Election Won’t End SF Conflicts

By Randy Shaw : beyondchron – excerpt

I’ve got bad news for those thinking that the political conflicts underlying San Francisco’s increasingly nasty election season will end on Nov. 3—they won’t.  To the contrary, battles over short-term rentals (Prop F) and market rate housing in the Mission (Prop I) will continue regardless of what voters decide. And even the Peskin-Christensen race could be replayed in 2016 should Christensen narrowly prevail in a low turnout election.

The current political mood is not what Mayor Lee had in mind when he took office in 2011. Lee publicly announced hopes to replace a tone of divisiveness and conflict at City Hall with a consensus-driven model. And on many big issues—such as the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, business tax reform, the city budget, the local minimum wage increase, and Prop A, the Affordable Housing Bond—he succeeded. But the three above campaigns involve areas where the mayor failed to bring consensus, and these conflicts will be front and center in the mayor’s second term…

So the battle over Mission development will continue long after November 3, 2015. It will also be a dividing line in the Kim-Wiener State Senate battle and the District 9 supervisor’s race, both to be decided in November 2016…

Defeated ballot measures routinely reappear in different or even the same form, as the many California initiatives to restrict abortion rights or the payment of union dues attest.

In the case of Prop F, opponents could understandably feel that even a large defeat was a referendum against people spying on or suing their neighbors, not on short-term rental restrictions. In fact,  Prop F’s provisions restricting short-term rentals have gotten very little attention.

That will change right after the election should Prop F lose…

Nowhere has Mayor Lee’s hope to promote consensus over conflict failed more publicly than in the Peskin-Christensen race in D3. This race has really fallen into the mud, even promoting the racist anti-Chinatown tenant reporting that should have stopped after 2011 (while the SF Chronicle promoted phony voter fraud claims in Chinatown against Mayor Lee in 2011, it is now trying to legitimize similarly false charges waged by paid political operatives of Julie Christensen to discredit supporters of Aaron Peskin)…

The winner of this race must run for a full term next November. If Christensen loses, she is done. If Peskin loses due to a low voter turnout, however, he or another progressive (if Peskin chooses not to run) could win in November 2016 simply by adding Peskin’s 2015 vote total to the thousands of tenant voters that skipped this race.

The ultimate irony of election 2015 is that for all the money spent by allies of Mayor Lee  to elect Julie Christensen, the mayor’s best chance for bridging divisions in San Francisco may be with Aaron Peskin winning in D3. The mayor cannot bring the city together around a common vision without a negotiating partner on key issues, and Peskin is best positioned to serve that role. The mayor and Christensen backers don’t see it that way, and many Peskin backers want nothing to do with Mayor Lee.

But stranger things have happened in politics. We will soon learn whether this unlikely approach to healing deepening divisions in San Francisco has a chance of becoming reality… (more)

Why We Need Zoning Laws with Claws: We need less financial incentive to rob and displace people, not more.

We agree with Mr. Shaw. This fight is not over and it will continue as long as the economic divide continues to disenfranchise citizens around the country and the government participates in widening the economic divide.

I just became personally aware of the pain the banking policies are causing today. A wheelchair-bound friend is losing his home, built for his needs, due to the rapacious appetite of banks to take whatever they can, however they can, without remorse or conscience, in order to feed the carefully engineered scarcity of housing supply that has driven up real estate values, in order to transfer more wealth to the wealthy. This kind of cruelty would not be happening if the government was not being run by the banks, for the banks.

We need to fight density if we want to keep people from their homes. We need less financial incentive to rob and displace people, not more. By expanding allowances and financial incentives the government is giving greedy people more reasons to take over move real estate, and this is driving the costs upward as much as anything else.

The argument for building more dense housing in order to change the upward spiral in real estate values does not fly. For years we had density and height limits and values remained stable. It was not until the banks were given free range to rob the public, and height limits and density limits were lifted, that the evictions and foreclosures started to escalate. It started with a judicial decision that rejected voter approved Prop M height limits.

What will become of our friend’s ADA compliant home? Will it be torn down and demolished or will the new LLC that purchased his mortgage from the bank in a large-package-deal, merely add extra stories and units in the back yard? Does it matter? Probably not.

Will we see yet another homeless person in a wheelchair living on the sidewalk to step around? Probably not, because he has friends that will help him, and there may have been some malfeasance on the part of the banks, and, since there could be value in the property, and there could be a settlement, attorneys may take up his case.  But what would happens to people with no friends and no settlement?

Long after the house is lost, there may be financial compensation. This is how the government “protects” our vulnerable citizens. It creates laws that allow the banks to rip them off, creates incentives for developers to swoop in and push them out, and then, if they are lucky enough to have friends who can help them navigate through a legal process, they may, in the end, wind up with “financial compensation”, after they have lost everything, including their independence.

This is why the fight will go on. Because there are still people who care. There are still people who believe it is possible to reverse the force that is replacing humanity with machines and pushing people into small constricted areas where they can be easily controlled.

The battle will continue because some people still care enough to fight the Smart Sharing culture of machines that is stealing our humanity and turning us into robots.

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