Midtown: Broken Promises and The Ghosts of Redevelopment

By Tyler Walicek : medium – excerpt

On the evening of October 18th, citizens and activists packed the cafeteria of Gateway High School, intent on speaking out against certain injustices that have been visited upon the residents of the Midtown Park Apartments. Addressing the crowd were a somber set of officials. Some spoke for the Mayor’s Office of Housing, while others were representing Mercy Housing, the massive, development-oriented nonprofit…

Conspicuously absent from the high school meeting was Supervisor London Breed, a supporter of Mercy’s new designs for Midtown…

A Brief History of Midtown[1]

Shortly after Midtown opened, its original developer went belly-up and defaulted on the loan. The lenders soon came calling; in order to keep the property afloat, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stepped in and negotiated for the City to take over the property. Shortly thereafter, in 1968, the City gave a 40-year lease for the property to the Midtown Park Corporation, a nonprofit established by tenants to oversee the upkeep of the grounds

To recap: the City claimed to own Midtown. The City promised Midtown residents rent control. Midtown tenants struggled to meet the rising costs of maintenance. The City vetoed proposed rent increases, citing rent control protections for Midtown. Without increased revenue or support from its owner, the City, the complex fell into disrepair. Now that a backroom deal has granted control of the property to Mercy Housing, the City is looking the other way as rent control protections are destroyed. Midtown’s tenants are facing an injustice in triplicate: the City’s failure to help them maintain the buildings, the revocation of rent control, and, if the City gets its way, the complete demolition of their homes…

[1] For more detailed history, check out Natalia Kresich’s article on 48 Hills and the Save Midtown website (more)

 

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First mayoral debate has no winners and too much agreement

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

None of the candidates made a case for why they are different than the others; that’s a problem when the city is in a serious crisis and so many voters are undecided

The first mayoral debate of the spring had no clear winners or losers; in fact, none of the candidates stood out as dramatically different from any of the others. That may be in part because this event was sponsored by the decidedly moderate United Democratic Club, with the decidedly conservative Chronicle Editorial Page Editor John Diaz asking all of the questions.

There’s clearly a lot of interest in the race: So many people came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that the Koret Auditorium at the main library filled to capacity, as didn an overflow room, and still people were turned away.

The candidates had a chance to define themselves as different in a crowded field, and I don’t think any of them did that.

Mark Leno came the closest: From the start, he said that he is convinced that “we need a new direction at City Hall” and that he would offer “a fundamental change from the status quo.”…

I give Kim and Leno credit: They were the only two who said, when asked about homelessness, that prevention is as important as responding…

Leno suggested that the city ought to sue the speculators who are abusing the Ellis Act by purchasing building after building and in each case claiming they want to go out of the business of being a landlord.

Weiss correctly pointed out that it does not good to put people in shelters or medical facilities if they are released back to the streets with no place to go. She’s a fan of Seattle-style “supportive villages.”…

They all seemed to be buying into the concept that all growth is good, and that we don’t need to control or moderate it

When it came to traffic congestion, we saw a few minor differences. Breed is not in favor of a London-style toll system that charges drivers for the right to head into congested areas; Kim and Leno said that’s an idea worth pursuing…(more)

Missed this Mayoral debate, as I attended the much more divisive Senator Wiener Town Hall. This event attracted a crowd of people from outside the city and a lot of folks from Wiener’s district 8, who oppose the housing legislation he is pushing, outlined in this article: “Scott Weiner’s War on Local Planning

All of the issues involving housing, displacement, homelessness, crime, and economic inequalities are based on the belief that “unlimited growth is good”. Where in California has dense housing resulted in a decease in displacement, homelessness, crime, or a better lifestyle for residents?

Followup: After watching the tape I see quite a bit of difference between the candidates on some of the issues I care about.
https://www.facebook.com/SFUnitedDems/videos/940340022786081

Community Workshop Attracts 200 Seeking Solutions to Homelessness

By Joe Eskenazi : sfpublicpress – excerpt

In 20 years of homelessness in San Francisco, Moses Carbins has spent time in most of this city’s shelters. “Some days,” he said, “you wake up invisible. It becomes sort of like a pit. It’s just another day to die.”.

It was lost on no one, however, that Carbins has lived — thanks to “empathy, compassion, a network of friends” — and was on hand to address an audience of more than 200, hanging on his every word, as he spoke on a panel at “Solving Homelessness,” a Jan. 25 community workshop presented by the Public Press.

The symposium was an all-day gathering of advocates, architects, journalists, activists, service providers, innovators, city officials, policymakers and homeless men and women to brainstorm solutions to homelessness… (more)

I attended part of this event and was impressed by the large number of organizations who were represented. I knew quite a few people and recognized many others. Read the article if you care of solving the homeless crisis. Many good ideas are explored here.

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Black women on London Breed: Robbed of mayorship or rightly dethroned?

by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : facebook  and sfexaminer – excerpt

From Facebook :

Please read and share. A lot of calls and a lot of work went into today’s ON GUARD, which I tried, very hard, to strike a balance between varying opinions out there on London Breed’s ouster.

But I did so by speaking to those most affected by the allegations of racism and sexism: Black women San Franciscans…

From SF Examiner column:

“You’re racist! … This is war!”

The cries of a handful of black women echoed under our gilded City Hall dome Tuesday after a startling vote to replace London Breed with Supervisor Mark Farrell as mayor.

Headlines in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and even the conservative Breitbart News and black-focused pblication The Root, expressed the rage some felt when a black woman from public housing was replaced by a white venture capitalist — in San Francisco!

How racist. How sexist. How hypocritical and conniving…

Those accusations, and more, were hurled with a muscular arm of righteousness reaching back — way back — to the 1950s mass evictions of black San Franciscans during the “urban renewal” of the Western Addition, to the recent grief after the San Francisco Police Department shot and killed Mario Woods, and landed at the feet of self-described progressive supervisors who sought to oust The City’s first black woman mayor.

“San Francisco dislikes Black women so much that they appointed a white conservative to be the caretaker mayor,” opined Alicia Garza, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, on Twitter…

“I decided I’ve had it up to my neck with the prognosticators. Ultimately, it’s most important we listen to our city’s black women; that’s why only those who identify as black women are quoted hereafter…Some women who know Breed felt passionately she was robbed of her mayorship. Others believed her own record damned her.”... (more)

Please follow the link and voice you opinions at the source if you can.

Hundreds march in solidarity to avoid gentrification in Mission District

On Thursday afternoon, Mission Street was shut down for a few hours for a March to peacefully protest gentrification. The “March for Mission” which started at 20th and Mission Streets brought together local volunteers and organizations to send a message to City Hall that their voice needs to be heard.

Protesters ended the march at city hall, demanding funding to establish a Latino Cultural Corridor, affordable housing and transit equity. They aim to stop the massive influx of high-end businesses, projects, and luxurious housing. Protesters said that gentrification is driving out their neighborhood shops and threatening to turn Mission Street into another Valencia Street…(more)

Maybe it is time to take back Valencia. The posh restaurants have already topped out. Many are reputed to be closing already. What has gone up, is coming down, except for the rents, that is.

Livin’ in the City, by the Numbers: Public Press Weekly

By Michele Anderson : sfpublicpress – excerpt

Homeless line the sidewalks of SOMA and the Mission, by Bluecat

Many city dwellers have a lot to complain about these days: sky-high rents and home prices, housing for the few, sketchy roommates, skimpy parking, hellish traffic, clutter, litter — you name it. And then there’s homelessness. The numbers of San Franciscans living on the streets are increasing, right?

Well, actually, no. 

The numbers are relatively unchanged, but what’s happening is there are more tents and the unhoused population is more visible. Thanks to redevelopment, there are fewer alleys, parking lots and cheap rooms that are far from foot traffic where people can stake out a place to live.  (KALW/Crosscurrents)…

Let’s Talk Politics

RELATED:
SF set to start process for building modular housing for formerly homeless

The narrow loophole that lets Breed control both branches of government

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

She’s the acting mayor, has all the powers of the mayor — but didn’t take the oath of office. That’s why, according to the city attorney, she can do both jobs…

City Attorney Dennis Herrera says that London Breed can be both mayor and Board of Supervisors president for the duration – because of one little loophole in the law.

Attorney Dean Preston has questioned whether Breed can do both jobs, since the City Charter makes clear that mayor of San Francisco is a full-time position…(more)

I think the majority of the residents of the city share the concerns noted here regarding the duties of Mayor needing to be separate from the duties of supervisor. We look forward to a resolution on this soon as the Board of Supervisors can agree on who to appoint as interim mayor.

Meanwhile, a lot is going on at City Hall and some of it is not bad. These stories on 48hiils should get some attention. Read on…

Breaking: Key rent control bill dies in Assembly committee

Two key Democrats side with the landlords to block repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act.

The effort to allow cities to impose effective rent controls failed in a state Assembly committee today after two Democrats refused to vote for the bill.

The repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act needed four votes to move forward. It died, 3-2, when Assemblymembers Jim Wood of Healdsburg and Ed Chau of Arcadia abstained from voting

Protests erupted in the Capitol after the vote, with tenant groups occupying the rotunda… (more)

This is not over. The solution is to contact their constituents and apply pressure.

Planning Commission rejects condo application after 100-year-old was evicted

In a stunning, unanimous decision, planners say you can’t evict a centenarian, lie about it on your condo application, and get a lucrative permit…

The San Francisco City Planning Commission unanimously rejected an attempt by the building owners who evicted 100-year-old Iris Canada to convert their property to condos after every single commissioner said that the application submitted by the owners, and the information provided by the planning staff, were inaccurate… (more)