A developer's wet dream - Page 2

Wiener offers far-reaching proposals to amend environmental-review laws

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Sup. Scott Wiener has sponsored some of the most controversial legislation of the last two years.
PHOTO BY SF NEWSPAPER CO.

"It just doesn't happen."

CONSOLIDATED APPEALS

Perhaps the most profound change would eliminate any CEQA appeal for a project that has to go to the supervisors anyway. Wiener's idea: if the board already has to sign off on, say, a zoning change or a special use district or any finances of a project, the environmental review can be done at the same time. "It's as if there's an automatic appeal," he said.

But that conflicts with the concept of environmental review, critics say. No member of the public has the legal right to a sustainable or environmentally sound project; planning commissions, city councils, and county supervisors can, and often do, approve horrible projects.

But everyone has the right to a complete and fair environmental review. CEQA mandates that the decision-makers accept and acknowledge the consequences of their decisions — and if an EIR is flawed, those consequences can be understated.

Wiener would do away with the mandate that the supervisors hold a hearing, accept appeal briefs, and address CEQA questions as a distinct and separate part of a project approval. "The public would be denied the right to a hearing before the full elected body on the adequacy of an EIR or other CEQA determination," a Planning Department staff analysis states. "And if a member of the public introduced new information at the committee hearing, there would be no way for the city to respond to or modify the environmental document."

Among the projects that this provision would affect — where the public would lose the right to appeal an environmental determination: The America's Cup, the Central Subway, the Parkmerced rebuild, the 8 Washington project, and the California Pacific Medical Center's billion-dollar hospital proposal.

The proposal would also change the standard city planners apply when they review projects. The current rules require that the city show there is a "fair argument" that a project would have a significant environmental impact. The new language would mandate the staffers find "substantial evidence" that a full review is needed.

"It is likely more projects would require an EIR under the 'fair argument' standard and fewer projects would require an EIR under the 'substantial evidence' standard," the Hastings analysis concludes.

And while the Board of Supervisors now has to certify that an environmental determination is accurate and correct, Wiener would change that to a determination that the city has made "an independent judgment" on the merits of the review. That, the Hastings lawyers state, "is a more discretionary standard that would be used to uphold an EIR certification decision even if the board determines that the conclusions and findings in the EIR are incorrect."

MORE LAWSUITS?

A lot of the language in the complex package of CEQA changes involves public information and notice.

Comments

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/gay-marriage-victory_n_2085900....

See, wanton mendacity would make you a troll and kinda reprehensible and an object of scorn, while psychosis makes you an object of pity.

Posted by lillipublicans on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

Most Americans are not "left wing," nor are they libertarian capitalists, they want government to be there to make up for what the market doesn't always provide such as retirement security and health care.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

I did not write that "Americans are left wing"; I wrote that Americans are more left wing than their political representation of both stripes.

Posted by lillipublicans on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 9:35 pm

credibly claim to know that, given that the most obvious and verifiable way of determining peoples' political views is how they vote.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:39 am

Why are San Francisco's Democrats out-libertarianing Inyo County SoCal Republicans:

"The solar companies are the beneficiaries of huge government loans, tax credits and, most critically for me, property tax exemptions, at the expense of taxpayers," said county Supervisor John Benoit, referring to a variety of taxpayer-supported loans and grants available to large solar projects as part of the Obama administration's renewable energy initiative. "I came to the conclusion that my taxpayers need to get something back."

County officials were unprepared for solar developers' reaction.

"They brought in six guys with three-piece suits, a PowerPoint presentation, and said, 'Your 2% is going to cost us $3 million a year,'" said Benoit, whose district includes many of the projects. "I thought, 'Wait a minute. That means you are going to make $150 million a year....' And they wanted to give us $96,000. It's a pittance compared to the loss of value and impact of these huge projects."

Benoit, a Republican, listened as company representatives aggressively pushed for the projects. At the next supervisors meeting, Benoit discovered, "These guys play hardball." A swarm of solar supporters flooded the room — bused in and wearing matching "No Sun Tax" T-shirts and caps.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/25/local/la-me-solar-counties-20121125

Posted by marcos on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

If developers paid the city nothing, many of these projects would still bring millions of dollars of new revenues here. That's why sometimes the city actually pays out to have businesses and developments here, like the Twitter-inspired rehab of the down-at-heel mid-Market area.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

Even rock ribbed Republicans, the ones who are not corrupt like our local crony capitalist commissars, have learned the dangers and won't stand for this radical libertarian economic sharia.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

Your idea that all developers are bad is clearly self-serving nonsense.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

Developers who externalize the impacts of their projects and demand public subsidy while reaping profits are the bad ones.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

But the decision to comply rests with the officials whom we elected, and sometimes the city has to invest to get a payback.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 7:42 am

Or sometimes elections are bought and the winners deliver up their constituencies as tribute to their benefactors. In that prevalent case, CEQA exists to give the courts say over political corruption.

Any effort to "streamline" the CEQA process is not only more conservative than Ronald Reagan but is the kind of crony capitalism that leads to economic bubbles.

Why do you want to put the vacuuming up and squandering of precious tax dollars for deposit in the coffers of the already rich on the fast track?

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 8:10 am

(which is pretty much every election) then the excuses are trotted out:

The election was bought, or

There was election fraud, or

The people were misled, or, everyone's favourite:

It was all a giant right-wing conspiracy.

Anything in fact for the truth - that most Americans are not socialists.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 9:24 am

It appears that "the left" as in liberal Democrats have won 3 out of the past 4 federal elections, yet despite protestations from the antediluvian troglodytes of Obama's socialist tendencies, federal policy has lurched even further towards corporate welfare and crony capitalism and away from the interests of taxpaying Americans.

There is no "left" in American electoral politics, that is not to be permitted by the oligarchical monopoly that controls access to the ballot box and the counting of ballots, this car only is able to turn to the right.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 9:51 am

are parties that reflect that ideology e.g. the Green Party and the Socialist Party and the Communist Party. The problem is that, outside of SF and a few liberal college towns, they have zero support.

Americans are naturally more right-wing than in, say, Europe. And the founding fathers were clearly no fans of big government. So why aren't you grateful for at least having a choice of two very different systems?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:42 am

Polling on policy indicates that Americans are social democrats, but the corporate and oligarchic interests that profit from US empire and right wing policies control politics to the extent that they will never allow this to happen. Indeed, between the Democrats and the Republicans, the "drone caucus" is pushing for an ever increasing spying capacity on Americans. Neither liberals, progressives, conservatives nor libertarians support this egregious intrusion into privacy, yet government is going to do it. Likewise, Americans support Medicare and Social Security but Obama and the Republicans are fixing to begin to dismantle these critical programs. There is no way to effectively vote for policies that represent what polling indicates American votes support because the game is rigged by corporate interests which can afford to out spend citizens to continuously rig the game.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:58 am

Where are you going with this?

Posted by D. Native on Nov. 26, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

Development, entitlements and discretionary approvals have been reengineered such that the costs of private projects are externalized onto the general population and government while the profits liberated from their full costs accrue almost exclusively to the private investors.

This is a problem in Inyo County with solar farms and it is a problem in San Francisco with all sorts of infill and high rise development. Scott Wiener is taking the position of the crony capitalist in this instance, that the public needs to be subsidizing massive profit while living precariously on the edge economically while the rock ribbed real Republican has come to the realization that there is no good economic or public policy rationale for foisting the costs onto the public for projects that do not benefit the public at all, indeed cost the public for the privilege.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 7:52 am

is ineffective and unpopular. Most thinking people do not begrudge a profit to those who risk their own capital rather than merely show up for work every day. And few people outside the usual suspect NIMBY's really want SF to look like it did in Vertigo, even if parking would be easier.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 9:21 am

8 Washington is headed to the ballot soon enough, we'll see how that goes once San Franciscans have a formal opportunity to weigh in on run away development.

It was not the angry Latino fake leftists who work at nonprofits in our neighborhood who were railing against speculative developer capital that qualified the referendum, rather old school well to do white people and that must scare the living shit out of developers.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 9:53 am

very small number of rich folks worrying about their view and the effect on their property values. Had the objection just been "usual suspect" NIMBY's like you, the signatures would have been insufficient - as it was, theyw ere simply bought and bribed.

And clearly we cannot have a voter initiative for every new building that is mooted.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:44 am

The electorate will weigh in on the nature and consequences of 8 Washington. We can count on the city funded poverty nonprofits to dance for their suppers at the expense of their constituents like the city funded domestic violence nonprofits did at the expense of Eliana.

It should be an amazing campaign, I look forward to it.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:54 am

The important subject here is that we have an attempt to limit public notice and input in a process that is important to determining the future of our city. Any time you limit the public you are violating some degree of public trust.

After attending and recording the North Beach SFMTA Central Subway meeting last week, I am not inclined to trust the judgement of city officials who have rubber-stamped a plan that SFMTA officials admitted is based on an assumed "benefit for the future of this project that has yet to be planned, designed, federally funded." They went on to say, "We can't presume anything, we are trying to be as flexible as possible," That is the best excuse they can give for destroying a neighborhood? Maybe some day you will have a subway stop of your own?

My favorite quotes of the evening, "How can you aim a tunnel if you don't know where it is going?" (applause). Ed's answer, "great point."

For a tape of Supervisor Chiu's statement at the end of the meeting see: http://www.enufront.info/Media.html

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 1:29 am

The money is now there (not ours) and the thing is getting built. There is little point in having endless meetings where the usual activist suspects whine and kvetch.

Most public meetings are attended by activists and not the silent majority. Politicians know this and so routinely take little notice of the usual suspects and their agenda's.

And they are right to ignore the noisy majority

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 7:45 am

Weiner is a new invasive species of politician, a Vampire in a suit willing to destroy neighborhoods and suck the blood from the communities so he can feed at the developers trough. Let's get a recall going and put a stake through the heart of this unprincipled mess.

Posted by Guest John Levin on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 9:29 am

That will require making the same linkages to Wiener that the 8 Washington folks made on terms that D8 voters will be receptive towards.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 9:54 am

on the entire board (in terms of approval among his/her constituents).

I think people fail to understand exactly how calculating he is. In short, he's not afraid to have enemies. He just wants to make sure his enemies are the right ones to have...

The homeless industrial complex, the crystal tweaks, the 63 year old nudie with the cockring, the Progressive Coalition of Angry Lesbians for Racial Justice, the Bay Guardian, etc.

Or, as his enemies like to call themselves, "the marginalized".

Hint, there's a reason you're marginalized. Because nobody fucking likes you. And Weiner has absolutely tapped into that.

Good luck with any recall, lol...

Posted by Scram on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 10:00 am

Wiener's lost most ballot measures he's put up.

Sure, he carried the street bond but that was a major team effort and only barely passed after the City had abandoned financing street repairs and the populace was pissed.

Looks like Wiener is only popular when he's going with the flow and loses bad when he goes it alone, lurching to the right.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 10:05 am

i know because he is mine and we've had a couple of chats, maybe 15-20 minutes. He supports the ideas that he hears about from those who elected him - isn't that the way it is supposed to work, i.e. a pragmatic approach rather than a kneejerk ideology?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 27, 2012 @ 11:45 am

People like you should live in dumps like Dallas, Texas where your conservative uptight life might fit in better with the likes of George Bush Jr.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 10:08 pm

Weiner makes me sick, IT is destroying a city that has led the nation for a while in both art and civil rights. Weiner contributes nothing to San Francisco but his own ambition. I hate him. He hates poor people and an idiot like him is turning San Francisco into a conservative boring expensive place where only people like Larry Ellison the billionaire owner of Oracle can live.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

I have lived in San Francisco 43 years. This is the first time ever in my life I have absolutely hated a supervisor. This creep Weiner does not belong in San Francisco. Go away you sick conservative boring uptight thing.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

and can go somewhere else where you won't be so angry all the time.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

getting evicted because no property owners wants a trouble-maker around. And if a landlord wants a tenant gone enough, that tenant will go, one way or the other.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 8:05 am

is an admission of the existence of constructive eviction, tenant harassment, and other illegal forms of removing tenants. Thanks for your honesty. It must be difficult for landlords when the serfs assert themselves. Got to go now. I'm too moved by the plight of the aggrieved gentry to continue writing.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 8:25 am

Landlords typically start out nice and then ratchet up the strategies if the tenant is unreasonable and intransigent.

Naturally I'd never endorse harassment, but let's such say there are a variety of methods that can help a tenant realize he might be happier elsewhere.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 9:26 am

"a variety of methods" reminds me of "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Do you use the same PR firm as Dick Cheney, John Woo and Barack Obama?

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 11:13 am

and tenants often try and ise the same guerilla tactics as landlords.

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