Westside San Franciscans are none too happy about new water mix

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Tap-Water.jpg

What is coming out of your water? For now, where you live and work will determine the answer. Photo by zrants

San Franciscans take pride in drinking pristine water from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which they treasure as among the purest in the nation.

So a recent move by the Public Utilities Commission to introduce ground water gradually into the city’s drinking supply prompted anxiety and suspicion.

“How will this affect my grandaughter? I feel like she’s the guinea pig,” said Ingrid Eggers, a Mission District resident who spoke at a Wednesday hearing before the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.

Eggers was among dozens of residents who had concerns about nitrates, pesticide runoff, sewage, artificial turf particulate and traces of pharmaceutical drugs possibly contaminating the blended water, which will go to about 60 percent of San Francisco residents, mostly on the west side.

City water officials began pumping the new mix in March from wells that draw from an acquifer about 400 feet below ground. They plan to add more ground water over the next four years, but it will allow for more than 15 percent of the mixture…

Supervisor Norman Yee, who called the hearing, asked the PUC to perform new quality tests and return with a new analysis… (more)

A lot of questions remain, especially for people with compromised immune systems and chemical sensitivities. You can’t fault people for drinking bottled water as that will be the preference for many, much to the dismay of the water expert, who was “was actually mildly shocked to hear that, ‘Oh my God, people will obviously turn to bottled water’.”

No doubt many will choose bottled water at a time when there is great concern about increasing bottles in our environment. The issues must be weighed and a balance found. Are we going to increase the use of pesticides into our drinking water and increase the number of bottles to recycles or can we return to clean pure Hetch Hetchy water coming out of the taps?

Rec and Park did not show up to explain their use of poisons on our parks that will end up in our water and neither did the health department official. They will be asked to come to the next hearing along with some answers and new data on the actual tests results since the blend was initiated, not based on questionable forecast data.

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City Hall flooded with complaints over SF’s new mixed drinking waterCity Hall flooded with complaints over SF’s new mixed drinking water

by Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Yee vowed that the board’s Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee will hold a follow-up hearing…(more)

Scott Wiener’s housing straw man

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

The senator misses the point — and the facts — when he attacks people who don’t think the private market will solve our woes

State Senator Scott Wiener, in a recent blog posting, attacked nameless critics of his efforts to produce more market-rate housing by removing local governments from the approval process if those local areas failed to meet regionally determined “housing needs.” Since all localities in the state currently fail to meet these needs, his legislation would, in effect, deregulate housing development all over California, since most housing regulations exist at the local level…

What Does Work? The voters of San Francisco and the Bay Area have an answer: market controls to keep existing housing within reach and public subsidies to build new housing they and their neighbors can afford. As argued earlier on these pages, the passage of more than $1 billion in bonds and sales taxes to build homes affordable to moderate income earners and people at risk of homelessness or homeless is sound public policy. Moreover, the passage of rent control measures is a rational response to a red hot real estate market. Continued effort to regulate Airbnb and other short term rentals is critical — the 10,000 STR’s in San Francisco just about equals the current vacancy rate for apartments. Imagine what would happen to rents if the vacancy rate were doubled because un-registered Airbnb listings were placed back on the rental market…. (more)

Might it be cheaper and easier to give landlords a reason to stay in the game? What would it take to make being a landlord easier and less stressful? Money is not the only thing that motivates people. Onerous laws and regulations and jumping through hoops gets old real fast, convincing many people to get out of the rental business and just sit on the property. As long as the values are going up, why sell?

Investigative Unit: San Francisco Landlords May Have Wrongfully Evicted Hundreds of Tenants

This may be old news, but it bears repeating, especially now that the Supervisors are working to stop the illegal evictions. They may not agree on everything, but they all appear to be interested in protecting renters rights where the illegal evictions are concerned.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit exposes widespread abuse by landlords as part of a six-month investigation into evictions across San Francisco. The Investigative Unit found that nearly one in four owner move-in evictions could be fraudulent.

More than 8,000 people in San Francisco have been evicted from their homes over the past four years, but hundreds of those residents may have been wrongfully evicted, according to an analysis by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit.

Landlords can legally evict their tenants for one of 16 reasons, including failure to pay rent and housing too many roommates. One of the fastest growing evictions, however, allows landlords to kick out their tenants if they, or, in some cases, their relatives, want to move into the home.

Owner move-in evictions have spiked more than 200 percent in just the past five years. The Investigative Unit spent six months interviewing over 100 people all across the city to determine whether landlords or their family members are actually living in the homes they claimed to move into. The investigation revealed what appears to be widespread abuse that is now shocking residents, lawmakers, and even those who investigate wrongful evictions…

Here’s how to save thousands on your rent

The Investigative Unit mapped out every owner move-in eviction in San Francisco for the past three years. You can use the interactive map below to find evictions in your neighborhood. While many of these evictions are legal, if your address is listed and you are not a landlord or a relative of the property owner, someone may have been wrongfully evicted from that unit, which might entitle you to lock in the previous tenant’s cheaper rent.

If your address is listed, let us know about it by emailing us here. You should also submit an official request to the city to have your rent reduced… (more)

Check the interactive map on the linked page above to find out if you are in an illegal unit.

 

The Agenda, April 24 -39: Real health-care reform!

Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Plus: Affordable housing, evictions, Airbnb …. and the Leaning Tower of Soma. It’s going to be a busy week

A measure that would transform health care in California and set the stage for a profound change nationwide comes before its first committee Wednesday/26.

SB 562, by Sens. Ricardo Lara and Tony Atkins, could be the most important piece of legislation in the state this year…

The California Nurses Association is leading the fight, and will be holding a rally and march to the state Capitol starting at 11 am. The hearing is at 1:30. Buses will leave San Francisco at 7:50 am, one from the Zoo and one from Civic Center; you can RSVP here

The heated battle over affordable housing in SF is back at the Planning Commission Thursday/27, and it’s pretty clear that the deck has been stacked in favor of the plan favored by Sups. Ahsha Safai and London Breed – and the developers…

It’s going to be a crazy busy day at the Supes Government Audit and Oversight Committee Friday/28

irst, Sup. Jane Kim has called for a hearing on the city’s enforcement practices around residential evictions. That’s going to play into her move to ensure more accountability for landlords who do fake owner-move-in evictions – and may be the start of a discussion around the need for more enforcement authority and inspectors at the Rent Board.

Next: Sup. Aaron Peskin wants to look into the funding and oversight of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco – which will no doubt bring up some of the issues around former DeYoung honcho Dede Wilsey, whose tenure was marked by all sorts of issues.

Then we are back to the Leaning Tower of Soma, and Peskin’s ongoing efforts to figure out why the city approved and a developer constructed a giant luxury housing tower that is now sinking and keeling over to the side…(more)

Rent control advocates tussle with realtors

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt (includes video)

When a dozen or so tenant rights advocates arrived on the doorstep of the San Francisco Association of Realtors on Thursday morning carrying signs and a megaphone, one immediately clashed at the door with a member of the association with each pushing the other until a staffer was able to pull the door shut.

“This is private property!” the man from inside the building insisted.

“Thank you so much,” a few protesters called back sarcastically.

Meanwhile, around the corner from the entryway, two more protesters had set up a ladder and were taping letters over the Realtors sign, so that it now read “Evictors Association.”…

“All of the ways that we can actually build affordable housing, they are fighting,” said Deepa Varma, executive director of the Tenants Union and one of the activists standing in front of the Realtors Association Thursday morning…

Statewide, realtors have resisted overturning both Costa-Hawkins and the Ellis Act

We’re making sure the general public knows who they can’t trust,” she said… (more)

Actions you can take if you want to help overturn Costa Hawkins and let the cities choose how they want to manage local rentals.

It’s a perfect storm’: homeless spike in rural California linked to Silicon Valley

by Lauren Hepler : theguardian – excerpt

The heartland best known for supplying nearly 25% of America’s food is experiencing a rise in homelessness that can be traced in part to the tech boom

t first glance, the rusted metal pens in the central California town of Patterson look like an open-air prison block. But for Devani Riggs, “the cages”, abandoned since the days they were used to store the bounty of the self-proclaimed apricot capital of the world, play a very different role.

“This one was mine. That one was Patty and Pete,” said Riggs, a 3o-year-old homeless woman, adding that dozens of people had slept in the cramped enclosures.

California’s Central Valley is best known for supplying nearly 25% of the country’s food, including 40% of the fruit and nuts consumed each year. Yet today, backcountry places such as Patterson, population 22,000, are experiencing an increase in homelessness that can be traced, in part, to an unlikely sounding source: Silicon Valley… (more)

Looks like we have to repeal Costa Hawkins for the sake of everyone in the state. The real estate bubble is destroying the lives of people all over, not just in Silicon Valley and the big cities. This is a marketing scheme and it needs to be exposed for what it is. Re-instating rent control should remove the tensions caused by real estate speculation that is tearing us apart.

Most SF residents who get evicted earn less than $50K a year

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

photo shot at a Plaza 16 rally, the story that never ends, by Zrants

Data presented to supes shows that people who lose their homes through no fault of their own won’t qualify for “middle-class” affordable housing

Sup. London Breed’s plan for affordable housing in the Western Addition got continued until May today, but not before some community activists made a few critical points.

A series of speakers complained that Breed had not met with them and that they hoped that she would sit down over the next few weeks and listen to their concerns. Sup. Aaron Peskin, who was chairing the Land Use Committee hearing today, said he hoped that everyone could come together and find a solution – but that’s going to be a bit tricky, since any solution the community groups will support is going to cost developers a lot more money.

The other critical point came from Jennifer Fieber, political campaign director for the SF Tenants Union. Fieber noted that 69 percent of all tenants who reported facing no-fault evictions in the city earned less than $50,000 a year, and 25 percent had income of less than $30,000.

That’s a staggering figure when you look at the competing plans for affordable housing, including Breed’s Divisadero Street proposal… (more)

We are supporting Assemblymember Bloom’s AB 1506 supported by David Chiu, to repeal Costa Hawkins and hopefully expand rent control to put an end to the developer speculation that is driving the high rents and the evictions. We must get San Francisco back to a reasonable economic balance so residents can spend less on rents and more on other things, and even save money again. This is the only way to stop the growth of homeless encampments that is driven by greed and fear. If you agree, go to this site and send a letter of support for AB 1506. This bill has been sitting in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and needs a push from the public to move it through the process. Tenants Together is working on this now.  http://www.tenantstogether.org/campaigns/repeal-costa-hawkins-rental-housing-act