July 22, 2005 Volume 11, Number 6
This Issue of the BOMA-San Francisco Advocate Is Brought To You By
Montgomery Technologies, Inc.
Director of Government and Pulic Affairs
San Francisco Building Department Urges BOMA Members to Apply for New Accessibility Permit Covering Common Areas of Office Buildings
At a recent meeting of the BOMA Codes Task Force, Neil Friedman, Senior Building Inspector for the Department of Building Inspection (DBI), urged BOMA members to apply for a new city permit that would “certify” a building’s common areas for accessibility once every code cycle (3 years), thus avoiding the need to re-submit plans for a building’s entrances, parking garages, or other common areas with each office tenant improvements permit application, as long as there was no change to those approved areas. The cost of the permit is $1 plus the hourly cost to review the building’s common areas plans for accessibility compliance. This innovative program was developed by BOMA and the DBI to help reduce the time and expense involved in the local OTI permit process while protecting the state code requirements that all public buildings be accessible to the disabled. For more information, contact Neil Friedman at 415-558-6168 or via email at Neil.Friedman@sfgov.org.
Sprinkler Retrofit Compliance: Are You Ready for February 15, 2006?
The San Francisco Sprinkler Retrofit ordinance takes effect for all commercial high-rise buildings on February 15, 2006. This ordinance, passed almost 12 years ago, requires all high-rise (over 75’) office buildings to install automatic sprinkler systems throughout the property in all tenant and common spaces. A certification of that compliance is also required to be filed with the Department of Building Inspection, and must include documentation of the retrofit work. If documentation cannot be found, a re-inspection of the property by a qualified engineer will be required. At the urging of BOMA, former Director Frank Chiu directed the department staff to create a process for applying for an extension to this deadline. Commercial property owners MUST submit a request for an extension before the deadline to avoid being in violation of the sprinkler retrofit ordinance. DBI and the Fire Department are now developing an enforcement program that might impact building permit applications for noncompliant buildings, and might also result in other abatement actions. Therefore, if any of the approximately 500 high-rise commercial buildings in San Francisco are not fully sprinkled by February 15, 2006, and need assistance in filing an extension request, they should contact Laurence Kornfield, Chief Building Inspector at DBI, at 415-558-6244 or by email at Laurence.Kornfield@sfgov.org.
San Francisco Fire Department Issues Advisory on Lock Boxes/ Use of BBQs in High Rise Buildings
Paul Chin, San Francisco’s Fire Marshal, recently advised BOMA that there have been a number of instances of vandalizing, theft, or destruction of lock boxes with access keys to downtown office buildings. He stated the California Fire Code 902.3.1 requires “exterior doors and openings be maintained readily accessible for emergency access by the fire department.” This law does not require that keys for access into the building be provided by building owners to allow emergency personnel to gain access without damaging the property, however, he advised that to avoid having doors or other entrances destroyed, building owners or their managers have a lock box installed. This is particularly important if the property does not have 24/7 on-site personnel. To avoid problems with vandalism and theft of lock boxes and their keys, the Fire Marshal has suggested owners place or relocate boxes 14 feet above the street level. Further, if a new lock box is purchased, he suggested owners install the Knox Box type, which is electronically-keyed.
The San Francisco Fire Marshal also recently presented BOMA with a draft bulletin detailing the use of BBQs in high-rise office buildings. In the draft, issued June 2, 2005, Paul Chin reminded BOMA members that the use of any propane or LPG is prohibited and is addressed in the informational bulletin No. 99-01. He further stated the use of charcoal briquettes is not addressed in any detail either by the NFPA or the California Fire Code. Therefore, based upon his research and conversations with other jurisdictions, he has determined that the use of such charcoal-fueled BBQs or cooking devices is not specifically regulated or prohibited, but that their use will be guided by sections 1102...3.6-3.7-3.8 and 4.4-1102.5.2-2.1-5.2.2 in the California Fire Code. Any hazard concerns or observed safety issues involving the use of charcoal grills should be reported to the Fire Department’s prevention division and if there is an immediate hazard to report it through the 911 dispatch. Building managers should also monitor the appliances, and approve the use of charcoal BBQ grills only when they can be used in a safe and responsible manner.
For further information, contact Paul Chin directly at 415-558-3342.
Huge Bond Measure for SF Street Repairs Headed to November Ballot
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected next week to approve placing a $208 million bond measure on the November 8th city ballot to fix up our streets, renovate pavements and sidewalks, improve pedestrian safety and street signals, construct more disabled access curb ramps and make street improvements for greater bicycle use. This bond, with interest calculated, will actually cost city taxpayers nearly $360 million over 30 years. The City Controller has estimated this bond, if passed, will add $16.72 in property taxes annually per $100,000 of assessed value during the life of the bond. The local advocacy group SFSOS recently stated, “Yes, San Franciscans want well maintained streets, clean parks, a functional municipality, and a comfortable day-to-day quality-of-life. Yes, definitely; spend tax money to fix streets. However, we're also for responsible fiscal policy, and this is a new, additional tax. Our streets should be fixed annually out of the taxes we already pay. How dare our government ignore the problem year in and year out, and then ask us for more money when the problem becomes utterly wretched. [Unfortunately,] the damage is done. We can't go back to 1996, retroactively adjust the budget, and close down half of SoMa's streets for repairs. Yet, if we're to [support this bond], we should be offered… two absolute guarantees: a guarantee that these funds will be subject to a Prop C-like scrutiny and oversight to ensure that every dollar is accounted for and spent appropriately, and that this [sort of maintenance bond] never happens again. In the future, there must be dedicated funding for ongoing street repairs in all subsequent annual City budgets.”
Rescue Muni Vows to Fight Supes' Muni Power Grab: "We Won't Turn Back the Clock"
Rescue Muni, San Francisco's transit riders' association, vowed to fight a proposed charter amendment which would increase the Board of Supervisors' control over the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA), which runs MUNI. The measure, placed on the November ballot by Board of Supervisors, would split the appointment of MTA Board members between the Mayor and Board of Supervisors.
In 1999, voters passed Proposition E, a MUNI reform charter amendment backed by Rescue Muni, SPUR, BOMA, the Chamber, and many local civic and environmental organizations. Proposition E created an independent MTA Board to govern MUNI that had previously been fiscally managed by the Supervisors. Rescue Muni chair Andrew Sullivan released a statement saying "We won't turn back the clock to days of excuses and finger-pointing. Proposition E created an independent, clearly accountable agency; this new charter amendment divides authority over Muni, and divided responsibility for Muni is how we got into this mess in the first place." "It's outrageous that the supervisors would gut such a critical part of Muni reform, and for what? This is a naked power grab."
Rescue Muni pointed out that Proposition E already balances authority between the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors by requiring every single MTA Board member be confirmed by the Board of Supervisors before taking office. “This new charter amendment disrupts the balance and puts all the power in the hands of the Supervisors. They would not only appoint three MTA Board members on their own, but retain the ability to reject the Mayor's four," Sullivan said. "If that's not a power grab, I don't know what is."
Sullivan emphasized that, while Muni isn't yet fully fixed, "the system is much more reliable than it was in the days of the Metro Meltdown, when political meddling by City Hall caused huge delays and reliability problems. Why would anyone want to go back to the bad old days?"
BOMA California Takes Position on State Ballot Measures
The Building Owners and Managers Association of California, at its June 28th meeting in Anaheim, took formal positions on several ballot measures scheduled for the November 8, 2005 special election. Here is a quick run-down to date:
BOMA will support the Redistricting Reform measure, that is intended to remove the ability to create state and Federal legislative districts from the elected officials (who have much to gain or lose by the decisions) and place that responsibility in a panel of 24 retired judges (12 Democrats and 12 Republicans) who will use the existing geographic boundaries of a county or city to the greatest extent possible to create the most compact electoral districts possible for the State Assembly, State Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. [Note: this measure is being contested by State Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and may be pulled from ballot.]
BOMA will support the California Live Within Our Means Act, which will allow the Governor to make the spending reductions needed to balance the state budget when the Legislature fails to do so, including reducing minimum spending requirements (“carve-outs”) passed unwisely by previous state initiatives.
BOMA will support the “Public Employees’ Right To Approve Use of Union Dues for Political Campaign Purposes Act”. This measure will require public employee unions to annually obtain written consent before they can divert any dues monies received from their members into political campaigns. This measure will be vigorously fought by all the state’s public employee unions, and their national affiliates, as all of them have built their considerable political clout through their ability to make campaign contributions to political candidates and measures using their members’ dues.
BOMA will oppose the measure to repeal electricity deregulation in California and move the state back to its pre-1996 fully-regulated status. BOMA California believes this measure is an over-reaction to the 2000-01 energy crisis and Enron debacle, and is not in the best interests of consumers, both commercial and residential.
BOMA California did not take positions on the two competing prescription drug measures nor the measure that would raise the amount of time required for the state’s school teachers to gain tenure from two to five years.
BOMA International Board of Governors Approves New Public Policies
BOMA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved new policy positions on three issues: green buildings and sustainability; banks in real estate; and association health plans at their national conference in Anaheim June 26th. BOMA’s new “green buildings” policy states that BOMA must lead the real estate industry in educating our membership on green buildings and the various programs available for achieving environmentally responsible buildings; in providing all available information to our members that addresses those needs while recognizing the market realities within which they have to operate; and by advocating in the legislative, regulatory and codes arena for the ability of BOMA members to continue to make voluntary sustainable development choices that work best for their buildings and tenants; while promoting enhanced environmental stewardship.
BOMA International’s new policy position on banks in real estate supports Federal legislation (H.R. 111 and S. 98) that would amend the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 and the Revised Statutes of the United States to prohibit the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Secretary of the Treasury, respectively, from allowing banks or other financial institutions to engage in real estate brokerage activity or real estate management activity, except when the property in question is under their direct ownership.
The new policy position on association health plans (or AHPs) will allow BOMA to join forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE), and other groups to support H.R. 525 and S. 406, The Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2005. This legislation would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to provide for Federal establishment and governance of association health plans, which are currently regulated by each of the 50 states. Such a change would allow organizations such as BOMA, the Chamber of Commerce, or other similar business associations the ability to establish uniform national discounted health insurance plans for their small business members and their employees.
The full text of BOMA International’s new policies can be found at www.boma.org/Advocacy/PositionPapers/.
Jim Wunderman, President & CEO, Bay Area Council Addresses BOMA Luncheon
The President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, Jim Wunderman, addressed the BOMA San Francisco membership at their July 21st luncheon. The Bay Area Council is a business organization established in 1945 that advocates for economic development, job-growth, more housing, better transportation, for sustainable policies governing energy, water and the environment, and better regional cooperation among the nine-counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay. In his remarks, Wunderman noted a number of recent successes that happened, in part, due to the Council’s effective lobbying efforts:
an agreement to finally re-build the Bay Bridge’s eastern span
the decision to locate the Stem-cell Research Headquarters in San Francisco
the recent defeat of Senator Ortiz’s attempt to reduce the effectiveness of the Stem Cell Research bond
the recent decision by the Governor to allocate approximately $1.3 billion in the new state budget (from gas tax monies) to state transportation projects
Wunderman noted there were plenty of challenges ahead for the Bay Area Council, including the critical need for more housing, especially moderate and low income housing. He also strongly opposed the desire of some activists to restore Hetch Hetchy valley in Yosemite Park by dismantling its reservoir dam. He noted it would be “an incredibly expensive undertaking that could potentially damage the high quality water currently being produced by that system”.
San Francisco Acting Planning Director Dean Macris Meets with BOMA
Acting Planning Director Dean Macris met with BOMA’s Government and Public Affairs Committee July 12th to discuss the current state of the city department, and its future direction. Macris, 73, was the Planning Director in San Francisco for over 12 years, before retiring in 1982. He was brought back to the Department on an acting basis late last year to run the department while the Planning Commission and the Mayor searched for a permanent replacement when former director Gerald Green resigned.
In his remarks, Macris stated there is no “matter of right” development in San Francisco any longer, and that almost all plans for new construction or renovation face a discretionary review process these days since any citizen (or their attorney) can file a DR request for a very modest fee. “It is part of the expected public input process now”, he said. Macris also pointed out recent court rulings have broadened the state’s environmental quality act (CEQA) to include allowing any citizen in the state to make a direct appeal on just about any EIR or negative declaration directly to the top local governing body, in this case, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, requesting it overturn the Planning Commission and/or Planning Department approvals.
Macris reported the Department had 21 vacancies at present, out of a total of 146 full-time employee positions, which he is trying to fill. He said the department isn’t able to keep up with the workload and cited over 20,000 residential housing units currently in the pipeline as an example. Macris did state he thought the department was making progress in getting smaller area master plans approved such as was passed recently for the Rincon Hill area and for the Mid-Market area, and that these “mini-master plans” should give developers more certainty when proposing projects within their pre-determined borders. He said one large issue still hanging out there involved how much space within the city should be reserved for production/distribution/repair (PDR) businesses, and how much is really necessary? A study has been commissioned to determine an appropriate amount of PDR space for the City, but it won’t be ready until next year. He suggested perhaps some of the Port Authority’s 15 million square feet of vacant space could be put to PDR use, if the Port could convince the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to allow it. In closing, Macris stated the fee schedule at Planning was “chaotic” but that his department had already initiated a fee study that should be completed by October, with a new fee schedule ready for formal adoption by the end of the year.
Coffee and Conversation with San Francisco Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
BOMA members met July 20th with Supervisor Sophie Maxwell (District 10, Bayview/Hunter’s Point/Potrero Hill) for coffee and conversation about the future direction of the City. Beginning her talk, the Supervisor expressed her pleasure that the Board had unanimously adopted its FY 2005-06 City Budget the day before, and complimented both Mayor Gavin Newsom and Budget Chairman Tom Ammiano for their ability to bring forth a budget that everyone could support. Maxwell defended the large increases in fees and fines that are a part of the budget, and placed the blame for them on the large cuts in Federal and State reimbursements.
The Supervisor said she supported the charter changes on the November city ballot that would give the Board of Supervisor (BOS) more power over MUNI by allowing the supervisors the right to appoint three of the seven MUNI Board members, and giving the Board the right to reject any of the Mayor’s four appointees because she gets more complaints about MUNI than any other city service.
Maxwell expressed interest in having BOMA members keep her and her colleagues on the Board up-to-date on the economic trends that we see impacting the City before the Board is forced to take reactionary action, such as its recent action to stop an announced conversion of part of the Fairmont Hotels from hotel to condominiums. She stated, “We can’t just let the market dictate how we develop in San Francisco.”
Maxwell bemoaned the fact that complying with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) was turning the Board of Supervisors into a second Planning Commission, and that some change in that appeal process was absolutely necessary.
Finally, Supervisor Maxwell stated that “San Franciscans should have it all”, and referred to her support for locating a Home Depot, a Target, and other general merchandise stores within the city. “We just have to decide where we want to put them”, she added.
Money In Politics – National Edition –
Sen. Clinton Is the Industry Favorite in Campaign Giving
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) led all of her colleagues in first-quarter ’05 fundraising from 14 out of the top 50 industries ranked by campaign giving to members of Congress, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Clinton raised more than any other member of the Senate or House from each of the four most generous industries to lawmakers in the first quarter of this year: lawyers and law firms, real estate interests, doctors and other health professionals and persons describing themselves as retired. Clinton, who faces a reelection battle next year and is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, raised a total of more than $3.9 million in the first quarter of this year and reported having $8.7 million in the bank.
After Clinton, the lawmaker leading in fundraising from the most industries is Sen. George Allen (R-Va.). Allen, who is also up for reelection in 2006 and is reported to have presidential aspirations, led the pack in fundraising from five industries: lobbyists, auto makers and dealers, the food and beverage industry, finance/credit companies and tobacco interests. Each of those industries contributed more to Republican lawmakers than to Democrats in the first quarter.
The highest House member on the list is Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), who led all other lawmakers in fundraising from three industries: building trade unions, candidate committees and miscellaneous unions. Matsui raised $1.1 million in winning a special election in March to succeed her late husband. [Source: Center for Responsive Politics. www.opensecrets.org.]
Retired People and Lawyers Most Generous Political Contributors
Overall, people listing themselves as retired have given more campaign money to federal candidates and political parties combined than has any other group in the 2006 election cycle so far. They have contributed a total of $8.5 million this year, 63 percent to Republicans. The retired also were No. 1 in total industry giving during the 2004 election cycle, when they contributed a record $184.1 million. That marked the first time retired people topped the list of industries after years at No. 2, behind lawyers. Since 1989, the retired have contributed $538.6 million, 36 percent to Democrats and 63 percent to the GOP.
The second largest campaign donor in the current cycle so far is the legal profession, which has contributed $6.4 million in individual and PAC contributions to federal candidates and parties, 66 percent to Democrats. The industry also was No. 2 for the 2004 cycle after several cycles in the top spot. Lawyers and law firms are still No. 1 in total contributions since 1999, with $660.1 million donated, 72 percent to Democrats. [Source: Center for Responsive Politics. www.opensecrets.org.]
Money In Politics: Local Edition
Ever wonder who is backing whom in the political arena, but didn’t have the time to do the research? The BOMA San Francisco Advocate will begin a series of in-depth reports on the top contributors to our local state, and Federal elected officials. This month we begin with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, representing CA Congressional District 8 (San Francisco). In the 2004 election cycle, which ended last year, the House Democratic Minority Leader had collected $1,552,921 in her re-election race against third party candidate Leilani Dowell. The top corporate contributors to Pelosi’s campaign were E & J Gallo Winery ($40,000) followed by Wells Fargo Bank ($16,000), JP Morgan Chase ($15,750), Akin, Gump, et al, attorneys ($12,000), Chicago Options Board Exchange ($10,000), GAP, Inc. ($10,000), Sallie Mae ($10,000) and UBS Americas ($10,000). Unions were very generous too, contributing a total of $299,500 to her campaign. The unions contributing included: American Federation of State/County/Municipal Employees ($10,500), American Federation of Teachers (10K), Carpenters and Joiners (10K), Ironworkers (10K), Laborers (10K), Machinists/Aerospace Workers (10K), Air Traffic Controllers (10K), Letter Carriers (10K), National Education Association (10K), Operating Engineers (10K), Plumbers/Pipefitters (10K), Service Employees International (10K), Sheet Metal Workers (10K), Teamsters (10K), United Auto Workers (10K0, and the AFL-CIO (10K). National association PACs also contributed generously to the Minority Leader’s re-election including: American Hospital Association (10K), National Association of Mortgage Brokers (10K), National Association of Realtors (10K), and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (10K). Aggregated, the largest sector contributors to Pelosi’s campaign in 2004 came from the finance/real estate and insurance industries, and organized labor. The largest single-issue PAC contribution came from KidsPAC ($15,000). KidsPAC is a political action committee dedicated to the application of sound public policies for poor children from birth to age 6, and their families. [Source: Center for Responsive Politics.]
Upcoming Political Events of Interest to BOMA Members
BOMA San Francisco has scheduled a number of upcoming events to give members an opportunity to meet local and state political leaders. The meetings (morning coffee sessions or luncheons) are all held at the BOMA office, in the large conference room, and will last one hour. Put these dates on your calendar!
- August 12, Friday, 9 a.m., LELAND YEE, CA Assembly Member
- August 17, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., FIONA MA, SF Board of Supervisors
- August 31, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., BEVAN DUFTY, SF Board of Supervisors
- September 15, Thursday, 8:30 a.m., JAKE McGOLDRICK, SF Board of Supes
- September 28, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., GERARDO SANDOVAL, SF Supervisor
- October 12, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., SEAN ELSBERND, SF Supervisor
- October 26, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., MICHELA ALIOTO-PIER, SF Supervisor
- November 2, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., ROSS MIRKARIMI, SF Supervisor
- November 30, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., CHRIS DALY, SF Supervisor
Dates are subject to change, so please make sure to contact the BOMA Office a few days before each meeting if you intend to participate, to confirm the event. Appointments with other political leaders including State Senator Jackie Speier, State Senator Carole Migden, Assembly Member Mark Leno, and others are in discussions.
Be sure and attend BOMA San Francisco’s Peninsula Membership Luncheon
August 2, 11:30 a.m. @Radisson Villa Hotel in San Mateo.
Guest speakers: Scott Pritchett, Regional Manager and VP/Woodmont Real Estate Services, Gina Donaldson, Property Management Consultant, and former executive with Legacy Partners, and Tim Ballas, Managing Director, CB Richard Ellis.
Topic: “The Road to a Successful Career in Commercial Real Estate”.
Register online at www.bomasf.org Cost: $45/advance; $50/door.
Okay to Donate / Recycle (working or nonworking):
- Computers (towers, desktops, laptops); Network equipment (hubs, routers, switches, cables, boards); Computer Parts (hard drives, CD-ROM/DVD drives, loose PC boards, cables, discs, licenses, or manufacturer-produced manuals); Software (with licenses preferred, but not required); Cell phones, pagers, telephone equipment, test equipment; Flat-panel screens; Monitors(CRTs); Printers and scanners (model year 2000 or newer only); Home Electronics (stereos, game systems, tape players, and televisions). Goodwill issues a charitable 501(c)(3) tax-deductible receipt for all donated items.
- Thank you for donating your computer equipment to Goodwill Industries of San Francisco's ReCOMPUTE program!
THIS ISSUE OF THE BOMA SAN FRANCISCO ADVOCATE WAS GENEROURSLY SPONSORED BY
Montgomery Technologies is the telecom manager for the nation’s premier office building owners. Our focus is to increase asset value by connecting the landlord and tenant’s business, real estate and technology needs. Montgomery Technologies is the single point of contact for all telecommunications needs for the building owners, managers and tenants.
This is achieved by:
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