Saturday, January 30, 2010

BOMA International National Issues Conference and Winter Business Meeting 2010

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Your BOMA Advocacy Team will be attending the BOMA International Winter Business Meeting and National Issues Conference from February 1-4, 2010 in Washington D.C.

The Winter Business Meeting and National Issues Conference provides members from all BOMA locals an opportunity to share ideas, learn from their peers, be a part of shaping the future of BOMA and the commercial real estate industry and to take our message to legislators and regulators in our nation’s capitol.  Click here for more information, and here for a schedule of events.

Our regular flurry of blog posts may diminish while we are in Washington D.C.; please rest assured that we will be posting news and information from the conference, as well as the political and regulatory issues that affect the local commercial real estate industry in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo Counties as soon as we return.

Friday, January 29, 2010

SFDPW Battery Street Sewer and Pavement Renovation

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW) is scheduled to begin major roadway renovations on Battery Street between Market Street and Embarcadero. The scope of work includes the installation of new sewers, asphalt pavement, curbs and curb-ramps.  This work will begin in February 2010 and will last approximately 6-months, ending in August 2010.  The work sequence will begin at the Embarcadero segment of the project limits and continue south toward Market Street completing the project (10- blocks).

During construction, expect a certain level of noise, dust and disruption from the excavation equipment. The  construction team will do their best to minimize impacts to area businesses and residents. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes to avoid delays.  Should you have any special needs or concerns and need to coordinate this work, please contact Ms. Dadisi Najib, SFDPW Public Affairs, at (415) 437-7018 or at

For updates, please go to the SFDPW website by clicking here.

Funding for this project was made available from the Federal Economic Stimulus Package - 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

BOMA San Francisco Welcomes Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown

BOMA San Francisco was proud to welcome former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to the City Club on January 28, 2010 to address BOMA San Francisco members for this month's member luncheon.  Affable and charismatic, Mayor Brown dazzled the audience with his thoughts on a number of issues including Obama's first year in office, the economy, the issues State of California is facing, and so much more.  The following are a few of the highlights:

President Barack Obama 

Mayor Brown commented that the expectations were very high for President Obama--the nation wanted change in every sense of the word.  One thing that most incoming politicians forget to do, according to Brown, is "to get off the campaign and govern" and President Obama is no exception.  Brown noted that he has yet to produce the effectual change that was so widely promised during President Obama's campaign.  "Obama should have been clearer--that quick change will not be a reality" Brown said, " very low goals should have been set with monthly reports on progress.  Over a 12 month period he could have had a list of low-level items that would have been more successful than the administration's current attempts at reform."

President Barack Obama - State of the Union

Brown suggested that the overall takeaway from President Obama's State of the Union on January 27, 2010 was that there is clearly a "reflective lack of relationship" between the Republicans and Democrats in Washington.  He mentioned that unless there is more collaboration between the two parties, there will be no change to the status quo at our nation's capitol.

Stimulus Package - American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Mayor Brown reflected on the stimulus package set forth by the Obama Administration in 2009 by noting that the stimulus money was good for California and the local economy here San Francisco. Indeed, those funds have helped fund the Transbay Terminal and High-Speed Rail projects.  Most importantly, the stimulus dollars created much needed jobs for the unemployed.

State of California

The current outlook of California is, according to Mayor Brown, "bleek".  Brown elaborated on his feelings on the current political and economic status of the state by saying that there is "a misunderstanding of how to manage at the state level...the governor and the legislature aren't working well together so they can't accomplish much for the people of California."

BOMA San Francisco thanks Mayor Brown for taking the time to speak to the membership and for his leadership for the City and County of San Francisco.

UPDATE: San Francisco High Rise Sprinkler Retrofit Ordinance - March 2010 Deadline!

We recently posted information on the blog related to the upcoming deadline for compliance with San Francisco's High Rise Sprinkler Ordinance (HRSO).  Mr. Steve Panelli, Chief Plumbing Inspector for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection  (SFDBI), kindly addressed the BOMA San Francisco Codes and Regulations Committee about this issue on January 27, 2010.  Mr. Panelli stated that enforcement of this ordinance will become much more strict: Buildings that are not fully sprinkled or do not have a letter on file with the SFDBI stating how and when the owners expect to complete their sprinkler retrofit work will NOT be issued any further building permits for tenant improvements, etc.  The strict enforcement of the city's HRSO will commence March 2010.

If your building is on the list of buildings (see below) which are required to be fully sprinkled, and you haven’t filed a letter of intent to complete the work, your building will be affected by the new HRSO enforcement.   If you have any question or concerns with regard to the HRSO, please contact Steve Panelli at, or call him at (415) 558-6058. 

For a copy of the San Francisco High Rise Sprinkler Retrofit Ordinance, click here. For a copy of the list of buildings required to comply, click here (white indicates that the building does not yet to comply with the HRSO).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

CALL TO ACTION! Support Tax Relief Measures For Businesses

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please see the information below on three targeted local economic stimulus measures that are desperately needed in these tough economic times.  BOMA San Francisco and the San Francisco Small Business Commission believes that these proposals provide meaningful tax relief to businesses that create jobs and provide heath care coverage for their employees.  Please take a minute to review and, if you agree that local businesses need tax relief during this recession, please email the San Francisco Board of Supervisors President as well as members of the Budget & Finance Committee member to voice your support and ask that the items be calendared immediately.

  Board of Supervisors President David Chiu  -

      Supervisor John Avalos -
      Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi -
     Supervisor Sean Elsbernd -

Biotechnology Payroll Tax Exemption Extension

Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier's proposed extension of the Biotechnology Payroll Tax Exemption would allow for a rolling sunset of the exemption. Currently, the exemption is in effect from 2004 to 2014 and is available to a qualifying biotechnology company  for a total of 7 1/2 years. However, because the exemption sunsets in 2014 a new biotechnology business can only take advantage of the exemption for 4 years.  The proposed measure would create rolling sunset and allow any qualified biotechnology business to take the full 7 1/2 exemption so long as they initially apply and qualify for the exemption before December 31, 2014.  As the report, below, from the Office of Economic Analysis states, this targeted tax exemption is working -- in
2004 there were 2 biotechnology companies in San Francisco, today there are 56.  In 2000, San Francisco had only 1.3% of the total life sciences occupied building base in the Bay Area. This figure did not begin to rise until 2005, after the exclusion went into effect in September 2004. Today, the percentage has risen to 6.1% of the regional total, approximately a five-fold increase over 2004. Estimates suggest there could be 2,750 life science jobs in San Francisco, up from only 500 in 2004. Yet the exclusion has applied to only eight companies and 231 employees. This targeted payroll tax exemption acts as a catalyst for growing the entire life science sector in San Francisco.

Payroll Tax Credit for Small Businesses that comply with the Health Care Security Ordinance

This measure will provide small businesses with between 20-49 employees that are complying with San Francisco's Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO)--a one time payroll tax credit of $2,000 per businesses. The HCSO requires that businesses with between 20-49 employees spend $1.39 per hour, per employee on qualified health care expenditures.  Small businesses tell OEWD that the cost of complying with this measure is between $30,000 - $70,000 annually. This measure will incentivize compliance and support small businesses who are struggling during this recession.  This proposal was developed after hearing from small business owners and members of the Small Business Commission (SBC) that the cost of compliance with the HCSO is extraordinarily difficult in this economic climate and that the city's local economic stimulus efforts should include providing tax relief to struggling small local businesses. In fact, the SBC recommends that this measure apply to all  small businesses with less than 50 employees that are providing health care coverage to their employees and that the credit be in effect for three years.

New Jobs Payroll Tax Exclusion

The New Jobs Payroll Tax Exclusion would cap a businesses' payroll tax liability at 2009 level for two years. This means that any business that creates a job in 2010 or 2011 would not have to pay payroll tax on that hire until 2012. By eliminating the payroll tax on new jobs, the city will remove a disincentive to create a job in this down economy. The city's chief economist said last week that the this exemption is one of the most cost-effective ways for the city to spur private sector job-growth.
Your BOMA San Francisco's Advocacy Team would like to thank Regina Dick-Endrizzi, Executive Director of the San Francisco Office of Small Business, for this information.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Public Hearing on Newly Proposed Fire Department Administrative Bulletins - Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The San Francisco Fire Department will conduct a hearing on two proposed Fire Department Administrative Bulletins on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. in the Fire Commission Room, Fire Department Headquarters, 698 Second Street at Townsend in San Francisco.

The purpose of the hearing is for the Department to receive public comment on the following four newly proposed Administrative Bulletins:

The Fire Marshal will call for public comment on each newly proposed Administrative Bulletin in the order listed. Members of the public may speak for up to 3 minutes on each Bulletin.

Members of the public may also submit written comment on any newly proposed Administrative Bulletin. The Department must receive any written comment by no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.

Written comments may be sent to the following:

San Francisco Fire Department
Office of the Fire Marshal
698 Second Street, Room 109
San Francisco, CA 94107

The Department will consider all oral and written comment provided on the newly proposed Administrative Bulletins, and any additional changes that may be necessary, and prepare final versions of the proposed Administrative Bulletins. The Department will present the final proposed Administrative Bulletins to the Fire Commission for approval. The Department will include a transcript of the public hearing and all timely received written comments in the materials presented to the Fire Commission. The Department anticipates presenting the final proposed Administrative Bulletins to the Fire Commission at its regular meeting on March 11, 2010 or March 25, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Civil Grand Jury Report: Parking For The Disabled—Abuse Or Overuse?

 San Francisco Chronicle: Big fines ahead for disabled parking abuse.

Those who live, work or visit San Francisco understand how coveted a curbside parking space can be.   Small business owners in San Francisco are especially sensitive to this issue as convenient, available parking is key for people who want to patronize almost any business in the city--especially in these tough economic times where our local small businesses need as much help as they can get.

Moreover, the lack of parking availability is exacerbated by the abuse/overuse of disabled placards in San Francisco.  Indeed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported recently that the:
[a]buse of disabled parking permits in San Francisco is a serious problem that steals money from the [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's (SFMTA)] already lean budget and makes it difficult for those needing disabled parking to find available spaces. The state Department of Motor Vehicles has issued 52,600 disabled plates and placards in San Francisco - 1 for about every 15 residents.
In 2007, a Civil Grand Jury in San Francisco produced a report that sought to find a balance between the needs of those with mobility limitations to have access to convenient parking and the need for all to be able to have access to curbside parking.  The Grand Jury found (among other things) that :

Demographic Trends and Statistics on Disability
  • In 2007, approximately 50,000 blue placards have been issued to residents of City of San Francisco. That is more than double the approximately 24,000 assigned to San Francisco residents in 1996. This, according to statistics from DMV and the California Department of Finance, is slightly less than 7% of the City's population. This 7% is statistically very close to the ratio for each of the other Bay Area counties and for the State of California as a whole. The other eight Bay Area counties have also experienced a doubling in the numbers of authorized blue placards in the past ten years.
  • The number of people in the Bay Area with any form of disability (15-20%) is more than double the number of currently-authorized blue placards in each of the Bay Area Counties (7%). These statistics do not bode well for citizens who routinely engage in the competition for curbside spaces. In other words, if everyone with a permanent disability also acquired a blue placard, then practically overnight there could be another doubling of blue placards issued. Additionally, the aging of the population in San Francisco, as well as the longer life expectancy, means there could be even more people who would qualify for a blue placard under current criteria.
  • Misuse of a blue placard by the able-bodied makes it harder for the disabled to maintain independence and mobility, if they cannot find convenient parking.
Enforcement Difficulties
  • Legal requirements more cumbersome than those required for issuing normal parking violations impede the issuance of citations for violations of blue placard laws.
  • The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Department of Parking & Traffic's (DPT) policy requires the presence of two Parking Control Officers for the issuance of a citation regarding blue placard laws.  One officer interacts with the driver, while the other officer is there as a potential witness, in the event the citation is challenged. This burdensome process results in the issuance of fewer citations for blue placard violations than for any other type of parking offense.
Application Process and Implications
  • State law authorizes many and various health care practitioners – from audiologists all the way through to some categories of social workers -- to certify someone as eligible for a blue placard. This very multiplicity of types of certifiers also makes it easier for anyone to shop around for a practitioner who will quickly sign one’s application for a blue placard. Further, since certification does not automatically require an actual full-scale exam by the practitioner, the application can be completed by office staff -- figuratively rubber-stamping the application. There is little incentive for practitioners to say no, but considerable incentive to agree to the certification. Practitioners might worry that their failure to sign the authorization may result in the loss of their patient to another practitioner.
  • Misuse of placards hurts people with disabilities. Misuse also lessens cash revenues for both the City's General Fund and the SFMTA.
  • The low staffing levels at the SFMTA impede all enforcement efforts, such as citing individuals and conducting neighborhood stings. This difficulty of enforcement, plus the wide-open eligibility criteria, the multiple types of health care providers authorized to sign-off on eligibility – all contribute to the probability of abuse -- first, in the issuance of and, second, in the use of blue placards.

The SFMTA should request the City of San Francisco's State Legislative delegation to consider requesting some form of state legislative hearing on blue placard abuse and on updating criteria for issuance and for use.

Specifically the State Legislative delegation should look at:
  • Authorizing and requiring DMV to affix to the back of a blue placard a photo of the certified disabled user, so as to make easier and faster any determination of appropriateness of use.
  • Consideration of whether eligibility criteria, written prior to the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act are still fully appropriate for California's changing population, or whether blue placard eligibility criteria should be changed;
  • Consideration of whether there should be any time limitation[s] on curbside meter parking.
Full Report 

The full report can be found here.  

In addition to the recommendations contained within the report, BOMA San Francisco also recommends that state legislation be introduced to change the free parking allowances for disabled parking as the association sees no correlation between disabled parking and the inability to pay for metered parking.

BOMA's New Floor Measurement Methodology - Simplify Lease Calculations

In 1915, BOMA International published the first Standard Method of Floor Measurement for Office Buildings. It has been accepted and approved by the American National Standards Institute. Throughout the years, the standard has been revised to reflect the changing needs of the real estate market and the evolution of office building design.

BOMA International is pleased to introduce the latest version of the office standard. This version signifies a major revision, including a new name Office Buildings: Methods of Measurement and Calculating Rentable Area. The objective of the office standard is to provide a uniform basis for measuring rentable area in both exiting and new office buildings by taking a building-wide approach to floor area measurement. It provides a methodology for measuring both occupant space as well as the space that benefits all occupants.

For more information on BOMA's new floor measurement methodology, please click on the image above to read more about it in the BOMA Magazine (pp.28-29), or to buy the latest version electronically, click here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

REMINDER: Update to San Francisco Better Market Street Project Starts Tomorrow

In September 2009, the San Francisco Better Market Street Project initiated a series of trials including an integrated package of landscaping, sidewalk cafes and storefront improvements, transit improvements, street and traffic improvements, and other physical improvements along Market Street. The project team has continued to work with community partners, including BOMA San Francisco, to gather on-the-ground data will help identify improvements for Market Street and other streets serving surrounding districts and neighborhoods.

Today, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that the City will change one of the locations where traffic is required to turn right on eastbound Market Street from 8th Street to 10th Street as part of the Better Market Street Project pilot.  The right-turn-only regulations at 8th and 6th streets began on Sept. 29, 2009.  The regulations resulted in improved transit travel times for eastbound Market Street, and have been well received by bicyclists, taxi drivers and pedestrians.  Most of the traffic removed from eastbound Market Street has diverted to eastbound Mission and Folsom streets, where it has been accommodated.

Beginning Tuesday, January 26, private motorists traveling eastbound on Market Street will be required to turn right on 10th Street instead of at 8th Street. Motorists will continue to be diverted at 6th Street as well. Traffic flowing north and south across Market Street will be unaffected, as will cars traveling westbound on Market Street. Public transit, bicycle, emergency vehicles and delivery vehicles will continue to have full access to Market Street.  Motorists will still be able to access eastbound Market Street by turning right from northbound streets such as 9th, 7th, 6th or 5th streets, or by turning left from southbound streets such as Polk, Hyde or Stockton streets.

The change from 8th Street to 10th Street is being made in order to reduce conflicts between traffic turning right off of Market Street and pedestrians and bicycles.  Unlike the intersection of Market and 8th streets, the intersection of Market/10th streets has a continuous bike lane, made possible because it is one of the few Market Street intersections that does not have a Muni boarding island.  The Market/10th intersection also has less pedestrian traffic than the 8th Street intersection, which is directly above the Civic Center/United Nations Plaza BART/Muni Metro station.  The lower pedestrian volume at Market/10th streets makes this intersection more conducive to handling right turning traffic than 8th Street.

The right-turn-only requirement on eastbound Market Street at 10th Street will be in place for at least six weeks.  After six weeks, the impact of the change will be evaluated.  The next several months will see the continuation of other trial changes and place-making efforts in addition to diverting traffic, including concerts and other events along the street, and mini-plazas featuring outdoor seating, tables, food kiosks, landscaping and storefront art displays.

Your Feedback Counts!

Here is your opportunity to offer your perspective on what works and what needs to be improved or changed during the continued trial period. As a BOMA San Francisco member and commercial real estate professional, your perspective will inform both immediate operational decisions and the longer-term vision for Market Street and surrounding areas.

Please send your thoughts to:
  • Call 311 or log onto
  • Twitter: by typing 'd sf311' first before sending private Twitter message to 311
  • Send an email to
  • Comment on the Market Street Facebook page 
Please click here for more information on the San Francisco Better Market Street Project.

UPDATE: CAPSS and the Seismic Strengthening of Soft-story, Wood-frame Buildings

In February 2009, the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) delivered to Mayor Gavin Newsom the report titled Here Today-Here Tomorrow: Earthquake Safety for Soft-Story Buildings. This report focuses on policy recommendations for multi-unit, wood frame soft-story buildings in San Francisco.   Please click here for more information on the recommendations and to download the complete report.

The San Francisco Controller's Office of Economic Analysis recently released  an economic impact report entitled "Voluntary Seismic Strengthening of Soft-story, Wood-frame Buildings: Economic Impact Report".  Also, most likely in response to the Controller's report and the lackluster response to the voluntary retrofitting of soft-story buildings, Mayor Newsom announced his intention to require that all soft-story buildings in the city be seismically retrofitted to minimize the loss of housing stock and help bolster San Francisco's resiliency when a future earthquake occurs.  

The Controller's full report may be downloaded here:

Main conclusions from the report:
  • An estimated 55,000 housing units within San Francisco are contained in what are known as "soft-story" buildings, whose ground floors are too weak to withstand a serious earthquake. Much of the damage could be mitigated by retrofitting the building to provide necessary ground-floor reinforcement.  However, to date, property owners have undertaken relatively few soft-story retrofits, averaging about 40 buildings per year.
  • The proposed legislation attempts to stimulate the voluntary retrofitting of soft-story buildings, by providing property owners with incentives that will reduce the cost of the retrofit. Specifically, developers will be exempt from fees that the City charges for plan and permit review, and sidewalk encroachment.
  • The Office of Economic Analysis finds that the legislation will have only a modest effect in stimulating voluntary retrofits. The fee reductions amount to approximately 2.7% reduction in the cost of retrofitting. A private property owner will act based on his or her financial interest, which lies in minimizing the long-term cost of reconstruction, given upfront retrofit costs and the probability of an earthquake. The OEA estimates that, even with the fee incentives, the property owner's private cost is only 48% of their private long-term benefits.
  • The issue of soft-story retrofits addresses a broader range of social interests than that of a private property owner. Subsequent legislation that attempts to further stimulate, or require, soft-story retrofitting, should consider the full range of costs and benefits accruing to tenants, and the City as a whole, as well as private property owners.
When the next earthquake occurs, San Francisco's overall economic resiliency will depend on structurally safe housing for people to live in.  BOMA San Francisco members understand that the small businesses in our commercial buildings can only operate when their employees have a seismicly safe place to live.  As such, your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team will continue to monitor any new developments with regard to soft-story building seismic retrofit requirements and report them to you in a future blog post.

Luncheon Hosted by Mayor Newsom and USGBC-NCC Highlights Empire State Building Sustainability Retrofit

Your BOMA Advocacy Team attended the Coast2Coast Deep Green Retrofitting luncheon on January 8, 2010 hosted by Mayor Gavin Newsom and USGBC-Northern California Chapter with presentations by Mayor Newsom, Empire State Building owner Tony Malkin, USGBC founder David Gottfried, and others.  The luncheon was held to detail how the Empire State Building team is working to sustainably retrofit the iconic structure and inspire other existing commercial building owners in the Bay Area to consider moving in the same direction.

The Empire State Building is undergoing a major sustainability retrofit to become a leading example of economic and environmental revitalization.

  Consulting, design, and construction partners Clinton Climate Initiative, Johnson Controls Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle, and Rocky Mountain Institute recently completed an eight-month modeling and analysis project which will save 38 percent of the building's energy and $4.4 million annually.
  Please click here to view the case study.

BOMA San Francisco members have been leading the way to reduce the impact commercial office buildings have on the environment since 1987.  BOMA San Francisco's Energy & Environment Committee, one of the largest and most active committees within the BOMA membership, is intimately involved in promulgating environmentally sustainable business practices in the commercial real estate industry.  In fact, BOMA has long been a leader in promoting sustainable practices in commercial office buildings:
  • Our High Rise Recycling Program began in 1987 and helped bring the city to a nearly 70% waste diversion rate.
  • BOMA created a green lease, written to engage tenants in taking more responsibility for conserving energy use within their leased premises. 
  • BOMA’s Energy Performance Contract was developed in concert with the Clinton Climate Initiative designed to stimulate investment in energy saving equipment.
  • BOMA’s 7-Point Market Transformation Challenge was designed to reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings 30% by 2012.
  • The BOMA Energy Efficiency Program – a series of six courses, was developed in concert with EPA, designed to improve operating efficiency and to benchmark energy use.  
  • BOMA San Francisco’s Earth Awards program grades building performance across critical domains such as Recycling, Composting, Waste Reduction, Toxics and Air Quality Management, Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Energy Conservation, Water Conservation, Energy Efficient Transportation, and Tenant Education. 
  • Our local partnership with the U.S. Green Buildings Counsel to encourage our members to obtain individual LEED Accredited Professional certification, as well as to get their buildings LEED Certified.
  • Energy Crisis Assistance – During the 2002 energy crisis, BOMA San Francisco provided energy conservation tips to building owners and their tenants.  For its efforts, BOMA was honored with the Governor’s “Flex your Power” award for outstanding leadership in energy conservation.  To that end, BOMA developed a web resource to provide energy conservation tips and information energy rebate and incentive programs. 
  • BOMA helped craft and strongly supports the City’s Construction & Demolition Debris Recycling Ordinance. 
  • BOMA recently introduced the BOMA 360 Performance Program, a groundbreaking new program designed to validate and recognize commercial properties that demonstrate best practices in all major areas of building operations and management. 
  • BOMA San Francisco members took a leading role in crafting Mayor Newsom's Existing Building Efficiency Task Force recommendations.
The BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team would like to thank the USGBC and Mayor Newsom for hosting this very informative and well-produced event.

The News Links - January 24-25, 2010

WSJ: Matter of debate: Bottom in commercial-property values.

Los Angeles Times: Schwarzenegger's budget plan puts unions in the cross-hairs.

Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco


The Economy


Friday, January 22, 2010

SAVE THE DATE! CAPSS Advisory Committee Workshop - February 10th


CAPSS Advisory Committee Workshop
Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 10am to 2pm
City Hall, Room 305

BOMA San Francisco members are invited to attend a workshop of the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS) Advisory Committee.  The purpose of this workshop is to:
  • Review the expected damage and consequences of future, large earthquakes in San Francisco;
  • Discuss how these consequences can be addressed with policies and programs before the next earthquake strikes. 
At this workshop, CAPSS team members will present updated loss estimates for possible future earthquakes, including impacts on:
  • Housing 
  • Businesses 
  • Specific neighborhoods 
  • Vulnerable populations 
  • City government 
  • Historic structures
This will be followed by detailed discussions to establish which impacts are the most urgent to address, and the policies and programs that make sense for the city to pursue.

This workshop is a chance to participate in shaping city earthquake policy at the earliest stages. The priorities that emerge from this event will guide upcoming analysis of the CAPSS project team.

RSVP Requested.

Reservations are needed to ensure that lunch is available for all participants.  Please RSVP by Friday, February 5th via email to Millie Tolleson (

For further information about the CAPSS program, please visit our website at
With questions or to contact a CAPSS team member, please email:

The News Links - January 20-22, 2010

WSJ: The Terminator defends California's munis.

SF Appeal: Muni employees' salaries consume around 80% of Agency's expenses.

Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco

Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma


The Economy

Energy & Environment


ACTION ALERT- Sit/Lie Law for San Francisco

BOMA San Francisco Members:

If you’ve walked through the streets of San Francisco lately, you’ll know that people are often sitting outside stores and restaurants, harassing those passing by to donate money (or sometimes, just plan harassing!).  Not only does this detract from the commercial and aesthetic appeal of our business districts, it also makes us feel unsafe in our own neighborhoods.  San Francisco Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius has wrote a great article recently about a grass-roots effort by residents of the Haight to deal with this unruly behavior in their neighborhood once and for all.

There is growing movement to create a ‘sit/lie’ ordinance similar to what other ‘progressive’ cities have done.  The new San Francisco Police Chief, George Gascón, is a big supporter of this type of law, and has shown a great ability to implement new policies that have been successfully enacted in other cities.  Naturally, there is resistance from the progressive members Board of Supervisors who feel this is an attack on the homeless population.  However, there is a tremendous amount of support from many residents, so it may become too popular an idea to ignore. The city's sidewalks should be enjoyable and a place of social gathering, and that the ordinance could go a long way in helping our neighborhoods feel safer.

Your BOMA Advocacy Team kindly requests that you call and/or email the Mayor and the members of the Board of Supervisors to support a sit/lie ordinance.  Our elected leaders need to hear from YOU!  Contact them today and let them know that you support a sit/lie law for San Francisco, and want it to be enacted as soon as possible.  It’s time us to take back our streets and sidewalks, and make them an enjoyable place for all.

Mayor Gavin Newsom - 554-6141

Board of Supervisors (click here for their contact information, or see below)

District 1 - Eric Mar - 554-7410
District 2 - Michela Alioto-Pier - 554-7752
District 3 - David Chiu - 554-7450
District 4 - Carmen Chu - 554-7460
District 5 - Ross Mirkarimi - 554-7630
District 6 - Chris Daly - 554-7970
District 7 - Sean Elsbernd - 554-6516
District 8 - Bevan Dufty - 554-6968
District 9 - David Campos - 554-5144
District 10 - Sophie Maxwell - 554-7670
District 11 - John Avalos - 554-6975

Thank you to Plan C San Francisco for providing this timely and important information.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu Speaks to Chamber Members

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Team attended a meeting with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu on January 20, 2010 at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to talk about his first year as Board President, his thoughts on the City's budget deficit, the challenges facing the greater business community and much more.  The following are the highlights from today's meeting:

The Greater Business Community 

Supervisor Chiu began his speech to Chamber members by stating that he understands the myriad issues facing the business community and appreciates our involvement in helping to promote good government practices that are beneficial to those who work and reside in the City and County of San Francisco.

Reflecting on 2009

Supervisor Chiu was elected to the Board of Supervisors in November 2008—and Board President in January 2009—and spoke at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce for the first time one year ago.  As such, he reviewed the objectives he set forth in his freshman year:
  • To “change the tone of conversation” and have an open door policy for the business community.
  • To work with the various factions in San Francisco, e.g., unions, business community members, non-profit groups, etc., to “tackle the 2009 budget deficit,” among other issues facing the city.
  • To streamline the copious level of business fees that business owners in San Francisco must wade through.  Indeed, as a former small business owner himself, Supervisor Chiu is no stranger to the fees and departmental labyrinth that one must navigate if they run a business in San Francisco.  There will be four measures heard at the Board Of Supervisor’s meeting on January 26, 2010 that are "soft goals," according to Chiu, which will set the tone for long-term reform.
  • To review the city’s contracting process.  As the largest local purchaser of goods and services, the City and County of San Francisco should be buying, first and foremost, directly from private sector vendors within San Francisco, not from merchants in the greater Bay Area.  The Supervisor is looking at this issue although he did mention that the cost to the city to contract out to the private sector is very high.  He looks to introduce a measure in the future to help streamline city contracts out to the greater business community.
2010 Budget Deficit

San Francisco is currently facing a budget shortfall of over $500 million dollars for the current fiscal year.  This is on top of an approximately $500 million dollar shortfall in the previous fiscal year.  Supervisor Chiu characterized his assessment of the budget situation by stating in 2009, the city's elected leaders “cut to the bone” to assuage San Francisco’s budget woes; in 2010 they’ll be “cutting bone.”  The Supervisor mentioned that he is reaching out for good ideas—and received a number of suggestions—from the business community on how to solve this issue of shrinking San Francisco’s government while protecting the core/essential services the city provides.

Ballot Measures - June 8, 2010 Election

Supervisor Chiu mentioned a few measures that are traveling through City Hall and may make it on the ballot for the June 8, 2010:
  • The Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond
    • Click here for the details
  • Budget Expenditures 
    • Supervisor Chris Daly's Charter Amendment that gives the Board of Supervisors the authority to force the Mayor to spend dollars appropriated for certain programs and services regardless of the budget consequences.
    • Supervisor Chiu is in conversation with Mayor Newsom on this and has not taken a position on this measure.
  • Labor Reform
The success or failure of these and other measures depends on the unions' reaction to the city's budget in the next few months, Supervisor Chiu stated.

Commercial Corridor Vacancies

Supervisor Chiu addressed the issue of vacancies in the city’s commercial corridors by stating that his staff is looking for solutions; none of the proposals suggested so far have been effective enough for him to take action.

The Economy

Supervisor Chiu suggested that his fellow members of the Board of Supervisors want to create jobs.  The primary question then becomes: what would those new private sector jobs cost the city?  Chiu stated that the case needs to be made to protect city jobs while showing the Board that a job created in the private sector helps the public sector.

Payroll Tax

The Supervisor mentioned the city’s payroll tax, briefly, and stated that the City is currently researching other municipalities’ actions on this issue and relative effectiveness of the tax in those cities.

BOMA San Francisco's Advocacy Team would like to thank Supervisor David Chiu for taking the time to speak to the members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and to the Chamber for producing the meeting.  We look forward to working  with Supervisor Chiu on issues of mutual concern in the future.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CALL TO ACTION! Support Supervisor Sean Elsbernd's Pension Reform Legislation

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has recently introduced legislation that would reform city employees pensions.  Please contact the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor's office to pledge your support for Supervisor Elsbernd's measure.  It will be heard in the Rules Committee on Thursday, January 21st at City Hall, Room 263.  If you can attend and testify in support of this reform legislation, please do. Otherwise, telephone calls and e-mails are urgently needed.

Please click here to read the proposal.

The measure requires:
  • An increased employee contribution of 7.5% to 9.0% from newly hired safety employees;
  • Pensions, for all new hires, will be based on the best 36 months of service, as opposed to the current 12 months; 
  • A prohibition against the City and employee groups from negotiating away the employee's mandated retirement contribution; and,
  • A pre-funding requirement of our currently unfunded $4 billion retiree health care bill.

Next fiscal year, the City and County of San Francisco will contribute approximately $325 million into the pension fund.  For the current fiscal year the number is approximately $240 million; last fiscal year, the City contributed $125 million.  The City's actuararies project that in just four years, San Francisco may need to contribute approximately $650 million. These costs are only for the increase in pensions.  They do not reflect the equally increasing health care costs.

Should the measure be approved, the retirement costs will come down, albeit by a small amount.  That said, this is the first step in addressing this alarming issue.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The News Links - January 13-15, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle: BART ponders raising transbay surcharge.

San Francisco Chronicle: Campbell could reshape Senate race.

Please click here to help earthquake victims in Haiti.

Commercial Real Estate

San Francisco

Marin/San Mateo/Sonoma
  • Congresswoman Jackie Speier's January 13th newsletter can be found, here.
  • San Carlos mayor shakes up fire board.
  • San Mateo County to weather ‘financial storm


The Economy

Energy and Environment


California's New Green Building Code – CALGREEN

BOMA San Francisco Members:

As you may know, California became the first state in the nation to adopt a statewide mandatory green building code, on a unanimous vote by the state’s California Building Standards Commission.  BOMA California played a significant role in shaping and gaining approval of this statewide green building directive from the Commission.  Indeed, Matthew Hargrove, BOMA California's advocate in Sacramento, recently received some ink in the San Francisco Chronicle on this recently--click here to read the article!

In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger directed the California Building Standards Commission to work with specified state agencies on the adoption of green building standards for residential, commercial and public building construction for the 2010 code adoption process.

CALGREEN will require that every new building constructed in California reduce water consumption by 20 percent, divert 50 percent of construction waste from landfills and install low pollutant-emitting materials. It also requires separate water meters for nonresidential buildings’ indoor and outdoor water use, with a requirement for moisture-sensing irrigation systems for larger landscape projects and mandatory inspections of energy systems (e.g., heat furnace, air conditioner and mechanical equipment) for nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet to ensure that all are working at their maximum capacity and according to their design efficiencies. The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) by 3 million metric tons equivalent in 2020.

Upon passing state building inspection, California’s property owners will have the ability to label their facilities as CALGREEN compliant without using additional costly third-party certification programs.

Click here to learn more about CALGREEN.

Tenant Installation of Access Controlled Egress Systems

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Mary Tse, Inspector for the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD), informed the BOMA San Francisco Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) members on January 12, 2010 about a trend that SFFD high-rise inspectors have noticed where tenants, to protect their employees, are installing access controlled doors--many times without the proper permit from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI).  Since the access controlled egresses are being installed without the approval of the SFDBI or the SFFD, neither department knows if these doors are tied to the building's life safety system or if the controls are backed up by emergency power.

Please take a moment to review the SFFD bulletin and codes regarding access controlled egress, here and contact Ken Cleveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs at and John M. Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Legislative Assistant at with any possible solutions to this issue.

Mayor Newsom Announces Central Market Partnership To Revitalize Mid-Market Neighborhood

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced on January 14, 2010 the Central Market Partnership, an economic development project to renew and coordinate efforts to revitalize the Central Market neighborhood. The Mayor was joined by Police Chief George Gascón, Fred Blackwell, Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Commission, Ed Reiskin, Director of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and key neighborhood stakeholders representing small businesses, arts/cultural organizations, property owners, and homeowners.t

The Central Market Partnership is a focused effort led by the Mayor’s office to coordinate the actions of the City and private and civic stakeholders, to revitalize the neighborhood. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development will lead a multi-agency effort (with Planning, Redevelopment, DPW, MTA, Arts Commission, Police and others), to revitalize and reinvest in Central Market Street--the key stretch of Market between 5th Street and Van Ness Avenue--that has long suffered from blight and disinvestment.

Mayor Newsom has committed to marshal all that that the City can bring to bear to revitalize Central Market.  Some of the tools include:
  • Central Market Cultural District Enhancement Fund – Create a $11.5 million pool of low-interest loans to businesses that will contribute to the cultivation of a cultural district in Central Market and the Tenderloin.  The City is in discussions with HUD about targeting loans of up to $2 million to property owners and businesses that can generate jobs for low and moderate-incom individuals.
  • Coordinated Historic Tax Incentives.  -  Combine all of the financial tools available to underwrite historic rehabilitation projects and to make these readily available to willing property owners.  These include the City’s Mills Act property tax rebate, façade easements and Federal Historic Tax Credits.  These existing programs can be focused in this limited geographic area for maximum effect.
  • Central Market Redevelopment Plan – Re-examine the stalled effort to make this area a redevelopment project area.  A Central Market Redevelopment Project Area can provide powerful Tax Increment Financing tools to support the transformation of this district.
  • Better Market Street Project – This planning process will result in concrete plans for Market Street that focus on public space improvements, pedestrian enhancements, reliable transit service and world-class bicycle accessibility.  The goal is to implement many of these improvements along with the repaving of Market Street in 2013.
The Central Market Partnership will incorporate the City’s ongoing work in the neighborhood, such as efforts with existing Community Benefit Districts (CBDs), enhanced pedestrian/physical improvements such as the Taylor St intersection, Art in Storefronts and the Market St. Closure Pilot, as well as the Police Department’s stepped up public safety efforts in the neighborhood.

The work of the Mayor’s Office has also spawned additional opportunities that have real potential to transform the area.  Some examples include:
  • The City Place project will re-energize Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets with 250,000 square feet of retail, a great design and active ground floor storefronts.
  •  More than a dozen cultural arts organizations are now searching for space in the area, including Joe Goode Dance Company, Killing My Lobster, Intersection for the Arts, Lorraine Hansberry Theater Afro Solo, and SF Recovery Theater.  OEWD is working to identify vacant or underutilized theater and office space to accommodate them, including active discussions with the Furniture & Carpet Building (1071 Market) and the Dollhouse Theater (80 Turk).
  • Restaurant owners see the potential of the emerging arts & cultural district to generate foot traffic and are launching both new endeavors and reviving old ones.  Farmer Brown’s, newly opened Show Dogs eatery, and a forthcoming restaurant in the Warfield Building (both from the owners of Foreign Cinema) represent the new energy in the area; and the Duggan family is working on a strategy to reopen Original Joe’s, a beloved San Francisco establishment that closed in 2007.
  • A San Francisco landmark, the Hibernia Bank building is undergoing a multi-million renovation and will be positioned to house a major cultural or entertainment institution when it’s finished.