ACTION ALERTS
 
IN THIS ISSUE

BOMA International Launches BEEP – BOMA Energy Efficiency Program Training on Sept 20th

BOMA Annual Office Tenant Improvement Permit/Process Seminar October 18th – Don't Miss It! 

BOMA Window Cleaning and Exterior Maintenance Seminar November 2: Mark Your Calendars Now!

BOMA California Submits Legislation to Clarify Security Deposit Law for Commercial Property

BOMA Honors Dean Macris as its Public Official of the Year for 2005

BOMA San Francisco Revises Its 2005-06 Public Policy Initiatives

Commercial Office Buildings Energy News

Congressional House Committee To Mark Up TRIA Bill in September

House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan AHP Legislation

BOMA Opposes MUNI Reform Measure (Prop D) on November 8th City Ballot

Care Not Cash an Unqualified Success Story Reducing Homelessness in San Francisco

BOMA Meets with CA Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee

CA State Senate Candidate Mike Nevin Meets BOMA Leadership

BOMA Meets with SF Supervisor Fiona Ma

BOMA Meets with New San Francisco Assessor/Recorder, Phil Ting

BOMA San Francisco Security Update

SF Supervisor Daly Grabs Developer Money to Feed his Political Machine

Upcoming Political Events of Interest to BOMA Members


Direct all inquiries regarding
The BOMA San Francisco ADVOCATE to

Government and Public Affairs
Director
Ken Cleaveland, CAE
415/362-2662 x11
kenc@boma.com


August 31, 2005, Volume 11, Number 7

This Issue of the BOMA SAN FRANCISCO ADVOCATE Is Brought To You By

Hanford Freund & Company

Ken Cleveland
Director, Government & Public Affairs

BOMA International Launches BEEP – BOMA Energy Efficiency Program Training on Sept 20th
Plan now to participate in a FREE pilot on September 20, 2005, at 1:30pm EDT of "How to Benchmark Energy Performance" -- one of six courses offered through the BOMA Foundation's BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP). 

The BOMA Foundation, under the leadership of Gary Wood, BOMA/Chicago and Brenna Walraven, BOMA/Orange County, has developed a unique, new operational excellence program called the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP). Rather than focusing on the purchase of new technologies, this innovative program teaches property owners, managers, operators and others important no- and low-cost strategies for optimizing equipment, people, and practices. As part of this initiative, The BOMA Foundation is developing a series of six, 90-minute Web-supported audio seminars to educate commercial office building owners and operators about the financial and environmental benefits of improving energy performance.  The six-course curriculum, outlined below, will provide information, strategies, technologies, how-to guides, and resources for reducing energy use and cost:

1. Introduction to Energy Performance

2. How to Benchmark Energy Performance

3. Energy Efficient Audit Concepts & Economic Benefits

4. No- and Low-Cost Operational Adjustments to Improve Energy Performance

5. Valuing Energy Enhancement Projects & Financial Returns

6. Building an Energy Awareness Program

Course #1 was piloted live at BOMA's Annual Conference in Anaheim, and received rave reviews.  On Sept. 20, 2005 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. EDT, the Foundation will pilot course #2, "How to Benchmark Energy Performance," as a FREE Web-assisted audio conference.  This is an ideal opportunity for you and your members to learn more about the BEEP program.  Subsequent offerings of this course will not be offered free of charge.

Although the pilot is offered at no charge, participants must register to take the course. Registration is available at http://es.netspoke.com/attendee/conferenceDetails.asp?conferenceID=1245.  This link also includes a complete program description and listing of learning objectives.  Once registered, participants will receive a confirmation email that includes a toll-free phone number and Web address that they will use to access the course on September 20.  Also visit www.boma.org and click on BEEP or the BOMA Foundation under "Quick Links" for more details.

BOMA Annual Office Tenant Improvement Permit/Process Seminar October 18th – Don't Miss It! 
BOMA is proud to once-again present its annual codes seminar this year on the office tenant improvement permit process. This is a hands-on morning program, October 18th, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at San Francisco State University, Downtown Campus, 425 Market Street, Rooms 208/209, and ending at 11:30 a.m. A top notch panel of speakers will cover all aspects of pulling a permit for tenant renovations. Topics will include: Pre-application reviews, Design and Permit Drawing preparation, the Plan Check Process, Fire Department review, the Construction Process, the Field Inspections, Construction debris recycling requirements, and Project Close-out and obtaining the Occupancy Permit (CFC). Speakers will include: Brady Tardy (Metro Construction, Chair of the seminar event), Arnie Hollander (Lurie Management), Laurence Kornfield (Dept. of Building Inspection), Bill Mitchell (SF Fire Dept.), Jeffrey Feldman (IA Associates, architects), Skip Soskin (Huntsman Architectural Group), Spencer Gosch (DBI), Neil Friedman (DBI), Ken Cochrane (BCCI Construction), and Jim Bruntz (Commercial Interior Builders). This is one program no commercial property manager can afford to miss! It's also extremely valuable for any architect involved in commercial interior work in San Francisco. Watch for your registration form in the mail, or visit www.bomasf.org to register for this event.

BOMA wishes to thank the San Francisco Electrical Contractors Association for underwriting this event as its major sponsor. BOMA is also grateful to have additional financial supporters for this annual codes seminar. They are: Peacock Construction,

CAC Real Estate Management, Alliance Roofing, Pankow Special Projects, and, Gallagher Construction Services.

BOMA Window Cleaning and Exterior Maintenance Seminar November 2: Mark Your Calendars Now!
BOMA San Francisco, in conjunction with BOMA Oakland/East Bay and BOMA Silicon Valley, is proud to present a unique and informative seminar on the rules, regulations, training requirements, and safety plans property owners must have in order to clean their windows and exterior surfaces. This program will feature the head of Cal-OSH's Division of Industrial Safety, Larry McCune, a host of experienced safety advisors, window cleaning contractors, and building owner representatives.  The seminar will be held on November 2nd, from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at San Francisco State University's Downtown Campus, 425 Market Street, Room 301. Topics covered include: state safety laws and regulations, creating an Operating Procedures Outline Sheet or OPOS, building owner and/or manager responsibilities, fall protection and worker training, High Rise Cleaning Options, Mid-Rise Cleaning Options, and will provide attendees with a complete package of useful materials to ensure future compliance with state laws. Mark you calendars and look for your registration form soon, or sign up online at www.bomasf.org.

BOMA wishes to thank the following companies for graciously sponsoring this event: Lynn Safety Services, Tower Safety Services, Safeworks, LLC, Delta Window Cleaning, and ABM Janitorial Services.

BOMA California Submits Legislation to Clarify Security Deposit Law for Commercial Property
A recent California Appellate Court decision ruled that California law prohibits a commercial landlord from applying a security deposit to future unpaid rent from tenants who have filed bankruptcy or no longer occupy the premises. The court, in a decision entitled Sherwood Partners Inc v. 250 LLC (the landlord), found that Civil Code section 1950.7 applies to other deductions such as actual damages to the property or past due rents, but not forward rent. This decision will negatively impact many small businesses and other start-ups in the state which might not have a credit history by placing landlords in a position of needing to charge higher rents to mitigate against the potential for these businesses to fail and/or their inability to honor the terms of the lease. To correct this situation, BOMA California has drafted and submitted (via Assembly Member Leland Yee) legislation to clarify that this code section would allow the application of a commercial security deposit to loss of forward rent upon the termination of a lease as a result of a tenant's default. This change to 1950.7 will allow the parties to a commercial lease to be able to define the terms or use a waiver to allow a security deposit to "cure" other lease defaults beyond the current limited claims allowed. For an excellent background piece on why this is necessary, check out the article "Appellate Court Rules Commercial Landlords Cannot Use Security Deposit for Future Rent", written on the case by Ted Kimball, Esq., Kimball, Tirey & St. John, at www.kts-law.com.             

BOMA Honors Dean Macris as its Public Official of the Year for 2005
BOMA San Francisco created a Good Government award in 1997 to recognize those individuals who were strong advocates of good government principles and who contributed to the efficiency, transparency, and progress of city government, either as an elected leader or as an employee of local government. This year, the association has selected Dean Macris, 73, a former Planning Director for 12 years under Mayors Feinstein and Agnos (1980-92), and, for the past year, the Acting Director, of the city's Planning Department. Dean has revived a level of professionalism, optimism, and results-oriented focus in a department that was adrift. He has provided timely, consistent, and collaborative leadership to a vital city department during a difficult transition period. BOMA applauds Dean Macris for his untiring sense of civic duty, and is proud to present our Public Official of the Year award to Macris at its annual meeting October 27th at the Palace Hotel. Congratulations, Dean Macris!

BOMA San Francisco Revises Its 2005-06 Public Policy Initiatives
Since its inception in 1914, BOMA San Francisco has been a strong and active advocate for its members and the business community at-large, shaping important legislation at both the local and state level.  Our priority is the protection of private property rights. In 1987, to amplify the voice of commercial real estate on a host of critical issues, BOMA formed BOMA-SF-PAC, which has lead the efforts to successfully defeat several anti-business and anti-property owner tax proposals, and supported ballot initiatives that would improve the economic vitality of the city. The BOMA-SF-PAC has also been involved in actively supporting candidates for local elective office. The full text of BOMA's public policy priorities in 2005-06 can be accessed here.

  • Taxes – BOMA does not support additional taxes at the present time, and will not until leaders of the City can demonstrate that the systemic problems which have caused our historic budget deficits have been corrected. A large part of the City's budget problems are the result of restrictive work rules, excessive health and retirement costs, and overstaffing. The City needs to reform its civil service system, update its use of technology to improve efficiency, accountability, and maintenance of city services, and reduce its number of employees and their costs. Only serious City Charter reforms of the system will truly accomplish this, and give both the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors more direct control over city expenditures.
  • Land Use Policies – BOMA supports land use policies and procedures that are fair, predictable, uniform, and cost-efficient.  BOMA believes that land use legislation and regulation should seek to enhance the economic growth and vitality of the City, create jobs, sustain property values, and respect property owner rights.
  • Planning – City Planning should always carefully consider the impacts its actions have on the value, usability and functionality of existing and proposed commercial and residential buildings in the City.  The City must compete effectively for commercial tenants so that it can address problems stemming from (still) high vacancy rates and aggressive competition from outside the City.  BOMA's tenants create the jobs and revenue which are necessary to fund local government services, and decisions that hurt commercial real estate directly impact the business community, and the city's commercial tax base.
  • Zoning and Permits - Zoning should further the planning goals described above.  Changes in zoning should be permitted if the changes will further those goals.  BOMA opposes the passage of so-called "formula retail" (read: chain store) restrictions or similar prohibitions as artificial barriers to fair commerce, and a disservice to local residents who should have an equal right to purchase products or services from any supplier of their choice, anywhere in the city. The City also needs to revisit and revise its current process for appeals and discretionary review, and needs to establish more pre-approved areas for certain types of development, free of the uncertainties of conditional use permits and discretionary reviews.
  • Parking and Transportation - The City should support the development of truly adequate off-street parking facilities. The City should not plan for transit to replace parking if public transit is not timely, clean, safe, convenient, and dependable. The city's parking tax is a regressive tax, and proposals to increase that tax from its current 25% would be unreasonable, although the City should properly enforce the tracking and collection of its parking taxes. (Police Code Article 49)  The City should properly enforce the rules and regulations pertaining to parking zones in the downtown area (yellow, red, white zones) to discourage double parking, and facilitate deliveries to businesses. The City should create more signage to direct traffic to available parking and promote alternatives to driving a car, such as deploying more express buses, establishing more taxi zones, and supporting non-profit groups such as CityCarShare. www.citycarshare.org.
  • Bicycles - BOMA supports the increase use of bicycles as one important part of our local transportation system, but asks that requirements for bicycle parking in private buildings be based on the real needs of a building's tenants, rather than an artificial ratio. More importantly, more bike parking facilities should be built on public property, especially in and around all downtown SF BART stations, the Transbay Terminal, key MUNI Metro stations and public parking garages.
  • Building Codes and Permit Requirements – BOMA supports building codes and permit requirements that are consistent, reasonable, will ensure the safety of our tenants, and will provide a process that is efficient, cost-effective and transparent for all users. BOMA supports the adoption and implementation of the International Codes for California, as they are the most complete, detailed, proscriptive, and accepted nationwide. BOMA supports disabled access in all public and private buildings, but the association does believe that the existing California Title 24 disabled access codes place an unfair financial burden on California’s commercial building owners by not giving owners adequate credit for previous investments in disabled access improvements and upgrades to their facilities. Some amount of time (or "shelf life") should be granted for previous accessibility upgrades or improvement during which time the facility should be deemed in compliance. BOMA applauds the San Francisco Building Department for its forward approach to creating and incorporating administrative bulletins detailing how state and city disabled access codes will    be interpreted and enforced. BOMA also applauds the DBI for creating a permit to document a building’s common areas for disabled access compliance for a period of up to three years. (AB 056)
  • Energy - BOMA continues to support a deregulated electrical energy market where end use retail customers can choose to acquire electricity from a variety of energy sources. BOMA supports sub-metering of all tenant spaces and supports the total elimination of cross-subsidies in retail power rates, which unfairly penalize commercial customers.

Commercial Office Buildings Energy News
BOMA San Francisco and BOMA California are responding to the California Public Utilities Commission's call for the imposition of "Critical Peak Pricing" energy rates on users of 200 kW or greater, which includes almost all medium to large office buildings. The three investor-owned utilities have responded to the PUC's requirement that they submit a plan for implementing this punitive tariff program next summer, except Southern California Edison, which filed its CPP application to begin June 2007. PG & E's proposal would provide a default CPP tariff and a voluntary CPP tariff for customers. The voluntary program will offer much higher Time of Use (TOU) differentials, which will add from 10 cents to 75 cents per KWh during the peak periods. PG & E will also offer a small participation credit to induce customers to remain on the default tariff. Higher CPP prices will also be somewhat offset by credits in peak and partial peak non-CPP periods. Any current Direct Access customers and those currently enrolled in various other demand response programs and non-standard TOU rate schedules will be exempt from this program. PG & E filed its CPP application with 13 – 15 CPP events anticipated, with events triggered one day ahead, and lasting for four hours (2 p.m. – 6 p.m.). BOMA and its PUC liaison, Bill Roberts (Economic Sciences Corporation), will continue to oppose these peak pricing proposals as punitive to an entire sector of our economy, with ramifications to all businesses housed in office buildings statewide, especially hurtful to small businesses. BOMA does not believe the methodology used by the utilities to measure a building's efficient energy use (consumption) of power is fair or complete, and will provide additional information to the Commission to support this position. 

Congressional House Committee To Mark Up TRIA Bill In September
Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA), who chairs the House Financial Services' Capital Markets Subcommittee, announced recently in Congress Daily that his committee will look to mark up Terrorism Risk Insurance Act reform legislation in September. Baker said committee members may work with Treasury officials over the August recess to retool the 2002 law, which is due to expire at the end of the year. While continuing to emphasize that TRIA was intended as a temporary solution to prevent market disruptions after September 11, 2001, Treasury Secretary John Snow recently testified before Congress that the Administration could support TRIA extension if the program were reformed in several key areas. Snow has pushed for reforms to TRIA that would increase to $500 million (from $100 million) the event size that triggers coverage, increase the deductibles and percentage co-payments, and eliminate certain smaller lines of insurance, such as commercial auto, that are less subject to risk. BOMA strongly supports extension of TRIA.

House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan AHP Legislation
The House of Representatives recently passed the bipartisan "Small Business Health Fairness Act" (H.R. 525), a bill that allows the formation of association health plans (AHPs) as a step toward expanding access to health coverage for many uninsured Americans.

AHPs allow small businesses to pool together through associations (like BOMA) to purchase health care for employees and their families. President Bush has strongly supported the legislation as a way for small businesses to increase their purchasing power and lower their health coverage costs by as much as 30 percent, while giving them flexibility from 50 different state-mandated benefit packages. The House passed the bill by a 263-165 vote, with the support of 36 Democrats. ASAE, which is part of a coalition of national, state and local trade associations, led the effort to gain passage in the House. Key leaders in Congress of the AHP legislation included Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Albert Wynn (D-MD) who led the effort to make H.R. 525 a bipartisan bill.

"The best patient protection for uninsured working families is access to affordable health care benefits and this bipartisan bill responds to the needs of uninsured Americans," said House Education & the Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R-OH).

AHP legislation has passed the House before, as recently as last year, but has fizzled in the Senate. This year, however, there is more attention being paid to AHPs in the Senate. Earlier this month, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) submitted a statement for the record on the Senate floor calling for compromise on the issue of health insurance reform, and including the concept of AHPs in the foundation principles he believes Congress should pursue. Enzi reiterated this desire in a July 20 article written for The Hill, saying, "It is time we put an end to this impasse."

BOMA Opposes MUNI Reform Measure (Prop D) on November 8th City Ballot
BOMA's political action committee voted to oppose the measure to change the way the Municipal Transportation Agency is appointed because it was seen as a pure power grab by the Board of Supervisors to undo the independence established for the agency under Prop E several years ago. This measure will do nothing to improve service, enhance efficiency of operations or management, but will bring a healthy dose of politics back into the day-to-day functioning of this critical transportation system. It should not be allowed to happen. Rescue MUNI also opposes this measure, as its members (MUNI riders) have the most to lose if the system suffers another "melt down" due to emasculated management and erratic leadership from the Board of Supervisors. Vote No on Prop D! 

Care Not Cash an Unqualified Success Story Reducing Homelessness in San Francisco
City officials are reporting an unprecedented 80% reduction, from 2,497 to 545, in the number of people on the City's general assistance welfare rolls, in just one year. This has happened despite the opposition from many members of the Board of Supervisors when the idea was introduced, passed by the voters, and finally (over their objections), implemented. Mayor Newsom is to be congratulated for his honest attempt to 1) solve a terrible problem of thousands of homeless people living (and dying) on the streets of San Francisco, and 2) follow the wishes of the majority of San Franciscans who wanted the problem addressed and fixed. Giving homeless persons cash was never the answer to helping get them off the streets, and into housing and rehab or other necessary programs. Newsom took the best ideas from wherever he could find them, and brought them to San Francisco for consideration. He was fought all the way by the defenders of the status quo, and the extreme left, but he has prevailed. Today, we are seeing more people being housed, fewer people living on the streets, and a re-direction of valuable homeless assistance tax dollars to more effective uses. BOMA supported Care Not Cash, and awarded him its "Public Official of the Year" award in 2003 for his leadership in trying to end this terrible problem that many other Mayors had simply given up on. Like most moderates in town, BOMA wanted the money directed to the truly needy, not the people who were clearly "gaming" the system for the cash. BOMA also urges its members to get involved in the Mayor's Homeless Connect program to further the progress the City has been making in getting people moved from public assistance into productive lives and jobs. The next meeting of this group will be October 18th at the Bill Graham Auditorium, Civic Center. There are lots of ways you can help, so check out www.projecthomelessconnect.com

BOMA Meets with CA Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Leland Yee
On August 12, 2005, BOMA leaders met with Assembly Member Leland Yee (D, 12th Assembly District) at the BOMA Offices. Leland is currently the Speaker Pro Tem of the Assembly, and is serving his second term after serving for 8 years on the SF Board of Education and 6 years on the SF Board of Supervisors. Mr. Yee's focus has always been on education, health care, and children’s issues. He recently re-submitted legislation to limit the sale of violent video games to minors. He authored legislation to increase penalties for child abuse, and fought to retain funding for community colleges and the UC system when cuts were being proposed. Yee is also business-friendly, and authored legislation to create incentives for biotech companies to stay in California (AB 3034) and to restore local sales taxes to the communities in which they are generated (AB 2466). He also pushed for funding of the Devil's Slide tunnel on Highway 1 in San Mateo County.  Assembly Member Yee does not favor raising taxes, and opposed both local San Francisco tax measures on last year's ballot. He believes the way to improve the state’s funding for schools is to have its business leaders meet with its education leaders and work out a solution to the revenue shortfall, and that such a joint-solution would have to include some measure of accountability for the funds already collected and spent.  On the subject of term limits, Yee said he was opposed to the current set up, and thought term limits gave undue influence to the staff and lobbyists as they were the only ones with any institutional memory of issues at the state Capitol. Yee did think re-districting was a good idea, but was not sold entirely on just using retired judges, and did not know if this year was the best time to try and change the system. Yee is running against former San Mateo Supervisor Mike Nevin for the State Senate seat currently held by Jackie Speier, who will be running for Lt. Governor next year. Yee has already secured endorsements from SF Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Jake McGoldrick, Bevan Dufty, Gerardo Sandoval, Tom Ammiano, and Sean Elsbernd.

CA State Senate Candidate Mike Nevin Meets BOMA Leadership
Mike Nevin, candidate for the California State Senate (District 8, San Mateo/San Francisco), recently conferred with BOMA's political leadership at the association's offices in downtown San Francisco to emphasize his business-friendly record while serving on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, and as a local city councilman and Mayor for Daly City. He said his attitude toward governance by the state was to help build the economy with incentives, and to not raise taxes. He is running against Assembly Member Leland Yee for this office in 2006. In his presentation, Nevin stated he was "no fan" of legislative term limits, was a big proponent for more transportation funding, decried the misuse of Prop 42 funds that the state should be giving back to the local counties for street and road improvements, and favored the use of tolls to fund new road construction or to improve existing service, rather than wait for bonds to be passed or general revenues to be appropriated by the Legislature. He said he wanted to "marry transit with housing" and to build much-needed dense housing near existing mass transportation arteries. He supports high-speed rail to downtown San Francisco (Transbay Terminal) and expects the issue to be on the state ballot in 2008. He thought the decision (3-2) by the San Mateo Board of Supervisors 40 years ago to not support BART into the county was the worst decision that Board had ever made. Importantly to BOMA members, Nevin did not think that split roll taxation was fair or equitable and would not support it. He thought the best way to raise more tax dollars was to keep the business community strong and growing. He said he supported Proposition 13 in 1978, but thought it might be time to re-visit the issue for an overhaul, but cautioned that he thought the state already has a high state income tax, high sales tax, and so the only break for many Californians has been the relatively low property taxes. He supports the re-districting proposal that Governor Schwarzenegger has put forward (to have retired judges set legislative boundaries) and stated he had been the victim of the current system of allowing the Legislature to set its own district lines. 

BOMA Meets with SF Supervisor Fiona Ma
Supervisor Fiona Ma recently met with BOMA Leaders concerning her race for the California General Assembly in 2006. Ma reiterated that she is an accountant, and as such, and would bring that practical fiscally-responsible approach she has employed on the Board of Supervisors to the state legislature, if she is elected. Her first question of any new law being proposed is: How are we going to pay for it? Ma said she appreciated what the real estate industry brings to the tax table in San Francisco (roughly 20% of city tax revenues) and that she supports the industry in its efforts to create more housing in the city. She said she supports the Ellis Act, but stated her desire for a balance to be maintained between property owner and tenant rights, with both sides being treated fairly. Ma said she was proud to be one of the authors (along with Michela Alioto-Pier) of the biotech payroll tax credit legislation that was passed earlier this year, and thinks it helped win the contest to have the state's Stem Cell Research Institute locate in San Francisco.

Ma stated she was a big proponent of tourism, and mentioned her push to establish a San Francisco Sports Council to recruit sporting events to the City, such as the 2008 International Children's Games (kids up to 18), which she helped secure. She expressed disappointment that the Board of Supervisors passed legislation reducing the height of a proposed new hotel on the Embarcadero, effectively killing the project. "Here was a business that would have brought in millions of dollars to the city in taxes, and was playing by the rules, yet a majority of the Board decided to change those rules at the last minute. That was not fair," stated the Supervisor. Ma also supports the construction of a new Home Depot in southeast San Francisco for the jobs and tax revenues it will bring to the city. 

The Supervisor opposes the MUNI reform measure on the city ballot in November as a step backwards on making that agency a more efficient city department, and she supports "public safety", thus is supporting the firefighters' proposal on the November ballot (Prop F) to mandate that all 42 neighborhood firehouses in the City be fully staffed and maintained, even though she appreciates the bad fiscal implications of such voter-approved mandated set-asides. Ma said she would support a reduction of the number of county supervisor districts in San Francisco to 7 (from the current 11), if such a ballot measure were put forward, as having eleven districts was excessive and not justified by the city's population.

BOMA Meets with New San Francisco Assessor/Recorder, Phil Ting
Phil Ting
met with BOMA members on August 19th to lay out his plans for re-organizing the city's assessor/recorder office, and for ensuring it became the most efficient department in city government. Appointed to the position of county assessor on July 15, 2005 by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Ting stated his desire to bring his years of real estate and finance experience to bear on turning around a department that had become too political in the past.  In his announcement of this action, Mayor Newsom stated, "Phil Ting is the best person in the city to bring reform to an office that needs it. He is a real professional who will keep politics out of this important job."

BOMA members urged the new Assessor to install a system that would generate timelier re-assessment bills when commercial properties turn over. It was suggested that the assessor should rely on the property transfer tax information rather than change of ownership forms as a method for triggering a re-assessment bill. It was also suggested that his office badly needed technology upgrades, should emulate the Treasurer’s office, and should be directly linked electronically with the Building Department, Planning Department, and other city departments that need to share information with his department. Ting agreed that the office needed a lot of technology upgrades, and that it would be a wise investment of additional city tax revenues. Ting stated he is working to improve the office's website, adding information in Spanish and Chinese, and to improve employee morale. The Assessor's office is comprised of approximately 100 employees, of which 40 – 50 are appraisers.

Ting laid out three priorities for his Assessor's Office:

1. Ensure that the Assessor's Office is always fair in its dealings with property owners.
2. Train and enhance the professionalism of his office and all staff there.
3. Improve customer service.

Ting worked for two years at the Asian Law Caucus as their Executive Director, and for two years as the Associate Director for Governmental and Community Relations for San Francisco State University. He worked for several real estate related firms as an acquisitions analyst or strategic planning consultant, and spent two years as a senior consultant with Arthur Anderson doing property assessment and appraisal work. Ting graduated from Harvard University with a Master in Public Policy degree and received his undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

BOMA San Francisco Security Update
At a recent meeting of BOMA's Security Committee, members were informed about several important events that may be of interest to commercial office building managers and their tenants.

  • Rick Sierze of Department of Homeland Security reported that he is the new liaison to local public safety agencies, and that two of DHS’ key efforts are directed at buffer zone protection programs and soft target (like office buildings) awareness training.
  • Amy Ramirez of the city's Office of Emergency Services, recapped the "Fast Track" exercise recently held to test response to a multiple transit bombing incident scenario and said OES and MUNI have a safety working group. She noted the www.72hours.org resource for all types of emergency preparedness, and stated that three NERT Special Business programs are scheduled downtown at Schwab’s HQ (101 Montgomery Street, SF) on Sept. 13, 20, and 27, from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m.). To sign up, call 415-681-2920. She also reminded the group that every Tuesday at noon the City’s upgraded outdoor warning system is tested.
  • Alan Fueng of the BART Police announced a new public awareness poster campaign, modeled after London's response to the underground bombings ("See Something, Say Something").  Riders are encouraged to report anything that looks or feels out of the ordinary. He also reported that the BART system is being wireless-enabled throughout, providing an extra measure of communication readiness. BOMA is working with BART and all local law enforcement agencies to notify members when any security or other type of emergency has occurred, so members can notify their tenants as quickly as possible. This was made even more relevant as a result of the August 19th electric transformer explosion next to the Galleria Mall. It was also recommended that members use Radio (KCBS, KGO) as their source of immediate information, as television tends to sensationalize incidents.
  • BOMA will work to disseminate local police/fire plans for full-building relocations, when necessary, and will inform BOMA members what "first responders" need from building managers in an emergency (place to set up, floor plans, exit routes, access to public address system, etc.). A "Shelter in Place" message and protocols are being developed by BOMA in conjunction with OES and others.  It was stated our tenants need to learn (and practice) new behaviors... and that while the natural instinct may be to leave their buildings in an emergency, in many cases that action could endanger people and create a hindrance for first responders. 

SF Supervisor Daly Grabs Developer Money to Feed his Political Machine
In a recent Matier and Ross column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Supervisor Chris Daly was exposed for his strong armed tactics with the developers of the Rincon Hill condo towers. In his negotiations, the Supervisor forced developers into shelling out $64 million in affordable housing-targeted funds (already required) plus another $34 million for "a special nonprofit community fund for his district" to avoid any problems in getting approved. Supervisor Daly will now recommend the members of this non-profit community fund for approval by the full Board. The suspicion of many in the business community is that the tens of millions of dollars likely to be collected by this new non-profit will not go to fund tangible neighborhood improvements, but will be spent on good old-fashioned political organizing. This activity is euphemistically referred to in the agreement as "leadership development, community cohesion, civic participation and community based programs." The Mayor recently sent Supervisor Daly a strong letter suggesting that there was "no way" that this money was going to be used for non-tangible community action or organizing activities, but, rather, would be spent on the creation of real mitigations for the impacted community and its residents such as additional green spaces, park enhancements, traffic calming, etc. Only time will tell as to which of these two will win on this matter, and who will control these extra millions of dollars being squeezed from the developers, but the specter of "ward politics" at its worst has been raised with this latest move by Supervisor Daly, who represents the 6th Supervisorial district, encompassing South of Market, parts of Potrero Hill, the Tenderloin, and the central Waterfront.  

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 usually held at the BOMA office, and last one to one and a half hours. Come meet some VIPs! Put these dates on your calendar!

  • September 13, Tuesday, Noon (Luncheon), Senator JACKIE SPEIER (Reservation Required!)
  • September 14, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., GERARDO SANDOVAL, SF Supervisor and Candidate for County Assessor/Recorder
  • September 15, Thursday, 8:30 a.m., JAKE McGOLDRICK, SF Supervisor
  • September 19, Monday, 9 a.m., BEVAN DUFTY, SF Supervisor
  • September 20, Tuesday, Noon (Luncheon), Discussion on Restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley with speakers from Restore Hetch Hetchy and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (RSVP req.)
  • September 22, Thursday, 11:30 a.m., Palace Hotel, Lunch with Matier & Ross, SF Chronicle Writers
  • October 12, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., SEAN ELSBERND, SF Supervisor
  • October 26, Wednesday, 8:30 a.m., MICHELA ALIOTO-PIER, SF Supervisor