If there’s one thing that we’ll never, ever run out of in San Francisco, it’s opinions. Whether we’re debating which restaurant is best, if we really are the vainest city in the United States, or how much the Giants rule, everyone’s got an opinion.
We’ve even got opinions about things that might be a tad more serious than meals, metrosexuals, and World Series winners, like redevelopment (we’ve written about that, too), housing vs. wetlands, and congestion pricing for San Francisco. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these topics, read on: I heard today about a brand-new debate series, sponsored by The Bay Citizen and SPUR (San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association), called Debates Worth Having, which will cover these three topics to start.
Kicking off the series on Thursday, March 3, is a discussion about “The Future of Redevelopment” in the state of California. The short back story: newly re-inaugurated Governor Jerry Brown has proposed eliminating redevelopment agencies statewide in order to free up money for schools and services. The redevelopment agencies themselves oppose this plan (paging Captain Obvious, paging Captain Obvious…), while others say that the agencies are redundant and wasteful. Don’t have a clue? Plan to attend the debate to get the scoop from both sides. The debaters will be Fred Blackwell (Executive Director of the SF Redevelopment Agency) and Karen Chapple (Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley).
Where: SPUR, 654 Mission St.
When: March 3, 5:30 (reception), 6-7 (debate)
RSVP if you’d like to attend.
On March 29, debate #2 will focus on the wetlands. Specifically, should the decommissioned salt ponds at the edge of the San Francisco Bay (near Redwood City) be developed into 12,000 housing units or should it be maintained as wetlands? Facing off will be Peter Calthorpe, chief designer of the proposed Saltworks development, and David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay. Be there on March 29 if you’d like to learn more (same time and place as the March 3 debate).
Debate #3 will take place at SPUR on Tuesday, April 19, with a reception at 5:30 and the debate from 6-7 PM. The topic will be congestion pricing, otherwise known as “charging cars to enter the downtown area during peak traffic times.” London and Stockholm have instituted congestion pricing — but is it the right answer for SF? Jose Moscovich of the SF County Transportation Authority will debate Rob Black of the SF Chamber of Commerce on this idea.