Rose Pak

Paying for the mayor's China trip

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You'd think the mayor would know better by now. After all the allegations of cronyism and undue influence, you'd think that he'd make sure everyone involved in his trip to China was playing by the rules. You'd think the last thing he would want is this.

Now: So far this is just a complaint, and noting has been proven. But still: It sure looks bad. And it's entirely unnecessary.Read more »

Editorial: The case against the 8 Washington tower

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Editorial note: In 1971, at the height of the Alvin Duskin anti-highrise battle, the Guardian did a special first ever cost benefit study for high rise office development.

We found that highrises cost the city  more in services than they produce in revenue.  This meant that the commercial high rise boom could be fought on economic grounds, not just aesthietic and environmental grrounds, and the Chamber of Commerce/Big development gang could never adequately refute our findings.  In fact, they are now taken for  granted. So, as the 8 Washington battle is poised to open the floodgates even further for a forest of market rate residential  buildings, it's time for the city to do its own study to determine the economics of high end  residential buildings.  Does the cost of servicing luxury residential buildings exceed the taxes they pay? We and many others in the neighborhoods are certain that market rate housing doesn't pay for itself. But the facts are needed and so we urge the supervisors to direct the budget analyst or the city economist to do a similar analysis  for luxury condos.  Below is Executive Editor Tim Redmond's powerful argument against 8 Washington.

By Tim Redmond

tredmond@sfbg.com

In city planning terms, it's a fairly modest project: 134 condos, no buildings more than 12 stories tall, on a 27,000-square-foot site. It's projected to meet the highest environmental building standards and offers new open space and pedestrian walkways. It's near Muni, BART, and ferry lines. And the city will collect millions of dollars in new taxes from it.

But the 8 Washington project, which will come before the Planning Commission March 8, has become a flashpoint in city politics, one of the defining battles of Mayor Ed Lee's administration — and a symbol of how the city's housing policy has failed to keep pace with the needs of the local workforce. Read more »

Is SF's DA investigating Rose Pak?

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Well, Ms. Pak thinks he is. At the Chinese New Year parade, where she wields the mic at the reviewing stand and typically makes nasty comments about local politicians, she was relatively muted this year -- except when D.A. George Gascon rode by. "I read in the blogs that you're still investigating me," she shouted. "What the hell did I do? I just elected the first Chinese American mayor. You will find nothing, except that I swear a lot."Read more »

Sup. Elsbernd ducks more Impertinent Questions

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Well, I am sad to report that my neighborhood supervisor, Sean Elsbernd, has once again refused to answer my Impertinent Questions and to say if he voted for Ed Lee for mayor. Perhaps I will tell you, he says, perhaps not and he chose to perhaps not. He has thus refused to shed light on his role in one of the most fateful nominations in San Francisco history.

 Here's the latest version of the almost famous Que Syrah correspondence between Elsbernd and me on these critical Impertinent Questions. (As attentive readers of this blog know, I have been trying for months to get Elsbernd to meet me to talk about these questions at Que Syrah, a nifty little wine bar in the West Portal area of Elsbernd's district. I am still trying.) Read more »