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YIMBY-backed Breed intervened to remove bikeshare station on her own block

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Board of Supervisors President London Breed called SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin in March seeking the removal of a Ford GoBike bikeshare station near Haight and Pierce streets. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/on-guard/

Mayoral candidate London Breed, the sole endorsee of the Yes in My Backyard group, seems to have gone full NIMBY.

The Board of Supervisors president used her influence to request the removal a Ford GoBike bikeshare station — yes, in her own backyard. (OK, technically, the station is on Haight and Pierce streets, around the corner from Breed’s apartment.)

That’s quite a turn for Breed, as much hay has been made of the split between YIMBY newcomers who wish to see housing built and longtime neighbors allegedly claiming “Not in my backyard!” to slap back new housing and transportation, particularly against state Sen. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 827.

In this much-ballyhooed argument, mayoral candidates Jane Kim, Mark Leno and Angela Alioto have been cast as classic, teeth-gnashing NIMBYs while Breed proudly carries the flag for the YIMBYs. But don’t worry, Breed can go NIMBY, too.

In late March, Breed personally called Ed Reiskin, director of transportation at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, to give him an earful: The station on her block has to go, she said.

The call was confirmed by multiple sources, including the SFMTA, which confirmed Breed “reached out” to the agency.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the agency then directed Motivate LLC, which operates Ford GoBike, to remove the station. It’s still there, but not for long. The SFMTA said it’s awaiting permits to do so.

Rose said the supervisor even reached out a year ago to stop it from being installed in the first place. Rose said neighbors were frustrated there was a lack of outreach over the station.

“I talk to all my neighbors, and no one knew they’d put them in or anything,” said Jerry Jegen, a San Francisco native who lives in his family home in the neighborhood.

Jegen, a former cyclist, doesn’t mind bikeshare station, he said, “I just hated to see so many parking spots taken away.”

Staff at Palmyra restaurant said the station, which sits outside the restaurant, has hurt their business due to lost parking.

Lawrence Li, a neighborhood resident since 2010 who sits on the board of the Lower Haight Merchants and Neighbors Association, argued bikeshare stations in the neighborhood are “really well used.” Li is worried that “automobile parking spaces would trump 27 bicycle parking spaces.”

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition voiced concern that Breed would vote to support the expansion of Ford GoBike in San Francisco but remove them in her own neighborhood.

“President Breed has been a strong champion for bike projects in her district, like Masonic, Fell and Oak, and securing funding for improving the Panhandle biking and walking path,” said Brian Wiedenmeier, the coalition’s executive director. “It’s disappointing to hear that she’s limiting access to bikeshare.”

Breed said in a statement that the station exacerbated existing construction impacts — she did not provide specifics — and that removing the bikeshare station “is not about my personal opinion or preference,” noting that Motivate needs to do “a better job at outreach.”

YIMBY founder Laura Clark wrote by email, “”I can’t speak to every situation, but YIMBY doesn’t conduct purity tests. We try to look at the overall views of the candidates, and support those who are fighting for the boldest changes to our failed housing policies.”

Unless it’s in their own backyard, right?

* * *

Ethics Commissioner Quentin Kopp took umbrage with my coverage last weekend, when I took him to task for delaying needed ethics reforms in time for the June mayor’s race.

“I recommend that City Hall reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez watch entire Ethics Commission meetings before informing readers in his opinion column,” he wrote in a letter to my bosses, adding that I was “physically present at the meeting for about 25 minutes” and missed him describing the ethics reforms to tighten reporting requirements of Super PAC money as “tortured” and “weakened” after key amendments were made.

To that, Mr. Kopp, let me simply respond: It’s called “video.”

Yes, I sat in the actual City Hall chamber last Tuesday for only 25 minutes, mostly to peek at who was in the audience, which is not captured on video. But don’t worry, I sat through the hours-long, torturous affair in full on Friday, because every supervisors meeting is recorded and available online.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said it best during the meeting, claiming he didn’t want “perfect to be the enemy of the good” before weakening his own proposal on financial reporting requirements — let me repeat, his own proposal! — so that the bulk of ethics reforms would pass with the votes needed to come in time for this election.

Kopp postponed that vote and, in doing so, damned any chance of making our mayoral candidates sweat under the collar when considering the acceptance of shady donations.

I still respect you, Mr. Kopp, and your efforts on the Ethics Commission. But I disagree with your vote last week.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell each week. Email Fitz at joe@sfexaminer.com, follow him on Twitter and Instagram @FitztheReporter, and Facebook at facebook.com/FitztheReporter.

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