Monday, June 9, 2014

Thank you for your (dis)honesty, or epistomology of Proposition B

Looking for a place to park when driving to the Embarcadero, I got lost in the claims of the Embarcadero Center.  Waterfront development has been very controversial in San Francisco for decades, incorporating debates such as urban freeway construction and removal, public/private development of space and public access, legal limitations on development, etc etc.

Unlike the capitalization of lower-case letters on baseball jerseys ("Three primary schools of thought have emerged from these discussions: one that believes player names on jerseys should always be all caps, period; one that loves the lowercase letters; and a compromise position that advocates for the use of small caps instead of lowercase letters."), this is something that you actually need to have an opinion on, if you are a responsible citizen of the city, because we vote on this stuff fairly frequently.  And it can be hard to discern the truth, the best public policy, through the arguments and assertions.  Who has what agenda, and who can you trust?  Is an argument against waterfront development well-considered, or just greedy NIMBYism putting one group of rich people against another, and hurting the rest of the city?  Who can you trust?  So it's extremely helpful whenever a major developer gives you a clue about how to interpret their statements.  From the Embarcadero Center about page:
The Embarcadero Roadway Project has led to a complete renewal of the Downtown Waterfront District and ensures a bright future for Embarcadero Center. The Center is just steps away from the 42,000-seat AT&T Park, home to the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
Embarcadero Center to Phone Company Park is 1.3 miles walking, or over 3000 steps.  Okay, if they are lying that badly in the second sentence, how badly are they lying about "complete renewal" and "bright future"?  And who really plays baseball at the Park, and how many seats does it really have? (Okay, they aren't lying about the seat count.)

I voted for Prop B.  Of the many ways to improve the housing situation in San Francisco, keeping the path as smooth as possible for developers to get special treatment to build especially profitable luxury condos on the waterfront by violating existing planning rules isn't at the top of the list.

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