The commuter shuttles in San Francisco get people to work and keep cars off the road and harmful emissions out of the air, which are all good things. But we can't forget that there are people driving these shuttles, which can be a grueling job. I've introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors to call for the MTA to ensure that "Labor Harmony" exists between shuttle companies and drivers as a condition of the issuance of a permit to be part of our commuter shuttle program. Requiring harmonious labor relations is good for the drivers, but also for the city, as any labor disputes will cause disruptions to our already crowded streets and transit routes.Read more
Dolores Park is an amazing community resource, but it's been getting trashed and vandalized. We've seen horrendous vandalism acts like the trashing of the construction site and breaking of so much glass in the play area that Rec and Park has had to replace all the sand in the play area. This requires an increased focus on enforcement in our parks, especially at night, including through bolstering our park patrol ranks. But we have also seen people showing up on the weekeneds and leaving the park littered and trashed. This is not okay. Everyone should be able to go and enjoy Dolores Park and have a good time, but everyone also needs to pick up after themselves and treat the park and surrounding houses with respect.Read more
LAND USE COMMITTEE TO HEAR SUPERVISOR WIENER’S LEGISLATION ALLOWING CONSTRUCTION OF NEW IN-LAW UNITS IN BUILDINGS UNDERGOING SEISMIC RETROFITS
Legislation will allow construction of new in-law units in buildings undergoing either mandatory or voluntary soft-story seismic retrofits, which will incentivize creation of new housing as well as seismic upgrades
WHEN: Monday, March 2nd, 1:30 PM
WHERE: Land Use and Economic Development Committee
Board of Supervisors
San Francisco City Hall, Room 263
WHAT: Today the Land Use and Transportation Committee will consider and vote on Supervisor Wiener’s legislation to allow the construction of new in-law units in buildings that are undergoing either mandatory or voluntary soft-story seismic retrofits. Adding new in-law units to a building while it is being retrofitted will be efficient and cost-effective for property owners by combining two projects into one, will add new, more affordable housing stock, will provide a financial benefit for owners who are being mandated to perform often expensive retrofits, and will incentivize owners to perform voluntary retrofits. The mandatory and voluntary retrofit programs are both city programs that focus on shoring up the seismic safety of soft-story, wood-frame buildings. Last year, the Board of Supervisors passed legislation requiring that soft-story buildings at least 3 stories tall and containing at least 5 housing units be retrofitted. Soft-story buildings have weak ground floor conditions, like garage door space or open window retail space. As was the case with Supervisor Wiener’s legislation allowing for new in-law units in the Castro, these new units will be rent-controlled if the building at issue is subject to rent control. The units would have to be constructed within the existing building envelope, meaning that a building could not be increased in height or bulk to add the unit.
CONTACT: Supervisor Scott Wiener, (415) 554-6968, email@example.com
SUPERVISOR WIENER’S STATEMENT ON KAISER PERMANENTE’S DECISION TO SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE COST OF HIV DRUGS FOR PATIENTS
Wiener will hold an oversight hearing on Kaiser’s recent policy change to classify HIV medication as specialty drugs, which dramatically increases the cost of these drugs by requiring patients to pay a significant percentage of the drug cost instead of a copay
San Francisco – Today, Supervisor Scott Wiener issued the following statement on Kaiser Permanente’s recent action to dramatically increase the cost of HIV drugs for patients:
“This new policy by Kaiser is troubling because it dramatically increases the cost of HIV medication, which will reduce access to HIV medication at a time when we are working hard to increase access and improve community health. This cost increase for HIV-positive Kaiser members will be a burden that some patients won’t be able to bear. I will be meeting with representatives from Kaiser and calling for an oversight hearing at the Board of Supervisors to address this decision and its impact on the health of our city’s residents, as well as to explore solutions that will reverse this trend toward more expensive HIV medication.”Read more
Interim Controls will require a conditional use authorization from the Planning Commission for projects seeking to dramatically expand square footage of residential buildings in the Corona Heights and Corbett Heights neighborhoods
San Francisco – Today, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce legislation at the Board of Supervisors to address the proliferation of “monster home” construction projects in the Corona Heights and Corbett Heights neighborhoods of San Francisco. These interim controls will require a conditional use authorization for any residential construction project that dramatically expands the square footage of existing buildings and also to overly large new houses built on vacant lots. A conditional use authorization requires a hearing at the Planning Commission to determine whether the project is "necessary and desirable." The determination by the Planning Commission is appealable to the Board of Supervisors.
Recently, residents of Corona Heights and Corbett Heights have expressed concern about the increase in large residential projects that are impacting the neighborhood. These interim controls will go into place immediately after the Board approves the legislation, and will trigger a study by the Planning Department to determine if permanent changes need to be made to the Planning Code.
“While we absolutely need to increase our housing supply, these monster homes are not producing more units,” said Supervisor Wiener. “Turning regular-sized homes into massive homes isn't adding new housing. Corona Heights and Corbett Heights are unique neighborhoods, with modest homes tucked into wooded lots. It's important to honor that character, and this legislation does so."
The legislation doesn't ban projects, but rather does the following:
1. For projects that are proposed to be larger than 3,000 square feet:
- Require a conditional use authorization for residential additions increasing the size of a home by more than 75% if not adding any new units;
- Require a conditional use authorization for residential additions increasing the size of a home by more than 100% if adding additional units;
- Require conditional use authorization for projects proposed on vacant lots where more than 3,000 square feet of residential building is proposed;
2. Require that projects maintain 45% of their lot as backyard open space, which is currently a requirement, but one subject to loopholes.
Conditional use authorizations are heard by the Planning Commission, which can reject, approve or approve with conditions. This determination is then appealable to the Board of Supervisors, which can uphold, modify or reject the determination of the Planning Commission.
The legislation applies to parcels within the Corbett Heights and Corona Heights area, bounded by Market Street, Clayton Street, Ashbury Street, Clifford Terrace, Roosevelt Way, Museum Way and Douglass Street. The interim controls will be heard in two weeks at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee, which can then forward the legislation to the full Board of Supervisors. The controls go into effect as soon as the Board of Supervisors approve of them.
Plan makes recommendations on how to improve late night and early morning transportation in San Francisco and regionally, including expanding cross bay service through improved 24 hour bus lines and eventual 24 hour BART service
San Francisco, CA – Today Supervisor Scott Wiener, along with the Mayor’s Office, the Entertainment Commission, and the County Transportation Authority, released the Late Night Transportation Plan, which contains recommendations on improving San Francisco’s late night and early morning transportation service. The Plan is the result of months of work by the Late Night Transportation Working Group that Supervisor Wiener convened via legislation to identify challenges and recommend solutions to improve service, accessibility, reliability, and safety for nightlife patrons, late night workers, and all residents.
“San Francisco doesn’t shut down once it gets dark, and our transportation system shouldn’t either,” said Supervisor Wiener. “A thriving nightlife economy and reliable transit options for workers and residents are an essential part of our city's economy and culture. With this plan, we now have a roadmap with clear near-term and long-term solutions that will improve late night transit in San Francisco. I want to thank everyone who took part in the working group for sharing their time, energy, and expertise. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the working group to turn these recommendations into a reality.”
“San Francisco’s world-class nightlife industry is one of the economic engines of our City, bringing in $4.2 billion of spending and creating jobs that require late-night and early-morning transportation needs,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “Thank you to the Working Group for their nine month study to better understand the needs, range of tools and strategies to ensure that the growing number of late-night and early-morning employees – many of whom are low-to-middle income wage earners – have access to safe, affordable and reliable public transportation system in our Bay Area.”
The Plan makes several recommendations, including:
- Beginning a process to expand all-night bus service
- Requesting BART, Caltrain and SFMTA to produce studies documenting operational constraints for longer rail hours
- Advocating funding and project development for rail infrastructure needs to operate 24 hour service
- Creating a pilot program for location-specific improvements to improve safety and comfort for all-night travelers, like working with local businesses to install real-time transit information displays or installing pop-up taxi stands
- Improving dissemination and availability of information about late night transit options
The efforts of the working group brought results, even before the completion of the final report. This includes the launch last month of the BART-AC Transit late night bus pilot, and SFMTA’s upcoming enhancement of its late night bus Owl service, for which the County Transportation Authority is expected to approve funding for at a meeting tomorrow.
The Working Group grew out of an April 2014 hearing convened by Supervisor Wiener, at which city departments, local transportation agencies, nightlife advocates, and late night workers and employers reported on needs and solutions to provide better 24 hour transportation service in San Francisco. The hearing exposed significant late night transit needs and deficiencies and led to legislation by Supervisor Wiener calling for the formation of the Late Night Transit Working Group, which began meeting in June. Many of the concerns raised around late night transit were voiced by the nightlife community with concerns for patrons and employees and labor groups with concerns about ensuring safe and affordable transportation access for their members.
The Working Group met five times over the last year to discuss needs and solutions for San Francisco’s late night transit system. The group was organized by Supervisor Wiener’s office, the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the County Transportation Authority. Included in the working group were representatives from local and regional transportation agencies, including Muni, BART, SamTrans, CalTrain, and AC Transit, labor groups with employees who work late or early shifts, nightlife and culture advocates, the business community, and other stakeholders. For a full list of participants, click on the link to the report below.
“The Transportation Authority is pleased to support both the planning for, and funding of, transportation solutions for late night travelers,” said Tilly Chang, Transportation Authority Executive Director. “We appreciate the efforts of the community and partner agencies to improve accessibility for the city's overnight workforce, patrons and visitors.”
“Our 3,500 janitors clean San Francisco's downtown office buildings when the majority of the City is asleep,” said Olga Miranda, President of SEIU Local 87. “We need safe, reliable, and affordable public transportation after 2am.”
“If the Bay Area wants to have world-class nightlife, it needs world-class transit,” said Tom Temprano, owner of Virgil’s Sea Room. “For nighttime small businesses the lack of reliable transportation hurts our bottom line and puts our employees at risk. Late-night patrons and workers deserve to be able to get home just as safely and efficiently between 9pm and 5am as folks who travel during a traditional 9-5 hours.”
In 2011, at Supervisor Wiener’s request, the City Economist assessed the economic impact of the nighttime economy and determined that the industry contributes $4.2 billion annually to San Francisco’s economy, employs over 50,000 people in largely middle class jobs, and generates about $50 million in city tax revenue. He has previously authored legislation to expand access to live music and DJs and enhanced the effectiveness of the Entertainment Commission.
The report can be viewed on http://nightlifesf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Other9to5.pdf or by contacting Supervisor Wiener’s office.
By Scott Wiener
There are many opinions about the causes of and solutions to our housing crisis, and it is important to have all of these voices helping address this problem. However, one argument that doesn't hold water is that supply and demand doesn't work in San Francisco. I recently wrote a piece on Medium making this point. Click here to read the article or view after the jump.Read more
Plan created by Late Night Transportation Task Force Plan makes recommendations on how to improve late night and early morning transportation in San Francisco and regionally, including expanding cross bay service through improved 24 hour bus lines and eventual 24 hour BART service
WHEN: Monday, February 23rd, 12:45pm
WHERE: San Francisco City Hall
Polk Street Steps
WHAT: Supervisor Scott Wiener will be hosting a press conference, along with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, and the County Transportation Authority, to announce the release of the Late Night Transportation Plan, which contains recommendations on improving San Francisco’s late night and early morning transportation service. The Plan is the result of months of work by the Late Night Transportation Working Group that Supervisor Wiener convened via legislation to identify challenges and recommend solutions to improve service, accessibility, reliability, and safety for nightlife patrons, late night workers, and all residents. Supervisor Also appearing will be members form the working group, which included Muni, BART, SamTrans, CalTrain, and AC Transit, labor groups with employees who work late or early shifts, nightlife and culture advocates, the business community, and other stakeholders. After the press conference, there will be a hearing at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee where the Plan will be revealed in a presentation starting at 1:30 pm.
CONTACT: Supervisor Scott Wiener, (415) 554-6968, firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPERVISOR WIENER’S STATEMENT ON KAISER’S REVERSAL ON ITS POLICY TO DRAMATICALLY INCREASE COST OF HIV DRUGS FOR PATIENTS
Kaiser announced today that it will be reversing a recent policy change to reclassify HIV medication as “specialty drugs,” which dramatically raised costs for patients
San Francisco, CA – Today, Supervisor Wiener issued the following statement on Kaiser Permanente’s reversal of its decision to dramatically increase the cost of HIV drugs for patients, and its return to the previous system where patients pay a low, affordable co-pay for HIV medication:
“Over the course of the last week, I expressed serious concern to Kaiser about this policy change that would have dramatically affected access to care for HIV-positive patients. Throughout the week, I heard an outpouring of concern from the community about the effects of these cost increases. Yesterday at a meeting in my office, Kaiser informed me that these cost increases will no longer be taking place, and that patients will be returned to the previous system of paying manageable co-pays for these life dependent medications. Kaiser also informed me that it will be reimbursing patients for any increased co-payments that patients made. I want to thank Kaiser for its recognition of the dramatic impact these drug cost increases would have had on patients, and for taking swift action to ensure the health of people living with HIV.”
Last week, after learning of these cost increases. Supervisor Wiener announced he would be calling for an oversight hearing on the drug cost increases and working with Kaiser to find solutions to reverse the trend of increasing drug costs.
According to a report published in the Bay Area Reporter, Kaiser began requiring people living with HIV/AIDS to pay a significant percentage of the cost HIV medication, instead of a fixed co-pay amount. Last year, the copay amounts for generic drugs was $35, and the copay for brand name drugs was $50. While these copays remain for most drugs, Kaiser created a tier of drugs called “specialty drugs” where patients also pay 20% of the total price of the drugs. This is part of a growing trend for insurance companies to move certain drugs, including HIV drugs, to a specialty tier. The result is that patients may have to pay hundreds of dollars a month – even as high as $600 or $900 a month -- for their HIV medication.
Access to HIV medication is a core part of San Francisco’s “Getting to Zero” strategy – zero new infections, zero HIV deaths, and zero stigma. Access to HIV medication for HIV-positive people is critical because that access keeps these patients healthy and suppresses their viral load. People with suppressed viral loads are much less likely to transmit the virus to other people.