Thick petition against a big project


My old friend Sue Hestor stopped by my house June 24 to ask if any of my neighbors might want to sign the referendum petition on 8 Washington. She was carrying a clipboard with a document the size of a phone book attached to it. Almost 600 pages, neatly bound.

I flipped through it. Lots and lots of background documents on the project, nothing anyone's ever going to read. But thanks to some slick moves by the developer, Simon Snellgrove, supported by his allies on the Board of Supervisors, the referendum petition has to have all of that material attached.

See, the petition seeks an election to overturn a piece of legislation. Doesn't happen often in San Francisco, and as far as I know, it's never been successful. State law, of course, says that you have to show people the bill you want to overturn.

But when activists in Bayview Hunters Point tried to run a referendum campaign on the area's redevelopment plan, they lost before they even had a chance. The City Attorney's Office ruled that each petition had to include the entire redevelopment plan, all 62 pages. Since the petitions didn't include every single page of that plan, the signatures were rejected.

In this case, Snellgrove's crew made sure that the final legislation approved by the supes included numerous mentions of other documents that were, in legal terms, "included by reference." Lots of documents. And all of them had to be copied, bound and attached to every set of petitions that every circulator carries.

It's a bear: You can't send petitions around by mail, you can't carry a whole stack to a big event ... and it costs $18 to print and bind a set. The foes of 8 Washington will need at least 1,000 sets to get the required 28,000 signatures. That's $18,000, just to get started.

Which would clearly appear to be a chill on the rights of the people to force a ballot referendum.

Still, they soldier on. Hestor told me she's "fundraising like crazy" to get enough money not to pay signature-gatherers but just to print the petitions. Jon Golinger, who's helping run the campaign, says he confident there will be more than enough copies to do the job.

So if you want to get a little exercise for your arms (don't laugh --one petitioner is already having arm problems lugging this stuff around) and you're interested in helping out, check out the campaign HQ at 15 Columbus or call 415-894-7008. There's a rally Saturday/30 at 10am.








lack the maturity to accept the process for deciding things like this through subject-matter experts and democraticaly elected officials?

And then you have to ask why there's no support for your endless negativistic MINBY'ism?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

Citizens complaining about parking meters are "entitled" and "a mob," citizens who complain based on class are righteous.

Keep in mind Tim wants to raise taxes because elected reps would be in charge of the money, we could just vote the bums out if the squandered it. While Tim is upset that these same reps didn't vote correctly on this obsession of his.

It is not overly complicated, Tim gets his way and democracy works, Tim doesn't get his way, democracy sucks.

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

Tim Redmond - the amen corner of the Telegraph Hill 1%

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

with the impending certaintu of her demise, she will be visited by the ghosts of all those who would have lived in affordable untis that were not built because she tried to stop every new construction of housing in this city.

A one-woman campaign to prevent any change or progress is not a legacy that I would want to either live for or die for. She's a sad, sorry disgrace. And 8-Wash should be built as a testimony to how even in SF, we eventually overcome the NIMBY's and the doom and gloom crowd.

A pox on her and on SFBG for being such lousy losers.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 6:18 am

Sue Hestor will demand her ashes be mixed into the flowerbeds of her Bernal Heights home and then require her heirs to have it declared a historic site - thus preserving it from sale or renewal for eternity. Or maybe she'll require that her ashes be scattered across the city by plane and then have the whole thing declared a monument - preserved forever, never changing, which has always been her lifelong goal anyway.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

If you thought that you could defeat the 8-Wash development by some tactic or strategm even if you knew for sure that, say, 60% of SF residents wanted it built then . . . would you choose to stop it anyway?

If so, is that because you think you know better than the silent majority, and feel that they only support it because they don't understand the real issues as well as you do?

If not, are you expressing the maturity necessary to be on the losing side even when it hurts? And if so, why the endless "bad loser" pieces here?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

is too bureaucratic.

Tim is upset that there are too many regulations and stipulations on the common citizen.

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

No, folks, I'm saying that -- year after year, and I've been watching for 30 years -- developers almost always win in San Francisco.

The initiative, referendum and recall exist for a reason. For good reason, none are trivially easy. It should be hard to force a referendum, but it should be possible, and not subject to random stuff like 600-page requirements.

The mandate ought to be a significant number of voter signatures, and it is. You don't get 28,000 sigs in 28 days unless you have an issue that you can demonstrate there's public concern over.

Same with a recall. I've argued, and I still believe, that if 48,000 people (or whatever the number is, I'm not sure) want Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi to face a recall, then he should face one.

Most of the time, elected officials should be allowed to do their jobs. But in 1986, when we passed Prop. M, which even skeptics at the time now see as a groundbreaking piece of urban planning, there was no way the supervisors, who were nearly all owned by developers, would ever have approved that legislation.

Some of the most important progressive legislation in this city has been passed by the voters as an initiative.

Now: I agree that the process is out of control at the state level, largely because of money. Ban paid signature gathering and you solve that instantly.

In the meantime, I support the referendum on 8 Washington.


Posted by tim on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

There is a reason why development entitlements are not always as-of-right. Once upon a time, in the 1940s, white male Republicans passed amendments to the California Government Code that required localities to zone for the orderly development of their communities.

Developers are the local outpost of the Wall Street FIRE economy--Finance, Insurance and REAL ESTATE. The last of those is the only one that is site-specific, that cannot be outsourced.

In the post-Citizens United world, developers can purchase elections and elected officials are wary of crossing the most powerful local industries. That allows tea partiers like Ron Conway to ram through economic policies that come straight out of Cato, Heritage and the University of Chicago economics school.

Yes, San Francisco has changed, but it has not changed into Texas.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 7:39 am

Trying to have rational discussions here. Most of you just want to attack me no matter what I say.


Posted by tim on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

is opportunism in the process.

Every day is a new day to bemoan the process when it doesn't work out for you and celebrate it when it does. Bemoan government reps who don't view the world as you do and complain about their legislation, while calling for higher taxes for your pet projects, while then saying that if elected reps don't spend wisely we can vote the bums out.

When you win an election the people got it right, even if your side outspent, while when you lose there is always some mitigating reason, as in you were outspent.

You advocate for more laws and regulations on every aspect of peoples lives, while complaining that a petty regulation is enforced.

It is really Limbaugh like Nekid opportunism. No matter what happens your position should be given a go because you have extra entitlements because you are so righteous and the other side so evil.

Posted by Matlock on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 7:49 am

>"Trying to have rational discussions here. Most of you just want to attack me no matter what I say.


Oh please. You expect us to feel sorry for you? The only thing that's boring is you saying the same thing over and over again. You allow your personal obsessions to dictate your columns. It's like watching a train wreck. Over and over again.

So what's the point of this post? That Snellgrove's lawyers are using every legal means to hamper the referendum? Including making the collectors lug around 600 pages? If Aaron Peskin did that you'd be praising his resourcefulness ("Hey, that's the law").

BTW, there was a quote floating around, I think in the Chronicle, of Hestor speaking of the referendum and saying something like 'Snellgrove is going to have to spend some more money'. So you expect him to play nice?

Posted by Troll on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

Sorry this is a waste of time. I appreciate the effort though.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

There is a lot of talk around here how developers have ensured the gentrification of San Francisco. Really though, its Sue Hestor who has ensured the most gentrification of SF.
By being the professional naysayer, the lawyer who is most ready to take up to torch of preventing anything, anywhere, no matter big or small.
Some say its a boomer phenomenon - these people are getting older and more feeble, And desperately cling to the familiar. Couple that with the general attitude of boomers of ME ME ME and throw in lots of knowledge on how to game the system and - Sue Hestor

The day that Sue Hestor is no longer a SF problem is the day that SF grows up a little bit - drops the pretense of carmel by the sea. People expect the Guardian to be as ultra left as it is, but its of very little consequence in the real world. Sue Hestor on the other hand is a very real, very unctuous problem. problems dont live forever.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 6:35 am

With Tim, it's more brainwashing and a kneejerk political opposition to anything that fuels his class-based warfare against and hatred for the successful.

With Hestor, it's more personal. There's no real ideology with her and, in fact, she's really not "pro" anything at all. Just against.

Tim wants a socialist nirvana which can and will never happen. Hestor just wants to be the center of attention and to be negative on everything, while standing for and believing in nothing.

Welch is similar in his negativism and nimbyism but at least has some personality. They wouldn't survive in any other city, so SF attracts people like that. Luckily, there aren't too many of them.

How Hestor sleeps at night, I have no idea, and don't want to know.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 7:02 am

If anyone has ever seen the south park lampoon of San Francisco, you'll recognize the way Sue Hestor speaks - the slight nose in the air the eyes closed when speaking about something that she understands so much better then you. Absolute poster child for the smug San franciscan that enjoys the smell I their own flatulence.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 7:37 am

Gimme NIMBYs over BANANAS-Build ANything ANywhere Always.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:02 am

you see no highrises outside of downtown even though that's the only way to solve the housing shortage.

Most NIMBY's own property and so secretly want no new construction eg Hestor, Welch, Redmond, Daly, you etc.


Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:28 am

There are many places where zoning is tighter than San Francisco.

San Francisco's zoning has been relaxed over the past few years to the point where 50,000 new units are buildable right now.

8 Washington was spot zoning for a politically connected developer who secretly threatened electeds with recall and challenge if they did not play ball.

We need more corrupt housing!

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:34 am

million worth of affordable housing.

Amazing how much anti-poor rhetoric comes from the elft.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:28 am

Don't conflate me with the poverty activists. I'm not a recovering Catholic. My political position is that government should do the most that benefits the most people rather than serve the rich and the poor while leaving the majority to our own devices.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:50 am

at all. But they should be helping business more and activists less.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

What about San Franciscans who are neither businesses nor activists, do we just twist in the wind?

There is class warfare and it is run by Real Estate developers in order to generate more loans and interest income streams for banks and insurance premiums for insurers.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

That's the mistake liberals always make, feeling the need for an "enemy" or a "bad guy" to hate.

Most people don't see things that way and so don't complain when government doesn't always take their side.

Sometimes business wins, as with 8Wash. Sometimes the activists win, as with rent control. Most SF'ers are moderate and want balance, not all out victory for "our side".

Politics isn't a pro sports competition. It's about compromise.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

'Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”'

This was written in 2006 BEFORE finance capitalism shat on the economy and demanded tens of trillions of dollars in socialism.

I guess you tin pot ideologues are smarter than Ben Stein or Warren Buffett even though your axiology asserts that rich people are smart because they are rich.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 7:46 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 5:09 am

Tell me what large US city has a zoning limit of 40 feet over the entire city outside of downtown.
Tell me what large US city has an absolute requirement of a discretionary hearing for anything built over 40 feet.
Tell me what large US city has an absolute requirement of a discretionary hearing for anything demolished over 40 feet.

I define large city as over 600k people.

You will not find these restrictions anywhere.

Marcos, I absolutely love that you have joined forces with Telegraph hill in opposing this.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:42 am

San Francisco has just bent over backwards to allow developers to bank billions of coin by producing crappy housing that will sell for high markups in the Eastern Neighborhoods and Market/Octavia. You all will not be satisfied until you've reduced San Francisco to Houston.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:54 am

Because that argument that SF would ever be houston isnt completely a straw man.

So you honestly feel like somehow SF could ever remotely resemble Houston?

And I know you're super used to bending over for anything XY, but you really think that SF has bent over for developers when the news is reporting that housing production for the last two years was at a decade low?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

Yay, homophobia! Plans are to up the population to 2,000,000 without adequate seismic controls and for developers to take the money and run because IBGYBG.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

I'm a gay, so so much for that whole homophobia commentary. It's a small town buddy, you're quite well known.
But glad you threw out some straw men. SF population is basically what it was in the 50's but I'm sure any month now we are going to rocket to 2 million, and our existing seismic controls (the most stringent in the US) are just going to evaporate

Posted by Greg on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

OMG, a building over 40 feet that will contain people richer than me! It must be opposed.

SF is such a small town, and the attitudes you encounter here are as provincial as anywere in the heartland. come here so you don't need tog row up and can spend a lifetime hating others based on stereotypes. What a place.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

I like to see the sky and the views when I walk down the street and to not be subject to cold gale force winds buffeting the streetscape to the point of unbikability and unwalkability.

If you find it environmentally pleasant at 10th and Market now, then you'll love what the boosters have in store for San Francisco.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

mortgages just so you can "look at the sky" (hint - it's always above you).

But then that's what downtown cities are like. There's the suburbs for those who want celestial vista's from their back yards.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

"cold gale force winds" "to the point of unbikability and unwalkability"

A city where the average high year round is 63 and which sees maybe a below freezing temp one night a year in a very cold winter...
A city where the highest wind gust ever recorded is only 85 mph

Who knew Marcos was so delicate. Who knew that the topography which favors winds at tenth and market was suddenly going to descend over the entire city, blowing everything to bits.

So to sum up:
San Francisco - despite having a relatively stable population the same as it was in the 50's is suddenly going to jump to 2 million people.
San Franciscos seismic building code - among the most stringent in the US will evaporate
San Francisco - despite having record low housing production for the last two years is "bending over for developers"
San Francisco - despite being the most densely developed and more tightly controlled environments in the west will suddenly revert to Houston

Any other sh*t you want to through out there while you are taking it for the Telegraph hill dwellers?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

I guess that you prefer that government represent developers and hypothetical future San Franciscans rather than taxpayers, citizens and voters who already live here and pay for this corrupt cavalcade that fucks us over and again?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:35 am

Oh, and Citizens United was ratified again yesterday, so unions will continue to have a voice too.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:29 am

Where in the constitution does it say that entities created by state law should enjoy the same rights and privileges as citizens explicitly enumerated by the Constitution to have certain unalienable rights?

Where in democratic theory does it say that government should serve those not explicitly granted citizenship or a vote over those who are citizens and have the vote?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:48 am

Come on. It's a dang suburban-style tennis club right now. It's time to redevelop that space, and 8 Washington seems like a great way to do it.
- SF resident

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 10:19 am

It's a complete anomaly and to make good economic use of that land, it's either 8-Wash or something much bigger. We got the best deal we could with it - now let's move on.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:31 am

Same selective enforcement tactic that Herrera used to invalidate over 30,000 signatures in opposition to Lennar's Boondoggle in the Bayview. The co-option and corruption in Shitty Hall just gets worse and more blatant. The Big Sky got significantly smaller with yesterday's ruling by the Supremely Suspect Court. Wait until all that Koch Brother's money floods in and buys our next election.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 11:49 am

appended if the attached signatures are to be deemed valid and viable.

And if I am stopped by a signature gatherer on this, I will insist that I be allowed to review the attachments, and will lodge a formal complaint at city hall if I feel any "fast and loose" liberties are being taken with due process.

Dot your i's and cross your t's, Hestor. You're being watched.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

These people despise San Franciscans and despise democracy that they can't buy.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

I got stopped by one of the petition people. I told her that I wasn't going to sign because I didn't think that 8 Wash was so terrible.

She assured me, falsely, that the petition was only to lower the height and not to kill the project entirely. It sounded pretty good.

Not true, but good.

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