In case you're just joining us, 8 Washington was a waterfront condo project along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. There are height limits controlling how tall buildings along the Embarcadero can be, because it's on the waterfront, and so the developers had to put a variance to these limits on the ballot.
I THINK. I'm not 100% sure but I think that's what happened.
I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say the whole thing seemed shady. The public faces of the pro-Prop B & C forces were Ed Lee and Gavin Newsom, who I think it's safe to say are both loathed by the city's progressives and also are widely believed to be crooked as hell. So the Bay Guardian dutifully came out against it.
But wait! There's another line of thought on this.
If rich people can block development through referendum, hold on to your hats, b/c we're a city of rich people.As it turns out, some of the opposition to this whole thing was funded by Boston Properties, which owns 4 Embarcadero Center, whose views would be blocked by the new thing. I guess those are the "rich people" Olu means.
— Olu Johnson (@periqueblend) November 6, 2013
So great. It's like the baseball strike all over again. Who are you for, the millionaires or billionaires?
I wasn't really convinced one way or another. In the end, I ended up voting "no" on it, but for my usual wacko reason, which is this: I DON'T THINK THE CITIZENRY SHOULD BE VOTING ON ROUTINE CITY PLANNING DECISIONS.
We hire people with advanced degrees in City Planning and pay them what I assume is a lot of money to figure this shit out! Don't put it on me. If we put the citizenry in charge of city planning, every block is going to have a Giants Dugout Store, a Gold Dust Lounge, and a Chuck E Cheese. Golden Gate Park will be replaced by a huge Go Kart track, and every single store in the Mission will be required to stay exactly the same forever.
My idea is this: We have a city planning system in place. If the SYSTEM is broken, let's fix that, instead of voting on fucking INDIVIDUAL PROJECTS one at a time. I suggest, and not from a place of snobbiness, that ordinary citizens do not have the information necessary to decide whether or not most building projects should be built. People go to school for years ans years to figure that out. So let's let the system work. If we don't like the outcome, change the system. But Christ, let's don't start planning our city by voting on each building.
In the end, it lost. Now the developers can still build something there, just not as tall. Yay?