2013 Endorsements

Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:21:00 am

On Thursday, September 19, San Francisco for Democracy and its PACs met to formulate our endorsements for the November 5 local election.  The results were:

District 4 supervisor: no endorsement
Assessor-Recorder: Carmen Chu
City Attorrney: Dennis Herrera
Treasurer: Jose Cisneros

Prop A: Endorsed
Prop B: Endorsed
Prob C: Endorsed
Prob D: Endorsed

See the forum for ballot measure analysis.



  • Why I'm Voting Yes on Props B & C
    by Alec Bash, Mon Nov 4, 2013 7:04:37 am
    It's hard to distinguish Rhetoric vs. Reality, Fact and Fiction, for Propositions B & C. The reality, stripped of campaign rhetoric, follows. The Facts * The 8 Washington Plan proposes 134 market rate housing units over retail, compresses a private recreational club now occupying 80% of the site, adds 30,000sf of public parks & public access areas, and undergrounds a surface parking lot. * Re-opens two streets as walkways and parks to the waterfront. Jackson & Pacific are now blocked by a freeway-era private tennis & swim club (now Bay Club at the Gateway) from reaching The Embarcadero. * Transforms 3 blocks along The Embarcadero with parks, sidewalk cafes, shops & restaurant, replacing the club's 3-block long fence and a Port parking lot. * The Port trades its 28,000sf parking lot for 30,000sf of new public parks & open space, built & maintained by the developer at no cost to City or Port--leased from the Port and approved by the State Lands Commission as required public access lands. * 134 market rate condos will spin off $11M to the City to directly fund 34 affordable housing units, and potentially 50-55 affordable units with leveraging. If built on-site, the City ordinance would have required 16 affordable units. * 200-space underground public parking garage replaces on-site parking & parking already lost or soon to be lost in the Ferry Building waterfront area. It includes car share & 81 public bicycle parking spaces w/lockers & showers. * 250 construction jobs & 140 permanent jobs, with emphasis on union jobs & local hires. * Pays $7M annually to the City & Port, and $350M during the term of the 66-year lease per the City Controller. * Heights along The Embarcadero are 5-6 story housing over retail in south block, 1-2 stories in middle block, and a park in north block. * Heights along Drumm St are the 8-12 story building, next to the 22-25 story Golden Gateway apartments and across from the 30-45 story Embarcadero Center, and 1-2 stories and open space next to Golden Gateway Condos. * The Plan started with 8-story buildings all within the 84' height limit. Heights were lowered on The Embarcadero and raised on Drumm St (requiring a height limit increase from 84' to 92-136') after a 1-year Planning Department urban design analysis that, based on SF General Plan's Urban Design Plan Policies, recommended such changes so as to taper down from Downtown and tall buildings towards the water. * The Plan's average height along all its street frontages is 37'. * Prop B is for the same project already approved by the Port Commission, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors (twice) and State Lands Commission. * San Francisco Waterfront Partners--the locally based developers headquartered at Pier 1—historically renovated Piers 1 ½, 3 & 5, across from 8 Washington, exceeded all expectations, and are committed waterfront stakeholders. Rhetoric vs. Reality - 8 Washington is: 1) Not a wall on the Waterfront. A block of 5-6 story buildings, a block of 1-2 story buildings, and two parks along The Embarcadero are not a wall. 2) Not taller along The Embarcadero than the old 70' freeway. The front building on The Embarcadero has a 54-70' height. The taller 92-136' Drumm St. building is set back 150-220' from The Embarcadero. 3) Not setting a precedent for the rest of the waterfront. - the site is unique, next to Downtown's much taller buildings - most of the site is required to be well below the height limits, with 51% only 1-2 stories or open space - Planning specifically called for no change in any of the 40' waterfront height limits. - The SF General Plan's Urban Design Plan has height guidelines of 161' for this site, compared with 40' for the rest of the northern waterfront. 4) Not privatizing the waterfront. It opens up streets and provides 30,000sf of public parks/public access with 6,000sf of sidewalk cafes alongside to activate this space, while rebuilding a 35,000sf swim & fitness center for the Bay Club. 5) Not raising rents and housing costs for the rest of us. Its market rate housing and $11M payment to the City's affordable housing fund helps, not hurts. 6) Not risking a sewage spill. The project provides an easement and facilitates the City's upgrading its sewer facilities under an agreement with the SF PUC to protect existing and future sewer infrastructure. 7) Not the developer trying to do ballot box zoning. That's the last thing they wanted. Check out SPUR’s analysis at http://www.spur.org/publications/library/voter-guide/november-2013-voter-guide. Opponents qualified Prop C for the ballot which asks only if voters supported the building height limit increase. The developer only responded with Prop B so voters could vote on the same project approved by the Board of Supervisors including its height limit. Prop B's offers only a more informed electorate. The City's Voter Information Pamphlet has full information on the project itself, its site plan, architectural drawings and EIR mitigation monitoring program. Why have I been volunteering? Because I care deeply about our waterfront. I've followed the project for 8 years as an interested citizen on the Port's Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group. Before retiring in 2001, I was the Port's Project Manager for the Ferry Building Renovation & the Downtown Ferry Terminal, and helped plan Piers 1-3-5, the Port's open space network and the Embarcadero Historic District. Also, check out the San Francisco Chronicle architectural critic John King’s analysis at http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/place/article/Cutting-through-the-rhetoric-about-8-Washington-4941002.php.


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