Sanctuary amid housing crisis

By Wendy Lee : sfchronicle – excerpt

…With no end in sight to soaring housing costs, several Bay Area faith organizations have become a sanctuary of sorts — not just channeling donations and distributing food, but also offering a safe place for people living in cars or RVs. The arrangement has sometimes grated on neighbors, but for pastors, it’s simply an extension of their mission to serve humanity.

“We know it’s just a Band-Aid,” said Brian Leong, a pastor at Lord’s Grace Christian Church in Mountain View, which is hoping to offer a handful of spots for people living in RVs. “We realize that sleeping in your car, whether it’s your lot or anywhere else, is not great. It’s not what anyone wants for themselves or their families.”...(more)

 

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E. Palo Alto May Give Homeless People Living In RVs A Permanent Place To Park

cbslocal – excerpt

EAST PALO ALTO (KPIX) – East Palo Alto may provide people living in motor homes and RVs a permanent parking space.

The city is considering a plan to provide parking and some services at the former Tanklage site on Bay Road.

“They have so many homeless people here, but they think they’re all drug addicts,” says Annette Brown. “That’s not the case.”

Brown is talking about the dozens of people who live in cars and RVs who parked there… (more)

A few taxpayer victories in an anti-taxpayer California Legislature

By Jon Coupal : ocregister – excerpt

Ronald Reagan once said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” With a record $130 billion budget, we know that California state legislators are adept at all three practices, but none more so than taxes.

Democrats in Sacramento spent 2017 jamming three separate tax and fuel-cost hikes into law. They renewed the cap-and-trade program, continuing a multi-billion-dollar increase in fuel costs that brings in state revenue to fund high-speed rail. They invented a new tax on recorded documents that is supposed to fund affordable housing. And of course the SB 1 gas and car tax increase was said to be needed to fund road repair, even though billions of dollars have been diverted away from maintenance over the last decade. In the midst of an $8 billion surplus, Sacramento was steadily increasing taxes.

But fortunately, 2018 hasn’t been as dreadful for taxpayers as 2017. Here’s a sample of the proposals that, for now, have failed to pass:.

Senate Bill 794 would impose a new three percent tax on fireworks at the point of sale…

Assembly Bill 2497 would impose an as-yet-undefined tax on guns and ammunition to fund school resource counselors and police officers…

AB 2303 and AB 2560 would create a new tax of up to ten percent on small business vendors who contract out either with private prisons or with the California Department of Corrections…

Senate Bill 623 would establish a precedent-setting tax on residential water use. For now, local water agencies have joined with taxpayer advocates to vigorously fight this levy…

Assembly Bill 2486 would impose a $100 million tax on opioid manufacturers and distributors to fund prevention and treatment programs…

Senate Bill 993 is the latest version of a proposal to extend the sales tax to services, generating $100 billion in new tax revenue that would be lifted from the wallets of consumers…

Beyond politics, we can thank Proposition 13 and its constitutional protections, which require all taxes to receive a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature…

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association... (more)

 

Housing crisis prompts San Diego to further loosen rules for live-work spaces

By David Garrick : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

San Diego is expanding its plan to use “live-work” spaces to ease the city’s housing crisis and get commuters off the road.

The goal is encouraging more people like dentists, accountants and comic store owners to start living in the same place where they work.

City officials say it’s one of the quickest and cheapest ways to boost the local supply of affordable housing.

In March, the City Council loosened zoning and other regulations governing live-work spaces. But city officials say they didn’t go far enough…

Councilman Scott Sherman said the proposal won’t make a huge dent in the city’s housing shortage all by itself, but that it will make a small difference like several other city efforts launched during the last two years.

The other efforts include developer incentives called density bonuses, softer parking requirements for projects in transit areas, looser rules for granny flats and streamlined environmental reviews…

The city’s plan calls for more commuting by bicycle and transit, but live-work spaces eliminate the need to commute entirely.

The proposal to further loosen live-work space restrictions is expected to be presented to the full council for approval next month… (more)

Is San Francisco ready to have another go at LIve-Work, this time without tax breaks and less stringent requirements? Double up on use and cut down on the commutes? Bring back the PDR live-work for artists and musicians who pioneered the lifestyle?

 

Gimme Shelter podcast: The rent control war

By Matt Levin : calmatters and gimmeshelter (includes audio track from podcast)

One housing issue will overshadow all others this election: Rent control. Matt and Liam discuss why renewed negotiations to remove a controversial rent control initiative from the ballot went nowhere, and what the campaigns will look like this fall. First, Matt proposes a solution to the Los Angeles Clippers’ battles with the California Environmental Quality Act in the Avocado of the Fortnight (3:30). Then a discussion about why negotiations over rent control have been so fruitless (11:23). Debra Carlton, senior vice president of public affairs for the California Apartment Association, stops by the studio to talk about the landlords’ perspective (24:00). And Amy Schur, campaign director for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, calls in to give the tenants’ side (47:30). *… (more)

RELATED – 12 more initiatives on the November ballot:

Propositions on the November 2018 California ballot

by Ben Christopher : calmatters – excerpt

Prop 6: Gas Tax Repeal, Repeal a recent increase in the gas tax and other fuel and car fees and require voter approval for all related taxes in the future.
Prop 10: Repeal Costa-Hawkins, Allow cities to introduce new restrictions on market rents or expand existing rent control policies
Prop 5: Portable Prop 13, Allow older or disabled homeowners to take their lowered property tax base with them when they move.
Prop 8: Dialysis Clinic Profit Pruning, Require companies that operate dialysis clinics to pay back insurers any profits over 15 percent of qualifying business costs.
Prop 1: Affordable Housing Bond, Give the state permission to borrow $4 billion to fund affordable housing construction ($3 billion) and to subsidize home loans for veterans ($1 billion).
Prop 9: Tim Draper’s Three State Solution, Divide California into three new states: “Northern California,” “Southern California,” and “California.”
Prop 2: Mental Health Money for Housing, Give the state permission to borrow $2 billion to fund supportive housing for those suffering with mental illness and to repay the cost of that bond with money set aside for mental health services.
Prop 12: Bigger Cages for Farm Animals, Place new size requirements on the coops and cages used to contain breeding pigs, veal calfs, and egg-laying hens. It would also require all egg-laying hens be raised in specified “cage-free” conditions. These requirements would apply to anyone selling related food products in California, even if the farms are out of state.
Prop 11: Paramedic Break Time, Allow private ambulance services to require their emergency medical service employees to remain on call during meal and rest breaks. Also guarantees technicians additional training and some paid medical health services.
Prop 7: Daylight Savings Time, Would repeal the measure Californians passed back in 1949 creating Daylight Savings Time. The Legislature would then be able to determine how the state sets its time—to eliminate moving clocks backward and forward every spring and fall.
Prop 4: Childrens Hospital Bond, Give the state permission to borrow $1.5 billion to renovations, expansions, and upgrades at hospitals that treat children. Most of the funding is reserved for private non-profit hospitals and hospitals run through one of University of California campuses.
Prop 3: Another Water Bond, Give the state permission to borrow $8.9 billion to fund watershed protection, wastewater projects, groundwater management, as well as upgrades and repairs to traditional water infrastructure, like canals and dams… (more)

Campaign deadlines:
June 19 Deadline for candidates to declare intention to run
June 28 Deadline for ballot initiatives to be certified
August 15 Deadline for political parties to endorse
October 22 Voter registration deadline
October 30 Vote-by-mail request deadline
November 6 HAPPY ELECTION DAY!

Cox Opposes Rent Control Ballot Initiative

mynewsla – excerpt

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox Saturday called a rent control initiative set to appear on the November ballot “a bad deal for renters.”

“Building more housing will bring rents down,” Cox tweeted as he shared a story about the measure qualifying for the November ballot. “This measure treats the symptom, not the disease – it’s a bad deal for renters.

What backers have dubbed the Affordable Housing Act would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 law that bans rent control on apartment buildings, condominiums and houses built after 1995 and froze local rent control laws.

The 1995 law also allows landlords to raise rents by an unlimited amount when a unit becomes vacant.

If adopted by voters, the initiative would give cities and counties expanded authority to enact rent control on residential property.

There was no immediate response to an email sent Saturday night to a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, seeking the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s position on the initiative…(more)

Which SF High-Rises Could Collapse in an Earthquake

By Joe Kukura : sfweekly – excerpt (includes list of 39 at risk buildings)

Transamerica Pyramid and Embarcadero Center towers are among nearly 40 high-rises at risk of collapse in an earthquake, according to a new study.

This ridiculous image from the 2015 San Andreas movie poster may have an ounce of truth to it, according to a recent study from the U.S. Geological Survey. The Transamerica Pyramid is among 39 San Francisco high-rise buildings that could collapse in an earthquake the magnitude of the 1906 quake, according to a new report the New York Times.

If you live or work in a downtown high-rise, you might want to immediately scroll down to the bottom of this article to see if your building is one of the 39 San Francisco high-rises built with an engineering technique that is now considered flawed… (more)

Maybe San Francisco is not such a great place to up-zone. No mention here of the fires that accompany earthquakes, or the power outage that will make all the electric systems obsolete, including banking and the public transportation systems.