Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2009 BOMA International Conference

Your BOMA Advocacy Team is in Philadelphia for the 2009 BOMA International Conference. Stay tuned over the next few days as we will be blogging the highlights from our meetings with members and staff from BOMA locals across the United States and the world! Here is a sample of some of the content you'll be reading about:
  • A review of BOMA's advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., including new policy positions on the carbon cap and trade provision in the Waxman-Markey Bill (H.R. 2454 - the American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009) and a national model for a building energy performance labeling program;
  • Building code change proposals/updates;
  • Emergency preparedness and energy and environment information;
  • A synopsis of a commercial real estate panel comprised of industry insiders on how they are creating opportunities in the marketplace;
  • And so much more!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection - Board of Supervisors Approve Code & Fee Updates

The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection's (DBI) legislation to standardize codes and to bring the cost of the services that the DBI provides in line with actual costs passed out of the Board of Supervisors on a unanimous vote yesterday. These code and fee amendments will help the DBI:
  • Standardize building codes.
  • Give the DBI Building Official the ability to extend building, electrical and plumbing expiration dates.
  • Allow the DBI to adjust fees in areas where there are substantial cost-recovery deficits.
You can read the DBI press release here. A summary of the code and fee amendments can be found here.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has said that he will sign the legislation, which takes effect August 7, 2009.

The News Links - June 25, 2009

San Francisco

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

California Assessors' Association Expresses Concerns About Implementing Split Roll Property Tax

As we have posted previously, BOMA is opposed to the proposal, brought about by our local Assessor/Recorder Phil Ting, of a split roll property tax. It is truly a bad idea, one that will have long-term economic ramifications in California.

The California Assessors' Association has issued a white paper expressing their concerns of a split roll property tax. You can read the report, here.

The News Links - June 24, 2009

Commercial Real EstateSan Francisco
  • Shriver: Budget choices confound Californians.

UPDATE: Independent Contractor Tax Withholding

BOMA San Francisco Members:

As we reported previously, the state Budget Conference Committee has agreed to a budget gap proposal that includes a provision forcing anyone that makes payments to independent contractors (including property managers and owners) to withhold 3% of those funds paid in excess of $600 per year, and send the money to the California Franchise Tax Board. This proposal is part of the larger state budget that will be considered today. Please consider sending this letter of opposition to your state legislator to inform them of what a bad idea this. Click here to find your California State Legislative Representatives or reference this list:

Senator Leland Yee (San Francisco/San Mateo)
Fax: (916) 327-2186
Email: senator.yee@sen.ca.gov

Senator Mark Leno (San Francisco)
Fax: (916) 445-4722
Email: senator.leno@sen.ca.gov

Assemblymember Fiona Ma (San Francisco)
Fax: (916) 319-2112
Email: fiona.ma@asm.ca.gov

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (San Francisco)
Fax: (916) 319-2113
Email: tom.ammiano@asm.ca.gov

Assemblymember Jared Huffman (Marin/Sonoma)
Fax: (916) 319-2006
Email: jared.huffman@asm.ca.gov

Assemblymember Jerry Hill (San Mateo)
Fax: (916) 319-2119
Email: jerry.hill@asm.ca.gov

This withholding requirement would be extremely onerous to our industry, forcing us to, in effect, deduct 3% from each vendor payment, and remit it to the government on a quarterly basis with a withholding form. In addition, the vendor would have to be notified of the amount withheld from each payment. And, further, it appears that the payer would have to file an annual reconciliation for each vendor.

Most properties have at least 2 dozen vendors, and the administrative burden would be comparatively low. However, for those of us with multiple owners, multi-owner partnerships, or common trust accounts that contain multiple property or owner accounts, and hundreds of vendors, this can amount to literally hundreds of filings each quarter.

Currently, no other state requires independent contractor withholding. As a consequence, there is no accounting system software available that has the capability to track withholding and remittance. The cost to develop or implement such systems will be very significant, and these systems cannot be developed and implemented overnight.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BOMA Opposes Building Code Language in the Waxman-Markey Energy and Climate Bill

BOMA is strongly opposed to the building codes language in HR 2454, the Waxman-Markey Bill.

The measure sets arbitrary efficiency targets that will be costly, if not impossible, to meet (30% by 2010; 50% by 2016; and, and an additional 5% every 3 years thereafter, reaching 75% by 2030). If not accomplished through the consensus code development process, the Department of Energy (DOE) will step in and write a national energy code, which puts the DOE in the role of code developer and enforcer--not the best way to archive the goals of improving energy efficiency.

In addition, the House version of HR 2454 includes onerous enforcement language that would essentially allow anyone to sue a building owner, developer, architect, etc. if the building falls short of the energy efficiency target. Thus, the bill has the potential for 'drive-by' energy lawsuits against building owners.

BOMA's conversations with Members of Congress and staff have shown that the perceived problem centers on enforcement of existing codes, as well as concern over the states that are lagging way behind in adopting energy codes. BOMA supports addressing those issues through increased incentives for the states to hire and train building codes inspectors.

The News Links - June 23, 2009

San Francisco

Mayor Newsom Signs The Nation's Most Ambitious Mandatory Recycling Ordinance

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy team participated in today's press conference at the Ferry Building where Mayor Gavin Newsom signed the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance--the first law of its kind enacted in the United States. You can read the final version of the Ordinance, here.

Mayor Newsom signs the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance on top of a green compost recycling bin this morning at the Ferry Building.

Patricia Rayburn, Ferry Building Property Manager with Equity Office talks with Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator with the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs, talks to the press about BOMA San Francisco's integral part in crafting the Ordinance, and of the association's groundbreaking sustainability efforts, which started with the High Rise Recycling Program in 1987.

Mayor Newsom displays one of the ways the San Francisco Department of the Environment will inform the public of the new law: marketing on pizza boxes. The Department will be using other communication mediums to ensure that everyone in San Francisco is aware of the new law.

As we had posted previously, BOMA San Francisco supports this groundbreaking recycling mandate. We would like to thank Mayor Newsom; Wade Crowfoot, Director of Climate Protection Initiatives, Office of the Mayor; the San Francisco Department of the Environment and the various other business, labor and residential organizations for working with BOMA San Francisco to craft the Ordinance in a way that includes workable implementation guidelines for the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The News Links - June 22, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Speaks to San Francisco Leaders

Congresswoman Jackie Speier

Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs; Rep. Speier.

Your BOMA Advocacy team attended an informal meeting with Congresswoman Jackie Speier today. Leaders from business, non-profit, labor, and community organizations were in attendance to listen to Rep. Speier speak on issues being debated currently in Washington D.C. Here are the highlights:

On Washington D.C.:
  • With the advent of the Obama administration, the changes in Washington have truly been transformational. President Barack Obama has presciently surrounded himself with the best minds he could find, including Raul Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, who is a brilliant strategist and will help take his agenda through Congress.
On Iran:
  • The American people and the Iranian people have much more in common than most people realize, which should help bring both countries closer together over time.
  • Regarding the current civil unrest--due to a contested presidential election--Rep. Speier was supportive of the Administration’s tempered response to the crisis as the right approach to helping stabilize the country.
On Disengagement from Iraq:
  • Defining what disengagement means will determine whether the U.S. will truly become disengaged any time soon from Iraq. Although the United States has committed to”getting out” of Iraq by the end of 2011, we will undoubtedly maintain a troop presence in the country as a peace-making measure for the foreseeable future. Speier noted she voted against the most recent Iraqi War appropriation measure as she did not feel it was America’s duty to force every country in the world to adopt democracy as its form of government.
  • Speier noted that the U.S. still has over 20,000 troops in Serbia.
On Global Warming and the Waxman-Markey Bill:
  • The United States "cannot not act" on the issue of global warming.
  • On her trip to China with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Speier received comments from Chinese leaders who told them they felt the Unites States should do more to curb carbon emissions before pushing environmental controls on China. They said Americans should help pay to reduce China’s environmental pollution problems because America is China’s biggest customer for its exports.
  • The Waxman-Markey bill--the climate and energy measure making its way through the legislative process in Washington--will contain a carbon offset provision. Rep. Speier stated that a number of compromises have been made to bring the bill this far, especially with the agricultural states and coal-producing states.
On Health Care:
  • Health care in the U.S. is not better than in many other countries, such as the UK, it's just more expensive. Indeed, businesses and individuals have absorbed over 100% increases in premiums in the past 20 years. It costs the United States $7,000 a year per person to fund the current health care system, whereas it's about $3,500 for many other industrialized nations.
  • Another issue is that many Americans are under-insured and may not be aware of how low their lifetime medical coverage maximums are.
  • President Obama's efforts to reform the health care delivery system in this country is based on maintaining an employer paid private health care ability with the addition of a government-sponsored insurance option. Indeed, 70% of Americans currently have their health insurance through their employer. This won’t change. What will change is bringing the 43 million uninsured people under some form of government-backed medical coverage. Whatever legislation is passed on health care, it will undoubted be a tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy.
  • Rep. Speier also mentioned the end-of-life issues needed to be addressed, as the medical community is spending far too many resources on care that won’t prevent the inevitable.
On Education:
  • The core functions of a state, according to Rep. Speier, are infrastructure and education. These functions are especially important to maintain in times of financial crises, and California is severely failing in both areas. Speier said that California’s Congressional delegation is not interested in “bailing out” the state, and, indeed, believes the state Legislature and Governor are responsible for putting the state into such dire financial circumstances. She said the Recovery Act funds cannot be specifically directed to education, but that she was working on increasing the amount of Federal funding the state receives for Medicare and Medi-aid reimbursements as they currently lag the national norm at 50 cents/per tax dollar versus 57 cents, the national average. This change alone would mean $4-5 billion more to the state.
  • Education is key for California’s future and the State is doing "a terrible job", according to Rep. Speier. The State's higher education system has produced great minds decade after decade. As such, California needs to preserve its great institutions of higher learning in order to keep being a world leader in producing new innovations and new technologies.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell Speaks at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell spoke at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce recently about issues that concern the City and District 10. Here are the highlights:

What's the story on the City budget?
  • Supervisor Maxwell stated that the City budget deficit is a"day-to-day issue" due to the uncertainties caused by California's $24 billion budget shortfall. That is, money that the City should receive from the State today may not be available tomorrow.
  • The Board of Supervisors (BOS) islooking at revenue options and needs organized labor to make concessions.
  • The current hot topic is the $82 million in cuts approved by the BOS--via an interim budget--to public safety (police, fire and sheriff) budgets. The cuts are an attempt to 'share the pain' across all city departments to close San Francisco's $438 million budget shortfall and, specifically, to prevent cuts to the Department of Public Health (DPH). Supervisor Maxwell doesn't feel that DPH is in a financial crisis based on the department's numbers. Conversely, Supervisor Maxwell stated that the vast network of health and human services indirectly aides public safety by helping those citizens who need it. Cuts to DPH programs might push some to harm themselves, or the public.
What are Supervisor Maxwell's future plans?
  • The Supervisor hasn't made a decision on her future political or non-political ambitions other than to "get some rest".
The Supervisor is termed out in 2010; who does she feel her replacement will be?
  • Lynette Sweet, a BART Board of Directors member is someone she would like to see become a possible candidate for her seat.
  • When asked about the rumors that California Integrated Waste Management Board Member, and former State Senator Carole Migden might run for the District 10 seat, she stated: "I hope she doesn't."
  • Supervisor Maxwell stated she thought a viable candidate to succeed her should be someone from the community who is intimately familiar with the issues and the diverse people of that district and who will be equally responsive to the concerns of all of District 10's constituencies.
What other issues did Supervisor Maxwell speak about?
  • She is working on the health disparities for people of color.
  • The Supervisor believes that job creation is critical to maintaining a healthy community, and is especially supportive of keeping some manufacturing jobs in San Francisco. At present, the manufacturing sector represents only 5.9% of jobs in the City.
  • Supervisor Maxwell is concerned about maintaining African American representation not only on the Board of Supervisors, but in other elected offices in city government.
  • Supervisor Maxwell feels that the non-profit organizations in the City are an essential part of our city's service delivery system. Indeed, she mentioned San Franciscans were already doing what President Obama was asking citizens across the country to do: become involved in your community by volunteering.

New Law Requires Disclosure of License ID Number

On July 1, 2009, all real estate licensees will be required to follow newly mandated statewide disclosures. Sponsored by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) and enacted by SB 1461, the new law requires a real estate licensee to disclose his or her DRE license number on all "solicitation materials intended to be the first point of contact with consumers" and on real property purchase agreements when acting as an agent in those transactions.

The law states that a licensee must disclose his or her license identification number on purchase contracts, business cards, stationery, advertising fliers, and other materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer. The bill excludes advertisement in print or electronic media and “for sale” signs.

The DRE claims the disclosure is necessary due to the fact that with over 500,000 licensees in California, many with the same or similar names, it is sometimes difficult for consumers and licensees alike to verify the license status of those with whom they are dealing.

The DRE is in the process of developing regulations to implement the law to clarify what materials are needed to contain a licensee’s identification number. These regulations have not been adopted yet, so if you see any opportunity for improvement, please send your suggestions to Matthew Hargrove at mhargrove@cbpa.com:


Section 2773. Disclosure of License Identification Number on Solicitation Materials – First Point of Contact with Consumers.

(a) A real estate broker or salesperson, when engaging in acts for which a license is required, shall disclose its, his or her real estate license identification number on all solicitation materials intended to be the first point of contact with consumers. If the name of more than one licensee appears in the solicitation, the license identification number of each licensee shall be disclosed.
Solicitation materials intended to be the first point of contact with consumers, and in which a licensee must disclose a license identification number, include the following:

(1) Business cards;
(2) Stationery;
(3) Websites owned, controlled, and/or maintained by the soliciting real estate licensee; and
(4) Promotional and advertising fliers, brochures, email and regular mail, leaflets, and any marketing or promotional materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer, or which is intended to incentivize, induce or entice a consumer to contact the licensee about any service for which a license is required.
The type size of the license identification number shall be no smaller than the smallest size type used in the solicitation material.
(b) For the purposes of Business and Professions Code Section 10140.6, solicitation materials do not include the following:
(1) Advertisements in electronic media (including, without limitation, radio, cinema and television ads, and the opening section of streaming video and audio);
(2) Print advertising in any newspaper or periodical; and
(3) “For Sale” signs placed on or around a property intended to alert the public the property is available for lease, purchase or trade.
Note: Authority cited: Section 10080, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 10140.6, Business and Professions Code.

CALL TO ACTION! Independent Contractor Tax Withholding

Earlier this week, the California Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget (Budget Conference Committee) passed, by party-line vote, a series of tax proposals by Democrats that will be extremely harmful to employers and the economy.

Two of these proposals would impose a costly new mandate on ALL employers to withhold and remit to FTB 3% of all payments made to independent contractors (outside businesses providing goods/services). For independent contractors where there is an issue with their taxpayer identification number, an additional 7% withholding would be required (for a total of 10%).

This is a particularly bad idea because it would force struggling small businesses to loan money to the state. Withholding accelerates tax revenue to the state or collects revenue that will have to be refunded – equivalent to a low interest loan on the backs of small businesses. The proposal would also create a costly new mandate for private and public sector employers who use independent contractors and thus discourage employers from hiring small businesses.

At a time when our state unemployment rate is approaching the highest level ever, the imposition of a new cost burden on private and public sector employers who use independent contractors, and the threat to small businesses created by the proposal, runs counter to our need to encourage economic recovery and stimulate job growth.

The full legislature may vote on the independent contractor tax withholding proposals as early as this coming Monday, June 22, 2009.

All of the statewide real estate organizations are part of a coalition to oppose this bad idea. If you would like to add your company name to the letter, please send Matthew Hargrove at mhargrove@cbpa.com your company name and logo, by 10:00 a.m. Monday, June 22, 2009. TAKE ACTION NOW! JOIN THE COALITION!

The News Links - June 19, 2009

San Francisco
  • S.F. in talks for Moscone expansion.
  • The Board of Supervisors have tough questions for fire chief on the SFFD budget.
Marin/Sonoma/San Mateo
  • An interview with Marin County sustainability planner Dana Armanino about the Marin County Green Business Program can be found here.
  • Tax raid means shabby roads.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

UPDATE: BOMA Supports Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance

As we had posted previously, BOMA Supports Mayor Newsom's Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, which passed the Board of Supervisors on a 9-2 vote. There have been some minor changes to the final version of the Ordinance, which you can read here.

Your BOMA Advocacy team would like to thank the San Francisco Department of the Environment and Wade Crowfoot, Director of Climate Protection Initiatives, Office of the Mayor for working with BOMA San Francisco to craft the Ordinance in a way that includes workable implementation guidelines for the commercial real estate industry in San Francisco.

The News Links - June 18, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The News Links - June 17, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco

BOMA San Francisco Reception for City Attorney Dennis Herrera

Steve Levine, Member, BOMA San Francsico Board of Directors; Dennis Herrera; Kathy Mattes, BOMA SF-PAC Member; Michael Steele, BOMA SF-PAC Member

Ken Cleaveland, Director of Government and Public Affairs for BOMA San Francisco introduces Mr. Herrera.

Mr. Herrera; Gary Faleschini, Member, BOMA San Francsico Board of Directors

Dennis Herrera and Tom Kruggel , President-Elect, BOMA San Francisco

City Attorney Dennis Herrera speaks to BOMA San Francisco Members

BOMA San Francisco hosted a reception for City Attorney Dennis Herrera this morning. Ken Cleveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs, introduced Mr. Herrera by quoting Ken Garcia, San Francisco Examiner columnist, who stated:

[Mr. Herrera] hasn't kowtowed to critics who wanted him to weigh in on cases when the law suggested he shouldn't. He has hasn't forgotten that his primary focus is to offer legal, not political, advice to the City.

Mr. Herrera spoke to BOMA members about the City Attorney's Office, as well as a few of the Office's accomplishments. Here are the highlights:

Why does the City Attorney's Office matter?
  • The City Attorney's Office makes sure that they are the voice of reason on issues that affect the Cityto protect taxpayers. Indeed, the Office advises both the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors regarding proposed legislation and any potential legal problems they may cause for the City of San Francisco. The Office also plays an important legal advisory role for all city departments.
What impact does the Mayor's budget have on the Office?
  • Thankfully, Mr. Herrera tries to run the City Attorney's Office like a private law firm and reduced his workforce (currently 185 attorneys) before the City's budget shortfall. In fact, his office now provides city departments with monthly billings, as opposed to year-end reconciliations, which has reduced his office’s hard money costs by 50%, and made city departments more aware of their legal costs.
  • All lawyers in the City Attorney's Office work at-will, per the City Charter. Mr. Herrera hopes that one day, all City departments will operate this way. At-will employment of City attorneys allows Mr. Herrera to increase or decrease employment levels when business needs dictate.
What has the City Attorney's Office accomplished?
  • Stimulus Spending Task Force - Mr. Herrera established the City Attorney's Stimulus Spending Task Force recently to coordinate legal compliance by San Francisco departments and guarantee maximum transparency, efficiency and accountability for City investments made possible by the federal government's recently enacted $787 billion economic stimulus package. In Mr. Herrera's view, the City Attorney's Office is perfectly situated to provide this level of oversight.
  • The City spends $600 million a year on community benefit organizations (CBOs) and other non-profit groups. Mr. Herrera and former DPH Director Sandra Hernandez (now the President of the San Francisco Foundation) have set up a task force to study the CBO/non-profit contracts with the aim of creating a model format for tracking their progress and expenditures in a transparent, publicly-accessible way. Mr. Herrera said he wanted to be sure that the CBOs and non-profits were using the most efficient service delivery models possible.
  • The recommendations of the Construction Industry Task Force--which was spearheaded by Mr. Herrera--are finally being implemented by the city's General Services Agency and the Department of Public Works.
How does Mr. Herrera feel about the contracting out of City services?
  • He would prefer to keep city services in-house, but understands that with the San Francisco's budget shortfall, some contracting out will have to be considered.
Thank you to the BOMA San Francisco members who took time out of their schedules to attend the reception. If you missed the event, please consider helping Mr. Herrera by contributing to his campaign here.

On behalf of the BOMA San Francisco membership, we thank City Attorney Dennis Herrera for his stewardship of the City Attorney's Office, and look forward to working with the him toward re-election for a successful third term.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The News Links - June 16, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco

Monday, June 15, 2009

Board of Supervisors Resolution Supporting Split Roll Property Tax

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will consider a Resolution (introduced by Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, David Chiu, David Campos, Sophie Maxwell, Eric Mar, and John Avalos) urging San Francisco's representatives in the California Senate and Assembly to modify the definition of a "change or ownership" for commercial property and to draft a state constitutional amendment creating a split roll property tax. You can read the Resolution, here.

The Resolution will be considered for adoption at the Board of Supervisor's meeting on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. BOMA San Francisco members, please consider attending this meeting and voicing your opposition to this Resolution. BOMA San Francisco's position on a split roll property tax can be found here (hint: we oppose it.)

You can also contact the Supervisors' offices directly:

Michela Alioto-Pier
John Avalos
David Campos
David Chiu
Carmen Chu
Chris Daly
Bevan Dufty
Sean R. Elsbernd
Eric Mar
Sophie Maxwell
Ross Mirkarimi

UPDATE: Registration of Vacant/Abandoned Buildings

Your BOMA Advocacy Team attended the special meeting of the Building Inspection Commission (BIC) and the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) recently where the Registration of Vacant/Abandoned Buildings Ordinance was discussed (you can view a copy of the Ordinance, here). The discussion surrounding the measure was an interesting one; here are the highlights:

What's the origin/intent of the Ordinance?

  • The measure was introduced on May 5, 2009 by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisor Bevan Dufty.
  • Many cities have this type of ordinance (under the 'public nuisance' ordinance of the code).
  • At its core, the measure attempts to mitigate the deterioration of a building.
What's the status of the Ordinance?
  • On June 3, 2009, the San Francisco Planning Department: Historic Preservation Commission conducted a public hearing to consider the measure. The Commission approved the Ordinance, with modifications. You can view the Commission's recommendation and documents related to their action, here.
  • On June 10, 2009, the measure was heard before the Code Advisory Committee (CAC) where they recommended "non-support of [the] ordinance as written, and in lieu recommen[ed] that the Department of Building Inspection develop administrative procedures to enforce existing requirements." You can read the CAC's letter to the BIC, here.
  • On June 12, 2009, DBI Director Vivian Day responded to the Planning Department's recommendation of the Ordinance that can be viewed here. In short, the measure is not enforceable by DBI.
  • On June 12, 2009, the BIC approved a motion to notify the Board of Supervisors that it does not support the Ordinance.
The need for the Ordinance warrants further discussion:
  • Do we need another ordinance? There are already City ordinances that cover blight.
  • What about buildings slated for demolition, or those waiting for rehabilitation? There needs to be a consensus review of this issue.
  • Finding insurance on a vacant building can be difficult. How can this be addressed?
  • What is the definition of a blighted building?
  • The City doesn't know how many blighted buildings it has.
  • This is a big brother issue: The City should help building owners improve their buildings, NOT impose another City mandate.
A full transcript/video of the meeting can be found here.

Your BOMA Advocacy Team will continue to monitor the Registration of Vacant/Abandoned Buildings Ordinance and report any new developments on this blog.

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection - Organizational Changes

Effective June 15, the Department of Building Inspection will be making the following organizational changes:
  • The Department’s three professional services’ programs are Permit Services, with Laurence Kornfield in charge; Inspection Services, with Ed Sweeney in charge; and Administrative Services, with Jeremy Hallisey in charge. Hanson Tom becomes Manager of Plan Review.
  • Simon Tam becomes Manager of Permit Processing and Issuance.
  • Tom Hui moves to Over-the-Counter and reports to OTC Manager Neil Friedman.
  • Mark Walls, Tom Fessler, Norman Gutierrez and Steve Hajnal move to the Building Inspection Division.
  • Tony Grieco becomes Supervisor of Code Enforcement Services.
  • Lou Aurea moves to Administrative Services.
  • Public Information functions become part of Permit Services, and the Public Information Counter on the first floor becomes DBI’s new “Help Desk” – a key screening section to improve customer flow.
  • Willy Hoi-Yau becomes Manager of the Help Desk, where he will be assisted by Wai-Fong Cheung, Marianne Pangelinan and Fidel Del Rosario.
  • Cora Ella becomes Supervisor of the Permit Processing Center (PPC).
  • Records Management moves to Room 3036 in 1660 Mission Street, where customers will submit, view and pick up 3R and records’ requests.
Please make note of these departmental changes and plan accordingly.

The News Links - June 15, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
  • Matier & Ross: Former State Senate President pro Tem Don Perata kick off his run for Oakland mayor and Mayor Newsom wants development on the waterfront.
  • San Mateo Times: Avoid modifying Proposition 13 with a split-roll tax in California.

Sustainable California - A Thought Leadership and Technology Event - June 16

BOMA members, please consider attending this important event tomorrow:

Siemens Presents: Sustainable California
A Thought Leadership and Technology Event

June 16, 2009 - 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
(Registration from 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.)

255 South Airport BLVD
South San Francisco, CA 94080

Lunch immediately following

Register Here
For questions, contact Darlene Petersen at (847) 941-6627

What you will learn:
  • How the Bay Area is addressing climate change through innovation and legislation
  • The ROI and performance of Green Buildings
  • Making technology work for innovative Green Buildings
  • Renewable energy strategies to reduce your carbon footprint and increase energy independence
  • Improving operational efficiencies through green building strategies
Featured Speakers:
  • Wade Crowfoot - Director of Climate Protection Initiatives, City and County of San Francisco, Office of Mayor Gavin Newsom
  • Kevin Powell - Director of Research, Public Building Service, General Services Administration
  • Clark Wiedetz - General Manager, Alternative and Renewable Energy, Siemens
  • Ari Harding - Building Management Systems Specialist, California Academy of Sciences
Additional Presenters:
  • Dan Geiger - Executive Director, USGBC Northern California
  • Lisa Vogel - BOMA San Francisco
Technology Showcase:
  • Evaluation & Planning Tools
  • Efficient Building infrastructure Solutions
  • Green Information Management Platforms
  • Facility Improvement Measures

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The News Links - June 14, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
  • Geithner: It's too soon to withdraw economic stimulus.

Friday, June 12, 2009

California State Senators Darrell Steinberg & Mark Leno to Answer Budget Related Questions During Live Town Hall Forum Webcast

California’s elected leaders work on the difficult choices of resolving an unprecedented state budget crisis, our state’s residents have growing concerns and questions about how severe the consequences will be in order to balance a budget where the deficit has now ballooned to more than $20 billion.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), member of the Conference Committee on the Budget, are planning an open platform for the public to ask those questions.

That opportunity will come in the form of a live Internet Town Hall forum on Monday, June 15, 2009 from 6pm-7:30pm. The Senators will answer budget questions emailed by the public. Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor from the nonpartisan LAO office will also participate during part of the program.

Anyone is welcome to submit his or her question prior to the program through the Senate Majority Caucus website http://democrats.sen.ca.gov, Steinberg’s website www.sen.ca.gov/Steinberg or Leno’s website www.sen.ca.gov/Leno. The Senators will also field questions which viewers email in live during the Internet Town Hall broadcast itself.

The webcast can be viewed via livestream at http://democrats.sen.ca.gov/townhall/ and will also be available for viewing on The California Channel, which is carried on cable television systems around the state.


Live Webcast: Monday June 15th, 2009. 6pm-7:30pm

Submit Questions:




Watch Webcast:


Cal Channel

The News Links - June 12, 2009

San Francisco
  • Disabled parking placard crackdown: A fine idea?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

California Commercial Real Estate Summit 2009

From left to right: Elaine Andersson, Esq., Andersson Law Group; Stephany Cull, RetroCom Energy Strategies, Inc.; Mike Cashion, Shorenstein Properties LLC; Susan Court, Cushman & Wakefield; Ken Cleavleand, BOMA San Francisco; and, Bruce Schilling, 1575 Adrian Road Associates, LLC.

BOMA San Francisco members traveled to Sacramento for the 2009 California Commercial Real Estate Summit (CCRES) and BOMA California Board meeting on June 9-10th.

The two-day event is the one time of year that industry leaders from all sectors of the commercial, industrial, and retail real estate industry converge on California's Capitol to meet with policymakers. The summit gave BOMA San Francisco members an opportunity to meet other industry leaders from across the state, high-level staff from Governor Schwarzenegger's Administration, and our Bay Area State Legislators from San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, and San Mateo Counties.

The Governor's Office

Mike Cashion; Stephany Cull; Susan Court; Elaine Andersson; and, Ken Cleaveland pose in front of the bronze bear in front of Governor Schwarzenegger's Capitol office.

Your BOMA San Francisco delegation had the opportunity to meet with Michael Prosio, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although Mr. Prosio has many duties, he stated that at present his work is "all budget, all the time". Here are the highlights of his presentation regarding California's $24 billion budget shortfall:

The Good News
  • The California economy has actually grown over the last year by 1%.
The Bad News
  • There is a short-term cash issue. In 1.5 months, California will run out of money to pay its bills. Why? California's tax collection schedule, and the State's inability to borrow from Wall Street, has limited the number of options for the State to meet its short-term obligations.
  • In addition, there are very few options for cutting the state budget (the general fund) due to constitutional guarantees for corrections (10% of the budget), health and human services (20%), education (50%), and various other budgetary requirements.
  • This is a great opportunity to reform California's government and how we think of funding public service by the state.
  • California needs to be attractive to business. Indeed, our tax base--the top 1% income earners who provide 50% of the income taxes to the State, and corporations--is shrinking.
  • We can't rely on growing our way (economically) out of this budget shortfall.
  • The State may consider increasing revenue generators such as, increasing personal withholding to 10%, and accelerating quarterly tax payments to assuage future budget deficits.
  • There is a emergency response fee proposal to fund CalFIRE and CalEMA that would add 5% to individual and commercial property insurance premiums.
  • Bankruptcy is not an option for California unlike counties or cities.
  • California needs to increase its creditability with Wall Street by tightening its fiscal belt.
  • Furloughs and layoffs for state employees are inevitable.
  • Consolidation and or eliminating various state boards and commissions is on the table.
  • Finally, there are audits on the many state government departments that are now online at http://www.reportingtransparency.ca.gov/. The website also includes all state contracts that are greater than $5,000.

Legislative Meetings with Bay Area State Legislators

There were a number of important measures discussed at our legislative meetings with Bay Area State Legislators:

  • AB 300 which promotes great use of voluntary water conservation measures in new homes and buildings by ensuring that a project's water demand is adjusted to reflect achieved water savings.
  • AB 531 would facilitate implementation of California's historic energy benchmarking law, which will help our state continue to lead the nation in building awareness of energy consumption and efficiency. It would direct the CA Energy Commission to open a regulatory proceeding to implement this proposed law that would eliminate the January 1, 2010 deadline to give the industry more time to benchmark their properties.
  • AB 828 strengthens the California State Green Building code by establishing a robust standards development process for green building standards. These standards will incorporate best practices and technical expertise from various state agencies and assure technological feasibility and cost effectiveness.
  • SB 476 this measure will help move forward construction and redevelopment projects by updating and clarifying notification procedures in the environmental permit process. The purpose of this measure is to help prevent last minute 'data dumps' that are used in the process to stall a project.
  • AB 479 increases the solid waste diversion requirement for local jurisdictions to 60%, imposes commercial recycling requirements on California's businesses, and gives the California Integrated Waste Management Board broad authority to impose programs to achieve a statewide solid waste diversion rate of 75% by 2020. Although BOMA San Francisco supported a local recycling mandate such as proposed in AB 479, our members stressed that one size does not fit all when it comes to the ability of local jurisdictions to meet mandates for recycling.
  • AB 1404 discourages emission reductions, significantly increases costs to the employer community, and threatens jobs by severely limiting the amount of offsets California industries can use to meet their greenhouse gas emission goals. BOMA members strongly supported emissions credits being awarded to commercial office buildings that reduced their carbon emissions through energy efficient projects.
In addition, we talked about the value of the commercial industrial and the retail real estate industry to California, and BOMA's position on the issue of a split roll tax (Surprise! We oppose it.).

Senator Leland Yee (D - San Francisco)

BOMA members met with Senator Leland Yee who was very receptive to our issues, and pledged to not support a new split-roll property tax proposal. The Senator prefers a more holistic approach to reforming Proposition 13 if it is to be considered as part of the solution in solving California's budget shortfall.

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D - San Francisco)

BOMA members pose in front of the movie poster, MILK, in which Assemblymember Ammiano played a cameo role.

BOMA Members also met with staff members from the Capitol offices of:

CCRES Dinner Honoring the Legislators of the Year

Senator Ron Calderon (D-Montebello)

From left to right: Mike Cashion; Ken Cleveland; Elaine Andersson; Jack Spiegelman, Buzz Oates Enterprizes; and, Susan Court.

BOMA San Francisco Breakfast Reception Honoring San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera - June 17th

BOMA San Francisco will be hosting a breakfast reception honoring San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera on June 17th, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at The Solarium at 55 2nd Street, Ground Floor. You can view the invitation here.

Please RSVP to John Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Legislative Assistant, at johnb@boma.com by June 15th if you would like to attend.

The News Links - June 11, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
  • NYT: San Francisco to toughen a strict recycling law.
  • SF Chronicle: S.F. OKs toughest recycling law in U.S.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Department of Building Inspection: 10 Most Common Errors During Plan Check

You'll be one step closer to finishing your project if you avoid these common pitfalls during the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection plan review:
  • Incomplete information regarding existing conditions. Such information should include current legal use and occupancy of all related building areas, building construction type, property line setbacks, and abutting property conditions.
  • Confusion due to too much information overlaid. Separate plans should be provided for existing conditions, partial demolition, and proposed work. On more complicated projects, provide separate architectural and structural drawings.
  • Plans are not coordinated among architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and other designs. Also, lack of coordination between views such as plans and elevations.
  • Inadequate dimensioning of plans.
  • Fire-resistant assemblies are not detailed and do not conform to approved designs.
  • Incorrect story count. Detailed substantiation must be provided, including spot elevations of floors and adjacent grade around perimeter and profiles, to allow plan reviewers to confirm story or basement determination.
  • Lack of clarity and consistency of plans, including symbols and designations, such as existing vs. new walls.
  • Sloppy, illegible, incorrect and incomplete permit application forms and submittal documents such as plans.
  • Lack of adequate accessibility documentation and accessibility checklist.
  • Failure to provide adequate cover-sheet information, including correct codes being used for design, contact information, design professional's signature, index of drawings, etc.

The News Links - June 8, 2009

Commercial Real Estate
San Francisco
  • All you need to know about California's gubernatorial candidates can be found here.
  • Willie Brown: Two-thirds vote not there for raising taxes.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces her first labor squeeze.