Government

Ever-changing population predictions frustrate Bay Area smart-growth planning

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 25 2012 - 12:38pm

State and regional planning agencies have produced differing predictions of how many people will migrate to the Bay Area in coming decades. The disagreement is frustrating efforts to forge a consensus on how many hundreds of thousands of new homes to build across the region, and where. In May, the California Department of Finance took a fresh look at economic forecasts and officially backed away from its prediction that 9.5 million people would live in the Bay Area in 2040. The state now says it is likely to be closer to 8.4 million. But the Association of Bay Area Governments pegged the population for the same 2040 target date at a robust 9.3 million. The agency is charged with developing Plan Bay Area, an ambitious agenda to reshape the sprawling region by building 660,000 new homes in the urban image of walkable, transit-friendly San Francisco.

Muni asks drivers to hold it in while new bathrooms get approvals

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jun 20 2012 - 5:19pm

Bus operators looking for a toilet after hours sitting in the driver’s seat will have to hold it just a little longer. That’s because Muni’s plans to build seven new free-standing bathrooms needs to be approved not just by the transit agency, but also Public Works and the Arts Commission. All told, it’s going to take six months.

Officials say planning for regional smart growth prevents ‘a world of hurt’

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jun 15 2012 - 10:21pm

The leaders of Bay Area planning agencies are struggling to persuade local governments and community groups that joint planning will make the region more socially, economically and environmentally healthy. Dealing with sprawl, the focus of the summer print edition of the Public Press, was front and center on Friday’s edition of “Forum,” the daily public-affairs talk show on KQED Radio.

S.F. to tackle shelter waiting game for disabled and older homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jun 6 2012 - 4:52pm

UPDATE: Listen to reporter T.J. Johnston's updated report on this story at KQED news here. The health of homeless people — especially older and disabled ones — is endangered by a time-consuming wait they endure daily when reserving a bed in San Francisco’s public shelter system, advocates and city officials say. As a result of a hearing before a Board of Supervisors panel, the city has begun a series of public meetings with providers, city officials and clients, to seek improvements in shelter access and the health of senior and disabled clients. Homeless policy director Bevan Dufty and others hope to work out a plan this summer and present it to the board.

Thousands of tickets handed out to homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jun 4 2012 - 3:16pm

Ignoring ‘quality of life’ fines can lead to warrants, jail

San Francisco is an expensive place to find an apartment, sure. But it can also be a costly place to live outside. Police served homeless people in the city with almost 40,000 citations over a five-year period, according to records compiled by the city agency that provides homeless services.

After a decade-plus of planning, San Francisco finally sets 2016 date for bus rapid transit

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — May 25 2012 - 3:16pm

It took the United States eight years to get a man on the moon, but it’s going to take transit officials almost 12 years to get a new high-speed “bus rapid transit” system onto one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors. The Van Ness Avenue project, which in 2006 was projected to open at the end of this year — in time for the Muni centennial — has been pushed back four more years, largely because transit planners had underestimated the time needed to complete the environmental work and project planning.

Express bus eyed for Caltrain to mid-Market run

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — May 14 2012 - 2:23pm

Muni officials want to start an express bus route to speed workers from the downtown San Francisco Caltrain to a revitalized mid-Market jobs hub. The rush-hour service would cater to what the city anticipates will be a growing technology business cluster near the new headquarters of social media giant Twitter.

State says lax rules might let builders use questionable licenses

Les Mahler, SF Public Press — Mar 26 2012 - 9:13am

This story appears in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

The agency overseeing companies that build houses and office buildings across California has for years trumpeted its ability to sniff out phony contractors, often publishing photos of dramatic undercover police stings of unlicensed builders at work on half-finished suburban cul-de-sacs. But now the agency, the Contractors State License Board, is looking into a problem of the state’s own making — a program that allows contractors to essentially lease out their licenses.

Muni chief takes aim at swollen overtime budget

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Mar 22 2012 - 9:14am

City transportation director Ed Reiskin says he hopes to control Muni’s overtime spending in the next fiscal year by budgeting it at $42 million. After budgeting $32 million for this fiscal year, the actual spending is expected to reach $60 million.

Supervisors tangle over whether to kill or change ranked-choice elections this year

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Mar 21 2012 - 9:41am

This story appears in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Opponents of the ranked-choice voting instant runoff system say he relatively novel approach is still confusing to voters, while foes of the traditional system that often results in a second runoff election is a waste of money. Dueling measure on how San Franciscans elect their top office holders by Supervisors David Campos and Mark Farrell could end up on the November ballot.

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