Tenants call out Chiu on key rent-control measure

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

They demand that cautious Assemblymember take a more active role in helping stop evictions

A group of San Francisco tenants and advocates delivered an eviction warning to Assemblymember David Chiu today, urging that he help push a repeal of the notorious Costa-Hawkins bill through the Legislature.

Chiu is the chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, the first stop on the path toward bringing the repeal bill to the floor.

The author of the bill is Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica. Chiu is listed as a co-author, but tenant advocates say he has not made the measure a priority…

Here are the members of the committee. Five are Democrats; two are Republicans. The current leadership of the Assembly and the Democratic Party have no made tenant issues a priority, and apparently don’t want to put pressure on anyone to vote to help renters…

True said Chiu wants to meet with the tenants, and that’s fine. But what we have here is a very different philosophy. Chiu has endorsed Sonja Trauss, the build-at-all-costs candidate who no tenant organization would ever support, in District 6. He doesn’t look to the Tenants Union and the Housing Rights Committee for direction; he looks to what’s good for his relations with the rest of the Assembly Democrats, who are often real-estate shills…(more)

RELATED:  Little-known Yimby-developer bills will have big impact on local planning

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State statutes that many blame for spike in homeless crisis due to evictions

Costa Hawkins and the Ellis Act are two state statutes that override local jurisdiction over eviction regulations and procedures.  Many people blame these bills for the homeless crisis and there is a state-wide effort lead by David Chiu in the State Assembly, to repeal that bill.

The SF Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support this bill that would essentially allow local governments to set up their own eviction regulations and procedures.

If you want to support the effort to repeal Costa Hawkins go here for actions you can take and details on the bill: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/costa-hawkins-letter/

The second big problem that some want to fix is the Ellis Act and the illegal owner move-in evictions. This is bit more complicated. There is no easy way to enforce the current Ellis Act regulations so this is the favored choice of many landlords to evict their elderly, poor tenants that survive in rent-controlled properties. This also keep people stuck in their homes, since they can’t afford to move, even if they want to.

Start with Costa Hawkins and then you can look at the Ellis Act and find out who is working to repeal or amend it. Leno tried and failed a few years ago. The state has jurisdiction over many issues that some people argue should be handled by local authorities.

It is important to know that repealing or amending these laws may have no immediate effect. The local governments would have to craft new rules to determine the final outcome. Unless they have some old laws on the books they can dust off and re-establish, this could take awhile. You might want to ask the candidates for supervisor what they plan do if Costa Hawkins or the Ellis Act are repealed or amended. What is the plan to handle the homeless crisis?

Little-known Yimby-developer bills will have big impact on local planning

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

Growth machine continues its attack on anything that stands in the way of more market-rate housing

Of the fifteen bills in the “housing package” signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 29, the one that got the most attention in the news media was State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 35—and for good reason: SB 35 goes a long way toward “putting teeth” in California’s Regional Housing Needs Allocations, the number of housing units whose each city’s and county’s zoning must accommodate. Moreover, the bill’s provisions for “by-right” approval of certain multi-family, infill developments both circumvent the California Environmental Quality Act and eliminate negotiations with developers over community benefits

But two other items in the package, SB 167 and AB 1515, that either got much less publicity (SB 167) or virtually none at all (AB 1515) will likely do much more damage to the democratic governance of land use in the state. Both amend California’s Housing Accountability Act, a once-dormant law now being exploited by Bay Area Yimbys.

Passed in 1982, the HAA limits the ability of local agencies to reject or make infeasible housing developments without a thorough analysis of the economic, social and environmental effects of such action. It applies to all housing projects. Most important, the HAA allows a court to compel a city to take action on proposed developments.

Analyzing AB 1515 for the State Senate Rules Committee, Senate staffer Alison Hughes observed that when a jurisdiction is sued under the HAA…

In legalistic terms, a local government’s decision would be upheld unless no reasonable person could have made the same decision—a very high bar. AB 1515 effectively lowered the bar to the ground…

When fundamental land use decisions, like general plan consistency, are made by developers rather than elected representatives, local government accountability is compromised and the recourse available to the electorate is taken away…

Like the other bills in the housing package. AB 1515 and SB 167 take effect on January 1, 2018.

The Yimbys and other stalwarts of the California growth machine cast growth-resistant communities as a mighty political force. Yet AB 1515 and SB 167 made their way through the Legislature without grass-roots protest. That history suggests that the growth entrepreneurs’ portrait of a Nimby juggernaut is a caricature whose main purpose is to justify the machine’s ongoing assault on local authority over land use…(more)

Strauss, who was a party in lawsuits filed against the cities of Lafayette and Sausalito is running for District 6 Supervisor. The Yimbies are part of the organized effort to force growth everywhere. Local governments support the growth in land values in anticipation of increased is property taxes, yet, the increase in taxes and fees never keeps pace with the immense cost of infrastructure this growth requires.

 

 

San Francisco ballot measure on affordable housing would test voters

By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt

Homeless people have taken up residents on the side walks near the recently emptied PDR buildings in the Mission as businesses move out due to high rents. There are quite a few large empty bakeries and car lots and former construction shops. These photos by zrants.

San Franciscans are famous for complaining about the city’s homeless problem, high housing costs and fleeing middle class, and in the same breath, blasting affordable housing projects planned near them.

The homeless encampments sprawling all over city sidewalks are outrageous! Build affordable housing for homeless people in my neighborhood? No way!

So it’ll be an interesting test to see how a ballot measure planned for June fares with city voters. The love-it-or-hate-it group known as Yimby Action (for Yes in My Backyard) wants voters to make it easier for developers to construct 100 percent affordable housing and teacher housing.

The measure, being reviewed by the city attorney’s office and set to hit the streets soon for signature collection, would eliminate discretionary reviews for those two housing categories.

That means that if a 100 percent affordable or teacher housing project met all zoning and other requirements, it would get the go-ahead automatically. It could speed the process for getting permits from several years to a few months, said Laura Foote Clark, executive director of Yimby Action…(more)

The state recently passed a law that covers most of this and the major problem we are facing is a lack of space to build without disrupting current residents and a lack of money to build the affordable housing. As a recent housing balance report pointed out, there is a major problem with adding additional affordable housing when you are losing existing at almost the rate you are building, or approving. Not all of the approved projects are being built. It is cheaper and easier for everyone to preserve the existing housing and a lot more humane. There is already a move or two to repeal Costa Hawkins at the state level that could do just that.

Water for firefighting could be problematic after earthquake

by Thomas K. Pendergast : richmondreview – excerpt

More than 15 San Francisco neighborhoods could burn to the ground due to a lack of water at the SF Fire Department’s disposal after a major earthquake.

A plan to expand the city’s emergency firefighting network was stalled for years because of political interference and one city agency’s refusal to ask voters for the money that is needed to protect neighborhoods in the southern and western parts of the city. Critics say alternative plans being promoted are likely to fail, leaving vulnerable city residents, like seniors and the disabled, to perish in a firestorm of the city’s making or to suffer the consequences of disease and other maladies due to a lack of fresh water after a disaster…

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ THE FULL STORY

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO READ THE COMMENTARY BY THOMAS W. DOUDIET, RETIRED ASSISTANT DEPUTY CHIEF WITH THE SF FIRE DEPARTMENT

After reading these articles you may want to suggest a change in priorities on how the public’s money is spent.

Sheehy, Breed try to pre-empt (or copy?) tenant ballot measure

By Tim Redmond : 8hills – excerpt

Supervisors Jeff and London Breed held a press conference this morning to announce legislation that would provide legal assistance to tenants facing eviction – a clear response to a ballot measure that was filed less than two weeks ago.

That came a day after announced the legislation at a candidate debate.

But at this point, the press release, the statements at the press conference, and ’s comments at the debate are very different from the proposed legislation that has been sent to the city attorney. The sponsors aren’t on the same page. So it’s not clear what will emerge from the legislative process… (more)

You have to read this to get the full picture. You may even find it amusing. I did.

 

Proposal calls for every renter facing eviction to have the right to a lawyer

By Tim Redmond :48hills – excerpt

Ballot measure for June, 2018 could be litmus test for local politicians

A coalition of renters and advocates, led by Dean Preston, who ran for supervisor last year, filed the paperwork today for a ballot measure that would guarantee every tenant facing eviction in San Francisco the right to a lawyer.

“This will go a long way toward improving the eviction problem,” Preston said. “Tenants who go to court without a lawyer almost always lose.”… (more)