Friday, November 16, 2007

Prop. K and Prop. H: Elitism and lies

Proposition K, which passed easily on November 6, demonstrates yet again how insulated our Board of Supervisors is from the realities of life in SF as faced by the rest of us. Prop. K bans advertising on city-owned buildings and spaces like bus shelters, to combat "the creeping commercialization of our public spaces," according to the argument in the voters pamphlet for Prop. K as written by Supervisors McGoldrick, Peskin, Mirkarimi, Daly, Maxwell, and Ammiano.

This is more elitist hypocrisy from our "progressive" leadership, since it's been a common practice for years to allow advertisers to plaster ads on Muni buses that cover the windows, thus obscuring the view of the city's peons---including yours truly---who actually ride the bus. Yes, the Board of Supervisors doesn't have direct control over Muni---they have even less now that Prop. A passed---but I've never heard of a single supervisor objecting to this "commercialization" of a public space, probably because they don't ride Muni enough to know what an imposition it is on its passengers.

This is like the recent city action and accompanying lie discouraging property owners of buildings with four units or less from putting garages under their buildings.
 
The city's stated reason for that policy---that it was concerned about desecrating older apartment buildings in the city---is simply a lie, since the Board of Supervisors recently passed the Market/Octavia Plan's EIR, even though it didn't have a landmark study required under CEQA. This is particularly crucial in that part of the city, since there are hundreds of Victorian buildings in the area.

That lie by the city was compounded by the opposition to Prop. H---that if passed it would be a threat to on-street parking, street trees, and bus stops. One of the few contractors who puts garages under existing buildings in SF has done only 350 such conversions in 20 years in a city, according to the MTA, that has 603,000 parking spaces (San Francisco Transportation Fact Sheet, August, 2007).

Why do city officials lie about parking in SF? They have to lie because the transportation facts contradict the official anti-car ideology held by the Board of Supervisors, the MTA, DPT, and the Planning Dept.

SF Voters' pamphlet, November, 2007.

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