Alicia's coalition of, um, maybe six people, screams and yells over the top of everyone pretty much the entire meeting. You almost get used to it after awhile, the brain filtering out the white noise (no, I'm not going there, so don't try to say I was thinking of making that joke because I'm not that crass.)
We tried to conduct a meeting. It was fairly productive, in the sense that the few people with anything important to say said it. Who were they? Fred, Warren, me, some lady from CB8, Beverly Newsome, Renne Collymore, Kenya Sollas, the gentleman who is prez of the Union Street Block Association, Jake Goldstein, Suki Cheong, Carmen Martinez, and a couple of ladies who are always at these things and probably live up near Empire whose names totally escape me. Maybe a couple others, I don't know. Ben did an admirable job given his lack of charisma from the mic, and he managed to get us out of there by 10, which is really all any of us could have hoped for. Thank you Ben.
Bottom line? The committee was generally in favor of the draft, asking only for the word "modest" to be further detailed in reference to blocks over in the mostly Jewish part of the neighborhood who want to make, er, modest expansions to their homes. Not a game changer, but Beverly's point was excellent anyway. Then a number of people chimed in that they'd rather have 50/30/20 housing than the 50% affordable request in the draft. What was hilarious was that some in the room seemed to think that the vaunted 50/30/20 was actually considerably BETTER for low income people, but I'll leave it to them to find out that 50/30/20 actually exists, but it's for 50 % market rate housing, not 50% low income, and nobody is going to take them up on it anyway, because it's not what the market will bear, even WITH the huge tax write-offs offered to developers. Whatever, that's what a Study is for. So people can, you know, study the issues.
So what's the upshot? After all the hemming and hawing over the past year (exactly one whole year) we have basically the same document that will go the full Board that we had one year ago. It would seem that the committee was generally fine with it, save a couple naysayers. And despite the fact that a few words have changed, I've discussed this with Planning many times and none of this language means much at all anyway. The key part of it is "we'd like the City to start a study now." And we laid out a simple case for contextual zoning and (that word) modest increases in density to support affordable housing creation.
Now, to bed, knowing that I only got angry and had to walk out once. Progress, not perfection.