Left-right punch knocks out increased development fees for Muni


A new and unusual coalition of nonprofit, religious, and corporate interests today killed a legislative effort to get more money for Muni through the Transit Impact Development Fee, which was going through its process of being reauthorized every five years and came to the Board of Supervisors today.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was hoping to get millions of dollars more per year from the fee to help cover the increasing costs of Muni service, so the city last year commissioned a study establishing a nexus between new development projects and their impact on the public transit system as a way to set the fees developers would pay.

Using that study, Sup. Scott Wiener sponsored legislation that increased the cost per square foot of development for some business types – mostly notably hospitals, big retail and entertainment complexes, and Cultural/Institution/Education facilities – and ended the categorical exemption for nonprofit organizations.

Those who could be impacted by the increased fees banded together into an organization calling itself NOTT (Non-profits Opposed to the Transit Tax), a group that included the city's major health care providers, religious institutions, and influential nonprofits such as Council of Community Housing Organizations and Chinatown Community Development Center.

“We are gravely concerned that elements of the forthcoming Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP), especially elimination of the non-profit fee exemption, have been selectively imbedded in the TIDF update legislation. Elimination of the non-profit exemption has not been considered through a thorough and transparent process and is not good public policy,” SF Chamber of Commerce President Steve Falk wrote in Nov. 27 letter to supervisors on behalf of the organization.

In the face of opposition from both downtown and progressive groups, and hoping to get SFMTA more money for its next budget cycle, Wiener appealed for support to sustainable transportation activists, who had mixed feelings on the legislation for reasons ranging from its exemption of parking garages and development in Mission Bay to its inclusion of organizations serving low-income communities.

So Sup. Sean Elsbernd – who spoke on behalf of Catholic schools and churches – was able to amend the legislation back to the status quo on a 9-2 vote, with only Wiener and Sup. Carmen Chu opposed (Sup. Christina Olague, who co-sponsored the measure with Wiener, even failed to support it in the end).

While that ends this effort for now, it is really only the first round of efforts that are just getting underway to find more funding for Muni, which is underfunded and at capacity on many lines, and implement the TSP when it is unveiled next year.


"Corporate profits are the difference between what the workers earn and what they receive"

Thanks for the flashback. But I have to tell you it's no more credible now than after 40 years.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

Muni riders already have to commute in several hours to and from San Francisco to be able to afford to live on $26/hr and then they have to operate a vehicle for 8, or sometimes 2x5 hours in a split shift.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:11 am

Typo: Muni operators need to commute, not riders.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:24 am

There are many SF'ers earning 20K-50K pa who manage somehow. that's not a reason to overpay workers.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:31 am

Do you really think that it is a good idea for Muni operators who drive large vehicles full of people to be paid so little that they commute into the City for 2 hours each way and then work 8-10 hours in between only to take their wages and spend them out of the City?

Economic self sustainability requires that city employees live in the City to the maximum extent possible so that our taxes remain in the City. "Free marketeers" like yourself prefer that Cities exist as profit generation centers to be skimmed off for elsewhere.

Socialism for the wealthy, free market discipline for everyone else.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:51 am

perry fiefdom that then play beggar-thy-neighbor with each other, in the way you describe.

Any other city in the US with a million plus has a large unified government and tax base. The anomaly in the Bay Area is that we have 9 counties and countless cities all competing, instead of working together.

The whole Twitter/Brisbane thing would be a non-issue if brisbane and ST shares one government and tax base. Likewise we wouldn't see businesses fleeing to Emeryville, Marin and the peninsula.

We shou;dn't be paying bus dirvers more than they are worth just so they can live in SF rather than Oakland. that's their chocie and not something we need to pay for.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

Maybe one day, we'll be fortunate enough that we get to pay an employer for the privilege of working.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:39 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:49 am

Completely unneccessary. The monotone comments of Guest here would never include questioning the radically disproportionate pay of the upper class twits who crashed our economy.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:27 am

It's so high that people on minimum wage actually have to pay federal and state income tax!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:32 am

That must kill you, to know that the very poor are tax payers (as are the blue states) unlike the billionaires who are tax takers (as are the red states).

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:45 am

my point was limited to noting that SF's minimum wage is so high that those receiving it have to pay income tax on it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 11:58 am

The poor pay all sorts of taxes. And those taxes -- when analyzed as a percentage of their income, not to mention their *means* -- are *far* higher than those paid by Mitt Romney and Co.

The *rich* pay little or no taxes, fughead.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 9:29 am

You're so easy to refute. Throw me another soft pitch, please.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:48 am

The *reason* that the very rich pay such a high percentage of taxes -- and by-the-way, you forgot to qualify that statement with the fact that you're just talking federal income tax -- is that their income has more than quadrupled recently while everybody else's has fallen or been mostly stagnant.

Poor, poor, rich folks. I'm mostly vegetarian, but still curious, what kind of BBQ sauce is best?


Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:14 am

What claim would you like me to refute next?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:23 am

clock your intellect to the point where you're thinking on par with a Liberal.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

somehow the poor pay too much tax when they pay hardly any, while the rich pay too little tax when they in fact pay nearly all of it.

Help me out here.

The best taxes are broad-based not narrowly-focused, so that everyone feels they have a stake and nobody gets a free lunch.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

There are far more poor people than rich people;
ergo, poor people pay far more taxes than rich people.

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 7:11 am

entirely possible for a small number of rich people to pay most of the taxes.

Since just 2% of americans pay 48% of taxes, it is clear that it is a minority that pay the majority of taxes.

The low tax environment we have enjoyed since Reagan has only gone a little way in making the tax allocations less inequitable.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 8:38 am

are half of Americans poor or nearly poor. Also, if 2% of Americans pay 48% of taxes, those 2% earn way less than 48% of all income and own a miniscule amount of wealth, in fact have negative wealth.

Since 2007, almost 95% of all income and wealth created has accrued to the richest 1% (thanks to TARP, QE 1 to 3, etc., regressive tax policies, low taxes on capital gains vs. labor, high unemployment, decreasing wages for working class people, etc.)

Whatever percentage of taxes come from the richest 1% or 2%, it is less than the percentage of their income and wealth.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:05 am

Demonize public sector workers; attack their pensions, wages and benefits; scapegoat them for the economic crisis caused by the collapse of capitalism's speculative bubbles (the most recent being the housing bubble; the next, the tech 2.0 bubble).

They have already successfully defeated private sector unionism, now they are going after the public sector. The ultimate goal: privatization so they can suck profits out of the system. They're doing it with education (charter schools), and have their eyes on the post office and other basic services like public transportation.

In the modern hierarchy of villians, public school teachers and bus drivers are just above (or below) pedophiles.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 9:32 am

right-wing capitalists. It's from rank-and-file workers across the land who are sick of having to pay for both their own pensions, and these gold-plated pensions that the public workers have. That's a real concern, and not the conspiracy theory hogwash that you are trying to hide it as.

Anyone who takes muni knows that the staff are rude and incompetant, but they cannot be fired even for accidents, drunkenness etc. while they also never leave because they have such a good deal.

Fix that before asking for more taxes from the rest of us. Muni is flithy, unreliable, unpleasant and unsafe - it's quite simply unusable and much of the reason for that lies at the feet of muni employees at all levels, and the spineless politicians who won't crack the whip.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 9:45 am

because Wall Street convinced the managers to convert to 401K type investments from which they can extract fees. When the market crashed, all of a sudden the pensions became "gold-plated." That's what they want for Social Security, one of the great success stories of the New Deal.

And of course, the so-called outrage comes from more than just the capitalists--there aren't enough of them to constitute a movement. So they pay for stuff like the Tea Party and opinion creators, like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, which appear to be the basis for your incessant, ignorant, repetitive comments.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:04 am

Public sector pensions are underfunded because pro-business Democrats like Feinstein and Newsom get promoted to higher office after mismanaging the public sector, there is no disincentive in the system to do otherwise. In fact, there is no moral hazard in politics because if you play the game with power, you never lose, they always win and the taxpayers and citizens and city workers are left holding the bag.

Socializing the "downside" costs of private profits is the order of the day.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:18 am

represent a lien of future taxpayers. Since we cannot realistically raise taxes to a level that would adequately fund these pensions, then either they will not be paid due to bankruptcy, or there will be massive layoffs of public sector workers in the future.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:26 am

Pensions represent a lien on forgone wages that should have been budgeted for by past mayors like Feinstein, Jordan, Brown and Newsom, wild eyed leftist radicals all.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:41 am

because that's the prudent way to manage any liability. The fact that the can be kicked down the street is a major reason why the pension benefits are so wildly generous - because we don't have to actually pay for them - YET.

Oakland is already borrowing the money to keep up with their contributions. what sense does that make?

We need to fix the mess. Why not start with muni?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:52 am

Organized labor failed "the working class" by holding tight to their own pensions and fringe benefits largely in the public sector while the private sector has been shedding its obligations for decades now.

This created a gap where those paying tax could never imagine benefits enjoyed by those paid by tax dollars. Now, labor is incapable of uniting with unorganized workers in a defense and expansion of pensions because it cannot think outside of its own narrow particular agenda.

But labor does throw some resources at an LGBT arm that is agitating for "the most vulnerable," so they've got that going for them.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:23 am

the modern economy. The current unfunded pension liability for public sector workers was recently estaimated at up to 4 trillion. Thaat's a sum of money so huge that it is in practice impossible to resolve.

What we're seeing in Detroit, Vallejo and other cities will eventually over-run all municipalities, leading to massive layoffs and cuts in services.

Unions, by refusing to see reality and having short-term, selfish interests, have made the problem much worse.

The gay problem is irrelevant and it's gratuitous to bring them into it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:39 am

So enlightened of you.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 9:49 am

So take your issues about gays up with him, not me.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 10:03 am

The reality of retirement costs for the 90%+ who don't win the capitalist lottery require a defined benefit.

Efforts to move towards a defined contribution model were put into place as financialism arose over the past 30 years and have resulted in regular cullings of profits by Wall Street leaving retirees at that point scrambling.

Nobody facing retirement wants to rely on a risky defined contribution plan, but Wall Street does so that's what we get as it is clear that we live in the world's leading democracy.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 10:16 am

"crack the whip" shows the lack of respect you have for working people. If they don't behave how you want, use violence on them. Under your ideology, workers would be chained to their machines and paid as little as possible to keep them alive. Your predecessors in the 19th century decried the end of slavery because it imposed higher costs to the plantation owners. At least you are consistent in your hatefulness towards workers and your obsequiesness towards the owners of the economy.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:10 am

early aviators to fly over striking worker encampments and and throw hand grenades down on them, their wives and children. Reactionary politics is tantamount to sadism.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:20 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:42 am

It's called "history," not "hyperbole."

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 7:13 am

Who said that?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2012 @ 8:36 am

It simply means management actually growing a spine and managing the business, rather than letting it rot into the current mess which is muni. The bloated cost structure of muni is the number one problem.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 10:27 am

It may be that the large former Redevelopment projects will be subject to separate transit impact fees, but I am not sure about that. I remain quite annoyed that so many other enterprises -- be they non-profit or for-profit -- were deliberately exempted in the legislation.

In the meantime, people should know that on Thursday, Dec. 6, the Planning Commission will be hearing yet one more of Scott Wiener's pieces of legislation, this one to expand the number of allowable parking spaces in new developments to accommodate car-share. I oppose this proposal:


AMENDMENTS TO THE PLANNING CODE, AMENDING SECTION 166 TO ALLOW ADDITIONAL CAR SHARE PARKING SPACES [BOARD FILE NO. 12-0900] - Ordinance amending the San Francisco Planning Code Section 166 to: 1) authorize owners of projects with residential units to elect to provide additional parking spaces for car-share use which will not count against any parking maximums; 2) allow the car-share spaces to be used for other permitted uses other than parking a motorized vehicle if a car-share organization chooses not to use the space; and 3) making environmental findings, Planning Code Section 302 findings, and findings of consistency with the General Plan and the Priority Policies of Planning Code Section 101.1.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Modifications

Posted by Sue on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

have a multiplier effect on freeing up other parking as it reduces the total need for vehicles. Most cars are used for maybe an hour a day - it makes obvious sense to make allowances for car sharing in that context.

Again, there were good reasons for the exemptions that were granted to TIDF, and many of us argued for hospitals and other vital service providers to be exempted, plus of course redevelopment area's since, by their very nature, they are given tax breaks and, anyway, they are mostly far from downtown where congestion is not such an issue.

Moreover, as main area's of POC population, we should be helping redevelopment zones in any way possible, and not hindering inbound investment.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

Nothing "left" about the nonprofits, they were just singing on cue for their supper. This lays bare the bankruptcy of a progressive coalition that is centered around nonprofits that receive city funding.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

they were justified in demanding exclusion. They are run at cost and so should be treated differently than for-profits, if we are going to have them at all of course.

Most people would regard a non-profit hospital as already furnishing a public service.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

Nonprofits are corrupt and unethical because they pretend to represent "the people" but will sell out "the people" the moment their funding is threatened.

The city is run on "at cost" as well and we've got our own bills to pay. I thought you'd applaud forcing the advocates for the poor to pay their freight, but you're in it so that the public socializes the cost of private profit, just like a totalitarian communist.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

unrelated to any real impact, and are more just a way of shaking down the deep pockets. Insofar as that drives developers elsewhere, that hurts the city more than the developers.

This decision at least provides some balance - the impact fees are there but reasonable exclusions and exemptions have been carved out for things like hospitals, depressed area's and vehicle storage. Most reasonable people can support that.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

Except that the transit system is in a state of ill repair due to decades of conservative and corrupt governance, and we know that adding new workers and residents will further snarl the system and traffic.

Parking garages generate trips and generated trips snarl transit. Hospitals generate trips and generated trips snarl transit. The exemptions are not rationally based in that they reflect the demands of powerful interests for a free ride and clash with the needs of the transit system and San Franciscans.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

lower congestion.

Muni's problems are weak management, rapacious unions, overpaid workers and chronicly inflexible working practices. Throwing muni at it without addressing the core, structural problems is pointless.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

Observed empirical data lead only to the conclusion that parking generates auto trips.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

And I've seen no evidence that people go out and spend 20K-30K on a car just because they think they might be able to park it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

The government exists to use taxpayers money to provide services for it's citizens.
These should include healthcare, education, and transportation. Energy, food, and housing should be subsidized to the extent that there is no such thing as "poverty."
The City of San Francisco has more money than many countries, and can certainly afford to not only provide free public transportation, but to upgrade the current ridiculous hodge-podge system into a modern, efficient model for the whole country.
Light rail on Geary, vehicles designed for wheelchair and strollers, more express busses where needed (not the 9 San Bruno on Saturday!), and both larger and smaller vehicles for certain routes. Cost?

About the same as 1 mile of subway......

Posted by Joseph Thomas on Dec. 05, 2012 @ 1:33 pm