Saturday, October 29, 2016

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - October 27, 2016

About 30 people showed up for the meeting - despite the rain!

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who helped distribut fliers: Ted Teipel, Kathy and Hank Flanders, Dirk Aguilar, Barbara Presta, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Janice Lowe, Kazumi Matsuyama, Grace Gellerman, Cindy Valdes and Bill Prince.

And thanks to Bill Prince for taking notes during the meeting!
Greatly appreciated!

Treasurer's Report: Our Treasurer, Leslie Koelsch, reported that our membership consists of 90 households. Our September bank balance was $3272.56.

Senator Mark Leno arrived shortly after 7, and proceeded to give us a rundown of ALL 17 State ballot initiatives. I'm color coding these based on the Senator's personal opinion - Green in favor; Red opposed.

51 – This puts out general obligation bonds for $9 billion for K-12 schools and modernization of existing facilities. The repayment for these bonds comes out of the general fund and requires no new taxes. Jerry Brown opposes this so as to not have to spend the interest money from the general fund. Leno supports it to keep supporting our schools.

52 – The Medicare hospital fee program: This measure extends an existing fee. There will be no impact on consumers or tax-payers. One great reason to pass this is that it qualifies us for $3 billion in federal match funds so this means it's really worth it. Supports.

53 – This was put forward by a multi-millionaire from central valley who opposes Jerry Brown's twin water tunnels (not the reason he opposes this measure). It requires a vote of the people of California for any lease-revenue bonds for any purpose over $2 billion. This means it would require a vote for the high-speed rail program also. Leno opposes this as it does not allow for an emergency situation, like an earthquake or natural disaster that really would require that funds be available fast.

54 – This was also put forward by one person, Republican billionaire Charles Munger. It requires that before any legislation can be taken up for a vote by the legislature, it would have to be provided in written form to the public for at least 72 hours. This would give corporate interests more time to mount opposition to legislative matters. Leno feels the legislature will cope if necessary. But still opposes.

55 – In the recession of the last decade, the voters of California raised taxes, increasing the sales tax by ½% and increasing the personal income tax rates for the wealthiest in the state. This does not extend the sales tax which is to its credit as a sales tax is regressive. This continues for twelve years of the income tax provisions. The proceeds go to schools and health care. The schools would feel a big pinch if this is not passed. Supports.

56 – This measure adds $2/pack tax on cigarettes. The money would go for health care. Tobacco is spending tens of millions of dollars to oppose it saying that this money would just go into the general fund although this actually is not true. Now smokers pay 87 cents per tax. We are 37th of fifty states in our taxing of cigarettes. E-cigarettes will be taxed under this measure for the first time. Supports.

57 – Prop 47, a couple of years ago, reduced drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and was a real benefit for criminal justice reform. This measure reverses a previous vote of the people that gave local district attorneys the authority to decide whether a juvenile is tried in a juvenile court or an adult court. There were a lot of negative outcomes to indeterminate sentencing. This measure shifts the authority to the judge in the courtroom which Leno supports. For a variety of nonviolent nonserious crimes this measure allows for an inmate who has served the base sentence to make his/her case to the parole board for your parole. Our spending on corrections has been rising so that it's approaching the amount spent for higher education. The law enforcement universe opposes this. Gov. Brown spent millions to get this on the ballot. Decades ago he sponsored a measure for determinate sentencing which is fraught with racial disparities. Now there is a range of determinate sentences. DAs oppose this, sheriffs are neutral, police chiefs oppose it but it will probably pass.

58 – In the 1990s, citizens passed Prop. 219 which required that schools ensure English language proficiency. This measure allows school districts to establish dual-language programs which encourage the study of a second or third language. Prop 219 is not affected. Supports.

59 – Does not have the effect of law – but it puts California citizens on record as being opposed to Citizens United. Even 70% of Republicans polled oppose Citizens United.

60 – This was put on ballot by Michael Weinstein who also put Prop. 61 on the ballot. It requires all those in porn industry to wear condoms. Weinstein is the executive director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The measure gives a private right of action to any citizen if they see a clip of porn without a condom to take them to court and sue them and the citizen would get a portion of the suit's proceeds if they prevail, if OSHA does not respond within ninety days. It authorizes him (Weinstein) to be an AIDS Czar to be removed only by a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature. Every AIDS service organization is opposed to this.

61 – Michael Weinstein – The pharmaceutical industry spent $95 million to defeat this. It prohibits state government from paying any more for pharmaceuticals than the VA does at the federal government level. The industry is using ads with veterans saying that if passed the industry will raise their prices on VA meds to make up for the difference though there are federal rules make this not really true. Weinstein's put in $15 million of his own money to support this measure. Leno (and Bernie Sanders) supports.

62 – This measures ends the death penalty in California and replaces it with life without the possibility of parole. Those opposed to death penalty support this. This would save about $1 billion over five years to eliminate the high costs of defending the long long process of appealing death sentences. Without current system, we've condemned 1300 people to death since 1976 but only thirteen have been executed so we don't actually have a death penalty – 99% of those sentenced to this are not executed. We could spend this money in law enforcement. Supports.

63 – This was put on the ballot by Gavin Newsom. It requires background checks for ammunition, which is now easier to buy than pseudoephedrine. It also prohibits possession of large-capacity assault weapon magazines. 2nd Amendment folks are opposed. Leno supports.

64 – Legalizes all uses of marijuana. Put on ballot by Gavin Newsom. Senator Feinstein opposes. Generates a billion dollars a year. Allows cities to prohibit it within their boundaries. Supports.

65 – Plastic bags. In SF and in many regions statewide, plastic bags are banned. This was put on the ballot by the plastic bag industry. It would redirect the money collected by groceries to environmental projects (sounds better than it is). Every environmental group in California opposes this.

66 – Counters Prop 62. It Gets rid of a lot of safeguards in the appeals process that are there to prevent killing innocent people. This would cost the state a lot, speed up executions. He strongly opposes.

67 - Referendum on the legislature's bag of single use plastic bags. Vote YES on this referendum to sustain what the legislature did. This also put on by the plastic bag industry.

Next, Jeff Kositsky, new Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing spoke about the homeless crises facing San Francisco and cities across the country. This program brings together six different programs in six different departments to create a single strategy and data base as opposed to the current thirteen different data base systems that don't speak to each other. We spend less than 2.5% of the City's budget on homelessness that would really beef up services. We have 6200 units of permanent housing for homeless people, twice as much as the next highest city but he hopes they can coordinate it all (coordinated entry) and prioritize who gets the housing.

He says to report problems by calling 311; it is not a perfect system, but citizens' reports to 311 do help identify "hot-spot" problem clusters on their maps, which can then be systematically addressed.

An Encampment Resolution Team has been started by the City. It will differ from previous programs that just pushed homeless people around. This program moves people into shelter, brings doctors, provides showers and restrooms. With this system, half resolve their homelessness and the other half does not end up back in the same place.

Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street Project: There was a Planning Commission hearing scheduled for November 3. It's been rescheduled - tentatively - for January.

The project now consists of 10 dwellings, 2 in each of 5 buildings: 4 units on Upper Terrace, 2 on 17th St, 2 on Roosevelt, and 2 straddling the corner. The total building square footage for the 10 units is 52,609 square feet. That translates into an astounding 5,261 sq. ft AVERAGE, per unit. The average dwelling in SF - including those in Pacific Heights - is 1600 sq. ft.

In addition, each building is shown as having its own lap pool.

The overall design, partially thanks to the Planning Department's Residential Design Team's requests has improved considerably. There are "view corridors" between each of the buildings. This helps to reduce the blockiness and "uni-building" look.

Dawson& Clinton are "working with" the Dept. of Public Works to discuss improvements to the existing Monument Way Stairs. The stairs have been derelict for many years. They will require a huge amount of work - rebuilding most of the stairs, re-doing all of the overhead lighting, completely replacing the landcaping and installing irrigation. Once DPW completes a review of the needs and costs, several of us on a committee will be discussing possible improvements with Dawson & Clinton.

Aside from the need for an overall reduction in size of the project, the ability of the hillside to sustain such an enormous project in an extremely unstable area has come into question. With a very notable landslide directly across the street on 17th Street, and another just west of 300 Corbett, this has become a great cause of concern. Several residents of Upper Terrace are particularly concerned about what the massive amount of excavation will do to their foundations.

And last, since Upper Terrace is too narrow for large trucks to navigate, all of the staging for the project will be on or around the corner of Roosevelt and 17th. This means that for 2 - 3 years, there will be parking disruption, traffic increases and noise and dust proliferation.


75 Mars: Preliminary roofing has been applied. Windows are going in. Interior work ongoing. Estimate by owner is that it will/may/could-if-all-the-stars-align be complete by February.

3198 Market: This is the land-locked parcel just east of the Miller-Joost house on Market. We were really happy with the 3rd interested party - who ended up purchasing the lot. The first two interested parties either wanted to break through the giant retaining wall on Market to build a driveway, or to pave Al's Park as a driveway. The new owners' plan was to build a relatively small 2 unit building below, with no auto access - only bicycle and foot access. It was meant for their son to live in while he was attending SF State. After over 2 years attempting to satisfy the Planning Dept., the Fire Dept. - among others, they finally received their entitlements. After all the delay, their son ended up enrolling in a college in NY. The lot - with the entitlements - is once again for sale.

Corbett Slope: DPW is now committed to building a stairway that will connect Corbett with Market. This is great news! It will start just west of where the bend in the chain-link fence is, make a wide "C" turn to the right, and make it down to Market where an opening in the new retaining wall will be created.

The relatively level area at the east end - near the entrance gate - will get a major facelift as well. There will be a leveled area with a base made of concrete or permeable material. And several planters. And - the fence, up to the bend will be removed!

Corbett/Ord Triangle: A ginkgo tree will soon be planted by DPW in the NW corner of the planted area near the bench. They also will repair the buckled sidewalk on both the Corbett and 17th Street sides. More decomposed granite will be dropped off for the path to be improved. In addition there will be some irrigation system improvements - with a lockable cage to cover the timer apparatus.

History Project: All 256 pages have been submitted to the Planning Dept. for approval. Then it will need approval from the Historic Preservation Commission. We're currently discussing printing options - although the actual printing needs to take place after it's received final approval.


2201 Market (Catarra Real Estate/Industrialists/Glidden Paint): A new building for this site will be 63.5' high. It will have 100% lot coverage. The plans that were submitted for approval had several elements that were not acceptable to many people in the neighborhood.

One was a corner with an exposed concrete support pillar in front of a recessed ground floor retail space. Since there was no entrance on the corner, the open space would likely be used as an "urban campground" and the exposed concrete pole would be a magnet for graffiti.

The intention was to have one large retail space. The problem with this was that up and down Market Street, almost all of the very large retail spaces remain empty. Almost all of the smaller ones have been rented.

There would have been 2 stairway "penthouses" on the roof. These are the enclosures you see all over that surround an exit door on the roof. They are frequently used to house rows of cell phone antennae.

And the 4th issue was that the sponsors of the project refused to include the 2 required BMR (below market-rate) units onsite. They opted for either offsite (a less desirable/expensive neighborhood) or to pay an "in-lieu" fee.

I filed to request a Discretioinary Review on behalf of DTNA (Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Ass'n.) During the review process, the approval hearing is postponed. We immediately heard from the project sponsors who were interested in talking.

The pole and the corner is now enclosed. The 2 stairway penthouses have been removed. They've agreed to include a 500 square foot retail space on the Sanchez side. And something is currently being worked out regarding the BMR units. All in all, a great success.

2198 Market: Xmas tree lot/Shell Station. Almost finished. It will have 87 rental units (52 1-bedroom, 35 2-bedroom). It will be 7 stories - 65' tall on the Market St. side, 81' tall on the corner and 40' on Sanchez. It will have 34 parking spaces, 2 carshare, 89 bike parking spaces, and 5115 square feet of ground floor retail.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): This project could break ground in early 2017. It's the same developer as the glass block building at Market and Buchanan. The approved plans show a mostly glass, 7 story building that includes 62 units and 2600 square feet of ground floor retail.

Sullivan's Funeral Home (2254 Market): By Prado Group (a real estate development, investment, and property management company). Approved LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) plans. Also could break ground by mid 2017 55' along Market/40' along 15th St. 45 Dwelling units. 13,550sf ground floor retail. 22 Car pkg.

Super Duper will be expanding into the hideous Check Cashing place on the corner next door.

And last and least:

Les Natali:

Zapata's: This well-loved burrito establishment was give a last minute reprieve of an additional 10 months. Still no lease, and a very uncertain future.

The saga of Les' properties continues. Zapata's is still almost definitely out after October thanks to Les. Good news is that the Patio lost it's liquor license while he continues to search for an imaginary person/business to lease the space from him. It's been closed since 1999.

Patio Cafe: For the last 2 years, Les has been desperately searching for 2 people to fill "managerial" positions for the restaurant which would be Hamburger Mary's. And you know how difficult it is to find good help!

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Membership: If you haven't paid for a while or would like to join, annual membership is $20 per year per household. Besides being used for flier printing and snacks for garden workdays, the money is used to purchase plants, any garden equipment and irrigation supplies we may need to take care of our various mini-parks. The easiest way to join is to go to our website:, and click on the "Subscribe" button. That way, PayPal will automatically remind you next year. Or, you can send a check made out to CHN to 197 Corbett, 94114.

Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary