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
In the wake of the resurgence of right-wing hate groups, appears the anti-fascist left, or antifa. Who the heck are these folks and how is that darn word pronounced? Read all about the movement in “Antifa Unmasked.” (Reveal).
San Francisco, land of unrestrained tech wealth and the attendant hoodies and $29 loaves of bread, just said whoa whoa whoa to delivery robots.
The SF Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday, December 5 to severely restrict the machines, which roll on sidewalks and autonomously dodge obstacles like dogs and buskers. Now startups will have to get permits to run their robots under strict guidelines in particular zones, typically industrial areas with low foot traffic. And even then, they may only do so for research purposes, not making actual deliveries. It’s perhaps the harshest crackdown on delivery robots in the United States—again, this in the city that gave the world an app that sends someone to your car to park it for you.
Actually, delivery robots are a bit like that, though far more advanced and less insufferable. Like self-driving cars, they see their world with a range of sensors, including lasers. Order food from a participating restaurant and a worker will load up your order into the robot and send it on its way. At the moment, a human handler will follow with a joystick, should something go awry. But these machines are actually pretty good at finding their way around. Once one gets to your place, you unlock it with a PIN, grab your food, and send the robot on its way.
Because an operator is following the robot at all times, you might consider the robot to be a fancied-up, slightly more autonomous version of a person pushing a shopping cart. “But that’s not the business model that they’re going after,” says San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who spearheaded the legislation. “The business model is basically get as many robots out there to do deliveries and somebody in some office will monitor all these robots. So at that point you’re inviting potential collisions with people.”… (more)
Part of that is clearly a regional problem: The Peninsula cities love to approve tech office space but build no new housing, exporting the problem to SF. But the city also has a lot more jobs than housing…
Yimby Action’s Laura Clark said that “we should be building a lot more housing,” and that we should eliminate single-family zoning in the city within the next year. (more)
Gentrification may be what brought us Trump. Politicians need to listen to the anger and frustration the country is feeling over an unprecedented wage gap and cost of living increases.
The decision by San Francisco city and school officials to commit a plot of land and $44 million in public funds toward building affordable housing for teachers came after years of waffling and wavering. And it signaled a growing desire to help educators who make too much to qualify for low-income housing and not enough to afford skyrocketing city housing costs.
But even as leaders took a big step forward last week, they acknowledged that the ambitious and costly project that is expected to include 100 to 150 housing units on the city’s west side will do little to achieve its central goal — stemming the annual churn of teachers who leave to work in another city or in an entirely new career…
What S.F. teachers spend on rent
Under current rental rates, a veteran teacher looking for housing would need to spend nearly 70 percent of his or her income on a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. The following is what city educators now spend on rent, according to a 2017 survey of 2,000 teachers.
35 percent of teachers spend less than 30 percent of income on rent
32 percent spend between 30 and 39 percent
22.3 percent spend more than 40 percent (14.7 spend more than 50 percent)
Thousands of Facebook employees are about to experience a much more pleasant commute.
The social-media giant has signed a lease at 181 Fremont, a mixed-use skyscraper that will be the tallest residential building on the West Coast once it’s completed later this year. The tower rises 70 stories over San Francisco’s Financial District and will house between 2,000 and 3,000 Facebook and Instagram employees across 33 floors.
The 436,000-square-foot office space will be Facebook’s first outpost in San Francisco. The company currently shuttles thousands of employees from the city to its headquarters in Menlo Park, which is about 35 miles south. The jaunt can take up to two hours in traffic.
The lives of tech entrepreneurs aren’t always as glamorous as they’re made out to be, as I learned living among them on a dangerous San Francisco street
For the past 12 months of my life, I paid the bargain price of $1,250 per month to sleep diagonally in a bunk bed in a 10ft x 10ft room that I shared with a 32-year old man. Because I am 6ft 4in, sleeping diagonally in my undersized accommodation was the only way I could make it through the night without getting cramps.
Welcome to my life in the hacker house…
In my first month, there were six of us unemployed at the time. Woefully seeking income, we built a daily ritual of job-hunting together at the kitchen table until sunset. …
Unfortunately, though, hustle doesn’t always lead to results or income. While I was catching up with Will Harris, the early tenant who has been with the Negev from the beginning, he urged me to tell the story of those who don’t make it.
“Everyone hears how rosy it is out here. No one tells the story of the majority of people who do everything right, work their ass off and still end up leaving the city in six months, broke, with crushed dreams.”…(more)
Some people, such as YIMBYs, advocate building lots more housing in San Francisco. Their basic argument is:
Housing in SF is the priciest in the country, with the average one bedroom apartment renting for over $3,000 per month (compared to the nationwide average of $1,200.)
The main reason rents are so high is because the supply of housing has been artificially restricted — new developments are constantly getting blocked by land use regulations and neighborhood associations. Meanwhile, demand to live in SF continues to rise. And since supply is not keeping pace, rents go up, as a growing number of would-be tenants outbid each other for the limited housing available.
Therefore, it’s important that we find a way to increase the rate at which we’re building new housing in SF, or it will be a city in which only the rich can afford to live.
I’ve been trying to understand why others are critical of this argument. I think there are three main areas of disagreement between what I’ll call the advocates and the critics, and I’ll briefly explain each in turn. (Note that I’m trying to present the strongest version of each argument, which may be different from the most common version.)… (more)