Can we actually solve homelessness?

tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The 16th Street BART station is a primary congregation spot for destitute people. Photo by zrants.

Sure — but we have to seriously rethink our housing, economic development, and planning policies. Oh, and raise taxes on the billionaires. Why are we not talking about this?

…I think it’s a good idea for the news media in town to all get together and talk about crucial city problems, and I’m glad Cooper is pushing this and focusing attention on homelessness. So yeah, I’ve said I would be a part.

We’ve talked about what homeless families really face. We’ve talked about the root causes of homelessness. We’ve published stories by people who actually understand the problem, at the street level. We’ve talked about the media’s big problem with homeless coverage.

And now I want to talk about why this problem isn’t going to be “solved,” despite all the media coverage, until we (and this includes the Chron’s editorial page) decide that we are willing to take the only steps that might actually make a difference.

I feel as if the media is doing the same stories and making the same suggestions, over and over – and the problem isn’t getting any better… (more)

It is becoming quite obvious that the fate of the homeless on our streets is effecting our society at large and not just those who are homeless and living on the streets. Our nation has lowered its quality of life to allow the disparity of incomes to divide us into a new class system. The middle class is shrinking as the poverty level rises and no one is winning this game as the extremely wealthy 1 % suck up more than they need. This economic free-for-all cannot continue much longer without a correction of some kind.

It is good to see some solid solutions being suggested that could solve the problem. Now all we need is the political will to do so. The money is the root of it so it must be contained by controlling the money that effects the vulnerable in our society. We cannot allow the disparity of incomes levels to continue to push us apart. Please read the rest of the article and comment on the source.

Ting boosts homeless housing

news briefs : marinatimes – excerpt

AB 932 would create a 10-year window in which the processes for building shelters and supportive housing would be streamlined upon the declaration of a shelter crisis. The city could create simpler local standards for the housing, upon review by the state Department of Housing and Community Development… (more)

Let’s repeat again, “it is cheaper to keep people housed than to build new housing for them.” The cheapest fix is to repeal or amend Costa Hawkins, not build new expensive housing for people who are living on the street who once lived fairly cheaply under affordable rent laws. But, the name of the game is not to save money or even to keep people housed. The name of the game, (and we are not blaming Ting for this), is to keep the developers and banks happy.

Newsom’s lawyer says voters can’t be trusted

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

In stunning argument, Lite Gov’s legal team says land use decisions should be taken away from voters — and that the Port’s future should be all about big-money development

It leaves Newsom, who is running for governor, in the odd political position of saying that the voters can’t be trusted.

Deputy Attorney General Joel Jacobs also argued that the main issue at hand was money – how much the Port could make from commercial development. In essence, he said that the five commissioners, all appointed by the mayor, should be allowed to approve whatever sort of tall buildings they wanted if it would bring money into the agency, and the rest of San Francisco should have no check on their decisions.

“The more revenue generated by profit-making projects, the more the Port can do to promote other uses,” he said… (more)

IF THEY DON’T TRUST US HOW CAN WE TRUST THEM?

While our readers are pondering that amazing claim, we are working to put together a list of all the bills currently running through Sacramento that are base on one theme: Removing voters’ rights to determine how the state government functions by changing the laws that limit the state’s rights to decide for them. These claims prove that the state legislature does not trust us. Why should we trust them?

There is a long list of bills. Let’s start with AB 943, authored by Santiago, that raises the bar for referendums on developments in California by requiring a 2/3rds majority to pass. This bill has already bee passed by the Assembly and was sent to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee this week.

Find out who voted for this bill and let them know you are onto them. Call or write the Senate members to stop them from passing this one. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more bills to fight.

Is California about to Clobber Local Planning Control?

By Zelda Bronstein : citywatch – excerpt

PLANNING–The gradual decimation of local voice in planning has become accepted policy in Sacramento. The State Senate is now considering two dangerous bills, SB 35 and SB 167, that together severely curtail democratic control of housing.

SB 35: Housing Accountability and Affordability Act (Wiener)

SB 35 is pro-traffic congestion. It would prohibit cities from requiring parking in a “streamlined development approved pursuant” to SB 35, located within a half-mile of public transit, in an architecturally and historically significant historic district, when on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupants of the project, and when there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the development. Other projects approved under the measure would be limited to one space per unit…

Supporters include Bay Area Council, the lobby shop of the Bay Area’s biggest employers; BAC’s Silicon Valley counterpart, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; the San Francisco and LA Chambers of Commerce; the Council of Infill Builders; several nonprofit housing organizations, including the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and BRIDGE Housing; the Natural Resources Defense Council; the California League of Conservation Voters; and a panoply of YIMBY groups, including East Bay Forward and YIMBY Action.

Opponents include the Sierra Club; the League of California Cities; the Council of Community Housing Organizations; the California Fire Chiefs Association; the Fire Districts Association of California; a handful of cities, including Hayward, Pasadena, and Santa Rosa; the Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers; and many building trades organizations, including IBEW Locals 1245, 18, 465 and 551, and the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers…

If these bills—especially SB 35—become law, Californians will have lost a good deal of their right to a say the life and governance of the communities in which they live.

(Zelda Bronstein, a journalist and a former chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission, writes about politics and culture in the Bay Area and beyond. This piece was first published in Berkeley Daily Planet and Marin Post and most recently at New Geography) ... (more)

Please consider signing this Petition to Oppose SB35:
https://www.change.org/p/assem blymember-aquiar-curry-oppose-sb-35-unless-amended

And write letters if you can to the Assemblymembers listed here: http://assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers

Sample message:

OPPOSE SB35 – PROTECT LOCAL CONTROL OVER ZONING. California citizens oppose by-right laws that override our local zoning and use policies and guidelines. Our city government has spent a lot of time and energy to create a specific plan and the citizens have had a hand in the decision-making process. It is not right for the state to step in and override our efforts. Many cities want to opt out of the by-right rules. That should tell you SB35 is not popular. We oppose this legislation.

Sincerely,

(signature), Concerned Citizen

SB 167: Housing Accountability Act (Skinner)

This bill, introduced by State Senator Nancy Skinner, who represents Berkeley and other East Bay cities, and sponsored by the Bay Area Renters Federation (BARF), is a companion to SB 35. It would prohibit cities from disapproving a housing project containing units affordable to very low-, low- or moderate-income renters, or conditioning the approval in a manner that renders the project financially infeasible, unless, among other things, the city has met or exceeded its share of regional housing needs for the relevant income category. (As of November 2016, HUD defined a moderate-income household of four people in Alameda County as one earning under $112,300 a year.)… (more)

RELATED:
LA Homelessness … and Rents … Will Skyrocket Under New Housing Proposals

 

Repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act – Support AB 1506

costa-hawkins

Send a letter to your Assembly Members supporting AB 1506.

AB 1506 (Bloom) would repeal Costa-Hawkins, getting Sacramento out of way when it comes to making our communities more affordable. With housing costs completely out of control in California, now is the time to repeal Costa-Hawkins… (more)

Is California About to Clobber Local Control?

By Zelda Bronstein : newgeography – excerpt

The gradual decimation of local voice in planning has become accepted policy in Sacramento. The State Senate is now considering two dangerous bills, SB 35 and SB 167, that together severely curtail democratic control of housing.

SB 35: Housing Accountability and Affordability Act (Wiener)

SB 35, the brainchild of San Francisco State Senator Scott Wiener, would force cities that haven’t met all their state-mandated Regional Housing Need Allocations to give by-right approval to infill market-rate housing projects with as little as 10% officially affordable housing.

SB 35 is anti-free speech and civic engagement. No public hearings, no environmental review, no negotiation over community benefits. Just “ministerial,” i.e., over-the-counter- approval.

SB 35 is pro-gentrification…

SB 167: Housing Accountability Act (Skinner)

This bill, introduced by State Senator Nancy Skinner, who represents Berkeley and other East Bay cities, and sponsored by the Bay Area Renters Federation (BARF), is a companion to SB 35. It would prohibit cities from disapproving a housing project containing units affordable to very low-, low- or moderate-income renters, or conditioning the approval in a manner that renders the project financially infeasible, unless, among other things, the city has met or exceeded its share of regional housing needs for the relevant income category. (As of November 2016, HUD defined a moderate-income household of four people in Alameda County as one earning under $112,300 a year.)

The bill defines a “feasible” project as one that is “capable of being accomplished in a successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into account economic environmental, social, and technological factors.” It does not define “successful” or “reasonable.”

If a city does disapprove such a project, it is liable to a minimum fine of $1,000 per unit of the housing development project, plus punitive damages, if a court finds that the local jurisdiction acted in bad faith…(more)

AB 915, by Ting would guard against such bills as SB 35. AB 915 passed in the House and was sent to the Senate, so it appears to be doing a lot better than SB 167 so far.

SF is losing affordable housing almost as fast as we can build it

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Planning Dept. report shows that evictions are erasing about 70 percent of the city’s affordable housing gains

IMG_1477

It doesn’t help much to build a lot of new affordable housing if we lose almost as much to evictions. Photo by Zrants

The Planning Department has released its latest report on how the city’s affordable housing balance is coming along, and it’s not pretty.

The report, which will be discussed at the Planning Commission Thursday/1, is required under city law. It’s supposed to show the progress San Francisco is making toward its official housing goals… (more)