Guardian event on Plan Bay Area


There's going to be profound change in San Francisco over the next 25 years. If regional planners have their way, we're talking 280,000 more people -- and massive displacement of existing populations. Is that ok? What should we do about it? Is there any alternative, a better way to plan for growth?

I have no problem with increased density and population in San Francisco -- but only if we can first protect vulnerable communities. How does that happen? What tools does the city have, and how can they be used?

These aren't easy questions. Come help us talk about them and look for answers. The Guardian, along with the Council of Community Housing Organizations and Urban IDEA are holding a forum on Plan Bay Area June 12 at 6pm at the LGBT Center. It's free and open to all.

Among the panelists:

·        Tim Redmond, San Francisco Bay Guardian

·        Mike Casey, Unite HERE Local 2

·        Cindy Wu, San Francisco Planning Commissioner

·        Maria Zamudio, Causa Justa: Just Cause

·        Antonio Diaz, People Organizing to Defend our Economic Rights (PODER)

·        Bob Allen, Urban Habitat

·        Gen Fujioka, Chinatown Community Development Center

·        Peter Cohen, Council of Community Housing Organizations

·        Rachel Brahinsky, University of San Francisco

More information here.

See you there.


San Francisco is already the most densely settled large city in California. And I don't think I'd want to be here if it gets any more dense than it is now. The traffic jams during rush hour are already a nightmare. Imagine trying to find a parking space in North Beach or anywhere in the city, for that matter. You worry about buses passing you by without picking you up? And that's now. Just think of what it will be like when you have to squeeze in so close together on BART or Muni that you're as snug as a sardine in a can. That is, if you can get a spot! Or when you can't get a reservation at a restaurant and even the tables in the cafes are jammed with people. This city is beginning to look just like L.A. or Manhattan with its congestion and its crowds. Not for me. I'm moving to Humboldt County where there's lots of space, beautiful forests and beaches...and fresh air! Let the rich inherit the uninhabitable city that they've created, and destroyed beyond recognition.

Posted by Lira on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:25 am

The good news is that nobody forces you to live here and if SF is too stressful for you, there are many far sleepier places in CA like San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and La Jolla (to mention my own personal favorites) where you can stretch out a little more.

Posted by anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:46 am

I'm sure you'll find something to whine about in Humboldt too.

Posted by Chromefields on May. 29, 2013 @ 11:51 am

Ah yes, so much to whine about. Let's see... As an artist, I am naturally drawn to a place of natural beauty which is blessed with an abundance of art in all it forms, from visual arts to dance and theatre. It's a little-known secret (don't tell!), but Humboldt County is recognized for having the most artists per capita than anywhere else in the state. It has an abundance of theatre ensembles, museums, galleries, writers' groups, artists' groups, music organizations and dance companies. I can forward to performances by Dell'Arte, The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts, North Coast Dance as well as the many small theatres and galleries in the area. You can take or offer courses in painting and sculpting at Ink People Center for the Arts. And the beauty of the natural surroundings compels the creator in me to breath in that which inspires me, and exhale how I am moved by that spirt of place through my art.

Let's see, what else? I can always get a reservation at a really nice restaurant for half the price I would pay in SF or LA. And never have to worry about finding a place to park. Did I mention all the space here? No more worries about living in a cramped apartment along noisy streets, since home prices are more modest, too (in my price range, anyway). The farmers' markets serve up an abundance of fresh food grown locally -- often right down the street from you (lots of farms here). In addition, the scenery is spectacular with its pristine beaches and magical forests. For anyone with a love for the outdoors, Humboldt County is pure heaven. Okay, Eureka is not the most beautiful city, but I don't plan to live there. Progressive Arcata is more to my liking. It's one of the few cities in the U.S. with a plaza where people can stroll and meet up with each. It's a place with a center and a real community spirit. Oh, and Humboldt State University draws students from all over the state for its arts and environment courses. In fact, I've already signed up for HSU's Center Art's program. True, so much to whine about... Don't tell ;-)

Posted by Lira on May. 29, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

linger and squat in a town she could not afford, i.e, SF.

Let's hope that many more artists follow you to, er, wherever the heck you are as long as it isn't here.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

You can have all your techies, lawyers and corporate cats. A city without artists is a city without a soul.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

If I want see art, I'll visit a museum. Most of the good artists are long dead and European.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

White people do everything better.

Ever notice the similarity between the words "museum" and "mausoleum"?

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Unless you mean ballet, of course.

Posted by anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

...from anon. As we've come to expect.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:25 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

...just silly. However, several other things said or implied on this thread are racist.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:10 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

I'll help you pack!

Posted by Chromefields on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

Seems like all you ever do is sign on here to whine and rant about progressives. Do yourself a favor, dude...get a life.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

Those who achieve success are generally happy with the status quo.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

...within a sick, corrupt system is nothing to be proud of.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

profiting from it. For that purpose, it hardly matters what that system is because, with that skill, you will succeed in any system.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

How are you on wrath, sloth, lust, envy, and gluttony?

What exactly is a knowledge worker? Sounds like an euphenism for living off other people's labor.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

But if people derive satisfaction from success in whatever field they strive in, it's not clear to me why that would be a bad thing.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

If it's just about how much money you amass, you can hardly call yourself a success. A scrooge or a miser perhaps? You need a new definition of success.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

Society has decided that money is the best metric and I can understand if that's cares some people.

Posted by Anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

...uber alles, as usual.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

You know, that whole "we, the people" thing?

We left Europe because we didn't like collectivism.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

That's actually one of the most communalistic, radical three words in any political document.

And your mind-bogglingly simplistic idea of why "we" left "Europe" is... I don't know. Most Americans either were born here or come from somewhere other than Europe. And immigrants immigrate for all kinds of reasons.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

Lots of socialism there.

And yet you stay.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

It's not so easy to immigrate to Europe, now that living standards in many EU countries are higher than here. Citizenship somewhere in the EU is more valuable than US these days.

Posted by Greg on May. 29, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

the collective. Otherwise, Jefferson would have written I, the person.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

...was elsewhere during the composition of the Constitution, but otherwise you're right on.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

Keep up the fight, Hortencia. You win every debate.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

I have one, I assure you. A few minutes a day with the SFBG is my therapy. But you seem awfully interested in me. It's creepy.

Posted by Chromefields on May. 30, 2013 @ 6:42 am

I wrote the post "projecting much". That's because I notice how often trolls like Chromefield come on this site to rant about the very thing they are guilty of themselves...and project it on progressives. Hate to break it to you, but you're just one troll in a crowd engaging in the same pointless activity day after day. So no, you don't have a life. If you did, you wouldn't be here boring us to death with your daily whine about progressives.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

industry, banks, tech or any other entity "on the other side"?

Is this going to be a serious forum for genuine two-day debate?

Or a love-in for socialists?

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

Not to invite representatives from SPUR, the city, ABAG, the BART board, etc., really robs this gathering of credibility. I have no problem with a socialist love-in, but this sounds more like it will be a complaint-fest.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

if those who they will have to be convinced are not present.

Posted by Anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

is a silly statement, especially from someone who is not at all ignorant of the fact that what's bringing people here and aggravating displacement and other social pressures is the handiwork of venture capitalists, tech entrepreneurs, and the multitude of people who are riding that wave. at worst one can fault planners for aiding and abetting this fact; they're certainly not driving it.

the fact is we live in a capitalist country where people are free to move wherever they want and can afford. and while we don't necessarily have to be happy with the results of this reality, we don't need to put forward a dumb analysis that asks the wrong questions and inevitably comes up with the wrong answers. sheesh.

Posted by MossyBuddha on May. 29, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

Why no MTC or ABAG staff? They aren't really the enemy. They're well-intentioned, for the most part.
The panelists will be ill-equipped to speak about these complex issues if there is no one from one of these agencies to address inaccuracies or false assumptions, or to hear the community's input and ideas.
Plan Bay Area is a good start, but its authors and sponsors need to hear what doesn't work about it, and there's a lot of it that REALLY doesn't work. Please make sure you have reps from MTC, ABAG, and Caltrans there, as well as other city government officials.

Posted by keenplanner on May. 29, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

I hope that ABAG representatives will be there, and can talk to us, because they are not the enemy. My concern is that they need to make it more clear to the state Legislature (and their own senior management) that you can't do this sort of regional planning unless you (a) accept that you are going to displace lots of people, ruin communities, and destroy lives or (b) the state is going to give cities and counties back the right to protect vulnerable communities (be repealing the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins, among other things).

We live in a capitalist society, but without urban planning and regulations, none of these capitalist companies could survive.

And I disagree with the statements commonly posted on this blog that people who have lived here for years and are now priced/evicted out should just move somewhere else. Cities are communities; people build lives around those communities. That's more important than feeding every whim of hyper-capitalism.

Posted by tim on May. 29, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

That has nothing to do with planning and is a non-negotiable item to the 2/3 of CA voters who are property owners.

Move on.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

I'd like to see a guest op-ed from Ammiano or Leno here on repealing these and Prop. 13.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

So the probability of repealing it are negligible, as that would require a 2/3 majority.

As for the Ellis Act, nobody cares about it outside of the half dozen cities that have rent control and so, again, it's a non-starter.

Posted by Anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

...then legislative leaders from those cities should have no problem corraling the Democratic majority into repealing it, right?

Probably not, since I haven't heard about it being tried yet. That's why I'm hoping the Bay Guardian will ask Ammiano or another local rep to write an op-ed.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

CA Assembly he will understand better than most that Prop 13 is sacrosanct and that it is political suicide to try and oppose it. At best, he might nibble at the edges.

Do you actually care that 2/3 of CA voters love Prop13? Or is it that you think that your own perverse views on what CA voters should want is paramount?

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

More and more Californians are realizing every year that Prop. 13 gutted California's schools, parks, and social services. I don't know where you're getting the "2/3 love Prop. 13," but as homeowners' children have less decent everything than their parents, more and more Californians will realize how important a decent property tax rate is to this state's well-being.

I'm more interested in the repeal of the Ellis Act in this comment thread, by the way.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

than have that money taken away for them to subsidize those who do not work as hard?

Anyway, CA has the highest state income and sales taxes in the nation so it's not like CA is lightly taxed.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

Really? Public schools, parks, libraries, highways...these are only used by people who don't work as hard? The drastic cuts in state government affects everyone.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

Non issue for the productive.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

...public schools, parks, libraries, don't use any of these?

You might want to do some research into the Progressive Era. We don't live in the 19th century anymore.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

last time I checked, none of them have been closed.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 7:14 pm

...where I say "it's not all about you." Is it your contention that because you don't use a publicly funded service, it's not worth anything, and that "productive" people, the 2/3 you say love Prop. 13, would agree with you? That 2/3 of Californians don't find public schools, public safety, parks, etc., etc., worth paying for?

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 7:57 pm