We are back this week to cannabis.
The SF supes were unable to decide how to handle the new industry last meeting. There’s pressure from some anti-pot folks to keep sales away from schools and child-care centers (and the 1,000-feet-away rule could make most places in the city ineligible and concentrate cannabis stores in a few small areas). Sup. Jeff Sheehy, anxious to get something approved before legalization takes effect Jan. 1, suggested that the city allow the 46 existing medical cannabis dispensaries to operate as adult-use sales outlets at least temporarily.
But Sup. Hillary Ronen pointed out that the War on Drugs has devastated communities of color, particularly the African and American and Latino communities, and that the city has a responsibility to create an equity plan for what will be a huge source of income and wealth in the next few years.
So they put the question off until after the holiday, and now all of the issues will be back Tuesday/27, with no obvious solution in sight – and something of a time issue.
SF has already missed the deadline for passing a law that would allow legal adult-use weed Jan. 1. If the supes pass something this week, pass it on second reading next week, and the mayor signs it immediately, the first permits could be issued in time for Jan. 5 sales.
The sidewalk robots are back again, too, at the Land Use and Transportation Committee Monday/20.
Delivery companies (of course) are looking to get rid of human labor, and use robots to bring everything from pizza and Chinese food to Amazon purchases to your door.
There are so many things that could go wrong here: Robts running over seniors and children, robots blocking wheelchair access, robots falling over (or getting pushed over) and blocking sidewalks, people trying to steal deliveries from robots … and Sup. Norman Yee wants to ban the deliveries.
But he couldn’t get six votes for a ban, so he is prepared to allow a pilot program with robots wheeling along through parts of SoMa and other neighborhoods with production, distribution, and repair zoning.
The committee will need to rework this, and perhaps deal with some of the missing questions. If a robot runs over and injures someone, who is liable? If an angry pedestrian pushes the robot over on its side or into the street, who comes and fixes the mess? Will robots only be allowed on sidewalks broad enough to accommodate both the machines and humans in wheelchairs (which would rule out my neighborhood)? What if kids jump on and try to ride the robots and fall off? What if the robots terrify dogs (or dogs start to piss on them)?
Have we really thought this through? Do we really want to once again allow a new technology that could have huge negative impacts go forward before we figure out the right rules?
I am dubious.
Meanwhile, as the supes try to figure out what to do with the traffic mess known as the Hairball, where Cesar Chavez, Bayshore, Highway 101 and I-280 all intersect, a group that has long fought new bike lanes is trying to block some improvements to the area. The city wants to add more bike lanes and make pedestrian safety changes (including removing some parking spaces), but Mary Miles, attorney for the Coalition for Adequate Review, is trying to block the process by arguing that the city didn’t do a valid environmental review.
This is the same group that blocked the city’s bicycle plan for years by suing to say that adding bike lanes (and removing space for cars) created significant environmental impacts.
Rob Anderson, the driving force behind this operation, has said repeatedly that bikes aren’t safe on city streets and interfere with cars, creating more traffic problems.
The appeal of the changes to the hairball is on the Tuesday agenda.
The Land Use Committee hears the latest report on the city’s housing balance (hint: we are way out of balance, with too much market-rate and too little affordable housing) on Monday/27. Three days later, the Planning Commission will consider five projects that include 446 housing units, the majority of them high-end condos that will just make the balance worse.
One of those projects, at Mission between 25th and 26th, would take advantage of the state’s Density Bonus Law to create 75 new units – only 12 percent of which (that’s nine units) would be affordable.
You drop those luxury units into the Mission and you will inevitably see displacement.
We keep going backwards here. And there’s no end in sight.