There was much discussion today regarding “discretionary review,” a San Francisco oddity in which private citizens can inveigh against and pillory even a conforming development. This is a legitimate cause for concern, but developers tell me it’s not near the No. 1 issue holding up their housing projects in this city. Rather, they point to spiraling construction costs and the sclerotic nature of the city’s planning bureaucracy itself. They’re less concerned with community groups holding up a project than the months or years it takes to get a hearing before the Planning Commission and connect a project with a planner.Sclerotic bureaucracy is a problem — but one the voters needn’t be involved in fixing. So why would the mayor’s office move forward with a charter amendment everyone knew was dead on arrival? Think of it as the legislative equivalent of a flaming bag of feces placed on a mark’s doorstep. The mayor invigorated her staunchest supporters while also portraying the board as obstructionist and dysfunctional. That’s good politics. That doesn’t mean the mayor’s office isn’t legitimately trying to build more housing in other ways — but, today, the supes were made to dirty themselves by stamping out that flaming bag of feces.San Francisco’s housing crisis is just that: a crisis. Today the call went out to public speakers on both sides to provide cover for a preordained outcome. That’s politics as usual, but politics as usual got us to where we are. The charter amendment was tabled today, but the mayor and board are still both presenting competing ordinances regarding teacher housing. If teachers could live in legislation, San Francisco’s educators would be set up well. The differences between these measures are described as trivial by everyone in City Hall I’ve spoken with. Which could, in fact, lead to the most rancorous arguments of all, and competing measures being thrown to the voters come November. To wit: The definition of “affordable housing” and “teacher housing” differ depending upon whom you ask. Hopefully housing will be built. As will consensus. Email Address Your humble narrator is not going to weigh in on the merits of the competing measures, and will focus instead on the problems and perceptions that led to today’s fraught — yet ultimately farcical — meeting. This conundrum has been framed, elsewhere, as a battle between a pro-housing mayor and an anti-housing board. Beware the distillation of a beastly complex problem into a simple slogan. Beware anyone on any side of a municipal issue evincing the moral certitude of a Crusader. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer’s much-repeated mantra today was “who are we leaving behind?”The misgivings the supervisors had with this proposed charter amendment when it was introduced months ago were the same ones expressed today in a telling preamble to the hearing by Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer and Hillary Ronen. Their feelings weren’t mollified at all. In short: The mayor’s proposal would enable “by-right” teacher housing on public land in which one-third of the structure is devoted to commercial space, and, in the residential portion of the structure, one third of the units would be market-rate and open to anyone, and two-thirds would be reserved for teachers. The supes complained, however, that these teacher units would be set for residents earning up to 140 percent of area median income, with no hard and fast requirements to provide for lesser levels. Of note, 140 percent of AMI would be $121,000 for a single person and $172,400 for a family of four. What’s more, as this is a proposed charter amendment, the supes bemoaned that this setup — in which a one-bedroom apartment would run $3,000 a month — would be the new definition of “affordable.” The mayor has, repeatedly, described the above plan as “100-percent affordable teacher housing.” Which is, if nothing else, excellent branding.The competing board plan would require everyone in teacher housing to be an educator. It would also cater to those earning less money — half of the units would be for those earning 80 percent of area median income — with 20 percent of the units earmarked for educators earning 160 percent AMI. This split would, ostensibly, make these developments feasible. (Of note: This is a dicey way to fund a housing development. The mayor’s proposal of allowing one-third of the units to be market-rate housing, while politically treacherous, is not a dicey way to fund a housing development.)(Also of note: The supes’ plan relies upon structures enabled by Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 35 — a measure many on San Francisco’s political left did not support.)As speakers in favor of the mayor’s measure pointed out today, there is less state and/or federal money to be tapped in order to provide housing for middle-income earners — and a family earning $172,000 would be hard-pressed to land property in this town. But the conflict here pits middle-income earners against lower-income earners fighting for the same resources. “Our concern is that the pie is too small. We do not want middle-income educators’ legitimate need for housing to be pitted against low-income San Franciscans,” said Ken Tray of the United Educators union. “The mayor’s office is creating a new definition of affordable housing. Fair enough. But we would’ve liked to have been there on the ground floor.” Moments ago, a panel of supervisors scuttled a teacher housing charter amendment put forward by Mayor London Breed. This was done with no shortage of drama and acrimony and a lengthy cohort of (dramatic, acrimonious) public speakers. But, like a pro wrestling match, the outcome here was never in doubt and everyone knew the script. The mayor can count on three, maybe four votes from this board on any given day. You need six supervisors to put a charter amendment onto the ballot — and this charter amendment contained a number of provisions not amenable to the progressive majority on the board. Multiple legislators who spoke to Mission Local said they were never really engaged in a way you’d expect them to be if the object was to win their approval for passage of the charter amendment. What’s more, the unions representing the teachers — the teachers for whom this housing is proposed — did not support the mayor’s teacher housing proposal. Instead, they’re backing a competing measure put forward by members of the Board of Supervisors. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter
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ATHENS (AP) — Clashes have broken out inside Greece’s Olympic Stadium ahead of a Champions League match between AEK Athens and Ajax.Riot police dispersed home fans who threw plastic bottles and other objects at visiting supporters.No arrests or injuries were immediately reported.Police also clashed with mostly Greek fans in parts of central Athens earlier Tuesday and late Monday.Rival Greek supporters were involved in the violence near the city’s police headquarters. Traffic was blocked after youths hurled petrol bombs at rival supporters and police.TweetPinShare0 Shares
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Hillel Italie, The Associated Press Posted Dec 14, 2018 11:36 am PDT From Trump to #MeToo, publishing made headlines in 2018 NEW YORK — The publishing world made headlines in 2018, and not always by design. A wave of bestsellers offered damaging accounts of Donald Trump’s White House, a million-selling memoir by Michelle Obama had readers longing for the previous administration and a political thriller by former President Bill Clinton had some taking a closer look at a White House scandal from the 1990s. Meanwhile, some of the country’s top writers were called out for sexual harassment and a Dystopian novel written in the 1980s seemed ever more timely.Here are some highlights:FIRE AND FURY: It landed in early January and quickly had the country talking and Trump threatening to sue (a way to boost sales that ranks with an Oprah Winfrey endorsement). Michael Wolff’s tale of backbiting and chaos in the Trump administration wasn’t so much a revelation, as a confirmation of what millions had suspected. Reporters questioned some of his facts but the book had at least one real consequence: Former senior advisor Steve Bannon, who didn’t deny speaking with the author and criticizing both the president and Donald Trump Jr., was forced out as executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News. His old boss called him “Sloppy Steve.”#METOO: It began in January with a comments thread on the website of School Library Journal: Stories of widespread harassment by some prominent writers for children and young adults, with the alleged harassers first unnamed, then named. Within weeks “Maze Runner” author James Dashner had been dropped by his publisher and “13 Reasons Why” novelist Jay Asher by his agent. Sherman Alexie, whom the American Library Association had just awarded a Carnegie Medal for his memoir “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me,” declined the prize. And Daniel Handler of “Lemony Snicket” fame withdrew as commencement speaker at Wesleyan University. His replacement was well known to the #MeToo movement: Anita Hill, the woman who testified in 1991 that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had repeatedly harassed her. “Speaking out, despite the hardship,” Hill told the students, “can be self-liberating and can empower others.”A HIGHER LOYALTY: In a spirit of anger, admiration and curiosity, readers wanted to know why James Comey re-opened the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before Election Day and what he and Trump had said to each other before Trump fired him in May 2017, just four months into his administration. “This president,” Comey wrote, “is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values.” Only in the Trump era could a memoir by a former FBI director, one little known to the general public before 2016, sell hundreds of thousands of copies. And only in the Trump era would a sitting president refer to a former FBI director as an “untruthful slimeball.”PASSAGES: Within eight days last spring, two of the country’s most celebrated writers died, Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth. But 2018 also was a year for welcoming new voices. Tara Westover’s “Educated,” a memoir about growing up in an isolated Mormon home, was a bestseller admired by everyone from book critics to former President Barack Obama. Tommy Orange’s novel “There There” was widely acclaimed and the rare work of literary fiction over the past year to succeed commercially. Other notable debuts included Jamel Brinkley’s story collection “A Lucky Man” and Lisa Halliday’s novel “Asymmetry,” which included a character based on a real-life former lover — Philip Roth.THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING: The million-selling collaboration between Clinton and James Patterson was the novel of the summer, and launched a very different conversation from what the authors had intended. “The President is Missing,” a near-apocalyptic thriller, is a cautionary tale about preventing cyberattacks. But the book also included a chapter about a president facing impeachment — an experience Clinton is uniquely qualified to draw upon — and Clinton responded defensively to questions about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. “This was litigated 20 years ago,” Clinton told NBC’s Craig Melvin. The most notable thing about his answers, wrote New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister, was that “Clinton seemed to be shocked that he would be asked about his behaviour in light of #MeToo.”FEAR: Bob Woodward, a brand name for inside White House politics, seemed to withdraw during the Obama years. His two works on Obama, “The Price of Politics” and “The Last of the President’s Men,” made little impact compared to such early blockbusters as the Watergate-era “All the President’s Men.” And his only book during Obama’s second term was a return to the Nixon years: “The Last of the President’s Men,” about Alexander Butterfield, the White House aide who revealed to the world that Nixon had a taping system in the Oval Office. But Trump is a singular muse for political writers and with “Fear: Inside the Trump White House,” Woodward was fully back in the present. “Fear,” Woodward’s hottest seller in years, read like a more sober version of “Fire and Fury,” another tale of an uncontrollable chief executive and a staff that tries both to contain and encourage him. Trump’s verdict: “The Woodward book is a Joke.”BECOMING: The initial headlines were about Trump, whom Michelle Obama vowed she would never forgive for promoting the “birther” lie that her husband was born in Kenya. But Obama’s book quickly became among the bestselling political memoirs ever. Reviewers cited the qualities which millions had admired her for — the warmth and humour of her courtship with the future president, her candour in describing their marital struggles and efforts to have children and the care and insight into how Michelle LaVaughn Robinson — a self-described “girl of the South Side” of Chicago — adapted to being the country’s first black first lady.MARGARET ATWOOD: The Canadian author didn’t need to publish any new fiction to make news in 2018. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” released more than 30 years ago and dramatized in an acclaimed Hulu series, continued to rank with George Orwell’s “1984” as a defining dystopian text for the current time. Questions from readers about the imagined country of Gilead, a brutal patriarchy that didn’t seem very fictional, were so persistent that Atwood finally changed her mind about writing a sequel and announced that “The Testaments” would come out in 2019.___For more on the the biggest moments of 2018, visit: https://apnews.com/2018-TheYearinReviewHillel Italie, The Associated Press FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2018 file photo, copies of Bob Woodward’s “Fear” appear at Costco in Arlington, Va. Woodward’s hottest seller in years, read like a more sober version of “Fire and Fury,” another tale of an uncontrollable chief executive and a staff that tries both to contain and encourage him. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)