What’s your background?
I was born in Germany and after traveling all over the world, I settled in San Francisco in 1976. I’ve worked on buildings in San Francisco ever since and am currently a Class B Contractor that owns a home in Sunnyside near the Balboa Park Reservoir. I love how San Francisco is a small, international big city. I can walk down the street and hear Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic and English. San Francisco has great public transportation with great bike accessibility. With street fairs and other events, there are just so many opportunities and socially beneficial organizations.
You’ve watched the city change over the past 40 years, what have you learned?
There has been some well intentioned legislation that has ended up doing some unintended damage. Unreasonably enforced building codes and rent control for example, have created legal challenges for responsible building owners and landlords. I’m a boomer and we need to educate people (mostly of my generation) on the inevitable, and needed, change. There are other transportation options available today, including various forms of vehicle sharing. There have to be other options to owning cars that pollute and take up parking spots. to. It’s about tomorrow’s generation.
What do you envision for the Balboa Reservoir site?
I’ve worked on all types of buildings in San Francisco. Balboa Park should have a mixture of businesses and mixed income homes. The low and middle income homes should be held in perpetuity with some guaranteed housing for city workers: police officers, EMTs, firefighters, tradesmen, janitors, and teachers. If you can guarantee the homes will always be affordable, then include the possibility of an allotment of taller buildings. Flexible floor plans, with studios next to seperate bedrooms units so the possibility exists of converting one-bedrooms to two and two-bedrooms to three for growing families. We need to make guarantees that schools are walking distances for families. Secured bike parking and with a high percentage of the parking spots for shared vehicles and all bike and car parking slots need to have electric charging hook ups.
Maybe most importantly, we need to be socially responsible and have the least negative environmental impact. All utilities in the new buildings should be self sustaining to include geothermal, solar, wind and recycle such as use of greywater for toilets and gardens.
How are you making your vision real?
I regularly attend the meetings for Balboa Park Reservoir. It is important to educate people already here, mostly boomers, that change is going to happen and I want to make sure good decisions are made to benefit present and future generations. Balboa Reservoir is part of my city, and part of my neighborhood. I want the best for this community.
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