Redstone Building Labor Temple

Save the Redstone Labor Temple! PSA

 

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Guest opinion: ‘Local control’ isn’t perfect, but it’s better for everyone than unelected regional bureaucracies

By Susan Kirsch : bizjournals – excerpt

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Artist view of dense housing creeping into single family neighborhoods.

The Business Times recently put forward the view that “‘Local control’ of housing is the problem, not the solution” (Viewpoint section, Aug. 31 print edition).

It also reported that Livable California is forming coalitions with like-minded elected city officials and community leaders in neighborhood, homeowner, renter and social justice organizations across the state. The goal that brings us together is to strengthen local control, integrated with regional collaboration and partnerships, as the answer to housing solutions and long-term, sustainable communities.

Local control isn’t perfect, but among everyday people, it is preferable to top-down state mandates. It has a greater capacity to shape solutions than the stymied one-size-fits-all approach currently advocated by big business and Sacramento…

The crisis we face is the systematic effort to dismantle local control and replace it with unelected, regional bureaucracies.

The crisis is the rush to pass more draconian legislation, like the dozen or so housing bills passed in 2018, piled on top of the 14 housing bills passed in 2017, which Berkeley researchers warn have unpredictable outcomes.

The crisis is believing the mantra “we have to do something,” justifies legislation that benefits a few, while jeopardizing the majority.

The crisis is legislation that increases the financial burden on cities without calling it what it is — an unfunded mandate.

The crisis is the threat to demo- cracy… (more)

 

Newest Homeless Center To Be Built Near San Francisco Tourist Sites

cbslocal – excerpt (video included)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The newest navigation center for San Francisco homeless will be built just blocks from some of the city’s most-visited tourist sites, according to a San Francsico supervisor.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin told KPIX 5 the mayor’s office just approved a city-owned site near the intersection of Kearny and Bay, about three blocks from Pier 39. The location is within Peskin’s District 3, an area which includes North Beach, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Russian, Nob and Telegraph Hills.

“The site is between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building on a former parking lot. So we’re not displacing anybody,” Peskin said. “There’s not a lot of residential there, not a lot of commercial. Today, I began the outreach to folks in the Fisherman’s Wharf business community to solicit their input and hopefully their support.”… (more)

 

Could barracks and ships house the homeless?

bu By : curbed – excerpt

San Francisco has a long history of quickly creating temporary housing for thousands of people

A look at historical images reveals that at times of war and after disasters the city has housed people in barracks, tents, and shacks—often in numbers greater than the current homeless population. Which raises a question: Could the city shelter all of its homeless in similar structures today?

After the 1906 earthquake, tents and shacks sprung up in vast encampments around the city, including at Golden Gate Park where 40,000 found refuge. Soldiers lived in barracks built directly in front of City Hall in Civic Center Plaza during World War II. And 300 people slept aboard the USS Peleliu, a now-decommissioned aircraft carrier docked near the Bay Bridge following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

The retired Navy ship and its 5,000 bunks could “temporarily house most, if not all, of San Francisco’s homeless living in tents on the streets while permanent housing is built,” suggested former Mayor Art Agnos in a September 2016 opinion piece for the San Francisco Chronicle(more)

Ask the homeless people what they want. Some may like living on a boat. Others may prefer living in a tent, car, or RV. Help the ones who want help first. Treat people as individuals and give them the help they want instead of devising a system for them to fit into.

 

4 things we can do to curb our S.F. housing shortage

By Ozzie Rohm : sfgate – excerpt

In the past few years, the raging debate about California’s housing shortage has turned into a battle of words, with simplistic labels from differing camps. Real estate boosters have reduced the problem to an issue of supply and demand, while politicians of all stripes have exploited what is an affordability crisis to deregulate city planning and remove the voice of the people.

In reality, we have an affordable housing shortage that cannot be solved by deregulation and upzoning every residential parcel in San Francisco for more market-rate housing. We keep building, but the prices keep going up because, in a city as desirable as San Francisco, the demand is insatiable. But if we harness that demand by reducing real estate speculation and increasing the production of below-market-rate homes, we directly address the problem. To that end, we suggest these measures:

Impose a vacancy tax: In a hot real estate market such as ours, homes are used as investment tools…

Preserve our relatively affordable homes: Square foot for square foot, older homes are cheaper than new homes. A study by the National Association of Realtors points to a 30 to 40 percent price difference between the old and new homes…

Start a rental registry: Our tenants have been hit the hardest by this crisis. Speculators buy rental properties and get rid of tenants only to remodel and put them on the market with hefty profit…

Build 100 percent affordable housing: The magnitude of this crisis is such that what little affordable housing trickles down from 10, 20, and 30 percent inclusionary measures (where the developer is required to reserve a certain percentage of the new units for low- or middle-income dwellers) would not solve the problem…

Any of the first three measures can knock the speculators out of the market, while the last one will produce more homes for those who need them the most, people who cannot afford $1 million-plus homes. We can come together and press for these changes, or we can continue the blame game and divisive posturing.

If you can envision a San Francisco where people of all income levels are welcome, so can we — and that’s a goal worth striving for. Join us, and let’s make it happen!

Ozzie Rohm is a co-founder of Noe Neighborhood Council and a member of San Francisco Land Use Coalition. You can reach her at info@sfluc.org. To comment, submit your letter to the editor at SFChronicle.com/letters… (more)

SF residential projects languish as rising costs force developers to cash out

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Just 3 miles separate 2675 Folsom St., a vacant former restaurant equipment warehouse in the Mission District, and 160 Folsom St., a former parking lot near the Transbay Transit Center where a condo tower is under construction.

But in the current economic landscape of the San Francisco’s housing development, the two properties are a world apart.

While the next crop of luxury condo towers like 160 Folsom, which developer Tishman Speyer has branded as Mira, continue to rise in the fast-growing eastern end of South of Market, other approved housing projects across the city, like 2675 Folsom St., are stalled and on the market because of soaring construction costs and fees, developers and other industry sources say.

The growing number of developers seeking to cash out rather than risk losing money on building is fueling concerns that residential production will start to decline even as the Bay Area’s housing crisis worsens… (more)

Some of us have been predicting this for months. It is easier to solve the housing problem once you take the “build more” option off the table. Keep people in their homes by keeping homes affordable if you want to solve the housing problem. Repeal inflationary bills at the root of the income disparity problem. Repeal Prop 6 and Prop 10 in November.

Repealing Prop 6 should lower the cost of all consumables, including food.

Repealing Prop 10 will allow individual cities to deal with rent control issues on a local basis. The voters can enact the control they want in their district.

California Senate passes bill to build more housing at BART stations

By Kate Murphy : mercurynews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — A state bill to replace surface parking lots with housing at East Bay and San Francisco BART stations passed the California Senate on Thursday, propelling the proposal one step closer to becoming law.

After a passionate debate on the Senate floor, the bill passed 26-13…

Championed by housing, transit and business interests but fought by some cities and others wary of losing local control over land-use decisions, Assembly Bill 2923 would force cities and counties to zone BART property in accordance with an ambitious policy the transit agency adopted in 2016. That policy calls for 20,000 new apartments and town homes — 35 percent of them to be rented at below market rate, system-wide — by 2040.

Perhaps more significantly, the bill would also fast-track the approvals of such developments, a process that has been known to take decades… (more)

REGIONAL POWER: This is an example of state elected officials handing power to non-elected regional officials to override the constitutional authority of elected city and county representatives. This is the picture of the new REGIONAL GOVERNMENT being developed to avoid public scrutiny and review of changes in our communities.

So far as we know, this power is only being use to usurp local zoning and development decisions, however, since much of these decisions were the purview of environmental review and studies, this does not bode well for the environment at a time of great concern over the supply and quality of our water and other essential elements needed to expand these communities. Who is protecting us now?

Will the voters fight back in court and will they reward the elected officials who cut their power by re-electing them to office, or will they start recall proceedings in protest against those elected representatives? If San Francisco Bay Area can pass local regional control laws, so can other other regional groups.