Should community colleges build housing?

By Felicia Mello : calmatters – excerpt

…Think of a community college, and you’ll likely picture a commuter school with low-slung buildings and massive parking lots. And you’d be right—out of California’s 114 community colleges, only 11 offer on-campus housing. But some of those parking lots could soon become dormitories as community colleges look to build their own solutions to the state’s affordable housing crisis…

“Our thought was to have some housing on campus so our students can just concentrate on learning without worrying so much about, ‘Can I make rent?’ or ‘Where am I going to live?’ ” said Juan Gutierrez, public information officer for Orange Coast College.

Surveys showed the overwhelming majority of Orange Coast students was interested in living on campus, Gutierrez said. Half of the student body comes from outside Orange County, he said, with many avoiding the area’s steep cost of living by commuting from as far as San Diego or the Inland Empire. The project is set to open in the autumn of 2020…

Finding affordable solutions

Community college students facing similar dilemmas without the option of on-campus housing are increasingly resorting to couch-surfing or living in their cars. As state lawmakers debate measures that would allow homeless students to park overnight on campus and provide them with housing vouchers, building dorms offers an alternate path, one that colleges can pursue on their own…

Colleges as social service agencies

Despite the challenges, some advocates say providing housing is simply part of community colleges’ expanding mission. With rampant income inequality darkening the prospects for many young Californians, they say, colleges must play the role of social service agency if they want to remove the obstacles that can prevent students from graduating… (more)

This appears to be the crux of the matter. Should colleges get into businesses outside of their role and educators and take on social services and housing as well? Is this the proper use of administrators time and energies? How will expanding the role effect the primary purpose of providing education for community residents? Should this not be part of a larger conversation that informs the public and allows for more public involvement? Are these new roles taken on by administrators responsible for the outrageous increase in college tuition? Are these deviations in priorities not responsible for creating the problem they are trying to solve?

RELATED:
California-cost-of-college-explained

Rules Committee Approves Rent Board Member With Veritas Link

By Ida Mojadad : sfweekly – excerpt

The newest commissioner faced scrutiny for his connection to San Francisco’s biggest landlord.

A Rent Board member with a connection to San Francisco’s largest landlord is poised to keep his voting power with approval from the Board of Supervisors.

After initial skepticism, the Rules Committee on Monday recommended approving David Wasserman to keep his seat on the Rent Board. This comes after tenant advocates scrutinized his law firm, Wasserman Stern, which shares the same name as an attorney who represents mega-landlord and frequent board visitor, Veritas Investments. The firms are separate in every sense, save for the name and roof they share, Wasserman told the supervisors…(more)

 

 

Supervisor Gordon Mar’s resolution Opposing SB50 unless amended.

San Francisco Board of Directors has a decision to make:

File  190319  “Resolution opposing California State Senate Bill No. 50, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, which would undermine community participation in planning for the well-being of the environment and the public good, prevent the public from recapturing an equitable portion of the economic benefits conferred to private interests, and significantly restrict San Francisco’s ability to protect vulnerable communities from displacement and gentrification, unless further amended”.

https://sfgov.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3895581&GUID=08395B8A-BD12-4A67-8932-C5B7836FC35A(more)

Another anti-SB50 site: standupforsanfrancisco.org

 

Mission District cultural district could expand beyond 24th Street

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Currently the cultural district, which was established in 2014 to counteract the displacement and gentrification of a once predominantly Latino community, stretches loosely from Potrero Avenue to Bartlett Street and from to Cesar Chavez Avenue to 22nd Street.

The exact boundaries of a potentially expanded district have yet to be drawn. A community meeting is scheduled for Thursday to gather feedback from the public and gauge the need for the expansion...(more)

Sorry I missed this story earlier. This is an important effort on the part of all of our Mission residents and businesses as we work to protect our lifestyles. The Mission is at risk of becoming the next Wienerville if we don’t stand up to the money machine that is grinding our way. More about Wiernville: https://sfceqa.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/welcome-to-wienerville/

Random Access – 3 Mayors Discuss Affordable Housing and Traffic Concerns

Video and comments By Sunnyvale City Council Member, Michael S. Goldman

A 15 minute round-table with: Mayor Lynette Lee Eng of Los Altos, Mayor Eric Filseth of Palo Alto, and Mayor Steven Scharf of Cupertino.

“City bankruptcies, deteriorating public services as funds are drained from cities trying to cope with increased demands by new construction. That will be CASA’s main impacts. See a transcript on Michael’s site: https://meetingthetwain.blogspot.com/2019/03/three-mayors-on-silicon-valley-housing.html

Thanks to these Mayors for their frank discussion on what many consider to be overlooked considerations that were not addressed adequately by the SF Bay Area regional planners who concocted the CASA Compact. Forcing more up-zoning on landfill that is sinking under the tall towers already built, is a losing proposition. How many people want to throw more money at the Joint Powers Authority that designed and built the closed, failing Transbay Terminal?

The small town in the city: Why people leave the urban heart of SF for the Sunset

By Michelle Robertson : sfgate – excerpt

“The last place I thought I’d ever live was the Sunset,” said Carol Lipof. “It was just so, so far out there.”

In August, Lipof moved to the Sunset.

“We’re very, very, very happy. Happier than we could have imagined.”

The Sunset District has long been considered the suburban outskirt of San Francisco. It’s where the surfers and the families live, where few Muni lines run, where one goes to “retire” from the bustle of urban San Francisco.

But the neighborhood, like so much of San Francisco, is changing. Long home to the city’s largest Asian American community, suburbia in the Sunset appears to be giving way to the urban chic stroller set – identifiable by their wide-legged sailor pants, organic cotton tops and well-dressed babies — and young artists, many of whom have found a refuge of quiet, open space and community-minded businesses in one of the city’s last affordable outposts.

“I feel like I moved to a new city,” said Lipof…

Then there’s the matter of the garage.

“That was a game changer for me,” she said. “I’ve lived in the city for almost 15 years, and I can’t tell you how many parking tickets I’ve had.” The garage, and its miraculous automatic door opener, “feels like the greatest luxury of my life.”… (more)

We hope the newcomers to the Sunset are aware of the efforts being made in Sacramento to turn their new touch of suburbia into the bustling , crowded cramped neighborhood they just escaped. If Senator Wiener is successful, they will soon find their little bit of beachfront disappearing behind a towering shadow, and their garage turning into an ADU.

Should they attempt to add a unit for their growing family, they may find they are sued unless they build to the max in their own backyard. Watch SB 50, SB 330, and AB 1515 carefully and be sure to vote for the state representative that protects your rights to live the way your lifestyle you way.

Why SF Restaurants Are Suffocating

By Azhar Hashem : thebolditalic – excerpt

What I witnessed during my two years in the industry

One Saturday in December of last year, six months before we closed our beloved restaurant, Tawla, we said goodbye to our lead line cook — one of the last three people left from our original 25-person team when we opened in the Mission two years prior….

I quickly learned that no matter the amount of knowledge or preparation, you can’t fight the desperate realities of San Francisco’s restaurant market today.

This has become almost a cliche story in San Francisco’s food industry. When I set out to open a restaurant in the city in 2016, I intended to successfully employ what I had learned from an MBA and more than a decade of launching and managing successful businesses for Google and other tech companies. But I quickly learned that no matter the amount of knowledge or preparation, you can’t fight the desperate realities of San Francisco’s restaurant market today…(more)

As many of us have discovered who were former fans, the quality of food and service has gone down hill. This is a well-documented explanation of what is wrong with the restaurant industry in San Francisco. Some choice points made by the author that we have been observing for some time:

  • Astronomical turnover pushes labor costs even higher and Turnovers are expensive. Workers have little incentive to work and quality of work is down due to the stress on the workers being priced out of the city…
  • What was once a celebrated culinary city boasting creativity and innovation is no longer so creative or innovative. The constant turnover makes it too hard to train new staff so everyone has the same menu…
  • When it comes down to it, diners today don’t care. Really. The discerning diners have left the city alone with the good cooks. The have been replaced by new fast-paced customer with no..
  • Today’s San Francisco pretends to be a liberal city, but when it comes to having a real impact on people who work in small businesses, the majority are not willing to put their money where their mouth is. Today’s SF is in love with the idea of “local,” “small business” and “economic diversity.” But few are doing the work to support those ideas…

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing more than half of our workforce, then what impact do these challenges have on the labor economy and this city that we love, economically and culturally, as we move into the future?

I was asked recently, “If you could do it all over again, would you?” Given the circumstances, where the core principles behind what I had hoped to accomplish are in question, I don’t know if this would have been an endeavor I could comfortably and confidently pursue again — at least in San Francisco…. (more)

I recently heard from a friend who is a fan of New York and other sophisticated “world-class” cities that San Francisco claims to emulate. She is disappointed with the loss of the culture and the diversity she expected more of, not less, as San Francisco rushes into a new era of international fame and fortune. Some of us see the writing on the wall before others, but we are all condemned to deal with the future that is barrelling down on us.

Please share this article at the source with your discerning friends and any politicians you know who may care enough to turn this food desert around. Otherwise, book some time in many of the new restaurants springing up in the suburbs that the cooks are moving into. Better do it fast, as the Governor plans to sue the communities fighting gentrifying density. You may soon be forced to leave the state for a tasty meal if Senator Wiener’s SB 50 becomes law.

I am going to say that the lack of imagination and experimentation is also a product of a society that values money and wealth over quality and competence. There is no room to grow or improve in a cultural and spiritual vacuum.