Cli­mate VIPs ar­rived on car­bon-spew­ing jets

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One of the hottest spots dur­ing the just-con­cluded Global Cli­mate Ac­tion Sum­mit was the pri­vate run­way at San Fran­cisco In­ter­na­tional Air­port, where SFO spokesman Doug Yakel re­ports cor­po­rate jet traf­fic was up 30 per­cent over nor­mal.

Air­port sources told us that the car­bon-spew­ing cor­po­rate jets nearly filled the land­ing area’s park­ing slots and that many had flown in for the con­fer­ence.

The three-day cli­mate con­fab drew more than 4,000 elected of­fi­cials, busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists from around the globe and was aimed at ad­dress­ing how to lower the car­bon emis­sions re­spon­si­ble for global warm-


The sum­mit was or­ga­nized by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been known to fly pri­vate.

In 2015, Brown flew with real es­tate megamil­lion­aire and ma­jor Demo­cratic Party donor Ge­orge Mar­cus via pri­vate jet to a cli­mate change con­fer­ence at the Vat­i­can. The next year, the go-green gov­er­nor jet­ted off with Mar­cus for a two-week trip that in­cluded stops in Italy, Bul­garia, Ro­ma­nia and Ukraine.

This time, the gov­er­nor and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, stayed grounded and car­pooled in from Sacra­mento with his se­cu­rity de­tail.

BART ris­ing: With nary a word of op­po­si­tion, BART has green-lighted a high-rise hous­ing, of­fice and re­tail devel­op­ment at its Lake Mer­ritt Sta­tion that will prob­a­bly com­pletely trans­form the area around Oak­land’s Laney Col­lege.

“I’m on cloud nine,” BART Board Pres­i­dent Robert Raburn said af­ter the board voted 8-0 to en­ter into an ex­clu­sive ne­go­ti­at­ing agree­ment with the East Bay Asian Lo­cal Devel­op­ment Corp. and Strada In­vest­ment Group.

The goal is a tran­si­to­ri­ented devel­op­ment that in­cludes a plaza and a pair of apart­ment and of­fice high-rises — one 27 sto­ries and the other 21 sto­ries. One tower would be lo­cated on the old Metropoli­tan Trans­porta­tion Com­mis­sion head­quar­ters site and the other on what is now the BART sta­tion’s park­ing lot.

In all, the plan calls for 519 units of hous­ing, with 44 per­cent to be rented out at be­low mar­ket rate. About a fifth of the of­fice space will go to lo­cal non­prof­its.

The com­bi­na­tion of af­ford­able hous­ing, space for non­prof­its and a lo­cal mi­nor­ity part­ner in the deal is a ver­i­ta­ble tri­fecta of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.

Plus it sup­ports re­gional and state cli­mate goals, Raburn said.

One thing the devel­op­ment will not have is park­ing. The sta­tion’s 177 spa­ces are doomed to ex­tinc­tion, with no sig­nif­i­cant re­place­ment park­ing in­cluded in the plan.

Oak­land Mayor Libby Schaff is al­ready on board, say­ing the use of a lo­cal project part­ner with a his­tory of lift­ing up “rather than push out our long­time vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties” was a win­ner all around.

Coun­cil­man Abel Guil­lén, whose district in­cludes the sta­tion, said that in ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing hous­ing, the three­block-project would bring “com­mer­cial vi­brancy to an area that is need of more busi­nesses.”

The Lake Mer­ritt project is the lat­est in a se­ries of high-den­sity hous­ing and of­fice de­vel­op­ments spring­ing up on BART park­ing lots through­out the sys­tem and chang­ing the face of the Bay Area.

De­vel­op­ments have gone up at the Pleas­ant Hill, MacArthur and Fruit­vale sta­tions, with North Con­cord next in line.

Tun­nel trou­ble: The big $41 mil­lion over­haul of San Fran­cisco’s Twin Peaks Tun­nel ap­pears to have been hit with the Muni curse.

The project drew the ire of Mayor London Breed when Muni un­der­es­ti­mated the num­ber of buses needed to ferry com­muters around the tun­nel and track re­build.

Then a pri­vate con­trac­tor was struck and killed by a steel beam in early Au­gust as work wrapped up in­side the tun­nel. And af­ter the job was fi­nally com­pleted in late Au­gust, there were a cou­ple of glitches with the sig­nals that caused the trains to stop as they en­tered the tun­nel.

“But we cleared them up pretty quickly,” Muni spokesman Paul Rose said.

All was fine un­til last week, when a con­trac­tor’s crew do­ing “rou­tine work” dam­aged parts of the tun­nel’s au­to­matic con­trol sys­tem. The dam­aged con­trols meant op­er­a­tors had to move trains through at sig­nif­i­cantly lower speeds, which in turn slowed down the en­tire city­wide Muni Metro sys­tem.

The Mu­nic­i­pal Trans­porta­tion Agency re­placed the dam­aged com­po­nents, but the prob­lem has con­tin­ued.

More parts are on or­der from the man­u­fac­turer in Ger­many.

Com­mand­ing pres­ence: The at­tempt to clean up San Fran­cisco’s U.N. Plaza has al­most be­come an an­nual event.

It usu­ally starts with the clos­ing down of the plaza’s foun­tain for clean­ing, cou­pled with an in­crease in police pa­trols.

The foun­tain is be­ing cleaned again, but this time the police have upped the ante by bring­ing in one of the de­part­ment’s bus-size mo­bile com­mand cen­ters and park­ing it at the Mar­ket Street end of the plaza — where it will stay 24/7 for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

“We are just try­ing to re­store some or­der to an area where there has been a lot of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity,” Deputy Chief Michael Red­mond said.

And it’s not just the com­mand cen­ter that’s been brought in: On Fri­day morn­ing, there were four bi­cy­cle cops pa­trolling the block-long plaza, plus a police sport util­ity ve­hi­cle parked on the City Hall side.

The plaza and its un­der­ground Civic Cen­ter BART Sta­tion have be­come ground zero for the open drug deal­ing and drug use in the city. As of Sept. 3, police clocked 588 crim­i­nal or qual­ity-of-life in­ci­dents within 500 feet of U.N. Plaza, re­sult­ing in 637 police book­ings and ci­ta­tions.

Eric Wong, who has been sell­ing sun­glasses at the plaza for 10 years, said he wel­comed the rolling sub­sta­tion.

“There used to be booths up and down the plaza, now maybe there are half as many,” Wong said. “Peo­ple are scared to come here.”

An­other park denizen, sit­ting on nearby steps, de­clined to give his name, but said he was fine with the in­creased pres­ence as well.

“It’s cool,” he said, as he took an­other hit from his morn­ing spliff.

East Bay Asian Lo­cal Devel­op­ment Corp.

A ren­der­ing shows a view of BART’s planned hous­ing and of­fice devel­op­ment at Lake Mer­ritt Sta­tion.

Jason Henry / New York Times

SFO was crowded with car­bon-spew­ing pri­vate jets dur­ing last week’s Global Cli­mate Ac­tion Sum­mit.

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