Prevention of One Person Barring City Projects, New Legislation Approves

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After months of battling against the rage of COVID-19, San Francisco finally has hope to spare. From the rains and snows up to a possible vaccine candidate, the Bay Area is beginning to experience some good news. Soon, questioning transition projects would become more difficult to turn down, as the requirement of at least fifty signatures or five supervisors is sufficient enough to schedule an appeal hearing. The previously mentioned prerequisite can help thwart the old one-person standard rule.

Once the Board of Supervisors approves Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney’s legislation on Tuesday, the changes would follow through. 

David Pilpel and Mary Miles, two longtime City Hall gadflies, are the proposition’s inspiration for setting the bar a bit higher concerning city projects’ blocking. During the epidemic, both Pilpel and Miles are responsible for halting at least five of the San Francisco Transportation Agency’s projects last September.

Both Pilpel and Miles appealed to two stages of the Slow Streets program. A few of the proposal’s key points include leaving additional space for COVID-19 testing and pop-up pantries and establishing emergency lanes for essential workers’ buses on their way to work to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Both of them alone managed to cancel the propositions down, frustrating officials and citizens alike with the decision made regarding the projects’ status.

According to SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin, an appeal costs at least 100 hours of staff time, emphasizing the time and effort spent into hearing a single pleading. They also cause the Board of Supervisors’ lengthy meetings that result in city officials and lawyers’ time costing tens of thousands of dollars in total. For the most part, every proposition gets rejected by the board’s unanimous vote at the end of each session. As a result, every single project goes through the same ridiculous process – even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With fewer frivolous appeals, staff could instead spend time on the city’s recovery,” Tumlin stated.

In response to these silly situations, the San Francisco people become aware of the red tape event and are doing ways to cut it. Last week, voters were wise enough to ratify Prop H. to ensure fewer problems concerning the openings of small businesses. 

According to Breed, who emphasized the importance of ending San Francisco’s red tape incidents, declared that one person rejecting emergency projects is no longer potent in the present. She released an official statement concerning the matter.

“San Francisco is capable of accomplishing big things, as we’ve shown in our response to the pandemic,” asserted Breed. “The lesson we should learn from this is that more bureaucracy, more process, and endless appeals only set us up for failure,” she added.

Furthermore, Breed clarified that “clear, reasonable requirements” should be mandated when filing appeals in the legislation to prevent unnecessary delays or rejections concerning emergency proposals.

According to Haney, the old one-person rule doesn’t make any sense, as too much time and money get wasted trying to defend city projects only to arrive at their dismissals for the most part. Additionally, Haney claims that over 19 appeals filed in the past five years – most of them turned down.

“It’s costly, it’s burdensome, and slows projects,” stated Haney.

Many political officials and organizations also support the constitution. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Walk SF are one of the legislation’s promoters. According to Bicycle Coalition advocacy director Janice Li, the changes would result in better results and quicker processing of transit projects. She also noted that the democratic procedure still gets maintained and should help alert supervisors when an appeal reaches 50 signatures. The previously mentioned statement aids in seeing the appeal process and requirements as “a real concern.”

“It’s a win-win situation,” assured Haney.

Meanwhile, both Miles and Pilpel made no comments concerning the case.