West Portal neighborhoods. Yee said he is trying to gather information on the numbers of closed businesses and see if the city can do some mitigation to lessen the effect of construction projects in the future. He next took on the "robots," as he spoke of legislation that would ban delivery robots from using public sidewalks. "Sidewalks are for people, not robots!" he stated.

Public Safety is a big concern with the attendees and the Supervisor spoke on several topics relating to local crime. An agreement has been reached with the primary rental car companies to make rental cars harder to identify by smash and grab gangs by making the identifying barcodes much smaller and locating them on the windshield. Rental cars are a favorite target for these types of burglaries as there is usually luggage stored in the trunks and the people rarely show up in court if the cases get that far.

Yee is trying to organize a task force with the SFPD and the Police Commission to look at the actual number of SFPD officers that is really necessary to patrol the city, stating that an arbitrary number has been assigned (1971) but really no one knows where the number came from, or if it is an accurate number as the population of the city has grown significantly over the last 15 years. Whatever the number is, the city is substantially below the 1971 number, but is working to recruit and train new officers through increased academy classes.

Yee also discussed having a dedicated unit established to investigate and handle property crimes, with one person being assigned at each police station to handle these types of crimes. His expectation is that these ten individuals could share information and see trends as a better way to tackle the increasing problem. There has been push back from the SFPD and the Mayor's office on setting up a "dedicated" unit.

The Supervisor also addressed the problems with crime on Twin Peaks, with several options such as placing additional cameras in areas where people frequent, (in conjunction with Rec and Park). Sixteen new cameras have been installed. Another idea that has been floated is to install gates that would close the roads up to the "parkland" at dusk, much like other parks within the City.

Frank Noto of StopCrimeSF addressing the WOTPCC

Following Yee, Frank Noto, co-founder of the advocacy group, StopCrime SF addressed the group, detailing his organization's goals and operations. A coalition of 6-7 neighborhood associations, Stop Crime SF works to provide help to victims of crime and to call for more criminal justice accountability. The group attends and speaks at public hearings to make its presence known and to monitor progress of trials and outcomes.

All of their efforts are volunteer, and they're looking for more neighborhood groups to join, as well as volunteers. If you are interested in finding out more about StopCrime SF, visit the website at, or like them on Facebook:, or give them a call at 415-830-1502.

President Stephens followed by calling for an open discussion for important issues that delegates wish the WOTPCC board to look into. Number one on the list is the afore-mentioned Property Crimes, followed by topics such as Groundwater Blending, Water and Sewer rates, Garbage rates, coyotes, and the SF Budget.

Short report by George Wooding and Chris Bowman on the continuing fight against the SFPUC blending groundwater into the drinking water used in certain parts of the City (including some of the Westside) followed.

Following the report, a motion was made for adjournment, seconded and approved at 9:10 PM.

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

October 2017

The June meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on new officers and a spirited and entertaining musical performance from a relatively-unknown San Francisco institution.

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:30 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a large turnout of delegates and attendees, and everyone immediately understood that the evening would be different than most as music stands and instruments were arranged on stands at the front of the room, usually reserved for the seated officers.

Stephens started by briefly welcoming everyone to the meeting and having the roll call, which resulted in enough delegates being present for a quorum, necessary as the newly nominated officers for 2017-18 were in line for election later in the evening. Following two short committee reports, Public Health report by George Wooding advising pet owners (specifically dog owners) about the probability of an extremely heavy tick season and the complications that can arise from a tick bite, such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; and Technology Committee report by Matt Chamberlain discussing the update of the website and outreach to the various homeowner groups for delegate information, President Stephens called upon nominating committee representative Dave Bisho to discuss the ballot for the WOTPCC board election.

The importance of the WOTPCC (since 1936) was stated as Bisho read accomplishments of the council over the eight decades of its existence were highlighted, from advocating having schools and other improvements brought to the Westside of the city, as well as being the main advocating group for zoning adoption and preservation through the years.

Following the brief rundown, Bisho announced the slate of nominees for 2017-18 as put forth by the nominating committee, consisting of Paul Conroy, Matt Chamberlain and Bisho. The nominees are as follows: President Sally Stephens, Vice President Matt Chamberlain, Secretary David Goldman, and Secretary Carolyn Squeri, with the appointed nominee for Parliamentarian, Dena Williams. With no additional nominations from the floor, the nominees were approved unanimously by a voice vote to serve as the board officers from September 2017 through June 2018.

David Reffkin of San Francisco Music Center

After the vote, Carolyn Squeri gave a brief introduction of the "entertainment" for the evening, a performance by several instructors and students of the San Francisco Community Music Center. The two instructors, Scott Feichter and David Reffkin, playing guitar and violin respectively, treated the crowd to a delightful evening of musical history ranging from waltzes, jugs, hornpipes and reels, to jazz, samba, blues, ragtime (and its predecessor "cakewalk") and the music of guitar extraordinaire Django Reinhardt, known as gypsy jazz.

Scott Feichter of San Francisco Community Music Center

It was a veritable history lesson on music and had the attendees clapping and applauding for more. Several students from the school joined the instructors to present the last several pieces, as the 7-piece combo "approximated" the feeling one would have at Reinhardt's Hot Club in Paris in the 1920's.

The Community Music School can trace its origins to the founding of the music department of the Dolores Street Girls' Club settlement house by Gertrude Field in 1912. The CMC was officially established and moved to its current location at 544 Capp Street in 1921, marking their 96th year of teaching students of all ages the joy of music, whether through instrumentation and choral celebrations. Approximately 50% of their students are under age 18, while 19% are over the age of 65. The school offers both private lessons and ensemble learning in styles ranging from western classical music, jazz and Latin, to Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Chinese.

Their catalog is full of wonderful course offerings and events to hear the musicians as well. For more information on the school contact them at: 415.647.6015 or their website at

President Stephens followed with a call for adjournment, and with that, the WOTPCC takes its annual summer recess. The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 25th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.For more information see the WOTPCC website (

July/August 2017

The May meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on homelessness, an update on the Forest Hills housing project, and a continuing discussion on the blended water supply.

President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:30 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse with a good turnout of delegates and attendees, and almost immediately turned the meeting over to the featured speaker of the evening, Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

Jeff Kositsky gave a thorough look at the homeless situation

Kositsky started his presentation with an explanation about the plight of those within San Francisco who are homeless, and what the city is doing to address and assist those who find themselves without shelter. The ex-Executive Director with the Hamilton Family Center, the director gave a well documented presentation showing the many causes of the homeless crisis in the city (and nationwide) that actually started in the 1960's under the Kennedy administration as HUD (Housing and Urban Development) funding started to be reduced. From 1978 to the present time the HUD budget to states and cities from the federal government has been reduced (in real dollars) by a staggering 80%.

He noted that the tax policies at the federal level still reward homeowners (through mortgage interest deductions) in the amount of over $75,000,000,000 per year, along with the cost of Capital Gains tax exemptions diverting over $ 100,000,000,000 from the IRS coffers. He cited reports that if the mortgage deduction tax breaks were removed it would not affect the real estate market for lower income home purchasers. (This premise was somewhat disputed by a realtor in the audience.)

Nevertheless, the cuts in federal funding, the elimination of the local Redevelopment Agencies (RDA's) by Governor Brown, and the impact of several recessions on both baby boomers and millennials have resulted in greater numbers of those who are without adequate housing and services. Add in racist real estate practices from decades past, and a growing heroin and opiate epidemic nationwide and it's easy to see some of the root causes of the crisis. For example, the African-American population within San Francisco is 6%, yet this segment makes up approximately 40% of the city's homeless population. While the "accepted" number of homeless in San Francisco is reported to be about 6,500, Kositsky says the actual number is closer to 15,000.

Kositsky detailed the challenges that San Francisco has faced over the years, and admitted that although the city has increased funding to combat homelessness by 80% since 2005, there has been an increase in the homeless count of over 23%. He cited the myriad of agencies and databases that are not linked, and do not work together with sharing of services and information. There is hope on the horizon, as his department is starting a "centralized" information system to handle people in the system to ensure that a "Coordinated Entry" program will identify people registering for services, and help to track them throughout their various avenues of services and treatments received in order to better track and administer services and care.

He believes the situation will improve with additional funding, better tracking of services, strengthening partnerships with city agencies (and regional providers), and right sizing the system to address the true needs. It is his opinion that it will take a 30% increase of the Departmental budget over the next 5 years to make a significant impact to reduce the numbers that we see on the streets.

Although he presented much more information than can be recapped here, he closed the presentation by pointing out three things that the public can do: use Common Sense when dealing with the homeless; be generous with funds and support; and have compassion for those that you encounter.

President Stephens followed by informing the group that the election of officers for 2017-18 will be held next month and that anyone interested should contact her, or Dave Bisho.

The President of the Forest Hills Association gave a quick update on the Christian Church Homes project in Forest Hills. The city has asked that the majority of the project planning be put on hold until the completion of the geotechnical report and the EIR relating to the stability of the hillside adjacent to the proposed development. In addition, the architecture firm working with the developer is working on some new design elements, including that the new plan will include a preschool (but not necessarily the school that is currently in operation).

Dave Bisho spoke to the organization about a proposal to craft a motion for the WOTPCC to support a letter to the SFPUC and city government to strongly oppose the groundwater-blending project that is currently underway in the city. He read a draft of a motion, and with a small change, it was seconded by Paul Conroy and approved unanimously by the delegates in attendance.

Matt Chamberlain announced he is in the process of updating the master delegate listing and should be trying to complete this within the next 30 days.

Barbara Chionsini spoke on Public Safety and the good news that the Sloat Boulevard safety project has been funded and is on track to be completed by the end of September. The project will result in an improved roadway, lighting, crossing indicators and more pedestrian-friendly improvements that will increase the safety of the throughway. She also commented on the Public Safety meeting held by Supervisor Yee last month. The organizers of the meeting requested questions from the public to be created for the SFPD to answer, but at the event, the questions were not allowed to be asked. She has lists of the questions and has submitted them to the District Attorney.

The last report of the evening was from George Wooding on Public Health, who commented that 30% of the residents of District 7 (approximately 16,900) are above the age of 60, and that 3600 homes in the district have a single occupant, yet the Westside has been targeted by City Hall for density programs. He posed the question "could there be a way to have elderly residents 'share' occupancy in some of the single person homes?" It makes for interesting discussion.

President Stephens followed with a call for adjournment.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, June 26th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

June 2017

Amidst the sprinkles during the evening, the April meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council focused on the water supply within the city. President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:30 at the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

The meeting started with a smaller turnout than usual, due to a neighborhood meeting on public safety occurring a few blocks away at West Portal School. However, the meeting was lively with the subject of water being an important topic.

President Stephens asked the assembled delegates to consider filling some of the committees that are open such as Planning and Land Use and Technology. George Wooding gave a short Public Health committee update on how the minimum wage increases over the years can contribute to better health for the citizens, and Carolyn Squeri gave a short Treasurers report, showing the amount held in the WOTPCC account.

SFPUC’s Suzanne Gautier and Jeffrey Gilman present the case for blending

The main topic of the evening was water, and the SFPUC project to blend San Francisco well-derived groundwater with Hetch Hetchy water to augment the water supplies available to the city.

Speakers Suzanne Gautier and Jeffrey Gilman gave the overview of the project and laid out the case for the multi-year project, which aims to add up to 15% San Francisco well water into the reservoirs that serve much of the Westside of the city. At the planned completion of the project, the 6 wells to be used will contribute 4 million gallons per day to the supply. Four wells are under construction currently along with an underground pipeline system that will transport the water from the wells to the reservoirs.

The plan is for a gradual ramping up with year one bringing in 1 MGD (Million Gallons/Day), year two bringing in 2 MGD and year three bringing in 3MGD. The second phase of the project is to take two additional wells that are currently used for landscape supply in Golden Gate Park and bring them into the system to reach the 4 MGD plan for the water augmentation. Approximately 50% of the city residents will receive the blended water by 2019. Gilman noted that the wells will have excess capacity and could pump up to 6 MGD in the event of an emergency (such as the Hetch Hetchy system being damaged due to earthquake, etc.). Wells will be monitored constantly to ensure the quality of the drinking water as well as to maintain the levels and quality of the aquifer at Lake Merced.

The State Water Control Board has overseen the testing of the well water from the initial well and has given conditional approval for the first well, which is in testing phase currently. The test results show small incremental increases in the blended water of turbidity (cloudiness), some particulate matter, and minerals, and a larger increase in the amounts of nitrate in the water, (.35 ppm to 1.45 ppm but much less than the limits set by the Water Quality Board, 45.0 ppm).

While everyone recognizes that the Hetch Hetchy water, from the Sierra /Yosemite reservoir and snow pack, is a very pure source, it was interesting to note that at any given time, the SFPUC already blends water from the surface reservoirs such as Crystal Springs, which is treated before being pumped into the reservoirs within the city.


Chris Bowman argued CSFN’s water position

The next speaker was Chris Bowman, an advocate from the CSFN speaking on the plan and questioning the levels of new components in the water and the effect that the blended water will have on people with compromised health, as well as industries such as craft beer, bread bakers, coffee brewers, etc.

Bowman took interest in the ads throughout the city and feels that 15% of water to be blended is not a “trivial” amount that is suggested in the ad campaign, and is also concerned about the possible intrusion of salt water into the aquifer if too much pumping is allowed to happen. The PUC advocates explained that the wells would be monitored constantly to ensure that this does not occur. If too much salinity shows up at a well site, then the flow will be stopped and the problem addressed.

Discussion also centered on the outreach efforts by the PUC to reach the citizens. 122,000 ratepayers were sent information, but it was noted that there are 800,000+ residents in the city. Over 450,000 addresses receive the SFPUC Water newsletter, but again, how many people actually read the missive.

The public asked questions of the SFPUC representatives and answers were given. A question on pesticide and herbicides in the water table was addressed, that of the groundwater tested, no pesticides or herbicides were detected. As for why the city has decided to do this, it was noted that the drought conditions could return, and that the Hetch Hetchy delivery system is 167 miles long and the 5 pipelines cross 3 active earthquake faults en route to the city. The well groundwater could help to keep the water running in SF on a temporary basis in the event of an earthquake damaging the delivery system from the Sierra.

Following the question and answer period, President Stephens adjourned the meeting at 9:20 PM.

The next meeting will be Monday, May 22nd at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info:

May 2017

The March meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council came back to daylight with the return of daylight savings time. Acting President Sally Stephens opened the meeting at 7:30 (outdoors) at the West Portal Playground Clubhouse (as the group was temporarily locked out).

Reminiscent of the “soapbox speeches in “olde Londontown”Supervisor Katy Tang addressed the attendees about her legislation “Home SF,” the latest effort by City Hall to address the housing shortfall in San Francisco. A few minutes into the speech, the “keeper of the key” arrived and we all moved indoors.

Supervisor Katy Tang explains “Home SF” at the WOTPCC

Once seated, roll was taken and as a quorum was reached, the floor was turned back over to the Supervisor. The legislation is written asa voluntary measure for potential building owners and developers to addadditional stories within the buildings in specific commercial districts to try and increase the number of housing units aimed atmiddle class and working families. Tang explained that, while the city has been focused on creating housing units, almost 100% of the efforts have focused on benefitting those at the bottom of the economic scale, with very little being done to address the middle and working classes such as teachers, fire fighters, police officers, etc.

“Home SF” would give builders the chance to apply building sizes to match the State-passed “density bonus” plan that allows an increased height in existing buildings. The SF plan is more stringent, mandating a height limit of two additional stories to the existing building and maintaining the same “retail” footprint on the first floor (if retail currently exists). Thechallenge will be keeping “Mom and Pop” retailers inbusiness during a building’s remodel and renovation. For the density bonus, developers would have to make 30% of the units available at below market rates.

As the program is voluntary, Tang feels it is a good step towards creating additional affordable housing and estimates place the number of potential units at 16,000 over 20 years, with 5000 being in the below market, affordable units. It is important to note that the SF legislation mandates that there will be no demolition of an existing residential unit where someone is currently living.

Paul Giusti of Recology at the WOPTCC
Paul Giusti of Recology at the WOPTCC
The next presentation was “garbage,” literally, as representatives from Recology and the RatePayer Advocates office were on hand to discuss and collect feedback about thegarbage rate increase that Recology is proposing.

Recology has applied for an increase in the garbage rate of approximately21% over four years, with16.4% in year one, 4.98% in year two, 0% in year three, and .62% in year four. The increased funding will be used for items such as new collection bins, labor increases within the workforce, expanded outreach and education services, and the expansion and modernization of the recycling facilities at Pier 96 and Tunnel Avenue.

For the average resident, the increase is expected to be about$5.70 per month. Residents will be receiving “blue bins” that are twice the current size as more recycling materials are being produced, especially with online purchases. Known as the “Amazon” effect, the increase in packaging materials that can be recycled is causing Recology to implement some of the changes. Residents whotrade in their current 32-gallon “black bin” for a smaller 16-gallon bin will see theirincrease limited to approximately 50 cents per month instead of the $5.70. The goal overall is to push more recyclables to be collected with less and less going to the landfill as operations get closer to theirZero Waste goal. In the near future residents will be able to recycle plastic bags, and other goods that are not currently recyclable, as the new processing equipment comes on line.

Rosie Dilger, the RatePayer Advocate, explained at the meeting the plan to continue to reach out to thepublic for feedback and information as the proposal is discussed. If you want to make your input known, go to their website to weigh in on the proposal.Paul Giusti, from Recology, was on hand to answer questions about the recycling services and the specifics of the new bin arrangements.

Kevin Drew, from the Department of the Environment, spoke about the expanded outreach and education efforts that will be funded by the increase. The entire budget for the Department of the Environment (about $10,000,000 annually) is generated from garbage fees, not from the general fund. The new rates will go into effect on July 1, 2017.

President Stephens gave an Open Space report, informing the attendees that the Rec and Park’s controversialNatural Areas Program will be going into effect, as the appeal to block it was denied. An increase in tree removal, non-native plant removal, and an increased use of herbicides will be the result.

George Wooding gave a brief update on Public Health, citing concerns that even after the passage of Prop Q five months ago, virtually nothing has been accomplished to “sweep” the tent cities as the measure had intended. With no permanent or temporary housing in which to place the tent dwellers, the proposition cannot be implemented.

The final speaker of the evening was Chris Bowman, speaking on the plan for the PUC to mix pumped out groundwater with Hetch Hetchy water for much of the Westside of the city. This topic will be addressed at the next WOTPCC meeting.

Following the question and answer period, President Stephens adjourned the meeting at 9:20 PM.

The next meeting will be on Monday, April 24th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info: (

April 2017

The February meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council was the first one with Acting President Sally Stephens running the meeting. With the resignation of former President Roger Ritter last month, Vice President Stephens has stepped into the role to keep the meetings running and setting the agendas.

Carmen Chu, Recorder-Assessor

A good crowd was on hand and a quorum was reached early in the meeting. The officers present reported the following: Carolyn Squeri gave the financial tally for the organization; David Goldman (Secretary) announced that the team is working with Avrum Shepard to have all of the minutes uploaded to the website; and Stephens (President) noted that Ritter has left the board and mentioned that several of the important committees (Planning and Land Use / Technology/ Transportation) are in need of volunteers to chair them.

George Wooding gave a brief update on Public Health, citing concerns with the disposal of syringes and pharmaceutical items, such as expired prescriptions. Citizens are reminded to not throw unwanted pills and other prescriptions into the garbage or dump them in the drains or toilet. They can be disposed of at the Taraval Police Station, and at many pharmacies, including Walgreen’s on West Portal Avenue.

Stephens followed with an update of the Open Space and Parks Committee, advising everyone that the Board of Supervisors was slated to hear an appeal of the Rec and Park’s plan to implement the NAP (Natural Areas Plan), the following day, February 28th. It was expected to be a lengthy meeting with many speakers prior to the Supervisor’s vote.

Public Safety Committee chair Barbara Chionsini introduced SFPD Sgt. Scott Hom, (Taraval Station) and other members of his team (working undercover in plain clothes) as part of a continuing investigation into the rash of robberies, break-ins, and a homicide in the Ocean Avenue/Plymouth corridor. The investigation resulted in the arrest of a suspected gang member who was trying to leave SF airport and fly to Las Vegas. Sgt. Hom spoke on the increase in staffing levels at the Taraval station and the progress that they are making in investigating the robberies and vehicle break-ins that have greatly increased throughout the city, and on the Westside. In answering questions, he compared today’s rash of crimes (being mostly property related crimes) being much less violent than in the 60’s and 70’s, but still partly as a result of stealing items to support drug and alcohol habits. He also reported that the team had recently solved a large counterfeiting case with other agents.

The next speaker also spoke of money, as Recorder-Assessor Carmen Chu gave everyone an update on how property taxes work within the city and county and what her office is doing to continue to eliminate the large backlog of assessments and tax cases that she encountered upon taking office. In the assessor’s office, there was a 3-year backlog of assessments and cases. She explained that now it is down to 18 months.

As the Recorder, her office handles the recording of items such as deeds, marriage licenses and other important records. Last year the office processed and recorded over 150,000 documents. As the “assessor” her office is charged with making a fair determination of the worth of a property and/or building to determine the fair and equitable tax that should be paid by the owner. As properties are sold and transferred to new partners or owners, transfer taxes are collected. Last year $280,000,000 in transfer taxes were collected within SF.

When breaking down where property taxes are allocated, she gave the following information. 65% of property taxes are used to fund SF City services such as Public Safety, Recreation and Parks, DPW, etc. 34% of all property taxes are allocated to public education, and the remaining 1% goes to help fund BART.

She also touched on a large issue within the office, the archaic technology systems that the city is using. For example, the computer system is one that is COBOL based, a computer language that virtually no one uses today.

The discussion also centered on the duty of her office; to provide fairness in taxation, not serve as a “revenue generator,” but to hold property owners accountable to pay their “fair share.”

Ms. Chu also gave some (non-binding) advice to address questions on family trusts, ways to hold real estate, etc. She finished her discussion by addressing the companies booking and managing “Short Term Rentals” like Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway and how her office is trying to collect both TOT (Tenant Occupancy Tax) and business property (operation) taxes from the “hosts.”

Kevin Guy, Director of the Office of Short Term Rentals

This led directly to the final speaker, Kevin Guy, who is the Director of the Office of Short Term Rentals. He spoke at length about the procedures and policies that his office is doing to try and manage the applications of people looking to become “hosts” to operate a short-term rental.

He spoke of the fines that can be imposed on a host who is unlicensed ($484 per day, each day the host is not certified). Unfortunately, if a host turns themselves in, there is no provision to go back and look at their rental history to fine them for the extended period they have been running an operation.

Discussion then centered on the permitting process. Although an applicant is requested to have a copy of their lease or other documentation (such as CC and R’s), it is the city’s determination that these are “private” agreements that they will not take a position on, thus assigning a permit even if a lease or CCR prohibits the operation of a short-term rental. It’s then up to the neighbors or landlord to file a complaint with the Office of Short-Term Rentals.

Following the question and answer period, President Stephens adjourned the meeting at 9:20 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, March 27th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info: see

March 2017

The November (and 2016’s last) meeting of the Central Council was a relatively quiet affair compared to the October meeting, but still provided updates to several large projects that will affect the Westside neighborhoods.

WOTPCC President Roger Ritter opened the session, at 7:35 with a crowd of about 25, in attendance, far fewer than the 67 who packed the Forest Hill Clubhouse last month. He spoke about the agenda for the evening and following the roll call it was determined that a quorum was reached, and the meeting continued with officer and committee reports.

President Roger Ritter informed the delegates three committees, Planning and Land Use, Transportation and Technology have open committee chairs and asked all delegates to consider volunteering to fill a position for the 2017 WOTPCC year. It was also announced that the CSFN (Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods) would have their holiday event on Tuesday, December 13 at the Patio Espanol. Cost is $65 per person and Quentin Kopp will be the featured speaker for the event.

Sally Stephens followed with the Open Space and Parks committee report detailing the ongoing efforts by the Park and Rec Department to institute their “Natural Areas Planning” program, which calls for the elimination of all plants that were not found before the European Colonization, including up to 16,000 trees in areas such as Mount Davidson and Sharp Park. She reported that the Planning Commission and Park and Rec Commission is having a meeting on December 15, and are likely to adopt the program. She encouraged all of the delegates (and other interested parties) to write to the commissioners in advance of the meeting or to pack a lunch and spend the entire day (Dec. 15) at City Hall.

Lisa Spinali

Lisa Spinali (Sunnyside) gave an update on the continuing work of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the planning of the process of the Balboa Reservoir Housing Project, detailing on the difficulty in reaching consensus on some of the 7 main areas the group is focusing on to craft the process of issuing a RFQ (Request for Qualifications) that can be issued to prospective development firms who wish to submit a plan of action and design for the 17 acre site.

The most critical areas under consideration to be addressed include transportation (how to mitigate the Phelan Avenue congestion); coordination to reflect the City College’s master plan and new/retrofitted buildings; and the affordable housing factors that meets the needs of the community and the city and state mandates. (info:

Dena Aslanian-Williams (Forest Hill) followed Spinali, explaining that the project being proposed at the Forest Hill Christian Church site is the opposite of the Balboa Reservoir project with very little public interaction and outreach. The development group has scheduled a meeting at the Forest Hill Christian Church on December 15 to again interact with local neighbors. The project also differs from the Balboa project in that the Forest Hill project is on privately-owned land, versus the Balboa parcel (which is owned by the City of San Francisco).

Matt Chamberlain gave an update about the upcoming work in the West Portal Tunnel that will require (5) 9-day closures of the tunnel for track replacement. MUNI is planning to use “bus bridges” during these planned closures. Some of the track in the tunnel dates to the original installation in approximately 1918.

The agenda also called for a letter to be sent to Mayor Lee asking him to mandate that a new SF Police Chief should have to reside within the City. As Barbara Chionsini was absent from the meeting, the item was tabled until the January meeting.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, January 23 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info:

Errata Last month we incorrectly identified Forest Hill delegate Dena Aslanian-Williams as Kathleen Mertz of Christian Church Homes; and Kathleen Mertz (CCH/VP) as Mara Blitzer from the Mayor’s Office. (We regret the error)

December 2016/ January 2017

The October meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council was packed to the rafters with participants as SF’s housing crunch and neighborhood concerns were front and center during the evening.

WOTP Central Council President Roger Ritter opened the session at 7:45, as the largest number of attendees in several years (67) packed the historic Forest Hills clubhouse. He spoke about the agenda for the evening, and following the roll call it was determined that a quorum was reached, and the meeting continued with officer and committee reports.

Bill Chionsini (Lakeshore Acres) gave a quick report on Public Safety and the problems of policing the Westside in San Francisco. There have been large increases in Auto break-ins and home burglaries. Last week there was an incident at the Lakeshore Plaza where a mentally disturbed individual shot and seriously wounded a SFPD police officer before being wounded fatally by other SFPD officers who responded. Chionsini cited a concern in the selection process for the new SF Police Chief and feels strongly that the new Chief should be required to reside in San Francisco, as was required in years past. The current interim chief lives in the East Bay, and as a result, cannot readily get to areas within SF when there is a critical issue, especially when the traffic on the Bay Bridge is backed up. There is no easy way to shuttle a chief to the City, as the SFPD no longer has a helicopter. The SFPD currently does not offer a housing stipend to upper SFPD officials, unlike the SF Fire Department, whose chief lives in a home owned by the city.

A security camera caught this image of the suspect in the shooting


Chionsini also spoke of the need for a chief who is competent and has experience. The Police Commission is responsible for vetting the candidates and has narrowed the field from 24 candidates to 5, with the final decision resting with the Mayor.

Denise La Pointe (Twin Peaks Improvement Association) cited the problems that the TPIA has had in trying to schedule a meeting with the SF Police Captain in the Park District Station. Barbara Chionsini (Lakeshore Acres) also felt that the SFPD has not done a good job of reaching out to the neighbors to follow up on the Lakeshore Plaza incident.

A motion was made, seconded and unanimously approved to have the WOTPCC draft and send a letter of support and encouragement to the officer wounded in the shooting, SFPD Officer Kevin Downs.

Sally Stephens followed with the Open Space and Parks committee report detailing the ongoing efforts by the Park and Rec Department to institute their “Natural Areas Planning” program, which calls for the elimination of all plants that were not found before the European Colonization, including up to 16,000 trees in areas such as Mount Davidson and Sharp Park. A motion for a resolution calling for the WOTPCC to send the Park and Rec Department a letter of concern and asking them to: 1) Take the forested areas (such as Mt. Davidson and Sharp Park) out of the NAP program and turn them over to Park and Rec foresters, and (2) eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides (such as Round-up) to eliminate the non-native plants. The motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.

Dena Aslanian-Williams (Forest Hills)

The “hot” topic of the evening was discussed next, a proposed development by Christian Church Homes on Laguna Honda Boulevard, replacing the Forest Hill Christian Church and the daycare center adjacent to the church. Dena Aslanian-Williams (Forest Hills) started the discussion by giving an overview of the proposal, a plan to construct a large building with 150 units for senior low-income residents, of which 30% would be formerly homeless citizens. She questioned the viability of building this type of building in a single-family zoned RH-1D neighborhood, citing the problems of traffic, the size of the proposed building (50’ tall), the density (150 units) as well as traffic, parking, and the impact on the neighborhood.

Kathleen Mertz, CCH's VP of Real Estate Development

Joe Bravo, a Forest Hills resident, spoke next. He detailed the proposed building as being approximately ½ of a “Parkmerced” tower, stating that it shouldn’t be built in the neighborhood. He also described a meeting with the Forest Hills Association on October 7th where the sponsors (Christian Church Homes) spoke of transparency and neighborhood involvement, but a PPA planning permit approval document was filed with the building department the next day, with no input from the neighborhood and no transparency from the builders or the church, who is selling the property. Neighborhood concerns of traffic, potential landslides, environmental concerns, endangered species concerns were all raised as well as the destruction of the historic church building and the daycare center. The neighborhood representative goals were to bring awareness about the project to the greater neighborhood.

President and CEO Donald Stump urges project development

The sponsors of the project then spoke on the proposed plan. Donald Stump, President and CEO of Christian Church Homes, Kathleen Mertz, CCH’s VP of Real Estate Development, and Mara Blitzer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, tried to address the concerns of the attendees.

Blitzer explained that housing is at a critical stage within the city, and that the church had reached out to the city to help broker a project using approved bond funds to start the process to develop the site. The city awarded 1,900,000 dollars to the group to start the probable 5-year process to plan and develop the underutilized site into 150 senior housing units.

Mertz, was under constant questioning by the attendees and tried to communicate the fact that there is no design approved, and that “nothing is in stone” regarding the facility, and that more outreach will be done with the neighborhood. A person affiliated with the Forest Hills Christian Church detailed that the congregation of the church is down to approximately 30 people and dropping, as most of the members are over 70 years old. When asked about the day care center, he replied that the day care center was slated to be closed anyway due to lack of funding (and attendees), and that their group contacted CCH over 10 years ago to look at the property and make recommendations.

The CCH VP stressed to the crowd the vetting process that the (formerly) homeless will undergo, and that the goal of the project is to maintain 60% of median income, and that the goal is to bring middle income seniors into the fold, as well as up to 30 low income, formerly homeless seniors.

As the evening wore on, emotions flared and it took several minutes for the CCH management team to get through the basics of the project. They believe that 150 units will work on the site, and that the senior “renters” will be an asset to the community, with more workshops scheduled to occur in the future.

The residents of Forest Hills represented at the meeting appear to be steadfast against a project of this size and scope being placed in the neighborhood. They are concerned about all of the issues mentioned previously, as well as the impact that the project could have on the character of the neighborhood.

Several attendees asked the price that the church received for the property, but a spokesman for the church declined to comment. Some neighbors think a community park would better benefit the surrounding area.

Some Forest Hills residents may be moved by involvement with the developer and the outreach efforts, while others seem destined to oppose any project on the site. Everyone agrees that housing is a challenge in the city and that senior housing is a worthy thing to have, but the question remains, what kind of project can be hammered out to be acceptable to everyone. It remains to be seen how this project will fare.

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

November 2016

The September meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council looked much the same as pre-summer break as the same slate of officers was nominated and reelected to their respective posts for the 2016-17 year.

WOTP Central Council President Roger Ritter opened the session, held a week earlier than usual due to a schedule conflict at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. He spoke about the agenda for the evening and following the roll call it was determined that a quorum was not reached, but the meeting went forward with no issues able to be voted upon by the delegates.

Anne Quaintance and Sandi Mori speak in favor of Proposition I (dignity Fund)

A decision was made to not do officer reports and proceed directly to the speakers for the evening. The first speakers were Anne Quaintance, Chief Programs and Government Affairs Officer for Meals on Wheels of SF, and Sandy Mori, co-founder of Kimochi, speaking about Proposition I, the "Dignity Fund" proposition.

The proposition is an attempt to secure stable funding for programs benefitting San Francisco's senior citizens and adults with disabilities, without raising taxes. Fully 24% of citizens in the city are people with disabilities or aged 60 and over and by 2030 the number will grow to 30%. Currently, programs supporting these communities are funded on a year-by-year basis through he General Fund, with approximately $32,000,000 in funding each year.

The Dignity Fund, (Prop I) would create a "set aside" that would guarantee funding for these programs for 20 years by creating a baseline of $38,000,000 in the City budget for programs. It would also mandate that the City set aside money from the General Fund to increase funding by $6,000,000 in 2017, then an additional $3,000,000 each year for 10 years. After the ten years, the additional amounts would be determined by changes in the City's revenues.

By stabilizing City contributions to the programs that assist seniors, and disabled adults aged 18 and older the fund aims to allow more San Franciscans to age well and live with dignity in their homes. Although many San Franciscans own their homes, many seniors are strapped to afford their daily necessities. According to a UCLA Center for Healthy Policy study, (cited in Prop I handouts) 57% of single senior households and 39% of two-person senior households in San Francisco do not make enough income to cover the costs of housing, food, medicine, and other necessities. In addition the funding would enable programs providing services such as Transportation Services for seniors to expand as the need expands.

An 11-member Oversight and Advisory Committee (of volunteers) would be created to monitor and participate in the decision-making process about the use of funds for the Dignity Fund.

For more information, visit their website:

Peter Cohen speaks in favor of Prop C

The second speaker of the evening was Peter Cohen, who spoke to the delegates about Proposition C, which would alter and expand the eligible uses from the 1992 seismic safety bond to include the rehab of other "at-risk" multi-unit buildings, including "soft story" retrofits and other fire, safety and code upgrades, as well as allow non-profit affordable housing developers to acquire and convert them to permanently-affordable housing.

Of the $350,000,000 allocated in 1992 for seismic upgrades to masonry structures, about $250,000,000 still has not been spent and is still on the City's books. Prop C would define other areas where a multi-unit owner could apply for city-funded loans to upgrade and repair buildings with ground-floor parking, or retail. Most of the seismic repairs and upgrades over the past 20+ years have been funded by private and commercial loans, which in many cases had better rates than the city bond loans.

The backers of Prop C feel that the measure will improve and strengthen many more buildings within the City, and will also fund the preservation of existing at-risk multi tenant building, thus making it an "urgent anti-displacement initiative."

With its aim to modify an existing bond measure, it will require a 67% approval percentage in the November election to pass.

Following a question and answer period, President Ritter adjourned the meeting at 9:00 PM.

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

For more information see the WOTPCC website.

October 2016

NEWS AND VIEWS…Supervisors Forum

Although the West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WOTPCC) has been on their summer recess, it's not to say they haven't been busy.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 10th at 10:00 AM for the District 7 Supervisor Candidates Forum. The WOTPCC is hosting the event (sponsored by this publication) at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, and is planning a standing room only crowd to hear each of the five District 7 candidates.

Incumbent supervisor Norman Yee, and challengers Joel Engardio, John Farrell, Ben Matranga and Michael Young will all field questions and give their visions of how they would represent District 7, if elected in the upcoming November election.

There is no charge to attend, and the event is expected to run until approximately noon.

For more information, check the WOTPCC website at

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 26th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hill Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

September 2016

Crime and Coyotes dominated the discussion at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on June 27. President Roger Ritter kicked off the meeting at 7:35 in front of a large crowd and immediately introduced San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

District Attorney George Gascon

Gascon was at the meeting as a follow-up to the recent meetings focusing on neighborhood crime. Previously presentations from the SFPD and Public Defender’s office had given attendees a peek into the workings of the local police stations, as well as the scope and operation of the office of the Public Defender. Gascon, who is known for his reliance on trends, data, and numbers, didn’t disappoint as he started by giving the following crime numbers within the Taraval and Ingleside Police Stations from 2014 to 2015.

For the Taraval station, the D.A. reported that for the period from January 2014 to March 2015 there were 2,290 auto burglaries reported with 16 arrests, which is less than 1%. Of the 16 arrests made, the D.A.’s office took action on 14 cases. For the same period the Ingleside station reported 1686 auto burglary cases, with 22 arrests, again a little over 1%. Of those 22 cases, the D.A. took action on 16 cases. Gascon stated that nationally, the trends show about a 14% arrest rate for auto burglary. When asked why more arrests were not being made, he referred these types of questions to the SFPD.

The numbers look very slightly better when examining property crime. For the same 15-month period, the Taraval station reported 5342 cases with 173 arrests (a 3% rate), with the D.A. taking action on 124 of the 173 arrests. In Ingleside, 3% was also the norm as 158 arrests were made on 4,687 property crimes. The D.A. said his office took action on 107 of the 158 arrests.

Gascon said that his office is hitting conviction rates that are their highest in the last 10 years, but still 95% of cases nationwide are handled through a plea bargain arrangement.

When asked about Prop 47 reclassifying some former felonies as misdemeanors, Gascon did not feel that an increase of crime has come from the proposition.

The D.A. spoke about the problem of 70% recidivism rates (meaning that 7 of 10 jailed criminals will repeat offend within a short period of time after their release). He believes that training, psychological evaluations and treatment can help lower these rates, and that many of the burglaries are being done by gangs working as teams, often not from the immediate SF areas. The number of property crimes has risen from 38112 in 2010 to 64870 in 2015. He strongly believes the City should establish a four-tier type of behavioral health center to try and council and treat offenders. He cited homelessness, mental health issues and substance and alcohol abuse as large problems within the crime statistics.

Following a roll call of the delegates to establish a quorum of voting organizations, one was reached, and Ritter introduced a Balboa Terrace Homes Association resolution calling for the capture and extermination of all coyotes within Balboa Terrace to the maximum extent permitted by state law. A vibrant and informative discussion ensued with representatives from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Little Blue Society, and the Balboa Terrace Homes Assn. all making points about the best methods of changing the behaviors of the coyote families within the city.

Andrew Hughan from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Several speakers focused on the conditions that force coyotes into the urban neighborhoods and gave pointers on what to do if faced with a coyote situation. Andrew Hughan, California Department of Fish and Wildlife told the attendees that Fish and Wildlife would not step in to take action with the coyotes unless a person was bitten by one. At that point he said that F&W would bring in as many people as needed to eradicate coyotes until the “attacking” coyote is identified.

The debate moved back and forth with what can be done and whose responsibility it is. Mary Paglieli of the Little Blue Society spoke on the culture of coyote families, their hunting grounds and the ways that neighborhoods can change the patterns of the animals to encourage them to move to other “more natural” areas for hunting. She believes that the main problem is that areas in parks and golf courses, etc. have been cleared of thickets, and dense underbrush combined with the drought (and a lower food supply) has forced the animals out into the neighborhoods. She described the coyotes as basically lazy, and not interested in attacking dogs and cats, but if stressed and hungry the small animals can become a target. She also added that killing or relocating “alpha pairs” could actually increase the number of animals, as then the “beta” pairs would not be held in check by the pack’s leaders, and then increased breeding and expansion of the pack could occur. The dynamic of the “family” is that the alpha pairs run the pack for 4-5 years and do the majority of the breeding, keeping the beta pairs in check as just pack members.

The society has published guidelines for avoiding conflicts with coyotes, and safeguarding children around areas where coyotes are present. The website is:

Following the discussion, a call to support the resolution forwarded by the BTHA was discussed and passed, with several no votes and several abstentions, with the intention that the WOTPCC would be sending a letter in support of having the city draft a comprehensive plan to address the coyote situation, and have the resolution letter from the BTHA attached to the packet.

The WOTPCC select nominating committee (Dave Bisho, Paul Conroy, and Denise La Pointe) reported on the officer nominations for WOTPCC officers for the 2016-2017 year. Bisho reported that the nominating committee has nominated the current slate of officers to continue again for the 2016-17 year, (President Roger Ritter, Vice President Sally Stephens, Secretary David Goldman and Treasurer Carolyn Squeri). A voice vote of approval affirmed the slate and the officers were elected to serve for another year.

Lastly, President Ritter reminded the attendees of the upcoming WOTPCC/District 7 Supervisorial Candidates Forum – The date is Saturday, September 10 and it will be held inside the Forest Hills Clubhouse, with refreshments being served outside. The forum will be conducted between 10:00 AM and Noon.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30.

Finally, Congratulations to District 7 resident Lee Hsu, nominated by the Mayor and approved by the Board of Supervisors to serve as a member of the SFMTA.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 26th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hill Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

July 2016

Jeff Adachi
Public Defender Jeff Adachi

Public Safety ruled the day at the April 23rd meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council. President Roger Ritter kicked off the meeting at 7:35 in front of a large crowd and following the roll call, he opened with the first of the "public safety" speakers, SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Adachi, whose office is responsible for ensuring that his department's clients (people charged with criminal behavior) are treated fairly by the judicial system with a fair and unprejudiced outcome, started by defining crime and criminal activity as a behavior, a moral judgment. He used the example of the drop of cell phone thefts, now that "kill" switches have eliminated the sale on the secondary market; a move opposed by the cell phone manufacturers due to the profit they were making by selling new phones to those who had been victimized by cell phone theft.

He then described a program designed to change the behavior of 16 and 17 year olds, called the "Pathways Program." It is a jail diversion program that requires the teens to participate in the program weekly for 1 year. The program instructs them on how their (criminal) behavior impacts them, their victims and others, as well as other behaviors, to avoid continuing on the same path. The one-year old program appears to have changed behavior in up to 85% of the participants.

When looking at adult thieves, he said that the crimes are from the "need" to have whatever they are stealing, either from envy, or a need to fence the item for money. Statistically approximately 12% of SF residents live below the poverty limit of $12,000 per year for individuals, or $25,000/yr. for a family, although he made sure to remind people that not all of those living below the poverty line are doing criminal activity. A large percentage (25%) of the clients of the Public Defender's office are mentally ill, with another large group addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

When asked about ways to reduce crime, Adachi voiced his support for making household-mounted video camera (e.g. GoPro) videos admissible as evidence, and said that the sighting of a camera would help to deter those looking for places to rob. He also advised to not leave items in plain sight in your vehicle, as these are prime targets for "smash and grab" auto burglaries. There were 26,000 auto burglaries in SF last year, with a "solve rate" of only 4%.

Captain Denise Flaherty
Captain Denise Flaherty

Taraval Police Station Captain Denise Flaherty started her presentation by reminding the attendees that "Nothing is to big or too small to report," and that citizen involvement is a big help to the SFPD in trying to prevent or solve crimes. The Captain spoke about the high rate of auto burglaries, citing 200 in December, but that there have been only 33 reported so far in May. The station has undertaken efforts to combat this type of crime by having more undercover units on the streets, and also having a higher visible level of police officers on the street. She also discussed crimes where 3-4 organized members working as a "gang" are breaking into houses. She also reiterated how having cameras on the front and back of a house can be not only a deterrent, but also a resource for video footage that can help the SFPD catch burglars.

Flaherty stressed the point that it is important to be a good neighbor by listening to your "little voice," in that if something looks suspicious, it probably is, and to not hesitate to call the local SFPD station to report it. Another way to combat crime is to take photos of your valuables that can be used to help solve cases.

She also spoke of how a typical burglar may commit 2-3 home burglaries per day. An example was given about a burglar who committed "Hot Prowl" types of burglaries, where residents would be present in the home when he would burglarize it. Through police work this burglar was caught and the number of these types of break-ins dropped from 73 in March to 15 in May.

Captain Joe McFadden
Captain Joe McFadden

The last speaker on Public Safety, Ingleside Station Captain Joe McFadden, also touted the use of video evidence as a great way to catch and convict suspected felons. He also spoke of making a call to 911 or the non-emergency number (415-553-0123) to report suspicious activities. If reporting a need for an officer to "drive by" and no one is seen after 20 minutes, Mc Fadden told the attendees to call the station and ask for the PC (Platoon Commander on duty).

He next addressed the problems with leaving an electric garage door opener in your car, installing a garage door sliding lock bar on the mechanism, or a switch so that power to the door can be turned off.

He also reported that the SFPD had recently busted 3 burglary rings operating in Glen Park, Bernal Heights, and Monterey Boulevard.

Following the public safety discussion, a resolution was initiated to acknowledge that Lee Hsu was nominated by Mayor Lee to serve on the SFMTA, and requesting that the Board of Supervisors approve the nomination. The resolution was passed unanimously.

The WOTPCC select nominating committee (Dave Bisho, Paul Conroy, and Denise La Pointe) reported on the officer nominations for WOTPCC officers for the 2016-2017 year. Bisho reported that the nominating committee is nominating the current slate of officers to continue again for the 2016-17 year: President Roger Ritter, Vice President Sally Stephens, Secretary David Goldman and Treasurer Carolyn Squeri. Floor nominations for Board officers may also be brought forth at the June meeting prior to the election.

Next, President Ritter and Matt Chamberlain discussed the WOTPCC/District 7 Supervisorial Candidates Forum. The date of Saturday, September 10 was confirmed with the forum being held inside the Forest Hills Clubhouse, with refreshments being served outside.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, June 27th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hill Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

June 2016


Junior ROTC, WOTPCC Nominations, and a Supervisorial candidates’ forum were the main topics of the April 25th meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council.

Supervisor Norman Yee
Supervisor Norman Yee at the WOTPCC

President Roger Ritter kicked off the meeting at 7:35 in front of a large crowd and following the roll call he gave the president’s report.

The WOTPCC select nominating committee (Dave Bisho, Paul Conroy, and Denise La Pointe) was given the task of compiling candidate names for the upcoming election of new WOTPCC officers for the 2016-2017 year. Nominations for Board officers will be collected by the committee and announced at the WOTPCC May meeting, with elections at the June meeting.

Next, President Ritter discussed the sponsorship of a WOTPCC/District 7 Supervisorial Candidates Forum – The date of Saturday, September 10 was discussed as a potential date. The committee is also looking at possible locations, including the Forest Hill Clubhouse, as well as other locations based on cost to the WOTPCC, and the ability to handle the expected number of attendees. It was suggested that seating in the front of whatever venue is selected be reserved for WOTPCC delegates and D7 homeowners. Matt Chamberlain, Dave Bisho and Denise La Pointe will serve as the working group to research the potential venues.

George Wooding gave the only committee report (Public Health), reporting that two people in SF have tested positive for the South American-centric Zika virus. (One woman and one man). Denise La Pointe and Wooding agreed to draft a letter of inquiry to the steps that have been taken by SF for mosquito abatement in the local ponds and lakes within San Francisco.

Lt. Col. Doug Bullard
Lt. Col Doug Bullard makes the case for JROTC in schools

A discussion on full restoration of JROTC funding and the Physical Education (P.E.) Credit Equivelency followed. Lt. Col. Doug Bullard, who teaches and heads the JROTC program in the SF Unified School District, gave a short history of the program, including the decision in 2006 by the SFUSD to kill the program, and the subsequent 2008 passage of Prop V, which restored portions of the program, yet did not restore centralized funding or the P.E. Credit Equivalent. Currently, JROTC is operating in 7 SF high schools, with 2 additional schools on probation (Galileo and Mission) due to a lack of instructors.

SFUSD trustee Emily Murase has a resolution in play to restore additional funding for the program, recognize the leadership program as acceptable for the two-year PE Equivalency requirement, and to give school principals flexibility to appoint another teacher to oversee the JROTC program as a PE/Independent Study program.

When asked about the “military” aspect of JROTC, Bullard explained that in the beginning of the program (mid-1880’s as the Cadet Corps) it was more military based, but now, there are no weaponry, or tactical planning education courses; all courses now develop leadership skills, citizenship skills, and self-evaluation and self-growth education.

Denise LaPointe introduced a motion to draft a resolution by the WOTPCC to support the program and funding legislation being submitted by Emily Murase. The delegates in attendance passed the motion unanimously.

Supervisor Norman Yee followed to give an update on the “Homeless Crisis Shelter Ordinance,” by starting with the decisions that led the city to the homeless problem that exists today: In the 1970’s the Federal Government stopped building low-income housing, and in the 1980’s the Federal Government closed all of the federally funded and operated mental health facilities, expecting that the programs would be picked up by state and local jurisdictions (this did not happen). All of this followed a Federal court ruling that mentally ill citizens could not be institutionalized by the federal government.

Today, 20% of the homeless in the country are living in California, with 6000 + in San Francisco, and an estimated 40,000 in Los Angeles.

Recently, members of the Board of Supervisors attempted to have a “State of Emergency” declared around the homeless issue. Yee opposed it due to the lack of control and loss of input by citizens and the potential bypass of building codes as related to where homeless shelters and navigation centers could be built. Yee said that people were confused by his stance and that he wants to look at models (like the navigation centers) that work, but that centers need to be built 1). Where the homeless are, and 2). Where the homeless services are. He thinks the only way to address the problem is through the construction of more city housing that is affordable. Currently the city is spending $247,000,000 on homeless services.

The next discussion involved the introduction of Archie Wong as the new Assistant District Attorney for District 7. Wong explained about the increases of car burglaries, and a hope that more police officers are on the way. He also explained why the D.A.’s office doesn’t believe that Prop 47 is the reason that street crime and auto-related crimes have increased, stating, “all auto burglary is a felony, regardless of the value of the items taken.”

In the final presentation of the evening, Mark Scardina of Ingleside Terraces, gave an update on the Ingleside Terraces Design Review and the problems with housing reconstruction via multiple permits that are not adequately reviewed and that “essential characteristics” of local architecture are being lost, because DBI and (the) planning department are not doing enough research into the permit applications and the problem of “serial permitters”.

The meeting ended at 9:15. Please Note: The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, May 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hill Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

May 2016

MARCH 2016

Coyotes (2.0), public safety, hikers, the homeless and police conduct were the main topics of the March 28th meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council.

Martin Halloran
SFPOA President Martin Halloran

President Roger Ritter kicked off the meeting at 7:35 in front of a large crowd and following the roll call and officer reports, Vice President Sally Stephens gave several updates relating to Open Space and Parks; In regards to the (Supervisor) Farrell sponsored Parks Bond, the Open Space Committee still has reservations about the legislation as they feel it has no real accountability of how Rec and Park will use the money, and a lack of transparency. Secondly she reminded the attendees that the GGNRA is still taking input about their proposed changes to the rules governing "on and off leash" areas within the GGNRA. If the GGNRA prohibits or severely restricts dog areas, there could be a resulting negative effect on the city's parks. Finally, it was noted that the MTA has reduced its towing fees (as reported in the media), but is looking for ways to recoup the revenue and is considering implementing parking meter rates at night to offset the monies lost.

Twin Peaks Improvement Association (TPIA) delegate Denise LaPointe presented a proposal asking the WOTPCC to support (with a letter) the efforts of the TPIA to oppose the SFPUC in enlarging the trailhead under Sutro Tower. The neighborhood group has cited this expansion as a violation of the PUC land use provisions for the site, as well as issues with tree removal and potentially large increases in crowds and public use. In addition, the TPIA cites that there has been no public input or outreach. Their letter is being distributed to the PUC, the SF Rec and Park Department and the Parks Commission.

Following discussion, the WOTPCC members voted 12-0 with 3 abstentions to submit a letter of support of the efforts of the Twin Peaks Improvement Association to oppose the expansion of the PUC land under Sutro Tower as an expanded hiking trailhead.

The issues of coyotes moved again to the forefront of the meeting, in response to the recent coyote attack in Balboa Terrace. Recent attacks by the wild animals have resulted in several injuries to dogs in the area, with at least one canine being fatally injured. There have been over 60 reported sightings this year in SF of the coyotes. Supervisor Yee has called for a hearing in front of the government oversight committee to address the public concerns over the lack of tracking and management by the city. (See story p. 1)

The Presidio Trust is conducting a study on the number of and migration patterns of the coyotes and the supervisors are hoping that the study is expanded to allow for the "tagging" of coyotes to try and determine the actual number of animals in the city. Currently, SF Animal Control is tracking coyotes that have died, but no one is tracking or tagging the live ones. The public is being asked to politely co-exist with the wild animals, which were "re-started" in SF by the placement of two sets of adult coyotes within the Presidio.

Public safety and the SFPD was the next topic, as Martin Halloran, President of the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA), spoke to the delegates and attendees. He opened his comments by acknowledging that the officers of the SFPD are in the "hot seat" due to the "Ferguson (Mo) effect," and in his opinion "knee-jerk" reactions from members of the Board of Supervisors are painting the entire SFPD with a broad brush and are equating the recent shooting in the Bayview with the events that occurred last year in Ferguson, Missouri. He feels that the police officers are not being given their right of due process through statements made by some of the public officials.

Halloran stated that the video footage from the scene is troubling, but may not present the entire story of the events, and that since the matter is still under investigation there is more information to be considered. He spoke of his long tenure with the SFPD and the ramifications of what happens when officers are involved in an event which results in a fatality.

He cited new policies, one that will implement the use of body-worn cameras on each officer in the field. Footage will be downloaded after each shift. This collection and review of data will require the hiring of more officers to backfill those who are processing the data after their shift ends. Another policy is the review and implementation of a new "use of force" doctrine that will examine, define and provide new guidelines on when and what is appropriate for officers to do when confronted in a street situation. Halloran also mentioned that the SFPOA has asked the city for the implementation of tasers three times, but they have not been approved.

The union chief was also critical when asked about D.A. George Gascon's "Blue Ribbon Panel" to investigate the SFPD, stating that there is no standing in either the California Constitution or the SF City Charter to give the D.A.'s office the authority for this type of investigation. The SFPD and Department of Justice are already working together to investigate the actions relating to the "racial texts" issues in the SFPD, and the "gladiator fights" within the SF jail by the Sheriff's Department. He noted that there has been no "Federal Civil Rights Report" investigation such as was conducted in the Ferguson case, and the current DOJ inquiry is less involved.

Erica Maybaum, Supervisor Yee's Office
Erica Maybaum from Supervisor Norman Yee's Office

The delegates in the room asked questions about "use of force" and other topics and were mainly complimentary of the interactions with the SFPD. Halloran said that there are instances of officers who "shouldn't be in this line of work" and the POA works with the SFPD to help remove those who are not upholding the ethics of the SFPD. He also cited the facts that the SFPD is still about 300 officers short of their mandated employment levels, but that the city is conducting more "academy" classes to fill these positions. In addition he spoke on the diversity within the department and that women and non-white offices make up more than 50% of the workforce.

In the final discussion of the evening, Erica Maybaum from Supervisor Norman Yee's office addressed the group and gave an update on the issues on which Supervisor Yee is working. Much of the discussion centered on the listing of properties that was released in the SF media pertaining to locations that could be considered for homeless shelters and "navigation centers," including the neighborhood parking lots on West Portal and Ocean Avenues. She said the issue was that Supervisor Avalos's office released the list without scrubbing the list of locations that wouldn't work, such as the parking lots. She said that Supervisor Yee does not feel that any of the locations in District 7 are appropriate. The tenor of the discussion within the WOTPCC meeting was that the residents expect the Supervisor to push back strongly on this proposal as related to a declaration of a "Homeless Emergency."

Please Note: The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, April 25th at 7:30 PM at the West Portal Playground Clubhouse. For more information see

April 2016


Public safety, the El Rey theatre, and an update on the "affordable housing bonus program" were the main topics of the February 22nd meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council.

President Roger Ritter kicked off the meeting at 7:30 in front of a small but attentive crowd and informed the group about several items. First, the SFMTA meeting regarding changes to the L-Taraval line. Over 200 people packed the Dianne Feinstein School to debate the proposed changes that MUNI wants to make to improve safety and to speed up the MUNI. Ritter said the crowd was loud and unruly, where people were talking over each other and shouting at the speakers. A temporary compromise was reached for now on a 6-month pilot program. He then spoke about the WOTPCC receiving three Airbnb host "registration" notifications for the following addresses: 2320 Cecelia; 1378 Portola and 915 Rockdale. It falls to each individual neighborhood association to follow up with the city and the applicants.

Treasurer Carolyn Squeri reported $5225.25 in the account and that an ongoing P.O. Box snafu with the USPS, the WOTPCC and GWPNA has been straightened out and all of the invoices have been paid.

In committee reports, George Wooding (Public Health) reported that SF Middle schools would be the first middle schools locally to have condoms in stock for middle school students, and that a report on sex education showed that from 1997 to 2016 the percentage of sexually active middle school students has dropped from 13.7% in 1997 to 5.2% in 2016. Sally Stephens (Open Space and Parks) reported that the Board of Supervisors was to vote (on February 23) on placing a Charter amendment on the June ballot to create a funding mechanism to fund the parks for the next 30 years. (The BoS voted to approved the amendment and place it on the ballot in June.) She also informed the group about the new regulations being released by the GGNRA (Golden Gate National Recreation Area) about changes in areas where dogs will be allowed.

Captain Joe McFadden
Ingleside's Captain Joe McFadden

Four SFPD officers were in attendance and Captain Joe McFadden (Ingleside) gave a public safety report. The captain highlighted the complexity in prosecuting those who are responsible for the still-rampant car break-ins throughout the city. He detailed how felons are now working in teams to target cars, and that with the new laws decriminalizing such kinds of crimes from felonies into misdemeanors, the process now falls into 3 areas: 1). Breaking the car window 2). Taking the merchandise out of the car 3). Running away with the stolen goods. Basically, if more than one person does any part of these things, it is much more difficult to prosecute and gain a conviction.

McFadden urged the public to use the video capabilities of their cell phones to record instances when they see a break-in, but not to put themselves in a dangerous situation. Also, looking and reporting specific details about the perpetrators (types of shoes, shirts, print on hoodie, etc.) can help get a conviction. While most of these guys take off their "hoodies" soon after breaking into a car, they generally do not change pants, shoes, etc. A cell phone video or photo can be beamed out to all local law enforcement to help break up these teams that are responsible for many of the multiple break-ins.

He also said that even when people are caught by the police, the D.A.'s office and trial judges are not following up in prosecuting and sentencing these criminals, instead just letting them out on probation or a misdemeanor (where they can continue their activities).

The police captain then gave tips about making your neighborhood safer, like installing a wide angle "go-pro" type of camera at your front door, to record anyone approaching the front of your home, leaving your home, etc. Work with you neighbors to know who has video systems so if a house is broken into the investigators can possibly use these video feeds to catch and prosecute the criminals.

McFadden also clarified the local emergency numbers that one should use to contact the police department. If you dial "911" the call will be handled by the Contra Costa County CHP office. To reach the SF 911 dispatcher, dial: 415-553-8090.

Following the discussion with the police officers, the discussion switched to a presentation from Dan Weaver, the Executive Director of the Ocean Avenue Association, regarding the building that housed the former El Rey Theatre.

The church that has operated the theatre as a school and place of worship for the last 30+ years defaulted on their mortgage and the property was foreclosed upon by the bank and subsequently sold at auction to new owners from Novato, who are looking into options for the site. To complicate matters, the City of SF had a lien against the property for debts owed to the city by the church but failed to act to collect their share prior to the property being procured by the new ownership.

Local neighborhood activists, including the Ocean Avenue Association, are looking into the process that is necessary to have the property declared a "historic landmark" and to investigate the interior condition of the theatre. Weaver said that much of the lobby is still relatively intact, as is much of the theatre inside, but there has been little chance for preservationists to inspect and categorize what is left of the original 1931 structure. It is a hope of the neighborhood groups that a non-profit type of organization could be established to purchase and renovate the theatre where it could be used as a joint performing arts/film exhibition venue for both San Francisco State University and City College. However the first step is to determine what is remaining, work with the new owners and the city to have the site "landmarked" and go from there.

After discussion, the WOTPCC members voted unanimously to submit a letter of support of the efforts of the Ocean Avenue Association to "landmark" the El Rey theatre and maintain it as an entertainment venue, cultural resource, and community asset.

Jarlene Choy, Erica Mayback and Jen Low
Supervisor Yee's Legislative Aides : Jarlene Choy, Erica Mayback and Jen Low

In the final discussion of the evening, Jen Low, Erica Maybaum, and Jarlene Choy introduced themselves as the new liaison contacts for Supervisor Norman Yee's office. Low gave an update on the "Affordable Housing Bonus Plan" and from Supervisor Yee's perspective, there has been too little community input, with no outreach being done in District 7, and that the supervisor feels that the plan is not well thought out and not a good plan for the district. Note that the WOTPCC and the Ingleside Terraces Association have already gone on record as opposing the plan. Ms. Low also gave an update on legislation proposed by Supervisor John Avalos that would require any and all "illegal" secondary units to be brought up to code and legalized. In addition, if an owner buys a "family" home with an existing secondary unit, they would be basically forbidden to take it out of service and make the space "family" space. The supervisor's office feels that this piece of legislation would place undo suffering and expense on small property owners of RH1 and RH1D units.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, March 28th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

Proposals to create more “affordable housing” were the main topics of the January 25th meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting. President Roger Ritter welcomed a small by hearty group of attendees to the first meeting of 2016. Following the approval of the minutes from the last meeting of 2015, the offices gave their reports, starting with Ritter.

Calvin Welsh of the Haight-Ashbury Neighborhood Council spoke against the Affordable Housing Bonus Program

2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council and the president asked the members to think about a recognition party for the WOTPCC in June, prior to the summer break. Ritter also spoke about the possibility of having the WOTPCC conduct a “Candidates Forum” for the District 7 Supervisor candidates and the State Senate candidates in the fall.

The president also announced the April meeting will need to be either rescheduled to a different day, or at an alternative location, as the Forest Hills Clubhouse is unavailable on the scheduled Monday evening.

No reports were given from the Vice President or the Secretary, and as Treasurer Squeri was absent, the committee reports followed with the Public Health committee report being given by George Wooding and Sally Stephens. The report focused on a hearing on a proposed bond measure to build new facilities for mental health clinics, an animal control shelter and upgrades to help modernize SFFD facilities. It seems that when the hearing was scheduled, an 11th hour decision was made to cut out the amount to be allocated to the animal health and shelter component of the bond measure. No public notice was given for the changes to the proposed bond measure and at this point it was reported that it is unclear if the animal healthcare facility/shelter will ever be funded. The shelter was to assist with pets of those who are homeless, residents who need a place to place their pets after a fire or earthquake, a place to place animals after issues of domestic abuse, and a location to assist those in the mental health field using pets as mental health companions.

Sally Stephens gave a report on behalf of the Open Space and Parks Committee mostly on the legislation proposed by Supervisor Mark Farrell that would increase the budget for the neighborhood parks and recreation centers. Stephens reported that input to the supervisor is trying to ensure that the funds generated from the measure, if approved, will not just be a “slush fund” for Park and Rec, but actual funding to maintain and improve the parks and recreation centers.

An update on the Balboa Reservoir Project was given by John, of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), on the process of formulating the basis of a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a potential developer. Thorny issues such as parking, transportation congestion, housing density, sustainability, open space requirements and the interaction with SF City College still remain, but are being examined by the committee in order to possible complete the parameters for an RFP in the spring. He doesn’t think the local transit agencies have been as involved in the discussions as he thinks they should be.

The big item on the agenda for the WOTPCC was the discussion of the proposed San Francisco Affordable Housing Bonus Program. In what was to be a “Pro and Con” discussion, no one from the Mayor’s office or Planning Department agreed to speak.

Calvin Welch, a member of the Haight Asbury Neighborhood Council, and San Franciscans for Community Planning, spoke on the proposed legislation and why his groups are against it.

The program is a Board of Supervisors initiated amendment to the Planning Code that can be voted on and approved by the Supervisors no matter what the Planning Commission comments are when they have completed reviewing the legislation. The proposed plan would essentially “upzone” commercial districts throughout the city and allows developers and landlords a chance to redevelop their commercial properties with up to two additional floors, as long as 40% of the new units contain 2 bedrooms. RH1 and RH2 zoned units are excluded from the “bonus program.” The program could pave the way for the additional construction of up to 1000 new units in the Sunset district over the next 20 years. Current “neighborhood” types of businesses are most “at risk”, as two story ground-floor retail buildings could be razed to build 4 stories of condos and apartments. (It was expected that the Planning Commission would vote on approving the program by January 28, but the commission voted to continue the discussion at a future meeting and not move it to the Board of Supervisors at this time.)

Welch highlighted that very little public participation and knowledge has been the case as outreach by the Mayor’s Office of Housing has been all but absent. This plan is also the largest rezoning plan in the city since 1980. Although 30,000 parcels fall under the planned scope of the proposal, no owners have been notified, and every NCD (Neighborhood Commercial District) would be impacted. It changes the city density by increasing the heights of buildings (by allowing 2 additional stories), and allowing for smaller units and greater lot coverage.

He made the case that SF cannot build themselves out of the “affordable housing crisis” and that there is no tie between density and affordability. San Francisco is 46.7 square miles, of which 26 square miles are zoned for residential properties. The current density in the city is 18,000 people per square mile; second only to New York City. The program would also eliminate the “one parking space per unit” requirement, and increase lot coverage from the current 60% coverage to 80% coverage.

The affordability portion of the legislation was also discussed as the plan is raising the definition of “affordable housing” to include anyone who makes up to 140% of the median SF income (typically $114,000 / year). Welch makes that point that at those parameters most of the housing will be really “below market rate” but not truly “affordable housing”. He also feels that rent controlled units will be lost through the reconstruction to add additional stories to existing structures, and not replaced at the same rates for the renters.

Following much discussion, the WOTPCC members voted 12-0 with 1 abstention to have President Ritter draft a letter detailing the WOTPCC member organizations’ opposition to the legislation.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, February 22nd at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. More info:

February 2016

Coyotes, crime, condos and counted votes were the topics du jour at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on November 23. President Roger Ritter welcomed a small but hearty group of attendees to the last meeting of 2015. Failing to reach a quorum, the minutes from the October meeting were tabled until the January meeting.

Lisa Spinali thinks the Balboa Plan will take more time.

Treasurer Carolyn Squeri reported a balance of $5485.25 in the account and informed the delegates that they can expect to receive their dues notices in the mail as they have been posted.

Coyotes took the spotlight when George Wooding gave his Public Health Committee report. He reported, following up from his article last month in the Westside Observer, that there is an estimated population of between 100-200 coyotes that are traveling throughout the city. Several dog attacks have been reported as well as other pets. In addition, Wooding pointed out that, like dogs, the wild animals can carry diseases like the canine Parvovirus, as well as other diseases. Delegate Don Dutil, living near Stern Grove, has seen five coyotes in his backyard and knows of at least 5 attacks on local pet canines. Several people spoke of the view that these animals (coyotes) are not acceptable to cohabitate in residential areas.

Most people in the audience who have contacted the city about the coyote nuisance and threat feel that the response of the city leadership and department heads has been tepid and not nearly strong enough, feeling that no program exists in San Francisco that tackles this problem in a proactive manner.

It was discussed however, that it is against state law to relocate a coyote, however, they are not a protected species and can be trapped (or killed) on “private,” but not public property. Matthias Mormino, of Supervisor Norman Yees office, said that the supervisor is looking at how to assemble a diversity of voices to determine the best way to deal with the coyote problem. WOTPCC President Ritter proposed preparing a resolution for the January WOTPCC meeting that would put forth a proposal through Supervisor Yee’s office to the Mayor’s office.

After that lengthy discussion, Sally Stephens updated the attendees on the (Supervisor Mark) Farrell proposal to the Board of Supervisors concerning changes to the parks and recreation department in how they raise and distribute Open Space and Park funding. Many open space and parks proponents were against many of the items in the proposal, but note that changes were instituted by the Rules Committee, and that other changes have been made to address many of the public’s concerns. Farrell’s plan is to have the proposal vetted enough to be placed on the ballot in June.

Lt. Richard Goss of the Taraval Station gave a brief crime report, noting that violent crimes continue to fall, but crimes against property, especially auto break-ins, are still trending very high. The captains throughout the city are working to increase the allocation of resources on the streets to try and curb the property crimes, especially in the retail districts.

He also praised the help that the SFPD receives from tips and calls from community members, and gave out a “special 911 type of number” to use from a cell phone to immediately report a crime. This number is: 415-553-8090, and it goes directly to SFPD dispatch. He also reminded the group of the main number at the Taraval Station: 415-759-3100.

Lisa Spinali, of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, and a key member of the Balboa Reservoir CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) gave an update on how the committee is drafting principles and guidelines to be used in an RFP (Request for Proposal) that future developers will bid on when the project is further along. The initial project timeline for completing the RFP was to be January 31, but Spinali thinks it will take more time. Although many of the principles have been completed, there are several remaining that will take longer to complete. For more information on the project and the work of the CAC, Google either “Balboa Reservoir Planning” or “Balboa Reservoir Citizens Advisory.”

Sally Stephens briefed the crowd on the “Affordable Housing Bonus Program,” a scheme from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Planning that “upzones” commercial districts throughout the city that allows developers and landlords a chance to redevelop their commercial properties with up to two additional floors, as long as 40% of the new units contain 2 bedrooms. RH1 and RH2 zoned units are excluded from the “bonus program.” The program could pave the way for the additional construction of up to 1000 new units in the Sunset district over the next 20 years. Current “neighborhood” types of businesses are most “at risk,” as two-story ground-floor retail buildings could be razed to build 4 stories of condos and apartments. It is expected that the Planning Commission will vote on approving the program by January 28.

Matthias Mormino (Supervisor Yee’s office) made two announcements, with the first highlighting additional monies ($500,000) for the “Community Budgeting Projects,” broken down with $300,000 earmarked for General Projects and $200,000 dedicated for Pedestrian Safety projects. The second announcement was that he is leaving the Supervisor’s office to move into the private sector, with the November meeting being his last appearance at the WOTPCC representing Supervisor Yee.

The last presentation of the evening was a recap of the San Francisco election results, focusing on the housing related propositions, by Mitch Bull of the Westside Observer. Basically, developmental-related propositions fared very well at the ballot box, as did the pro-AirBnB initiative, which won by roughly 11 points. What do we envision: More condo and apartment projects, with a larger percentage dedicated and earmarked for “affordable housing.”

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, January 25th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

December 2015

Public safety and crime prevention was the topic of the night at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on Monday, October 26th as President Roger Ritter welcomed six San Francisco Police Officers to discuss the “state of crime and its prevention in SF.” The officers were all long-term veterans with between 20 and 30 years of service with the SFPD.Police night at WOTPCC

Deputy Chief of Operations Mike Redmond, a 21 year veteran who oversees the operations at all of the 10 district stations, introduced the assembled speakers: Commander Rob O’Sullivan, Sr. Captain John Sanford (Park), Captain Joe McFadden (Ingleside), Captain Mike Devlin, and Lt. Ed Del Carlo (Taraval).

The session followed a series of questions posed by moderator Bill Chionsini. The first topic covered was the concept of Community Policing, and Redmond explained that this results when police collaborate and work with members of the community. He mentioned that he works to have selected staff at each station be very involved in each of the communities, with visits to schools and getting to know the kids and the people in the neighborhoods. In that way, the community “has a voice” at each station.

O’Sullivan further explained that the SFPD believes that every officer is a community policing person. He said that this mindset starts with the cadets in the 38-week academy classes, and that the SFPD Captains make it a priority to be seen at community events, interacting with and engaging the neighborhoods.

Sanford described community policing as the way in which the SFPD “connects the dots” and recognizes the needs and concerns of each individual district, which are often very different within different sections of San Francisco. He said that it is vitally important for the local police staff to understand the needs and concerns within their local community. Giving an example, he noted that at Park Station, the 14 sergeants are divided into 4 sectors, and that these “sector sergeants” are responsible for the oversight of their assigned sector patrol officers. Sanford also explained that at Park, they have a newsletter that is distributed out to the community, as well as conducting a “Merchant Monday” program to collaborate with the business community.

Mc Fadden spoke of communications being critical, as many people don’t know when to use the 911 emergency call number, or when to use the alternative 415-553-0123 number, or the city services 311 dial-in feature.

The next question focused on the current state of “general crime” within the city. Redmond spoke of the increase in violent and property crimes, and that there is more collaboration between districts as the criminals are moving between neighborhoods and districts, and that more of the known gang members are involved in property crimes. In fact, the SFPD has applied gang enhancement charges in several cases of property crimes.

Taraval’s Ed Del Carlo spoke on the problem of auto burglaries and break-ins, which are happening all over the Sunset, and especially at Lake Merced, Fort Funston, and at Stonestown Mall. He gave an example of people leaving their garage doors open overnight, or for 4-5 hours, giving local criminal types valid crimes of opportunity.

Del Carlo also spoke of the best tool for apprehending criminals, video. A discussion followed on the benefits of having a “GoPro” type of camera mounted to record activity at your front door. He also stated that most home robberies occur between 10 am and 3 pm, when most people are at work.

The next topic of discussion was on the changes and challenges that the implementation of Prop 47 and AB 109 has caused. Proposition 47 (implemented in November 2014) changed many crimes formerly charged as felonies into misdemeanors (thus not taking convicted criminal off of the streets); while AB109 eased crowding in jails by releasing “non-violent” offenders from prison and placed them back into the communities. As a basic example, criminals who used to be sentenced to a 1 year minimum now get fewer than 30 days most of the time. In addition DNA evidence is not collected for most of the misdemeanors, unlike if they had been charged as felonies. As a result the DNA evidence is not being recorded and entered into the police department databases.

Other discussions focused on the challenges of the homeless and transient population that continually sets up encampments and structures. The SFPD is fielding and responding to over 10,000 calls per month, with over 15,000 citations being given to individuals for violating quality of life issues. Everyone agrees that SF cannot “build” its way out of the homeless problem, and that having a “housing first” policy is difficult to implement in counties as geographically diverse as San Mateo and San Francisco.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, November 30th 1 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

November 2015

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council held its first meeting of the 2015-16 term on Monday, September 28th and the discussions and speakers covered much of what is special about San Francisco’s neighborhoods and heritage, with a question of how to maintain and pay for “heritage” and Parks and Recreational needs. Even a discussion on whether bicyclists should have to follow the law was debated at the WOTPCC meeting.

WOTPCC President Roger Ritter opened the meeting, spoke about the agenda for the evening, and following the roll call introduced Mike Buhler from the non-profit SF Heritage. Buhler spoke on Proposition J, which would set up a funding mechanism where businesses who apply for “Legacy” inclusion can apply for a grant from the city that could help them maintain their particular business look and operation. The grants are predicated on the number of employees, and the length of time the business has been open in SF. Landlords can also make an application for a grant up to $4.50 per square foot, with a maximum amount of $22,500 per year.

Mark Buhler, SF Heritage spoke about Prop J the Legacy Business Fund

The hope is to “save” legacy businesses from going out of business or relocating out of the city. The concept has been tried (successfully) in other cities such as Barcelona, Paris, London and Buenos Aires. Buhler gave some startling statistics showing that over 4000 businesses closed their doors in SF in 2015, compared to just 500 in the year 1992.

Delegates asked questions on why the city would use taxpayer dollars to help reward these types of businesses or to incentivize landlords, instead of having the free market approach. Also, it would be up to the Board of Supervisors to set the amount each year that would be applied to each grant request in the formula. Most delegates felt this is not a good use of city funding, although they agreed with the spirit of the proposition to try and keep legacy (beloved) businesses operating in SF.

Supervisor Mark Farrell
Supervisor Mark Farrell spoke about Parks and playgrounds

Supervisor Mark Farrell then spoke about two programs that will impact every neighborhood across the city. The first is a ballot measure for the June 2016 ballot that would set aside a $3,000,000 increase in the annual Rec and Park budget. Unlike a bond measure, this would not increase property taxes, but would be used to maintain and enhance the parks and the park experience for everyone. Farrell noted that as a percentage of the city budget, the expenditure for the city parks has dropped from 2.1% to 1.3% of the budget over the last 15 years, even though the population of the city has increased by over 100,000. When the delegates were asked what kinds of improvements they would like to see, the following items were suggested: tree maintenance, kids programming, Park Rangers, better lighting and trails, security enhancements, and playground directors.

Playground accessibility was the focus of the next item as Farrell discussed the “Shared Schoolyard Project,” which has raised money and volunteers to open schoolyards throughout the city on weekends. To date, the program has reopened 28 of the 100 schoolyards, and is projecting the reopening of 50 more over the next 2 years. As a result there are more places for children to play, and with the fences unlocked and embraced by the local neighborhoods, there has been less trash and less graffiti than when the yards are closed and unattended. All of this has been done without taxes being raised for this program. To learn more, go to

The meeting continued with committee reports on updates to the Balboa Reservoir project; Public Health; Open Space and Transportation. More details on these items can be found at the WOTPCC website.

In the final discussion of the evening, a resolution was presented by Avrum Shepard to have the WOTPCC send a letter in opposition to proposed advisory legislation by the Board of Supervisors (written by Supervisor Avalos) to make the ticketing of bicyclists for failing to stop at intersections the lowest priority of the SF police. A spirited discussion on the rights of bicyclists and drivers ensued. A vote was eventually taken and the motion to oppose the legislation passed by a vote of 12-1 with 1 abstention.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, October 26th 1 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

October 2015

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council held a special meeting in August to hear about several important issues that will be on the November ballot. As the timing is very tight to deliberate and craft a ballot argument (if needed) the council shortened their traditional summer “recess” and called for the meeting.

WOTPCC President Roger Ritter opened the meeting, spoke about the agenda for the evening and following the roll call, the presentations started with Bill Barnes from the Mayor’s office speaking on Prop A, the $310,000,000 bond measure that the Mayor is sponsoring on the ballot. The dollars raised through the bond will be used to create and increase the pool of affordable housing within the city, as an extreme shortage of this type of housing is causing many people to relocate out of San Francisco, or in extreme cases become homeless, or be based in the few existing shelters that the city operates. While hoping for a large turnout from the Westside supporting the “Yes on A” campaign, Barnes asked the delegates to at least not have the homeowners mount an effort against the proposition.

Supervisor Jane Kim
Supervisor Jane Kim spoke for public land for affordable housing

The ongoing discussion on “vacant and/or excess” properties owned by the city was the next topic as Supervisor Jane Kim and Housing advocate Francisco Marti addressed the 30 attendees at the meeting. Speaking “for” the ballot measure entitled’ Public Lands for Affordable Housing”, the supervisor explained how the new ballot measure complies and expands the surplus lands legislation that was enacted back in 2002, but now will create an annual system of accountability and public hearings on the disposal or repurposing of land parcels that city departments specify as “excess.” The goal of the measure is to set up a proper protocol for the process of disposing of public lands with public input, with the emphasis being to use the land for affordable housing (including homeless housing), as well as creating new parks and other public benefits when appropriate. When asked about the affordability of housing, Kim said that for a family of four, an income in the $116,000 -$150,000 would qualify under the guidelines crafted per the ballot measure. She stated there are several large “opportunity sites” within the city where the city owns the land or has a city use on the ground floor, but which could be built as a multi-story project that could serve both purposes as new housing units and the city services existing on the first floor.

The delegates next heard a rebuttal on the proposed proposition by Chris Bowman, who made the argument that in the method in which the proposition is crafted, homeless advocates will be the first groups considered for the parcels, and that with the number of homeless (and those living in SRO “hotels”) there will not be a trickle down for parcels to be allocated to “affordable” housing construction. In addition, Bowman said there are no guidelines in the language of the proposition to address general density or the housing density in neighborhoods, where surplus land could possibly be reused.

Delegate Dave Bisho made the motion for the WOTPCC to oppose the measure. After a second from Karen Breslin, a vote was taken to approve the opposition to the measure. By a vote of 7-6 with 2 abstentions, the vote to oppose the measure failed.

The next discussion focused on the current legislation in effect to regulate the Airbnb operation within the city and the ballot initiative by ”Sharebetter SF” to impose more stringent guidelines and regulations on those wanting to be Airbnb hosts.

Dale CarlsonGeorge Mitchell
Dale Carlson for the AirBnB reform, George Marshall spoke against

Dale Carlson, the spokesperson for the Sharebetter SF movement spoke first about the group’s efforts to further regulate and tighten the basis of the “Chiu legislation” that was passed in October of 2014. Carlson shared information showing that currently, Airbnb has approximately 6000 listings on the web, with approximately 40% being homeowners/renters renting out an extra room, while the remaining 60% are building owners/managers who are renting out “full units, such as apartment buildings that are now “Airbnb hotels.” Carlson also said that 60 other websites are also advertising 6000 additional full units. Together, that constitutes more than 9600 full units being taken out of the rental housing stock. In defiance of the October legislation put in place by SF, Airtbnb is still listing units that have not been registered with the City of San Francisco. They have registered slightly more than 700 units within the city.

George Marshall spoke, giving the rebuttal to the Carlson argument, calling the “Sharebetter SF” proposition extreme. It is his belief that the current legislation, authored by David Chiu last year is working, but needs more time to be effective. He countered that his numbers show that over 90% of airbnb hosts are individuals, sharing their living space with Airbnb users and are using the income to assist them in paying their living expenses. He cited that the current measure on the books has the support of Assemblymember Chiu, SF Supervisors Weiner and Farrell, and Mayor Lee. He also stated that the city could lose up to $ 500,000,000 per year in income if the existing law was strengthened or changed.

A motion was made, and seconded, following the presentations by Karen Breslin and Denise LaPointe respectively to support of the “Sharebetter SF” initiative. The motion passed by a margin of 11-0 with 1 abstention. A motion followed to draft a ballot argument for the legislation by Dave Bisho, was seconded and approved. WOTPCC President Roger Ritter will craft the ballot argument and submit it for the election.

In the final action of the evening, Lisa Spenali of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association gave an update on the work by the citizens advisory committee (CAC) that is working on the Balboa Reservoir process and project. At this point a request for proposal (RFP) is being designed by the CAC that is intended to define a process map for the meetings, define the role and authority of the CAC, as well as to define the RFP itself and the oversight for the project, while also addressing questions such as: “Can we make housing work on this site?” and “What other amenities are required for the project to both the intended residents and for the surrounding neighborhoods?” Other areas of the CAC’s work are to define the needs for items such as parking, open space and other housing related necessities.

The next regular meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 28th 1 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. INFO:

September 2015

The June meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured updated information on the Balboa Reservoir Project survey, the election of new officers for the 2015-16 term and lots of debate and discussion on “surplus” land in the city.

Peter Cohen at the WOTPCC
Peter Cohen (r) from the Council for Community Housing addresses “surplus land”

WOTPCC President Roger Ritter opened the meeting, spoke about the agenda for the evening, and following the roll call, the delegates were asked to shuffle the agenda so that discussion could be held early-on to have the WOTPCC support a resolution to Increase the staffing of the San Francisco Police Department. The SFPD has been understaffed for several years and the resolution, authored by District 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner would move to not only bring staffing to the City Charter allowances of 1971 officers, but also increase the staffing to approximately 2200 (reflective of the 13% growth in population in SF since 1994). The motion to submit a letter of support was submitted by Denise LaPointe, seconded and approved by a unanimous voice vote.

In the next piece of business the Nominating Committee, represented by Dave Bisho and Paul Conroy, discussed the slate of proposed officers for the 2015-16 WOTPCC Fiscal Year. The slate of officer candidates mirrored the officers currently serving in 2014-15. As the nominations were opened for discussion among the delegates, no new candidates were suggested from the floor, and as such, the current officers were nominated and re-elected to serve for the 2015-16 WOTPCC fiscal year. The election was unanimous. Roger Ritter will repeat as President, Sally Stephens as Vice President, Carolyn Squeri as Treasurer, David Golden as Secretary and Lee Hsu as Parliamentarian.

The discussion next focused on the concept of declaring what city-owned properties are “surplus” and should be examined for possible building projects. In his report, George Wooding cited a legislative motion that would deem that properties listed as “surplus” by city departments would be looked at as possible development sites for homeless housing, and affordable housing (in that order). A group of four supervisors are poised to put it on the ballot for November. As there are no scheduled meetings of the WOTPCC until September, and ballot opposition arguments must be crafted and submitted prior to August 17, President Ritter held out the possibility of a special meeting being called in early August to address this issue. (There is a possibility that the proposed measure will not be placed on the ballot.)

Lisa Spinali at WOTPCC
Lisa Spinali (Sunnyside Neighborhood Assn) at the WOTPCC

The concept of “surplus” land led into our next discussion as Lisa Spinali, of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association gave an update on the survey the group is doing on the proposed development at the “surplus” Balboa Reservoir site. She explained the process is moving fast, and the information needs to be explained to the residents. Spinali also lauded the efforts that the Planning Department has made in working with their group, and that a special meeting at SNA will be held on 6/29. (at St. Finn Barr).

In looking at the results of the initial survey of Sunnyside and Westwood Park residents, the important priorities for the site centered around three areas: Walkways/Pathways and Open Space; Parking issues for the site; Maintaining Neighborhood Integrity and Character. Traffic concerns were the fourth item.

It is interesting to note there was little to no support for the following items: Affordable Housing; Public Art; Education Programs; Social Programs; Office Space.

Another issue in the process is that the CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee) has not been activated, as the Mayor’s office has not completed all of the appointments necessary to start the CAC process.

A “dormant” proposal to build a new Performing Arts Center at City College has come back onto the radar (now that City College has been cleared to continue). Bond money was earmarked for the center, and has to be used for that purpose. As the proposed location of the center is adjacent to the Balboa Reservoir, the development challenges and discussions become even more critical.

Guest speaker Peter Cohen, from the Council for Community Housing, also spoke about the process within city government of determining what is “surplus” land, terming the process as “un transparent,” with no public hearings. In addition there seems to be no one person who has an accurate tally of what each department has in land parcels.

In the final piece of activity for the evening, a motion was forwarded for the WOTPCC to co-sponsor a transportation panel on Monday, June 29 at 6:30 PM at the Squat and Gobble Restaurant at 1 West Portal. There is no cost for the co-sponsorship. The motion was seconded and approved by a unanimous voice vote.

As this was the final meeting prior to the summer recess, the next regular meeting will be on Monday, September 28th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

For more information see the WOTPCC website.


West of Twin Peaks Central Council: Letter to Supervisor Yee

As a district supervisor, you were elected to serve the constituents of District 7 as one of eleven on the Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch of government, as our voice in City Hall.

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council, comprised of 20 homeowner associations and neighborhood organizations, sent a detailed letter to the Board of Supervisors stating our unanimous support for the population-based police staffing resolution, after discussion and a vote at our June 22, 2015, meeting. The matter was on the board’s calendar for the next day, and the organizations present at our meeting wanted our position to be known to you. Additionally, your legislative aide, Matthias Mormino, attended the WTPCC meeting and seemingly supported the statements by a delegate that, as the elected District 7 Supervisor, you understood clearly that your duty and responsibility is to represent our interests in City Hall. That’s why your vote – opposing the resolution to increase police staffing—came as such a disappointment to us. We have read your statement explaining why you voted against the resolution. With all due respect, we believe that it does not adequately address our concerns, as set forth below.

A taxpayer funded, independent study by the City Controller, published on June 10, 2015, clearly outlines the relationship between increased population and decreased police staffing. Moreover, the resolution had the support of a majority of your colleagues, so what was to be gained by opposing a non-binding resolution supported by your constituents?

The Controller’s audit clearly stated that San Francisco’s total crime rate (violent and property) per resident and daytime population in 2013, was the second highest among the six other cities studied. The property crime rate was also the second highest in the survey group, only lower than Oakland’s rate. At the same time, the staffing levels of San Francisco’s sworn staff per 100,000 residents (239 officers) and daytime population (201 officers) were lower than the peer group averages. San Francisco was the most densely populated city, and compared to others, it falls below the peer trend line for number of sworn officers per square mile. The resolution simply supports the data gathered by City Hall’s trusted auditors. So aligning your vote with a minority of members on the Board of Supervisors is perplexing.

We stated that we support investment in community policing. As neighborhood leaders, we also support programs and philosophies that promote organizational strategies that enhance the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues, such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. Our members know public safety issues are complex and how important it is for our neighborhoods to prevent crime and try to eliminate the atmosphere of fear it creates. Earning the trust of the community enables law enforcement to better understand and address both the needs of the community and the factors that contribute to crime.

San Francisco Police Department staffing is a continuous, increasingly complex challenge, given our City’s rapid population increase, compounded by overall affordability issues, making recruiting and retention of officers difficult. We understand that police staffing in a time of increasing attrition, expanding law-enforcement responsibilities, and decreasing public perception of police, is no small matter for City government.

As your constituents, we simply want to ensure that the number of police officers meet the demands placed on them in a cost-effective and ethical manner for the safety and peacefulness of our neighborhoods and property. We sincerely hope you will do the same.

We would be happy to meet with you to discuss this matter further.

Roger Ritter,President,West of Twin Peaks Central Council • July 1, 2015

July/August 2015

Mayor Ed Lee
Mayor Ed Lee listens carefully

Due to Memorial Day on the regular meeting time (the last Monday of the month) this May meeting was held on June 1st. June 1st is also the day the Mayor submits the budget and Mayor Edwin Lee appeared at the Council meeting to present a synopsis of the “No Cuts” budget. District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang and District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee also appeared and spent most of their time defending their position on AirBnb (Tang voted for it—Yee voted against) before a crowd that was obviously opposed to the measure. Lt. James Aherne brought an update on public safety from the Taraval Police Station.

Mayor Lee explained that the budget is now for two years, and that capital planning is a five-year process. “This is the first ‘No Cuts’ budget in a long time,” he said. Highlights included the addition of 400 police officers to bring the numbers up to the required strength. There will also be more firefighters and paramedics and dispatchers. The goal is to bring a paramedic to every firehouse, “more of the 911 calls are not so much about fires as they are about people with all kinds of health issues.” The police are also resurrecting the Cadet Program that hires just-graduated students to go through a training to prepare them for the Police Academy. Increased spending on chronic homelessness, especially Vets. Other increases included arts, senior homecare, and children and families. He stressed the philanthropic donations that SF’s many new businesses are making and that the City is matching funds in these areas. He listed the main business forces in SF as: 1. Healthcare, 2. Tourism and Conventions, 3. Technology, and 4. Manufacturing, especially in the fashion industry.

Supervisor Katy Tang
Supervisor Katy Tang faced an unappreciative crowd. Her vote on AirBnb took some ‘splainin’

“All these forces have contributed to our 3.4% unemployment rate,” he said. He stressed also the increases to build more affordable housing along the transit corridors, and his hopes for increases in areas like the 290 acres that the Navy has turned over in Hunters Point. He announced that he will be presenting a $250 million bond for affordable housing measure to the November ballot, and he eccouraged everyone to vote for it. He also announced the addition of $48 million for new busses and trolleys to improve transit. He fended questions about affordable housing, Balboa Reservoir, AirBnb, gridlock, vehicle license fees and speed cameras.

Supervisor Norman Yee
“Gotta have six votes” Supervisor Yee laments

Supervisor Tang announced the goal of 1000 additional residential units in District 4’s transit corridors and that Muni improvements are the subject of focus groups. But when she turned to the audience for questions, it was clear that AirBnb and her support for it was the current focus of the group. She said that she would support enforcement amendments that would keep it from becoming a problem.

Supervisor Yee spent his time talking about the amendments he would like to bring to the AirBnb legislation, noting that he needed six votes to get anything passed. He detailed his wish to amend the listings of property to require a permit which would be subject hearings if it is requested by any neighborhood organization. With regard to the current petition that is circulating, he said he hadn’t read the complete text, but if it is the toughest limitation available, he would support it.

Lt. James Aherne
Lt. Aherne had some good news and some not so much

Lieutenant Aherne announced that Taraval Station’s Captain Lum had been transferred to the Airport and that the new Captain, Denise Flaherty ( would assume his duties. In response to a question, he accounted the rising crime rates as an effect of AB109 and Prop 47 as well as the population growth. “There are just a lot more people out there to commit crimes.”

The internal business matters were dispensed with since quickly as the 9 0’clock hour approached. The reports were fromTreasurer Carolyn Squeri and the Nominating Committee’s Dave Bisho said that he would ask the current officers to continue for the next year. President Roger Ritternoted that nominations would still be open at the next meeting and that anyone wishing to serve should be encouraged to step up.

The next meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council will be at 7:30 pm on June 22nd at the Forest Hill Clubhouse, 381 Magellan Ave. Next month, we hope Mitch Bull will kick the flu and be back to bring you the play-by-play. Get well Mitch!

June 2015

The April meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured presentations and discussions about public safety, police staffing, and the increase in burglaries and car break-ins.Chief of Police, Greg Suhr

President Roger Ritter opened the meeting, spoke about the agenda for the evening, and following the roll call, invited the San Francisco Chief of Police, Greg Suhr, up to the front to address the attendees. The Chief, who lives about 4 blocks from the Forest Hills Clubhouse, spoke about crime statistics, the “state” of the SFPD, which has been significantly understaffed for 10-15 years, and the factors that have contributed to a large increase in the number of burglaries and car break-ins in 2015.

Overall, the trends are good, as violent crime and homicides have dropped to 50% of levels a year ago, but property crimes, and petty thefts under $950 in total are up approximately 20%, including the fact that auto break-ins are up 60%. Property crimes are up approximately 15% and conversely, arrests are down by 15%, as the department has been running about 300 officers short since 2000. The good news is that with the economy recovering, three academy classes have been added with a fourth on the way in the spring, the most new classes in 20-25 years. It is estimated that by no later than 2018 those 300 vacant positions will be filled, resulting in more “beat” cops, bicycle officers and task forces. Even with the increase in population, homicides have dropped from approximately 100 per year, to 45 in 2014, a historical low number.

Suhr reiterated that the SFPD will respond to every call, though it may take several hours.”

An interesting part of the discussion highlighted the differences between misdemeanor petty theft (under $950) and break-ins that are felonies. If a person opens your unlocked car and takes your laptop, iPod, etc., it’s petty theft and a misdemeanor. If the same person breaks a window of a locked car and takes the same possessions, it’s felony theft. But if the burglar breaks the car window, goes and grabs a bit of lunch on West Portal Avenue, comes back in an hour and reaches in and takes your stuff, it’s back to a misdemeanor because the car was “found” unlocked!

Chief Suhr was firm on two things, don’t leave items in plain sight in the car where a person would be tempted to break in, and make the call to the SFPD when a crime occurs. Even though they are short on officers, Suhr reiterated that the SFPD will respond to every call, though it may take several hours. By filing a report, the police department is better able to establish trends and collect information that can result in a future arrest. He pointed out the case of the infamous “Night Stalker” who was ultimately arrested due to a drivers license number on a piece of jewelry he had stolen. The crime scene yielded a fingerprint, which eventually tied him to murders, for which he was imprisoned.

Scott WeinerDistrict 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner followed the Police Chief to gave an update of the major items he is working on at City Hall. Echoing the remarks from Chief Suhr, the Supervisor cited the need to bring the number of police officers back to approximately 2000. In addition he said that research should be done to determine if 2000 is enough. Since the 2000 number was established in 1971, the city has added over 100,000 more residents and constructed new neighborhoods that didn’t exist 30 years ago. He said that by looking at the staffing ratios in SF versus other large cities, the number of officers needed could be higher than the charter-mandated 2000. He stated that increasing funding for the police department would most likely cause a large brawl in the next budget cycle, and that citizens in support of increased funding for public safety should both contact their supervisor, and spread the word with their friends in other districts to do the same.

Other projects that the Supervisor is working on are related to mandating that within 5 years, all landscaping and street cleaning water will be supplied using recycled water. In addition, he has legislation in place that would mandate that newly-planned large buildings would be required to install a recycled “grey” water system.

In the final piece of business for the evening, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association delegate Estelle Smith reported on the establishment of the Community Advisory Committee for the Balboa Reservoir Project. The second community meeting to discuss the project will be held on Tuesday, May 5 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the CCSF Multi-Use Building, 50 Phelan Avenue, Room 140.

The next meeting: Monday, June 1 at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info:

May 2015

The March meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council featured discussion about the drought and the use of local groundwater to augment the water that the SFPUC delivers to its customers, both in San Francisco, and far down the Peninsula.

West of Twin Peaks meeting
Alison Kastama, the PUC Regional Communications Liaison, and Jeffrey Gilman, the PUC Groundwater Project Manager,

Following the opening of the meeting by President Roger Ritter, and the monthly meeting items and officers reports, an update on the Balboa Reservoir project was given by Sunnyside resident Lisa Spinali. She explained that the project is still in the very early stages of planning, and in an effort to broaden and receive input from a diverse set of stakeholders, an ordinance was submitted to create a 9 person citizens advisory committee (CAC) to provide input and guidance to the Mayor and project planners in areas such as the impact of additional traffic, parking, open space and recreation, as well as the issue of affordable housing and the impact that the project will have on City College. (Note: The SF Board of Supervisors voted to approve the ordinance on March 24th .)

George Wooding spoke on Public Health and described the phenomenon of “robots” gliding through the halls of the new UCSF medical campus in Mission Bay. He described the units, about the size of a small refrigerator, having the ability to transport food, medications and other supplies throughout the hospital, and to “speak” in 25 languages when they encounter someone in the hallway who could be blocking or impeding their path. Wooding also described the technical aspects of the new facility including large flat screen televisions in the guest rooms, and other items.

Avrum Shepard gave a small update about the upcoming Twin Peaks tunnel improvement project, which will impact the West Portal and Castro areas for at least the next year. Although the work will mainly be carried out at night, the avenue will be severely impacted by the staging of equipment and supplies as well as the “bus bridges” that MUNI will operate during the periods when the metro cars are out of service.

Representatives from the SFPUC then took the floor to discuss the new plan to tap into the local groundwater through 4 wells to augment the water supplies that flow into the city from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park.

Alison Kastama, the PUC Regional Communications Liaison, and Jeffrey Gilman, the PUC Groundwater Project Manager, gave a presentation and took questions about the water system, the groundwater and the operation of the SFPUC in general.

A brief synopsis: The SFPUC (SF Public Utilities Commission) is responsible for 3 areas: Water, Power and Sewer. The agency is responsible for delivering fresh water to the citizens of SF, and additionally to contracted water districts throughout the Peninsula and several in the South and East Bay. Of all of the water that the PUC delivers each day, approximately 1/3 is delivered to SF residents and businesses, with the other 2/3 being shipped to contracted customers and agencies outside of SF.

The tap water mix consists of approximately 85% of Hetch Hetchy water and 15% from reservoirs in Sunol, Alameda County, and Crystal Springs Reservoirs in San Mateo County. As all of the water in the system from Hetch Hetchy to your kitchen is delivered simply by gravity, the PUC has the ability to run hydroelectric turbines to create power for SF, in fact all of the Municipal power needs for SF City Services are provided (including street lighting, city hall usage, MUNI usage, etc.) via this hydroelectric system. The presenters estimated that if the city were to purchase the power generated from PG&E it would cost approximately $42,000,000 per year. In addition the hydroelectric power plan is very green and clean as no fossil fuels are burned in electrical generation.

The third piece of the SFPUC triangle is the sewer portion. The city has a combined sewer and storm drain system that handles all sewage and storm water runoff in one mixed system. Typically treating 80 million gallons of water and sewage on a typical day, this figure can swell to over 500,000,000 gallons per day during a period of wet weather. The PUC spokesperson explained that even though much of this system was built in the 1940’s and 50’s, portions of the system date from the 1860’s and is in need of major repair.

The SFPUC groundwater project is designed to use 4 wells on the Westside of the city to add up to 4,000,000 gallons of water per day to the roughly 70,000,000 gallons of water distributed daily through the system, or no more than 6% at any given time. Gilman explained that the use of well water will give some flexibility to the department in case of a major emergency, such as an earthquake, that could disrupt the flow of water from Hetch Hetchy. Several of the wells are currently being used to irrigate Golden Gate Park, but will be phased out when the recycled (grey) water system is fully operational. The city currently stores approximately 415,000,000 gallons of fresh water in local reservoirs, or enough to get their customers through 4-5 days in the event of an emergency. He added that Daly City has been using well water for over 60 years, pumped from the same aquifer as the SF wells. When asked about the taste, he cited a test conducted by the SF Chronicle Wine Editor and Food Editor, where they could not find a significant difference between the Hetch Hetchy tap water, and a “cocktail” of Hetch Hetchy and SF groundwater.

Questions were also raised about the feasibility of building desalinization plants. For now, the PUC is hoping that voluntary reductions of water use will be enough. Negative factors surrounding building desal plants are the high amount of electricity needed to complete the process, and the problems of the “waste” salt that is extracted from the seawater.

In other related activities, the WOTPCC was asked to support a GWPNA request to return the West Portal Playground hours from the newly implemented 5AM to Midnight hours of operation to the former 6AM to 10PM schedule. It was approved unanimously. The delegates were also asked to support the Midtown Terraces resolution supporting the operator of the Twin Peaks Service station, who is locked in a disagreement with the city over being forced to be on a month-to-month lease instead of the long-term lease renewal that was promised. The delegates also approved this motion unanimously.

The final discussion of the night centered on the creation of a proposed mural on the long wall facing Forest Hills from the bluff in front of Laguna Honda Hospital. Artist Yukako Onodera of the Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center and officials from LHH were on hand to speak about the project and to elicit feedback. For more information, or to provide feedback, the groups email address is:

The next meeting of the WOTPCC: Monday, April 27th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Police Chief Greg Suhr will be featured speaker. Info:

April 2015

The February meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council Supervisor Norman Yeefeatured discussion about proposed changes to the operation of Sutro Tower, an update from Supervisor Norman Yee, a visit from D6 Supervisor Jane Kim, and further discussion of the process of looking at housing on the Balboa Reservoir.

Following the opening of the meeting by President Roger Ritter and the monthly meeting items and officers reports, a discussion was held focusing on the proposal by the operators of the Sutro Tower to install 15 new antennas onto the structure. Denise LaPointe, the delegate representing the Twin Peaks Improvement Association, asked the assembled delegates for a general statement of support for the TPIA in opposing the new permit for additional antennas and other work at the Tower site. LaPointe explained that the TPIA is concerned with issues at the site such as clear cutting of trees, additional traffic, and the issue of inadequate neighborhood notifications. George Wooding explained that the operations of the Sutro Tower is permitted on a conditional use basis, so that as the operation is changed, public and neighborhood hearings are required to be conducted. The WOTPCC voted unanimously to prepare a letter containing a general statement of support for the TPIA challenge.

In a “public health” discussion, George Wooding spoke of the EPA pulling its support of the “ground up tire” turf dressing that is being used throughout the city on artificial surfaced playing fields.

District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee then addressed the gathering on the progress of the recent participatory budgeting project. This year, 44 proposals were received and Yee said the number of proposals and the quality of proposals were much better than what was received last year. With budgeting guidelines, he estimates that approximately 24 of the 44 proposals will be vetted down and put to a district vote on what should be funded in District 7. Supervisor Yee also spoke on the opening of the Ingleside Library garden-open space, which he proclaimed to be the first open space area created in decades.

Yee also addressed the new Senior Services program at the West Portal Playground that operates from 9:30 – 2:00 PM. Prior to this new program, the district had only one Senior Services program (the Stonestown YMCA Senior Services Program) available to the 20,000 local seniors.Supervisor Jane Kim

District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim addressed the attendees next, covering several areas such as the recently passed AirBnB legislation, (about which she has doubts about the City’s ability to enforce the rules), the progress of the Public Education Enrichment Fund, Pedestrian Safety, Homelessness, and Public Safety.

Following a short discussion on the AirBnB legislation and the lawsuits recently filed against property owners by the Tenants Union, the supe explained that over $77,000,000 has been cut from public education in the state budget over the past 10 years, and that the Public Education Enrichment Fund has been successful in making up some of these cuts with the expansion of amenities in schools such as on-site nurses, expanded art programs, increased counseling staff, music instructors and similar programs.

In addressing Pedestrian / Public Safety, Kim noted that her district, comprising the South of Market, Tenderloin and Treasure Island, has the highest number of vehicle/pedestrian interactions in the city, with over $13,000,000 in hospital-related costs incurred last year. Seniors and children are the most likely to be injured or killed, and over 60% if the injuries in her district are located in just 6% of the traffic corridors, and that improvements and changes in those corridors would get the number closer to the “Vision Zero” goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities in three years.

The supervisor next addressed the issue of homelessness and the perceptions versus the realities of the crisis. Kim spent an evening in a homeless shelter and was surprised by the age of the occupants. While expecting a younger crowd, Kim was shocked to see that most of the people in the shelter were older; in fact, with San Francisco’s shelters, 60% of occupants are aged 40-59, and an additional 10% are 60 years and older. She stated that another misconception is that homelessness is just a financial issue, when in fact it is a public health issue, as many occupants of the shelters and those on the streets are ill with physical and mental impairments. Most shelters have no medical or psychiatric units available.

In the area of Public Safety, Kim noted that more police officers are being added to the rolls in SF after years of budget cuts ands no academy classes. Another new program has been the installation of three public restrooms in the tenderloin. These staffed restrooms are open during the day, with locally-hired staff “checking” on people after 5 minutes or so to ensure that no illegal activities are going on. Since the implementation of the program, there has been a 60% reduction in the number of requests for the “steam cleaning” of sidewalks in the neighborhood, and the savings from water use and labor to clean the streets and sidewalks has resulted in the restroom program paying for itself. In addition, the city has passed legislation to ban parking on Turk Street, and the enforcement of this has resulted in a large reduction in people on the street and loitering in the area doing drug deals. The residents and merchants have been pleased with the progress so far.

The Balboa Reservoir project was next, with a presentation by Mike Martin, representing the Mayor’s office on the proposal to examine the building of “affordable housing” on several city-owned parcels including the Balboa Reservoir, adjacent to City College. The “Public Lands for Housing” program was created to examine how to best utilize parcels to make an impact in the housing crisis in SF. Four sites are being considered: 4th St at Folsom (the air rights above the Central Subway station); 1950 Mission St. (School District property); the MUNI “Upper Yard” near the Balboa Park station; and the Balboa Reservoir adjacent to City College.

In discussing the Balboa Reservoir site, Martin handed out maps showing pipelines under the site, the proposed building area, and the challenges of access and egress for traffic to and from the site. The city is looking for neighborhood input and is planning a Community Workshop to discuss the proposal in April. The proposed plan for the housing would focus on households earning below 80% of the localized AMI (Area Median Income) and 120% of the AMI. By doing this, the city hopes to affect housing options to keep firefighters and teachers local.

The final speaker of the evening was SF Unified School District Board member Emily Murase, who shared that the SFUSD is now one of the top performing school districts in California, and that with changes in curriculum now Lincoln, Balboa, and Washington High Schools have more applicants than Lowell. She also shared that the district just was audited and came through “squeaky clean.”

A motion for adjournment followed at 9:15 and the meeting was wrapped.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC: Monday, March 23rd at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info: WOTPCC website (

The November 2014 election, and houses on the Balboa Reservoir, were the big items discussed at the January meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council on January 26th. President Roger Ritter opened the first meeting of 2015 with approximately 25 attendees.

In the committee section of the meeting, recent meetings by the city on uses for the Balboa Reservoir were discussed, with some groups such as SF BARF calling for up to 6000 units of housing being built on the site, resulting in density parameters that would rival Manhattan. Although it’s doubtful that anything of this magnitude would be built, the meetings point out that the public has to be involved and vigilant to ensure that constructive public input is offered and considered by the city planning officials and the SFPUC, which holds the land entitlement for the reservoir site.

A panel discussion followed, featuring Jim Stearns, Chris Bowman and Dr. Corey Cook, as they recapped the facts and lessons from the November 2014 general municipal election.

Stearns opened the discussion with an overview on the number and authorship of ballot propositions from 1961 to the present time. In those 55 years, 1004 propositions have been placed on the ballot, with 634 (68%) being approved by voters. Contrary to popular belief, only 145 of the propositions were placed on the ballot by voter driven campaigns. Of these, 73 passed and 72 failed. 715 of the 1004 were placed by vote of the Board of Supervisors.

The low voter turnout in 2014 was also compared to other elections as 53% of voters voted in 2014, compared to 50% in 2002, and 61% in 2006 and 2010, when the elections had more statewide races to generate voter excitement. Within San Francisco, the West of Twin Peaks area, the Castro, and Noe Valley were the areas with the highest voter turnout.

Dr. Corey Cook, of USF, spoke on the trends of the last election and how the propositions fared in the city and in the WOTP areas. Not surprisingly, the WOTP areas were 13-18% more conservative in their voting than the rest of the city. In all but three propositions, the WOTP area finished in the lowest 2 or 3 districts in supporting the propositions (reflecting their conservative voting trends.) The Westside did support the propositions to develop Pier 70 (which won); Keep the soccer fields natural grass in Golden Gate Park (which lost), and to establish Transportation Priorities for MUNI (which lost).

Chris Bowman completed the panel and spoke on the demographics of the WOTP area as compared to the rest of the city. For the election, the WOTP voter turnout was 60.78% compared to 53% citywide and 42.20% statewide. The party breakdown for the WOTP is as follows: Republican 13.08%, Democrat 54.20%, Decline to State 28.44% and Other 4.28%. Demographic voting numbers were handed out reflecting how the WOTP area compared to the other voting segments for each of the local and statewide election races.

The final discussions of the evening centered on short presentations by Patrick Otellini, of the City’s Earthquake Safety Implementation Program, and Ashley Summers, of Supervisor Katy Tang’s office.

Otellini spoke of a program that would provide a $3000 grant to 75 homeowners (selected randomly from applicants) to make improvements to seismically strengthening their foundations through “bolting and bracing” the home to the concrete foundation. The program application period runs from January 15 through February 15 and covers the zip codes of 94121, 94127, 94132, and 94112. For more information on the program, visit the website,

Summers spoke on transit-oriented changes that are being proposed by Muni in the Westside districts, such as changes in bus stop and Muni Metro locations. For more information on this, the legislative aide can be contacted at

A motion for adjournment followed at 9:15 and the meeting was concluded.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, February 23rd at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse.

Chris Bowman, Dr. Corey Cook and Jim Stearns present analysis of the fall election

February 2015

November Meeting

E-Cigarettes, Safeway and an Assembly update were the big items discussed at the November meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council on November 24th. President Roger Ritter opened the final meeting of 2014 with approximately 30 attendees.

Phil Ting at WOTPCC
Assembly member Phil Ting reports on the State budget progress and City College

Lisa Spinali, President of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association asked for the WOTPCC to send a letter supporting the project for renovation of the Safeway store located on Monterey Boulevard. The project, which has been in the works for over 7 years is awaiting a hearing at the Planning Commission, and Spinali explained that Safeway has been very cooperative in seeking community input throughout the process and has made changes in the project to incorporate citizen feedback on the design and traffic flow corridors of the proposed site remodel. Following the discussion a vote was taken and passed unanimously to send a letter supporting the project to the Planning Commission.

The project ... is awaiting a hearing at the Planning Commission, and Spinali explained that Safeway has been very cooperative in seeking community input throughout the process and has made changes in the project to incorporate citizen feedback...”

Assembly member Phil Ting took the floor to give a Sacramento update, and he started by saying he was pleased to report a balanced state budget that was achieved without the drastic budget cuts that have been necessary in recent years. As a result of the improved economic conditions and the tax increased approved by voters, more funding is being allocated into K-12 education as well as the UC and CSU budgets. Ting also commented on the recent approval by voters of both the Water Bond and the Rainy Day fund legislation. He remarked that the passing of the Rainy Day Fund is important because it is the first time ever that the state government is required to set aside funding while times are good to be used when the economy eventually weakens.

The Assembly member addressed the topic of CCSF by explaining that many members of the Assembly are fighting to keep City College open, and that, of the issues raised by the Accreditation Commission, over 95% have been addressed and fixed, but that the number has to be 100% for full accreditation and recertification. Recommending a “hard look” at the Accreditation Commission, he feels the decision to allow it to continue (or not) in its present form is necessary. Ting feels that CCSF is a city treasure.

The Assembly member was less pleased with the recent actions of the UC Board of Regents, stating that Governor Brown and the Education Commission were shocked by the regents’ decision to increase tuition at UC by 28% over the next 5 years. He also pointed out that the CSU system has implemented arbitrary “Student Success Fees” that are not governed. He believes that more funding could be given to the two systems with caveats, such as limiting the number of non-Californians admitted to the campuses. Ting also said that UC President Janet Napolitano may be engaging in a game of “chicken” with the state government leaders.

In a somewhat controversial remark, Assembly member Ting called for a reduction of votes needed to pass a parcel tax from 67% to 55% as it would be easy to start more projects. Needless to say, that line of thought was not warmly received by the neighborhood group delegates in attendance.

The final discussion of the evening centered on a proposal to open an e-cigarette “Vape” outlet at 1963 Ocean Avenue. Following presentations by applicant Blake Yee on why the outlet would be good for the neighborhood, and by Robert and Carolyn Karis (representing Ingleside Terraces) on the problems associated with vape outlets, the WOTPCC was asked to vote on whether to oppose the vape outlet by supporting the appeal to overturn the Planning Commission approval of the project. The vote to support the appeal failed with 5 “yes” votes, 1, “no” vote and 8 abstentions. A motion for adjournment followed and the meeting ended.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, January 28th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. (No meeting in December) For more information see the WOTPCC website (

West Of Twin Peaks Central Council


The West of Twin Peaks Central Council, which represents twenty (20) homeowners’ and neighborhood associations, will present a series of speakers at each of its monthly meetings from January through June 2015 to discuss their vision for San Francisco over the next decade and how it will affect our neighborhoods.

Speakers will include prominent local politicians and others who will discuss issues of concern to the members of our organization.

This will be a great opportunity to speak directly with your elected officials in an intimate environment about issues that matter most to you, including preservation of single-family residential housing, revitalization of neighborhood shopping streets, preservation of open space, transportation, and taxation, including residential parcel taxes.

We invite all members of the community to attend our meetings, which are normally held on the fourth Monday of each month at the Forest Hill Clubhouse, 381 Magellan Avenue.

For details please check our website at

December 2014

Doug Engmann
Doug Engmann, lays out plans to overturn the AirBnB legislation next year

Housing and neighborhood issues were the dominant themes again at the November meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council. Vice President Sally Stephens brought the meeting to order in the absence of President Roger Ritter. Following the determination that a quorum had been reached, the meeting progressed with Committee Reports to the 25 people in attendance.

Estelle Smith of the Planning and Land Use Committee gave an update on the legalization process of the drive to bring the illegal secondary units out “of the dark” and into compliance. To date, of the estimated 30,000 to 50,000 illegal units, only 1 legalization permit has been issued and only 7 are pending. It doesn’t seem that these property owners/landlords are rushing to City Hall to bring these hovels up to code.

…under the legislation, do not have to implement the same measures as true B and B’s and hotels such as meeting ADA (American Disability Act) requirements, or other safety requirements…

Avrum Shepard (Technology) reported that the WOTPCC website received over 519 hits in September and that the average stay on the site is over 5 minutes.

George Wooding (Public Health) reported that in August a person in SF was thought to be carrying the ebola virus, but that turned out to be false. He also added to the Planning report that the Planning Department is going through its documents and is changing/merging some of the terms and wording on some of the laws. These actions have been followed by the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods (CSFN) and more information can be gained from their website.

Under the “Transportation” guise, Avrum Shepard spoke of an apartment complex at 5th and Kirkham that is currently 89 units, but that the owner is trying to increase to over 400. Traffic and parking would be a major concern.

A discussion on the proposed Proposition G, the Transfer Tax legislation, followed, with the major points being made that the legislation will only hurt small landlords and families, and not stop the larger “speculators” with over 30 units as they are exempted by the law as written. A motion was made and seconded to draft a letter stating that the WOTPCC is opposed to Prop G. The motion carried 11-0 with 1 abstention.

The remainder of the meeting was focused on the AirBnB legislation that had been signed by Mayor Lee earlier in the day, October 27. The legislation, drafted and sponsored by Supervisor David Chiu, basically rezoned the entire city in an instant, with the legalization of AirBnB short-term rentals in every neighborhood.

Doug Engmann, a civic leader opposed to the legislation, spoke to the assembled group and explained that although several aspects of the legislation were amended, many of the most important amendments were not added by the Board of Supervisors. Engmann is leading the efforts to repeal the legislation in 2015. He believes that a better way to apply the statute would be to roll it out in a “neighborhood by neighborhood” zoning effort, where the neighbors get to vote on acceptance of the short term rentals. The implications of this law taking effect are huge, according to Engmann. “Homesharers,” under the legislation, do not have to implement the same measures as true B and B’s and hotels such as meeting ADA (American Disability Act) requirements, or other safety requirements, as conditional use permits are not necessary. In addition, the Board of Supervisors failed to include the provision to hold AirBnB liable for the $24,000,000 in back taxes that were owed San Francisco during the past several years while they have been operating outside the parameters of the law as it pertains to rentals under 30 days.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, November 24th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

November 2014

Housing and neighborhood issues were the dominant theme as the new group of officers opened the 2014-15 session of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council. Incoming President Roger Ritter welcomed the attendees at 7:30 and opened the meeting in front of a crowd of 30 or so delegates and guests. Joining Ritter as the officers for 2014-15 are: Vice President – Sally Stephens, Secretary –David Golden, Treasurer –Carolyn Squeri, and Parliamentarian – Lee Hsu.

Jay Chang argues against Prop G
Chang argues the case against the anti-speculation tax, Prop G at the WOTP Central Council

Following the officer reports and committee reports, a spirited discussion on the Pros and Cons of the ballot initiative, Proposition G, the Real Estate Transfer Tax, was held with presentations by Peter Cohen on the Pro side, citing the need to continue to protect the housing stock and stop the real estate speculation that has caused many properties to be sold or converted from apartments to condominiums, thus affecting the apartment housing stock in both availability and affordability for tenants. On the Con side, Jay Chang cited the need to not penalize investors and families that have properly invested in San Francisco apartment buildings and have been good landlords, but may wish to sell for other reasons and should not be subjected to a tax, not just on the profits from the sale, but on the entire sale price. In many cases a single-family ownership group that is forced to sell due to changes in finances, health condition, etc. could be unable to because of the very large tax liability due to the run up of the market values for properties. A question also focused on those properties with certified (or non-certified) in-law units and how the tax formula would affect them (if Prop G is enacted).

Discussion followed on another homeowner concern, the proposed legislation by Supervisor David Chiu that would “legalize” short-term rentals (through services such as VRBO and especially AirBnB), and impact neighborhoods by undermining the established CCR’s of community associations.

Ritter reported that at the public input session at the Planning Commission, the homeowners who lobbied against the legislation were outnumbered by the pro-rental lobby by a ratio of about 9 to 1. The full Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the legislation by the end of September. Much discussion has centered on the fact that the opening up of temporary rentals would in effect create an environment where every homeowner (or renter) could become a “B&B” proprietor in any neighborhood, creating issues with parking, noise and possibly security. The proposed legislation would also weaken provisions of homeowner association CC and R’s that have been in effect for decades.Walt Farrell

The meeting ended with a Presentation to Walt Farrell for a lifetime of service and commitment to the neighborhood organizations, the Hibernians, Forest Hill and to everyone he has touched by District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell (no relation). Walt’s family was on hand to witness the reading and presentation of the proclamation (Where as, Where as…) well deserved Walt!

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, October 27th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

October 2014

It was a tale of two meetings…it was the best of times, it was the …you get the point. It was a time of elections and of planning for the November election with groups trying to square off with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; the Airbnb situation; secondary units; Children and Families, and the MTA pushing their own initiative. Add in a pinch of burglary, some open space dialogue, and a board election and voila, a recipe for the final two WOTPCC meetings of their year.

2014-15 WOTPCC Board
2014-15 WOTPCC Board:Pres: Roger Ritter; VP: Sally Stephens; Sec: David Golden; Treas Carolyn Squeri,

In the first WOTPCC meeting on June 2, President Matt Chamberlain asked the delegates to go back to their respective associations to see if the organizations are willing to help the WOTPCC pay for the costs of a lawsuit over the secondary unit legislation that was recently passed by the SF Board of Supervisors. The council feels that the legislation effectively guts the concept of neighborhood R-1 zoning, and countermands existing CCR’s established to promote neighborhoods over the last 60+ years.

George Wooding reported on the efforts that Supervisor Mark Farrell is undertaking to try and get Laura’s Law on the November ballot. The law would compel those who need psychological treatment and medications to receive them, with some semi-forceful assistance from the City. Wooding also noted that over the years the City has reduced the number of psych beds in hospitals by 80+%, so there is little space to fully implement the law.

Doug Engmann then spoke about the effort he is spearheading to put a ballot initiative together that would mandate a registration system for short-term rentals, where you would have to have insurance coverage and also have permission from of the landlord to allow short term rentals. This ballot initiative would not legalize short-term rentals citywide. If people want Airbnb or VRBO in their neighborhood, they can go to the Planning Department and have the area rezoned for this. Rezoning should be done on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, not by the citywide legislation that Board President David Chiu championed.

Capt. Tim Falvey at the WOTPCC
Ingleside Station Captain Tim Falvey addresses the Central Council members

Currently, in SF, it is illegal to rent a unit for less than 30 days, but there are 14000 listings on Craigslist that match up with the internet sites. Sadly, the City is doing nothing about these types of rentals. Of course there are the horror stories that accompany this policy: landlords making money on short term rental units after evicting long-term tenants, etc.

Another ballot measure proposal was brought forth by Jason Clark and Chris Bowman to allow customers to give the MTA feedback on their policies, which tend to favor open space and non-drivers. The Mayor appoints the members of the SFMTA and they cannot be removed until their term is up. Currently, no one on the MTA board is a driver; all are MUNI riders. Not one is disabled. In addition, the MTA’s budget cannot be amended with a line-item veto; the Board of Supervisors can only approve or reject the entire budget. The budget measure would call on the SFMTA to adhere to the following items: 1) Free Sunday, holiday and after hours parking; 2) Freeze parking rates for five years, then increase at the rate for the cost of living; 3) A portion of new bond money would have to go towards off-street parking garages; and 4) Equal enforcement of traffic laws for cars, bikes and pedestrians. They are in the process of gathering signatures for the November ballot. It should be noted that the measure could win with 50% + 1 vote, but it is not binding and cannot force the SFMTA to make these changes; however it does let the people have their voices heard. The WOTPCC passed the motion to support the initiative by a 9-0 vote with 2 abstentions.

The meeting on June 23 featured much discussion and dialogue about crime statistics in the area, and the causes of why the D.A.’s office has not brought charges against an alleged burglar who was caught coming out of a second story window of a home on Murrieta Drive in Miraloma Park. Asst. D.A. Rani Singh explained that the neighbors and police did their jobs well, and the person was caught coming out of the window, but was not in possession of stolen goods. The D.A’s office is continuing the investigation and wants to have all the facts in line before deciding to charge the individual. Obviously, this did not sit particularly well with the neighbors in attendance.

Ingleside Station Captain Tim Falvey addressed the gathering and stated that crime is down about 28% from last year. In addressing property crimes such as burglary, he said that although arrests for burglaries are down about 40%, once investigators gather other evidence, the number of search warrants are up, and arrests for stolen property have gone up by 60%. The Captain stated that many burglaries are committed by a few individuals, and when a pattern is detected and warrants are issued, in many cases when stolen property is recovered it is from several different homes.

Serial thieves are also responsible for auto thefts, where the Ingleside District ranks #1 in San Francisco. The Captain told the group to be diligent on not leaving laptops, phones and other valuables in plain site, and to remove the garage door openers when leaving the car. Burglars break into cars, take the openers and walk around trying the opener until they find a match and the garage opens.

Supervisor Norman Yee is also working on a November ballot initiative relating to school infrastructure entitled the Children and Families First Initiative.

SFMTA Chief Ed Reiskin was on hand to speak on the Transportation 2030 Bond Initiative and explained that the city has neglected investing in transportation infrastructure for several decades. Over the next 15 years, they estimate a need for $10,000,000,000 to be invested, but the city has only $3,500,000,000 committed dollars. This initiative, also on the November ballot, will be comprised of three measures that would create two funding sources for transportation projects; 1) A General Obligation Bond of $500,000,000 to fund urgent projects and improve the infrastructure, without raising the property tax rates (but extending rates that are already in place); and 2) The restoration of the Vehicle License Fee to 2% to create a long-term project for funding transportation infrastructure projects in SF.

On a more local level, the WOTPCC elected new Board officers for 2014-2015. The council leadership will consist of the following members: President: Roger Ritter; Vice President: Sally Stephens; Secretary: David Golden; and Carolyn Squeri has agreed to continue as Treasurer.

In the final piece of business for the 2014 organizational year, the WOTPCC passed a motion to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors imploring them to vote NO on the ROSE (Recreational Open Space Elements) plan. Section 4.2 of the plan is considers to be very overreaching and effectively supports a “land grab” of private lands by the native plant activists, such as those taking private land for the Franciscan Manzanita ruse.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 22nd at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Summer break: there will be no meetings in July or

July/August 2014

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi at WOTPCCThe April 28 meeting featured presentations by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell on the workings of the Sheriff’s Department and a peek into the current budget status.

President Matt Chamberlain opened the meeting at 7:30 with a discussion of the on-going legislation that is designed to rein in the short-term rental marketplace using services such as AirBnb and VRBO. Although SF City law currently bans people from renting units for less than 30 days, there are over 14000 listings in SF for rentals using the aforementioned services. Supervisor David Chiu has written legislation that would amend the current law to allow some rentals, but would ban “non-resident owners” from renting in an effort to stop apartment owners from evicting tenants to create a “hotel” type of property.

Sally Stephens updated the group on the “SF Plaza Program” that would allow groups to sponsor and underwrite public plazas that are currently under maintained. In a tradeoff, these groups would be able to take over up to one-third of the public space for essentially any purpose that they choose (including building retail facilities). The “plan” would also allow the “contributors” to completely close the plaza for up to 8 days annually for “private” functions. Seems like another “sell-off” of public space by a City Hall not willing to take care of what is their responsibility.

WOTPCC delegate (and former Deputy Sheriff) Bill Chionsini introduced Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi who detailed current operations and successes that the Sheriff’s Department has had in working to reduce inmate congestion in the jail and their efforts to provide educational opportunities to the current inmate population.

Mirkarimi opened by detailing how the SF jail is now “under crowded” by 48% and that progress is being seen in a drop in recidivism rates. Of the 57 California counties, SF is best poised to handle the “push down” of inmates from the State prison system to local jurisdictions. Mirkarimi gave credit to his current staff as well as two of his predecessors, Mike Hennessey and Richard Hongisto.

The SF Sheriff’s Department’s first Charter High School within a jail in the US concept is being implemented in LA. Mirkarimi also is working with City College of SF to provide educational opportunities to inmates. These efforts are aimed at further reducing the recidivism rate.

With a staff of 1100 sworn and civilian staff, the Sheriff’s Department is trying to ensure that people are fairly treated during an eviction process, which is one of the main tasks of the department. The Sheriff cited the need for more clinicians in these high stress situations and has even used plainclothes sheriffs to help mitigate the stress levels during an eviction. When asked about inmates and those on the streets with mental health challenges, Mirkarimi said that he does not believe that jail should be a substitute for mental health hospitals or asylums, and that the jail system cannot solve this problem alone.

District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell followed the Sheriff and the discussion turned to budget considerations at City Hall. Farrell cited the improved economy and the fact that unemployment in the city has dropped from 10% 3 years ago to 4.8% currently and that the city and county are #1 in the country for job growth. He also cautioned that even though the economy has improved and corporations are doing better, this turnaround does not mean that City Hall’s coffers are flush with cash. Although the budget snapshot is much better than 3 years ago, the city is still faced with a $66,000,000 shortfall for 2014, and that as the city government is working on the new budget, which starts in July 26 of the 28 city-related labor unions are in negotiations with the city. As negotiations go and are possibly headed to arbitration, the result will be increased costs.

Of San Francisco’s $7,900,000,000 annual budget, 50% is dedicated to the PUC, the Airport and the Sheriff’s Department, all departments that most cities do not have to fund.

Other discussion focused on a severe backlog in the City Assessor’s office, which new Assessor Carmen Chu is trying to get under control. A reduction in the backlog would address much of the shortfall. Another budget item mentioned is the $165,000,000 spent annually by the city on services benefitting the homeless. Farrell asked, “Are we spending this wisely?”

Chamberlain closed the meeting with a short discussion of a ballot measure being formulated by Christopher Bowman that would restrict the ability of MUNI/MTA to levy fees and meter rates as they do today. More on this in future.

The meeting was adjourned shortly after 9:00 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, June 2nd at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. Due to the Memorial Day holiday.

More info:

May 2014

MATHIAS MORMINO  from Supervisor Norman Yee's Office
Mathias Mormino(Supervisor Norman Yee's office) spoke regarding the Cannabis
disbensary proposed for Ocean Avenue

Supervisor David Chiu's upcoming legislation on legalizing secondary housing units was the hottest topic at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on March 24, with lots of discussion and a call to action.

President Matt Chamberlain opened the meeting at 7:32 PM, and although the agenda was less crowded than in past meetings, there was ample discussion, and topics to fill the evening. In the President's report Chamberlain note the May WOTPCC meeting will actually be in June on the 2nd as a result of Memorial Day. There will be a second meeting on June 23. He also spoke on the nominating committee for the July election of new officers and solicited interest in anyone who wishes to sit at the“big table” at the front.

George Wooding gave a report on public health, touching on the Department of Public Health laptop that was lost/stolen containing the names and social security numbers of approximately 55,900 patients of San Francisco-owned public hospitals. Discussion focused on the total cost of the fines and fees associated with a security breach of this magnitude. Opinions cited the cost cold range in the range of $1,000,000. Wooding will continue to monitor the situation.

In a “win” for the little guys, Avrum Shepard reported that the MTA proposed changes to the 36 transit routes were not implemented after public outcry denounced the proposal.

The Ocean Avenue Cannabis dispensary committee brought up their findings. The application for the third MCD has been temporarily withdrawn by the applicants pending a report by the Planning Department, which is considering weakening the current restrictions on where a MCD can be located in an effort to expand the so-called “Green Zones” where it is legal to locate a single or multiple MCDs in a cluster-type of arrangement. The WOTPCC committee formed to look into this has recommended a formal letter be sent opposing any additional MCDs on Ocean Avenue, and would like to see a permanent “cap” on Ocean Ave. dispensaries at the existing two. Following input from Matthias Mormino of Supervisor Norman Yee's office concerning the Supervisor's pending proposed legislation, the WOTPCC voted unanimously to send a formal letter to the Planning Department opposing any new MCD dispensaries on Ocean Avenue.

A representative from the Clarendon Neighbors group spoke about the illegal construction and approval (by DPW) of a driveway on public space on an unimproved portion of Stanyan St. The neighbors have been opposing this proposed driveway for ten years and the project has been rejected by the DPW the Planning and Land Use on at least two occasions. Recently the DPW reversed their previous findings and approved the proposed grading and paving. The group asked the WOTPCC delegates for a letter supporting their position to oppose the building of the driveway egress. The motion was approved unanimously and a letter will be prepared.

Dave Bisho and several other delegates spoke next on the results of the Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Economic Development committee meeting on the proposed legislation on secondary units that has been proposed by Supervisor David Chiu. Bisho reported the meeting went over 3 hours and most of the people in attendance were solidly against the proposed legislation. Supporters of the legislation included tenant rights groups, architects, developers and the Asian Law Caucus. The committee voted to move the legislation to the full board “without recommendation.”

Chamberlain stated that he felt that several supervisors could be lobbied to vote against it if enough people voiced their displeasure with the legislation. The options if the legislation is approved by the full Board of Supervisors range from asking for a Mayoral veto; filing a civil lawsuit; or gathering enough signatures to put it on he ballot.

Several speakers discussed how they felt they were “talked down to” at the meeting with comments to the homeowners such as “get out of your bubbles” and “the winds of change are blowing over the city” which made them feel as though their opinions were unimportant. Further discussion centered on how the legislation (if passed) could exist with homeowner CCR language.

Citing the lack of time prior to the final vote on the legislation, Chamberlain asked the delegates to go back to their homeowners associations and start lobbying supervisors so that the required six “no” votes can be found.

The meeting was adjourned shortly after 9:10 PM.

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

For more information see the WOTPCC website

April 2014

Vice President Roger Ritter chaired the February meeting of the WOTPCC as President Matt Chamberlain was out of town for the February 24th meeting at the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

Although the agenda was less crowded than in past meetings, the presentations from Emily Salgado from the office of Assemblymember Phil Ting, and Tyrone Lue and Crispin Hollings of the SFPUC elicited much discussion and questions while providing important information related to the City's planning for future bicycle infrastructure, and the costs of rebuilding the infrastructure of the water and sewer delivery systems, respectively.

Emily Salgado
Emily Salgado

George Wooding reported on several Public Health issues concerning challenges that enrollees in San Francisco's groundbreaking HealthySF medical plan are having with the provisions (or lack thereof) in the new Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare." The Health Commission has met about the issues and has postponed the decision on a course of action to a future date. In other Public Health related issues, it was reported that on average 3 people are struck by vehicles in San Francisco each day, with a new fatality being reported this week at the intersection of Yorba and Sunset. Finally, residents on Treasure Island have reported finding radioactive and other toxic objects in and on the ground near their housing. The city is looking into it.

Avrum Shepard updated the meeting on a series of public meetings that are being conducted by MUNI to gather feedback on proposed route changes. Check out the MUNI website for more information.

Tyrone Lue and Crispin Hollings
Tyrone Lue and Crispin Hollings of the SFPUC

The attempted addition of another marijuana apothecary on Ocean Avenue was the next topic, as Mattias Mormino from Supervisor Yee's office spoke about legislation sponsored by the D7 supe to stop the proposed 3rd site. Vice President Ritter called for a committee to investigate this topic and was joined by delegates Paul Conroy, Dave Bisho, and Denise LaPointe. A motion forwarded by Bisho for the WOTPCC to oppose the proposed third dispensary site (on Ocean Avenue) was passed unanimously. Mormino clarified that there are three "green zones" in D7 where dispensary sites are conditionally acceptable: Ocean Avenue, West Portal Avenue and the Park Merced Shopping Center. (It should be noted that any dispensary that wishes to open in these areas still has to go through the planning commission review, including public comment.)

Emily Salgado from Assemblymember Phil Ting's office addressed the gathering about Ting's AB 1193, which would modify California's design process for cities, to design bicycle infrastructure projects by mandating design guidelines for Caltrans to establish so that the design and implementation costs for future projects of this type in SF would be less expensive to gain all necessary design and planning approvals. It would bring SF into compliance with Caltrans policy, while still maintaining local control in cycle track projects. Although AB 1193 doesn't determine where and when bike infrastructure should be built, many of the questions centered on getting bicyclists to obey traffic laws, etc. Salgado explained the bill's aim is to reduce the cost for SF infrastructure planning, promote bicycle safety for riders, and to help ensure that cyclists better obey the traffic laws.

Infrastructure development was also the crux of the next presentation by several members of the SFPUC. Tyrone Jue and Crispin Hollings presented an overview detailing a PUC proposal to raise the water and sewer rates for water and sewer users. In a nutshell, the PUC proposal will increase the water and sewer rates to water users by 8.9% per year for the next four years, resulting in an effective compounded increase of approximately 38%. The increases are necessary to continue to pay off the debt incurred to rebuild and strengthen the Hetch Hetchy water delivery system, with the goal of delivering water not more than 24 hours after an earthquake. Hollings, the finance half of the duo, said that for an average SF single family the increase would take an $87 bill for water and sewer usage and increase it over four years to $120. He also said that more increases would be coming in the long-range future to pay for future upgrades to the sewer system within the city. For more information on this topic, check out the SFPUC website at

Two important topics closed the meeting as Vice President Ritter announced that Supervisor David Chiu is accelerating his legislation regarding secondary units and is aiming for a March 13th hearing by the Board of Supervisors. The WOTPCC has opposed secondary units in RH1 areas several times over the years. An invitation will be extended by the WOTPCC to Supervisor Chiu to speak at the next meeting (March 24.)

In the final piece of business for the evening, Kristine Zaback, President of the Forest Knolls Association, spoke about a resolution their group has drafted to ask MUNI to maintain the same level of service for the 36-Teresita bus line as it currently operates. MUNI is considering reducing this service, possibly affecting six neighborhoods in a most dramatic fashion. The resolution was read to the delegates and a motion to support it was seconded and approved unanimously so that Zaback could present the resolution at the MUNI public hearing on 2/25.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:04 PM.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, March 24th at 7:30 PM at the historic Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

March 2014

Priorities for 2014, a Supervisor's update and trees, trees, and more trees dominated the agenda at the WTPCC meeting on Monday, January 27th.

Supervisor Norman Yee at WOTPCC
Supervisor Norman Yee announces a Community Budget Meeting for
Saturday, Feb. 22nd at West Portal Playground, 10:30 am

Approximately 25 people were in attendance for the first meeting of the year. WTPCC President Matt Chamberlain brought the meeting to order at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse and started by listing the major priorities that the council will be working on for 2014. They include: An impending PUC increase; Traffic Calming Projects; Transit changes; ADA and other Parking Changes; Bicycle legislation; Housing and Density Issues (including the secondary unit legislation); and proposed new taxes on sodas, and "street trees." Other topics include CCSF; the 19th Ave. Transit Corridor Project, and the impact of web-based services such as Airbnb and Uber. He also added that he is trying to schedule a return visit by Supervisor Mark Farrell (D2) to discuss the SF Budget. Chamberlain asked the audience to forward any other priorities to him for consideration for scheduling speakers, etc.

District Supervisor Norman Yee followed with an update on several important issues within the district with much of the discussion focused on gathering community input on voting for "citizen nominated" projects on the Westside. He is holding a Community Meeting to discuss the process of Participative Budgeting for Projects on Saturday, February 22nd at the West Portal Playground Clubhouse. The meeting will run from approximately 10:30 AM to 12:00PM. The Supe also spoke of bond monies being allocated for two park projects (Golden Gate Heights and Miraloma Park), and although West Portal was left out of the funding, he is working to secure between $100,000 and $500,000 for additional park projects. Finally he spoke about more resolutions to be introduced for Pedestrian and Traffic Safety to go with the City's "Vision 0" – to have no pedestrian fatalities by the year 2024. When asked about the pending legislation on secondary units, Yee said that he expects the Planning Commission to schedule a hearing to discuss the legislation in March.

Estelle Smith updated the crowd on the actions of the Planning and Land Use Committee as they are working on topics such as the secondary unit legislation, the SF Housing Element, Housing density and other items. George Wooding spoke on Public Health, mentioning the upcoming legislation on a "soda tax" as well as the stance by Commissioner Antonini of the Planning Commission that "open space and parkland" near Twin Peaks and Laguna Honda could be used for housing units. Avrum Shepard reported in his Transportation update that MUNI is planning to build dozens of "Operator Convenience Facilities" (bathrooms) for the MUNI driver fleet at various points around the city. The estimated cost is $170,000 for each of the "facilities."

Open Space and Tree issues comprised the last half of the meeting with Sally Stephens reporting on the ROSE (Recreation and Open Space Element) update that the Planning Department is attempting to finalize. Stephens noted that while many aspects of the ROSE are better than the 2009 draft element, there are still many changes that the citizens advisory group wants to include before Planning finalizes the document.

On the "Trees of Mt. Sutro Forest" update, Rupa Bose reported some progress and good news; On November 21, UCSF announced they are revising their plans for the Sutro Forest by (1) agreeing to not use pesticides in the 47 acre park, and (2) to lower the concentration of forest "management" from the entire 47 acres to possibly 25-35 acres. This could result in "only" 4000-5000 trees being affected, rather than the 30,000 trees that were initially targeted. On the down side, Bose added that the Natural Area Program group is still using herbicides on ¼ of the forest and are expected to target approximately 140 trees for removal.

Jackie Proctor of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club gave a report on Mt. Davidson, highlighting findings and a report by a noted forestry expert from UC Berkeley disputing the fire dangers and the stated poor health of the forest, arguing that the forest is in good health and should last for many years. It has been proposed that 82% of the non-native eucalyptus and cypress trees be removed for "safety" and "fire danger." Proctor asked that the WTPCC draft a letter of support for not removing trees from the targeted 30 acres, and to have the Mayor remove this area from the NAP (Natural Areas Program). The motion to draft the letter was passed unanimously.

Another letter of support was proposed to oppose the addition of private land off of Murrieta Drive to be protected acreage for the Franciscan Manzanita shrub. 3.2 acres of private land has been designated by the SF Recreation and Parks Department, and approved by the US Department of Fish and Wildlife, to nurture the return of the aforementioned Manzanita shrub, which, by the way, isn't currently growing there. The motion to draft a letter supporting the removal of these lands from the NAP was adopted (with two abstentions).

Next meeting: Monday, February 24th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

February 2014

President Matt Chamberlain brought the final meeting of 2013 of the WOTPCC to order at 7:35 on Monday, November 25th at the Forest Park Clubhouse in front of a group of 30 attendees.

Matt Chamberlain
Matt Chamberlain calls the November meeting to order

Following the officers' reports, the largest portion of the meeting featured a presentation by Carla Johnson, representing the Mayor's Office on Disabilities, and Bob Plantold, a local Disability and Pedestrian Advocate. The duo gave a presentation on the recommendations from the SF Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee on Improving the Parking Access for Drivers with Disabilities.

A 16 person committee has been working to consider steps that will increase accessibility for disabled drivers to find parking in the city that is close to their destinations. One of the major challenges is that there is not enough curbside parking for disabled drivers and the parking turnover is very low with people using the disabled placards, as they are allowed to park for extended periods. Parking in general in the city is very difficult without the ambulatory challenges of dealing with a disability. In looking at the situation in San Francisco, the committee looked at policies and results in other cities in the U.S. and Canada before coming up with 6 major policy recommendations to be considered for implementation. Some of the recommendations listed below are already in the planning stages.

The major policy recommendations are: (1). Increase Blue Zones by 70% to bring the total percentage of metered disabled parking spots to 4% of the total spaces. This would require the city to install at least 470 new zones. (2). Improve enforcement of placard misuse. This could necessitate the increase in the number of parking control officers, who enforce the use and misuse of the placards. It was suggested by the committee that the DMV could make photos of approved placard users available to the parking control officers. (3). Increase oversight of placard approvals. A request that the DMV update their database to include information about the medical providers who are certifying the placard applications, to ensure that the applications are legitimate, was made by the committee. (4). Allow communities to remove the meter payment exemption. Based on the experiences of other cities, requiring everyone to pay at the meter is the most effective way to reduce placard misuse and open up spaces. The committee recommended that this option should only be allowed as an option in jurisdictions that offer accessible payment options. (5). Direct revenue collected to accessibility improvements. The SFMTA should work with the disability community to channel funds from the metered blue zones into accessibility improvements that would enhance mobility for those with disabilities. And (6). Allow communities to establish reasonable time limits. In order to help open up spaces, placard holders should have four-hour time limits at regular and blue meters, unless the posted time is longer. Holders should be able to stay up to 30 minutes at green short-term zones, not including time getting in and out of the vehicle. Paid for by qualifying merchants, the green zones are intended to support local business and reduce double parking.

Many of these recommendations will require a change to state law and as a result, at the earliest ones that are approved could be introduced in 2014 and go into effect sometime in 2015. These changes could help to alleviate the challenges for parking in the city. Currently there are 29,000 metered curbside parking spaces in the city, but 60,000 issued placards for disabled drivers (in SF alone). In the entire Bay Area the number of placards increases to 450,000.

Other topics covered at the meeting included the "taking" of property from residents of Murrieta Drive for reforestation areas for the supposed "endangered in nature" Franciscan Manzanita plant, as well as the upcoming legislation proposed by Board of Supervisors' President David Chiu to grandfather and legalize current RH2 secondary housing units. The WOTPCC has opposed legalizing these types of units in the past and will draft a letter on this topic restating the group's opposition to the legalization of thousands of these types of units in the Westside of the City. For more information visit the WOTPCC website below.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, January 27th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

December 2013

October Meeting

Forest Hills Clubhouse
Forest Hills Clubhouse, 381 Magellan Ave. Architect: Bernard Maybeck: 1919

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council returned to the Forest Hill Clubhouse, its former home, October 28, after renovations were complete. Finding a quorum existed, the council and visitors heard from Democratic State Senator Mark Leno. Leno is chairing the senate's budget and fiscal review committee. He said many items have been shifted to the budget committee from the appropriations committee. The appropriations committee is letting nothing out, so any hope of funding is coming through the budget process, he told the council. For example, seniors at the Jewish Home of SF will be able to stay in their homes because the state was able to find funding for the home through the budget process and bipartisan effort.

Leno also said state officials are helping the California Department of Justice confiscate weapons from people prohibited from having a weapon, such as convicted felons and the mentally ill. Officials are allowing the state attorney general's office, which is part of the DOJ, to use money from the Dealer Record of Sale Account, an account based on a fee from the sale of firearms. With each sale, $19.00 goes into the account, and Leno said there is a surplus. The DOJ has confiscated nearly 4,000 weapons in the last two years. But each day about 15 names are added to the list of persons prohibited from having a weapon, Leno said.

Leno argued that the state's recent budget deficit is a revenue problem rather than a problem of too much spending. To make his case, the senator cited a projection by the state's Legislative Analyst's Office. That projection says the state's general fund would have grown to $125 billion in 2012, from $103 billion in 2008, because of inflation and population growth alone. Today, the general fund is $94 billion, and would be $88 billion, except residents passed Proposition 30. "That's a serious loss of revenue," Leno said.

The senator also argued in support of California's vehicle license fee, which former Governor Gray Davis successfully brought back when he was in office. California had reduced the fee by $200 per person during the state's first dot-com boom because California had surplus revenue. Leno said the state bled $50 billion to give everyone $200. Now it's costing California students $4,000 or $5,000 more each year to go to college. Leno added that the state has cut $1 billion from California's community college system, $1 billion from California's court system, $1 billion from the University of California system and other places.

Before the senator left, Avrum Shepard asked whether the legislature is ready to close a tax loophole for commercial property owners. The loophole has its origins in Proposition 13, which capped tax increases on real property at one percent of the assessed or appraised value. At the time legislators passed Proposition 13, they were concerned that tax increases were forcing seniors out of their homes. Through the loophole, commercial property owners can avoid tax increases on their property by selling less than 50 percent of the property, which could be held in the form of stock. Before Proposition 13 passed, 60 percent of California's property tax revenue came from commercial properties, while 40 percent came from residential properties. Currently that's reversed, Leno said. We are subsidizing the commercial property owners. "That's a fact of life," he said. He also said some business owners see closing the loophole as a huge job killer.

Denise LaPointe, Twin Peaks Improvement Association, asked Leno about getting repairs done to Twin Peaks Boulevard, a scenic drive. "It is in horrid disrepair," she said. "This is the first I've heard of it," Leno said.Get in touch with his office.

Another resident shared with Leno her frustrations with the California Department of Transportation. And Leno encouraged her to get in touch with his office for help.

The council devoted the second half meeting to the 8 Washington project. Tim Colen, executive director, San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, spoke in favor of the project. Voting yes for Propositions B and C on the November ballot would be a vote in favor of the project. If approved by voters, developers will build 134 luxury condominiums along the Embarcadero, just north of the Ferry Building. The condos will replace some tennis courts and a 23,000 square foot parking lot. Colen said the City could earn $7 million a year if the condos are built, compared with earning about $100,000 a year currently. He said for seven years the City and other organizations have been considering the project. "This has been a painstaking process," he said. But opponents oppose the height of the buildings, which will block some views Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill. Colen said that the proposed height of the tallest building is one-half of the nearest residential building and one quarter of the height of the nearest commercial building. One alternative preserves a parking lot, Colen said. The other pays the City vastly more and beautifies the City. "We shouldn't be voting on this," he said.

Louise Renne, a former City attorney, spoke as an opponent of the 8 Washington project. She told attendees that the project moves San Francisco closer to looking like Miami Beach, with high rises lining the waterfront. She also said the project is so bulky that it will not open up the waterfront as proponents claim. The project is the size of a football field, she said. "This is a fight for the future of the Northern Waterfront." She said this project will set a precedent for three more lots along the Northern Waterfront that have yet to be developed. "There is precedent here." Renne said there are alternatives such as Van Ness Avenue.

The last order of business was a motion to support a West Portal business in its effort to get a conditional use authorization. Vin Debut, which burned in the fire that consumed Squat & Gobble, is seeking an authorization to obtain the same amount of space it had before the fire. And the council voted to write a letter of support to the Planning Department.

West of Twin Peaks Central Council meets to discuss topics of interest to Westside residents on the last Monday each month. Forest Hills Clubhouse, 381 Magellan Ave.

November 2013

September Meeting

The first meeting of the 2013-14 Board for the WOTPCC took place on Monday, September 23 with the familiar faces of the 2012-13 council board, as everyone was re-elected to serve the member groups that make up the council.

Supervisor Norman Yee
Supervisor Norman Yee at WOTPCC

President Matt Chamberlain brought the meeting to order promptly at 7:30, vowing to keep meetings on track and to try and finish them by 9 PM during the upcoming term.

In his report he also spoke of a very full agenda for the October meeting, including a matter to be brought forth by the Twin Peaks Improvement Association on the use of homes in the area as “vacation rentals” which basically turn them into hotels (without the city benefit of occupancy taxes, etc.). The well-known services such as Airbnb could be in violation of the neighborhood zoning laws, and the CC&Rs of the homeowner associations. This topic will be covered in much greater detail next month, as well as the election issues that will be featured on the November election ballot.

Bill Chionsini
Bill Chionsini discusing the changes on Sloat Avenue

Parliamentarian Avrum Shepard updated the attendees on the progress of the rebuilding project at 1 West Portal, where the fire destroyed several businesses and required several structures to be razed and rebuilt. The owner of the primary building, Dr. Warren, is seeking a variance to the zoning plan to encroach on formerly unbuilt open space behind the build in order to construct an elevator to meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and at the same time, keep the square footage that he had previously for his orthodontic practice. The variance will involve approximately 250 square feet, and Shepard asked the council to consider sending a letter to the Planning Commission in support of the project. Discussion followed on the merits of the project and the fairness of supporting this variance versus any other project on the avenue that may require variances. A vote was taken on supporting the project and the delegates approved the request by a 10-0 vote with three abstentions. Chamberlain will craft the latter and submit on behalf of the council.

Shepard also informed the delegates about the recent West Portal Merchants Association meeting where representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development met with the WPMA and recommended the benefits of a Community Benefits District (which the WPMA has been working to achieve for several years). A topic of discussion at the meeting was the cost and impact of installing and maintaining hanging flower baskets on West Portal Avenue as other areas within SF have done, to beautify the thoroughfare. Cost estimates are in the $4K range and Shepard said that it could be a good way for the individual neighborhood groups to be involved in the project through fundraising, etc.

George Wooding gave a report on Public Health in which he outlined a new plan by the SF Dept. of Public Health to relocate the 30 “chairs” that handle dialysis patients at SF General Hospital to Laguna Honda Hospital, which currently has 6 chairs which were never opened and are unlicensed. He mentioned the issues with having patients who require dialysis 3 times per week shuttled from SF General to LHH, and raised the questions of this being a cost saving measure, or other reason for consolidation. More information will be brought forth as these questions are answered. It would seem that it would increase traffic into LHH if the process of transferring the patients is implemented.

Sally Stephens and Bill Chionsini also gave updates on Open Space issues and the Sloat Blvd. safety improvements respectively. Stephens detailed the “emergency” cutting of trees this summer by UCSF on Mt. Sutro as the SFPD gave approvals without investigating the true need to do so until after trees had already been removed. Chionsini detailed the new crossing system in place at the intersection of Sloat and Forest View, and also mentioned the assignment of 3 motorcycle patrol officers to the Taraval Station to help combat speeding motorists.

Two SF Supervisors, District 7’s Norman Yee and District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell, were the featured speakers of the evening. Yee gave an update on items he is working on concerning pedestrian safety and neighborhood open space issues. He spoke at length about the success that he has had on the Board of Supervisors in having budget money set aside to speed up the safety improvements on Sloat Blvd., and his efforts to bring back a program to reintroduce School Safety Crossing Guards using students who would learn about leadership and safety issues, while being assisted by adult monitors to provide a much needed service. It is Yee’s hope to have several pilot schools in place by January. He also spoke on gaining funding for playground improvements at Miraloma Park and Golden Gate Heights, and his work to improve and replace the play structure at West Portal playground. The supervisor also discussed his progress on having more police department hours assigned to doing “beat cop” patrols on West Portal Avenue.

The Supervisor for District 2, Mark Farrell was on hand to discuss the November ballot measure, Proposition A, which would limit the city government from using any of the “Health Care Trust Fund” assets until the $4.4B retirement plan shortfall is fully funded. By doing this, an independent actuarial company has estimated, based on a return of 7.5%, that the fund will be wholly funded in approximately 30 years, with no benefit reductions or additional money taken from the general fund after that time. Until then, the SF Government will continue to fund the healthcare benefit program with between $120,000,000 and $500,000,000 annually as they do today to meet the requirements of the existing active and retired employees. Farrell noted that all 11 supervisors are in support of the measure, as well as the labor unions within the city.

Prior to adjournment of the meeting, a topic arose regarding the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife using eminent domain to take 3.2 acres of property from landowners on Marietta Drive to establish space for the reforestation of the Franciscan Manzanita plant, which was only recently found (after thought to be extinct) during the Doyle Drive project, but can be bought (not in the wild) from local plant nurseries. It was mentioned that U.S. Representative Jackie Speier would be speaking at the West Portal Clubhouse on October 7th.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, October 28th at 7:30 PM. Please see for the location as it may have relocated back to the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

October 2013

June Meeting


The WOTPCC meeting of June 24th featured election results, pros and cons on several controversial issues, and important local updates, all squeezed into two hours in its final meeting before the traditional summer break.

Quentin Kopp and Art Agnos speak against the proposed arena

Following the opening of the meeting by President Matt Chamberlain, Avrum Shepard gave an update on the “gold buyer” pawn shopthat is proposed to fill the vacant space that was formerly Just Because card shop. The West Portal Avenue Merchants Association contested the permit due to a lack of posting timeliness, and with public outcry against the project, the permit approving the use was revoked. In other WPA news, Squat and Gobble is progressing on its application to reopen with a slightly larger space; Supervisor Norman Yee is working to have a WPA beat cop reinstituted; and the accreditation committee that is “judging” CCSF is itself being investigated.

Estelle Smith gave an update on Planning and Land Use Committee issues. The WOTPCC sent a letter to both Supervisors Scott Weiner and Jane Kim stating their support of the CEQA revisions that were drafted and submitted by Kim. Smith also gave information on the traffic and parking issues that are being negotiated to allow the Safeway project on Monterey Blvd. to progress. She closed by informing the attendees that the Board of Supervisors had approved changes to the TIC legislation that would allow all TIC owners of properties registered as TIC’s prior to 4/2013 to move forward by paying a $20,000 fee. Any new TIC projects would be “frozen” for the next 10 years.

On the public health front, George Wooding reported that the Laguna Honda public relations spokesman, Marc Slavin, has been dismissed. He detailed other issues at the hospital related to its handling of psychiatric patients from SF General.

Following a call for any nominations from the floor for WOTPCC officers, and hearing none, current President Matt Chamberlain called for a voice vote to re-elect all of the current officers for another year. The voice vote was quick and unanimous. The current officers will again serve the organization for another year. President: Matt Chamberlain, Vice President Roger Ritter, Secretary Sally Stephens, and Treasurer Carolyn Squeri.The President will name the parliamentarian.

Jennifer Matz
Jennifer Matz, Director of Waterfront Development

The next section of the program featured a lively debate about the proposed Warriors arena that is being proposed for Piers 30-32. The session opened with an unlikely team, former Mayor Art Agnos and former Supervisor, State Senator, and Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp, stating the case on why the proposed project is not good for the citizens of San Francisco from both a financial and livability standpoint. The duo spoke for 20 minutes (their allotted time) on the size of the project, a 12-story arena, an additional 17-story condo tower and luxury hotel, as well as a shopping district as large as Union Square.

Kopp stressed the “giveaway” of over $120,000,000 to the owners/developers to refurbish the piers and build the arena, while having the city “borrow” the money at 13% annual interest, resulting in an additional interest payment of over $13,500,000 per year for decades. In addition, they cited the inclusion of a parcel, Seawall 330 , at an appraised price that is much lower than what the parcel is worth today.

Agnos stated that he “came out of retirement” to join this fight against the project because the citizens have not been given a voice about the project and the city has moved forward to push it through without a funded plan for mitigating the huge increase in traffic through transit and parking solutions. He cited the fact that he, as Mayor, championed the unpopular (at the time) decision to demolish the double-decked Embarcadero Freeway, thus opening up the access and the vista that can be seen today. While he is in favor of the Warriors moving back to San Francisco, he feels that the city should take the opportunity to evaluate alternative, available sites both on and off the Bay. He challenged Mayor Lee to debate the topic “anytime, anywhere.” For more information on the efforts of the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, please visit

The opposing viewpoint followed with a presentation by the SF Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Jennifer Matz, Director of Waterfront Development, and Jesse Blount, the Project Representative, gave a narrative on the project, joined by Peter Albert from the MTA, who is anchoring their efforts from a regional transportation-planning standpoint. Showing a different schematic rendition of the arena complex, they spoke on the project as an opportunity to build a “world class” entertainment venue for the city. Both the SF Hotel Council and SF Travel (formerly the SF Visitors and Convention Bureau) support the project, as a large “arena” is needed to host events.

Ms. Matz discussed the wholesale benefits that the building of AT&T Park brought to the city, but stated that the neighborhood stretching from the Giants venue to Piers 30-32 is pretty desolate when there is no game, liking it to “tumbleweeds blowing down the street.”

She stressed the need to build a “Waterfront for the 21st century” and explained the dilapidated condition of the piers, and that the rent credits, the value of the seawall lot, and the forgiveness of property taxes will still not make up for the costs of rebuilding the piers (the $120,000,000). In the plan, San Francisco will continue to own the land, with the Warriors leasing the site for 66 years. Once completed, the project is estimated to generate between $10,000,000 to $20,000,000 per year, funds that could be used to fix the city infrastructure and items such as graffiti removal, etc.

Albert took the floor and spoke about the efforts of the MTA to do a 3-phased assessment of the transit needs and requirements of the complete SF waterfront for the next 10-50 years. The assessment would focus on three things; an inventory of current conditions, short term and long term capital projects planned (including BART, CALTRAIN and SF Bay Ferry services); the timeframe of the development projects; and the cost of these projects (and the infrastructure needed).

Their presentation was capped by remarks from Blount, the Project Director. He cited the world-renowned architectural firm that has been contracted to design the project, and its work on the Alexandria (Egypt) library, the Oslo Opera Center and the 9/11 Memorial building in NY. He also spoke about the 13 acre site, of which 53% will be “permanent public open space,” calling it “the next great park in San Francisco.” Addressing the opponents of the 13 story (135 feet) height of the arena, he explained the arena would be located on the piers, but 400 feet from the edge of the Embarcadero, and therefore “it feels like it is only 50-55 feet tall.” To put this in perspective, he cited the height of AT&T Park, 125 feet to the top of the bowl and 180 feet to the top of the light towers.

Blount finished by dismissing the claims of subsidies by stating the project will be “100% privately funded, with no impact to the general fund and with no new taxes to the public, while generating 5000 new jobs and generating upwards of $20 million dollars in future city tax revenue.”

The last group of speakers for the evening gave differing accounts of the Mt. Sutro Forest, and UCSF’s efforts to create a different environment than exists today.

Damon Lew, Community Relations Officer for UCSF, spoke about the responsibility of the University to keep the area safe, and the challenge is that after years of growth the forest cannot “self manage” by way of wildfires, etc. so that it has to be managed in a planned manner. UCSF’s plan is to take 7 and ½ acres to create four “demonstration plots” to examine and test different methods of managing the eucalyptus, acacias, blackberry bushes and poison oak plants that grow on the site. He stressed the need for community outreach and getting feedback from the public.

He spoke about the completed draft environmental impact report (EIR) in March and said that UC had received over 200 comments to the EIR. When asked about the timetable, Lew said that the demonstration plots could start in 2014, after bird-nesting season. In finishing, Lew stated that the forest needed to be managed to protect the safety of the neighbors to the forest, the residents of the UCSF community, and the UCSF buildings.

Rupa Bose of the SF Forest Alliance followed Lew’s presentation, stating that the draft EIR states that up to 30000 trees could be removed from the entire 46-acre site, as the site currently has an average of 740 trees per acre and this could be thinned to only 2-3 trees every 30 feet. She stated that after the initial demonstration plot projects are completed, the next phase is to expand the effort to the entire 46 acres.

Mt. Sutro is currently a dense, century old forest spread over 80 acres in the center of SF, with UCSF the owner of 61 acres containing approximately 45000 trees. Ms. Bose estimates that the plan to clean the forest would remove or clip approximately 90% of the trees and mow down 90% of the underneath blackberry, acacia and fern foliage. She also said that UCSF plans to use chemical herbicides to retard regrowth within the forest.

Her presentation contrasted with the one by UCSF in that the SF Forest Alliance has statements from an arborist citing the health of the forest, and a Cal Fire diagram citing a low fire hazard. With the ever-present fog on the mountainside, the Alliance makes the case that the forest is moist and in good health, while thinning it out would cause wind problems and dry the forest floor, creating a greater fire danger than exists today in its natural environment. In addition, it will increase the carbon load into the atmosphere.

For more information on the SF Forest Alliance, go to:

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30. The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 23rd at 7:30 PM at the Miraloma Park Clubhouse, located at 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd. It is expected the meetings will return to the Forest Hills Clubhouse for the October scheduled meeting.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

July-August 2013

May Meeting

The WOTPCC meeting of May 20th featured an update from D7 Supervisor Norman Yee, a “pleased to know you” from newly-appointed D4 Supervisor Katy Tang, a presentation from Paul Giusti from Recology on their proposed rate increase, and the announcement of a slate of officers for the WOTPCC for 2013-14.

Following the opening of the meeting by President Matt Chamberlain, Avrum Shepard gave an update on the “gold buyer” pawn shop that is proposed to fill the vacant space that was formerly Just Because card shop. The West Portal Avenue Merchants Association is contesting the permit due to a lack of posting timeliness and is requesting letters of support from the community. Denise LaPointe asked the WOTPCC to draft a “letter of concern” to be sent. In another area, Shepard noted that there have been several instances of cell phone thefts reported on MUNI where several people have been injured during the thefts.

Dave Bisho followed with a report by the Nominating Committee on the upcoming election of WOTPCC officers for the 2013-14 year. He announced that all current officers have agreed to serve again for next year. By the terms of the by-laws, President Matt Chamberlain has been termed out, but by a vote of the membership, the President may continue as the “acting” President until another person has agreed to run for the position. A motion was made by Bill Chionsini and seconded by Bisho to waive the term limit on this President (Chamberlain), but still allowing for nominations to be made at the June meeting. It was passed unanimously. As a result, the following slate of officers for 2013-14 will be presented at the June meeting, with nominations also being able to be made from the floor: President: Matt Chamberlain, Vice President Roger Ritter, Secretary Sally Stephens, Treasurer Carolyn Squeri. The President will name the parliamentarian.

Planning and Land Use Committee chair Estelle Smith reported that the PLU committee spent several hours looking at both of the proposals on the changes to CEQA penned by Supervisors Scott Weiner and Supervisor Jane Kim. The PLU recommended that the WOTPCC organization accept and support the CEQA legislation forwarded by Supervisor Kim (and not Weiner), due to the longer time for submitting a challenge to a project, as well as increased neighborhood notifications that are required in the Kim proposal. A vote passed by a vote of 9-0 with 3 abstentions.

In other WTPCC news, Bill Chionsini gave an update on the Sloat Boulevard pedestrian safety improvement project, and gave examples of how the citizens group that secured the funding has been largely kept in the dark by DPW and Caltrans on the progress of the modifications and improvements that will be taking place later this summer/fall.

District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee then took the floor to give an update on issues that he is working on. Pedestrian Safety, the follow up to the Water Main break, and the upcoming SF Small Business Week event are all focal points currently. The Supervisor also spoke about CEQA (has not made a final decision yet, wants to see the final language), TIC (Tenants in Common – condo conversion) – there has been some movement in the negotiations, and there could be a resolution in June; and the Warriors coming to SF (“I would love it but the devil is in the details”).

In questions and answers, Yee was asked about having the weeds and debris cleared along Sloat Blvd. and he said he would work with DPW to work on this. He was also asked about the recent rash of robberies on West Portal Avenue and he is aware of the situation and has had conversations with Captain Lum at the Taraval Station on this topic.

Katy Tang, the newly appointed District 4 Supervisor, made her initial appearance before the WOTPCC to introduce herself and speak about her priorities. She said that she is focused on “Quality of Life” issues such as Roads, Playgrounds, Illegal Dumping and Pedestrian Safety. She next described a pilot program targeting oversized vehicles such as campers and RV’s that are parked “permanently” on some SF streets. The MTA is drafting legislation that would prohibit these large vehicles from being parked on streets from midnight to 6 AM. The pilot program is targeting the Great Highway, Fulton and Lincoln. Campers that are being used as permanent living locations will be allowed to park at Treasure Island for no charge. The program will target both campers and commercial vehicles such as those that are being used as “rolling billboards” and parked semi-permanently throughout the city.

The final speaker of the night was Paul Giusti of Recology, who was on hand to address the proposed fee increase that Recology is requesting. With a current 80% diversion rate for garbage, the income to run the garbage and recycling program has been failing to keep up with employee costs and operational costs over the past 3 years (since the last increase). Giusti said that the rate structure must evolve to support the program that the city has asked for by developing a sustainable pricing model that incorporates variable volume charges and allows the company and city to maintain recycling and composting incentives that are necessary to increase the diversion rate to a goal of 90%.

Recology has asked for a 20.5% rate increase, and the SF City Commission has called for a 19.7% increase, that is poised to take effect in summer of 2013. Part of the increase is to expand programs to help DPW in ridding the city of large pieces of abandoned trash (mattresses, appliances, etc.) as well as illegally dumped trash.

Giusti went over the current rate structure and showed how residential users can actually decrease their costs by using a smaller “black” garbage container and diverting more into recycling and compost. He closed his presentation by fielding questions regarding the rate increases and service levels.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, June 24th at 7:30 PM at the Miraloma Park Clubhouse, located at 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd.For more information see the WOTPCC website (

June 2013

The WOTPCC meeting featured a “CEQA Showdown” of sorts on April 22nd, with Supervisors Scott Wiener and Jane Kim each speaking on the points and merits of their competing measures, sandwiched around an update from City College Board President John Rizzo.

Supervisor Scott WienerFollowing the opening of the meeting by President Matt Chamberlain and the various reports by the officers, the evening started with District 8 Supervisor Weiner addressing the group and answering questions about his proposed legislation to modify and define the process under which the city handles CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) appeals and exemptions placed before the planning commission and Board of Supervisors.

The supervisor stated that the current “non-policy” allows for great variations of when projects are appealed, and several attempts have been made over the years by Aaron Peskin, Fiona Ma, Michela Alioto-Pier and now Wiener to amend the process to give it more structure and to better address the large ranges of project from home remodels to large projects such as Parkmerced.

Weiner cited that the current processes for appeal are opaque and unclear with no specific rules and dates to be applied for appeals under the tenets of CEQA. The supervisor termed the current situation as a “wild west process.” His proposed legislation would amend the process to provide a deadline for the appeal process of 30 days from the 1st approval from the building department. If a project is amended and changed it would be classified as a new project with the deadline moving to 30 days from the permit approval (of the revised project). Currently, the “non-process” allows projects to be appealed up until the end, as permits are pulled throughout the scope of a project.

Wiener stated that he has reached out to community groups and other groups on the legislation and has incorporated over 40 amendments to his original document. He claims that over 26 groups have endorsed his legislation.

Supervisor Jane KimLater in the meeting District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim spoke to the attendees about her “competing” legislation, which also attempts to put specific guidelines and rules into place for the appeal process, but differs in several key aspects from Weiner’s legislation, most notably that the 30 days window isn’t started at the 1st approval of the permit for a project, but starts at 30 days from the last permit in the building process. Kim says it is necessary as having a deadline 30 days from the approval of the initial permit does not give nearly enough time for neighborhood groups and other public groups to examine and prepare appeal information for a project. CSFN and other neighborhood groups seem to share that sentiment, as most of the groups meet on a monthly basis (and are “dark” in the summer months) and wouldn’t be able to make a qualified decision on the appeal process on any project within a 30-day window.

Kim noted that her legislation would require city planning and the “project owner” to do much more public notification, and makes it easier for the general public to be involved in the planning and appeal processes.

Readers can search on the website to see the specific legislative documents from the prospective supervisors.

“Sandwiched” between the supervisors, SF City College board trustee (and President) John Rizzo updated the meeting attendees about the process of City College’s accreditation. Currently, City College is under review by an accreditation panel that will decide whether the college keeps its accreditation and remains open. Rizzo says he is “cautiously optimistic” that the accreditation panel will give the college passing marks. Currently the college is working with their workers and labor unions to nail down negotiated costs. Rizzo is confident that the college is on the right track and will continue to improve its processes and (hopefully) receive the required accreditation. He expects the panel to make their decision known by the end of June/beginning of July. For this calendar year, enrollment is down, but this trend is expected to change if CCSF regains its accreditation.

In other WTPCC news, Bill Chionsini gave an update on the Sloat Boulevard pedestrian safety improvement project, and gave examples of Taraval-based SFPD officers being almost struck while attempting to cross Sloat in the crosswalk.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, May 20th at 7:30 PM at the Miraloma Park Clubhouse, located at 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

May 2013

March Meeting

Amid the glowing hearth, the WOTPCC meeting on March 25th got started at their temporary home, the Miraloma Park Clubhouse, with about 30 people to start. President Matt Chamberlain assembled the gathering and kicked off the meeting at 7:35 PM.

Following a brief welcome and the housekeeping items such as roll call, approval of the February meeting minutes and the financial report, the officers gave their reports. Treasurer Carolyn Squeri reminded representatives of the need to file IRS 990-N forms to protect the non-profit status of the homeowner and neighborhood associations.

Avrum Shepard reported on several items pertaining to West Portal Avenue: the application by a Gold buyer/Pawn Broker to go into the space at 162 West Portal Avenue; the petition that has been formulated by the operators of the St. Francis Market, whose lease is being terminated by their landlord; and the WOTPCC roster project, which still has 10 organizations who have not responded with their information. As part of his technology report he also described a bill in committee in the state senate to significantly raise the car licensing fees (by upwards of 300%) to help the state fund transportation related projects. Cars (and their owners) are being increasingly vilified and targeted for increased costs. In other transportation related matters it was brought up that one of the proposals to alter the MUNI route along 19th Avenue would eliminate the Ocean Avenue and Eucalyptus stops.

Estelle Smith, Sunyside Neighborhood Assn.
Estelle Smith, Chair of the WOTPCC Planning and Land Use talks about proposed CEQA revision

Estelle Smith, (Planning and Land Use Committee) spoke on the basic initiatives that the committee is focusing on: CEQA revisions; Serial Permitting issues; Secondary Units; the Housing Element: and a possible Monterey Blvd. Safeway project. She will be sending out the list of initiatives to solicit feedback from the associations and homeowner groups.

George Wooding (Public Health) gave an overview of the deal struck by CPMC (California Pacific Medical Center) to build a new hospital on Van Ness Avenue. The new facility will be smaller than originally planned, and CPMC will renovate and continue to operate St. Luke’s Hospital in the Mission district as part of the settlement. In other health news, the doctors removed from the staff at Laguna Honda were awarded $750,000 in their suit against the city’s Department of Public Health over their termination for whistle blowing. It was also reported that $345,000 that was “missing” from the patient gift fund has been replaced.

Katie Miller, Dept. of Water
Katie Miller gives an update on the 15th Ave water main break

The first guest speaker of the evening, Katie Miller, gave an update on the water main break at 15th and Wawona. Miller, Head of Engineering with the City Distribution Division of the Department of Water, detailed how of the 1200 miles of water pipes in San Francisco 60% are pre-1970 and are made from cast iron, with joints comprised of lead. (18% of the pipes are over 100 years old.) It was a lead joint that failed in a 16” main pipe that resulted in the very large water event in the West Portal neighborhood. The department is estimating that water and sewer work should be completed within four weeks with soil work, sidewalks and street resurfacing to follow. The Department of Water will be setting up and staffing a neighborhood office at 383 West Portal Avenue to address the needs of the residents who are affected by the water main break and resulting damage.

Meaghan Tiernan and Peg Divine spoke next about the ongoing pedestrian safety work on Sloat Boulevard. The pedestrian safety project will construct “bulb outs” at the intersections of Sloat at Everglade, and Forestview, and the installation of pedestrian activated beacons at the Forestview and 23rd Avenue intersections. It was also discussed that Caltrans is planning to repave Sloat in 2014, so the plan is to have the safety project completed prior to the new road surfacing.

The final speaker of the evening was Eric Brooks, who spoke of the benefits of the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and the issues that have arisen with proposed changes to the act by Supervisor Scott Wiener, as well as the “competing” CEQA revisions being proposed by Supervisor Jane Kim.

Brooks, the Campaign Coordinator for Our City San Francisco, and of the Community CEQA Improvement Team, cited three points of the proposed Wiener legislation that would greatly lessen the ability for citizens to make appeals on projects, as well as taking the Board of Supervisors out of the hearing component of the appeal process.

Next month, Supervisors Wiener and Kim will address the WOTPCC meeting on their differing approaches to revamping CEQA and how their respective plans will maintain the spirit of the original legislation, but change it to help streamline the process.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, April 22nd at 7:30 PM at the Miraloma Park Clubhouse, at 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd.

April 2013

February MeetingMark Farrell

Amid a glowing hearth, the WOTPCC meeting on February 25th got started in its new, temporary home, the Miraloma Park Clubhouse. President Matt Chamberlain assembled the gathering and kicked off the meeting at 7:35 PM with approximately 30 people in attendance.

Photo: Supervisor Mark Farrell

Following a brief welcome and the housekeeping items such as roll call, approval of the January meeting minutes and the financial report, the officers gave their reports. Of note, Avrum Shepard’s transportation committee report gave an update on the SFCTA’s study on the realignment of the MUNI lines on 19th Avenue. The County Transportation Authority has drawn up three initial alternatives for the N-Oceanview line; with options including the relocation of some transit stops and the elimination of others all together. It was also noted that these options are not finalized and the CTA is still soliciting feedback and community input.

Chamberlain started a small discussion, calling for volunteers to assist with the “Planning and Land Use Committee.” Currently understaffed, this committee looks at items that are of great importance to the homeowners on the west side of the city that make up the membership of the WOTPCC. Estelle Smith of Sunnyside volunteered to help organize and lead the committee. These types of issues are important as problems have been reported with so-called “serial permitting” in both the Ingleside Terraces and Balboa Terrace areas.

Kailyn Walsh and Pat Collum, representing Café La Boulange, gave the crowd an overview of the planned café and bakery at 16 West Portal Avenue. The café, in the process of applying for a conditional use permit, will be built in the space that has been occupied by the St. Francis Market, whose month-to-month lease was not renewed by the owner of the building.Kailyn Walsh and Pat Collum of Cafe La Boulange

Collum led the discussion with drawings of the site, showing the storefront and an overview of the 2675 square foot project, which is slated to open sometime in the fall, possibly in October. The café is planned to have a wine and beer license and will be open 7 days a week from 7AM to 7PM, featuring pastries, baked goods, salads, soups and open-faced sandwiches. The pair fielded questions from the audience relating to equal pay for male and female staff (yes), discounts for seniors and others (possibly), and will it be unionized (no). The owners will be sponsoring an informational open house in mid-March. Check the WOTPCC website for more details.

District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell took over the floor next, speaking on three items: An update on the SF City Budget, continuing efforts to address the city’s long-term underfunded health care fund liability and his efforts to enact legislation that would make it easier for property owners to convert existing TIC (Tenancy in Common) units into stand-alone condominiums.

Farrell started with an overview of the budget deficit and how it has gotten smaller, from $570,000,000 two years ago, to $300,000,000 last year and an estimated $140,000,000 this year, although it is expected to grow to $180,000,000 with unforeseen increased costs associated with the opening of the new SF General Hospital emergency room. To sum it up, the supervisor said the city is doing much better, but that it is still in a “cost-cutting” mode.

The underfunded long-term health care liability of the city was the next topic, and is a major issue. Farrell said that the stated deficit of $4,400,000,000 (4.4 billion) is based on a model predicting a 7%+ rate of return. With these rates being presently unattainable, he said the true deficit is probably in the 7 billion dollar range. This health care fund is to provide medical coverage for city employees and their spouses who worked for the city for at least 5 years and are over 50 years of age. Statements from those in attendance seemed to cast some doubt about the true liability cost for the city. Supervisor Farrell says that the fund supports tens of thousands of current and former employees. He expects the annual $150,000,000 line item to grow to an annual cost to the city of $500,000,000 if nothing is done and the liability is not addressed or restructured.

His final topic focused on legislation that he has introduced with District 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner to try and streamline the current backlogged lottery system to convert TIC units to condos. The “lottery” currently only allows 200 conversions with over 2400 property owners in the queue. Many of the property owners are saddled with higher property loan rates that are up to double for a TIC unit than what a comparable condo rate would be. As a result some of these homeowners are in danger of losing their investments through foreclosure, etc. Farrell sees the legislation as a way to help these 2400 property owners and promote home ownership in SF. The legislation seeks to implement fees to circumvent the “lottery” system. Tenant advocates are concerned about forced evictions, but Farrell says there are safeguards in place for those who are renting units in current TIC buildings and they would be guaranteed rent-controlled space in any building that would be converted. When asked if developers would benefit under the proposed legislation, Farrell did not seem to think this would be the case.

Sally Stephens was the final speaker for the evening, giving an update on UCSF’s plan to remove 20,000-30,000 trees on their property on Mt. Sutro. There is much debate over the ramifications of taking this large amount of forest down, as well as the need to do so. (Differing opinions exist on the relative health of the forest). Stephens cited the fact that San Francisco is ranked as the second worst large city in terms of urban forestation, behind only Jersey City, NJ. More details on opportunities to give public feedback can be found on the WOTPCC website.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, March 25th at 7:30 PM at the Miraloma Park Clubhouse, located at 350 O’Shaughnessy Blvd.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

March 2013

January Meeting

The WOTPCC meeting on January 28th was a busy one, with speakers ranging from newly elected District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee; representatives from the SF County Transit Authority and a program to encourage the planting of more lemon trees in San Francisco.Supervisor Norman Yee addresses the Council

Council President Matt Chamberlain opened the meeting at 7:35 PM with 30 or so attendees, noting that the January meeting would likely be the last one (for a period) to be held at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, which is schedule to be under wraps as a construction projects takes over in the Spring. Alternative sites being considered are Miraloma Park Clubhouse and St. Brendan’s Hall. More information will come from the WOTPCC leadership as decisions are finalized. Chamberlain also noted that the WOTPCC will not be conducting any candidate forums in the near future without first having the sponsorship funding lined up, as the group had a deficit from the supervisor candidates forum last October. (Photo: Norman Yee)

District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee then took the floor and spoke on his acclimation to his new role and the areas where he wants to focus in his first 6-9 months. While stating that he is still getting up to speed, he intends to focus on the issues of Pedestrian Safety and our Neighborhood Businesses.

…noting that the January meeting would likely be the last one (for a period) to be held at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, which is schedule to be under wraps as a construction projects takes over in the Spring. ”

Relatively soft-spoken, he addressed the audience in a forthright manner, explaining that he is committed to staying connected to the neighborhood groups and their issues. He also knows that expectations need to be realistic, saying, ”I am at an age where I am realistic and know what I can do and will not promise things that I cannot do.”

Yee stressed that he will have an open office and wants to have a set time (probably Fridays) where he is out in the district neighborhoods meeting people and hearing what they have to say. He also promised that he, or a member of his staff would be present at the WOTPCC meetings. WOTPC President Chamberlain referenced the 20 or so important topics of the organization and that pedestrian safety and neighborhood business support encompass about 25% of the items.

Following Yee, the WOTPCC committee leads gave their reports with notable topics being the continuation of tree removal in Glen Canyon; Laguna Honda Hospital receiving a 5 star rating for staff levels per patient (but still managing only a 3 star performance level in health care); the dissolution of the LHH foundation; the draft EIR vote on the controversial Overlook Project; and a report on the TEP report showing that most MUNI routes in D7 will be minimally affected.

Tillie Chang and Chester Fung of the SF County Transit Agency introduced themselves to the attendees and gave an overview of both how the SFCTA is different from the MTA, and what their role is in administering the Prop K transportation sales tax program. Fung went into detail on the upcoming 19th Avenue proposed transit projects. including sidewalk extensions to improve pedestrian safety. For more information, check the CTA website at:

Sustainable citrus in San Francisco? That’s the hope and goal of “Just One Tree, “an organizational program designed to promote the planting of fruit trees as the most efficient crop for dense cityscapes. Spokesperson Isabel Wade explained how the environment in San Francisco is ideal for growing lemon trees, and that the plan is to identify existing and to plant new citrus trees that will enable San Francisco to become sustainable in providing the annual consumption of 3 pounds per person (of lemons). Just One Tree estimates that it will take 12,000 lemon trees to achieve sustainability. To start, register your (or your neighbor’s) lemon tree at

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 25th at 7:30 PM at a location to be determined.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

February 2013

Matt_ChamberlainThe West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting of November 26th wrapped up the year (there is no December meeting) with lots of good information for those in attendance and a temporary relocation announced for mid-year 2013.

Council President Matt Chamberlain opened the meeting at 7:35 PM with 28 attendees. The initial discussion of the night centered on the internal creation of a comprehensive delegate list for all of the WOTPCC delegates. It was decided that in January, Chamberlain will poll the delegates to see who is interested in having their information compiled into the document. All requests to contact individual delegates will be handled by a call (or email) to the WOTPCC President, who will then pass the information along to the delegate. In this manner, privacy would be ensured. (Photo: Matt Chamberlain)

Treasurer Carolyn Squeri announced that invoices for dues will go out in January and a budget will be presented to the delegates at the January meeting.

Avrum Shepard updated the group on the process and progress of the Off the Grid groups plan to bring food trucks to the West Portal corridor for a trial period in December. The group has decided to push off the approval process until Spring 2013 due to parking concerns of merchants during the important holiday shopping season.

In other West Portal Avenue related news, Sterling Bank is still seeking a conditional use permit to move into the former “Melu Mobile” space. As there is currently the maximum number of financial institutions on WPA (7) any new firms have to seek the conditional use permit. The bank is only proposing to have a 200 square foot footprint and, if approved, would be the 8th (and final) financial storefront allowed on WPA.

It was also mentioned, to much dismay, that the St. Francis Market on WPA is being closed out so the landlord can release the space to house a La Boulange sandwich shop. Several attendees discussed how to advocate for the local market. Shepard stated that GWPNA would be taking this up at their January meeting.

Further advocacy was also discussed during the Open Space committee discussions regarding the Rec and Park Department’s rollout of the Natural Areas Plan as many in the crowd were in opposition to the direction in which Rec and Park is proceeding. As the Rec and Park Department chief reports to the Mayor it was suggested that the WOTPCC consider an advocacy position to communicate directly to Mayor Lee.

District 7 Supervisor candidate Lynn Gavin addressed the attendees and informed the crowd that she is in the process of looking at the possibility of challenging the results of the election, as there is a possibility of votes cast that were not eligible, as well as possible election “illregularities” such as electricity outages and fire alarms at City Hall, creating the possibility that the ballots were not under lock and key the entire time.

Barbara and Bill Chionsini of the Lakeshore Acres Improvement Association brought the group up to date on the grant proposal funding to make pedestrian safety improvements to Sloat Blvd. Community meeting will be scheduled in 2013.

The WOTPCC meetings will have to be held at an alternative site sometime in the future as the Forest Hills Clubhouse is due to undergo a renovation in the not-to-distant future, possibly as early as April 2012. Dates and location for the alternate site have not yet been determined. Potential sites talked about include the Miraloma Park clubhouse, the West Portal clubhouse, St. Brendan’s Church Hall, or even the former Blockbuster video location on Sloat Bl.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Mon, Jan 28th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

December 2012

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting of October 22nd lost the ratings “war” with the SF Giants but brought forth valuable information to the small but hearty crowd in attendance.

Council President Matt Chamberlain opened the meeting in a quiet manner at 7:35 PM. Only15 people were in attendance as the meeting started during the 6th inning of game 7 of the National League Championship Series. (Our hometown Giants eventually prevailed 9-0 to earn a spot in Baseball’s World Series.)

Chamberlain opened the meeting with a roll call, confirming the lack of a quorum, but reviewed the agenda and started with the officers and committee reports. He spoke on the topic of the council still being a little underfunded (by about $500) in the sponsorship of the District 7 candidates forum. He also asked the attendees to think and submit ideas for topics and “burning issues” to be addressed at future meetings. The WOTPCC meetings will be held at an alternative site sometime in the future as the Forest Hills Clubhouse is due to undergo a renovation in the not-to-distant future. Dates and location for the alternate site have not yet been determined.

Avrum Shepard updated the group on the process and progress of the “Off the Grid” groups plan to bring food trucks to the West Portal corridor for a trial period in November and December. The group will have a hearing in November to determine if its temporary use permit is approved and issued. Local merchants are mixed on the concept as parking issues seem to be the main sticking point with several of them. In other West Portal Avenue news, the merchants closed by the fire at 1 West Portal Ave. are moving forward with trying to get permits to rebuild. It is still uncertain if the building can be repaired or will have to be demolished and newly rebuilt. Sterling Bank is seeking a conditional use permit to move into the former “Melu Mobile” space. As there is currently the maximum number of financial institutions on WPA (7) any new firms have to seek the conditional use permit.

Barbara Chionsini of Lakeshore Acres briefed the crowd on a “Pedestrian Improvement Grant” of $1,000,000 for improvements to make Sloat Blvd. safer. More information on this important development in the future.

As no reports were given for Public Health or Open Space, the meeting turned to a briefing on three of the main measures in the November 6 election; Measure A (The City College initiative), Measure C, (the Housing Trust Fund Amendment) and Measure F (the proposal to drain the Hetch Hetchy reservoir).

Nick Panagoulis spoke on supporting Measure A, the measure to implement a $79 per parcel tax to raise money to create bridge funding for CCSF. The parcel tax, over eight years, would raise approximately $16,000,000 per year to help the school, which faces the possible loss of their accreditation due to State budget cutbacks and a lack of CC Board and Management fiscal oversight and management.

Measure C purports to create a $20,000,000 “Housing trust fund” to try and create more affordable housing in the city. No one was on hand in support or opposition.

Finally the tone of the room was set for Measure F. This ballot measure would set up an $8,000,000 fund to pay for a plan to tear down the O’Shaunessey Dam and replace our water needs with increased storage and transport from other yet to be named water sources.

The measure (if approved) also sets up an actual requirement for the Board of Supervisors to prepare a ballet initiative to actually remove the dam. The audience in attendance did not seem to be in support of this measure.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, November 26th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. For more information see the WOTPCC website.

November 2012

Sept 24 Meeting

September 24th Meeting

A night of heavy fog outside didn’t deter the attendees or dampen the discussions at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on September 24th. The newly-elected 2012-13 council officers, led by (re-elected) President Matt Chamberlain, presided over a meeting that was highlighted by a spirited debate over the upcoming Neighborhood Parks Bond measure, Proposition B.

The bond measure, a $195,000,000 package offered by the Recreation and Parks Department, is being touted as essential for capital maintenance to dozens of San Francisco city parks, pools and other Rec and Park facilities that are suffering from years, and in some cases decades of “deferred maintenance.”

District 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner presented the “pro” side of the measure, explaining that the Rec and Park Department is trying to repair areas such as dilapidated pools, structures built from pressure treated lumber that contains arsenic, to broken irrigation systems and other unsafe playground conditions. The Supervisor cited over $1 billion dollars in deferred maintenance over decades. Weiner explained that the bond would not increase property taxes as this new bond is being proposed as other bonds have expired so that property taxes will not be allowed to move higher than 2006 levels, and that the Capital Improvement funds are needed, as routine maintenance has not been performed for years.

He acknowledged that many people are not pleased with the performance or priorities of the Recreation and Parks Department under General Manager Phil Ginsberg, but that voting no on the bond measure would not be sending the right message; instead it would penalize the citizens who utilize the parks and playgrounds. 

Former Supervisor Aaron Peskin agreed that the Parks need help, but is adamant that this bond measure is not the right answer at this time. Peskin feels that voters can best send a message to the Rec and Park department by defeating this “flawed” measure; otherwise, a yes vote will give a vote of confidence to the Rec and Park management team and support their activities of renovating parcels, then closing or privatizing them due to lack of operating budgets. He went on to say that the Rec and Parks Department is averaging a new bond measure about every 8 years and that as of May, over $78,000,000 from the 2008 Bond Measure was still unspent and unallocated. Citing past programs such as the renovated (but still closed) J.P. Murphy clubhouse (closed due to lack of stable operating budget funding), Peskin offered that it is better to let structures “rot or raze them” if there is no operating budget to staff and operate them once they are renovated. He agrees with Weiner that the lack of operating funding has created problems, but disagrees on the need for more capital improvements and repairs using this bond measure. 

In a short rebuttal, Weiner disputed that vast amounts of dollars were still unspent, telling the crowd that over 90% of the 2008 bond funds will be spent by the time the new bond funds (if passed) are available, and that it doesn’t matter if the bond was moved forward by two years, the capital needs are current and necessary.

Countering, Peskin closed with the argument that “if you don’t have the money to operate it, there is no reason to repair it.” He also stated that the priorities at City Hall are not focused on the Parks, but instead, money was found to support the America’s Cup program, and to do the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) on the Beach Chalet Soccer field proposals.

At this point both speakers departed to attend other functions.

Later in the meeting, a proposal was discussed and debated whereas the West of Twin Peaks Central Council would take a position officially opposing the Rec and Park ballot measure by writing letters of opposition. After much discussion, a roll call was taken of the attending delegates and the resolution failed, gaining only 5 yes votes against, 1 no vote and 10 abstentions, thus defeating the vote.

 In another vote, the delegates voted unanimously to admit the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association as the newest member of the WOTPCC, following glowing reports on their activities and structure by Don Dutil and Dave Bisho.

Other WOTPCC News:

A short presentation was made by Justine Fenwick to demonstrate the neighborhood private social media application “Nextdoor.” Several neighborhood associations are already using the services of the SF-based company, with possible WOTPCC involvement in the future.

President Chamberlain asked attendees to help the WOTPCC to defray the costs of the recent candidate’s forum by writing a check to support the forum, which was held on 9/22 at the Aptos Middle School.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, October 29th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info: WOTPCC website (

October 2012

June WOTPCCJune 25th Meeting

An upcoming District 7 Supervisor Candidates Forum, the celebration of 75 years representing Westside homeowners, and the election of new council officers were the highlights of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on June 25th.

President Matt Chamberlain called the meeting to order and as a first order of business, thanked the assembled group, citing their influence in supporting the Coit Tower Initiative (Prop B). He also informed the group of a “Mt. Davidson” walk, coordinated by Jake Sigg, to be held on June 30th.

Vice President George Wooding followed with his officer’s report, thanking the membership as he had decided not to run for a board seat for the upcoming term. Wooding, a past WOTPCC President, has served several terms on the Board and has been very involved with the organization. Secretary Blue Mudbhary also thanked the members as she is also stepping down from the board after serving two years as Secretary. Parliamentarian Roger Ritter joked that he will be “donating” his “Roberts Rules of Order” to the next parliamentarian, who will be selected by the next President.

In committee news, Avrum Shepard spoke on a project to initiate a Facebook link onto the WOTPCC website during the summer hiatus. Public Health Committee chair Wooding asked members to continue to vote for the “Laguna Honda Orchard,” as LHH is in second place, and the online voting runs through July 3. In Open Space and Parks news, in response to the NAP plan a letter was written by Sally Stephens detailing the WOTPCC objections to the plan and sent to the Rec and Park Department and Mayor Lee. Dave Bisho stated that it was “the best letter he had ever seen.”

It was noted that the controversial portions of the NAP plan that were to be included in the upcoming Rec and Park Bond measure have been taken out of the measure, which will target improvements to McLaren and Golden Gate Parks.

Avrum Shepard reported that MUNI is planning to hire more meter people and issue more parking tickets to help stem a $6 Million revenue gap. With the parking ticket fines rising to $70 the City will have the highest fines in the nation for parking miscreants. Discussion then took place on how these expensive fines are driving business away from the retail districts, instead of bringing people into SF to shop. Delegate Denise LaPointe made a motion that a letter be drafted to the city budget committee and MTA expressing the displeasure of the WOTPCC on the parking policy. It was seconded by Don Dutil and unanimously passed.

Roger Ritter brought the crowd up to date about a planned District 7 Supervisor Candidates Forum. The date has been set for Saturday, September 22nd at the Aptos Middle School at 10:00 AM. The format is expected to follow last year’s Mayoral Forum with a moderated question and answer session.

“Recognition Chair” Denise LaPointe represented the membership in thanking George Wooding and Blue Mudbhary for their dedication and service to the WOTPCC. The membership is awarding gift certificates to Office Depot and Boulevard Restaurant respectively to the outgoing officers.

The controversial project on Crestmont Ave. is moving forward, with the next step being an Environmental Impact Report Preliminary Review by the Planning Commission. Opponents of the project asked the membership to assist them in voicing opposition in upcoming review meetings. For more information on this, visit the site at

Dave Bisho, representing an absent Paul Conroy and the Nominating Committee presented the delegates with the following slate of officers for the upcoming year: President – Matt Chamberlain; Vice President – Roger Ritter; Treasurer – Carolyn Squeri; Secretary – Sally Stephens (Golden Gate Heights). The President of the Council will appoint a Parliamentarian. No nominations were made from the floor, and the proposed slate was unanimously approved by a voice vote.

Other WOTPCC News:

Discussions were held regarding the vote to have the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association formally join the WOTPCC. Specifics were discussed and representatives from the Sunnyside Association were on hand to discuss the specifics on meetings, membership, etc. At this point the WOTPCC will take up action after the summer recess.

President Chamberlain called for volunteers for a “Tax Initiative Evaluation Committee” to consider November election proposals. The committee would only exist from August through October.

Denise LaPointe brought up an issue from the Twin Peaks Improvement Association relating to a 7 bedroom home that is being rented out as a “dormitory style” live-work office for “”, through the Airbnb service. The issue is a prohibited use within the zoning for the neighborhood.

Avrum Shepard read a proclamation from State Senator Leland Yee recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, September 24th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info: WOTPCC website (

July-Aug 2012

May 21st MeetingDennis Kern, rec and Parks, and Eric Miller, SF Forest Alliance

Natural Areas Plan: Eric Miller, SF Forest Allianced ebates Dennis Kern, Rec & Parks

An overflowing crowd of over 65 people attended the May WOTPCC meeting, held on May 21st at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. The major topic on hand was presentations from “both sides” of the Rec and Park Department Plan to “revitalize” the parkland and forest on Mount Davidson and throughout the city with their “Natural Areas Plan.”

Dennis Kern, the Director of Operations for the Rec and Parks Department, started his presentation by showing a short video highlighting the work that the department has been doing to open up long closed trails, reintroduce native plants and grasses, and bring some of the long-missing wildlife back to SF, including the Mission Blue butterflies, coyotes, and red tail hawks. Kern insisted that the program was to better manage the open space within the city, to improve the 30 miles of trails and hiking venues that exist, and to enhance biodiversity by planting other species of trees in the open space instead of having the forests consisting (mainly) of a single species of tree, such as eucalyptus or Monterey Cypress.

He went on to acknowledge that the landscape of San Francisco is man-made, and needs to be managed and maintained. He says the SF Parks Department shares the mission of the GGNRA that trees are important, but need to be managed to create the “next generation” of younger trees and a more open understory that would be better for wildlife than the existing understory provided by existing eucalyptus groves.

Kern stated that there are 131,000 trees in SF parkland and open space, of which 64,000 are in the scope of the “Natural Areas Program” (NAP). And the current 20-year plan only applies to 5% of the trees (about 3400), mostly eucalyptus.

Following the presentation by Kern, Eric Miller of the San Francisco Forest Alliance addressed the crowd and presented the counterpoint that the existing Eucalyptus trees are not hazardous, nor in ill-health, and have been part of the urban park landscape for over 100 years.

Miller pointed out that the budget of the NAP will cost well over $34,000,000 over the next 20 years, not including the portion of the 2012 Parks Bond money that will be used for the project. He questioned the use of money for the NAP when the City is in such financial difficulty.

He cited the Alliance’s concerns that the actions of the NAP should reflect the interests of the community, not “activist” native plant proponents. To make a point, he showed a photo of Mount Davidson in 1885, with no trees or even scrub vegetation. Miller also stated that the group is against the mass deforestation of the existing forests because they are “non-native” trees, and showed photos of other San Francisco non-native tree plantings, such as the Embarcadero palm trees

Contrary to the number of 6400 trees that Kern used in his presentation, Miller stated that in evaluating the Rec and Park NAP plan, the intent is to “remove or kill-in-place” over 18,500 trees that are non-native species, to close 9.2 miles of trails to the public, and to also close 19.3 acres of space that is currently used as dog-play areas. He concluded by stating that the general public is largely unaware of these issues and that taking down mature standing groves of trees to replace them with shrubs and small oak seedlings is the wrong way to proceed and not what the public wants for City urban parkland.

During the question and answer session, mediated by WOTPCC President Matt Chamberlain, Kern admitted that no bird counts have been done in relation to the Mt. Davidson portion of the project, but that the department would welcome a partner to help them conduct a study. He went on to state that the NAP plan is not about “clear-cutting” large swathes of trees, but a way to ensure growth of the next generation of trees to replace the ones that will eventually reach the end of their natural lifespan as a group.

Other questions focused on the lack of public comment and outreach by Rec and Park regarding the NAP plan. Public meetings were held by the Parks Commission, but few people were aware of the actions of the commission.

Following the presentations and Q and A, a motion was made for a committee to draft language clarifying the WOTPCC’s position to oppose the NAP and the plan of the Rec and Parks Department. The motion was seconded and carried by a vote of 12-0 with 3 abstentions. The committee will prepare the response and have it delivered to the SF Rec and Parks Commission by the June 11th deadline for public comment.

Other WOTPCC News:

Paul Conroy and the Nominating Committee presented the delegates with the following slate of officers for the upcoming year: President – Matt Chamberlain; Vice President – Roger Ritter; Treasurer – Carolyn Squeri; Secretary – Sally Stephens (Golden Gate Heights). The President of the Council will appoint a Parliamentarian. No nominations were made from the floor, so the proposed slate will be voted on at the next meeting on June 25th.

WOTPCC President Chamberlain also asked for volunteers for the following:

A committee to plan and conduct a District 7 Supervisor Candidates’ Forum

Forming a membership committee to interact and vet potential members (Paul Conroy and Roger Ritter have already volunteered)

A committee to identify, create a master listing, and extend a personal invitation to city department officials and insiders who are living in the WOTPCC hemisphere.

Working with a group to garner matching funds to bring an airplane back to Larsen Park. (remember the former plane / play structure??)

And finally…the WOTPCC members and officers invite you to the “75th Anniversary Celebration of the West Of Twin Peaks Central Council” on Monday evening, June 25th at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, starting at 7:30 PM.

Next meeting : Monday, June 26th at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. Info:

Correction: last month’s photo of Tony Kelly incorrectly labeled him as a supporter of the “garbage monopoly,” he opposes the monopoly and supports Prop A.

June 2012

May 21st Meeting

Sloat Blvd-Caltrans on the hotseatThe “slimming” of Sloat Boulevard and the Proposition A debate took center stage at the April 23 meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council. Approximately 30 people were on hand when WOTPCC Vice President George Wooding dropped the gavel to start the meeting, as President Matt Chamberlain was out of town.

First up on the agenda was a discussion and question period on the Caltrans Sloat Boulevard “slimming” project. The project, described by multiple attendees as a “disaster” is an attempt by Caltrans to improve pedestrian safety by reducing the number of lanes from 3 to 2 in each direction. Caltrans cited traffic reports and studies showing the reduction of lanes is still able to handle the traffic flow. Members of the audience decried the lack of public involvement, a severe lack of public outreach to the neighborhood associations by Caltrans, and the fact that at peak drive times, it is very dangerous to merge onto Sloat from any of the side feeder streets (such as Riverton Drive) because of the increased density of the traffic.

The Caltrans representatives apologized for the lack of public discussion and gave information out about the traffic studies and upcoming meetings to discuss both the Sloat project as well as the upcoming Great Highway / Skyline Boulevard realignments. During questioning, the representatives from Caltrans stressed the point that the bike lane painting was not part of a larger bike lane effort, but just a way to demark the lane that had been closed to traffic. The residents of the neighborhoods adjacent to Sloat were still visibly upset even after the explanations and Q & A. This project is one that will be discussed for a long time.

Following the Caltrans presentation, representatives from both sides of the “Garbage Bidding Proposition,” Prop A, took to the floor to explain their respective sides of the issue.

District 7 Supervisor Candidate Joel Engardio started the discussion, by explaining that although he likes Recology and that they do a very good job, it’s time to update the process from its 1932 origins and re-craft the law to modernize the statute to take into account the recycling process and the changing process of waste management, which is far different than the “garbage pickup processes” of the 1930s and 40s. He stated that Prop A has nothing to do with Recology, but mostly to do with getting a mandate in place to ensure that SF gets a franchise fee and has bidding in place.

Co-sponsor Tony Kelly followed Engardio and also stated that he expects Recology to win the bid contract for the 4 of he 5 sectors that are to be put up for public bidding. The Proposition will mandate that a company will not be able to handle all of the garbage pickup, recycling, and most importantly, landfill management portions of the contract. Kelly believes that having one company handle all aspects is a conflict of interest. He also discussed that San Francisco’s contract is much larger than in Oakland and San Jose, but the city receives no franchise fee from Recology. He cited two City Hall studies showing that of 71 cities, most have franchise fees and competitive bidding.

A Recology consultant, and former NorCal Waste President Leonard Stefanelli countered with the opinion that any franchise fee collected by any city is no more than a “tax” that will be passed through to the ratepayers and will not result in lower garbage costs. Citing a history of good performance by the various groups that were responsible for collecting and managing the City’s waste stream since 1932, he noted that San Francisco has been named America’s Greenest City due to the recycling programs and push to have “Zero Waste.”

Stefanelli also addressed the cost of moving San Francisco garbage out of the city to out-of-town landfills and feels that having separate companies for collection, recycling and landfill management will result in increased costs and performance problems. He also scoffed at the concept of having a new transfer station at the Port of SF, then moving landfill-destined garbage by barge to other landfills.

Both groups had chances to have rebuttal arguments and to field questions from the meeting attendees. With both sides giving high marks to the performance of Recology it will be interesting to see what voters think when they go to the polls in June.

In other WOTPCC actions, the approval of the by-law revisions was delayed, as a two-thirds majority of neighborhood groups were not present to vote as called by the rules in effect. The vote will be considered again at the next meeting, to be held on May 21st due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Finally, Estelle Smith of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association addressed the attendees. Now that the Sunnyside neighborhood has been consolidated into District 7, instead of split, the SNA is interested in engaging the WOTPCC and possible applying for membership in the council as its 21st member.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be on Monday, May 21st at 7:30 PM at the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

In a few final points, Wooding again noted that the WOTPCC Anniversary committee is busy collecting volunteers interested in assisting on the WOTPCC 75th Anniversary event. The event will be held on June 25th and Roger Ritter is looking for volunteers to serve on the planning committee.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

May 2012

March Meeting

A quick and breezy evening was in store for those who attended the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on March 26. With President Matt Chamberlain unable to attend, Vice President George Wooding opened the meeting at 7:30, promising a fast meeting. That was certainly the case, as few new officer and committee reports were given.

The majority of the discussion focused on three topics: Redistricting, the Caltrans/Sloat Blvd. problems and the revision of the WOTPCC By-Laws.

As the San Francisco Redistricting Task Force continues to look at balancing the number of residents within each district, District 7 has escaped any major issues, for now. Based on the latest maps there could still be some movement around Holloway Street, and the Twin Peaks area is currently split between Districts 8,7 and 5, with the Twin Peaks Improvement Association (TPIA) remaining in 7. There is still much anxiety as the final determination of boundaries will not be final until the very end, after the task force has considered all of the information at hand as well as the public input from areas such as the OMI and others. It is still imperative for the WOTPCC to be represented at the task force meetings. All meeting now are held at City Hall and there will be many between now and April 15th. To see the schedule; visit

Bill ChionsiniThe “slimming down” from 6 lanes to 4 lanes on Sloat Blvd. was the next discussion point as former WOTPCC President Bill Chionsini addressed the attendees on his communications to Mayor Lee and Caltrans. (See the accompanying story on Page 1.) Photo: Bill Chionsini

Paul Conroy updated the group on the proposed changes to the WOTPCC By-Laws. He spoke of the changes that the committee (Dave Bisho, Roger Ritter and Paul Conroy) has proposed and also of the by-laws that were not changed. The meeting served as a legal 10 day notice. Final consideration, discussion and the vote for approval will take place at the next WOTPCC meeting. It is important for delegates to attend and vote at the April 23 meeting.

Denise LaPointe led the section on “Old Business” by asking if the WOTPCC officers had sent the groups’ position on redistricting to everyone involved, including Supervisor Elsbernd. Wooding said he would check and see if that was indeed the case. It was also asked what the District 7 supervisor’s position is on the topic.

Wooding also reported that the PUC proposed Wastewater Treatment plant will not be in Golden Gate Park, being instead moved into the Oceanside Water Treatment plant and the SF Armory property some adjacent space.

In a few final points, Wooding noted that the WOTPCC Anniversary committee is busy collecting volunteers interested in assisting on the WOTPCC 75th Anniversary event. The event will be held on June 25th and Roger Ritter is looking for volunteers to serve on the planning committee.

In other WOTPCC news, next month the WOTPCC meeting will feature both sides of the June garbage initiative giving their sides of the issue.

With that, Council Vice President Wooding adjourned the meeting at 8:35 P.M.

For more information see the WOTPCC website ( The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, April 23rd at 7:30 in the Forest Hill Clubhouse.

April 2012

West of Twin Peaks Central Council

February Meeting

Transportation, the America’s Cup, open space, Coit Tower, bond funding and candidate evaluation all factored into the dialogue on February 27 along with a dose of disaster planning and a journalism award.

Following the meeting being brought to order by President Matt Chamberlain, Vice President George Wooding announced to the audience the awarding of the James Madison Freedom of Information Award by the Society of Professional Journalism to local writer Patrick Monette-Shaw of the Westside Observer for his on-going work detailing the problems at Laguna Honda Hospital and the administration of the Patient Gift Fund. Writer Monette-Shaw and I made comments about the importance of community journalism and that we are both very honored to have been involved with this prestigious award. As a result of Monette-Shaw’s work, and inquiries from the WOTPCC board, an audit was conducted on the LHH fund, finding problems that have been partially redressed by the hospital management.

Committee reports were given with Paul Conroy speaking about the ongoing by-laws revisions, and Wooding detailing two ballot measures that will be on the June ballot, one addressing marketing and maintenance issues relating to the operation and preservation of Coit Tower by the SF Recreation and Parks Department, and the other addressing an initiative to change charges for garbage and recycling.

District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd gave an extended report on current supervisorial events, including the decision by the America’s Cup Organizing Committee to drop the renovation and leasing of Piers 30 and 32 from the package that was previously negotiated with the city, to be voted upon by the Supervisors on February 28. A smaller, revised agreement will be voted upon within 3-4 weeks. It is fully expected that the races will continue, scheduled for late 2012 and 2013.

The Supervisor also commented on the progress of the pension reform, citing that Proposition C, passed last November, has helped the cost structure somewhat, but has done little or nothing to address the bigger cost issue of health care benefits. Questions were also directed at the Supe on the proposed Recreation and Park bond issue to upgrade local Parks and replace unsafe playground equipment. Elsbernd stated that the Rec and Parks department seemed to have heard the feedback regarding clubhouses, as this bond measure is not slated to repair or upgrade any clubhouses, but is targeted to playground equipment, regional parks and port properties.

A question from the audience asked Elsbernd to describe a “litmus test” that voters should use to evaluate candidates running to succeed him. His thoughts focused on evaluating candidates that have a track record in the district; are involved in the district; have made a true commitment to the issues and people of the district and not to so-called “special interests.”

He said the “slimming down” of Sloat Boulevard from 6 lanes to 4 lanes by Caltrans, to improve the safety of children and others who have to cross the busy intersection. He reiterated that the project has made crossing the street safer for pedestrians, especially the children from Mercy, and while bike lanes were added, it was not the reason that the street was modified.

Finally he alerted the crowd to possible new fees to support transportation in SF—$5.50 per square foot for residential projects that is being considered, termed the “Transit Impact Development Fee.”

Susan Yik followed. She asked the audience to get involved with NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Training) starting in March. Classes over 6 weeks will teach attendees disaster preparedness procedures, while giving them a feeling of empowerment. The classes will be held at Aptos Middle School over six sessions, starting on March 15 and continuing on March 22, and April 5, 12, 19 and 26. All are between 6-9 PM and are open at all. “New” students will not be allowed to join after the second class. Info: 415.970.2024, or visit

Gus Guibert raised the issue of a 20 year plan to restore parts of the city that are deemed “open space” to a natural plan reflecting what existed prior to the arrival of the Europeans. Part of the plan, which is yet unfunded, is to “restore” Mt. Davidson by removing approximately 1600 non-native trees such as eucalyptus, and replacing them with natural grasses, native oaks, and other vegetation.

Chris Bowman spoke briefly on the needto be present at the redistricting meetings, as discussions and decisions are still being formulated on the final proposals to amend the district lines within the city.

A lively debate followed on the preparation and approval of a ballot argument in favor of the June initiative that calls for a portion of the monies collected at Coit Tower to be invested in the maintenance of the WPA-era murals and other repairs at the landmark structure. The motion to support the Coit Tower preservation initiative by submitting a ballot argument (not to exceed $500) was passed 9-2 with 4 abstentions.

With that, Council President Chamberlain adjourned the meeting at 9:05 P.M.

The next scheduled meeting: Monday, March 26th at 7:30 in the Forest Hill Clubhouse. Info:

March 2012

January Meeting

Development, redistricting, bonds, and Coit Tower protection were among the main topics of the West of Twin Peaks Central Committee Meeting on January 23rd.

Matt Chamberlain presided over a meeting attended by over 40 citizens, eager to find out about redistricting updates and the other items on the packed agenda.

Following the usual housekeeping and financial reports, Avrum Shepherd and Karen Breslin reported on the progress of the Goals Committee, charged with defining the 2012 objectives of the organization. This year, the goals submitted focused on the importance of: redistricting (and the impact of the WOTP Neighborhood Groups); communication (improving the dialogue between the WOTPCC, the neighborhood groups and city agencies such as MTA, DPW and Rec and Parks); government transparency (getting valuable information); and the protection of police and fire services. WOTPCC delegates and members of the neighborhood organizations are tasked with providing input and direction towards adding to and/or approving the Goals as submitted.

The night was awash in guest speakers and requests for organizational support for worthy causes. Dawn Kamalanathan, the Director of the Capital and Planning Division of the SF Recreation and Parks Department gave a short presentation on the progress of the 2008 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks and Citywide Program and a look at the upcoming 2012 bond measure. Several slides detailed the ongoing progress of the projects funded by the 2008 Bond Measure, setting the stage for the 2012 continuation of the upgrade of additional neighborhood parks and other citywide programs. While it was reported the projects funded by the 2008 Bond are all currently on time and under budget, much of the discussion focused on the problems associated with the refurbishment of playgrounds, parks and other city facilities which are then left for neglect as no operating funding is being allocated for staffing of the areas and maintenance needs. The feeling of many in the audience that the Recreation and Parks Department is not listening to the public in meetings was also broadly conveyed to the staff in attendance. Rec and Park is asking for feedback for their upcoming bond-related reconstruction project list.

A proposal that would add up to 36 units on the “dead-end” portion of Crestmont Drive was shown to the group by Charles Powell of the Mount Sutro Owners Association. The presentation cited many reasons why the development should not be allowed to proceed and asked the delegates to authorize a letter of opposition from the WOTPCC supporting the MSOA’s efforts to stop the project. The vote to prepare the letter of support was passed unanimously.

Another unanimous vote was reached on supporting the efforts of the Coit Tower Preservation Group to put an initiative on the ballot to limit commercial activities at the site, and to prioritize the spending of funds the City receives from the Coit Tower concessionaire. Jon Golinger of the Preservation Group explained that revenues in excess of $500,000 annually were being generated from the elevator fees alone, but the funds are not being used to maintain and repair the WPA-era murals, lighting and other areas of maintenance.

To close, Chamberlain gave a very detailed explanation and overview of the current redistricting that is taking place in the city. As the city is divided into 11 supervisorial districts, and the premise is that districts are to be equally represented by the number of residents in each district, as certain districts grow in population the district lines have to be adjusted. This process is repeated after every 10-year census report showing changes in the number of people in each district. In explaining several different possible methods to balance the population shifts, the most favorably supported scenario is one where District 7 is expanded very slightly, while keeping the unique neighborhoods represented by the WOTPCC together in a single district footprint that very closely resembles the current district borders.

Even though a member of the redistricting committee stated the committee’s proposal is very close to the map shown by Chamberlain, it is imperative that citizens attend the meetings where public comments can be conveyed to the committee.

The unique neighborhoods that encompass the West of Twin Peaks district have been working together on common needs and issues over the past 75 years.

For more information see the WOTPCC website (

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Monday, February 27th at 7:30 in the Forest Hill Clubhouse.

February 2012


December Meeting

President Matt Chamberlain and the WOTPCC were the audience for a discussion of the election results by Fall Line Analytics principal David Latterman, who enthralled the crowd with his detailed metrics and conclusions drawn from the voting information for the November 8th election.

Latterman, who had previously spoken to the group on the process of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) is a political consultant who has worked on many San Francisco campaigns, including the recent mayoral campaign for Board of Supervisor's President David Chiu.

He started by outlining the PVI, Progressive Voter Index, showing the matrix of voters from conservative to moderate to progressive. District 7 came in as the most conservative voters (to no one's surprise), with Districts 5 and 9 being the most liberal. Latterman spoke on the topic of "political geography" and its importance to San Francisco, especially as the Supervisors are chosen on a district-wide basis. District 7 also finished in the top two in voter turnout, trailing District 8 by a small margin. The top four districts in terms of percentage of voter turnout were 8, 7, 4 and 2. All of these districts are conservative or moderate in their voting.

Other metrics showed the balance of the voters in SF. Conservatives are 7% of the voters, Moderates are 39%, and Liberals are 36%, with the Progressives tallying a solid 19%. On a party basis, Democrats lead with 54% , followed by 25-30% who "decline to state" party affiliation, 6% Republican and 3-4% for other parties. Metrics also show that the Chinese vote is generally steady at 16-18% while the LBGT vote is approximately 10% of the voters.

How did these metrics show or affect the November Mayoral election? Latterman says, not at all, as the election showed a low turnout (40%) as Ed Lee drained all of the interest out of the race when he declared as a candidate. Lee started the campaign with polls showing 30% support of the voters. Following weeks of campaigning from the 16 candidates, the Mayor stayed approximately the same, winning with 31% of the final votes. Even with the large amount of candidates, ranked choice voting had no real effect on the results as no one was really close to catching Lee.

The race for sheriff was somewhat closer as Supervisor Ross Mirkirimi won with 38% of the vote, followed by Chris Cunnie and Paul Miyamoto at 28 and 27% respectively. Cunnie and Miyamoto finished basically in a dead heat for second place, splitting most of the 2nd place RCV votes.

District Attorney George Gascon won the contest for DA with 42% of the vote, over second place finisher David Onek (24%) and Sharmin Bock (21%). In an interesting note, if Ms. Bock would have finished second, the vote would have been much closer as she was listed either 1st, 2nd or 3rd in almost as many ballots as Gascon. Latterman believes that the progressive block's strong showing for Onek cost Bock a chance to make the race very close.

The propositions were decided by large margins, with the exception of Prop H, the School Assignment proposition. It was virtually a dead heat, winning 50.06% to 49.94%.

Latterman cited the following trends resulting from the ballot results: San Francisco voters are still on a trend to support moderate candidates; the election was more economy based, and less ideological than in the past. Bond initiatives fared well, while tax increases did not. The Progressives (left) won the endorsement game; and a strong, unified Chinese block held together to elect Ed Lee, removing the "interim" part of his title and selecting him as SF's newest Mayor.

2012 will be an interesting election season, as new Supervisors will be elected in Districts 1,3,5,7,9 and 11. Redistricting (to better balance the population numbers within the 11 districts) will affect some of the district voting trends somewhat, but Latterman thinks the core voting values of each district will basically remain constant.

In other WOTPCC news, the delegates voted almost unanimously (1 abstention) to send a letter to the Planning Commission to ask for a 90 day extension to the Public Comment Period for the Draft EIR for the Beach Chalet Athletic Fields Renovation Project, citing as factors, the replacing of grass with artificial turf; increased parking; increased lighting; the erection of bleachers; and the damage that will occur to the flora and fauna in the park.

David Pilpel, from the Redistricting Task Force, also spoke briefly explaining the process for redistricting and why it is necessary. As the South of Market (SOMA) area in District 6 has grown through new housing units, etc., the other districts have to be reallocated to more evenly distribute the number of residents in each of the 11 districts. Districts 5,7,8 and 9 (described by Pilpel as the "squishy middle" will probably see the most changes in borders. For more information see the WOTPCC website (

December is a "dark" month for the WOTPCC. The next meeting will be Monday, January 23rd at 7:30 in the Forest Hill Clubhouse.

December 2011


News from the West of Twin Peaks Central Council Scott_Weiner and Bruce Wolfe Debating

November Meeting

Lively debate echoed throughout the Forest Hills clubhouse, as President Matt Chamberlain and the WOTPCC were the audience for a discussion of the ballot Propositions E and F. District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, the proponent of the two propositions, explained his rationale for the proposed ordinances, while Community College Board member John Rizzo and Sunshine Task Force member Bruce Wolfe opposed the propositions.

Wiener explained that Prop E, placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors in a 7-4 vote, is a first step to reform the system by which ballot measures are placed upon the ballots and voted upon. As it now stands a ballot measure can be placed on the ballot in several ways: by the Mayor; by a vote of only 4 supervisors and by the initiative process where citizens collect signatures. Once a measure has been placed on the ballot, often with little or no public discussion, the voters can only vote yes or no to approve or reject the law, with no recourse to change parts of it (or all of it) prior to implementation. Once approved by the voters, ANY changes would require the revised ordinance or law to be put back on the ballot for voter approval of the changes.

Obviously, changes (even to poorly constructed or flawed laws) are rarely placed on the ballot for revision. Prop E would present a method for revisions (up to and including repeal), but only after a law is in effect for 3 years. During years 4-7 the Boar of Supervisors would be allowed to make amendments to the ordinances. After year 7 a measure can only be changed by a ballot amendment approved by the voters. Wiener noted that the Proposition is endorsed by the SF Chronicle and a majority of the Supervisors, and that it only would apply to ordinances submitted by the mayor and supervisors, and not those placed on the ballot by a voter-based signature drive.

Rizzo countered that while it is commendable that Wiener is trying to improve the process, Proposition E just goes too far. He contends that the Proposition would allow the Board of Supervisors to change the will of the voters at 3 years, and not just a tweak but also a full repeal. He also stated that the supervisors could change the use of money collected through taxes and bond measures. In fact, he countered that the law would even allow the Supes to modify Prop E, and that it is not wise to trust the supervisors with that power.

Wiener responded that because Prop E is a charter amendment, it would be covered by state law that forbids changing any charter amendment without a vote of the citizens. He also added that Rizzo was not accurate in his belief that Prop E would allow monies to be redistributed easily, stating that "set asides and taxes that are dedicated" cannot be redistributed or redirected under current state law.

The discussion then moved onto Proposition F, a proposal to reform the "Campaign Consultant Disclosure Ordinance" which was approved for the ballot by an 11-0 vote of the Board of Supervisors.

Currently, political consultants earning $1000 are required to file documents on a quarterly basis disclosing their clients. The forms can be submitted as paper reports, or electronically. Paper reports are eventually scanned and placed into the system where they can be reviewed by "Sunshine" proponents and other groups.

Prop F would amend the current ordinance to:

• Require consultants to file paperwork monthly, as lobbyists are required to;

• Require electronic filing, so that documents can be more readily placed into the system;

• Increase the dollar threshold from $1000 to $5000;

• Include an amend ability provision allowing changes if approved by 4/5 of the Ethics Commission and a supermajority of the Board of Supervisors.

Wiener explained that he really felt that Proposition F would be very non-controversial, and has been surprised by the amount of resistance.

Wolfe, a member of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, believes that Prop F is the "beginning of the end of ballot box legislation" and that the Ethics Commission should not have any right to be able to change laws. He also agrees that more disclosure is necessary, but everyone should be held to the $1000 threshold, with amounts over that disclosed and audited.

Following a challenge from (former Supervisor and retired Judge) Quentin Kopp to Wiener on the impact of the Ethics Commission (other than spending money), the conversation temporarily drifted into a discussion on the failings of the commission. Council President Chamberlain quickly brought the discussion back to the topic of Prop F where questions and answers were fielded by the opposing orators.

Following a handshake and applause, the meeting switched to a discussion of less controversial topics. Chamberlain discussed the success of the recent "Candidates Forum" (kudos to everyone involved) and that the council showed a profit from the event and will be redistributing the profits to the homeowner groups involved in the future, whether by a direct payment or a credit against 2012 dues (to be decided in the near future).

In committee reporting, both the By-Laws Committee and the 2012 Goals Committee were filled with volunteers. Avrum Shepard of the Technology Committee has redesigned the WOTPCC website and is seeking guidance in selecting photos and graphics for the site.

George Wooding updated everyone on Public Health issues, as did Gus Guibert on Open Space topics concerning Stow Lake and the Beach Chalet soccer field project. Nothing new was discussed on Transportation and the Planning and Land Use committee is currently devoid of members.

The last topic of discussion was the examination of the by-laws and a vote to admit the "Golden Gate Heights" neighborhood as the 20th neighborhood into the WOTPCC. The Golden Gate Heights representative, Sally Stevens, detailed the boundaries of the neighborhood and the size, approximately 400 households. A motion to accept and a second were procured and the organization was admitted to the council by a unanimous 13-0 tally.

The WOTPCC will next meet on November 28th at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, starting at 7:30 PM. For more details on the topics, visit the WOTPCC website at

November 2011


October 2011 Meeting

President Matt Chamberlain and the WOTPCC had been on Summer recess, but West of Twin Peaks Central Council that doesn't mean they were on vacation…in fact, they have been very busy putting the finishing touches on the WOTPCC organized and sponsored "San Francisco Mayoral debate," featuring many of the candidates for the upcoming Mayoral election in November. The debate was held on October 1st as we were going to press, and we will have coverage of the event in this issue of the Observer.

New-President Chamberlain convened the first meeting of the new WOTPCC year on September 26th at 7:30 PM in the Forest Hills Clubhouse. With approximately 30 attendees the meeting was primarily a planning meeting, with most of the discussion centering around the planning process of where the WOTPCC organization wants to go this year and what issues are important to the organization, which comprises the 19 neighborhood groups that make up the West of Twin Peaks Central Council.

The Council President called for the formation of two "very temporary" committees; 1) A committee to discuss and map out the goals and objectives of the WOTPCC for 2011-12; and 2) A committee to update and revise the by-laws of the organization. Interested parties should contact the secretary, Blue Mudbhary to sign up for the commits or to get more information. Two committees (Planning and Land Use; Bylaws Review and Update) are currently lacking committee chairs. Volunteers are needed.

On behalf of the Council, Dave Bisho presented outgoing President George Wooding with a plaque thanking him for his dedication and contributions made to the benefit of the WOTPCC while serving as President of the Council.

Short reports were presented by Wooding (Open Space and Public Health), Avrum Shepard (Transportation), and Carolyn Squeri (Finance). Other topics included a short discussion on the process and premise of "Ranked Choice Voting"; the WOTPCC sponsored Mayoral Forum; an upcoming art event on West Portal Avenue where "Dance Meets MUNI" entitled Trolley Dances; and the imminent vote by the Board of Supervisors to complete the creation of a Community Benefit District (CBD) on West Portal Avenue. A motion was made to write a letter supporting the creation of the district, but failed on a full vote by an 8-5 margin with 1 abstention. The West Portal Merchants Association is also split about the concept of the CBD. While most of the merchants agree with the concept, many are not supporting the specific process and format of the CBD that is currently being proposed.

Following presentations by representatives of the San Francisco Unified School District (speaking about the upcoming Bond Initiative for school retrofitting) and City Code Enforcement, the business meeting was adjourned.

The WOTPCC will next meet on October 24th at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, at 7:30 PM.

October 2011


Upcoming Mayoral DebateMayoral Debate Poster

President Matt Chamberlain and the WOTPCC have been on Summer recess, but that doesn't mean they've been on vacation…in fact, they have been very busy putting the finishing touches on an upcoming WOTPCC organized and sponsored "San Francisco Mayoral debate" featuring many of the candidates for the upcoming Mayoral election in November.

Mark your calendars NOW! With a very large slate of candidates, many of whom have extensive qualifications, the debate will be a vital forum to help voters to select the best three (ranked choice) candidates to represent the city as the new Mayor of San Francisco.

The debate will be held on October 1st, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at the St. Stephen's Parish Hall, located at 473 Eucalyptus Drive. To date, the following candidates are expected to participate: Jeff Adachi; Michela Alioto-Pier; John Avalos; David Chiu; Bevan Dufty; Tony Hall; Dennis Herrera; Ed Lee; Joanna Rees; Phil Ting and Leland Yee. Light refreshments will be served from 9:30 to 10 AM.

For more information on the debate go to:

New-President Chamberlain will end the recess and convene the next meeting on September 26th at 7:30 PM in the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

September 2011


Mayor Ed Lee swears in officersA new slate of officers, a photo op, and a briefing by Mayor Ed Lee highlighted the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting of June 27th.

WOTPCC President George Wooding called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM with about 55 people in the audience and a short agenda, centering on a visit from Mayor Ed Lee. Once it was determined that a quorum was reached by roll call, the minutes from the last meeting were discussed. A clarification of statements made by Planning Director John Rahaim was discussed in which he had spoken about the changes in the Housing Element. The discussion focused on the topic where the use of "neighborhood" input into the Planning process was broadened to where the "community" would have input. The minutes were amended to include wording where Rahaim stated that, even as the community at large would have input, the neighborhoods affected by planning would be given greater weight in the process. After this the minutes were approved as amended.

Paul Conroy represented the Nominating Committee (Conroy, D. Bisho, and G. Linn) announcing the proposed officers for 2011-12: President Matt Chamberlain, Vice President George Wooding, Treasurer Carolyn Squeri, Secretary Blue Mudbharry, and Parliamentarian Roger Ritter. The nominations were approved unanimously.

Wooding discussed the agenda, centering on an appearance by the Mayor to officiate the installation of officers and to pose for a photo with the current and past officers to mimic a photo of a 1937 meeting between the WOTPCC offices and then-mayor Angelo Rossi.

Shortly thereafter, Mayor Lee arrived, and officiated over the "swearing in" of the new officers, after which he addressed the audience and took questions.

In his remarks, Lee touched on the fact that he is the first interim mayor since Dianne Feinstein (following the Moscone-Milk assassinations). A long-time SF government employee, Lee has served under 4 mayors in his 22 year career spanning 5 different departments, he is still learning so much about the city as he is now involved in all aspects of the city operations.

He recapped his performance to date with by citing the 5 priorities that he has been focusing on: Keeping the City Safe; (hiring a new Police Chief); Working to reap the economic benefits of the America's Cup Yacht Races (bringing jobs and tourism); Supporting and implementing the SF "Local Hire Ordinance" that was instituted; working on the crafting of a "Consensus-based Pension Reform Plan" (that would end job-spiking, while raising employee contributions); and addressing Street Maintenance with the $248M Street Improvement Bond which will be on the ballot in November. In discussing the Bond measure, he spoke of the poor condition of the streets citywide as a result of "deferred" maintenance, and the need to implement the bond just to keep things status quo. He went on to state that the bond measure would not result in an increase in property taxes. (DPW Director Ed Riskin discussed the concept of "geographic equity" on how the bond money would be spread out equally in all sections of the city when asked in Q and A of which specific streets would be targeted.)

In a short question session the Mayor fielded questions on: 1). Whether he will support the initiative to require competitive bidding for the SF Garbage Collection Operation (the Mayor said he feels that things are working well now, so he sees no need to change the current operation); 2). The concepts of creating "parklets" that take away parking spaces in areas that desperately need them; and 3). Is he going to jump into the race for Mayor? On that note, he reasoned that he doesn't regard himself as a "politician" and that his is focused on running the city and achieving what he set out to do, and that the process of campaigning would take away from the time he is devoting to the job. (But he didn't say specifically, no, he is not running.) He did laugh when asked if he would support a "write-in" campaign on the ballot. (Interestingly enough, audience members included mayoral candidates Tony Hall, Joanna Rees and Dennis Herrera—probably very interested in what Lee is going to do…)

Following his remarks, the 1937 "redux" photo was taken. The official business ended with the delegates discussing a motion to officially support (as the WOTPCC) the initiative put forth by Supervisors Mirkarimi, Mar, Avalos and Campos to oppose the "privatization" of Park and Recreation facilities within the city. With input from both sides, of the issue, it was decided to work via email, and to craft a ballot statement that can be supported by individuals and individual Neighborhood associations, but not as the WOTPCC as a whole.

With that, President Wooding adjourned the meeting. Summer recess is upon the WOTPCC and new-President Chamberlain will convene the next meeting on September 26th at 7:30 PM in the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

July-August 2011

June 2011 MeetingPlanning Directer John Rahaiem

Planning, the Housing Element and another Supervisor/Mayoral Candidate visit highlighted the May 23 meeting of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council, held at the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

Photo: Planning Director John Rahiem

WOTPCC President George Wooding called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM with about 30 people in the audience and an agenda which would stretch the meeting until 9 PM. After the roll call of member organizations, and the approval of the minutes from last month, Treasurer Carolyn Squeri followed with her report stating the dollars in the account and reminding the organizations to file their IRS form 990 to stay in compliance, as it is now an annual requirement.

Committee reports followed as Avrum Shepard (Transportation), George Wooding (Public Health and Open Space), Matt Chamberlain (Planning and Supervisor John AvalosLand Use) and Dave Bisho, representing the Nominating Committee, gave updates.

Shepard detailed MUNI's disagreement with the State Transportation Board, requiring MUNI to improve in safety; MUNI feels no improvement is necessary.

Wooding reported on the issues with the concession bid at Stow Lake where the incumbent operator (for 67 years) has been outbid by a new bidder in a problematic bid practice where allegations of wrong doing have been reported. These allegations resulted in lobbyist and political guru Alex Tourk resigning from affiliation with DA George Gascon's campaign for election. Wooding also detailed the situation at the Arboretum where the admission fees have not nearly approached the levels that were predicted when implemented. The Board of Supervisors recently voted to keep the entrance fees in place. In the Public Health sector, Wooding reported that things at Laguna Honda were basically unchanged, with the exception of ongoing problems with neighbors who are complaining about the excessive noise generated by the air conditioning units in the new portion of the hospital. Photo: Supervisor John Avalos

Matt Chamberlain's report on planning issues continued with the main emphasis being on five topics that have been reviewed by the WOTPCC in the past: urban wind generation (on which a policy declaration has been prepared); cellular antennae (no policy yet); the AT&T boxes that were discussed last month; the Parkmerced Special Use District; and the Housing Element.

As to the Housing Element, Chamberlain believes that the Supervisors will vote to approve it, probably by an 8-3 count, or no vote will be held and it will automatically go into effect on June 22nd. Dave Bisho informed the attendees that his is part of a group that sued to stop the 2004 Housing Element. The case took 5 years and the arguments against the HE were upheld. The group is prepared to sue again over the 3rd draft of the 2009 HE. – more on the HE below.

Bisho also spoke as head of the Nominating Committee. The slate as proposed by the Nominating Committee for the 2012 WOTPCC is: President – Matt Chamberlain; VP – George Wooding; Treasurer – Carolyn Squeri; Secretary – Blue Mudbhary. The Parliamentarian (Avrum Shepard) serves at the request of the President. The floor is open to other nominations up to and including next month's meeting prior to the vote for the new term, which takes effect with the September meeting.

SF Planning Chief John Rahaim was the first speaker and he opened the floor up for discussion on issues involving the proposed 3rd draft of the Housing Element. Rahaim answered each question courteously while maintaining his view that the HE is a planning guide and not a policy, and not one that is a zoning change to the RH1 and RH2 designations. He explained the rationale that zoning can only be changed by the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission. Questions centered around the definition of height and bulk density guidelines for projects in RH1 neighborhoods, and the importance of preserving the neighborhood ambiance, and not allowing a property owner to purchase an existing home, gut the interior and build a non-single family structure like a tri-plex, etc. Rahaim expressed surprise and disagreed with people concerned and upset about maps (from ABAG – Association of Bay Area Governments) showing overviews of infill projects expected to be zoned for the Westside. Overall, he made his case for the 3rd draft of the HE and the changes from the 2nd draft. For many in the audience, they seem resigned to agree to disagree.

Rahaim reiterated that the purpose of the Planning Department is to give everyone involved the best advice and information on planning for the city as a whole, not just for neighborhood activists or the political will of the day.

The final speaker of he evening was District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, a resident of the Excelsior who is also running for Mayor. The candidate spoke about the makeup of the district (67% single family homes) and his involvement as he has two children in the SF public schools. (His wife is also a teacher at a SF school.) During his talk he touched on his achievements as a Supervisor on legislation he has sponsored, as well as the challenges of the Park and Rec department, the ongoing battle with graffiti, the lack of real "transit first transit" in his district, and the need to bring people and institutions together for the betterment of the city.

The supervisor answered questions ranging from reinstituting SF Police Dept. Academy classes, to Pension Reform (supports it), the Housing Element (will probably vote for it, as he feels the process is in place to maintain the characteristics of each neighborhood), and some lively questions on how non-profit dollars are allocated from City Hall to the non-profit service providers within the City and County of SF.

After the presentations, the speakers and the attendees spent the better part of the next hour having smaller discussions on the topics in small groups and one-on-ones.

Next meeting: June 27th at the Forest Hills clubhouse at 7:30 PM.

June 2011

Board of Supervisors President, David ChiuPlanning, traffic congestion, AT&T above-ground boxes and a Supervisor/Mayoral Candidate visit highlighted a well-attended and boisterous session at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on April 25.

WOTPCC President George Wooding called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM with about 40 people in the audience at the Forest Hills Clubhouse and a full agenda, which would stretch the meeting until nearly 10 PM. After the roll call of member organizations, a vote was called to re-admit neighborhood organization “Forest Knolls” to the WOTPCC. A vote was subsequently taken and the organization was admitted by a unanimous vote.

Milo Hanke, past president of SF Beautiful, made a short presentation about proposed utility box installations by AT&T on public land and sidewalks, in which his group constructed a full-sized model of an AT&T utility box. AT&T is trying to install over 700 of the large (approx. 4’x3’x5’) cabinets on sidewalks, etc., circumventing the regulations that require them to place the vaults either on private land or underground. More info can be found at

Committee reports were then given by Avrum Shepard (Transportation), George Wooding (Public Health), Gus Guibert (Open Space) and Matt Chamberlain (Planning and Land Use). Shepard has written a report on the WOTPCC website highlighting SF Parking (our meter rates are the 2nd highest in the U.S., while fines for overtime parking are the highest in the country), MUNI, America’s Cup Parking, Smart Streets/Smart Muni, Hayes Street 2-way traffic and Bicycle use planning. Check it out. WOTPCC President George Wooding brought the audience up to date on the continuing issues at Laguna Honda Hospital, the latest being that it appears that the facility is moving towards use as a 90-day short term center for patients, with less space for the long-term senior resident patients. Wooding also informed the group of the continued planning efforts for the Westside Mayoral Candidate event in late September/early October at the SOTA (School of the Arts) theatre. More details will be forthcoming. Guibert reported on a proposed “Dog washing station” in Stern Grove, to be operated on the weekends from 10-5. Obviously, dog owners love the idea while opponents cite it as another example of the privatization of the parks, and that it’s good for the dogs… He also noted that a merger between the Neighborhood Parks Council and the Parks Trust Foundation is in the works.

Matt Chamberlain’s report on planning issues warmed the audience up for speakers yet to come. He spoke on the draft policy on Residential Urban Power Generation (Windmills) that the WOTPCC Land Use Committee has been working on. It is now complete and ready to be reviewed and voted upon by the various neighborhood associations prior to being sent on downtown. Chamberlain also updated the crowd on the other items that the Land Use Committee is working on: A policy on Cellular (RF) antennas in SF; Consideration of a Parkmerced Special Use District (PMSUD) and the problems with the 2009 Housing Element drafts 2 and 3.

This set the tone for he evening as the next speakers, Peter Albert, of the SFMTA, and Michael Yarne, from the Mayor’s office of economic development, spent time presenting information about both the 19th Avenue Corridor project study and the Parkmerced Development Project and Developers’ Agreement with the city.

Albert’s presentation spoke on the fact that the traffic congestion in the 19th Avenue Corridor has increased by over 370% from 1965 to 2005, at a time when San Francisco’s population has not deviated 5%, making the case for major changes to battle the increased congestion and gridlock that will be evident even without any changes in density on the Westside of the city. Through a series of slides, Albert showed the evaluations of traffic congestion and intersection failure using designations of “Tier 1 to Tier 5.” The Tier 5 plan, based on planning developed jointly to encompass the traffic impact of the Parkmerced project would reroute Muni off of 19th Avenue, with grade separations built to eliminate traffic being stopped by the rail system, and include a “spur” that would/could eventually link MUNI to the Daly City BART station.

A focal point of the discussion was the large volume of students at SFSU that use MUNI and enter/exit at the Holloway and Winston stops. These are the highest traffic stops for MUNI and cause severe safety issues, as the railway location requires the pedestrians to cross 19th Avenue to the West when going to Stonestown Galleria, Parkmerced or SFSU.

Albert’s Tier 5 study shows many proposed changes to 19th Avenue and gives a snapshot of possible traffic congestion reduction with all of the proposed changes implemented. Much of the funding is planned to be contributed by the Parkmerced Development team of Stellar Management and Fortress Investments. The number is upward of $200 Million for infrastructure improvements.

Several members of the audience raised questions about the impact of the Tier 5 planning for adjacent neighborhoods to the north and east. Albert explained that planners had found virtually no impact to the area to the north along Sloat Blvd.

The next speaker, Michael Yarne, went over some of the details of the Development Agreement between the City and the Parkmerced Development Companies. A major point is that the agreed- upon conditions stay with the land, even if the current owners sell or otherwise drop from the project. Yarne went into detail about the “rent controlled” replacement units provisions that are included in the document, explaining that while they meet current guidelines, there is no guarantee that they can be 100% upheld as this part of the agreement has no historical case law precedent to draw upon.

District 7 Supervisor, Sean Elsbernd, addressed the crowd and fielded questions about anything the group wanted to discuss. A few questions about the number of units of “affordable housing” built during the last 7-8 years (deemed to be less than 20) were the main topic of the short Q&A.

David Chiu, current President of the Board of Supervisors, and Mayoral Candidate, was the final speaker of the evening. Chiu started with some personal history of his parents immigrating from Taiwan, and his eventual journey to San Francisco. He spoke about wanting to give back to the community being the catalyst to running for public office. During his remarks, Chiu touched on the importance of maintaining the qualities of SF’s neighborhoods while planning for growth; getting the budget under control; and working with businesses to create a diverse economy.

Fielding questions from the attendees, the Mayoral candidate got a loud and clear message about the frustration of the neighborhood groups being ignored and (worse) stripped of their input and power by the Planning Commission through the adopted “Draft 3” of the 2009 Housing Element. A passionate dialogue between WOTPCC Treasurer Carolyn Squeri and Chiu highlighted the topic and forced Chiu to conclude that the homeowners on the Westside are very upset with the actions of the Planning Commission, and that he needs to review the differences between Draft 2 and Draft 3 of the Housing Element to get up to speed on the problems with the document. Judge Quentin Kopp also questioned the candidate about his opinion on the question of having a garbage company bid process within SF, and was stymied in his efforts to have a simple “Yes or No” response to his questions.

After the presentations, the speakers and the attendees spent the better part of the next hour having smaller discussions on the topics in small groups and one-on-ones.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC will be Mondat, May 23 at the Forest Hill Clubhouse, 381 Magellan Avenue at 7:30 PM.

May 2011

Three "H's" – High Speed Rail, Housing Element, and (Dennis) HerreraQuentin Kopp addresses the crowdwere the main topics of discussion, as well as a spirited Q&A session at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on March 28.

WOTPCC President George Wooding called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM with about 30 people in the audience at the Forest Hills Clubhouse, but the crowd increased as the night wore on. After the roll call of member organizations, a vote was taken to admit a new neighborhood organization, The Woods, to the WOTPCC. A vote was subsequently taken and the organization was admitted by a unanimous vote.

Committee reports were given by Avrum Shepard (Transportation), Gus Guibert (Open Space) and Matt Chamberlain (Planning and Land Use). Shepard offered that not much was new to report, other than Muni was reporting that they were still in the red with parking revenues showing a shortfall of $7M, and overtime being vastly over budget. For the year, Muni is looking at a possible $20M shortfall. It was reported that Muni is, by far the city department with the largest OT costs and shortfall. Guibert followed with a very short report on Open Space, then WOTPCC President George Wooding brought the audience up to date on the continuing management problems at Laguna Honda Hospital, the latest being staffing issues, as well as the continuing efforts of former staff doctors Kerr and Rivera to bring light to the problems at the facility.

Matt Chamberlain's report on the Housing Element really set the tone for the evening as he went into detail about the changes made in the newest Housing Element document. Revisions have been made in the draft document between last summer and now that impact the definition of what is allowable in RH-1 and RH-2 neighborhoods. The basic change is in language that shifts of concept of what is allowable to be build away from density and towards bulk. For example, as long as the footprint of building structures is not wider and deeper, and the height falls under the max allowable height for the neighborhood, there is no visible method to regulate the number of people in the building, thus allowing for a potentially much higher density within the current neighborhoods, without changing the zoning of RH1 and RH2 parcels.

A trio of speakers then held the attention of the crowd. Neighborhood icon, former Supervisor, State Senator and Retired Judge Quentin Kopp led a discussion updating the group about the current status of the California High Speed Rail (HSR) project, and why it is vitally important as the population of California continues to swell, to an estimated 30 million people by 2020. With the impossibility of building (or expanding) highways and airports to handle the expected increase in the amount of people traveling in California, the completion of the HSR is critical to moving people quickly between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Kopp detailed the timeline of the first phase that is planned for the Central Valley, and how it will eventually connect to Los Angeles and San Diego. By building the long run as the first phase, it allows the HSR authority and managers to adequately test the trains on a longer run to ensure compliance with the expected performance.

When asked about the eventual cost of going from SF to LA on the "bullet" Kopp estimated that the fare would be in the range of $100 for a one-way ticket. He used the rising costs of fuel as an example of why air travel and automobile travel costs will continue to rise to the extent that the proposed rail costs will be less expensive than the low cost alternatives we have today.

Current City Attorney and Mayoral Candidate Dennis Herrera the addressed the room, speaking on the successes of the City Attorney's office over the nine years that he has served as the head of San Francisco's in-house legal staff. He focused on the areas of Public Safety, Fiscal Accountability, working to support Small Businesses, and Code Enforcement as the four major tenants of his department. He cited the work that his department has done in combating gang violence and getting injunctions against gang members (most of whom are not from the City and County of SF), and the subsequent drop in gang-related crimes.

Herrera also detailed his code enforcement team that has brought fines and penalties against code violators, with the fines and monies collect going back to SF; the concept of getting value for the tax dollars that are contributed to the city coffers; and the details on how his department has reduced costs and tried to be accessible and open to the public.

The Mayoral candidate spoke about his desire to be Mayor and fielded a large number of questions from the audience, with many focusing on the zoning of neighborhoods, the changes to the Housing Element document and his opinion on important topics in the city.

The final speaker of the evening was Planning Commissioner Mike Antonini. The Commissioner spoke on his views of the Housing Element document, and that even though he personally disagreed with many portions of the agreement, he felt that it was a much better document that what was previously worked on and that it serves as a flexible guideline on what is allowable. Antonini agreed with the sentiment of the crowd that he is not in favor of having unbridled density in the neighborhoods, and that the flavor of the current neighborhoods should be maintained, while admitting that he did vote to approve the recently submitted Housing Element document, even with its controversial language regarding RH-1 and RH-2 parcels.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd took the floor and opened the discussion to take questions and hear concerns about the Board Of Supervisors March 29 deliberation and vote on the Environmental Impact Report for the Parkmerced project. Most questioned focused on the validity and legality of any negotiated Development Agreement, and the question of the terms of the agreement being upheld through (possible) changes in ownership in the future of the 30+ year project. Elsbernd stated that, as regards to the portions of the yet to be finalized agreement that deal with land use, the developer/city covenants would be upheld over the term of the agreement regardless of the ownership of the parcel. He also explained that it is not clear that the negotiated issues of maintaining a portion of rent-controlled units, or the ratio of owned versus rented units, is transferable between ownership and that these questions would likely be answered by the courts. When asked if a proposed agreement would have a component (up to 50% of new units) of units to be sold (e.g. condominiums) to homeowners versus renters, the Supervisor replied that he believed that would be the case, but not 50% of the cumulative total of new and current units.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC is on Monday, April 25th at 7:30 in the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

April 2011

Budgets, Golden Gate Park, Pensions, a new Supervisor and a little larceny were the topics as the West of Twin Peaks Central Council closed the ledger on February in their monthly meeting on February 28th.

When WOTPCC President George Wooding called the meeting to order about thirty people had arrived to fill the seats at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. After the Treasurer's report, Elliot Wagner of Dimitra's Spa confirmed to the group that the Bank of America on West Portal Avenue had indeed been robbed on Saturday afternoon, and that no new information was available. As of Monday evening, nothing had been posted on the Taraval Police Station website. In addition, the Taraval Station has a new Captain. Captain Curtis Lum has taken over from Captain Sanford, who retired in mid-February. It is expected that Lum will address the WOTPCC in the near future.

Matt Chamberlain spoke about four topics where he is drafting policies and reports on behalf of the Council. He is currently working on policies relating to Residential Urban Power Generation (the windmill issue), Cellular Antennas on Power poles, a WOTPCC policy statement on the recently approved EIR for the Parkmerced Special Use District, and a follow up statement for the soon to be approved 2009 Housing Element document, of which a big concern is the ratio of owned homes versus rentals, where rental units numbers are dramatically greater than home and condo units owned by individuals. The Planning Commission is slated to meet on the Housing Element on March 24th.

Avrum Shepard followed with transportation information that MUNI is reporting that they could have a shortfall of up to $1.600,000,000 over the next 20 years. In an effort to increase revenue the agency is looking at several fees and taxes such as a Vehicle Impact Mitigation Fee for all cars; a parcel tax on homeowners; and possibly increased costs in off-street parking fees or permits.

Gus Guibert, of the Open Space Committee, spoke about the myriad of projects planned for the Westside, including the follow up on the options being reviewed for locating the Wastewater Treatment Plant (GGPark is still an option), and the Beach Chalet playing field project. The concept of public open space was also covered by Walter Kaplan in a short discussion about the plans that the DPW has for current open space in the Laguna Honda/Clarendon reservoir area. There is a major disagreement with DPW over the concept of what open, public space is and does the DPW have the right to use it anyway it sees fit.

After that, what could be better than a report on the Sacramento budget debates, by State Senator (and SF Mayoral Candidate) Leland Yee. Yee explained some of the processes that the Sacramento politicos are working on to help solve the budget crisis, and asked for support on the tax extension that is being proposed by the governor and the legislature. He also discussed the need for reforming how we fund California schools and, when asked, admitted that the current plan to extend taxes for years, and cut $12 B out of the budget will not permanently solve California's expense/revenue shortfall. Council President Wooding asked Yee about why he is running for Mayor and he explained that he is a San Franciscan (since 3 years old) and he wants to help fix what's wrong with the city and return it to the San Francisco that it can be.

Newly elected District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener greeted the crowd and discussed the issues that he sees in the city, including their repair and maintenance of the crumbling streets and that the repair budgets could be "zeroed" out again this year. Wiener stressed the change in atmosphere at City Hall since the election and explained that Mayor Lee is working well with the supervisors. He also answered questions about several pieces of legislation he is working on, including the "registration" of dogs in the public parks to regulate the possible large influx of dog owners and dog walking services if the GGNRA bans dogs from its parkland.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd addressed questions next and spoke about his work to reform the pension obligations of the city. He stressed that San Francisco has and will always honor the obligations that were promised to its pension holders, but added that the costs are sometimes detrimental to the General Fund. He explained that officials from both sides are having "meet and confer" types of discussions to try and come to compromises.

He also explained that it is probable that Jeff Adachi will move forward with a ballot measure to again address the pension situation, but that Adachi would probably "stand down" if significant progress was made through the current discussions. If the progress is not perceived as significant the ballot measure will probably move forward.

The concept of having Golden Gate Park designated as a Local Historic District was brought forth and discussed by Alan Martinez of the Historic Preservation Commission. A flier was distributed explaining that "Historic" status wouldn't mean that the Park or Buildings could not be changed, but that any proposed change would have to be examined by the Commission to evaluate if the historic features of the park were being preserved and not damaged.

In the final action of the evening, Karen Wood of the Miraloma Park Improvement Committee discussed a resolution asking the WOTPCC to endorse the MPIC's resolutions to have the new CVS Pharmacy at 701 Portola Avenue (current site of the Miraloma Gas Station) ban selling packaged alcohol, and stay open until 11 PM. (See the related article on Page 1). A representative from the CVS group was in attendance and will be speaking to the WOTPCC delegates in the March meeting.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC is on Monday, March 28thst at 7:30 PM in the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

March 2011


New Supervisors, resolutions on Recreation and Park actions and general information were the crux of the agenda at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council meeting on January 24th.

When WOTPCC President George Wooding called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM, over thirty people had arrived to fill the seats at the Forest Hills Clubhouse. A roll call of delegates followed and then the approval of the December minutes and the Treasurer’s report. (Photo Supervisor Mark Farrell-Dist. 2 and Supervisor Malia Cohen-Dist. 10)

In committee reporting, Matt Chamberlain (Planning and Land Use) reported that he had been in a meeting earlier in the day with officials from the MTA and Parkmerced concerning the 19th Avenue corridor report and the traffic impact. After the discussions at the meeting he told the group that he felt the MTA planner had a very good grasp of the potential impact of a possible increase of 6000-9000 units over the next twenty years and it appears that the MTA seems to have their act together as related to the planning. There were 4-6 key points in the meeting that Chamberlain will have distributed to the group in the near future. He said there are several items that the Planning Committee is still following, such as the proposed changes to the Discretionary Review process, and changes to the CEQA guidelines that were proposed by former Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier.

Avrum Shepard next reported on issues with the traffic patterns at St. Francis Circle causing long delays on Portola as it approaches Sloat, and the MTA will be looking into the problem. He also informed the group of changes in parking ticketing procedures to issue more tickets as a way to increase revenue for the city, and that more people have been towed on West Portal Avenue.

Council President Wooding informed the crowd that all Laguna Honda patients have been moved into the new portion of the hospital, but that HVAC equipment problems are causing excessive noise for neighbors located in close proximity to the facility.

Mark Farrell (District 2) and Malia Cohen (District 10), two of the four newly-elected supervisors, then took turns speaking to the meeting attendees. It should be noted that Supervisors Farrell and Cohen were not in the room at the same time in accordance with limitations on public attendance by the majority (2 of 3) of a committee. In addition, District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd also did not attend the meeting for the same reason. Both supervisors provided their background information; both are native San Franciscans who weathered difficult elections and were elected through the “ranked choice” system of electing candidates. Farrell, with a solid financial background, is about getting the city’s financial house in order, working to get pensions under control, and to focus on addressing the “quality of life” issues that face everyone in the city. Cohen followed Farrell, also as a native San Franciscan who attended Lakeshore Elementary, Aptos Middle School and Lowell High School. She listed her priorities as keeping District 10 (Bayview/Potrero Hill/ Visitation Valley) residents “working, healthy and safe.”

Both legislators made references to the interim Mayor Ed Lee, as someone who is easy to work with and has an immense knowledge of how departments in the city operate. They also addressed questions about homeownership, and both expressed being proponents of “homeowners’ rights” to the approval of the attendees.

Following the completion of Q&A for Cohen, the discussion for the evening turned to the Recreation and Park Department. Denis Mosfigian addressed the crowd on the issues concerning the “privatizing” of JP Murphy and other parks in the city. Discussion focused on the degree of “privatization” and the concerns on how the RPD handles the “notification” process with the public.

A letter was read to the attendees from Supervisor Elsbernd in which he addressed two proposed resolutions prepared by the WOTPCC and the current state of affairs at the RPD. He detailed budget issues at the RPD, as their budget was cut by over $12.1 M in 2009-10 AND they have lost over $36 M in funding from the general fund over the last five years combined. As a result, the RPD is embarking on a process of looking at potential community partners with like-minded missions, such as the Boys and Girls’ Clubs, to lease out the clubhouses and have them utilized. His letter also stated that it is his belief that it is better to do this than to have the clubhouses continue to be vacant and possible safety hazards.

It is important to note that the Parks in question, such as JP Murphy Park, remain open for use by the residents. The main issue is the clubhouses, many of which were renovated, but remain closed due to a lack of funding for Recreation Supervisors to staff them. Many have been closed for years; the ones that were open were closed after the RPD laid off the remaining Recreation Supervisors last year.

Following the discussion, two resolutions were discussed. The first was written to address the WOTPCC membership’s concern with the need forImproved Notification and Neighborhood Involvement in SF RPD Clubhouse Planning.” Authored by Matt Chamberlain, it was discussed, and amendments were made which were then voted on, passing 12-0. The second resolution, addressing the Privatization of the JP Murphy Park Clubhouse drafted by George Wooding, was also discussed and amended. Following further discussion it was also approved unanimously.

The next meeting of the WOTPCC is on Monday, February 21st at 7:30 in the Forest Hills Clubhouse.

February 2011