Letters from our Readers: Planning Department in sync with supervisors 

The Planning Department is not ignoring direction from the Board of Supervisors, as stated in an Examiner April 26 story, “Building Appeals could receive new rules.”

Discretionary review reform is not only about whether a review request receives a public hearing. It is also about improving the process for all stakeholders — from pre-application to a timely hearing. Many of these improvements are already implemented.

The Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee encouraged the Planning Department to continue with reforms to the discretionary review process that do not require legislation, but to hold off on administratively rejecting reviews that do not demonstrate exceptional or extraordinary circumstances.

The department’s scheduled May public hearings to discuss proposed interim discretionary review reform policies are fully in sync with the direction given by the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee.

Lawrence B. Badiner, Assistant Director, Planning Department, San Francisco

City attorney’s free time

The Examiner recently published a list of elected city officials whose offices have not abided by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s request to rein in their budgets to meet The City’s financial crisis. The City Attorney’s Office is one of them. Yet City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s staff seems to have lots of free time. He has offered to have his lawyers work on legal challenges to the recent Arizona immigration law. Since local legal duties are not enough to keep the City Attorney’s Office occupied, Mayor Newsom needs to seriously look at reducing their budget.

Robert A. Jung, San Francisco

Don’t let Cargill fill Bay

"By 2020, the population of the Peninsula will be over 14 million residents and therefore we need to create new housing in the Bay.” Does this sound like a current statement by the Cargill salt pond developers? However, it was actually said in 1961 by a developer connected to the Rockefeller family.

He wanted to cut off the top of San Bruno Mountain and dump it in the Bay in order to build thousands of new homes. Back in the ’60s, Peninsula residents stopped that developer. San Bruno Mountain is still there.

Cargill may be one of the largest privately owned corporations in the United States, but residents of the Peninsula do not want 30,000 additional neighbors living below sea level on Bay-fill surrounded by large levees.

Population growth is not new, and filling in the Bay to satisfy housing needs was discredited long ago. More than 100 current and former public officials have had the wisdom and the courage to state their opposition to the proposed Cargill development.

It would seem that going forward with an environmental impact report on Cargill’s proposed housing is premature and that issues of Redwood City zoning and the general plan should be addressed first.

Kaia Eakin, Redwood City

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Doug Graham

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