Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rob Bregoff: Angry bike guy

It's getting nasty on UC's attempted land-grab of the old extension property on lower Haight Street. But Rob Bregoff is always nasty; he evidently can't help himself.

Bregoff got mad when Cynthia Servetnik cited one of my many blog items on the UC issue:

Citing Rob Anderson!?! The only reason he would oppose the 55 Laguna project (along with his pal[name deleted] is that the developers AREN'T BUILDING ENOUGH PARKING to suit them. Both are car nuts recently here from the Anderson Valley, where Rob and his brother were practically driven out of Booneville[sic] for their rancourous[sic] relationships with their neighbors. Google them if you're curious...BTW, if you're a cyclist looking for a bike rack, Rob Anderson is the car nut responsible for the injunction against the bike plan moving forward. He likes Newsom b/c their both republicans at heart. He hates Agnos b/c he was responsible for getting the Embarcadero Freeway demolished, and we can all see what a tragic mistake that was!!...Citing Rob Anderson as being factual? Are you that desperate for confederates, or do you also believe that the city should accommodate countless cars and parking spaces at the expense of Muni and cyclists and pedestrians, as Rob Anderson does? Do you also support his personal vendetta against the Bike Plan?

Well! So much malice and misinformation in one short paragraph! As you can see, Bregoff is a bike guy, and, as per the SF Bicycle Coalition's lead, he supports UC's land-grab and the ill-conceived Market/Octavia Plan because both projects discourage developers from providing adequate parking for the new housing units. The assumption is that because---haven't you heard?---We Need Housing in SF the city can build as many new housing units as possible anywhere near a "transit corridor." All the new residents in that area---10,000 in the M/O Plan, and at least 1,000 in the 450 units in UC/Evans proposal---will ride Muni and/or bicycles. Never mind that Muni is already crowded and that all the prosperous folks that occupy the mostly market-rate housing units are unlikely to forgo owning a car. As it happens, one of the originators of the transit corridors concept was so alarmed at the city's misinterpretation of his idea that he wrote an op-ed for the SF Chronicle a few years ago.

I haven't lived in Anderson Valley since 1991 and arrived back in the city---I've lived in SF off and on since 1961---in 1995 from San Diego, where I lived for several years. Neither my brother nor I were "driven out" of Boonville. In fact, my brother is now living in that community again as editor/owner of the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Hard to say what Bregoff is even referring to here, since our relationship with our neighbors in Boonville seemed normal to me.

True, I was a party in the successful litigation against the city's Bicycle Plan, though I haven't owned a car in more than 20 years. Of course installing "bike racks" in SF is not what the Bicycle Plan is really about; it's about taking away street parking and traffic lanes to make bike lanes. I think that needs to be done very carefully. Otherwise, the city will just make traffic---especially for Muni and emergency vehicles---a lot worse than it needs to be. The court agreed with us that the city needs to do an EIR on the Bicycle Plan, which it is now doing.

I like Mayor Newsom primarily because of his effective leadership on the homeless issue; like Mayor Newsom, I am a member of the Democratic Party. Nor do I "hate" Art Agnos---or anyone else, for that matter. I just thought the reasons he gave Matt Smith for not running against Newsom this year were ridiculous.

It's not just me. Others provoke Bregoff's ire. Here's Bregoff's recent attack on Cynthia Servetnik, with her responses in caps:

Cynthia:
Robin[Levitt] knows what he's talking about and has the track record to prove it. I consider him a neighborhood hero who knows how to get things done. If not for the tireless work that he and Patricia Walkup did, we'd still have the Central Freeway blighting our historic neighborhood. Now Robin has clearly asked what your agenda is, and you have no good answer. It makes me think that what you want and what you pretend to want are two very different things. Clearly he is as suspicious of your motives as I am, and many other neighbors are as well.

You came to our neighborhood meetings as a representative for New College, and packed the meetings with New College students and staff in your best effort to secure the property for New College. You are or were a grad student there, and I would suspect that this project has something to do with your "dissertation", if they demand such a thing at New College.
Servetnik: I MET THE NEW COLLEGE PEOPLE AT HVNA AND OFFERED TO WORK WITH THEM GRATIS PER THIS

Next you're allied with the preservation community, as you probably saw us of use in derailing any plans that UC set forth. For the record, I, as a founder of Friends of 1800 Market, was on the board when we started the process of protecting the property using the National Register of Historic Places. I was fully supportive of the nomination, and I still am. You were nowhere to be found.
Servetnik: I HAVE BEEN AN SF PRESERVATION ADVOCATE SINCE AT LEAST 2000. I HELPED RAISE ALMOST HALF THE MONEY FOR THE FRIENDS OF 1800 NOMINATION.

Then you're in bed with [name deleted], who probably has no interest in preservation, but wants to stop the project because she thinks it need more PARKING! For the record, [name deleted] and Rob Anderson are the wise folks behind the bike plan injunction which has halted the progress of making San Francisco safer for cyclists and pedestrians on the basis of a CEQA review about negative impacts on automobile traffic! Twisted!
Servetnik: WHERE DID YOU GET THIS IDEA? [name deleted] IS NOT ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE UC BERKELEY EXTENSION LAGUNA STREET CAMPUS ADVOCACY EFFORTS. AND BY THE WAY, THE COURT AGREED WITH HER THAT A CAT EX OR EVEN A NEG DEC ON THE BIKE PLAN IS AN INSUFFICIENT LEVEL OF ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW UNDER CEQA.

Over the past couple years I have advocated unifying our energies to attain a great project with the best public amenities and full preservation of historic structures on the site, but rather than negotiate some sort of meeting or agreement on what we all can support and push forward, you push on with the landmarking issue, and we end up with the same project that Evans proposed, no neighborhood/preservationist unified vision or opposition, and a dwindling chance of influencing the outcome further. From where I'm sitting, it looks like you're still trying to throw a wrench into any plan that isn't New College, and using well-intentioned preservationists, Lavont, or anyone else who can be of use, to achieve this goal. Talking to preservation groups about your methodology, people have said "Cynthia is our bulldozer…", but I'm afraid that they don't realize that the opposite is actually true.
Servetnik: I HAVE SAID REPEATEDLY, MAY THE BEST PLAN WIN. I WANT TO SEE WHATOTHER PLANS ARE OUT THERE--ESPECIALLY UNDER PUBLIC USE ZONING. I WANTTHE PUBLIC TO WEIGH IN ON THE HIGHEST AND BEST USE OF THE SITE. SOFAR, NEW COLLEGE AND THE GLOBAL CITIZEN CENTER HAVE BEEN THE ONLY BRAVE PARTIES WILLING TO OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE. AND LOOK WHERE IT GOT THEM:

For the record, I have never advocated demolishing campus buildings, but, admittedly, as a preservationist, and after reading the Page and Turnbull survey, I recognize that not all the buildings are of the same value, and I have room for compromise if it means achieving a better integrated project. And as far as the Hayes Valley resolution, it states clearly that Hayes Valley, or those present, didn't support the current project proposal, nor do I. I'm sure that most of the neighbors think that we can do much better. And also, HVNA has always been in strong support of the Market/Octavia plan, yet you have done everything in your power to block it from being adopted.
Servetnik:I HAVE NEVER BEEN OPPOSED TO THE PLAN ITSELF---I HAVE BEEN NEUTRAL. I HAVE BEEN OPPOSED TO THE PLAN'S EGREGIOUS OMISSION OF THE LARGEST DEVELOPABLE PARCEL WITHIN THE PLAN AREA---THE UC BERKELEY EXTENSION LAGUNA STREET CAMPUS.

I sincerely hope that invested neighbors, planners, architects, true preservationists, UC, the Supervisors, and a good project sponsor can come together and create a visionary project. In my experience your vision of installing New College on the site, and your habit of changing coats to achieve this dubious goal, everything else be damned, is not shared by HVNA or LHO.
Servetnik: ONCE AGAIN, IT'S FAR EASIER TO KILL THE MESSENGER THAN TO DEBATE THE REAL ISSUES, ISN'T IT?

As for me, I'm saddened by the outcome so far, and disappointed that so many smart and well-intentioned people can't come together to create a great result, but it also feels like I'm watching a car crash in slow motion.

Rob Bregoff

Please sign our Petition to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to require the Planning Department to convene a Citizens Advisory Committee to evaluate the proposed privatization of the UC Berkeley Laguna Street Campus at:

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