Honesty in Government

Here’s how the editors of Riverside’s newspaper, The Press Enterprise came down on Riverside Measure Z:

Ultimately, though, our board decided to oppose Measure Z.

If it had been a special tax – dedicating its proceeds to particular needs such as infrastructure upkeep and improvement, and requiring a two-thirds vote for passage – we could have lined up behind Measure Z. But as it is, it transfers too much money for too long – 20 years – from taxpayers’ pockets to a City Hall that has yet to demonstrate careful stewardship of its revenue for a sustained period of time.

That is how the SF Chronicle and SF Examiner should have responded to S.F. Prop K.

Like Measure Z, SF Prop K will be adopted with a 50% vote because the money raised goes to the General Fund.  Which means that a yes vote in either city would be an expression of trust in the wisdom and prudence of that city’s City Hall.  Knowing that they didn’t enjoy that level of confidence, San Francisco’s politicians did Riverside one better.  They threw in a sweetener.  Prop J….Prop K’s companion measure….promises nice-sounding things but has no weight of law.  Once they have the money San Francisco’s politicians can do what they want with it.  Riverside’s politicians played it straight.  San Francisco’s politicians did not.

– Gerald Cauthern, SaveMuni

Concern grows over half empty stadium during San Francisco 49ers home game

If you build a stadium  will they come? Perhaps not if the weather and parking suck and the ticket and food prices are too high for the fans.

Shuttle Bus Report due November 15

Notes from the front lines:

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at the MTA Board Policy and Governance Committee meeting, MTA Staff revealed the midyear review of the  Commuter Bus Program would be presented to the MTA Board on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 which usually begins at 1PM.

This midyear review was negotiated with the Board of Supervisors when the current one year program began on April 1, 2016.  Staff indicated the presentation would include general statistics,  (constant) complaints,  and overall program summary.   Staff indicated this is a living document (which I interpret as subject to constant change.)

No mention was made of the HUB System which as part of the BOS agreement.  Also, no mention  of the current resident housing displacement study caused by the Tech workers.

So, mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 1PM and weigh in with public comment.   The staff report/presentation should be available Friday, November 11, 2016 at 1PM (72 hours before the meeting).

Lastly, contact me if you are able to attend.
Thanks, Ed

The SFMTA can just pay the anti-displacement mapping project for their report on the displacement. They have already done the work and their work product is a living document.



Voters will see sales tax hike, funding for homeless and Muni on November ballot

by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

There’s little debate over whether San Francisco should invest more in Muni and homelessness, but a whole lot when it comes to how.

Voters this November are being asked to approve a sales tax hike in Proposition K, and a spending mandate for that revenue with Proposition J, which sets aside annually $100 million for transportation and $50 million for homeless services…

But opposition to the sales tax hike comes not only from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, but some progressive politicians as well. Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Norman Yee and Jane Kim voted against placing the sales tax on the ballot.

Peskin even submitted a paid ballot argument against the sales tax hike, arguing it is “balancing our budget on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable in our city” and that within The City’s existing $9.6 billion budget, “City Hall should address critical issues.”

In 2017, San Francisco’s sales tax would decrease from the current rate of 8.75 percent to 8.5 percent, but if Prop. K passes it would increase by .75 percent, to a total of 9.25 percent…

“I generally have not been supportive of flat regressive taxes,” Kim told the San Francisco Examiner during an editorial board meeting, noting she also does not support a proposed tax on sugary beverages that’s on the ballot as well. “Flat taxes disproportionately impact low income households.”

In opposing the measure, the Chamber argued the sales tax “places overwhelming economic strain on local businesses, especially small businesses, causing costs to rise, businesses to leave or close, and lost jobs.”

There are no active fundraising campaigns against Props. J and K…(more)

There is an growing opposition movement to Proposition K. Contact us  if you want to help fight it. With five major tax bills on the ballot and even more set-asides, almost half of the city ballot initiatives are about taxes and there is a growing opposition movement to increasing taxes.

Both progressives and business people agree that increasing sales tax is bad business. Some of our endorsers for No on K are: Supervisor Aaron Peskin, SF Berniecrats, San Francisco Tomorrow, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, Chinese American Democratic Club, District 3 Democratic Club, SaveMuni, Bay Area Transportation Working Group, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Council of District Merchants, San Francisco Taxpayers Association, San Francisco Libertarian Party, San Francisco Republican Party


1. Politics + Deception = Secrecy
2. The Art of Politics
3. Political Shenanigans 10.2

POLITICS + DECEPTION = SECRECY:  With a big election soon, secrecy is expedient when November ballot measures covet oodles of money for transportation and government—even as delays and cost overruns negate new revenues. City managers voraciously hit the campaign trail because salaries depend on more revenue—despite the City’s record $9.6 billion annual budget. The SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) has record-high $1.2 billion operating budgets and $1.1 billion capital budgets—fueled by more bond measures, taxes, fares, fees and fines. The Homeless Department has a record-high $241 million annual budget, not counting support dollars from other agencies. Such numbers exceed the entire budgets of many cites, states and small countries. Where’s the beef?

The Central Subway is not “on-time, on-budget” anymore. Nor has it been for over a year: SFMTA reports show an additional one month of delay per report. At that rate, the Central Subway will be delayed for over a year—with 3 more years of construction remaining. Contractors will ask for additional money. Before opening, mandated inspections, testing and commissioning will add more financial risks. Added costs will gulp new tax revenues.

Reasons for secrecy: Voters are angry; Merchants are suffering.  Macy’s and downtown businesses have had a double whammy – changing retail patterns and chaotic construction. Chinatown merchants have reported 50%+ declines in business. While Union Square merchants got help, Chinatown businesses got nothing. Remember in 2008, merchants were told that there would be no impacts because construction was underground.


Page 6: Key Milestones
Revenue Service: August 2019 [8 months behind schedule]
(FTA Project Management Oversight Contractor Report)

Page ES-iii, Table 1:
Original Revenue Service Date: 12/26/18 [original opening date]
Current Revenue Service Date: 7/25/19 [7 months behind schedule]

Page 8: Schedule Highlights
The MPS shows a forecast Revenue Service Date of July 2019
(FTA Project Management Oversight Contractor Report)

Page ES-I, Project Status: As a result of the forecast delay in the completion of station construction, the current program master schedule indicates that the Revenue Service Date (RSD) will be achieved on June 14, 2019, approaching six months later than the date required in the FFGA and nine days later than forecast in the April 2016 schedule update.

MARCH 2016: PMOC REPORT (FTA Project Management Oversight Contractor Report)

Page ES-ii:
As a result of the forecast delay in the completion of station construction, the current program master schedule indicates that the Revenue Service Date (RSD) will be achieved on May 24, 2019, five months laterthan the date required in the FFGA [December 2018].

Hidden Agendas: Transportation as a land-use and development tool.
Developers covet the northern extension of the Central Subway into North Beach and the Waterfront. Land values would rise. Upzoning would follow. Voilà, Prop J & K! These cynical ballot measures add $10 million/ year ($250 million in 25 years) for planning and design of boondoggles like the Central Subway—without any neighborhood discussion or environmental reviews. Think pre-determination of outcome—at the expense of the rest of the Muni system, citywide bus rapid networks, Caltrain to Downtown, free bus loops and more.

It’s all about land values, real estate and development—tied to big salaries and politics. Getting voters to pay for planning and implementation is the cherry atop the development cake.

Vote No on J & K

A Better Way! Spend Muni money evenly across the city—to create an integrated system. Like the synapses of the brain, multiple pathways better serve the multi-tasking patterns of transit riders. Unlike Zurich’s 60% transit modal share, San Francisco has a 25% transit modal share. The major difference is that in 1973, Zurich’s voters rejected an expensive subway project and voted instead to implement a less costly transit-priority program—-leading to one of the world’s highest per capita ridership rates because its transit is fast, frequent, reliable and inexpensive. Meanwhile, San Francisco has poured money into the Central Subway, taking money away from citywide Muni and regional DTX (Downtown Caltrain Extension).

Vote Yes on L

THE ART OF POLITICS: Best Campaign Lessons
270 TO WIN: 2016 Presidential Electoral Map

http://www.270towin.com/ (Interactive Map) It will take 270 electoral votes to win the 2016 presidential election. Click states on this interactive map to create your own 2016 election forecast. Create a specific match-up by clicking the party and/or names near the electoral vote counter.

Below are some superlative examples of the art of politics—great talks, design and enduring moments. Compared to loud stump speeches, these conversational talks display an elegance born from the interweaving of ideals and compelling stories—built on confidence of experience and character.

INDEPENDENT: Robert De Niro asked to deliver plea for people to vote, delivers withering take-down of Donald Trump instead

YOUTUBE: Khizr Khan – Fallen Soldier’s Parents Speak At Democratic Convention 2016
Wall Street Journal: Among Democratic Convention Standouts:
The Quiet Dignity of Khizr Khan

But Americans watching at home might long remember another moment in this convention’s packed schedule. Amid the party officials and celebrities and others came Khizr Khan, the father of Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan. Mr. Khan said that he and his wife, “as patriotic American Muslims, with undivided loyalty to our country,” were honored to be there. Their 27-year-old son was killed in Iraq in 2004.

ABC-TV VIDEO: U.S. Presidents and “Breaking the Glass Ceiling” at DNC

ABC-TV VIDEO: Bill Clinton Film and Speech at DNC

VOX VIDEO: Michelle Obama’s Speech at DNC
http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12282760/transcript-michelle-obama-dnc-speech  RADIO.COM: Watch Katy Perry sing “Rise” and “Roar” at DNC

The 31-year-old singer performed her current single “Rise” and her smash hit song “Roar” for the crowd minutes before Hillary Clinton appeared on stage to accept the Democratic nomination for president.

Best-Balloon Drop: 100,000 red/ white/ blue balloons

WIRED: How DNC pulled off that balloon drop

Best SF TV Ads:

Jane Kim: Fight the Evictions

Jane Kim as a Fighter.

YOU TUBE: Candace Roberts — Not My City Anymore (Original Musical)

VOX: The rise of American Authoritarianism
A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what’s driving Donald Trump’s ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016.

EXAMINER: Moms to take charge at City Hall

YOU TUBE: SF Voters Are Smart – YES on Props D, H, L & M

SFWEEKLY: 5 Corrupt Ways to Influence San Francisco Politics

48 HILLS: Following the big tech and real estate money in D11 and D9
It’s getting more and more complicated to Follow the Money in San Francisco, particularly when so many campaigns are making so many misleading statements about their politics and their support.

EXAMINER: Google bus issue reappears as ‘dark money’ from tech floods into supervisor races

Third-party spending, also known as independent expenditure, comes from outside groups that cannot coordinate with a candidate’s own campaign. While contributions to individual candidates are capped at $500 per donor, there are no limits on how much a donor can contribute to third-party groups.

1. In progressive San Francisco, candidates, officials, individuals and political groups who talk social liberalism but are heavily financed by tech billionaires, shared-economy lobbyists, right-wing benefactors, outside politicos, developers, realtors and secretive political committees.
2. Deceptively called moderates, SFconservatives are predisposed in a manner conductive to large development, big infrastructure boondoggles, corporate profits, gentrification and displacement of low and middle-income residents.
3. Obligated to wealthy and powerful special interests, SFconservatives appear as moderate in order to deal public funds, contracts, services, favors and legislation—through regressive public policy.

Vote No on P & U

Vote Yes on T


Two-thirds of American college students graduate with debilitating debts, amounting to $1.2 trillion. Pushed by President Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders and the 2016 Democratic Party Platform, free community colleges would reduce costs of college education and increase enrollment. Tennessee. Minnesota, Oregon and several cities have adopted free community colleges. In seven countries, overall college education is free but with high taxation and selective testing that cuts eligible students. Free community colleges are more economical, shifting funding and resources to local communities. Not a dream anymore, Proposition W on SF’s November ballot will fund free City College.

Vote Yes on W

INSIDE HIGHER ED: Pushing for Free [Community

President Obama gave his endorsement to the idea in January 2015 and announced America’s College Promise, a federal matching grant program to spur the development of free community college across the country.

The Democratic platform approved Monday in Philadelphia includes a call for free community college, an exciting if symbolic victory for advocates eager to push for more progress on the issue.

EXAMINER: Proposal would make community college free for SF residents

Kim announced her plan to eliminate college tuition for City College of San Francisco students on the steps of City Hall Tuesday as teachers, students and education leaders rallied alongside in support.

Kim’s plan, titled the Free City Proposal, would not only tackle the rising tuition costs at CCSF, but also chip away at costs associated with being a student, like paying for books, transportation and childcare. Low-income CCSF students who already receive federal or state assistance for tuition would be granted up to $1,000 per year in financial support, if the proposal is passed.


It’s not too late to change past endorsements -based on misrepresentations!

Opposition to Prop J & K is growing as people read the legislation and independent analysis, including Supervisor Aaron Peskin, SF Berniecrats, San Francisco Tomorrow, Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, Chinese American Democratic Club, District 3 Democratic Club, SaveMuni, Bay Area Transportation Working Group, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Council of District Merchants, San Francisco Taxpayers Association, San Francisco Libertarian Party, San Francisco Republican Party….

· Local businesses and minority businesses will be hurt.

City Economist’s economic impact report:Higher prices will lead consumers to reduce their consumption of local goods and services subject to the higher taxes, which will reduce sales at local merchants selling these items. Depending on how price-sensitive consumers are, sales at merchants selling non-taxable goods and services may decline as well.”

· Low-income families and residents will be hurt.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin: “Further, the same sponsors have opted to forgo calls for progressive revenue and made homeless services contingent on the passage of a regressive sales tax (Proposition K). On top of that, Prop K’s sales tax has been deliberately placed separately on the ballot from Proposition J, which actually creates the set-aside for homelessness and transportation, in order to get out of the higher vote threshold mandated by the voters for special taxes. It’s disingenuous and if the City really wanted to take on homelessness, we’d be prioritizing cost-effective and proven solutions in our existing $9.6 billion budget and prioritizing progressive revenue measures to fund them – instead of giving tax breaks to the wealthiest sectors of the City.”

· No net benefit as businesses lose more sales than is gained in taxes.

City Economist’s economic impact report:The tax increase is expected to generate nearly as much tax revenue as it costs in consumption spending [lost retail sales] —approximately $154 million by 2017-18.”


Propositions J & K circumvent state law and a 2/3rd majority vote by separating funding and dedicated uses into two measures. Three other measures on the November ballot require 2/3rd majority vote for passage—-all of smaller dollar obligations.

· Prop B, City College Parcel Tax: $44 million ($4 million/ year for 11 years)

· Prop C, Reallocate Existing Seismic Loan Funds: $260 million

· Prop S, Reallocate Existing Hotel Tax Funds: $50 million/ year

· Prop J & K: $3.8 billion ($154 million/ year for 25 years of new sales taxes)

NO NET GAIN: Prop J & K are regressive

Regressive sales tax hurts local businesses as well as low-income families.

Per the City Economist’s economic impact report, local businesses lose more sales than is gained by the city in new taxes. An unknown amount is lost in consumptive spending for non-taxable goods and services. Since 70% of sales taxes are paid by locals, low-income residents and families will be hurt the most—a socially-inequitable tax.

EXAMINER: Proposed SF sales tax hike would reduce consumer spending by $154M

A proposed sales tax hike that could go before San Francisco voters in November would reduce the amount of spending in local businesses, but simultaneously raise an equal amount of tax revenue.

That’s according to an economic impact report on the ballot measure from Ted Egan, The City’s economist. The .75 percent sales tax hike would result in a 9.25 percent sales tax rate come April 2017.

November 8, 2016 Election NO BAD TAXES!
SaveMuni Independent Analysis


Budget Set-Aside that takes funds from other needs.
Only 12.6% goes to improved Muni service—not a valid transportation measure.
Cynical legislation to circumvent 2/3rd majority vote.

Regressive Sales Tax hurts local businesses as well as low-income families.
Cuts sales at local businesses in amounts that exceed new revenue.
Deceptive legislation to circumvent 2/3rd majority vote.
Every vote counts!
Howard Wong, AIA


Hyperloop Raises $50 Million—In 13 Years High Speed Rail Raise $0 From Private Sources

By Stephen Frank : calpolitics – excerpt

The High Speed Rail concept has been trying to raise private funds for more than 13 years—yet not a dime of private money has been invested.  In fact, the Bond measure that gave us this boondoggle said they had to raise equal amounts from the private sector before beginning the process—like everything else, they lied… (more)

Hyperloop One raises $50 million despite lawsuit, and adds finance adviser

by : venturebeat – excerpt

Hyperloop One is working on a transportation technology that can make trains go as fast as 760 miles per hour. And today, the company said it has raised $50 million from the port of Dubai and others to explore building a high-speed transportation system to move cargo.

The deal comes on a previous announcement to explore building a high-capacity passenger transport system in Moscow and a $80 million funding in May. The company was able to close that deal and add a new chief financial adviser in spite of bad publicity from four former high-ranking employees who accused Hyperloop One’s of corporate misgovernance in a lawsuit(more)