Tuesday, March 31, 2009

UPDATE: Cal-OSHA Maintenance Requirements for Permanent Scaffolding

At BOMA San Francisco’s Codes & Regulations Committee meeting recently, we discussed the issue surrounding some changes with regard to permanent scaffolding (also expressed as exterior building maintenance & powered platform systems) requirements.

Here is the update from our orignial post on this issue today:

TRACTEL: If you have a Tractel scaffold and Tractel or Tyrack hoist-winder installations, the recent Cal-OSHA letter does NOT alter how maintenance is done on those scaffolds given the manufacturer’s clarification to Cal-OSHA. Thus, these hoist motors DO NOT have to be removed for the annual maintenance and there should be NO measurable change in cost to your annual maintenance, unless there are real wear and tear issues that are uncovered during the annual maintenance.

SPIDER: If you have a Spider scaffold, you have to follow the OEM requirements for maintenance and care. In the case of Spider, they do not support their systems and do not sell parts to third party providers, so it may be tough for you to fix a problem if something substantial goes wrong.

OTHER BRANDS: Building owners and mangers will be required to adhere to the Cal-OSHA standard and have the hoist motors removed from the building for the annual maintenance requirements.

Thanks to contractors like Scaffold Inspection Testing and Tractel, some necessary and appropriate clarification has been brought to light to help BOMA members understand this issue. However, requirements are requirements; it behooves you to assure that your scaffolds are being maintained in a compliant and dependable condition.

Remember! The BOMA Experience Exchange Report Deadline is April 15!

The commercial real estate industry's best benchmarking tool, the Experience Exchange Report (EER) is now available online for BOMA members. Developed in conjunction with well-respected industry research firm, Kingsley Associates, the new EER's data will be available via the Web as the book and CD versions will no longer be available. This new Web-based resource is easier and faster to use, completely interactive and offers tremendous flexibility. BOMA members will be able to submit and locate data more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Please be aware that the deadline for submitting data is APRIL 15! Click here to start submitting data now!

Cal-OSHA Maintenance Requirements For Permanent Scaffolding

Due to a number of incidents, as well as the lack of adequate inspection records involving permanently installed window washing platforms and exterior building maintenance systems, Cal-OSHA has distributed a letter detailing the annual maintenance requirements for permanently installed scaffolding systems. The letter can be viewed here. The California Code of Regulations noted in the letter, under Title 8, can be viewed by clicking on the following section numbers: 3296; 3297 ; and 3328(b).

So what's the bottom line to building owners and managers? Site inspections are no longer adequate. Annual maintenance will include removing hoists from the building to be shop tested—to the manufacture's specifications—and to have routine maintenance performed. A detailed account of this maintenance will need to be documented in the building's records.

As such, there is a need for BOMA San Francisco members to be aware of the possible increased maintenance costs from the Cal-OSHA requirements. Scaffold Inspections & Testing (S.I.T.) companies may charge more for inspections, and some manufacturers have started restricting sale of parts to other S.I.T. licensed contractors, which might require a hoist manufacturer to travel from outside the Bay Area to service the particular type of equipment. If you plan to start the bidding process for a new exterior building maintenance system, make sure your RFP includes a line item for maintenance that included the new additional maintenance requirements.

The Morning News Links - March 31, 2009

  • American Institute of Architects convention will be held in San Francisco from April 30 to May 2. Attendance is expected to be lower, but the numbers are still impressive. 'Green' buildings is one theme of the convention. From the article: "In San Francisco alone, 30 building projects as of January had received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Green Building Council and its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
  • Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's opinion of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's May ballot initiatives can be found here (hint: he doesn't like them).
  • A mathematical analysis suggests that Senator Dianne Feinstein might make a run for California governor in 2010. Click here for the details.
  • Mayor Newsom is good at traversing through Mayor Villaraigosa's turf.
  • AB 23, a California measure to expand the COBRA subsidy, is making its way through the legislative process in Sacramento.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Read All About It: Supervisor David Chiu's Office Building After-Hours Lighting Ordinance

Supervisor David Chiu has introduced the ‘lights out’ legislation you may have heard about that requires (from the legislative digest):

…owners of commercial buildings located in the downtown and their tenants to turn off all lights in unoccupied areas after business hours except for lights required by the Building Code to be illuminated for emergency exiting unless the lights are controlled by occupancy sensor control devices or located in areas where after hours cleaning and other maintenance staff are required by their service contract to illuminate areas only while providing services within the area. This Ordinance also requires building owners to submit reports about their buildings.

Please click here to read the ordinance.
Please click here to read the legislative digest.

BOMA San Francisco's Government & Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) Meeting - April 1, 2009

BOMA San Francisco's Government & Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) will meet on April 1, in BOMA Conference Room, 233 Sansome Street, 8th Floor from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. We will have the pleasure of two guest speakers: City Attorney Dennis Herrera and San Francisco County Transportation Planner Tilly Chang (who will discuss the Market Street closure study). It will be a most informative meeting.

Mission: BOMA San Francisco’s Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) meets with those who propose or decide public policy, analyzes existing or proposed legislation and/or regulations to determine the impact on BOMA members, and recommends for BOMA Board approval what position the association should take on such matters. GAPAC educates and informs BOMA members, elected and administrative officials, and the public about issues of significance to commercial real estate, and BOMA’s positions on those issues.

Goal: The Committee will aid the Association in seeking the enactment of legislation and codes which encourage high standards of industry development and efficient, economical office buildings.

For information or to join the committee, please contact Susan Court at scourt@cwpmc.com.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi - Persian New Year Celebration

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi speaks to event guests.

Debra Walker, who sits on the San Francisco Department Building Inspection Commission, recently provided an update on CAPSS at the March 25th BOMA San Francisco's Codes and Regulations Committee.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi invited your BOMA advocacy team to a celebration at his City Hall office on Friday, March 27th for the Persian New Year. It was attended by over 300 people! Congratulations to Supervisor Mikrarimi for hosting a successful event!

Mayor Newsom Does Not Support Supervisor Chiu's Lights Out Legislation

Mayor Gavin Newsom is not supportive of Supervisor David Chiu's 'lights out' legislation. As quoted from the article:

“You can’t just at five o’clock turn out the lights. I was a janitor, I worked at 235 Montgomery [and] I worked at 1 California—I was there until 2 a.m. We were cleaning [and] vacuuming all up and down. You have to keep the lights on.”

Click here for the full KCBS report.

The Morning News Links - March 30, 2009

  • Supervisor David Chiu feels that the lack of tougher sentences for Graffiti offenders demonstrates the City's priority of the issue.
  • San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong may delay retirement. Click here to read all about it.
  • Hybrid taxi's in San Francisco are doing just fine, thank you.
  • Commercial real estate outlook Q1 of 2009: it will be tough to refinance loans - where will the funds come from? Click here for a summary of the report.
  • United States Senator Dianne Feinstein suggests that she will not support the Employee Free Choice Act. Click here for the details.
  • What affect does the long-term budget problem in California have on the private sector? Click here for an economist's take on the issue.
  • According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tom Campbell has a chance at becoming California's Governor.
  • The White House is going 'green', again.
  • California has restarted it's daily electricity auction.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 - Thank You for Your Participation!

Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs, talks to Mayor Gavin Newsom about Earth Hour

From left to right: John Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Legislative Assistant, Ken Cleaveland, and Zach Brown (Equity Office), Chair of BOMA San Francisco's Environment Committee

Your BOMA advocacy team was at the Ferry Building last night for Earth Hour 2009. Thank you to the BOMA members--as well as the individual businesses and San Francisco citizens--who participated in this symbolic gesture, echoed worldwide, to help fight global warming and raise the saliency of making practical changes in reducing energy consumption. Indeed, over 100 commercial buildings participated in the event!

And, although it wasn't safe for the entire City to go dark, many well known San Francisco landmarks turned off the lights including the Ferry Building, The Pyramid Center and the Bay Bridge.

BOMA San Francisco
was proud to be a part of Earth Hour 2009!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Afternoon News Links - March 27, 2009

  • Commercial real estate leads the U.S. financial sector down in stock trading today. The message here is that commercial tenants are having a hard time paying the rent due to slower consumer spending and a sour economy. Click here for the story.
  • If our Governor can fix the problems in California, then he can do anything, apparently.

Turn Off Your Lights for EARTH HOUR 2009 ON MARCH 28th

BOMA San Francisco asks for your participation in the symbolic Earth Hour 2009 event. Cities around the world, with San Francisco as one of the flagship cities, will participate in this event by doing one simple thing: turning off the lights for one hour in commercial buildings, small businesses, and homes. Please make sure to turn off all non-emergency lights in your building (as well as those in your home) on March 28th from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. as a sign of your concern about global warming, and to show your support for reducing carbon emissions. Please click here to view the motivational Earth Hour 2009 movie.

Please note that the Earth Hour 2009 event is part of a larger effort, the Earth Hour 24 x 7 Challenge, to make everyday changes that reduce energy consumption and combat global warming. Click here to learn how you can help with this new San Francisco initiative.

The Morning News Links - March 27, 2009

  • BOMA San Francisco gets some ink in today's Examiner with regard to our support of energy efficient light bulbs.
  • The hardworking Clerk of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors takes the blame for not enforcing the anti-corruption campaign finance law. Click here for the story.
  • San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera has created a Stimulus Spending Task Force. Read about it here and here.
  • Mayor Gavin Newsom is looking to expand the SF Energy Watch program to help assist more small businesses with saving energy. Please click here to read all about it.
  • If you're looking for higher taxes, then California is the state for you! Click here for the story.
  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger starts a task force as well: the California Federal Economic Stimulus Task Force.
  • If you are lucky enough to have the money (and a job) to purchase anything, now might be the time to do it before the April 1 statewide sales tax increase.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi Meets with BOMA San Francisco PAC Members

Pictured left to right: Kathy Mattes, Treasurer BOMA SF PAC; Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi; and Nancy Gille, Chair, BOMA SF PAC

Pictured left to right: Ken Cleaveland, Director of Government and Public Affairs, BOMA San Francisco; Supevisor Ross Mirkarimi, Nancy Gille, Chair, BOMA SF PAC; Todd Robinette, Jones Lang LaSalle; and Kathy Mattes, Vice-Chair BOMA SF PAC

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (District 5) met with BOMA San Francisco's PAC today to discuss his view of the City budget deficit, set-aside reform, the issues he is working on, and other topics. The following is a summary of the dialogue:

On The Budget:
As vice-chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, Supervisor Mirkarimi mentioned that seeking some revenue enhancement was necessary, although any new revenue measures would have to be coupled with structural reform of the budget process. The Supervisor stated that there is common ground among all the stakeholders involved in placing a combination of tax increases and budget reform measures on the ballot.
Even though all affected parties might agree about what goes on the ballot, it doesn't mean that any of the proposed revenue enhancement measures will be able to pass the 2/3rds vote requirement. That is a very high bar according to the Supervisor. Indeed, regardless of what is placed in front of the San Francisco electorate, Supervisor Mirkarimi stated that "all measures are DOA unless...all parties are on board".
Lastly, the Supervisor is for a two-year budget, increasing reserves and general procedural reforms.

On the Special Election:
Supervisor Mirkarimi stated that there will, most likely, be no special election prior to November.

On Set-Aside Reform:
Supervisor Mirkarimi is for set-aside reform. Indeed, he has introduced (with Supervisors David Chiu, and Sean Elsbernd) a City Charter amendment to change set-aside spending. The Supervisor feels that now is a good time politically to introduce the Charter amendment as set-asides compound the ability of the City to balance its budget. If you recall, the City has a perfect record of doing just that.

In the Supervisor's opinion, the Charter amendment will, most likely, not be on the November Ballot.
On the Mayor's Office:
Surprisingly, the Mayor is not supportive of set-aside reform. The Supervisor feels that the Mayor needs to take the lead on this: there is too much infighting among different grassroots organizations and a top-down approach to this issue would provide the necessary muscle his legislation needs to move forward.

On Supervisor Chiu's 'Lights Out' Ordinance:
Although the Supervisor has not had a chance to review Supervisor David Chiu's Office Building After-Hours Lighting Ordinance, BOMA PAC members wasted no time in letting him know how they feel about the proposal: they are not exactly happy about it. BOMA members ARE supportive of saving energy and mentioned that San Francisco buildings are leading the nation in sustainable building practices, which include energy conservation.

On His Own Efforts in City Hall:
Supervisor Mirkarimi is continuing to advocate tirelessly for his District and the City. Here are two of the issues (among many) he is working on currently:
  • Legitimizing secondary units, or working on bringing residents up to code. At present the Supervisor is looking for pilots for secondary units in the City that might lead to City-wide code amendments, and
  • Crime reduction in the Western Addition (e.g., foot patrols in disadvantaged communities). In fact, he mentioned that the City has as 11-12% resolve rate when it comes to crime cases!

BOMA San Francisco thanks Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi for this time and we look forward to working with him in the future.

Leave My Lights Alone! Ken Cleaveland is BACK IN TOWN!

Your very own Ken Cleaveland, BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Public Affairs, got some ink in the Chronicle's City Insider today.

The topic: Supervisor Chiu's 'lights out' legislation. As quoted from the article:

"It's putting building owners in the position of being light police. We don't control tenants and we don't want to control tenants," he said. "It also makes us liable for drive-by lawsuits. ... I can see someone in Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill sitting up there with binoculars and reporting buildings to the Department of the Environment."

Ken is, indeed, back in town.

The Morning News Links - March 26, 2009

  • Click here if you are a business that would like some tax relief from City Treasurer Jose Cisneros.
  • Those who know commercial real estate are skeptical of the plan by the U.S. Treasury and Fed to purchase/subsidize $2 trillion in toxic mortgage assets. You can read the article here.
  • California State Senator Fran Pavley, the author of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, is back with SB 31 . The measure, if adopted, will require that the money collected under AB 32 be deposited in the Air Pollution Control Fund. You can read all about it here.
  • Click here to view an interactive graphic of California's unemployment rate by County since January 2008.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BOMA San Francisco Members Attend BOMA International's National Issues Conference in Washington D.C.

BOMA San Francisco members attended a National Issues Conference in DC earlier this week. At the top of their agenda was encouraging our Bay Area Congressional representatives to permanently extend the 15 year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements, which expires at the end of 2009. Doing so, BOMA argued, would stimulate the economy and add jobs to the design and construction industries. Allowing the leasehold improvement deduction to revert back to 39 years would do tremendous damage to commercial real estate and reduce any incentive to upgrade existing buildings.
Pictured left to right:
Ken Cleaveland, Director, Govt. and Public Affairs, BOMA SF Nancy Gille, Chair, BOMA SF PAC Bruce Schilling, Member, BOMA SF PAC Margot Crosman, President, BOMA San Francisco Stephany Cull, Member, BOMA SF Environment Committee
Here is a picture of our BOMA California delegation and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who represents southern San Francisco and northern San Mateo counties in the U.S.House of Representatives, at our meeting with her on March 24, 2009, in her Capitol Hill office. At that meeting it was emphasized that the country's economy could be best assisted by helping stimulate the commercial real estate industry. That could be accomplished in a number of ways including giving commercial building owners a 3 year financial bridge to assist performing properties whose LTV ratios have recently plummeted, by permanently extending the 15 year leasehold depreciation schedule (which expires the end of 2009) and by increasing the rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. Such actions would benefit not only commercial real estate owners and their tenants, but be a financial boost to many other industries including architectural, engineering, construction, and green tech, resulting in significant job growth.

Pictured from left to right: Rob Cord, Kennedy-Wilson, BOMA California President Jack Spiegelman, Buzz Oates Properties, BOMA Sacramento Stephany Cull, Principal, Retro-Com Energy Strategies, BOMA San Francisco Nancy Gille, Chair, BOMA SF PAC, BOMA San Francisco Representative Jackie Speier Bruce Schilling, Waxie Supply, BOMA-SF-PAC, BOMA San Francisco Margot Crosman, Unico Properties, BOMA SF President Ken Cleaveland, Director, Govt. and Public Affairs, BOMA San Francisco Joe Markling, Lowe Enterprises, BOMA Greater Los Angeles

Lastly, here is a picture of our team meeting with Sen. Feinstein's senior policy advisor for energy and transportation issues, Matthew Nelson. Our group pushed for larger financial incentives for energy upgrades in commercial real estate and suggested the rest of the country should be brought up to California's Title 24 energy standards before any arbitrary new energy reduction goals were adopted nationally.

Pictured left to right: Bruce Schilling, Nancy Gille, Matthew Nelson, Margot Crosman, and Stephany Cull.

Lights Out in Downtown San Francisco?

As you may have heard, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (District 3) has introduced the 'lights out' measure that requires commercial buildings located in any C-3 District in San Francisco to turn off all non-essential lights after business hours. In addition, the proposal requires building owners to submit reports to the City about their buildings.

There is much to be done to improve this ordinance so that it is workable, rather than disruptive. Meanwhile, from comments posted on City Insider, SFExaminer.com, and SF.Curbed.com, local sentiment is mostly unfavorable.

BOMA San Francisco has long been the leader in promoting sustainable practices in office buildings:

Our High Rise Recycling Program began in 1987 and helped bring the city to a nearly 70% waste diversion rate

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 April 22 Earth Awards luncheon ceremony will be held at the Hotel Nikk0.

BOMA San Francisco hosted a major Sustainability Fair this January to showcase products and practices leading to improved environmental practices in office buildings.

BOMA has 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, designed to stimulate investment in energy saving equipment, was developed in concert with the Clinton Climate Initiative.

BOMA’s 7-Point Market Transformation Challenge was designed to reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings 30% by 2012.

Our local partnership with the US Green Buildings Council encourages our members to obtain individual LEED Accredited Professional certification, as well as to get their buildings LEED Certified.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

SPUR Forum: Existing Buildings and Disaster Resilience

Your BOMA advocacy team attended today's SPUR forum: Existing Buildings and Disaster Resilience where David Bonowitz, Structural Engineer and one of the primary authors of SPUR's article The Resilient City Part I: Before The Disaster, What We Need To Do Now To Recover Quickly From A Major Earthquake, presented the findings of his research on existing buildings and 'resilience'. The article can be found here.

Mr. Bonowitz discussed San Francisco's seismic resilience--the ability for the City to bounce back after an earthquake. Indeed, the types of buildings that are most vulnerable in an earthquake are:
  • Tilt-ups
  • Unbraced cripple walls
  • Hillside houses
  • House over garage
  • Unreinforced masonry buildings
  • Parking garages
  • Pre-Northridge earthquake steel frame
  • Non-ductile (pre-1980) concrete frames
  • Soft-story woodframe

There are also non-structural risks (i.e., pieces of a building):

  • Water tanks
  • Chimneys
  • etc.

And lastly, contents risk (not in the building code).

So what is the City's priority for resilience? Where do we start?

Traditional approaches to resilence, at the low-end of the priority ladder, were the killer buildings (unreinforced masonry buildings), and at the high-end, essential facilities (hospitals, etc.). What about the mid-range? That is, what about combining occupancy and vulnerability?

The City's priority for resilience depends on building's stock and occupancy.

Recommendations on where to start:

  • Soft-story mulit-unit buildings
  • Shelters (e.g., schools used for shelter)
  • Recovery phase services (private social services and medical services)
  • Non-ductile concrete buildings
  • Gas lines and equipment (bracing them/installing shut-off valves)
  • Unreinforced masonry buildings

Please refer to the SPUR article for the details.

BOMA San Francisco Codes & Regulations Committee Meeting - March 25 at 12 Noon

BOMA San Francisco's Codes and Regulations Committee will meet at 12:00 p.m. tomorrow, March 25th, at the offices of Hathaway Dinwiddie, 275 Battery Street, Suite 300.

The mission of BOMA's Codes & Regulations Committee is to provide technical support on code-related issues to the Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC), educate BOMA members about construction industry codes, standards, ordinances and regulations and their impact on the commercial real estate industry; and provide input into the code-making process at the state and local levels consistent with BOMA’s policy positions.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Jeff Palmer @ jpalmer@ableserve.com.

Monday, March 23, 2009

BOMA San Francisco Member Survey 2009

Your BOMA advocacy team needs to know what resources our membership (that's you!) possesses. You should have received BOMA San Francisco's 2009 Member Survey via email on March 4, 2009, which queries your intellectual and technical capabilities, as well as your personal connections (elected or non-elected public policy makers or key staff members) to those in local, state, and federal government. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and submit it by the end of the week. If you did not receive the survey, please contact John Bozeman, BOMA's Legislative Assistant, at (415) 362-2662, etc. 116, or johnb@boma.com.

Helping BOMA helps you, and our industry.

Green Jobs Hearing: Land Use and Economic Development Committee

Supervisor Eric Mar is holding a Land Use & Economic Development Committee Green Jobs Hearing today at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the economic stimulus package and green job development that will benefit low-income community members in the City of San Francisco. The hearing will attended by representatives from labor, small business, and community groups.

You can watch the hearing here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Insurance Update: Workers Compensation, COBRA, and San Francisco’s Health Ordinance

Workers Comp Rates May Increase

Workers compensation rates may increase 24.4%. The details can be found here.

COBRA Notification

Employers with 20 or more employees will need to notify those employees who have been involuntarily terminated from September 1, 2008 or after. This applies only to those employees that had health insurance through your company. You will be required to pay 5% of your employee’s premium and will receive a refund from the Federal government. For those employers with 2 to 19 employees, your insurance carrier will be sending notices and you will not be required to advance the 65%.

Please contact Scott Hauge, President of Small Business California for more information at shauge@cal-insure.com. You can also visit the COBRA website.

San Francisco Healthcare Ordinance

It looks as if the San Francisco Healthcare Ordinance isn’t going away any time soon: a request by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association was recently denied by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Click here for the details.

UPDATE (March 23, 2009): Some restaurants are not in support of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association's lawsuit.

Report: Energy Efficiency Jobs In The Bay Area to Increase

If you know of someone who is looking for work, or would like to change careers, it would be advantageous for them to consider jobs in the energy efficiency field. According to the Bay Area Energy Efficiency Occupations Report, growth in energy efficiency occupations—including many in commercial real estate—is expected to increase in the Bay Area over the next three years. The increase is due partly to federal stimulus dollars from the American Recovery an Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Bay Area Energy Efficiency Occupations Report, produced by the San Francisco Bay and Greater Silicon Valley Centers of Excellence, can be viewed here.

Automobile Restrictions on Market Street?

At the behest of Commissioner Chris Daly, the San Francisco Transportation Authority will produce a Strategic Analysis Report (SAR) to investigate options for restricting automobiles (not a full ban) on Market Street from the Embarcadero to Van Ness Avenue (a map of which can be viewed here). The SAR will be completed in May/June 2009, and will evaluate how the restriction alternatives—if packaged with other enhancements—might improve economic development, transit and overall livability in and around the suggested ban area.

BOMA Members:

We will have a discussion of Market Street automobile restrictions at BOMA San Francisco’s Government & Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) on May 6, 2009 in the BOMA Conference Room, 233 Sansome Street, 8th Floor, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Mayor Wants To Make Existing Buildings Greener

Photograph from Mayor Newsom's Flickr Photostream

Mayor Gavin Newsom, who in 2008 signed the San Francisco Green Building Ordinance requiring new buildings to meet green building standards, now has his sights set on making existing buildings more sustainable. Yesterday, the Mayor announced that he has organized an Existing Buildings Task Force to work with public and private interests in making San Francisco’s existing structures more energy efficient.

You can read all about it here and here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Commercial Real Estate Industry Emerges Virtually Unscathed In California Budget Battle

According to Michael Gottieb, Editor of the California Real Estate Journal, the recent California budget battle in the State Legislature has proved him wrong: Commercial real estate DOES have effective advocacy organizations in Sacramento (BOMA California, included!). You can read more on his thoughts about that, Proposition 13 and the split-roll tax issue here.

But wait! The state is still $8 billion short?

San Francisco's Budget Improvement Project

With the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget deficit at approximately $500 million (nearly half of the city’s General Fund), all eyes are on our local elected leaders to keep San Francisco’s perfect record of passing balanced budgets, on time. On March 16th, the Controller's Office presented the Budget Improvement Project report to Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors. The report was commissioned by the Mayor and is a review of the structural barriers in maintaining a balanced budget going forward. Here are some of the findings:

  • Revenue and spending trends show the General Fund has grown from $2.4 billion to $4 billion in the last ten years;
  • 60% (!) of the General Fund spending growth has come from Public Health, Human Services, Police, and Fire with the majority of spending going to improve employee wages and benefits;
  • San Francisco provides a vast array of services at costs that exceed other cities and counties in California;
  • The two most volatile revenue sources for the General Fund are the real estate transfer tax, and the use of the prior year fund balance;
  • San Francisco's revenue base is more diversified and, therefore, more stable in comparison to peer cities and counties in California.

All this and more can be reviewed in the report.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Governor Promotes Budget Reform at the Commonwealth Club

Photograph from Governor Schwarzenegger's website.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke at the Commonwealth Club recently to promote the California budget reform measures on the ballot on May 19th. Your BOMA advocacy team was in attendance and listened assiduously to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s commentary. The Governor spoke about the Legislature’s recent budget compromise which included reform measures (for the budget to work as planned, all six budget reform measures must be approved by voters), his support for changing the initiative process, the fact that he has never looked into the split roll tax issue with regard to Proposition 13, and many other issues. You can listen to the entire program here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BOMA San Francisco Leaders Meet With Supervisor Eric Mar

BOMA San Francisco leaders and staff met with Supervisor Eric Mar (District 1) on March 5, 2009 to introduce him to the association and to discuss the current state of commercial real estate in San Francisco. The meeting was very productive. BOMA representatives emphasized that its members house the majority of the city’s small business community, and legislation and/or taxes that are assessed on commercial property owners invariably also get passed on to these same small business tenants. Supervisor Mar is pictured with (from left to right): Katherine Mattes with CB Richard Ellis; Marc Intermaggio with BOMA San Francisco; Mike Freeman with McCarthy Cook & Co. LLC; Mark Buckingham with Hines; and Ken Cleaveland with BOMA San Francisco. Jim Christian with DRA Advisors, LLC was also in attendance, but had to leave before the picture was taken.


UPDATE: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce - Supes for Lunch with Eric Mar

Your BOMA advocacy team attended the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce's Supes for Lunch with Eric Mar event on March 18, 2009. Here is a brief synopsis of what transpired:

Supervisor Mar, who represents the Richmond District (District 1), mentioned that protecting working families, children and seniors is a top priority. On the issue of land use, the Supervisor understands the need for new development and supports job growth. Indeed, he is holding a Land Use & Economic Development Committee Green Jobs Hearing on March 23rd at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the economic stimulus package and green job development that will benefit low-income community members in City of San Francisco. The hearing will attended by representatives from labor, small business, and community groups.

In addition to job growth, Supervisor Mar wants to protect small business and cultivate diversity in the Richmond District. The Supervisor does not favor a formula retail ban for the Richmond District, and strongly supports conditional use scrutiny of all chain store applications. Lastly, he supports homeownership especially for working families but, at the same time, is sensitive gentrification and to the concerns of the Tenant Union.

San Francisco's Small Business Network Welcomes Our New Supervisors

The San Francisco Small Business Network held their "Meet The New Supervisors" event last night at the Old Mint. As events go, this one was one of the best. Indeed, in attendance were small business owners, business associations (including your BOMA San Francisco advocacy team), and community organizations. Of course, City Hall was well represented with the four freshmen Board of Supervisors: Board President David Chiu, John Avalos, David Campos, and Eric Mar all at the event. Also in attendance were veteran Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Sean Elsbernd.

Congratulations to Mr. Art Swanson (pictured with the freshmen supervisors—from left to right: David Campos, David Chiu, John Avalos, and Eric Mar), President of the Small Business Network, for hosting a very successful event!

Monday, March 16, 2009

SF Board President David Chiu is Not Supportive of Congestion Pricing

Photograph from Supervisor Chiu’s website.

In a KCBS In Depth interview this weekend, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu (District 3) stated that he is not supportive of any immediate or short-term implementation of congestion pricing. Mr. Chiu is, however, open to studies of the long-term affects of the proposition. BOMA San Francisco opposes congestion pricing and we are pleased with Mr. Chiu's commentary on this issue. Please click here for the details.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Dear BOMA San Francisco Members:

Welcome to the all-new BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Blog!

This all new communication medium (well, new to BOMA) will allow you to stay in touch with BOMA San Francisco's advocacy work as it happens. We'll be updating the blog with information and pictures from our meetings with San Francisco politicians, our dealings with the movers and shakers in the City's government departments, and issues that affect the commercial real estate industry.

In short, this is your window into the wild world of San Francisco politics, and how we advocate for commercial real estate interests (you!).

Of course, we would love your feedback on our blog entries. Please feel free to email John Bozeman, BOMA San Francisco's Legislative Assistant, at johnb@boma.com with your suggestions or comments.

Remember, if you aren't at the table, you could be on the menu!