Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mirkarimi declares victory as UC rolls the city

Here's a new way the city's elected officials cover up their stupid/shameful acts---issue a press release declaring it a great "progressive" victory for something-or-other. Supervisor Daly did it after he and Supervisor Peskin pushed through the luxury highrise condos on Rincon Hill.

And now Supervisor Mirkarimi is doing the same after his shameful surrender of property zoned for public use to a predatory UC on lower Haight Street. A great victory for identity politics and "affordable" housing in San Francisco!

Supervisor Mirkarimi Announces Affordable Housing Agreement for 55 Laguna
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and representatives of the LGBTQ and Affordable Housing advocacy communities along with Senator Migden and Assemblymember Mark Leno announced an agreement with University of California on January 17th regarding the proposed development at 55 Laguna. The breakthrough agreement with UC will make at least 35% of the planned units affordable---up from only 16% as previously proposed. Working with Senator Migden, Assemblymember Leno and the Mayor's Office of Housing, Supervisor Mirkarimi with the help of neighborhood and affordable housing activists was able to bring substantial pressure on the University of California to increase the affordability of housing as well as increasing other public benefits as the old UC Extension is transformed into a mixed-use housing complex. In a month's worth of intense negotiation, we were able to double the affordable units on this site. Financially vulnerable LGBTQ seniors will now have access to affordable rental housing along upper market in the portion of the project being developed by Open House. There is still work remaining to be done and in the coming weeks we will partner with Mayor's Office of Housing to increase the depth of the affordability so that the project reaches our most vulnerable populations. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to achieve this remarkable result. The University of California often runs roughshod over its host communities but our strong grassroots showing in San Francisco was able to convince UC that helping to meet the affordable housing needs of San Francisco was in their best interest.

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Subway boondoggle moves forward

San Francisco's version of Boston's Big Dig moves a step closer to reality next week (article in italics below). Just for the record, the estimated cost of this boondoggle-in-the-making is now $1.29 billion. Watch that number grow exponentially as the years go by! Recall that the orignal cost estimate of Boston's Big Dig was $2.6 billion, which ended up costing $14.8 billion.

Similarly, the Geary Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle---now undergoing environmental review---will supposedly cost a mere $157-212 million. Any bets on the ultimate cost?

One of the things impossible to quantify is the economic and neighborhood disruption these mega-projects cause, but the Big Thinkers in city government---encouraged by the "progressive" lemmings on the Board of Supervisors---know what's best for us, don't they?

New subway route heads to MTA
David Smith,
The Examiner

2008-02-16

After years of community input and agency wrangling, a new route for the proposed $1.3 billion Central Subway goes before the Municipal Transportation Agency board Tuesday.

The board will also vote on requesting proposals from construction-management firms to oversee the project---a contract that could be worth up to $82 million, according to MTA documents.

The new alignment follows a route similar to a previous proposal, but goes underground at a new point. Locations of stations have changed and one has been added, according to MTA documents.

The Central Subway would connect the T-Third at Fourth and King streets with the downtown and Chinatown areas by traveling up Fourth Street, going underground underneath the Interstate Highway 80 overpass and continuing up Stockton until Jackson Street, according to the new proposal.

A new station is proposed for Fourth and Brannan streets and other stations are proposed to be located at Fourth between Folsom and Howard, Stockton and O’Farrell, and Stockton and Jackson. The location of stations is not yet final, officials said.

The project, which recently received $12 million in federal funding, is estimated to open in 2016 and has support from key city leaders, including Mayor Gavin Newsom and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, whose district includes Chinatown.

The overall cost of the new underground railway is estimated at $1.29 billion, said John Funghi, the Central Subway program manager, who added that financial commitments from multiple levels of government have secured all of the funding needed for the project.

“It’s a big step for us,” Funghi said of Tuesday’s vote.

The agency previously looked at three other options, including one that continued the route along Third Street, after crossing into the South of Market area. It has conducted more than 150 community meetings about the project. MTA staff recommends moving forward with the new Fourth and Stockton alternative.

Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the MTA, said the project has received “worldwide attention” from top engineering firms.“In terms of its complexity, its location and what it means for this city, we expect a great deal of interest,” Ford said. He said the MTA would likely decide on a firm in the fall.

Newsom acknowledged that construction and the annoyances it could create downtown will be a “tough, tough challenge” for the MTA. “But the alternative is what we have, and people agree that our surface orientation of Muni is not the most efficient,” Newsom said.

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