August 2014

Short Cuts

Steven J. Moss

Shocking News: Politicians Bad with Money

The emergence of pumpkins on porches signals Halloween, lights on houses Christmas, and nasty reports about politicians means that election season is in full swing. Last month the San Francisco Chronicle resurrected a story — which the View covered four years ago — that District 10 candidate Tony Kelly has never made good on a $200,000 City loan provided in 1999 to the now defunct Thick Description, a theater company he co-founded. The company used the loan to build-out ground floor space at Victoria Mews. Thick Description also has more than $30,000 in outstanding federal liens against it related to unpaid payroll taxes; almost $17,000 in state tax liens were paid off in recent years. These financial difficulties occurred despite the fact that the Eastern Neighborhoods Trust Fund, which was established to disburse community monies made available as a result of a waiver of parking requirements at Showplace Square, gave Thick Description a cash infusion not long before it went bust in 2009. It’s clear that Kelly’s nonprofit ran into financial difficulties, which he didn’t manage correctly, and may even have caused. But then again, District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen has experienced financial troubles of her own, losing her $581,178 condominium to foreclosure just after she was elected to the Board. Neither fumbling the financials of a nonprofit theater company, nor being foreclosed on as a result of the housing crises, is exactly shocking, but it certainly doesn’t burnish either candidate’s reputation for sound money management. While there are three other candidates running for the District 10 seat, Kelly and Cohen are the far-away front runners. Unfortunately, neither may have the background needed to help monitor the City’s multi-billion dollar budget…A recent telephone poll by a labor union showed Kelly trailing Cohen by six points, though local polls, conducted more than a month away from an election, are virtually meaningless.

To a T

Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee heard arguments from Dogpatch residents who want a new T-line turnaround along Third Street to be shifted further south, to 22nd Street. Under current plans the San Francisco Municipal Transportation would have tracks loop around 18th, Illinois and 19th streets before sending the T-line back north toward downtown. The committee, which includes District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, didn’t vote on the matter, and there was no indication that SFMTA would extend the route.


The View turns 44 years old this month, which in newspaper years is 150. And the much younger San Francisco Natural Medicine celebrates its 25th anniversary. “I am excited at the growth and progress I have seen since founding the practice in 1989 as well as the increase in interest from health care consumers looking for options,” said Potrero Hill resident Carl Hangee-Bauer, the clinic’s founder. “As a primary care family practice doctor, I know first hand how the health care system is failing patients. What we need is a health care system that truly encourages wellness; through preventing disease, teaching healthy lifestyle habits, and empowering patients to take charge of their health. These are the principles and goals we have embraced at San Francisco Natural Medicine.” Happy birthday!

More Development?!

The latest: 17 new condominiums may be constructed at 540 to 552 De Haro Street, a steeply-sloped lot that currently houses an empty industrial structure. The building, which is near the Potrero Whole Foods, Jackson Playground, and Anchor Steam Brewery, has been up for lease. A preliminary project assessment was submitted to the Planning Department to demolish the current structure, constructed in 1975, at Mariposa and De Haro and replace it with a four-story residential building. According to the proposed plans, there’d be 16 parking spots, 17 bicycle parking slots and a common roof deck, along with lots of terraces and balconies. The project falls under the Showplace Square-Potrero Hill Plan; Planning had few comments or revisions to make to the initial proposal…Live Oak School intends to expand from 260 to 400 students over the next nine years, and to that end is renting space in an adjacent building

But it’ll be Cleaner

Last month District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen introduced legislation to require developers constructing or retrofitting buildings near freeways — Highway 101 and 280 — to install ventilation systems that reduce the amount of particulate matter that can get inside. And a companion measure, also by Cohen, would mandate that city contractors use lower-emission diesel equipment and reduce other exhaust emissions while they work on public projects. “It’s important that we ensure that new housing as well as construction projects are utilizing the best technology possible to protect public health,” Cohen said. “When we talk about environmental issues, it’s not just about cleaning up Superfund sites — it’s about residents being able to protect themselves every day.” The legislation emerged from a collaboration among numerous City agencies, including the Department of Public Health. According to Karen Cohn, an environmental health program manager at the department, the new filtration requirements will update a 2008 law that forced developers of new housing projects larger than 10 units in polluted areas to assess potential air-quality issues. If dust and pollution levels reached a certain threshold, the law requires the developer to install high-quality ventilation systems. Since the 2008 law was approved, roughly 80 projects have been reviewed, and more than one-third were found to need the ventilation systems. Residents who live in buildings built before 2008, however, don’t have those protections.

Space Needed for Insects

SaveNature.Org, which helps purchase and protect threatened and endangered habitat in rainforests, coral reefs and deserts and provides educational programs through its Insect Discovery Lab to children and students, is looking for new offices. The nonprofit has been in the same Mississippi Street location for the past dozen years, but the owner, Citywide Properties, is raising the rent by $1,300 a month.

Bayview Residents Unhappy with Mother Brown’s

 Neighbors of Mother Brown’s, located at 2111 Jennings Street, have complained to the San Francisco departments of Building Inspection, Fire and Planning about homeless individuals sleeping in chairs at the center from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Since the facility is intended to serve as a drop-in center, rather than overnight lodging, the activity may constitute a “change of use,” in violation of the Planning Code. In addition, the Fire Department has issued notices of violation (NOV) for the change of use of Mother Brown’s from business to residential use, and at least one NOV appears to have been “abated” after a worker at Mother Brown’s woke the people who were sleeping in chairs. The Fire Department appears to be satisfied that this hourly “fire watch” brings Mother Brown’s into compliance with business use requirements. But the neighbors believe that waking people every hour doesn’t negate the fact that sleeping is occurring most of the night. Plus, what a drag for the homeless trying to get some shut-eye.


The correct name of the South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association president, unfortunately misspelled in last month’s “Neighbors Weigh in on warriors Arena Move to Mission Bay,” is Katy Liddell.

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