SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A big, “open streets” event in San Jose Sunday is welcoming people on foot, on bicycles, skates and boards, but not electric scooters.
Viva CalleSJ is meant to encourage people to connect with their community as they traverse along First Street and Monterey Road which are closed for the event.
It’s the mother of all block parties where neighbors can roam the streets, on foot, bike, skates – whatever – as long as it does not have a motor.
San Jose is making a public request to keep the electric scooters at home, which leaves e-scooters in an awkward position.
The city still does not have a formal policy to govern their use, and so for now, the city is not banning the e-scooters. But they are are asking nicely.
“Please avoid using a motorized scooter or any motorized vehicle along the route until we better vet the policy,” said Ed Solis, Recreational Superintendent for the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services Dept. “And it’s something that we hope to embrace in the future.”
So to all the e-scooter riders in San Jose, this weekend is your big chance. Do not screw it up!
The e-scooters can easily hit speeds of 15 mph. Although the city has no crash data on the e-scooters, the fear is that there will be accidents along the route.
Speaking of the route, every year it is upwards of six-to-seven miles long, with 100,000 people attending.
The city knows enforcing the request to keep e-scooters away will be difficult, and will make good use of whatever data they do collect.
“Say a handful of people come out on e-scooters anyway, and there are no accidents. That’s kind of a benchmark, right? We kind of know, ‘Hey I saw a few, there didn’t seem to be any disruptions,’” said Solis. “But conversely, if there are a handful of people and we do see accidents with children or other adults or even other e-scooter users, then we’re going to have a good idea that they’re probably going a little too fast and they probably aren’t safe.”
One e-scooter user says he feels the pressure of being a good ambassador.
“This kind of like your chance to prove to the world that they’re safe, and you gotta behave, what do you think of that?” said Pedi Attari. “If you’re gonna take this out, and they’re against it, prove to them wrong, prove them wrong that we can actually use this as a safe way to get around.”
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A man who used to run San Francisco’s Building Inspection Commission is facing legal trouble after his firm was accused of submitting bogus documents and plans for work on three homes.
Rodrigo Santos is the former president of the San Francisco Building Inspection Commission.
Now he’s at the center of a lawsuit filed by the city attorney that alleges his private engineering firm — Santos & Urrutia — used forged documents, unlicensed contractors, secret building plans and outright lies to defraud the city and get away with illegal construction
When KPIX 5 asked Santos if he submitted falsified inspection reports with forged signatures, he replied, “Absolutely not.”
John Cote, Communications Director with the SF City Attorney’s office disagreed.
“Those laws that are designed to protect the public,” said Cote. “We’re being circumvented by the same individuals to try to get a competitive advantage on cost and speed while putting the public at risk.”
The City Attorney alleges a common scheme resulting in illegal excavation at three San Francisco homes.
In one case, the complaint said an unlicensed contractor was used to illegally excavate at a property, damaging the foundation of the home next-door.
In another case, the suit alleges the defendants submitted plans for a kitchen and bathroom remodel, but then used a secret set of plans to illegally excavate for a new floor and living space.
But Santos denies the allegations, or at least denies any responsibility.
“We’re not to blame at all,” he said.
When asked by KPIX 5 if his engineering firm submitted the plans to the city, he replied, “We did not submit the plans to the city. We developed a set of drawings that was presented to the builder. And the builder chose to pull different permits for different aspects of the project.”
He argued that his engineering firm doesn’t hire contractors or submit plans. He blamed the contractors who hired his firm.
At least one of those contractors also named as a defendant in the complaint, Andy Moussours, agreed.
“Absolutely that’s correct,” said Moussouras. “Why would the engineer be responsible when I’m not working for him? He’s working for me. You got it all backwards.”
But the City Attorney said it’s pretty clear.
“Different properties, different property owners, different contractors; the one constant is the engineering firm,” said Cote.
The City Attorney’s office points to evidence listed as exhibits in the complaint, including forged inspection reports that they say were submitted and signed by Santos and his partner.
The contractors and some of the property owners are also named in the complaint.