Thursday, December 15, 2005

Vote against greed and for public space

Below is the text of Warren Dewar's resolution that will be presented for a vote at the January 26 Meeting of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association at #7 Octavia Blvd. (at Waller & Market), 7:00 p.m. This is an opportunity for that neighborhood to oppose UC's attempt to cash in on property they have had tax-free from the city since the 1950s.

For some background on the UC proposal and the issues it raises, see some earlier posts:

WHEREAS, the 5.8 acre tract of property at 55 Laguna Street, known as the Laguna Campus Property, has a history of continuous public use exceeding 150 years; and,

WHEREAS, in the early 1850’s, The City of San Francisco gave $30,000 to the Protestant Orphan Asylum Society to initially purchase the land and to construct an orphanage which was completed in 1854; and,

WHEREAS, in 1921, The City of San Francisco abandoned Waller Street where it formerly ran through the property, so as to assist further in the continued public use of the property which was then owned by the San Francisco State Normal School (later becoming San Francisco State Teachers College, and eventually San Francisco State University); and,

WHEREAS, in the mid 1950’s the property was transferred to the Regents of the University of California, who continued using the property for educational purposes; and,

WHEREAS, the property, with its buildings, constitutes a resource of historic merit which should be preserved to the greatest extent possible; and,

WHEREAS, according to press reports, there are current proposals submitted to the City Planning Department for the construction of approximately 7,000 additional housing units within relative close proximity to the property which will increase dramatically the public’s need for additional property zoned for public use; and,

WHEREAS, the current owner of the property, The Regents of The University of California, submitted a proposal to the City Planning Department seeking to permanently end the public use zoning for this entire property, and to convert the entire property to a high-density private residential housing development, thus significantly reducing the property’s historic merit;

NOW, THEREFORE, The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, at its regularly-scheduled January, 2006 meeting of its members at which a majority of those present voted in favor of this resolution, hereby expresses its objection to the existing proposed project of the Regents, and urges the appropriate city agency to deny the requested change to the existing Public Use Zoning for the property under the current proposal.

SUBMITTED BY: Warren Dewar
137 Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 626-2218

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At 2:38 AM, Anonymous Stephen Willis / ndmedia said...

This is a righteous campaign to stop the privatization of yet another important historic San Francisco landmark and public educational resource.

Spread your message far and wide and build your coalition now, because you are taking on the same power structure that is forcing a disastrous and insane 450 space UC Hastings parking garage at Golden Gate and Larkin Streets. Transit First City? Right.

Many San Franciscans felt similarly about the once historic features of the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse, including three, century-old pedestrian tunnels that were privatized (transferred into private corporate hands) and then immediately demolished to make way for the cheapest underground parking garage that Bechtel could possibly design.

Please add me to your email list and send your fliers in pdf or msword and I'll reproduce them and pass them out in my neighborhood.

Plus, I'll post your action alerts to at least four discussion lists to help you get the word out.

It's not good enough to "fight the good fight" if, in spite of all of your efforts, you lose. Strategize to Win.

Good luck to you.

Stephen Willis / ndmedia

PS - Rob, I disagree with you on almost every other thing, but you are right on the mark opposing this theft of a public resource.

Have you thought about dedicating yourself to this campaign, and quitting your writing about transit? Just asking. :)

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why am I not surprised that you are part of the anti-car, anti-parking jihad in SF? It's "insane" to build a parking garage in a city with more than 460,000 motorized vehicles? It's insane to not provide adequate parking. UC is building a garage on their own property; the garage under the Concourse in Golden Gate Park will be owned by the City of San Francisco when the construction bond is paid off. There is no public money invested in the Concourse garage. The pedestrian tunnels on the Concourse were made of unreinforced material and had to go. They were just plain "old," not "historic." No, I'm not going to "dedicate" myself to anything but this blog and writing about SF politics from my bunker deep in District 5.

At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Stephen Willis / ndmedia said...


You and others can try to frame the debate by labeling transit, bicycling and pedestrian safety advocates as "anti" car, if you want. But it's completely disingenuous.

The fact is that most of "us" are drivers too, at some time or another, just like you, and not at all unsympathetic to the plight of drivers in San Francisco. WE are all in this transportation mix together.

Think about it. For every bike out on the street, there is that much more room for motorists, as well as MUNI to get around smoothly without becoming congested.

Efficient transit and bicycle routing will overwhelmingly improve conditions for motorists as well. There is no war here; we need to take a syncretistic approach and identify our common interests and goals first.

For you to recklessly frame this debate in such radically opposing terms of reference, is to denigrate and dismiss the compelling commons interests that we all share. One of those is a desire to breath clean air, and another is the dream of being able to cross a street and not have to worry about being killed by someone driving while talking on a cell phone.

Let's not deliberately polarize the issue with the use of such dramatic terms to imply car owners are somehow the victims of some kind of anti-car jihad or attack.

If anything, pedestrians and bicyclists are the real victims in this equation, year in and year out, partly because of the failure of the District Attorney to get tough with motorists who fail to maintain control of their vehicles as they agreed to do when they were issued their drivers licenses.

Though the number of pedestrian deaths is down compared to three or four years ago, there are still too many people getting mowed down on our City streets.

Logic would show that increasing the volume of parking downtown, or publicly subsidizing it, will only encourage more people to drive, instead of considering transit.

The north-south arterials in SOMA leading to the freeway from the financial district are a death zone at peak commuter hours, and pedestrian safety as well as gound level air quality suffers greatly.

All of these factors should be considered.

Defend the Commons,

Steve Willis / ndmedia

PS - You don't know jack about what's been going on in the Park. And your false assertions don't even merit a response. Boriiiing.


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