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» You're Not an Environmentalist If You're Also a NIMBY

In the intense mid-decade battle over a condo project at Telegraph and 51st Street, a group of anti-dense-development activists who called themselves Standing Together for Accountable Neighborhood Development (STAND) sought to block the project and demanded height limits of 48 feet in the Upper Telegraph neighborhood. They were opposed by a pro-dense-development group, known as Urbanists for a Livable Temescal Rockridge Area (ULTRA), which backed the 68-unit project and advocated for taller buildings, up to 75 feet in the area. Ultimately, the city approved the condo project, but it has yet to break ground because of the housing crisis.

At its July 7 meeting, the Oakland City Council likely will approve a plan to allow an unlimited number of tall buildings throughout much of downtown. The proposal follows months of debate that — as in Berkeley — centered on high-rises. Most developers have advocated for as many skyscrapers as possible in the downtown core.

But the city’s proposal could end up backfiring. Mike Pyatok, an accomplished Oakland architect who designs buildings for developers throughout the West, explained that rezoning most of the downtown for tall buildings will artificially raise property values, thereby inhibiting development. Erecting tall buildings is already a costly endeavor, so developers need to acquire land as cheaply as possible to make it work. But if the downtown is rezoned for tall buildings, property owners are going to demand more money for their land, Pyatok explained, noting that property values usually increase when land is rezoned for high rises.

read more: eastbayexpress, 01.07.09.

my little cuzzo Heather (center) and her pink gang in SF!
also: it’s sf bike & roll to school week! 21.-25.04.14.
Gentrification transforming face of Oakland.
"The housing market conditions are completely out of control, with no real accountability to the people who are being displaced," said Robbie Clark of Causa Justa. “These stark rent increases, people being forced to move far away and commute longer — these are not signs of healthy communities.
The Causa Justa report emphasized that government and the public need to do more to keep low-income people in their homes so they can enjoy the benefits of gentrification without being displaced. Stricter rent control and anti-foreclosure laws, more affordable housing and greater public input in planning decisions would help, the report said.
"It’s true, I’m beginning to see white people in (deep East Oakland). … The only reason it hasn’t happened sooner is because we have six shootings a day around here," she said. "The question is not whether this change is good or bad. It’s how do we find a balance, and how do we start the conversation?”
read more:  sfgate, 09.04.14.
» Covering Their Tracks: The Central Subway Project Buries Millions in a Deep Dark Place

Excel should never, ever be used for an accounting or project-controls system.

Aggrieved, would-be Muni passengers are familiar with the agency’s ability to transcend the bounds of time and space. Buses and trains’ estimated arrival times leap forward and backward — or drop, altogether, off the face of the earth.

Muni can do the same thing with money.

"I would like to successfully support the Central Subway Project, however, the reporting accuracy or timeliness is not likely to improve with the status quo," LaVonda Atkinson wrote to the project’s federal overseer in February. "What I’ve [witnessed] is unprofessional, unethical and inaccurate. I cannot remain silent any longer."

For cost engineers, discovering millions expended on unbudgeted items is the equivalent of finding passengers on the airplane sans tickets or boarding passes. It’s a sign that something is gravely and fundamentally wrong.

But Atkinson was already convinced of that. These orphan line-items, she says, are the predictable detritus of reverse-engineered, “William Tell budgeting” and the shunting of cost overruns from one phase into the next. They are a vision of what’s to come.

read more: sfweekly, 02.04.14.

» Reasons Why San Francisco Is the Worst Place Ever

vice, 07.04.14.

i think that was the best part of that post.

even vice still manages to upset folks. Oakland as an “industrial wasteland”? chill the f out, dudes. it’s vice. and you should be welcoming any negative perceptions of oakland, as that serves to hopefully keep more people from moving to our city.

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