Thursday, December 31, 2015

Century of Self: The father of American Propaganda and Public Relations, Edward Bernays

The Power of Nudges, for Good and Bad

The Power of Nudges, for Good and Bad

OCT. 31, 2015

CreditAnthony Freda

Economic View


Nudges, small design changes that can markedly affect individual behavior, have been catching on. These techniques rely on insights from behavioral science, and when used ethically, they can be very helpful. But we need to be sure that they aren’t being employed to sway people to make bad decisions that they will later regret.

Whenever I’m asked to autograph a copy of “Nudge,” the book I wrote with Cass Sunstein, the Harvard law professor, I sign it, “Nudge for good.” Unfortunately, that is meant as a plea, not an expectation.

Three principles should guide the use of nudges:

■ All nudging should be transparent and never misleading.

■ It should be as easy as possible to opt out of the nudge, preferably with as little as one mouse click.

■ There should be good reason to believe that the behavior being encouraged will improve the welfare of those being nudged.

As far as I know, the government teams in Britain and the United States that have focused on nudging have followed these guidelines scrupulously. But the private sector is another matter. In this domain, I see much more troubling behavior.

For example, last spring I received an email telling me that the first prominent review of a new book of mine had appeared: It was in The Times of London. Eager to read the review, I clicked on a hyperlink, only to run into a pay wall. Still, I was tempted by an offer to take out a one-month trial subscription for the price of just £1.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Richard Dovere, the 29 year old that Marinwood CSD never met. (before a twenty year commitment).

SolEd Benefit Corporation and its partners expect to win $3.3 million dollars in tax credits for the SEED project.

David Kunhardt of SolEd Benefit Corporation inked a deal with Marinwood CSD on December 8, 2015 and with a blink of an eye, he assigned our contract to Richard Dovere, a 29 year old "financial entrepreneur" from New York.  C2 Beta Holdings, LLC, a Delaware Corporation will be responsible for keeping their end of the Solar bargain with Marinwood CSD. On November 10, 2015, the City of St Helena, Ca cancelled their contract with SolEd due to Non Perfomance.     The tape of this meeting has "mysteriously" been blocked since reporting this event. (Why, didn't the Marinwood CSD know this?)  See the December 8, 2015 Marinwood CSD meeting with SolEd HERE

Marinwood CSD directors, Justin Kai, Leah Kleinman-Green, Bill Shea and Isabela Perry recklessly did not seek legal or financial advice prior to signing the estoppel agreement.  Marinwood CSD director, Jeff Naylor voted "no" because he felt he needed more time to evaluate the contract.

If the Marinwood CSD acts decisively, they still can remove us from the contract and commit with a well established local solar company.  Shouldn't we do business with a company that we can expect to be solvent during the twenty year commitment?  It is positively unbelievable that Marinwood CSD directors and manager did not check the bona fides on these individuals, companies, legal implications and financial stability...
Would you enter into a twenty year commitment with this man?

Here is Richard Dovere's Linked In profile.  He doesn't stay at one place long.  His company C2 Beta Holdings, LLC is a Delaware Corporation that was formed in May 2015 especially for the SEED contract. Delaware Corporations offer notoriously weak protections for the public.

Richard Dovere
Managing Partner at C2 Special Situations GroupNew York, New York 

Investment Management
C2 Special Situations Group
Healthy Planet Partners,
Coronal Group LLC,
Adamas Energy Investments
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Company Website



Managing Partner
C2 Special Situations Group
October 2014 – Present (1 year 3 months)Greater New York City Area

Managing Partner
Healthy Planet Partners
April 2013 – September 2014 (1 year 6 months)Greater New York City Area

Vice President
Coronal Group LLC
April 2012 – April 2013 (1 year 1 month)Greater New York City Area

Member of the Investment Committee.

Adamas Energy Investments
September 2009 – September 2012 (3 years 1 month)Greater New York City Area

Human Robots? Who is writing the software?

With all the social engineering, NSA snooping and new surveillance technology, we feel that we are drifting into a tyrannical nanny state where surveillance and public manipulation are taken for granted. Plan Bay Area, is central planning gone amuck. The "public process" was nothing more than an orchestrated sham. The public is awakening however to the manipulation and is fighting back. We will not let our freedoms be taken from us so easily. This author/professor Cass Sunstein is describing the philosophy of "Nudge" the new form of government "behavior modification" that marries the idea of "free choice and powerful social psychology" to achieve desired outcomes. It is "nanny state 2.0" For more on "Nudge" see   For criticism of such manipulative policy go here and IBD

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The SolEd difference Vs. Reality.

David Kunhardt,owner Soled Benefit Corporation pitches his ethics while pursuing millions of dollars worth of business from local governments. His company and partners stand to win $3.3 million dollar in tax benefits as a result of the SEED Project in Marin, Sonoma and Napa County.
His company won the contract in 2013 with San Rafael, CA after beating out large, stable Solar companies under unusual circumstances. His company was formed a few months prior to winning the contract and has been plagued with loss of partners, financing difficulties, delays and changing terms.  We cannot find a single successful SEED installation two years after winning the mega million dollar contract.

 On November 10, 2015 the city of St Helena cancelled their contract due to "non performance"  See it HERE

Marinwood CSD committed to SolEd on December 8, 2015 to commence building.  Unfortunately, some Marinwood CSD directors are unwilling to change the contract to a large stable vendor.  We sincerely hope, they will look at the contract again and "do the right thing".   

There are many successful local solar companies.  Why not chose an established vendor?

John F Kennedy on Citizenship (in Marinwood and Elsewhere)

John F. Kennedy's on Citizenship. Who will inherit the future? The urbanists that will destroy Marin or those who love and cherish our land? We will Save Marin Again!

The Fight for California's Fresh Water: America's Water Crisis

Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Age meets High Tech meets Global Climate Change Preachers of Doom

A pitch for a tech oligarchy and a command economy. In his view we have "evolved" to a new kind of society that appears to have stunning resemblance to old school socialism run by a tech elite.  Of course this time it will be run by "men of a finer clay".  At 41:00, he argues for "sustainable capitalism" that cannot coexist with traditional democracy.  His version of "participatory democracy" is actually "soft despotism" run by tech oligarchs.

Preachers promising salvation from the "end times" is an ancient tradition that did not start with Silicon Valley.



Every age produces its own brand of oligarchs – feudal lords, banking gnomes, captains of industry. Our age has its own incipient ruling class, the tech oligarchs.
The ascendency of these new hegemons is barely complete, and could conceivably be slowed or even reversed. But the tidal wave of new wealth, and even greater influence, will not be easily turned back. Six of the world’s 20 richest people are from tech or related industries like media and entertainment. In America, the media-tech sector in 2014 accounted for five of the top wealthiest people. Not surprisingly, most self-made billionaires are either quite old (the Koch Brothers, the Waltons, Warren Buffett) or got rich the traditional way: they inherited it. In contrast, virtually all self-made billionaires under 40 are techies.
The making of a new ruling class
With their massive, and early, accumulated wealth, the tech oligarchs will dominate us long after the inheritors have financed the last art museum or endowed the newest hospital. Two decades from now, many tech oligarchs will still be young enough to be counting their billions and thinking up new ways to ‘disrupt’ our lives – for our own good, of course.
This tech elite differs from the founding generation of Silicon Valley. The early leaders – Bob Packard, Bob Noyce, Andrew Grove, Jerry Sanders – tended to be centrist and pragmatic. After all, the early Valley was heavily subsidised by the military and NASA, and produced industrial products that faced enormous competition. They also managed vast organisations with large numbers of ordinary employees. Like other industrialists, they were concerned with low-cost power and water, reasonable labour regulation and the health of the overall manufacturing economy.
This changed when a combination of keen Asian competition and Californian regulation gradually shifted the chip and computer manufacturers out of Silicon Valley, which has lost roughly 80,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. The new Valley is predominately post-industrial. For example, only 30 of about 16,000 production workers for the iPod are based in the US.
As Silicon Valley became software valley, tech firms no longer needed large numbers of semi-skilled workers and the network of small subcontractors to keep the industrial machine going. Those services, if needed, could be performed in India, China, Utah, Texas or North Carolina. ‘The job creation has changed’, notes long-time San Jose economic development official Leslie Parks. ‘We used to be the whole food chain and create all sorts of middle-class jobs. Now, increasingly, we don’t design the future – we just think about it. That makes some people rich, but not many.’
What has made ‘the sovereigns of cyberspace’, to quote author Rebecca MacKinnon, so wealthy is precisely what made John D Rockefeller so rich: control of markets. Google, for example, accounts for over 60 per cent of search, while, alongside Apple, it control almost 90 per cent of the operating systems forsmartphones. Similarly, over half of American and Canadian computer users use Facebook, making it easily the world’s dominant social-media site.
More important still, the tech oligarchs control portions of their companies that would make most oilmen or auto executives fantastically rich. Indeed, owners of only one energy-related firm, Koch Industries, have made it into the top 10 of the Forbes 400. The CEO and chairman of Exxon-Mobil, America’s largest oil company, Rex Tillerson, controls 0.04 per cent of Exxon stock, while Google’s Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt control roughly two thirds of the company’s voting stock. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg also control outsized shares of their firms.
These firms are now so rich that they resemble countries. Besides General Electric, a classic conglomerate, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and Google often have more dollars on hand than the US government. And their influence can be felt in every office, home and phone through intrusive software that provides a trove of personal data that would make the old KGB turn from red to green with envy. As Google’s Eric Schmidt put it: ‘We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.’
The politics of the intangible class
The liberation from the constraints of the tangible economy has inflamed the ambitions of the oligarchs. ‘Politics for me is the most obvious area [to be disrupted by the web]’, suggests former Facebook president Sean Parker. The success with which social media assisted President Obama’s re-election effort offers clear support to Parker’s assertion.
In allying with Obama, tech is moving in the opposite direction to much of the business community, particularly small business, which Gallup finds a hotbed of anti-Obama sentiment. Other traditional industries like oil and gas have also turned overwhelmingly to the right, as Obama has targeted them for their role in climate change. In 1990, energy firms gave out almost as much to Democrats as Republicans; in 2014 they gave over three times as much to the GOP.
In contrast, the oligarchs, as they have become ever richer, are clearly moving leftwards. In 2000, the communications and electronics sector was basically even in its donations; by 2012, it was better than two to one Democratic. Microsoft, Apple and Google – not to mention entertainment companies – all overwhelmingly lean to the Democrats with their donations.
The transformer and the disrupters
There seems a natural affinity between President Obama, who sees himself as a force for transformation, and the tech oligarchs, who love ‘disruption’. Each shares a high estimate of their basic intelligence and foresight; it is an alliance of those who feel they should own and shape the future.
‘We need to run the experiment, to show what a society run by Silicon Valley looks like’, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya recently argued. This effort could appeal to a public that tends to regard the tech firms as better than more mundane businesses or the government. Indeed, when Steve Jobs, a 0.000001 per center worth $7 billion, and rugged capitalist of the classic type, passed away, protesters openly mourned his demise.
One critical PR advantage the tech firms enjoy is that most, with a notable exception of Amazon, don’t mistreat blue-collar workers, or unions, since they have few of either. This gets them a free pass from social-justice warriors unavailable to traditional firms. Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford mostly exploited workers in Pittsburgh or Detroit, and paid a price; the exploitation of the oligarchs takes place far away in Chengdu, Guangzhou or India.
This alliance with the Democrats will not fade after Obama leaves office. Obama has enlisted several tech giants – including venture capitalist John Doerr, LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla – to help plan out his no doubt lavish and highly political retirement. Many former Obama aides have gone to work for tech firms. Uber, for example, uses Obama campaign manager David Plouffe to lead its PR team, while other former officials have descended to other tech firms such as AirBnB, Google, Twitter and Amazon.
What is the ideology of Silicon Valley?
Silicon Valley may be progressive in its social or environmental positions, but it has little interest in class politics, an issue being pushed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. ‘They don’t like [Bernie] Sanders at all’, notes San Francisco-based researcher Greg Ferenstein, who has been polling internet company founders for an upcoming book. Sanders’ emphasis on income redistribution, protecting union privileges and pensions hardly reflects the views of the tech elite. ‘He’s an egalitarian liberal’, Ferenstein explains, ‘these people are tech liberals. Equality is a non-issue in Silicon Valley.’
What are ‘tech liberals’? Ferenstein provides a picture of an unconscious elitism that runs through their worldview. Although their industry is overwhelmingly based in the San Francisco Peninsula’s suburban sprawl, the internet oligarchs, he claims, want ‘everyone’ to move to the urban centre, something not remotely practical for most middle- and working-class families. They also advocate for strict

Friday, December 25, 2015

Spiked's Brendan O'Neill: "The Real Threat To Free Speech Now is Conformism and Cowardice"

"The real threat to free speech now is conformism and cowardice," says Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked and a columnist for
The 41-year-old Londoner has similarly blunt and outspoken views about "left-wing environmentalism," which he calls "an apology for poverty" and simply the latest iteration of religious "end-of-worldism" in which "we will be judged for our sins."
O'Neill is also a critic of European policies that he says marginalize religious and ethnic minorities even as they "protect" immigrants by passing hate-speech laws and banning burqas. "In their efforts to enforce Enlightenment values," he says, policymakers "actually undercut them."
O'Neill got his start at the defunct Living Marxism, the publication of Britain's Revolutionary Communist Party, and these days he sometimes calls himself a "Marxist libertarian." "It seems like a contradiction in terms," he acknowledges, "but that's because people haven't read the original Marx and Engels, the early stuff...if you read the early stuff it's all about liberating humanity from poverty and from state diktat and allowing them to have as free a life as possible."
In this lively, wide-ranging interview with Nick Gillespie, O'Neill also defends consumerism and explains that Spiked's mission is to deliver on Trotsky's belief that "we want to increase the power of man over nature and decrease the power of man over man."

See Spiked Magazine HERE

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hurry Before Santa Comes

De Blasio's Controversial Zoning Plan Stretches Definition Of "Affordable"

De Blasio's Controversial Zoning Plan Stretches Definition Of "Affordable"

(Denn Ice / Flickr)
Zoning is an arcane subject. Faced with verbiage like “calendar item N 1600036 ZRK” and “establishing within a proposed R8A District a C2-4 District bounded by a line 100 feet northwesterly of Atlantic Avenue,” most people’s eyes would be glazed with glass bricks after three paragraphs.
Yet zoning determines what kind of buildings and uses the city will have, from single-family homes to 53-story towers. Calendar item N 1600036 ZRK on the City Planning Commission’s calendar Dec. 16was the de Blasio administration’s “mandatory inclusionary housing” plan, which would require developers building housing in 15 rezoned areas to rent a percentage of the apartments for below market rate. More than 180 people signed up to testify at the marathon hearing, and the line to get into it stretched around the block.
In the rezoned neighborhoods, developers would choose between having 25% of the apartments rent to households averaging 60% of “AMI,” the area median income for New York City and its northern suburbs—$46,620 for a family of three, so a two-bedroom apartment would cost around $1,150 a month on average—or reserving 30% for families at 80% of AMI, about $1,550 for a two-bedroom.
A third option, available in “emerging markets” outside Manhattan below 96th Street, would be “workforce housing” for families making an average of $93,000; a two-bedroom there would average more than $2,300. East New York is likely to be the first neighborhood rezoned, followed by the Jerome Avenue area in the southwest Bronx, East Harlem, and Inwood.
To supporters, the plan is an innovative tool to “harness the strength of the market” that requires more permanent affordable housing than similar schemes in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. “We can’t just sit by and do nothing while market pressures change the city,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told the 12-member commission. “You can build a building in most parts of New York right now and not have to do any affordable housing.”
Opponents see a gaping flaw: The “affordable” apartments created by the plan would still be too expensive for millions of city residents. “It ignores half the city,” said Ava Farkas of the Metropolitan Council on Housing. “We do not think it is going to create affordable housing for the people who need it most.” Half of city renters make less than the 60% of AMI that is the plan’s lowest level, she added.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and determine what ‘affordability’ really is,” said Tiffany Lee, director of a Catholic social-justice ministry in Inwood and Washington Heights. The neighborhood’s median income is $37,000, she said, and it’s only $21,000 in the area east of 10th Avenue that’s currently slated for rezoning.
“Will neighborhood residents even be able to live in these apartments?” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz asked, drawing murmurs and callouts of “that’s right” and “makes sense.”
The crowd was strongly against the plan, but thinned out considerably by the afternoon. The speakers split fairly evenly, though many had left by the time they were called. Supporters were almost all professionals—policy experts, affordable-housing developers, and architects. Opponents were elected officials, community activists, and ordinary citizens.
The depth of opposition to the plan appears to have surprised the de Blasio administration. In November, most of the city’s 59 community boards voted to recommend rejecting it, and four of the five borough presidents came out against it. Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a report this month that said most people in East New York wouldn’t be able to afford even the affordable apartments.
The exception was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who said “these plans need major changes before we can accept them,” but then endorsed it.
The administration has pushed back, winning the support of the AARP, and with four major labor unions—Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the United Federation of Teachers, the city employees’ District Council 37, and the health-care workers’ 1199SEIU—endorsing the plan, countering strong opposition from the building-trades unions.
“Can you build affordable housing with union labor?” Steve Coyle of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust asked rhetorically on December 14th, at an event announcing a $300 million partnership between the union housing fund and churches in the metropolitan area.
The city has not guaranteed that the construction jobs will be union. “The mayor’s plan doesn’t include standards for job quality,” Plumbers Local 1 organizer Carl Johnson told the panel. “Don’t tell me about 10 stories,” nonunion construction worker Carrol Turner said, referring to a possible compromise to require union labor only on buildings above a certain height. “Workers have died on the first floor. Workers have died on the second floor.”
Laborers Local 79 brought a few dozen members, carrying “No Giveaways to Real Estate Without Real Affordability and Union Jobs” signs. “Good union jobs and affordable housing are two sides of the same coin,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell of the Real Affordability for All coalition.
At the meeting (Steven Wishnia / Gothamist)
The second part of the administration’s plan is Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which would let developers build slightly higher in exchange for including below-market housing or apartments for the elderly. It would also end the requirement that they construct parking lots on-site, as long as the building is within half a mile of a subway stop.
That possible loss of parking has irked many in the outer boroughs. Two-thirds of people in Queens live beyond the reach of subways, Borough President Melinda Katz told the commission. Building parking lots is expensive, affordable-housing developers responded, and most of the spaces built aren’t used.
Other opponents say that the increased height allowed would eliminate zoning protections such as the restrictions on tall “sliver buildings.”
“This unnecessarily puts the creation of affordable housing fundamentally at odds with maintaining a reasonable scale of development,” said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Williamsburg/Greenpoint and West Chelsea/Hudson Yards, rezoned in 2005 to allow more market-rate development in exchange for some affordable housing, “look more like Hong Kong or Miami than New York City, and they are among the least affordable, most rapidly gentrifying parts of the city,” he added.
The height increases allowed will be only 5 to 25 feet, the administration responds.
The crux of the debate remains whether the plan will increase the supply of affordable housing. Kathryn Wylde of the business advocacy group Partnership for the City of New York backed the plan, although she criticized the “social engineering that requires affordable units in luxury buildings.” Having a city where 47% of people pay more than one-third of their income for rent discourages companies from locating here, she said. 
The Real Estate Board of New York, the main developers’ trade group, also endorsed it, although their representative Mike Slattery said the reduction in rents might cost more than the tax subsidies developers receive.
A main criticism of the plan is that by encouraging market-rate development in working-class and poor neighborhoods, it would cause “secondary displacement,” in which speculation drives up land prices, and the prospect of higher rents encourages landlords to drive out current tenants. East Harlem is already experiencing significant gentrification. In East New York, the first waves of gentrification coming southeast from Bushwick and east through Bedford-Stuyvesant are lapping a subway stop or two away from the Broadway Junction area slated for rezoning.
Supporters largely dismiss that concern. The market will continue pushing up rents regardless, said Mark Willis of the Furman Center at New York University. The de Blasio administration says the problem is the limited supply of housing, and it’s expanding legal services for tenants to counter harassment and eviction.
While there are other subsidies available to create lower-income housing, the mayor’s Housing First plan calls for only 16,000 apartments aimed at people who make less than $35,000, about one-third of the city. That’s four times as many as Michael Bloomberg did, but far less than the 60,000 homeless people, the estimated 250,000 rent-stabilized apartments lost in the last 20 years, the 270,000 people on the waiting list for public housing, and the 425,000 low-income apartments the Housing First plan estimated that the city needed in 2014.
Opponents call for much more low-income housing. The Association for Neighborhood Housing Development has urged that the program be revised to give neighborhoods a “deep affordability” option, in which 30% of the units built would be reserved for households that make less than 30% of AMI; these would rent for about $625 a month or less.
The Real Affordability for All coalition plan calls for 50% of the housing built to be at or below the median income for the neighborhood, whether by community district or ZIP code. Even if the minimum wage were raised to $15 an hour, said Maritza Silva-Farrell, those workers would still be bringing in only $25,000 to $30,000 a year.
“If we’re giving taxpayer money to developers, it’s really important for that housing to go to the people who need it,” she told the panel.
Some supporters of the plan, such as Brewer, also urged that it create more housing for lower-income people.
That is easier said than done when the main method of creating that housing is encouraging or requiring trickle-down from private development. There are large gaps in the complex network of government subsidies. Apartments for upper working-class or lower middle-class people, at 50-60% of AMI, get federal low-income housing tax credits. But it’s difficult to get subsidies for people at 60-90% of AMI—middle class, but still too poor to afford market-rate apartments—and there are very few for the working class and the poor, those under 40%.
The administration did not demand more low-income apartments, said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, because “requirements that were too onerous would result in no housing.” Creating middle-class housing through this method, she adds, enables city funds to go to lower-income housing, through programs like ELLA (Extremely Low and Low-Income Availability), which subsidizes construction of buildings where 40% of apartments are reserved for people making up to 50% of AMI, with 10% for those at 30%.
In East New York, HPD says, the first 1,200 units built under the plan will be below market rate. The rent on the cheapest 120 will be $453 for a studio and $583 for a two-bedroom, it says.
Developers say it’s impossible to run housing for people making $23,000 without operating subsidies. At 30% of AMI, “you can’t even pay the operating cost of the building,” said Adam Weinstein of the nonprofit developer Phipps Houses.
“Usually, to get to 30% [of AMI] or below, you need a federal voucher,” says Vicki Been. “We need the federal government and the state government to step up.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Marin County Supervisors Gives us a New Level of Transparency for Xmas!

Our supervisors and town councils are reaching for ever new heights in openness and transparency. Here is a short list.
From the brilliant mind of Seamus O'Reamus.

Plan that could lead to massive displacement moves forward, quietly

Plan that could lead to massive displacement moves forward, quietly

A proposal that could rival the forced relocations of the discredited Redevelopment Era is headed for City Hall approvals — with very little news media scrutiny
This snapshot of part of the Planning Department's map shows the wide swath of housing (in blue) that could be torn down and replaced with larger units
This snapshot of part of the Planning Department’s map shows the wide swath of housing (in blue) that could be torn down and replaced with larger units
By Tim Redmond
DECEMBER 21, 2015 — Under the guise of creating more affordable housing, the Mayor’s Office is proposing a plan that could lead to the greatest wave of displacement since the Redevelopment era of the 1950s. And other than excellent stories from People Power Media and, it’s gotten very little in-depth news media attention.
The program is called the Affordable Housing Density Bonus plan, and it has its roots in both state law and a 2013 court decision in Napa County.
But in the end, this will be a local decision – and the plan is almost breathtaking in its scope. It is, critics say, a return to the failed policies of an earlier era, when tearing down homes and businesses in the name of improvement was official federal, state, and local policy.
“No matter how you look at this, it’s the Redevelopment model,” said Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations. “And that model didn’t work.”
A careful analysis of the proposed bill, which is still getting revised, shows:
This graphic from People Power Media shows some of the neighborhoods that will be impacted
This graphic from People Power Media shows some of the neighborhoods that will be impacted
  • More than 30,000 units of housing – and all of the corner stores, restaurants, and community-serving small businesses located on the first floors below them – are potentially targets for demolition. The law encourages property owners to turn smaller buildings into bigger ones by adding stories – and the only practical way for that to happen is if existing buildings are torn down.
  • The plan put tens of thousands of units of rent-controlled housing – the most important affordable housing in the city for working class and middle-class people – at risk. In a flashback to the worst era of Redevelopment, the planners say people thrown out on the streets when their homes are torn down would have the right to return later – but there’s no clean plan to give them affordable homes in the meantime, and all the evidence shows that “right of return” doesn’t work: Tenants who are displaced for years wind up leaving the area forever.
  • The right to construct taller buildings doesn’t really create much in the way of new affordable housing, since the developers can count the replacement units that were there in the first place toward their “affordable” responsibility.
  • The new taller buildings will be able to block sunlight in any existing back yard, as long as it isn’t a public park. For those tens of thousands of San Franciscans who use their small yards to grow gardens, to sit outside, to have barbecues … there is no protection from construction that ends your access to sunlight.
  • Oh, and the new rules would pretty much end public input into neighborhood planning, since most of the new projects would be exempt from the normal hearing and appeal process.
  • There is no credible process to protect existing small neighborhood businesses from wholesale displacement, meaning the plan could transform dozens of local commercial districts.
It’s a gigantic change in planning policy, driven by the idea that the city of the future has to be built by destroying the city of the past. In essence, the proposal is aimed at making San Francisco a better, and possibly more affordable, city for people who are going to move here in the future, at the expense of existing residents.
“It’s a demolition and displacement machine,” longtime housing advocate Calvin Welch told me.
Read this story in 48 Hills: HERE

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hack strikes government websites in Napa, other Bay Area cities in 2014

Hack strikes government websites in Napa, other Bay Area cities

December 2, 2014
A global cyberattack Monday shut down web access to agendas, minutes and video for numerous Bay Area government agencies, including the city of Napa.
The San Francisco-based company Granicus, which provides web services for government agencies nationwide, reported the outage just before noon Monday.
The company posted updates on the outage on its website, reporting that it was caused by a globally distributed denial of service attack, where a system is overloaded with connections from different systems on its name server vendor.
Granicus’ downtime appears to be related to an attack that affected DNSimple, a Florida-based company that reported on its website it was “overwhelmed” by the voluminous attack despite measures in place to deal with such attacks.
The attack affected systems worldwide, according to DNSimple.
Napa city spokesman Barry Martin described reports that users attempting to enter the city website,, were instead redirected to pharmaceutical spam sites.
“I first was made aware of it a week ago, but it seemed to be user error and not a hack,” he said Tuesday.” So we started looking into it and couldn’t find evidence of a problem on our site. Gradually more people asked what was going on, so we had to take a look at it.”
Early Tuesday morning, Granicus reported the problems had been resolved. In a letter to clients, it said the outages “appeared to be intermittent, with some people seeing no issues and others seeing some or all services as being down.”
Current Time0:00
Duration Time0:00
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
While the city continues to investigate the website problems, Martin advised users to clear their browser caches and to access directly, and not through existing browser bookmarks or search sites.
Other Granicus clients in the Bay Area include the California Public Utilities Commission, Alameda County, and the cities of San Francisco, Pinole, Monterey, Cupertino, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Petaluma, Lafayette, Fairfax and Belmont.
Editor's Note: Shortly after the news about SolEd Benefit Corporation losing a contract due to non performance with the city of St. Helena became public on 12/19/2015, the St Helena video of the meeting was blocked.  Coincidence?  A similar attack was carried out in 2014.  I understand these denial of service attacks are quick easy to do.  If the site was hacked,  who would benefit from silencing the truth?