Saturday, July 1, 2017

Uber program for seniors unveiled

Uber program for seniors unveiled

It was standing room only at the Senior Recreation Center in Gainesville. Seniors and city leaders gathering around. One city commissioner even taking a seat on the floor for the unveiling of a project a year in the making.

"We've moved from talk to implementation of a real plan and in the next few weeks, we'll begin really enrolling people and moving them from point A to point B which is really exciting," said Anthony Clarizio with Elder Care of Alachua County.

Elder Care of Alachua County along with the city of Gainesville, and Gainesville Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the popular smartphone app, Uber. 

A partnership aimed at giving senior citizens some "freedom in motion".

"We want seniors to maintain their independence and we just needed to figure out a way with Uber to make that happen. And I think we've done it with "Freedom in Motion"," said Uber Operations Manager, Tony Spadafino.

"We want to help them get to and from the grocery store, to and from any kind of store that they need, in order to get the things that they need in order to maintain their lifestyle," said Clarizio.

The 6-month pilot program was officially announced at the event. 

Serving seniors who live in the 400 building and Turkey Creek Forest neighborhoods. With funds from the city helping them get around town for a small co-pay of $0 to $5.

Sam Ulbing says he's excited to get started.

"The city is all spread out. You wanna go to Walmart, or you wanna go to a restaurant, you're gonna have to drive. And this will allow people to get out instead of sitting in their house," said Ulbing.

Elder Care will even be offering classes making sure seniors know how to navigate the app. Helping them get out the door and on the road.

"Once you learn how to use the smart phone, the Uber app will be a piece of cake," said Ulbing.

"We've got some business partners already in place that are gonna provide us some loaner phones. The loaner phones will have the Uber app on it. It'll have 9-1-1," said Clarizio.

Though the pilot program is starting small, Mayor Ed Braddy hopes it will soon take off.

"I think our potential is limited only by our imagination," said Braddy.

And as for Ulbing, he already has an idea of where he would take his first Uber ride.

"I'd go to a restaurant so I can have that second drink and know that I don't have to drive home," joked Ulbing.

A responsible senior citizen who now has even more options to get around town.

Plan Bay Area 2040 public feedback (from MTC)

Thank you to everyone who attended a Plan Bay Area 2040 open house or public hearing in May and submitted comments on the Draft Plan or the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

On June 9, a summary of what we heard from residents was presented to the Joint MTC Planning and ABAG Administrative Committee. You can review the memo and presentation here, as well as view all correspondence on the Draft Plan and review the public hearing transcripts.
If you submitted a comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2040, you can review it here.
If you submitted a comment on the Draft EIR, you can see it here.

These comments will inform the discussion and debate leading up to adoption of Plan Bay Area 2040, which is currently slated for July 26 at 7 p.m. 

For more information, visit, email, or call415.778.6757.

Editor's Note:  Once again, Marin County had the most comments from the public.  Overall, however, the response was abysmal.  How can MTC and ABAG claim that they have sufficient outreach to the millions of people and businesses affected by this plan?

My guess is when the redevelopment, increased traffic, higher taxes and fees are felt by the average (asleep) voter, there will be a political revolt akin to Prop 13 .  Sacramento has been passing legislation stripping us of our property rights and local democracy.  Few options will be available except radical change.

I hope so.  I'd like to see the state restored to the California Dream instead of the administrative state of Plan Bay Area 2040.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Marinwood is "an artifact of the 1950s" and must be eliminated according the Housing Lobbyist.

Driverless mini police cars to patrol Dubai

Driverless mini police cars to patrol Dubai

New self-driving O-R3 uses biometrics to identify persons of police interest as it patrols streets

Dubai Police said the new smart vehicle can patrol different areas and monitor any unusual activities as wellImage Credit: Dubai Police

Maj-Gen Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri and Otsaw Digital CEO Ling Bing in Dubai after signing the MoU.Image Credit: Dubai Police
( 1 of 2 )

Published: 17:23 June 27, 2017
Ali Al Shouk, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Months after Dubai unveiled the first flying taxis in the world, Dubai Police on Tuesday unveiled another believed world’s first — autonomous, self-driving miniature police cars that are expected to hit the streets by year-end.

The robotic vehicles will be equipped with biometric software to scan for wanted criminals and undesirables who are suspected or are breaking laws, police said.

Patrol vehicle

About the size of a child’s electric toy car, the driverless vehicles will patrol different areas of the city to boost security and hunt for unusual activity, all the while scanning crowds for potential persons of interest to police and known criminals.

The new security system is so advanced that the mini-vehicle even comes with its own drone which can be launched via a rear sleeve — both are monitored and linked to Dubai Police command room.

Dubai Police signed a new deal with Singapore-based OTSAW Digital to deploy the new autonomous outdoor security robots — called O-R3 by the firm — as part of the Smart Dubai initiative, making Dubai the first city in the world to have O-R3 in operation, said police.

The memorandum was signed by Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, and Ling Bing, CEO of OTSAW Digital, at Dubai Police headquarters.
Smarter city

“Dubai Police are keen to get the latest technology to fight crime. We always search for the best technology to serve our police work for a safer and smarter city. We seek to augment operations with the help of technology such as robots. We aim for streets to be safe and peaceful even without heavy police patrol,” Maj-Gen Al Merri said.

“We always look to achieve Dubai’s vision of becoming a Smart City. We expect it will be ready during the next Gitex fair,” he said.

On its company website, OTSAW hails its new driverless vehicle as groundbreaking for the future of police surveillance for large cities such as Dubai.

The company said its world’s first autonomous security robot features an antenna and ground surveillance system.

OTSAW also noted that the O-R3 performs 360-degree surveillance and deters potential crime with its formidable presence on site. With self-charging capability, patrol and protection is provided 24/7, all year round.

“Ultimately, robots exist to improve the quality of human lives, where men take on high-value jobs while robots perform the low-skilled ones,” Bing said.

The company said that it expects the O-R3 to begin policing Dubai by the end of 2017.

Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, director of the Smart Services Department in Dubai Police, said the new car has cameras and will be linked to the command room.
Tracking suspects

“It can recognise people in any area and identify suspicious objects and can track suspects. It has a drone and the user [police officer] needs to access the car through fingerprint. It will be deployed at tourist destinations in Dubai,” Brigadier Al Razooqi said.

Police will send a team headed by Lieutenant Salim Saqr Al Merri to the company to participate and supervise the final stages of building the car.

The latest news from Dubai Police comes on the heels of word earlier this year at the World Government Summit that Dubai is also set to become the world’s first city to use flying taxis.

In April, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) officials said they will begin a trial run of ‘flying taxis’ in 2020.

The RTA said at the time that it will carry out the test flight of Vertical Take-off and Landing Vehicles (VToL) in partnership with Uber.

According to Uber, the first demonstration network is expected to be ready for Expo 2020.

Genevieve Bolding, first CSD manager passes away at age 87

Genevieve Bolding, ‘rock and glue’ of Marinwood CSD, dies at 87

A Mass for Genevieve Bolding is planned Saturday in San Rafael. (Jeff Vendsel/Marin IJ) 1999

By Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal


A Mass in memory of Genevieve “Gennie” Bolding, who served the Marinwood Community Services District for 44 years as its manager and later as a board member, will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Isabella’s Catholic Church in San Rafael.

Mrs. Bolding died May 12 in Roseville, Placer County, where she moved to be closer to her grown children. She was 87.
She had served as manager of the Marinwood CSD for 36 years, building it from its inception into a $2.5 million public agency. After retiring as manager, she served on the board for nearly a decade, stepping down in 2006.

Former director Cameron Case called her “the rock and the glue” of the community, building the CSD “from nothing to what it is today.”

“My family, community, and church have been the main focus of my life and I have served all three to the best of my ability over the years,” Mrs. Bolding said in a candidate statement when she ran for the board.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1929, She moved with her family to California when she was 12, then moved to Seattle as a teenager to live with her sister and finish high school. Returning to California, she attended San Mateo Junior College and San Jose State University, graduating in business administration. She worked briefly for the FBI before marrying Fred Bolding, her husband of 62 years. They lived in Marinwood for more than 50 years, raising four children. She was also active in the PTA, the Marinwood Association, the Waterdevils swim team and St. Isabella’s Church.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by daughters Pat Bleckley, Sallie Sutter and Alice Greathouse; a son, Allan Bolding and eight grandchildren. See Article HERE

Consider sources of criticism of Levine and Marin

Dick Spotswood: Consider sources of criticism of Levine and Marin

East Bay YIMBY activists lobby for more housing in Marin County.

When it comes to defining housing density, unincorporated Marin neighborhoods, Novato and San Rafael were all previously intentionally miscategorized by state law as “urban.” Perversely, burgeoning cities in Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, were classified “suburban.” Thanks to 2014 legislation introduced by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, a short-term fix was passed allowing Marin to be properly categorized as “suburban.”

This seemingly semantic difference is significant for regional alphabet agencies’ allocation of affordable and market-rate housing. “Suburban” jurisdictions are assigned a density of 20 units per acre for affordable housing sites while “urban” locales are set at 30 units per acre.

This temporary fix expires in 2019. The state Assembly’s version of this year’s “budget trailer bill,” SB 106, has language again authored by Levine to continue Marin’s suburban designation until 2028. Since the next regional housing plan after 2028 isn’t in effect until 2032, the former San Rafael council member’s suggested extension — if approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown — gives Marin 15 years beforeit has to again fight this silly fight.

Housing and pro-development forces are peeved at Levine’s common-sense language. They’re joined by others simply jealous of Marin’s prosperity.

Typical is an opinion piece masquerading as a news article by Los Angeles Times reporter Liam Dillon. He wrote, “One of California’s wealthy counties continues to get a pass under the state’s affordable housing laws. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow parts of Marin County to limit growth more tightly than other regions of California. The provision, inserted last week in a bill connected to the state budget, lets Marin County’s largest cities and unincorporated areas maintain extra restrictions on how many homes developers can build.”

Levine is taking heat from the Legislature’s bipartisan developer-labor union caucus. Conservative Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama County, criticized Marin as “hypocritical,” saying, “They love their lifestyles, but don’t bother us with low-income housing.”

Hypocrisy’s apex was a San Francisco Chronicle editorial about Levine, you and me titled, “Oblivious to housing crisis.”

The Chronicle ignores the elephant in the room: the city and county of San Francisco. The city delights in attracting high-paying jobs, but mimics Nero fiddling while Rome burns when it comes to providing housing.

The very reason metropolitan cities exist is they are uniquely equipped to serve as housing and employment centers.

Most western and northern San Francisco neighborhoods remain relatively low-density. See Full Article HERE

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Share the Wealth Sucker!

Rich kid from Marin, child of the streets join share-the-wealth effort

Mill Valley-raised Iris Brilliant, left, and homeless activist Lisa Gray-Garcia joined poor Native American, black and Hispanic people on a tour of Belvedere to encourage residents to “redistribute” their wealth to the needy.Robert Tong — Marin Independent Journal

By Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal


Lisa Gray-Garcia, center, co-founder of POOR Magazine, is with the staff in Oakland. Gray-Garcia calls “wealth and resource hoarding” a disease.Robert Tong — Marin Independent Journal

Giving Back

To learn more about the “Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Tour’ and the Bank of Community Reparations, call 510-435-7500 or email

Iris Brilliant and Lisa Gray-Garcia come from two very different Americas.

The 29-year-old daughter of a well-known Mill Valley physician, Brilliant grew up wealthy and privileged in affluent Marin County.

Gray-Garcia, nicknamed “Tiny,” was a child of the streets, homeless and destitute and desperate, her troubled single mother’s sole caregiver when she was just 11 years old.

In a country with glaring income inequality and disappearing social mobility, these two women have broken through social and class barriers to become unlikely cohorts and allies.

“It took a lot of effort because our lives were set up to never have a relationship,” Brilliant said. “We were trained not to be able to build a relationship with people like each other. That we’ve been able to do that is almost a miracle.”

Brilliant, Gray-Garcia, First Nations leader Corrina Gould and other activists associated with Oakland’s Poor Magazine, which Gray-Garcia co-founded in 1996, have joined together in a new kind of “community reparations” movement — one that identifies rich people as “wealth hoarders” who can make things right by “redistributing” their excess money, land and assets to the poor and homeless.

For the past year, groups of black, brown, indigenous and disabled people have been embarking on what they’re calling “Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Tours” of upscale neighborhoods across the country, going door-to-door with a novel spin on the concept of sharing the wealth through a new “Bank of Community Reparations,” founded by a coalition of Bay Area nonprofits. There is also a Go Fund Me website.

Loosely modeled on India’s Bhoodan Movement, which involved wealthy landowners gifting land to the poor, the tours began last Earth Day in San Francisco’s Nob Hill and Pacific Heights neighborhoods, then moved on to Piedmont in the East Bay, Beverly Hills, the Hamptons, Manhattan’s Park Avenue and the Main Line in Philadelphia. Last Sunday, the tour arrived in Belvedere, one of Marin’s wealthiest enclaves.


“These tours take a strong emotional toll on poor folks and people of color,” Brilliant said. “It can be traumatizing for them to enter into a  See Article HERE

Editor's Note: Don't miss their video.  Is this group for real?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Voices of Cabrini Green

70 Acres in Chicago- What happened when low income housing was replaced with mixed income.

A Requiem for Chicago's Cabrini Green Housing Projects

“70 Acres in Chicago” chronicles what happened when the city tore down the Cabrini Green projects to replace them with mixed-income housing.


Hellen Shiller

Ronit Bezalel has spent 20 years filming the brick-by-brick dismantling of the Cabrini Green public housing projects in Chicago for her recently released documentary 70 Acres in Chicago. The dwellings figure prominently—and sometimes notoriously—in the American imagination, largely through its portrayal in TV shows like “Good Times” and movies like Candyman and Cooley High. They were built in the early 1940s in an area near downtown Chicago that had been a neighborhood mostly composed of Italian families. By the 1960s, it had become a predominantly black community, with nearly 15,000 families living in Cabrini’s mostly high-rise apartment buildings.

The city decided to replace Cabrini Green with mixed-income housing under the federal Hope VI program in the early 1990s. Bezalel began documenting Cabrini’s destruction in 1995, the year the first buildings were torn down. Much of her 55-minute documentary focuses on what has happened to the families displaced for this mixed-income experiment. The film also documents the ways in which Cabrini families spoke out and fought against the city’s plans to tear down their homes.

In one scene, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is seen speaking at a 1997 press conference, where he promises that “every family that wants to stay in this community will stay in this community.” It’s a familiar refrain for urban renewal compacts, and one that turned out to be dead wrong in Chicago. Mark Pratt, a main character in Bezalel’s film, was a Cabrini resident at the time of Daley’s conference. But 20 years later, with all 70 acres of the housing projects now officially wiped away and replaced with new rowhouses, Pratt was not able to return to live to the community.
Former Cabrini Green resident Mark Pratt at the Cabrini rowhouses (Photo: Cristina Rutter)

Bezalel spoke to CityLab about her documentary and what she learned about Chicago, racism, and displacement over the film’s 20-year production process.

Whenever there’s a discussion about displacement, there’s usually an underlying issue of racial segregation. Was it difficult reconciling the legacy of segregation with the desires of black families to remain in a segregated environment?

It isn't difficult to reconcile these two issues, because I don’t think they're different. Segregation in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. People self-segregate. We seek comfort in the familiar. I think it's more about whether a community has the agency to decide where and how they shall live. It's about who has the right to the city.

Historically, African-American families in Chicago were not granted the agency to move where they wanted. Their mobility was threatened by economic, legal, and event violent means. You had redlining and restrictive covenants. Firebombs were thrown in people’s windows. Segregation was shaped by the powers that be, arising from white privilege and a lack of respect for people of color.

Fast forward to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Cabrini started being demolished, and residents fought to stay in their community. This was about coming together in unity, strength, and with agency. Perhaps one can view this as segregation as a conscious choice, which is quite different than segregation that is forced upon a community.

What do you think about urban design and planning theories that characterize high-rise buildings themselves as dysfunctional?

I don't think there is anything inherently dysfunctional about high-rises. If there was a flaw in [these] high-rises, it was an economic flaw. High-rises are quite expensive to maintain. In Cabrini, you had an elevator that frequently broke down and was expensive to fix. This, coupled with the financial mismanagement of the Chicago Housing Authority, led to a situation where the high-rises were run down, which became a problem.

I recognize that there are different schools of thought on this. There’s a school that says the high rise is just bad. Bradford Hunt, in his book Blueprint for Disaster writes about how the high-rises were shoddily made. So you have that argument. And then also there’s the argument that it’s not the high-rises at all. I feel that the conditions of the high-rises were pretty bad, but I don’t feel it was necessarily the design, per se. I think it was just general neglect overall. I don’t feel that if we all had low-rises—which is what is being built there now—it would cure the problems. What’s interesting is that some of the new homes being built there now are high-rises. Parkside, which is on Cabrini Green land, is a high-rise.

We look at design to escape whats going on underneath, the inequalities underneath. And that becomes used as a veil or a shield.

What do you think of the Moving to Opportunity research and recent court decisions concerning moving poor families to wealthier neighborhoods?

What I can say is that there needs to be more dialogue about race and class issues when we move poor families to wealthier neighborhoods. There need to be forums where we can come together in a safe way to discuss the issues. Simply displacing people and hoping for the best doesn't work.

Developer Peter and Jackie Holsten are doing this at the Parkside of Old Town mixed-income community. Parkside is the mixed-income community built on Cabrini land. So, the Holstens brought in a performance company called The Kaleidoscope Group. Former Cabrini residents, renters and home owners wrote about incidences in the community that happened to them. This group then acted it out, in a way that made it safe and not pointing fingers at anyone, and then there was a dialogue. This is healing, this is addressing issues of race and class. Just plopping people down beside each other and hoping for the best doesn't work without this social lubricant.

People ask me why I made this film, and what my interest in race and class is. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. When I was a kid in the ‘70s, we were bused to a black school in Wilmington, Delaware. And so, we’re these white kids plopped into a black school where there was no discussion of race in the curriculum. It was just, ‘Here you are now. Now you’re going to get along and be friends and everything is going to be wonderful.’ Meanwhile, some of the white teachers were spreading racist behaviors, and some of the black students had to deal with their community being invaded and fractured.

Were there any ideas you had going into the film that you shifted perspective on during the filmmaking process?

I went into the film with a clear agenda that tearing down homes was bad. I still feel that way, but I evolved as a person and filmmaker to see the shades of grey. It is complicated. Was it really horrific? Sure. Was it wonderful? Yeah. Should they tear down the buildings? No. I think I got a lot more real and willing to engage with the issues on a more serious level, to the point that I realized I don’t have the answers. I’m certainly not a developer, designer, or any of that. I’m more of just a storyteller.

Overall, what kept me at Cabrini was a sense of connection and a sense of community there. There really is an injustice in the erasure of an entire community, and not valuing that community, and that just felt wrong to me.

What should be the audience’s takeaway? That this is complicated, or that there was a real injustice here?

I don’t know if it’s either-or. My activism is through storytelling, and the takeaway would be for people who know nothing about Cabrini to have a better sense of what it was. And to preserve this, since the physical structure is gone, on video or digitally so that their stories aren’t forgotten. Also for people to connect the dots when they see the same thing happen in their community.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who are the self professed "enemies of Suburbia" vow to destroy our neighborhoods?

Founding members (from L to R): Ian Monroe, a software engineer; Libby Lee-Egan, a graphic designer; Greg Magofña, a Bay Area native; Diego Aguilar-Canabal, a writer; and Victoria Fierce, hacker-at-large.
Who are the self professed "enemies of Suburbia" vow to destroy our neighborhoods? This collection of young people from East Bay Forward is actively pushing for more high density housing in suburban areas in the belief that it will be good for "environment, equity and lower housing prices. I wonder how many of them are married with kids and are concerned with schools and safety? We are in the midst of a cultural war in California. They HATE suburbia.

Judge denies "Sue the Suburbs" lawsuit seeking more housing in East Bay city

Judge denies "Sue the Suburbs" lawsuit seeking more housing in East Bay city

Apr 7, 2017, 7:04am PDT Updated Apr 7, 2017, 10:22am PDT

A Contra Costa County Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday against activists who filed a lawsuit against Lafayette that sought to increase the East Bay city's housing production.

Judge Judith Craddick denied a writ of mandate sought by pro-development activist Sonja Trauss, who leads the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation (SFBARF). Her suit alleged that Lafayette had violated the state's Housing Accountability Act by approving a smaller single-family housing development in 2015 rather than a larger apartment complex.

A rendering of O'Brien Homes' proposed single-family project Homes at Deer Hill in… more


The case is part of the group's larger legal and political effort to increase the amount of housing development in the Bay Area. Trauss and her fellow activists have sought to use the 1982 Housing Accountability Act as a tool to keep cities from reducing the size of projects that fit within a city's zoning. They've also cited the law in a lawsuit against Berkeley over a rejected three-unit housing proposal and plan to take action again there.

The petitioners have 20 days to file an appeal in the Lafayette case but haven't decided whether to pursue it, said Trauss.

In Lafayette, developer O'Brien Homes had initially proposed 315 apartments at the intersection of Deer Hill and Pleasant Hill roads. But the developer revised its plans and eventually received approval for a project with 44 single-family homes, which will be more expensive.

Judge Craddick wrote that the developer said it voluntarily pursued the less dense project, so Lafayette didn't violate the Housing Accountability Act.

“Lafayette supports smart growth, not indiscriminate growth. In this case, the city and the developer agreed to work together on a more suitable plan for that parcel. That’s good government," said Steven Falk, Lafayette's city manager, in a statement.

Trauss and SFBARF argued that the city pressured the developer to reduce the size of its project, harming potential renters who want to live in Lafayette.

"We are disappointed that Judge Craddick sided against hundreds of middle-class aspirational residents in favor of upholding Lafayette's exclusionary character. The California Legislature passed the Housing Accountability Act to rein in NIMBY ("not in my backyard") suburbs like Lafayette. Unfortunately, the court ruled in favor of maintaining the housing shortage, which harms low- and middle-income people the most," the petitioners said in a statement.
 See Full Article HERE