Posts Tagged ‘bond’

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Ask People Who Use the Golden Gate Park Panhandle Playground to See If It’s Really “Failing”

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Per this bit on SocketSite, SFGov thinks it has 50 “failing” playgrounds. Does that means that all of them get an “F” grade, that they’re all basically worthless?

For instance, let’s take a look at the Panhandle Playground. It has 4.5 Yelp stars. Isn’t that a pretty high rating for a “failing” anything?

If you polled people who actually use the place, the grade you’d come up with is “A,” or possibly “A-,” something in that area.

I think what SFGov / RPD / all those people with clipboards from that big non-profit what’s run by the wealthy, white and wizened actually mean is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t brand-new. What they mean is that it hasn’t kept up with the latest trends in playgroundom the past decade or so due to the fact that it hasn’t been replaced the past decade.

In other words, what they’re saying is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t “world-class.”

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, there were more than 2.5 pieces of litter per square meter or whatever on the day that you dropped by with your clipboards? OK, so don’t you mean that the RPD is failing then?

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, you’re concerned about the health effects of “x.” You know, I don’t think you want to go there, Parks Alliance. Cause then you’d have to look at the other stuff RPD is doing lately, like, say, the Beach Chalet soccer fields. Now I’ll tell you, I’m 90%+ sure that all the things people are worried about with the new artificial turf aren’t going to turn out to be a problem, but that’s not an absolutely assurance. You could say the same for whatever it is that makes you say that four dozen playgrounds in SF are “failing.”

You know, I could take my clipboard and go up to somebody’s 2004 Honda Accord with low miles and I could say, “Oh, no sat nav – minus five points. And oh, dirty windshield – minus three points. And oh…” And then I could put the car on my list of “failing” commuter vehicles, even though the person who drives it every day M-F thinks it’s a great ride and even though it passes its smog test every year or two and even though it starts up every time without fail. Who, oh who will appoint me chairman of the “Failing Hondas Task Force?”

(Oh hey, you know what RPD is disappointed about? It’s bummed out that the Maude Flanderses and the Reverend Lovejoy’s Wifes of the 94117 haven’t formed something like the Friends of the Panhandle Playground to raise $800k or so to give to RPD, you know, the way things worked with Presidio Heights and Mountain Lake. Oh well. Sorry RPD.)

In any event, a big bag of money fell from the sky and SFGov is going to spend it the way it wants. IMO, SFGov spends too much time focusing on the aesthetic concerns of millionaires who appoint themselves to the boards of the non-profits they create.

IMO.

So, go for it, send a reporter over to the Panhandle to check things out, to see why SFGov wants to spend months and months tearing out a perfectly good playground, to see why SFGov wants to scrap a Honda Accord with low miles, and a dirty windshield…

Free Kool-Aid, after the jump, drink up, it’s free, well, not really, but you’re going to end up paying for it anyway, so might as well.

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Will This Fall’s Half-Billion Transit Bond Allow Your Landlord to Raise Your Rent, Costing You Thousands? – “Pass-Throughs”

Friday, August 1st, 2014

I don’t know.

But check this out:

“Ordinance calling and providing for a special election to be held in the City and County of San Francisco on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, for the purpose of submitting to San Francisco voters a proposition to incur the following bonded debt of the City and County: $500,000,000 to finance the construction, acquisition, and improvement of certain transportation and transit related improvements, and related costs necessary or convenient for the foregoing purposes; authorizing landlords to pass-through 50% of  the resulting property tax increase to residential tenants under Administrative Code Chapter 37…”

All right kids – you do the math. Start with $850,000,000 and divide that up among the denizens of the 415 / 628.

I don’t know how to do that but when I tried, I came up with a $30 a month rent increase for you, Gentle Reader, for the next 7-10 years.

Would the average landlord take the trouble to do a pass-through? IDK. I’m thinking the typical rent-controlled renter in SF doesn’t have to deal with pass-throughs currently. But maybe this big old honking bond would be the trigger for a wave of passthroughs?

Here’s what former SFGov employee Howard Wong has to say:

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The SFMTA wants more money, certainly. But the question is what will the SFMTA do for us in order to get the money, right? Otherwise, we’re just shoveling more coal into a broken-down machine. Why not use the bond as a carrot to get the SFMTA to reform?

Perhaps our SFMTA doesn’t deserve this bond?

Anyway, if I were promoting this bond, I’d figure out what the odds are that landlords would pass through 50% of the burden and also how much rents would be increased, on average, and for how long. And then I’d say, well this is what the SFMTA is going to do with your money and this is how much it will cost you, the renter, or you, the owner.

Is this massive transit bond a good idea?

I don’t know.

Amazingly, the Corrupt SFMTA Gives the SFBC Money to Say that the Corrupt SFMTA Needs More Money

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Republican Sean Walker is financing a ballot proposition this fall and the SFBC is not amused:

Despite an official “Transit-First” policy in San Francisco, biking, walking and taking transit in our city have been historically underfunded…

Uh, riding a bike isn’t actually “transit,” which IRL is “a system of buses, trains, etc. that people use to travel around in a particular city or area.”

This lack of funding and priority, means Muni is too often overcrowded and unreliable…

Or perhaps MUNI is poorly managed? Oh you don’t care because you get hundreds and thousands from the SFMTA each year? Why don’t you disclose that fact before crowing the SFMTA’s party line? Oh, you used to post your tax returns but now you don’t because you’re worried people might actually look at them? OK fine.

…dozens of people are killed just trying to walk across the streets each year.

Not dozens. Too many to be sure but not “dozens.”

…livable streets…

Our streets currently aren’t “liveable?” What does that mean? How Orwellian is your fund-raising “framing” going to get?

…there is a group of San Franciscans who think that there’s actually too much space given to sustainable ways to get around…

Well now, if you give the voters of the 415 / 628 the chance to freeze for five years the amount of money the SFMTA MUNI makes from parking tickets, they just might say “Aye,” right?

Your San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will be working with partners to make sure our transportation system is moving forward

MUNI is a disaster, right? MUNI is not “moving forward.” How much does the SFMTA give the SFBC every year to say stuff like this?

Our Board of Directors voted last week to oppose this “Transit-Last” measure, while supporting two important transportation funding measures on this November’s ballot, which will advance and truly better balance our city’s transportation needs. The first is the Transportation & Road Safety Bond, a $500 million general obligation bond dedicated to transportation capital improvements, including modernizing our transit system and investing in bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Will this allow landlords to up rents in SF? Howard Wong, who is not on the SFMTA payroll, says it will “raise property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

(It’s important to note that this measure will not raise local property taxes, as it only infills expiring debt.)

What does this mean? Is Howard Wong incorrect?

And the second is a charter amendment linking population growth to transportation spending, specifically long-ignored transit & safe streets needs. 

So the corrupt SFMTA gives you money to say that the corrupt SFMTA needs more money?

Here’s the rest of what Howard Wong has to say, FYI:

Arguments against MUNI infrastructure improvement bond

What does the ballot measure do:

Raises property taxes and rents (50% pass-through) to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $350 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $850 million.

Funds “may be allocated” for transit and roads—carte blanche authority for unspecific projects.

If the Bond is rejected by voters, property taxes and rents would be reduced for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

To read the Ordinance’s legal language is to oppose the Bond Measure.

http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/ElectionsArchives/Meeting_Information/BSC/agendas/2014/November/1-B%20Transportation%20Road%20Improvement%20GO.pdf

The Ordinance’s legal language makes no definitive commitment to any specific work:  “Projects to be funded under the proposed Bondmay include but are not limited to the following: 

Then, for eight project types, all eight begin with:  “A portion of the Bond may be allocated to…” 

In financial decisions, never sign a contract when the terms and deliverables are ambiguous.

Throwing billions of dollars at bad Muni projects hasn’t worked. 

Since 2006, Muni has cut service in every neighborhood, decreased annual vehicle revenue miles/ hours, eliminated 6 bus lines, shortened 22 routes, deferred maintenance, increased missed runs/ switchbacks/ late buses, increased fares/ fees/ fines/ meters (1,549,518 parking citations annually)…. Large project cost overruns have cut funds for infrastructure and maintenance.  The Central Subway alone has taken $595 million in state and local funds.  Huge subway cost overruns loom ahead, unveiled by the Central Subway’s cost engineer, whose whistle-blower’s complaint alleges a cooking of the books.

Bond Does Not Restore Muni Service Cuts

Muni has cut neighborhood transit, cross-town routes, night service and route frequency, hurting the low-income, families, disabled, youth and seniors.  …  Eliminated bus lines will not be restored—Lines 4, 7, 15, 20, 26, 34, 89…  Shortened bus routes will not be restored:  Lines 1, 2, 10, 12, 16X, 18, 21, 29, 36, 38, 42, 48, 53, 67, 88, 91, 108…  Muni has been an integrated citywide transit system, interconnecting outlying neighborhoods.  By cutting neighborhood transit, driving is encouraged—then penalized by more fees/ fines/ parking elimination.

Learning From the Past:  SFMTA’s Poor Spending Habits 

·        In 1999, Prop E created the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) with more powers, more General Fund dollars and a 85% on-time performance mandate.  Instead, Muni falsified on-time performance data and paid bonuses to its Director.

·        In 2003, Prop K extended the transportation sales tax and provided a list of projects.  The Central Subway’s listed cost of $647 million escalated to $1.578 billion.  The citywide Transit-Preferential Streets Program and Bus Rapid Network were never implemented.

·        In 2007, Prop A gave SFMTA more funding authority, revenue-bond-authority and even more General Fund dollars.  Instead, work orders sent the new funds to other city departments.

·        In 2011, voters approved a Road Repaving Bond of $248 million, with $181 million in interest payments, for a total debt load of $429 million.  Debt isn’t efficient for maintenance.

·        SFMTA’s budget grew by hundreds of millions of dollars to $978 million.  Number of employees grew by thousands to 4,921.  Salaries have soared.  And riders get service cuts.

Mayor’s Transportation Task Force (TTF) and Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP)

This proposed Bond, a second Bond, future fees and taxes will not meet objectives.  Only 49% of the TTF”s recommended funding goes to Muni.  TTF’s proposed $2.955 billion does not remotely solve Muni’s $25 billion in 20-Year Capital Plan Need.  The proposed TEP continues transit cuts to neighborhoods, shifting service to rapid corridors.  Better planning is needed for a citywide integrated Muni system.  Oppose this Bond Measure.

Sincerely,

Howard Wong, AIA, a founding member of SaveMuni

www.SaveMuni.com

www.SaveNorthBeachVillage.org

Here’s What Tonight’s World Series Viewing Party Will Look Like – But No Alcohol in Civic Center – Vote No on Prop B

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

You’re invited to come to Civic Center tonight to see Game Four of the World Series on a makeshift “Jumbotron.”

See you at 5:07 PM (or earlier, to get a good spot if you want to be able to actually see the action unobstructed.)

It’ll look like this, but probably with more Matt Cain than Timothy Leroy Lincecum on the screen:

Via RubyxCube - click to expand

The SFPD requests (more or less) that you transfer your alcohol to unmarked containers, thusly:

And, oh yes, speaking of the Rec and Park, Remember to Vote No on Proposition B (November 2012), the so-called “Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond”

Why?

Well, because Prop. B is too costly for San Francisco

And also because Reform is Needed at San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department.

Also because area lawyer Philip Alan Ginsburg would consider passage of Prop B (November 2012) an endorsement of how he’s running the RPD.

That’s why.

Now, let’s hear from San Francisco Mayor Ron Conway,* after the jump. (Spoiler: He wants you to go to Chipotle’s and spend your money before you blow town.)

PS: The after party will be in the Mission District – spread the word, bring fireworks.

*Poor Sony. It appears that any television-like contraption bigger than 100 inches now gets the generic term “jumbotron.”

Oh well.

Displays similar to the Jumbotron include:

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Prop B, That Massive $200 Million General Obligation Bond, Has Zero (0) Chance of Winning Next Month – Vote NO

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Check out this recent bit from Will Reisman over at the San Francisco Examiner.

Simply, Prop B of November 2012 is a way to give money to a mismanaged department without any requirement of reform, and without any promise of reform.

Oh well.

Let’s put this household down as a tentative NO on PROP B.

Click to expand

Leave us begin:

“Mark Buell, president of the Recreation and Park Commission, said opposition to the bond is based on personal slights, and not on the content of the measure.”

UH, NO. IT’S BASED ON THE CONTENT.

“The fact of the matter is that there are people who didn’t get what they wanted from the department and they’re coalescing around this measure,” said Buell.

UH, I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE THE WAY RPD HAS BEEN HEADING LATELY.

He said that due to The City’s capital priorities and the upcoming election schedule, another parks bond measure wouldn’t be realistic until 2020.

PERHAPS THE ABOVE STATEMENT ISN’T AS EXTORTIONATE AS “DO EXACTLY WHAT I WANT OR EVERYBODY DIES!!!” BUT THE ABOVE STATEMENT IS A LITTLE EXTORTIONATE, DON”T YOU THINK?

Peskin said the parks bond was originally scheduled for 2014, and could easily be placed on a ballot before 2020.

YEP.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said any criticism against the bond measure would be short-sighted, particularly given the immense needs of the department.

NOPE. WE SHOULD STARVE OUT THIS DEPARTMENT WHILE WE’RE WAITING FOR A NEW DEPARTMENT.

“I think the opposition to this is incredibly cynical and irresponsible, because they are taking the position that, ‘We don’t like Phil Ginsburg, we don’t like some of these operational decisions,” Wiener said.

OH NO, IT’S LOVE THE SINNER, HATE THE SIN. I DON’T THINK ANYBODY HATES PHIL GINSBURG. IT’S JUST THAT PEOPLE DON’T LIKE MOST OF WHAT HE DOES. VOTING FOR PROP B WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE HIM. IN FACT, PROP B _IS_ PHIL GINSBURG, MORE OR LESS.

“‘So therefore kids should continue to play on broken-down playgrounds, people should continue to sit in puddles even when it is dry out because the irrigation systems in these parks are broken, we should continue to have substandard pools.’”

YES! YES YES YES. AND IT’LL BE PHIL GINSBURG’S FAULT.

No AT&T LightSpeed Internet Service Anytime Soon – NIMBYs Win Against City – A Stay from Judge Harold Khan

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

The hard-core NIMBYs at San Francisco Beautiful (our Comcast monopoly’s L’il Buddy) ended up going two for two yesterday in their crusade ensure that dial-up internet service is the best that some San Franciscans can get. That is, they won a stay from Superior Court Judge Harold Khan temporarily blocking the installation of AT&T sidewalk boxes and they’ll have no requirement to post a bond to keep their stay.

This is, of course, despite the fact that the Board of Supervisors recently approved the installation.

Let’s hear the reaction from AT&T Regional Vice President, Marc Blakeman:

“Residents across the City, as well as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, have voiced support for competition and choice when it comes to TV, high speed internet and digital phone service. 

Despite today’s decision to issue a temporary stay, AT&T believes it ultimately will prevail in the litigation and it remains committed to bringing San Francisco a next generation IP network.”

Which, you know, sounds good to me, but I’m not a NIMBY.

So, when you see these existing boxes, which Judge Khan has no control over, what’s your reaction? Do you say, well there’s graffiti on a telephone box or an electricity box or a mail box so we shouldn’t have telephones and we shouldn’t have electricity and we shouldn’t have mail service? I don’t know.

Click to expand

Let’s hear from the NIMBY side of things after the jump, but I warn you, it’s barely legible.

On It Goes…

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Ooh, Harsh: City Attorney Dennis Herrera Throws Down – Goes After Ed Lee’s Failed Record on Infrastructure

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Turns out that our “world-class City” is ranked below Boston, New York, Oakland, San Jose, and Seattle, believe it or not. See below.

Now, just how purple do you want to see your fighting City Attorney.

Better A, as seen here?

Or B, after a little Replace Color and Shadows/Highlights?

You Make The Call.

Now, a little background and then the News of the Day. Let’s list the endnotes first for a change – they are that good:

[1] Government Barometer: August 2011, City and County of San Francisco, Office of the Controller, City Services Auditor, October 18, 2011, http://www.sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2581
[2] City and County of San Francisco City Survey 2011, Final Report, prepared by the ETC Institute, October 6, 2011, http://www.sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2573
[3] Voter Information Pamphlet, Nov. 8, 2011, Proposition B: Road Repaving and Street Safety Bonds, page 46, http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/NOV2011_VIP_EN.pdf
[4] Management Audit of the Department of Public Works, by the San Francisco Budget Analyst, January 9, 2007, http://www.sfdpw.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/sfdpw/director/DPWAuditReport.pdf

The latest from the Dennis Herrera for Mayor campaign:

“New Controller’s report confirms streets survey, audit on Ed Lee’s failed record on infrastructure

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Appointed Mayor’s decade-long mismanagement as DPW chief, City Administrator now require quarter-billion dollar streets bond to ‘finally accomplish what Ed Lee didn’t’

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 18, 2011) — City streets and public works continue to deteriorate under interim Mayor Ed Lee, according to a new report published today by the Controller’s Office, extending Lee’s decade-long record of mismanagement and neglect as the appointed bureaucrat in charge of San Francisco’s infrastructure. Today’s bimonthly Government Barometer[1] mirrors a highly critical survey released just two weeks ago that found San Francisco’s satisfaction rate with the current quality of its infrastructure to be the lowest among five benchmark cities to which it was compared. Lee’s history of lax oversight of streets, sidewalks and public works projects was also the subject of a devastating independent management audit of the Department of Public Works that the Board of Supervisors first commissioned in May 2005, while Lee was DPW director. That audit was released in 2007.

Today’s new Government Barometer identified negative trends in the City’s maintenance of streets and public works in terms of the percentage of street cleaning requests responded to within 48 hours, which have worsened both since the previous reporting period and as compared to the same period last year. A negative trend was also observed from the previous reporting period for the percentage of graffiti requests on public property responded to within 48 hours.

“For the last decade, Ed Lee did an abysmal job as the person in charge of San Francisco’s infrastructure,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “The Budget Analyst’s audit proved it in 2007; the streets survey proved it again two weeks ago, and the new Government Barometer proves it once again. Ed Lee’s record of failure is why most city streets are dirtier than ever, and in desperate need of major repairs. Now, San Franciscans need to pass a quarter-billion dollars for a streets bond, to finally accomplish what Ed Lee didn’t.”

Lee was DPW director from 2000 to 2005, and until January of this year served as City Administrator, a role whose major duties under the City Charter include coordinating capital improvement and construction projects, and appointing and removing DPW directors. As such, Lee is more responsible for the current state of San Francisco’s infrastructure than any other city official. Lee’s decade-long record contrasts starkly with his new campaign promise to be an “infrastructure mayor” who will fix San Francisco’s “roads, schools and parks.”

On October 6, 2011, the San Francisco Controller’s Office published its final report of the biennial City Survey for 2011[2], which found that:

* San Francisco had the lowest satisfaction rate with the quality of its infrastructure among five benchmark cities to which it was compared: Boston, New York, Oakland, San Jose, and Seattle.

* Overall satisfaction with San Francisco city streets, sidewalks, and infrastructure rated a woeful 31 percent, according to the survey — far below other cities. In fact, San Francisco’s rating for infrastructure was also lower than both statewide and national averages.

* San Franciscans were least satisfied with the condition of pavement citywide, with nearly 44 percent of residents grading city performance “poor/failing,” and another 38 percent describing it as merely “average.” Only 18 percent rated infrastructure “good” or better.

The new Government Barometer and streets survey from two weeks ago come as San Franciscans begin voting on a proposed $248 million bond for road repaving and street safety.[3] The nearly one-quarter-billion-dollars in new bonded indebtedness is required, according to proponents, because half of San Francisco’s 850 miles of streets — together with public structures that include bridges, tunnels, and stairways — need major repairs and upgrades.

Both the Government Barometer and streets survey also mirror a devastating independent audit of DPW that the Board of Supervisors commissioned in May 2005, while Lee was DPW chief. Even before Budget Analyst Harvey Rose’s final 269-page DPW Management Audit[4] was published in January 9, 2007, then-DPW Chief Fred Abadi responded that he “came to DPW after your audit had begun,” and that the report’s 120 recommendations “will prove useful to me as I continue to reengineer parts of the Department.” Abadi agreed and accepted all but three of the Budget Analyst’s 120 recommendations.

Among major findings of the performance audit’s of DPW under Ed Lee:

* DPW’s overall mismanagement, inefficiency and uncollected revenue combined to waste more than $5 million in taxpayer funds.

* DPW-led projects were routinely mismanaged, over-budget, and late — and city street repair projects were late by a shocking 172 days, on average.

* DPW failed to routinely track average project labor costs or productivity to ensure that Street Resurfacing and Pothole Repair Projects were completed efficiently

* DPW could not demonstrate that tax dollars being spent for street repair and maintenance (despite an amount that increased during Lee’s tenure) were spent appropriately.

* DPW allowed more than $1 million in litter fines to go uncollected.

* None of DPW’s eight bureaus fully measured performance to ensure that the bureau achieved the best possible outcomes.

* And DPW inspectors did not conduct routine inspections of streets to identify safety hazards.”

The San Francisco Bay Area Joins Statewide Opposition to Proposed Water Bond

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

California Senator Dianne Feinstein says it’s time for California lawmakers to put a water bond on the November ballot, but outfits like Clean Water Action and the Calfornia Coastkeeper Alliance rallied yesterday in opposition:

“Conservation and fishing groups representing over 180,000 Californians, including the California Coastkeeper Alliance, submitted a petitionto Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Feinstein today and rallied at events throughout the state, calling for an end to the proposed $9.3 billion water bond, which is based heavily on ineffective and environmentally destructive dams.”

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano says he doesn’t want to start his term in the Assembly, “telling mothers that their local school district is closing  so we can build a dam.” Fair enough.

CoastKeeper Alliance Executive Director Linda Sheehan and daughter Madeleine on the steps of City Hall yesterday:

 img_0831-copy.jpg

Dianne’s point of view is expressed here. Of course, the whole thing is a little complex.

There’s still time this week to work out a compromise, it looks like.

Let’s hope.