October 16, 2007 Volume 13, Number 7
This Issue of the BOMA-San Francisco Advocate Is Brought To You By:
Green & Humbert, Attorneys at Law
BOMA San Francisco Wins Lawsuit - Ends San Francisco PAC Limits
San Francisco's limits on contributions to Independent Political Action Committees were halted by Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White September 20th when a preliminary injunction was granted to BOMA and the Committee on Jobs lifting some of the restrictions imposed by the voters in 2000 by Proposition O. Specifically, BOMA and the Committee on Jobs objected to the limits on Independent PACs, which had been set by the referendum at a maximum of $500 per individual contributor and a total
of $3,000 per year per contributor to all IE Committees. BOMA and Jobs sued on the basis of free speech: limiting the ability of an Independent Expenditure PAC to raise money was limiting its ability to get its message out, in effect, limiting the free speech of such organizations. IE PACs raise and spend funds in support or opposition to candidates for public office, but must carry on such activities completely "independent" from the official campaign or candidate. This legal victory taking off
the caps on spending will help keep organizations such as BOMA, the Chamber of Commerce and the Committee on Jobs active in the local political process. BOMA members are urged to help fund BOMA's IE PAC by writing a special donation check to BOMA SF IE PAC, and sending it to our office ASAP!
BOMA International PAC Needs Help Too!
BOMA San Francisco members are also requested to help build up the assets of our national political action committee. The BOMA International PAC raises funds to contribute to Members of Congress, thus, all contributions MUST be personal funds. (A maximum of $5,000 can be contributed per person to a Federal PAC, such as BOMA's, but only a maximum of $2,000 can be contributed directly to a Member of Congress in an election cycle.) The U.S. Congress is where a number of very important legislative
issues will be debated this year and next, including extending the terrorism insurance coverage, extending the current accelerated depreciation on leasehold improvements, passing some kind of natural catastrophe insurance coverage, fighting a proposed tax hike on carried interest, and a working to amend a host of energy-related/green building mandates. We need our voice to be heard in Congress, so your contribution is critical to helping us establish and keep strong communication contact with our
Congressional lawmakers. Please make your (personal) check out t BOMA PAC, and send it to Karen Penafiel, BOMA International, 1201 New York Ave, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005. Your contribution, whatever size, is much appreciated!
Support More Parking For San Francisco!
The movement to return some of the 10,000 parking spaces that have been lost in San Francisco over the past five years is underway, and Proposition H is the vehicle by which BOMA members can help. This initiative, endorsed by the BOMA's Political Action Committee, seeks to allow developers to build adequate parking in both new downtown projects as well as in the neighborhoods. Led by the small business community, whose members have suffered loss of business due to patrons not being able to find parking,
this effort also involves defeating Proposition A, the so-called MUNI Reform measure, as it has a poison pill provision that would keep additional parking from ever being built in the City, if Prop A passes. Thus the campaign was created to support Prop H, and oppose Prop A. The Chamber of Commerce has joined the Council of District Merchants and BOMA in supporting Prop H and opposing Prop A. To help, send your check (business or personal) to the address below. There are no contribution limits.
Parking for Neighborhoods, Yes on H No on A
c/o The Sutton Law Firm
150 Post Street, Suite 405
San Francisco, California 94108
Att: Megan Asmus ID # 1298141
San Francisco November 2007 City Ballot Measures – Official BOMA Positions Announced
A number of city ballot measures this November will impact commercial property owners in San Francisco. Here is the list of the six Charter amendments, three ordinances, and two declarations of policy. Those potentially affecting BOMA members are bold.
Proposition A – MUNI Reform.
This measure has broad political support from our local leaders, and would have had everyone's support were it not for a last minute addition of language to reduce parking in the city for cars. Prop A directs a larger percentage of future parking revenues to public transportation, and would grant MUNI management some additional rights. However, for all of its positives, there are more negatives, so the BOMA SF PAC board joined the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the small business Council of
District Merchants, and voted to oppose Proposition A. San Francisco needs real MUNI reforms to create a better public transportation system, but this measure doesn't do it.
BOMA Position: NO on Prop A.
For a more detailed analysis of Prop A and the competing pro-parking measure, Prop H, click here.
Proposition B – Limits the ability of city appointees to commissions to stay on past their stated terms unless re-appointed by the responsible authority. BOMA Position: No position.
– This measure is strongly supported by the city's business community as it mandates that city legislators and the Mayor cannot throw measures onto the ballot at the last minute without having them first properly vetted at a duly-noticed public hearing. If future measures placed on the ballot by the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors are not vetted through a public hearing, that fact must be stated in the Voter's Handbook.
BOMA Position: Yes on Prop C.
Proposition D – Renews the Public Library's Preservation Fund. BOMA Position: No position.
– Would require the Mayor to appear monthly before the Board of Supervisors for questioning. This measure was introduced and supported by the so-called "progressive" bloc on the Board of Supervisors who wish to grill the Mayor in their Supervisors' meetings but don't have that power now to require it. It would give the Board of Supervisors unequal power over the Mayor.
BOMA Position: No on Prop E.
Proposition F – Would give the airport police officers who were recently absorbed into the city's police department the same retirement benefits as other SFPD officers, and would raise their retirement pay from 75% of annual salary to 90%.
BOMA Position: No position.
Proposition G – Establishes a Golden Gate Park Stables Matching Fund to preserve horseback riding in the Park through a public/private partnership. BOMA Position: No position.
– Neighborhood Parking Initiative – A lengthy initiative which was a bona fide attempt to protect parking rights of residents and businesses in San Francisco. Critics say it goes too far, and would over turn the city's transit first policies. The campaign was derailed temporarily when a compromise was placed on the February ballot, but parking advocates still want more parking than will be allowed in the compromise. BOMA SF PAC's Board was not completely supportive of this measure but finally endorsed
its passage as a necessary measure to tell the Board of Supervisors and City Planning Department to stop the excessive elimination of parking in the city.
BOMA Position: Yes on Prop H.
– This initiative creates a one-stop Small Business Assistance Center within a new city department, the Office of Small Business. Although it only authorizes funding for one year, this newly-minted small business department would most likely continue in existence year after year, and grow the city bureaucracy a bit. Nevertheless, the BOMA SF PAC board felt it was important to support our small business tenants on this issue.
BOMA Position: Yes on Prop I.
– This non-binding resolution states the people of San Francisco want local government to seek a means by which to install free Wi-Fi high speed internet service in the City as soon as possible, and to seek to do this through a public/private partnership. Opponents want the City to establish a municipal-owned taxpayer-funded free Wi-Fi system.
BOMA Position: Yes on Prop J.
– Although this is a non-binding resolution as well, its passage would serve to spawn future city policies limiting advertising on public property (on newsracks, public buildings, bus stops, etc.), thus depriving the city (and its taxpaying residents) of valuable private advertising income.
BOMA Position: No on Prop K.
BOMA Continues to Support Fire Department Bulletin Requiring Special Elevators in New Super High Rise Buildings for Firefighter Use – But Not Air Replenishment Systems
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is under heavy pressure from the proponents of a patented high-pressure air replenishment piping system to not allow that system to be replaced by a specially-protected firefighter elevator, as called for in a recent code amendment written by
Fire Marshal Barbara Schultheis. That code amendment, approved by the
Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White
and the city's Fire Commission, would allow builders to substitute the more efficient, protected firefighter elevator for the firefighter air replenishment system. A number of BOMA's Codes Committee members worked with the Fire Marshal to make sure this new requirement would only affect new buildings, and would not burden developers with having to install and maintain both systems. However, the owner of the patented air replenishment system enlisted the help of a local lobbyist and the Firefighters
union to support requiring his design to be required in new high rises in San Francisco, so the issue has become embroiled in politics and hype. BOMA has made it quite clear that it worked in good faith with the Fire Department to create a "better mouse trap" for firefighters, not "two mouse traps" and will not support the requirement to install the new firefighter elevators if the current air replenishment system requirement is not removed. For a copy of the bulletin as presented and supported by
BOMA, click here.
BOMA Scores Victory at CPUC! Sub-metering of Tenants Allowed by Building Owners
The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a settlement agreement between PG & E and BOMA on sub-metering of commercial office building tenants. This historic agreement sets aside the 1962 prohibition that has not allowed commercial building owners to separately meter and bill their tenants for actual energy usage, rather than factoring average energy costs into the rents. This ruling allows tenants to be sub-metered if both owner and tenant agree, and requires the owners to
subtract any utility costs which had been factored into the tenant's rent for their in-space energy usage. It also requires meters that are installed to be certified by the CA Dept. of Weights and Measures, and requires the owner's energy bills to the tenants to clearly outline the usage and cost per kilowatt hour exactly as was given to the owner from the master meter by the utility company. Who pays for the meter installation is up for negotiation between the tenant and the landlord. For a complete
copy of the settlement agreement that outlines the Commission's concerns, click here.
SF Board of Appeals to Hear Billboard Cases October 17th – Property Owners' Rights at Stake
Brett Gladstone, a local real estate attorney, is bringing an appeal on behalf of several property owners to the San Francisco Board of Appeals on October 17th challenging a 2006 city ordinance which modified Planning Code 604.2 and gave inordinate control over billboard signage to the advertising contractors at the expense of the property owner. San Francisco's local ordinance setting up the rules for sign re-locations directly conflicts with state law because it gives the power over the site and
sign to the advertising company, whereas state law gives those rights to the property owner. Local owners of sites with billboards are learning that when leases are up, there is no opportunity for bidding the site to other sign companies, as the existing sign company now virtually "owns" that site in perpetuity, at whatever rates the advertising company wants to pay. Take the sign down, and the owner cannot have another one put up in its place, unless they go through a very long and cumbersome process
of re-locating an existing sign from some other location to your site. Proposition G, passed in 2002, prohibits the increase in the number of billboards in the City, but did not require any reduction in the number, although some Supervisors are pushing that idea. Members interested should attend the Board of Appeals meeting October 17th at 5:15 p.m. at City Hall, 4th Floor, in Room 416. For more information, contact Brett Gladstone or Niall Vignoles, at 415-434-9500 or via email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Francisco County Transportation Authority Examining Congestion Pricing for Downtown
The county's Transportation Authority has been studying using congestion pricing to reduce future traffic congestion in downtown San Francisco. Representatives recently addressed the BOMA Government and Public Affairs Committee on their plans to reduce traffic congestion with higher fees to motorists. The Authority is seeking to adopt a program similar to the one currently existing in London that charges motorists 8 pounds ($16) per day to drive into central part of the city Monday – Friday during
work hours. The agency already has decided to initiate the congestion pricing scheme with a toll for drivers using Doyle Drive as part of the financing of the causeway's reconstruction. The City sees it as part of their "Transit First" policy to push people out of their cars, and onto public transportation, by making driving a car into downtown very expensive. The first full public review of these plans will be held at a special meeting on congestion management Wednesday, October 17th at 5:30 p.m.
at 455 Golden Gate Avenue. For more information, go to www.sfmobility.org.
State Law to Require Benchmarking of Office Buildings for Energy and Water; register now for BOMA's Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) Classes!
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law AB 1103 which requires electric utilities to maintain records of energy consumption data for all nonresidential buildings to which they provide service and
will require building owners or operators to provide benchmarking data to prospective buyers, lessees or lenders beginning January 1, 2010.
It is now more important than ever to benchmark your building so you will have the data to share when/if it is requested. (Hint: Sign up for BOMA's BEEP program to learn how to make your building more energy efficient!) AB 1560 will mandate that the California Energy Commission set new water efficiency standards for new residential and non-residential construction. The Governor, however, did veto three bills that would have required various state agencies to adopt the rating system of the USGBC (the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED) for private construction. In his message to the Legislature vetoing AB 888 the Governor stated that while he supported the development of green building standards, he did not want various agencies doing it, but rather called upon the California Building Standards Commission to develop and adopt those standards and to not allow private entities (such as LEED) to dictate what those green building standards will be. He specifically pointed out that LEED discriminates against California grown wood in favor of foreign grown bamboo and wheatgrass. He finished his veto of the
legislation with a request that the CBSC adopt green building standards for residential, commercial, and public buildings as part of the 2010 state code adoption process.
Have you BORP-ed Your Building?
a structural engineer with Degenkolb Engineers and
a civil engineer with San Francisco's Department of Building Inspection gave a great presentation to BOMA members on September 20th on the city's program to pre-certify office buildings for private inspection after an earthquake for the purposes of re-opening them as soon as possible. Approximately 100 buildings have already pre-certified themselves to be inspected by private engineers but the City advises more to do so, to avoid possible lengthy delays after a large earthquake. For more information,
contact Mark Sinclair at 415-354-6429 or Sinclair@degenkolb.com of David Leung at 415-558-6205 or David.Leung@sfgov.org.
Upcoming Events of Interest
October 17th BOMA Earth Awards Workshop
Interested in knowing how you can enter your building into BOMA's Earth Awards for 2008? Come to the briefing at the Ferry Building (Port Commission room, second floor) at noon on Wednesday, October 17th, and find out! Representatives from the winning buildings in 2007 will discuss what made their buildings stand out from a sustainability standpoint, and how you can get your building ready to win. Noon- 1:30 p.m. Complimentary lunch is being provided courtesy of
Don't miss this!
Lights Out! October 20th – 8-9 p.m. Are you Ready to do it?
Lights Out SF is a citywide energy conservation event being held October 20th from 8-9 p.m. and is the first of its kind in the U.S. On this night, BOMA members are invited to turn off all non-essential lighting and install one energy efficient compact fluorescent bulb (CFL). Free bulbs are available from www.lightsoutsf.org. The organization is also asking for pictures or video taken that evening to be shared by sending them to email@example.com.
Don't Miss BOMA's Annual Building Codes Seminar – October 25th!
This annual codes overview is particularly important this year, as the state (and the City) is adopting the International codes (with a lot of additions from the old Universal Building Codes thrown in).
Chief Building Inspector for San Francisco, and
San Francisco's Fire Marshal, will be the presenters, and will also offer practical insights into how the state and local codes will be enforced in San Francisco. Seating is limited, so sign up asap. The seminar runs from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the new San Francisco State University's downtown campus at the Westfields Center. The cost is $85 for members. Special thanks to
San Francisco Electrical Contractors Association
for being the Lead Sponsor for this event. To register, go to the BOMA San Francisco website at www.bomasf.org.
BOMA San Francisco's October 23rd General Membership Meeting
will be the association's annual meeting where all corporate sponsors are recognized, as well as awards for outstanding service are given. It will be held at the City Club (155 Sansome Street, 11th Floor). Seating is limited, so make your reservations today at www.bomasf.org.It will sell out!
THIS ISSUE OF THE BOMA SAN FRANCISCO ADVOCATE WAS GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY
GREEN & HUMBERT
GREEN & HUMBERT is a law firm dedicated to serving the litigation needs of businesses and commercial building owners. We provide advice and counsel regarding employment, pension and benefits issues, business disputes, and real estate issues. To learn more about the firm, please visit lifehealthlaw.com. For a free consultation, please call Horace Green at (415) 837-5433, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.