Tuesday, September 6, 2016

SF Sierra Club puts politics over the planet

By on September 1, 2016 1:00 am

I bleed green. I started a company making biofuels, then another working on biodegradable plastics.

I’ve worked with London Breed as she passed: the strongest Styrofoam ban in the country, drug take-back legislation that’s kept 38 tons of pharmaceuticals out of the Bay or landfill and 2015’s Proposition H to protect CleanPowerSF — the clean energy program Breed helped launch.

I am a proud Sierra Club member, grateful for all the national organization has achieved. Which is why I am so frustrated by the bewildering anti-environmentalism of our local Sierra Club leaders.

Unlike most clubs in The City, our Sierra Club chapter’s decisions are not made by the members; they’re controlled by a handful of NIMBYs who put their personal agenda above the environment.

The Bay Area is projected to grow by almost two million people in the next 25 years, meaning we’ll need 600,000 new homes.

Building multi-unit, transit-accessible homes in San Francisco, instead of single-family houses in Tracy or Fairfield, means less car travel, less water and energy use, lower emissions and more land for carbon sequestration. A study by Energy Innovations estimated that if by 2030 California builds 85 percent of its new housing within existing cities, then each year: carbon dioxide emissions will drop by up to 28,000,000 tons, pollution-related health costs by $1 billion, water use by 27,000 gallons per home and households will save $2,000 per year on gas, water and energy.

The national Sierra Club’s official land use policy urges “‘infill’ residential and commercial development” with “densities and mixtures of uses that encourage walking and transit.” It warns of suburban sprawl, “a pattern of increasingly inefficient and wasteful land use that is devastating environmental and social conditions.”

You cannot be pro-environment and anti-urban housing.

Yet in the last few years alone, our Sierra Club Chapter leaders opposed the Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard plan, bringing 12,000 new homes with about one-third affordable, a major environmental cleanup, and the rebuild of Alice Griffith public housing. They opposed Parkmerced, with 5,679 new homes and transit improvements for a car-dependent area once billed as “suburban living in The City.”

Chapter leaders opposed the Treasure Island plan, with 8,000 new homes, the country’s first congestion pricing program, and acres of parks and wetlands. They even opposed the Giant’s Mission Rock, turning parking lots into a transit-rich, mixed-use neighborhood with 1,500 new homes. Time and again, chapter leaders hedge their opposition with statements like, “We support infill development, just not this plan.” But if you oppose every plan, that hedge rings awfully hollow. And the environment loses.


Posted by Steve Sinai


Markus said...

I see many parallels between what’s going on in San Francisco and here in Pacifica having to do with local NIMBY agendas. For the not so many very vocal and well organized folks here who are opposed to any new commercial and residential development and those who are thinking “managed retreat” is the way to go, I ask you, truly reconsider your stance. To simply allow the thousands of residents and businesses and more importantly, the huge infrastructure existing west of HWY 1, that will eventually adversely affect HWY 1, to be destroyed by the sea, will spell the end of Pacifica. Our shoreline, beaches and HWY 1 is Pacifica’s bloodline. Maintaining and shoring up the seawalls and berms, to protect our coast from sea intrusion, shouldn’t even be debated. It must be a mandate, supported by our Council! With regards to the traffic issues relating to any new developments, they should be reexamined with the idea of bringing in more public transportation and connecting shuttle services, with additional help of hotels and merchants. The way to get the revenue this city needs, is to have more tax revenues from our businesses as well as residents. We have ample open space to accommodate additional residential and commercial development. We have many trails and outdoor activities that could potentially draw many more visitors if we had the proper infrastructure and businesses to capture additional visitor revenue.

Anonymous said...

Well said Markus. However asking our local enviro radicals to reconsider their stance is a non starter. They have been crippling Pacifica with their anti-everything position for at least 30 years. They are incapable of even considering all of the damage they have done to our town. Keener is their current head of state and Martin is vying for top Lieutenant. Hate to rain on your parade but trying to reach consensus or god forbid compromise with this group has been attempted unsuccessfully many, many times. The only way to beat them is at the polls. Don't listen to their lies and don't vote for them!!!!

Markus said...

I've lived here for over 30 years and have experienced first hand what the enviro radicals have done. I am hoping some of them would chime in on this post. Guess I'm wasting my time. Hoping those who favor saving our beautiful city, will be asking the right questions of those running for council. We should be asking them to declare in writing their stance on "Managed (NOT MANAGED) retreat", among other issues.

Anonymous said...

OK. I'm an enviro-radical NIMBY and I'll chime in on your post. You're full of crap. You're fear-mongering by trying to make people think that managed retreat means the destruction of everything west of the highway and ultimately the destruction of Pacifica. You don't understand the concept and you're doing harm. It's the equivalent of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Stop.

Anonymous said...

Dear enviro-radical NIMBY, you should ask Keener and his puppet Martin what he means by "managed retreat" and while you're at it ask Battalio too. We are not full of crap, you are full of naïveté. Inundation up to highway One is exactly what they are proposing.
Why do you think they want to pull the plug on all West Sharp projects?
Why do you think they want to move all utilities eastward?
Why do you think they want to shut down the golf course?
Open you eyes, stop listening to their bullshit and stop being a fool.

Anonymous said...

To quote Ronald Reagan, "There you go again." Nobody is proposing inundation up to Highway 1. Stop lying.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to get at the truth of this matter, ask John Keener, Sue Digre and candidate Deidre Martin to put in WRITING that they support replacing the perennially failing retaining wall along the north end of Beach Blvd with a functional seawall and continued maintenance of the earthen berms on the western edge of Sharp Park Golf Course. They have been conducting meetings to prevent these safety measures from taking place, talking about "managed retreat"as the only viable solution and even masquerading their intentions by renaming their agenda "Saving the Beach". Unquestionably if they are able to prevent these public safety measures the entire western side of Highway One ends up devastated and under water.
Instead of being a stooge for these people you should do some real investigation and backing it up with their written statements.

Anonymous said...

"the entire western side of Highway One ends up devastated and under water." Simply not true.

Markus said...

Anon 1:30
"Simply not true". Just words without meaning. I've been to a few meetings discussing sea level rise. "Managed Retreat" means you don't shore up or maintain the seawall and berm and let nature take over. Managed in this case means stepping back when the sea gets dangerously close. The process will be expedited if the not maintained seawall and berm start breaching in more places, and it will be too late to do anything about it because any available funds will have mostly dried up by then. I can just imagine what would happen if our "state of the art" sewer plant is flooded. All I can say is if hundreds, perhaps even thousands of homes and businesses get flooded because our city and county did not do everything possible to shore up and maintain the barriers, the city and county will be looking at a huge class action law suit. There is no other options for all the residents and businesses who will lose everything. Anon 9/8 6:14 pm. If I'm full of crap, by all means go ahead and explain to me exactly what "managed retreat" means and why doesn't Keener, Digre and Martin do not commit in writing their intentions regarding the shore up and maintenance of our barriers. It should be quite simple for them to do that and ease the worries of several thousand Pacificans. I totally agree with anon Sept. 8, 11:40PM.

Anonymous said...

So Chicken Little stirs up fear among the other denizens of the barnyard that the sky is falling. He argues with anybody who says the sky isn't falling that they show proof of the sky not falling. Then he insists that the people who say the sky isn't falling commit in writing their intentions regarding what they are going to do about the sky falling. Absurd.

Markus said...

Once again you call me names, yet say absolutely nothing. I certainly agree with “they” that the sky is not falling. I’m talking about the seawall falling. You show me proof where “they” are saying the seawall will not be falling because "they" are committed to shoring up and maintaining it. We all know without the seawall and berm, the Beach/Palmetto development project has very little chance of seeing the light of day. BTW, think I know who “they” are and you’re very good at mincing words without saying anything.

Anonymous said...

You're demanding "proof" that people are not guilty of what you're accusing them of. That you do not see the absurdity of this is part of the problem. I demand proof that you are not abusing puppies.

Larry said...

It strikes me as unimaginative that our resident NIMBY tells us we're all wrong yet he has not once put out what HE thought managed retreat is. It's a simple concept unless he's simpler than the concept? Come on now, those on this blog have laid out pretty clearly what managed retreat is now it's time for Mr. NIMBY not to just go on with silly "chicken" little taunts but to tell us what he thinks managed retreat is.
Or you can just go play on rip with the rest of your buddies.