Friday, June 01, 2007

Slow learners at the Planning Department

Progressives are in power in SF, and it's clear that they behave just like their conservative counterparts in the rest of the country. They simply do what they want to do regardless of the law. Rushing the 460-page Bicycle Plan through the process with no environmental review is one example. And the Planning Department's attempt at exempting the city's Wi-Fi agreement with Earthlink is another example, as reported in the Examiner.

A group with a great name---San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna Free Union (SNAFU)---has appealed Planning's exemption, and the next step will be a hearing before the Board of Supervisors, probably in July.
Mayor Newsom's spokesman called the appeal "a frivolous maneuver designed to delay free Wi-Fi for no good reason." Recall that the mayor and the SF Bicycle Coalition said pretty much the same thing about our Bicycle Plan litigation last year. Funny but Judge Peter Busch completely disagreed when he ruled decisively against the city last November, which is what will happen with the Wi-Fi issue if and when it goes to court. The Examiner's reporter points out that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) "requires an environmental review of a project that would have significant impacts." Actually, the law is stricter than that: CEQA requires an environmental review of any project that even could have an impact on the environment.
The moral of the story: We can't trust our progressive city government to do the right thing. We have to litigate to get our elected---and unelected---city officials to obey the law. Or, as in the case of the parking initiative (see previous post), we have to resort to the initiative process to achieve sensible public policy.

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