The Decade Dominated by the Ultraluxury Condo

By : nytimes – excerpt

The 2010s saw the rise and fall of the super-high-end condo, and its impact will echo for years to come in Manhattan and the boroughs.

Developers used the 2010s to reshape the New York skyline with soaring condo towers — many of which will struggle to sell units well into the next decade.

But what began as a period of exuberance for investors ended with a dwindling pool of high-end buyers willing to pay record prices. Apartments are still selling, especially in the resale market, but often at marked down prices.

“We think of this decade as this boom of new product never seen before, but that’s a distant memory,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. “The second half was a reckoning with reality.”…

(more)

Meet Scott Wiener’s Democratic Socialist Re-Election Challenger

: sfweekly – excerpt

Public Bank

Jackie Fielder knows she would be a relatively rarity when it comes to working-class people in power.

Building on the momentum of recent electoral wins for progressives, state Sen. Scott Wiener faces a challenger running to to his left.

Jackie Fielder, a democratic socialist activist, pulled papers on Monday to run against Wiener for his California Senate District 11 re-election bid, SF Weekly has learned. Wiener, a former supervisor, narrowly won his first term to represent San Francisco, Daly City and Colma in 2016 after beating progressive board colleague Jane Kim, though not in the primary.

But Fielder feels motivated by the November victories over incumbents that brings reformer Chesa Boudin as District Attorney and democratic socialist Dean Preston as District 5 Supervisor

She gives Wiener credit as a smart policy wonk but is troubled by his, and much of the California Legislature’s, support from real estate interests. He authored Senate Bill 50, a controversial re-zoning bill that was shelved after uproar for its feared exacerbation of gentrification. In a message to supporters earlier this month, Wiener touted success in authoring 36 signed bills around LGBT rights, mass incarceration, climate change, health care and mental health… (more)

Since this article ran, opponents have dropped out of the race. A major issue will be Scott Wiener’s SB50 and the top down dense housing legislation he is pushing. Many California voters are appalled at efforts by Sacramento politicians to override the constitutional authorities of local governments and communities to design their cities the way they prefer to live. Since Senator Wiener is pushing these objectionable bills, we anticipate a large amount of support for his opponent from outside the district.

Everybody must get stoned: Clinton Park boulders are San Francisco’s clumsiest metaphor

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt (includes video of “Stonehenge” by Spinaltap)

Lttle-known fact: Stonehenge was actually installed when a group of Neolithic Briton homeowners passed the Neolithic Briton hat, bought a bunch of rocks, and dumped them into Salisbury Plain to ward off unwanted Druids.

Eh, it might have happened. Frustrated people or groups tossing up their hands and saying, “Nothing else is working. I’m gonna buy a bunch of rocks” must trace back to the Stone Age.

Stones were, back then, in great supply.

With that said, the anti-homeless boulders in San Francisco’s Clinton Park — a small street even lifelong city denizens may only have previously known as the road between Pet Food Express and Whole Foods — are large and heavy. But not on the scale of a Neolithic monument. And yet, anyone wandering into the vicinity of Clinton Park in the last month would probably have the same thought as visitors to Salisbury Plain: “How the hell did that get here?”…

Update: Unwilling to continue throwing good money after bad, the city has today announced it will cease replacing the rolling rocks and simply cart them off. The problem of unwarranted big rocks on Clinton Park has been solved. Every other problem remains… (more)

City cuts to long-term mental health beds prompt protest

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Elected officials, hospital staff call move to short-term beds for homeless ‘short-sighted’

Dozens of people gathered at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Thursday to protest what they described as a “short-sighted” directive by Mayor London Breed to close 41 permanent treatment beds for mental health patients in exchange for a shelter-bed expansion at the hospital…

Hospital staff, ARF patients and some city leaders said that they were “blindsided” by the plan and vowed to fight cuts to the ARF, which provides a total of 55 permanent residential mental health beds. In exchange, 14 beds will be added to the hospital’s Hummingbird Place, a short-term psychiatric respite program at the hospital that currently operates 29 beds and where client stays average about 19 days…

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said that the plan to reduce capacity at the ARF was “developed in secret” and that she only learned about it through the advocacy of the hospital workers. Ronen and Supervisor Matt Haney are the proponents of Mental Health SF, an initiative planned for the March 2020 ballot that would provide free mental health care and substance use disorder treatment…

On Thursday, Ronen, who indicated that she would likely call a hearing on the issue, called Breed’s plan a “game of smoke and mirrors to pretend they are doing something without the real deep structural changes that take vision, time, commitment.”.

State-licensed residential treatment beds are among the hardest to secure and operate, whereas Navigation Center beds such as those offered at Hummingbird Place can be opened “anywhere in this city without any OK from the state,” said Ronen…. (more)

Moving people around seems to be a new passion these days. Moving people around against their will is probably the number one cause for the unstable society we are living in today. The first order of business should be to “do no harm.” Moving people around must be making someone rich or why would they do it? Who benefits from this dis-functional system?

 

 

SF seizes homeless people’s property — and they rarely get it back

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt (includes video links)

Stunning new videos document how the cops and DPW are failing to follow even their own rules as tents, medicine, and personal belongings wind up in the trash.

An advocacy group for homeless people has just released a stunning set of videos that demonstrate how police and city workers are taking away – and never returning – the property of homeless people, in violation of local rules…

The former [DPW] worker is, of course, anonymous, but SF Weekly’s Nuala Sawyer confirmed that the person was, indeed, a DPW employee…

The site, stolenbelonging.org, includes a remarkable video of what happens when a homeless person tries to go to the DPW lot and reclaim her possessions…(more)

Potrero Bus Yard Project meetings turn up many suggestions, little consensus

By Gisela Pérez de Acha and Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

After four public meetings on a development project that could add nearly 1,000 new units atop the Potrero Bus Yard, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will review the comments from the 100 or so people who attended the gatherings and try “to figure out consistency and trends, if they exist,” said Licina Iberri, one of the planning managers.

The project, now in the planning stages, seeks to not only upgrade the 100-year old bus and Muni transportation facility but to add as many as 900 new units – at least 25 percent affordable – as well as add ground floor retail space. The market rate housing would help finance the project(more)

Projects like these, that are opposed by the public, are forcing many people to leave San Francisco and the state. New figures on population exits from Silicon Valley are showing zero population growth. We don’t need more houses in the pipeline when there are already over 40,000 NOT being built. SFMTA staff is supposed to run the Muni not build future housing for non-existent residents.

If SFMTA staff managing the Muni system they would not have time to develop 1,000 market rate units and they would not need the money to support the Muni system if they quit tearing up the streets.

SFMTA staff who do not want to manage the Muni system, but prefer to design the future are in the wrong business. Voters should loudly oppose all future development projects that are built to hold investor dollars and add to the cost of living in this city for everyone who is stuck here. Quit treating San Francisco residents like cattle to be moved about in crowded containers. No wonder ridership is going down. and people are leaving.

The department that can’t keep the trains running on time now due to major switching problems can’t wait to put in more switches. The department that can’t provide a safe ride on the monster buses wants to hire security guards for bigger buses, instead of hiring more drivers to for smaller buses that hold fewer riders, with comfortable seats for everyone. Where is the humanity at SFMTA?

Slow approval process not only obstacle for city housing goals

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Plans for close to 45,000 potential homes are currently approved in San Francisco — the highest number tracked by The City’s Planning Department to date — but many of these projects have yet to break ground.

In an effort to speed up the development of affordable housing, last month Mayor London Breed announced that she plans to introduce a charter amendment for the November ballot that would take away the ability of residents to appeal affordable and teacher housing projects, though details remain unclear.

“No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more not in my neighborhood. It’s simple: Affordable housing as-of-right because housing affordability is a right,” said Breed.

But public disapproval and The City’s slow approval processes aren’t the only roadblocks to the construction of residential units in San Francisco. While land use entitlements — or approvals of a development plan — in theory should allow developers to proceed to financing and construction, for-profit projects can sometimes languish for years in the post-entitlement phase.

Constraints on financing and a growing trend of flipping entitlements are significant causes for delays, with some sponsors never intending to build. And many approved units are tied up in large, complex projects with slow, phased buildouts that can stretch over decades…(more)

This is a good article that covers some of the most obvious reasons for delays in building, Flipping empty properties is more lucrative than building, and combination of rising costs of financing, labor and and materials costs, has resulted in a slowdown in home sales, forcing more people onto the rental market.

The author fails to mention the shortage of labor that City Hall is largely responsible for. Construction contractors used to fill the PDR and light industrial buildings that were torn down to make room for high paid tech. Those displaced workers are not commuting to work in a city, where traffic and parking are a nightmare when they have plenty to do in their new homes outside the city.