Mayor London Breed’s huge political fumble on Prop. C

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

San Francisco’s mayor could have confounded and neutralized the city’s political left for years by embracing homeless measure Prop. C. Instead, she isolated herself, rejecting it with specious arguments.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

London Breed is the mayor, and you are not. We have “takes.” She makes “decisions.” The mayor’s decisions carry weight. They are tangible…

So, make no mistake: Breed’s firm rejection of homeless measure Proposition C — a choreographed Friday announcement coming in lockstep with Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman David Chiu — was a crushing and credibility-destroying decision.

This was rendered even clearer by Monday’s splashy announcement from Marc Benioff, the city’s favored benevolent billionaire, that he was going all-in on supporting Prop. C. The measure’s backers had, previously, likened themselves to David battling the Downtown powers-that-be Goliath… (more)

There are better places to live and work that have nothing to do with Prop C and taxes. Businesses have soured on San Francisco for the same reason we all have. A high cost of living should at least guarantee a high quality of life and San Francisco is not delivering. We are poor has-been version of a once great city and no one seems to know how to pull us out of a race to the bottom, or if they do, they are being ignored.

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New study says rent control doesn’t discourage new housing

USC researchers say the data shows that Prop. 10 wouldn’t stifle housing production. That’s a direct challenge to the real-estate industry campaign

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The landlord lobby – and it’s one of the most powerful interests in the state of California – is spending more than $40 million to convince voters not to support Prop. 10 – a measure that would allow (but not require) cities to impose effective rent controls…

The USC study, sponsored by the California Community Foundation, suggests that rent control tends to keep rents lower even in uncontrolled buildings, helps preserve housing and community stability – and has little discernable impact on the construction of new housing.

The study’s authors are not economists. The lead author, Manuel Pastor, is a sociologist. The two other authors, Vanessa Carter and Maya Abood, are urban planners.

But unlike the Stanford economists who put out a complex study on the economics of rent control, complete with equations that almost nobody can understand, the USC report looks at the existing literature on rent control… (more)

The market appears to be in a self-correction mood that could slow development regardless of how the outcome of Prop C and the repeal of Costa-Hawkins.

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Landlords are threatening rent hikes if Proposition 10 passes, activists say

By : curbed – excerpt

The ballot measure would roll back state regulations on rent control

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In August, North Hollywood resident Jacob Swanson, 36, heard from his building’s property manager that rent for his apartment would increase from $1,850 to $2,000 per month, higher than the typical yearly increase he was used to.

Eager to know the reason for the higher rent hike, he emailed the property manager to ask if repairs or upgrades were planned for the building. The reply he received didn’t mention any repairs; instead, the building’s manager blamed the increase on “the upcoming election.”

Renter advocates say Los Angeles landlords and building managers are hitting tenants with rent hikes in advance of November, when voters will decide on Proposition 10, a statewide ballot initiative that would lift restrictions on rent control in California cities… (more)

If I had any doubts about how to vote on Prop 10, I now know that we don’t need to bow to intimidation  when we don’t have to. The entire world appears to have forgotten the last 100 years and be ready to repeat them. It is time to stand up for what principals we have left while we still have some.

 

Regional housing tax in the works — 9-county agency looks to raise $1.5 billion a year

By Eliane Goodman : padailypost – excerpt

A group that wants to increase the housing supply in the Bay Area is looking at ways to fund its efforts, which could potentially include a sales tax increase, an employer “head count” tax, or a tax on vacant houses.

Those are a few of the ideas under review by CASA, or Committee to House the Bay Area. The group was formed last year by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional planning agency for the nine-county Bay Area. CASA has roughly 50 members that include local government officials and representatives of businesses and nonprofits.
CASA is proposing a multi-pronged approach to the region’s housing crisis that it calls the “three P’s”: producing more housing at all levels of affordability, preserving existing affordable housing, and protecting residents at risk of losing their housing…

‘Share the pain’… (more)

‘Share the pain’ is the worst argument for raising taxes or changing lifestyles. For those of us who know the history of SOMA there is a certain irony in this request, but, no thanks, I am not a masochist. If you are, stay and complain, if not, move. Don’t inflict your lifestyle on me and I will not inflict mine on you.

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MTC CASA technical committee hopes to raise billions from Bay Area taxpayers
(Includes video links of the MTC CASA meeting): https://sfceqa.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/mtc-casa-technical-committee-hopes-to-raise-billions-from-bay-area-taxpayers/

Grass roots opposition to SB 828 and AB 2923 mounts

By Richard Eber : capoliticalreview.- excerpt

Opposition within the legislature has been minimal in passing various bills intended to streamline the permit process to build so called affordable housing. However, not all the natives are pleased. Battle lines are being drawn in suburbia to fight “Big Brother” in Sacramento when they will be trying to enforce SB 828 and AB 2923 in the coming years.

It comes down to a case of “It’s not fair” that ordinarily refers to children complaining about their parents making them perform disagreeable tasks. Here it is reflected in a grass root political movement of outraged citizens fighting progressive government in Sacramento.

With the ink barely dry from Governor Jerry Brown signing SB 828 and AB 2923 into law, a similar out cry of protests is coming from communities throughout California. A lot of folks are upset by state taking urban planning decisions away from locals and giving them to unaccountable bureaucratic regional agencies they don’t directly vote for.

The purpose of these bills is to encourage the construction of much needed affordable housing by ignoring local zoning laws and streamlining the permit process. An outcry is being heard from cities who are unhappy with the impact these new construction will have on traffic, law enforcement, congestion, schools, recreational facilities and the availability of scare water resources… (more)

San Francisco ranks No. 1 in US in property crime

: sfchronicle – excerpt

It’s official: Your backpack, laptop, tablet or phone — or the vehicle in which you left all these things behind — are more likely to catch the fancy of a thief in San Francisco than any other major metropolis in the country.

FBI data released last week show the city had the highest per-capita rate of property crimes among the 20 most populous U.S. cities in 2017, tallying 6,168 crimes per 100,000 people. That’s about 148 burglaries, larcenies, car thefts and arsons per day.

San Francisco’s property crimes spiked from the previous year, shooting up from about 47,000 in 2016 to 54,000 in 2017.

Los Altos, Danville and Los Gatos had the three lowest rates of violent crime among California’s 245 cities with a population of at least 30,000 people. Each reported zero murders and fewer than 20 rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults for all of 2017… (more)

Looks like we are not imagining it. San Francisco is not only one of the worst major traffic nightmares in the country, but it now can claim to be the property crime capital as well. Lose those famous views and what do we have left to offer tourists other than a peak into their future if they follow our leads? What next? Ask the candidates running for office how they plan to fix the problem. And offer suggestions to the Mayor and our Supervisors. Contacts

Maybe we should quit complaining about how Los Altos, Danville and Los Gatos  conduct their business and consider emulating what they are doing right?

Canary in a Coal Mine

brisbane411 – excerpt

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For the first time in our state’s history, state legislators are threatening to pass targeted legislation to strip a single city of its authority over its own land. This is not just a threat to the City of Brisbane. It’s a threat to every city in California. Brisbane is the canary in the coal mine.

State legislators hijacked the public review process for a proposed mixed-use development on the Brisbane Baylands. Their highly questionable rationale for taking this drastic action is the contention even little cities are responsible for the crisis in affordable housing. In fact, corporate job creations, State policies, income inequality, and builders focused on the high end of housing construction are more responsible. Small communities like Brisbane have not been responsible for any of these phenomena. In fact, Brisbane has supported a high rate of housing development. Its reluctance to move rapidly on development in the Baylands has to do with the land itself – its status as an unregulated, unremediated contaminated landfill.

However, when the Taiwanese landowner/developer decided that Brisbane wasn’t moving fast enough or might not approve all the planned housing (triple the amount of the total housing units currently in Brisbane), it orchestrated a media campaign that falsely claimed that Brisbane was planning to build a huge commercial development without any housing. Legislators trying to enhance their reputations on the housing issue used the fabricated Brisbane story and crafted targeted legislation that was used to threaten the Brisbane City Council to change its General Plan, before the deliberations were complete, or be forced by this legislation to rubber stamp the developer’s project with minimal oversight.

The 660-acre “Baylands” was originally part of San Francisco Bay. Southern Pacific and San Francisco filled it in for their needs, railroad equipment maintenance and garbage dumping. Consequently, the landfill has 3 former Superfund sites that, to date, have not been remediated. Some of the many adverse environmental impacts called out in the EIR include serious health and safety risks from the highly toxic landfill, the unstable land that is a liquefaction zone between two major earthquake faults, no contracted water resources, severe traffic congestion from a lack of funding for roads or public transportation, the lack of sufficient resources to provide required public services such as fire, police and public works infrastructure and ongoing maintenance, and more.

Our neighborhoods look and feel the way they do because local leaders are empowered to make decisions that serve the best interests of the people who live there. When our right to determine our future is taken away, a core part of our democracy goes with it. Yet, there’s something more insidious at play here.

Remove all local planning controls and you open up historically low-income neighborhoods to gentrifying development at market rates. Entire communities are displaced. State legislators, beneficiaries of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from developers, are all too eager to repay their donors in kind.

The proposed legislation that eviscerates Brisbane’s right to self-governance is the logical endpoint of a state government committed to development at all costs. California law requires local jurisdictions to have General Plans that focus on sustainability, healthy communities, and quality of life. The proposed legislation disregards all three. Never have we seen a land grab this blatant or this bold.

What happens in Brisbane will be repeated in cities across the state. Strip our local government of its power and you’ve taken away our voice. Take the canary out of the coal mine and there’s no warning for what comes next… (more)

Read the proposed legislation here.

Brisbane is a small community just south of San Francisco, where the Global Climate Action Summit is taking place. Citizens of both cities have tried for decades to warn about the contaminated land at Hunter’ Point, Brisbane Baylands, and other areas around the bay where soil from the contaminated area was moved prior to proper testing.

Some studies unveiled at the Global Climate Action Summit do not support the state’s current plan to build dense housing on contaminated land at sea level. We could see some shifts in attitudes in Sacramento as voters go to the polls in November. We the story below and comment on the source.

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