GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in San Francisco to speak with Mayor Willie Brown on California Budget

THE ADVOCATE
ken-cleaveland-mug-3-cropped-250-pixels.jpg
By Ken Cleaveland

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Presents A Vision for California June 5th @ PG & E Auditorium – 77 Beale Street, SF
BOMA Members are invited to join the SF Chamber for a very special program featuring Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Mayor Willie Brown Jr. Governor Schwarzenegger will speak about his recently submitted FY2007-08 budget and how it supports his vision for California – from health care to global warming, energy policy to infrastructure and economic vitality. The event will take place on June 5, beginning with registration at 1:30 pm, followed by the program from 2-3 pm, at the PG&E Auditorium, 77 Beale St. Fee to attend. RSVP to Patricia Aleman at 415-352-8841, or paleman@sfchamber.com, or go the San Francisco Chamber at www.sfchamber.com. Hosted by PG&E, presented in cooperation with BOMA, and the Bay Area Council and Leadership San Francisco.

BOMA California/CA Commercial Real Estate Summit June 11-12 in Sacramento – Sign Up Now!
BOMA members from across the state, and members of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), the Institute for Real Estate Management (IREM) and the shopping center folks (ICSC) will convene in Sacramento to meet with state legislators and representatives of the Governor’s Administration. San Francisco attendees will have the chance to meet with our state legislators including Assembly Members Fiona Ma, Mark Leno, Gene Mullin, State Senators Leland Yee, Carole Migden and others. BOMA Members are urged to consider attending, one or both days. A reservation form and complete details can be downloaded here.

BOMA SF PAC Hosting Reception for CA Senator Leland Yee June 26th – Don’t miss it!
The BOMA SF Political Action Committee, in conjunction with the San Francisco Apartment Association, will be hosting a reception for State Senator Leland Yee on Tuesday, June 26th, from 5-7 p.m. on the 40th Floor of the Transamerica Pyramid. BOMA member Scott Seligman (Seligman Western Enterprises) and Steve Adams (Sterling Bank & Trust), co–hosts, have generously provided the beautiful location, and food. Wine is being provided courtesy of Fred West (Marble West). Senator Yee is the prime sponsor of legislation to amend state code to allow property owners to apply security deposits to lost forward rent in tenant defaults or bankruptcies of commercial leases. This technical amendment was made necessary by a recent court decision. Click here to make a reservation. Come support a good friend of our industry!

Mayor Gavin Newsom Guest Speaker at BOMA SF June 28th Luncheon
The Mayor of San Francisco will speak at BOMA’s membership meeting on Thursday, June 28th, at the City Club (155 Sansome Street). He will give an updated version of his “State of the City” address to BOMA members, and will solicit questions and comments on what members think about the City, and what needs to be done to improve it for both its businesses and its residents. The event, beginning at 11:30 a.m., will be a sell-out, so members are encouraged to make their reservations online as soon as possible! Go to www.bomasf.org.

San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros Meets with BOMA on NewParking Tax Rules
City Treasurer Jose Cisneros and Deputy City Treasurer David Augustine discussed the new Treasurer’s regulations (posted March 20, 2007 on the City Treasurer’s website at www.sfgov.org/treasurer ) that will consider all parking spaces included in commercial leases to be taxable, regardless of whether a separate financial transaction was completed for them. Exceptions are being made for spaces used by the owners of a parking garage that is part of their building/property, and for spaces used for customers from whom no parking revenue is collected. The new extension of the parking tax does not affect residential properties.

San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Effective June 6th
The city’s voter-approved mandate that employers must provide paid sick leave to all employees, full time, part-time, and temporary, will be fully implemented (meaning payable to employees) beginning June 6th. However, employers must have been accruing sick leave for all employees on the basis of one hour for every 30 hours worked from February 6, 2007. Employers with less than 10 employees must accrue up to 40 paid sick leave hours, while employers with 10 or more employees must accrue up to 72 paid sick leave hours. Records of same must be maintained for at least four years. Anyone can bring an actionable case against an employer who fails to provide paid sick leave. Employers also must post a sign informing all employees of this new city law. Employers must also make sure to ask employees if they wish to designate another person for whom they may want to use sick time to care for. Existing labor agreements must be modified or must submit for a waiver of the new law. Personal Time Off (PTO) policies may be sufficient to comply with the ordinance, but the city’s law does not require that unused sick leave be “cashed out” upon termination of employment. Copies of the official notice are available on the city’s website: www.sfgov.org/olse. BOMA held a very informative briefing on this important new benefit law on May 18th with Donna Levitt, who is the Manager of the city’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, and labor attorneys Horace Green (Green & Humbert) and Eli Gould (MBV Law). Both attorneys have offered to answer any questions that BOMA members may have concerning their own particular situations. They can be reached at horaceg@lifehealthlaw.com and eli@mbvlaw.com.

San Francisco Ban on Non-Compostable Take-Out Food Containers Begins June 1st!
Effective June 1, 2007, the Food Service Waste Reduction Ordinance requires that all disposable food service ware used in San Francisco be either compostable or recyclable. All food vendors including restaurants, delis, fast food establishments, fair vendors, food trucks, and all city facilities must follow this new law or face penalties of up to $500. The Department of the Environment estimates that businesses that participate in the city’s food scrap program may be able to get a discount on their garbage service of up to 75%. The Department of the Environment is also available to help businesses and BOMA tenants in finding suitable alternatives to Styrofoam plastic cups, food containers, and the like. Visit their website: www.sfenvironment.org/foodservice for more information or call 415-355-3745.

San Francisco’s Building Department Undergoing Re-Organization
The newly appointed Director of San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection, Isam Hasenin, has initiated a new “Business Process Re-engineering” program as a coordinated effort to speed up the permit and inspection processes at the city agency. With the backing of the Mayor and Building Inspection Commission, the new director has brought a new vision to the department that is refreshing, and involves working more closely with City Planning, the Fire Department, the business community and the general public. He plans to re-organize the Department with seven new deputies who will be exempt from Civil Service rules. He has also put together a steering committee (of which BOMA is a member) to help with the re-organization to examine the permit process, the inspection process, review and establish performance standards, and review and recommend updates to their automation systems.

San Francisco Fire Department Issues Administrative Bulletin on High Rise Elevators for Firefighter Use
Recently, Barbara Schultheis, San Francisco’s Fire Marshal, issued a draft administrative bulletin dealing with the need to have quicker firefighter access to fires in new high rise buildings being built in the City. For buildings over 200′ a minimum of one 4500 lb. capacity elevator or two 2500 lb. capacity elevators shall be provided for use as Firefighter Elevators but are not intended to be for the exclusive use of the Fire Department. Each “Firefighter Elevator” shall serve every floor of the building, and shall be designed to protect against the effects of fire, smoke, and water through an approved performance-based design. Installation of these specialized/pressurized elevators will replace the requirement to install a firefighter air system. Click here to read the entire bulletin. BOMA has submitted its comments and if any member wishes to, they should be sent to Barbara.Schultheis@sfgov.org.

BOMA Meets with San Francisco Assessor/Recorder Phil Ting
At the May 16th meeting of the BOMA Government and Public Affairs Committee, San Francisco Assessor/Recorder Phil Ting presented an overview on the City of San Francisco’s revenue sources and expenditures. Ting said the City collected approximately $1.2 billion in real property taxes, $69 million in personal property taxes, and approximately $130 million in transfer taxes during the last fiscal year. The total City budget is $5.6 billion. Mr. Ting discussed his office’s process for doing assessments for tenant improvements and stated that tenant improvement permits pulled and paid for by tenants will be assessed on the personal property tax roll of the Assessor. That means the Assessor will bill the tenant directly for those personal property taxes. Mr. Ting noted that this change will start in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2007. There is a box on the permit application that must be checked indicating whether the tenant or the landlord is making the improvement. Mr. Ting said that the reassessment backlog from property transfers was about four years when he came into office, but now that time has been reduced to about two years. His goal is to get the time delay down to between 6 months and one year. Mr. Ting also mentioned that reassessments are based on market value, not the sale price. Mr. Ting reported that in 2006, the Assessor’s Office collected $85 million more in revenue than expected, and that in 2007, the Assessor’s Office is approximately expecting to be $25 million over budget, primarily due to an unexpected increase in transfer taxes. Mr. Ting reported on a Solar Task Force which he has formed. He stated that only 500 buildings had Solar Panels in the City out of approximately 190,000 parcels. He reported that giving property owners a tax rebate for solar or any other “green” improvement would be difficult to do because of state law preemption and Prop 13 restrictions. However, Mr. Ting pledged to continue to investigate ways in which the Assessor’s Office could give property owners incentives for green building developments. Concluding his remarks, Mr. Ting reported on that his office needs to change or upgrade its IT systems in a big way. The IT system at the Assessor’s Office is a seven-year-old DOS-based system programmed in COBALT. In other words, “it was an antiquated system when it was installed!”

BOMA Continues to Work on Energy Issues Affecting Commercial Property Owners
Both BOMA California and BOMA San Francisco have been vigorous in their energy advocacy work on behalf of commercial property owners, particularly multi-tenant office building owners over the past month. A number of issues have been addressed including a historic agreement with PG & E to allow for sub-metering of office tenants by the owner, something that has been prohibited since 1965. This agreement was challenged by The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a taxpayer subsidized ratepayer advocacy group, so it is still too early to know if the agreement will move forward to the Commission. The CPUC recently held a hearing on “big and bold” ideas that could help reduce energy consumption in the state, and BOMA was represented, promoting its members as the best group to invest in for additional energy savings. The association’s energy efficiency program (BEEP) was submitted as an example of an industry program that is effective in reducing consumption, and is a program that should be funded by the PUC. BOMA also advocated for increasing the funds used to provide audits and other assistance to owners who want to re-commission their outdated HVAC systems as a huge area of potential energy savings. BOMA suggested the state PUC fund low interest loans to owners to do the re-commissioning work or even to install completely new systems.

On the local level, the city is still promoting the idea of a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program that would pool all business and residents’ power purchases into one controlled by the City. Residents and businesses would have the option to not be a part of the city purchase plan, but would have to specifically “opt out”. BOMA is considering taking an official opposed position against this program as it would not be able to guarantee lower prices, nor greener power to San Francisco customers and it would grow the city bureaucracy.

Is a Billboard or other signage attached to your building? Protect your private property rights against new city policy.
BOMA and its members may decide to challenge a city ordinance dealing with sign relocation, which eliminated the rights of owners of sign locations to negotiate with any sign vendor of their choosing. Under this legislation, the owner of the sign location can only renew a lease with the existing vendor or face losing the site entirely. It is unclear how many BOMA members are affected, primarily because the major sign companies, who control the vast majority of the market in the City, have objected to BOMA’s request to the Planning Department for information on the ownership of the sign location sites in San Francisco. Any BOMA member directly affected is advised to contact Ken Cleaveland at BOMA immediately.

Pandemic Influenza Brochure Available from BOMA International
In an effort to ensure that building occupants – BOMA member tenants – are prepared for a possible pandemic influenza outbreak, BOMA International has developed a new brochure specifically designed for commercial office building tenants. Entitled “Pandemic Influenza: Are you Prepared?”, this brochure helps tenant understand how they can protect themselves and their fellow workers and provides a list of additional resources for up-to-the-moment information concerning the pandemic influenza. To obtain copies, visit the BOMA store online at www.boma.org. BOMA members may customize the back of the brochure with their own corporate logo and contact information.

ken-cleaveland-small-mug.jpg
Ken Cleaveland is Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Building and Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of San Francisco.

Continue Reading