Friday, March 21, 2014

Supervisor Breed gets some things right

Bike to Work Day

Good to see Supervisor Breed is getting something right---on graffiti/tagging vandalism and the city's "improvements" planned for the avenues. That Streetsblog is griping about the latter (Supervisor London Breed Won’t Fight for Full Transit Bulbs on Irving Street) shows that she must be on the right track, so to speak, on that issue. Naturally, the "full" streetcar stops Streetsblog wants would take away more parking spaces, which for the anti-car zealots is always a Good Thing.

Streetsblog is mad at Breed for allegedly "tossing aside the city’s purported 'Transit First' commitment, which is supposed to prioritize the most efficient modes---transit, walking, and biking---in the allocation of street space." Of course "Transit First" is less about "efficiency" than it is about discouraging people from driving those wicked motor vehicles, which are actually quite efficient in getting people around the city.

Most people think "transit" in the city means buses, streetcars, cable cars, etc. But here in Progressive Land the bike lobby has made riding bikes part of the definition: "Within San Francisco, travel by public transit, by bicycle and on foot must be an attractive alternative to travel by private automobile." That means that whatever City Hall does to screw up traffic on behalf of the bike people and make it harder to drive in the city, it can claim that it's just following the law (go here and scroll down to Section 8A.115).

And the folks at Streetsblog think that taking space from cars is an important front in their ongoing war against cars, as the Bicycle Coalition's Andy Thornley told the Bay Guardian years ago: "We've done all the easy things so far. Now we need to take space from cars."


Breed’s position is crucial---we’ve seen in many transportation projects that a supervisor’s support (or opposition) can make a real difference, leading city agencies to stay the course on transit and street safety upgrades. She helped face down the naysayers when it came to implementing a protected bikeway on Fell and Oak Streets.

Yes, Breed supports both the Fell/Oak and the Masonic Avenue bike projects, neither of which has anything to do with safety, as I've pointed out a number of times on this blog. But that's not enough for the anti-car zealots at Streetsblog.

And, oh dear, Breed even voted against raising the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Graffiti/tagging vandalism is another "progressive" cultural movement. Recall that one of Supervisor Breed's predecessors thought it was cool to allow a graffiti "artist" to deface the walls of his City Hall office.

Beyond Chron's story on the graffiti/tagging issue links a city document telling us that it costs the city more than $19 million a year to deal with this vandalism.

And property owners---the victims of this vandalism---paid the city $3,370,407 in fines in fiscal year 2012/2013 to remove graffiti from their property!

From the Examiner story:

City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the[proposed] legislation Tuesday. “The unfortunate thing is that oftentimes the victim is the one that has to bear the cost,” Herrera said. “The way the law is currently written, I have to go after the property owner to recoup the costs.”

So why doesn't Supervisor Breed try to change the law that penalizes property owners instead of the vandals? And why is civil litigation by the City Attorney's office more effective than prosecution by the District Attorney? The District Attorney's office provided some flab-gab to justify their dereliction:

“No doubt we are understaffed and appreciate the work of all city agencies coming together,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Bastian said. “We should use all the tools possible to protect The City as it relates to graffiti.”

In other words, the DA's office is glad that the buck has been passed to the City Attorney.

If Breed's legislation doesn't do the job, we can always try the Singapore Solution.

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San Francisco and "luxury progressivism"

Photo by Mark Laita

Joel Kotkin in New Geography:

...A 2014 Brookings study showed that the big cities with the most pronounced levels of inequality also have the highest costs: San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Oakland, Chicago and Los Angeles. The one notable exception to this correlation is Atlanta. The lowest degree of inequality was found generally in smaller, less expensive cities like Ft. Worth, Texas; Oklahoma City; Raleigh, N.C.; and Mesa, Ariz. Income inequality has risen most rapidly in the bastion of luxury progressivism, San Francisco, where the wages of the 20th percentile of all households declined by $4,300 a year to $21,300 from 2007-12. Indeed when average urban incomes are adjusted for the higher rent and costs, the middle classes in metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Miami and San Francisco have among the lowest real earnings of any metropolitan area...


Where that milk comes from

If you like Stand Your Ground and voter suppression laws, you'll like ag gag laws.

Thanks to The Dish for the link.