Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Opposition to SB 827: Radical Change & Anti-Democratic

California Senate Bill 827 pending in the Legislature seeks to address a serious concern (the housing crisis) in a fundamentally undemocratic manner that will disrupt the lives of countless Californians. 

Here is a video of my comments concerning the bill before the San Leandro City Council on March 19, 2018, asking that they place on a future agenda consideration of a resolution in opposition to the bill. If you agree with me, please write the citycouncil@sanleandro.org and ask that they oppose the bill.

#SB827 effectively rezones millions of properties across California including hundreds if not thousands of homes in San Leandro including in the Farrelly Pond, Best Manor, Cherry Wood, Broadmoor, Estudillo Estates, Assumption Parish, Upper and Lower Bal, Halcyon Foothill, and Floresta Gardens neighborhoods.  

If you live in a home on a parcel designated for single family homes that is a certain proximity (1/2 mile in general) to a BART station or any AC Transit bus stop where the bus comes 4 times in an hour during the commute, SB 827 changes the zoning for your house. You are now deemed under state law to live in a "transit hub."

What does this mean? Your house has been rezoned. Your neighbors' houses have been rezoned. Depending on the width of your street, a developer could build a 5-8 story building - with no parking and maximum possible number of units - immediately adjacent to your house - in your formerly single family residential neighborhood.

SB 827 represents radical change to California land use law. It deprives residents of their right to petition local government and shape the future of their communities. The bill transfers the power over zoning and land use decisions from City Hall to Sacramento. 

We are no longer talking about NIMBYism where one set of neighbors tries to stop development on a parcel that they do not own in their neighborhood and, importantly, where the proposed development complies with the local zoning code.

SB 827 takes a blowtorch to the zoning of cities across California. Its target is the single family home. The long range goal of SB 827 proponents is the construction of a sea of apartment complexes throughout single family residential neighborhoods in San Leandro and in cities statewide (though conveniently leaving out most suburbs and not affecting commercial or industrial properties close to mass transit). 

The ends should never justify the means. Please call on our political leaders to oppose SB 827.

Want further information? Want to see how your house is affected? This pro-SB 827 website maps out its impact: https://transitrichhousing.org/

Want to read SB 827? Visit https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB827

Want do something about SB 827? Democracy is not a spectator sport. If many of us act here in San Leandro and across the state we can defeat SB 827.

Please contact 

1) Our Assemblymember Rob Bonta 

Phone Number
(916) 319-2018

email - use the link here

2) Our State Senator Nancy Skinner

Phone Number
(916) 651-4009

Email - use this link

Those are the most important. They are the ones voting on SB 827. Start with them please.

3) Finally, again you can contact our Mayor and City Council at citycouncil@sanlenadro.org and ask that they adopt a resolution opposing SB 827.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Self-Driving Cars Are Safe Until They Encounter The Unexpected (Which Should Be Expected)

I don't understand why police officials rush to make a statement not based on the facts. 

On Monday, the day after the fatal Uber crash in Arizona, Sylvia Moir, the police chief, told reporters that from her viewing of the video, it appeared that neither the driver nor the self-driving car were at fault. "It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode,” Moir stated. "The driver said it was like a flash, the person walked out in front of them." We were led to believe the victim entered the roadway suddenly right before the collision.
Now we learn that (1) the victim was in the roadway already when struck, (2) the victim could be seen from a considerable distance before she was struck, (3) the driver in the Uber self-driving car was not acting as a backup, e.g. she was not looking at the road, (4) the Uber vehicle neither slowed down nor tried to swerve to avoid the collision.  The car's technology - video, radar & other systems - failed.
It's a basic duty of all drivers that if a person is visible in a roadway - regardless of whether or not she in a crosswalk - to stop or take other action to avoid the collision.
The idea that autonomous driving vehicles will make us all more safe and reduce vehicle fatality places a greater faith in computers than I believe is warranted - at least for the next decade.