Reject the Treasure Island plan

19,000 new residents minus a plan for transportation equals a problem


EDITORIAL After a long, long hearing April 21, as the San Francisco Planning Commission prepared to vote on an ambitious development plan for Treasure Island, Commissioner Gwyneth Borden acknowledged that the plan wasn't perfect. But, she said, on balance it ought to be approved: "Twenty five percent affordable housing is better than zero percent."

That's not necessarily true.

Treasure Island is an usual piece of real estate, 403 acres of artificial land created in 1937 by dumping sand and dirt on a shallow part of the bay. It's less than two miles from downtown San Francisco — but there's no rail service, no BART station. The only way off the island is by boat — or by driving onto a Bay Bridge that's already jammed way beyond capacity every morning and afternoon.

The soil is unstable, prone to liquefying in an earthquake — and if sea levels rise as high as some predictions suggest, the whole place could be underwater in a few decades.

A strange hybrid agency called the Treasure Island Development Authority, created by former Mayor Willie Brown, cut a deal with Lennar Urban (the same outfit that has the redevelopment deal for Bayview Hunters Point) and several partners to construct a neighborhood of some 19,000 people on the island. Among the features: a 450-foot condominium tower and 6,000 units of high-end housing. The developers brag that a fleet of new ferries will offer a 13-minute ride to the city and that some streets will be designed for pedestrians and bicycles.

But the fact remains that the developers want to add 19,000 new residents — almost all of whom will work off the island somewhere — to a place that has no credible transportation system. City studies show that even with an extensive (and costly) ferry service, at least half the new residents would drive cars to work (and, presumably, to shop, and go to movies, and eat and drink), joining the mob of vehicles heading east or west on the bridge. That's almost 10,000 new cars each day trying to jam onto a roadway that can't handle the existing traffic. The backups would stretch well onto San Francisco surface streets and as far back as Berkeley.

A rail line on the Bay Bridge would solve part of the problem. So would bike lanes. Neither option is even remotely possible in the foreseeable future. Free, or heavily subsidized ferries could, indeed, be a positive alternative — but who is going to pay for that service? Nonsubsidized ferries would be far more expensive than current Muni or BART service, a particular burden on the residents of the below-market housing.) And does anybody really think there's going to be enough ferry capacity to carry 10,000 people a day to downtown SF, the East Bay, and the Peninsula?

The bottom line: this isn't a good deal for San Francisco. The affordable housing level is too low. The transportation problems are nightmarish. The last thing Treasure Island needs is a 450-foot tower.

There's no rush to approve this — and no immediate downside to waiting for a better deal. The supervisors should tell Lennar to come back with a project that has fewer residents, better transit options, and more affordable housing. Because zero is looking a lot better than what's on the table.

PS: The 4-3 Planning Commission vote demonstrated exactly why it's important to have key commission appointments split between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. The mayoral appointees all rolled over — but at least the board-appointed members made strong points, forced real debate, and gave the supervisors plenty of ammunition to demand a better deal.


On top of all of the madnness noted above, the Mayor's office, Planning Department and developers also intend to leave rare but extremely dangerous Japan-like tsunami hazards completely out of their project design because including them would make the project too expensive.

Here is the transcript of what Dilip Trivedi (a coastal engineer with Moffat & Nichol who has been hired for the project) said in his presentation to the SF Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on April 11, 2011; referring to rare tsunamis over 15 feet in height [my clarifying comments are in brackets]:

"We are, however, vulnerable to distant sources from Alaska and Japan...San Francisco Bay doesn't allow the propagation of a wall of water because of the restriction posed by the Golden Gate itself. And so it comes in as a very fast tide if you will. We also recognize that lower probability events [very large tsunamis from Alaska] could occur. That has been published recently in the inundation maps for San Francisco Bay. We recognize that those are for emergency scenario planning, rather than for design. They are significantly beyond the standard of practice compared to earthquakes."

In plain English, this means that such rare massive tsunamis have not been included in the Treasure Island design plan, under the excuse that they are so rare that they should be considered independent matters for City emergency response instead! This is a complete nut-ball notion that could get thousands of people killed if such a tsunami actually happens.

But it gets worse. The very next day following that Land Use hearing, a completely different contractor, also hired on the project, was presenting the Treasure Island plan to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission with mayoral staffer Michael Tymoff, and painted a completely different story about tsunami hazard. His statement was incredibly alarming because it was essentially a fairy story meant to purposely gloss over the danger. This contractor was an environmental engineer named Todd Adair with the firm BKF engineers.

Here is his deceptive exchange with Public Utilities Commissioner Art Torres, which completely contradicted Trivedi's testimony in the previous hearing the day before:

Commissioner Torres: "Is this area vulnerable to a potential tsunami?"

Todd Adair: "No. It is protected by the Golden Gate."

The trick Adair is pulling is that he is vaguely indicating that there will not be a wall of water hitting the island, while very conveniently completely failing to mention the very rapid, massive and hazardous tide rise that Trivedi made clear the day before in Land Use. Even more outrageous however is the fact that Michael Tymoff of the Mayor's office, just stood there watching Adair spout this dangerous half-truth and then didn't not say one word to the commissioners to correct the blatant misconception that Adair had just created.

With such macabre and dangerous semantic and silence games being played like Russian Roulette with other people's lives by these private developers and city staffers in public testimony, this project is now screaming be canceled outright; in order to protect the people of San Francisco from a major disaster that could kill thousands, and possibly bankrupt the City.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Apr. 27, 2011 @ 1:13 am

This is the beginning of what follows the Manhattanization of SF ... the Hong Kongification of the Bay. Ya Basta! Enough! Vote Karthik Rajan for Mayor and put an end to the Twittter Giveaways and the Treasure Island Boondoggles.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 28, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

While your editorial made an excellent point about the instability of TI, your statements about transit are undermined by your failure to acknowledge a major part of the transportation system; Muni.

There are already people who live on the island, and most of those who lack cars use muni. The bus runs all night, from Transbay to TI and back. Honestly, it's faster from the island to downtown than it is from the Richmond or Sunset.

I know it's hip to hate on Muni, but please don't forget that it does some things right.

Posted by Annelise DeVore on Apr. 30, 2011 @ 8:32 am

While your editorial made an excellent point about the instability of TI, your statements about transit are undermined by your failure to acknowledge a major part of the transportation system; Muni.

There are already people who live on the island, and most of those who lack cars use muni. The bus runs all night, from Transbay to TI and back. Honestly, it's faster from the island to downtown than it is from the Richmond or Sunset.

I know it's hip to hate on Muni, but please don't forget that it does some things right.

Posted by Annelise DeVore on Apr. 30, 2011 @ 8:46 am

Your comment that Muni can somehow solve the Treasure Island project's transportation problems is absurd, and shows a lack of actually reading what people have written about these deep transportation flaws.

Currently only 2,800 people live on Treasure Island and since many of them are there for the currently -very- low housing prices, a -lot- of them don't have cars.

The proposed massive development project will house 20,000 people (at least 75% of them at high market rate condo and rent prices) and will be built with one-parking-place-per-unit parking in order to attract wealthy residents who want to own cars.

That idea that Muni and ferries can serve the need of such a project, especially in the middle of a major disaster, is absolutely ridiculous.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Apr. 30, 2011 @ 11:15 am

I have lived on T.I. since 1999. I live on the east side of the Villages. About a third of the units on my block are empty-- many for years. There are now less than 2,000 folks in the Villages-- probably around 1,500-- because TIDA has told the Villages property manager (John Stewart Co.) to leave the units empty when tenants move out, ostensibly in order to provide units to relocate Yerba Buena residents displaced by redevelopment (Y.B.I. is first in line for the bulldozers)-- but I think TIDA does not want to deal with tenants who have rights to relocation assistance (incl.$$) and dibs on new and affordable housing (if it ever gets built).

At the public information meeting at the Port Authority (in Feb.2011) I raised the issue of the increased frequency of the "100 year storm" due to climate change and rising sea levels. Recent scientific research suggests that as sea levels continue to rise, the "100 year storm" may have a probability of increased frequency to as little as ten years. Btw, this conclusion has been accepted by the SF Bay Commission, who have included it in public service announcements now airing on PBS-- but they "signed off" on the redevelopment plan nontheless.

I suggested to folks from the Mayor's Office on Economic Development conducting the meeting that it would be prudent to adopt a higher standard of risk on which to base sea level rise mitigation measures-- for instance to plan for the "500 year storm". I was dismissed out of hand with the facile response that FEMA used the "100 year storm" standard, and that FEMA had not [yet] listed Treasure Island as being in a flood hazard zone, and that the measures to deal with the risk of SLR contained in the Draft EIR were sufficient. Btw, FEMA has not yet published a flood hazard map for T.I. Oh yeah, FEMA is the only source of flood insurance for the future homeowners here.

I have written to the Mayor and TIDA with my concerns regarding the risks of natural disasters:

"This man-made island is less than ten feet above sea level, and is vulnerable to big storms, earthquakes, and tsunami. It is a problematic and expensive site to develop and will be more expensive than mainland sites to protect against sea level rise and other hazards.

I just learned about the ARkStorm scenario identified by the USGS as a $700B+ risk to the entire state, and the related Golden Guardian statewide drill planned for June. I have also heard reports that the tsunami in Japan over-topped at least one of the major seawalls there, causing massive loss of life and enormous property damage.

I feel the EIR and Development Plan does not adequately address these risks, and I strongly urge that the EIR approval should be delayed until scientists and responsible parties and agencies can fully evaluate what happened in Japan, and also the implications and results of the ArkStorm Scenario drill."

No response. Regarding traffic and pollution from redevelopment, the CEQA findings are quite damning. Like the editorial says, backups to most on ramps on to the bridge, morning and afternoon, and Saturdays! They think they can impose congestion pricing to mitigate-- charge working folks five bucks to get on the Bay Bridge 6-8 hours of the day. Oh yeah, they plan to not provide enough parking, which will punish the working poor while the rich can just pay for private parking spaces. What an elitist joke!

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

If you're so unhappy in your government-subsidized housing you can always consider other options.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 01, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

Lucretia: I live in market rate housing-- my rent is not subsidized (although the housing is dilapidated). Where do you live Ms. Snapples? Do you have to commute across the Bay Bridge? As for "other options": have you looked for market rate housing in SF lately? Anyway, I have no plans to "cut and run".

To return to topic: my post was about some of the environmental risks involved, the fact that T.I. is a very problematic site to strand $4B+ worth of real estate and $1.5B of publicly funded infrastructure, and also about the impact that the redevelopment plan to build 8K units of housing for 20K residents will have on Bay Bridge traffic.

Btw, there are probably less than 2,000 residents here now because the landlord has left many units empty (some for years) to make room to relocate people from Y.B.I. as that housing will be demolished first. So the MUNI buses and Bay Bridge will have to handle 10X more traffic from TI/YBI. In any case, this is probably not a great place to strand 5,00 low income residents-- and, finally, why should the city subsidize 6k units of luxury housing?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

in central San Francisco in a home we purchased in the first part of the last decade.

I agree the traffic issue is one which screams out for better mitigation. There are a lot of creative solutions - more ferries (which should be subsidized for Treasure Island residents), a gondola lift connecting the island to the pier in SF is another creative idea which could work. Personally I've suggested banning cars on the island except for deliveries and emergency vehicles - it works on islands in both Greece and Turkey with FAR more residents on them than live in Treasure Island.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 12, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

So you own a home in SF and presumably don't commute on the Bay Bridge, and you post your comments under a pseudonym.

You got yours and the hell with us working class folks? a gondola? banning cars? ru serious? "it works" for Greeks and Turks, so I guess I should ride an ass to my catering jobs in the East Bay? oh damn, they only let two-legged asses on the Bay Bridge! with all these great ideas maybe you should-- or do-- work for TICD and Lennar?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

Hilarious. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

Here's an idea. When redevelopment happens you can BUY a place on Treasure Island. Wait - "I can't afford it." Then move - move closer to your job in the East Bay. You don't have a "right" to live someplace you can't afford and you certainly don't have a right to have a car in a community that wants to figure out alternative modes of transportation.

No, you won't ride an ass to your job in the East Bay. But you can take a ferry to your job in the East Bay, or ride a gondola to the BART stop. Be creative. Stop whining and figure out a solution. But if you can't afford to buy a place on Treasure Island then you should start figuring out one that doesn't involve living there.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jun. 12, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

Dear Lucretia: So much wrong in just a headline and mere two paragraphs-- kudos! Ayn Rand would be proud.

First, since you seem to believe in an America where only the wealthy should be accorded full (human) rights, perhaps you can point out the 'income test' in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution? As a legal resident, I have the right to live in the USA-- though I can less afford to do so as the cost of living has risen--especially the cost of housing and health care at double the rate of inflation-- while wages have remained flat for more than a decade.

I assume that you would gladly follow your own facile advice to "move" if you-- god forbid-- were to go bankrupt, say due to a financial misfortune such as catastrophic illness--like hundreds of thousand of Americans do each year (despite most of them having health insurance). In that sad case, perhaps you should move to a third world country where you could, hopefully, afford to live. I hear Mexico is cheap, ten pesos to the dollar-- thanks to NAFTA!

As for my wanting to continue to "live on T.I. AND own a car": you're quite right: only the new wealthy residents of the 6,000 units of luxury (taxpayer subsidzed) housing will probably be able to afford to keep a car on T.I. after redevelopment. Impoverished twelve-year residents like me should just be thankful if they let me stay in their privileged community.

But seriously, why on earth would a rational person "BUY a place on Treasure Island", and put their hard-earned money into an overpriced apartment (the developers and the OED wonks admit that units on T.I. will cost more than comparable housing on 'mainland' SF), built on toxic landfill (not just the Navy's toxic leftovers, but also with dredged-up mercury from hydraulic gold mining--nothing about that risk in the EIR!), on an artificial island that is prone to severe shaking, whose subsiding (like the entire island) seawall cracked in the '89 Loma Prieta Quake (read the Navy's report), which not only sits astride multiple earthquake faults, but is also at risk for flooding from climate-change induced Sea Level Rise, as well as tsunamis, storm-driven high tides, and ARkStorm events? Btw, even if you could get government financed flood insurance (that's the only kind there is in the US- look it up!) that will only cover the first $250K of losses (of your $1M home)!

Incidentally, did you know T.I. currently requires several massive electric pumps to prevent it from filling up with water like a bathtub in a heavy rain? And did you know TI/YBI and the Villages residents have suffered through numerous utility interruptions of the electric power (and of gas, and of water), roughly ten times a year for the past decade?

Has it occurred to you that home ownership may be over-rated? Or that buying more home than you can afford (S.O.P. in SF, much of California and across the US) was encouraged and enabled by a bunch of scamming banksters and complicit pols, and led to a bubble that is still deflating (five years and counting), leading to millions of foreclosures and bankruptcies, disappearing many trillions of your fellow citizens' wealth in the process?

I don't accept your elitist premise "(y)ou don't have a "right" to live someplace you can't afford". The fact is that I can afford to live on T.I. right now, and I have paid market rents here for a dozen years. In fact, I have paid rents of nearly $300K in total-- roughly half of which has gone to fund TIDA, a government organization which, among other things, has worked for many years to plan for and prepare to supervise my eventual removal-- ironic, huh? However, if this project ever gets built (I still have my doubts) it will become significantly more expensive and inconvenient for me to live here.

As for your snooty comment "you certainly don't have a right to have a car in a community that wants to figure out alternative modes of transportation": I dare you to say that to the well-heeled prospective 'suckers' willing to throw down for a million dollar apartment with bay views in the planned 40-story luxury towers-- get serious! Your lofty but badly confused sentiments will certainly NOT be included in the developers' prospectus, or in the brokers' sale pitches.

But exactly what "community" are you talking about, and who do you think you are talking too, anyway? I was one of the earliest tenants to move to T.I. when market-rate housing was first made available here, and I am one of the very few 'pioneers' to maintain my tenacy to this day-- Treasure Island is my community!

For your information, it was a cabal of greedy outside developers, and their 'tools' in the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, who came up with the brilliant idea of forcing (poor) people to do without cars and ride the bus (while still allowing wealthy residents to have THEIR cars), simply in order to make this over-sized project 'work'-- that is, to 'sell it' to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. NONE of the people in the TICD or OED, or on the SFPC or BOS, have EVER lived in this community. Only one Villages resident has even briefly served on the Treasure Island Development Authority board, and he was forced out in short order (I wonder why?). So what "community" ARE you referring to?

Since you are obviously ignorant of the facts and history of T.I., here is some background. Just so you know: the affordable housing component is the public benefit required by the Federal DCBRA (law) that allowed the Navy/DoD to sell N.S.T.I. to the city of SF for well below market value ($105M vs. $1B?). Btw, some of those units will be affordable to city employees, like our police and fire personnel, and teachers-- but I guess you think they should have to move to the East Bay too, or maybe Stockton?

The Navy Draft EIS from 2002, required by NEPA and CEQA, looked at three reuse alternatives: Alternative 1, the most intense development scenario--the one preferred by the LRA (TIDA)-- included 2,850 dwelling units, included ferry terminals, and projected approximately 18,100 average daily vehicle trips. The project was later "scaled up", to roughly 6,000, and then 8,000 dwelling units-- (ostensibly) to create economies of scale for the ferries and other aspects of the project-- and incidentally creating a guaranteed $1B profit for the developer, Treasure Island Community Development (TICD = Lennar, Btw, Lennar ran into some 'snags' due to the housing downturn and troubled projects on other former military bases, such as Mare Island (leading to the Vallejo City bankruptcy) and Hunters Point (toxics violations). They need a big 'winner' to please Wall Street and boost sagging share values.
Facing continued criticism, especially in regards to traffic impacts of a project that had more than doubled in size, TICD 'retooled' the T.I./Y.B.I. plan into a 'green' project, adding 'social engineering' fixes to mitigate some of the traffic issues: brilliant ideas such as not providing enough parking for the residents (10.5K for 8K units vs. SF avg. of 1.5/per unit = 12K), forcing all market rate households to buy MUNI passes, making the westerly on-ramp for MUNI only, and finally, congestion pricing: charging non-MUNI vehicles $5 to get on Bay Bridge during 6-8 hours of each day. This bevy of punitive measures probably won't prevent hour-long backups during commute hours, or on Saturdays-- but the lucky few who just need to get to their jobs in the F.D. can pay $5 (or more) to ride the yet-to-be-funded ferries.
As for your suggestion that I "can take a ferry to the your job in the East Bay": there is no such ferry planned to link T.I. with the East Bay. There are plans for AC Transit to run buses from T.I.-- and this will result in yet more traffic on the Bay Bridge. Btw, I wrote that I do catering work-- not that I had a "job in the East Bay". T.I.'s central location is one reason I live here. Work necessitates that I drive to many locations throughout the SF Bay area, often very early (5am) or very late (returning after midnight), making mass transit-- if it even exists and runs to these locations at such times (which it does not) totally unworkable.

Speaking of ferries: I do appreciate that you said the ferry service should be subsidized, but where do you get off telling me to: "Be creative. Stop whining and figure out a solution." ? I don't need a damn solution: the proposed project is the problem that needs a solution. Btw, I have been going to meetings for years, and have supported efforts to convince the pols and developers to scale back or relocate this project to a more suitable site. At a recent CAB meeting, I offered a constructive and novel idea to make this unstoppable juggernaut of a project more 'carbon neutral'. Nevertheless, if you believe that building multiple concrete and steel 40-story apartment towers (with massive foundations) can be truly 'green' or 'carbon neutral', I have some bogus EU carbon credits to sell you for cheap!

But what are you 'smoking' in your pipe to suggest that I "ride a gondola to the BART stop"? Treasure Island and the two miles of open SF Bay water to the Ferry Building ain't Roosevelt Island and a couple hundred yards of the East River in NYC! If you do like real (not imagined) gondolas so much, why don't you move to Switzerland? I hear they have plenty: very scenic, too, and few poor folks to spoil the view, or lower property values!

Returning to the subject of potentially catastrophic risks (both environmental and financial) involved in the proposed project on TI/YBI, I'd first like to make one important note about the probability of a catastrophe. Remember the Challenger space shuttle disaster? The late physicist Richard Feynman was brought in to head an investigation. He discovered that the experts at NASA had forgotten a basic principle of statistics, that multiple risk probabilities are additive.

For example, if there is a 1 in 100 chance of one part in a system failing, and a 1 in 100 chance of a second part failing, the resultant risk of failure is 2 in 100-- simple, huh? Inexplicably, the engineers at NASA had multiplied instead of adding-- with a resultant risk of 1 in 10,000 for my very simple example-- and consequently, had grossly underestimated the true risk of a catastrophic failure by many orders of magnitude (!).

Btw, there is a hard and fast 'old school' rule that should always be followed in disaster planning. It would have prevented the meltdown at Fukushima, where they couldn't imagine that the diesel generators would fail at the same time the grid went down, and hence had no plan for that contingency. It is Murphy's Law that states if something can go wrong, then it will go wrong; its Corollary is that if something does go wrong, it will go wrong at the worst possible time. Nuke engineers at Tepco ignore Murphy's Law, and voila: multiple meltdowns!

Allow me to give a more recent, but less well known example of 'bad math' or subscribing to a faulty paradigm: one from the financial meltdown of 2008. The brilliant mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot-- discoverer of fractal geometry-- early in his career studied more than two centuries of Egyptian cotton prices (btw, a far longer record of price movements than that available for stock prices). To his surprise, he found that the distribution of price fluctuations did not follow a normal (bell curve) distribution.

His paper on this subject was published in the early 1960's, and was known to smart folks on Wall Street-- and amonst oil drillers like Schlumberger, who used Monte Carlo simulations to minimize the expensive risk of drilling "dry" wells. Mandelbrot's paper factually and definitively disproved the long accepted view-- based merely on a popular and convenient theory-- that stock price fluctuations always follow a normal distribution (see: Taleb's 'Black Swan' and 'fat tails').

That conventional (false) assumption and reliance on standard deviations was (is) the basis for all (most) portfolio planning, and for risk analysis in investing, including the Black-Scholes option pricing formula. Even though they should have known better (and often did)-- it was, after all, their fiduciary duty to give sound and prudent advice-- stock brokers, portfolio planners, and investment advisers all failed to enlighten their clients and the general public, probably because it have revealed that the investments they were selling were much more risky than they were claiming to their clients.

Clinging to a false paradigm was more convenient-- and financially rewarding-- in the short term. Subscribing to this obsolete and faulty paradigm led to the LTCM crisis in 1998, and to the even bigger collapse of the CDS market (with a $62 Trillion notional value at the time-- greater than the GDP of the entire world-- yet merely a tenth of the entire derivative market). This led to the bankruptcy of Lehman Bros., the $185B bailout of AIG, and the rest of the mess in 2008 (see also: 'Crash of 1987').

Unfortunately for future occupants, if a city of 20,000 is built on TI/YBI, more than just loads of private and public money-- $5.6B at last count-- will be at stake. While the planners for this project have obviously not taken the lessons of NASA's tragic and fatal mistakes to heart, neither have they learned the more esoteric lessons of the financial meltdowns of the past decade and a half. Just like the bailed-out banksters on Wall Street-- and apparently motivated by a similar sort of short-term self-interest (a.k.a. greed)-- they choose optimism over prudence, but in this case it is doubtful if the government (with taxpayers' money) would, could, or should, similarly 'bail-out' Treasure Island if this project goes catastrophically 'under water'.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 2:26 am

When you have to wait up a good chunk of an hour for an all night bus from the TBT to TI, then it is not necessarily any faster to get from TI to Civic Center than it is from the outer on-peninsula boroughs.

Add in 6 times more residents and their cars with no identified funding for additional Muni operating obligations to serve those residents and you're adding another straw onto the camel's back towards Muni meltdown.


Posted by marcos on Apr. 30, 2011 @ 11:55 am

Maybe they're just hoping that somebody will have invented the hover car by the time that the development is finished?

Posted by Guest on May. 01, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

20,000 is why too much,, lets say anywhere between 5,000 to 10,000 just be fine

Posted by Garrett on May. 01, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

I too live on the island and I have read the plan and talked to the developers and I am strongly in favor of the plan. It is good for us that live on the island and it is good for the city. It means JOBS and AFFORABLE HOUSING!!!

So all of these people that are suddenly jumping on the anti development band wagon, need to 1) Read the plan 20 talk to the developers and 30 most importantly talk to people that live on the island we WANT the Plan!!!

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

I want jobs and affordable housing, too! I too live on T.I. and support sensible development-- as "green" and sustainable as possible-- but T.I. is the wrong place for a city of 20,000. However, I disagree that this development will be good for all existing tenants-- or even good for the city-- and there are a few other 'Villagers' who also have grave doubts about the project as it stands.

Btw, I have been reading redevelopment docs, attending meetings, and listening to developers presentations for many years, and arguing all along with TIDA (the true landlord), and their agent, the John Stewart Company (dba the Villages), for OUR tenant rights!

While it seemed to me that many of those arguments fell on deaf ears, in the past few years there have been some encouraging concessions. For example, the lease we have all signed says we give up our rights to relocation assistance under federal and state Uniform Relocation Act laws.

I argued it was improper to force tenants in such a tight housing market as SF to sign away their rights in order to get scarce and relatively affordable housing, and that it was contrary to public policy. I took this issue up with JSCo, TIDA, and an administrative law judge in city government. Perhaps there was no direct connection, but tenants of the Villages now have full entitlement to relocation assistance (as per the URA laws).

You say the project is good for the city, but I am not so sure. Now that the state is about to abolish Redevelopment Agencies, I have new concerns about the tax-increment financing of $1.5B of infrastructure using Infrastructure Financing District bonds. Interest payments to the folks who buy those bonds come from property taxes. What if property values go down drastically due to a natural or financial disaster, and the reduction in property tax revenue leads to default of those bonds?

Will such a default adversely affect the city's credit rating? That would cost the city much more in interest payments on its debt, and wipe out any net revenue anticipated from this project.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

Why are you so uncivil, why must you bicker?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2011 @ 8:21 am