No new parking lots for gas-guzzling Hummers
Peskin, labor leaders rally in opposition to
support for Prop A
Board President Aaron Peskin led a rally yesterday outside a Gap
store at Powell and Market Streets in opposition to Gap founder
Don Fisher's Proposition H.
Photo(s) by John
October 19, 2007
Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the San Francisco Labor Council, labor
groups, and global warming activists rallied outside of the Gap
in downtown San Francisco Thursday to support Proposition A, a
transit reform bill aimed at reducing San Francisco's carbon footprint.
The bill, authored by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin,
aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by motor vehicles
in San Francisco.
The groups also urged voters to oppose Proposition H - a parking
bill that's backed by Gap founder billionaire Republican Don Fisher.
Don Fisher look-a-like Bert Hill drove a Hummer to the front of
the Gap store at Powell and Market St. to illustrate a point against
Prop H. "A Hummer would be able to park anywhere in the city
very easily. It's considered to be a 'low-emissions vehicle' under
this new law."
Critics of Prop H say that the sixty-one page initiative is filled
with small print loopholes that would benefit business interests,
but would do little to satisfy needs of the public transit system.
They allege Prop H provides unlimited parking for "low-emissions
vehicles," but say "low-emission," as defined by
the bill, includes Hummers, Escalades, and other gas-guzzling
Proponents of Proposition A, on the other hand, say their plan
would reduce global warming by supporting new hybrid and alternative
fuel buses in San Francisco in an effort to reduce the city's
It would increase Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) funding
in the first year without having to raise fares or taxes.
Supporters add that $26 million dollars would be added to funds,
allowing the MTA to keep 80 percent of already existing parking
One of the plan's goals would be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
caused by motor vehicles in the city to 80 percent of 1990 levels
by the year 2012.
Tom Radulovich, BART Director and Director of Livable City, said
he supports Prop A. He said the plan contains"essential reforms
to get Muni working." He said that more public transportation
and less driving is better for San Franciscans.
"Muni is very dependant on city streets," Radulovich
said. "If they're able to better prioritize transit over
commuter traffic then Muni's able to run better. But if we have
a lot more commuter traffic, Muni's just going to slow down and
become less reliable."
Tom Radulovich (right), BART Director and Director of Livable
City, with San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Tim
Proposition H may do just that.
The San Francisco Planning Department has estimated Prop H could
put as many as 20,000 new cars on the city's streets over the
next twenty years. Some say that that would no doubt lead to increased
traffic congestion, air pollution, and global warming.
Proponents of the measure, however, say more cars are expected
in San Francisco despite the measure, and point toa lack of adequate
street parking to justify the proposal to build more parking spaces.
City law currently says that San Francisco must allow developers
to build one parking space for every four dwelling units. Prop
H attempts to triple the allotment to "three spaces for every
four dwelling units," the ordinance suggests.
Peskin criticized the measure. Peskin described Fisher as "someone
who does not believe in global warming."
"I think he believes that everybody should be able to drive
their Hummer to work," he said. "But the reality is
if you want to have a great twenty-first century city, we have
to have a world- class transportation system, and not clog our
streets with cars."
SEIU Local 1021 members attended the rally.
"There's been some misconceptions also out there about the
labor movement," said Tim Paulson, San Francisco Labor Council
"The San Francisco Labor Council, including SEIU, overwhelmingly
endorsed a yes on A, and no on H."
The comments were made in reference to a recent editorial published
in the San Francisco Chronicle last Sunday claiming the SEIU didn't
endorse Prop A.
"This is a united community. This is a huge, real effort
to reform Muni that all partners are in on," Paulson added.
Supporters of Prop A include Mayor Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco
Bicycle Coalition and the San Francisco LGBT Community.