Artists working to live and work in safer spaces in Oakland after Ghost Ship

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

Tanya Retherford took KTVU inside a 90-year-old warehouse in West Oakland where she is working with the city of Oakland on a first-of-its-kind project to build a live-work space completely up to code at 30th West Street, with a special variance from the planning department.

Retherford is the architect and a future tenant of the flagship project.

“This is going to be an artist’s, co-living working space when it’s completed with 13 residential spaces and studio space, dance floor, and workshop,” Retherford said.

She was part of an art collective at another warehouse that was evicted by their landlord immediately after the Ghost Ship fire took 36 lives in Dec. 2, 2016.

“What we’re trying to do is shift the paradigm so that people can develop spaces like this and work with the city,” Retherford said.

With numerous people living in non-permitted commercial spaces, two non-profit organizations are offering support.

The Oakland Warehouse Coalition and Safer DIY Spaces are two groups whose goal is try to bring properties up to code, while fighting to keep residents in their homes.

Jonah Strauss, executive director of the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, said the organization was formed after immediately in the wake of Ghost Ship…

At the beginning of the year, Mayor Libby Schaaf issued an executive order to improve safety at unpermitted buildings. It aimed to prevent unnecessary displacement, among other things. Strauss and Keenan said city leaders are supportive of making spaces safer, but the order has largely been ignored by code enforcement (more)

It would be nice if more cities chose to help artist stay in place while they take care of safety problems as a response to dangerous living conditions rather than evict them and or fine them. Do it Yourself (DIY) projects are at the hart of the artists movements and have been for decades. Our city leaders should encourage that spirit of freedom to express ourselves instead of damping it down as they have done for as along as we can remember. This is the newest and only pioneering option we have left in this country, and any action to improve one’s life should be embraced. Make sure to share this with your local officials as a good way to combat dangerous living conditions without evicting people and adding to the homeless crisis

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Sheehy, Breed try to pre-empt (or copy?) tenant ballot measure

By Tim Redmond : 8hills – excerpt

Supervisors Jeff and London Breed held a press conference this morning to announce legislation that would provide legal assistance to tenants facing eviction – a clear response to a ballot measure that was filed less than two weeks ago.

That came a day after announced the legislation at a candidate debate.

But at this point, the press release, the statements at the press conference, and ’s comments at the debate are very different from the proposed legislation that has been sent to the city attorney. The sponsors aren’t on the same page. So it’s not clear what will emerge from the legislative process… (more)

You have to read this to get the full picture. You may even find it amusing. I did.

 

Proposal calls for every renter facing eviction to have the right to a lawyer

By Tim Redmond :48hills – excerpt

Ballot measure for June, 2018 could be litmus test for local politicians

A coalition of renters and advocates, led by Dean Preston, who ran for supervisor last year, filed the paperwork today for a ballot measure that would guarantee every tenant facing eviction in San Francisco the right to a lawyer.

“This will go a long way toward improving the eviction problem,” Preston said. “Tenants who go to court without a lawyer almost always lose.”… (more)

Transit, Vision Zero, Livable Streets, and other Highlights of the “Focus on the Future” Conference

: streetsblog – excerpt

hat if San Francisco becomes the next Detroit?” asked Jonathan Miranda, Director of Strategy at Salesforce.com, during a keynote speech this morning at the “Focus on the Future” conference in downtown San Francisco. Given the region’s meteoric growth, that may seem far fetched–but no more so than Detroit’s fall after the booming years of the auto industry. He said that given San Francisco’s inability to build sufficient housing, that’s a real possibility. “Companies are moving to Austin, Denver, Seattle–what happens if software and Silicon Valley start looking for a different place?”

Miranda’s warning was part of a theme at the conference about how important it is for the Bay Area to address issues such as housing costs, transportation, and the safety and livability of our streets. The conference is run by the “Self-Help Coalition,” an organization of 24 different California transportation authorities and government organizations which share planning and policy intel. The event also featured tours of the Central Subway, the Transbay Transit Center, and a discussion of the Better Market Street plan. (more)

GENTRIFICATION is the word that is making the rounds these days to describe the economic disparity that is plaguing the nation. Pretty much everyone is concerned about it but no one is attempting to solve the problem of extreme cost of living increases that are exasperating the homeless crisis and causing much of the stress in our cities.

GROWTH has limits and inviting disruptive high tech industries to experiment with our society is exacerbating the conflicts between the top and bottom levels of society as everyone scrambles for empty units like empty seats in a game of musical chairs.

DISRUPTION is not a game to be taken lightly, but, it is the new tech mantra that is being sold to cities that want to partake in the technology revolution. Citizens get no say in the matter and many are unaware that they are being sacrificed on the corporate alter of progress until it is too late.

COMPANY TOWN is the title of a movie that Investigates Tech Industry’s impact on tow of SF’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. There is a new attempt to mitigate some of the housing crisis by creating “company towns” that include housing on the corporate campus to alleviate some of the housing crunch.

Emergency Ban on Excessive Rent Increases Takes Effect in Nine California Counties, after Wildfires

Wednesday, October 18, 2017: California’s statewide tenants’ rights organization warned on Wednesday that double-digit rent increases following recent wildfires violate Penal Code 396, the state’s anti-price gouging laws. The cap on rent increases was triggered by the Governor’s declarations of states of emergency in nine counties due to wildfires. Tenants Together is holding a webinar at 10am-11am on October 26, 2017, for media, policymakers, lawyers, and organizers on the issue. To sign up for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/RentBan

In the Bay Area, where affordable housing is already scarce, the fires have caused a surge in homelessness, as well as a sharp rise in demand for rental units. The price gouging law protects against landlords capitalizing on the heightened vulnerability of tenants…(more)

Find out more about these executive orders to stop price gouging in the fire areas by signing up for the webinar.

Peskin looks to dust off Willie Brown rule on city commissions

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown had a policy of kicking political candidates off city commissions the moment they entered a race.

Brown, now a Chronicle columnist, recoiled at the idea that anyone would run a campaign and hold a low-level government position at the same time. His successors, Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee, also made a practice of asking their appointees to leave once they pulled candidate’s papers.

But because the rule was never written down, it wasn’t really enforced — and eventually, candidates ignored the tradition.

As a result, several people who are currently running for office serve on commissions, and a debate is brewing in City Hall over whether they should be allowed to keep their seats. Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who wants to resurrect and cement Brown’s policy, will formally ask the city attorney to draft a measure… (more)

SF property manager atones for greed, Boogaloos slated to reopen

By : missionlocal – excerpt

In life, Boogaloos served as a microcosm of Mission trends every bit as well as it served as a brunch spot. There were the tattooed, toddler-toting hipsters wiping vegetarian herb-cream gravy off their hoodies, and tucking into a “Temple O’ Spuds,” an Edmund Hillary-worthy mountain of potatoes, cheese, salsa, sour cream and green onions — a monument to the power of hangover food.

In death, like Ben Kenobi, Boogaloos became even more powerful, as a symbol of the Malthusian currents drowning all too many people and places in the Mission. In 2015, the restaurant was rocked by a proposed increase of its rent from $4,200 to a parodic $17,500. Then, while essentially on life support, Boogaloo’s was hit with a fire in March of last year, and has since been down for the count…

Venerable, quotidian businesses being served with mind-blowing rent spikes — making way for places that won’t serve the Temple O’ Spuds or the sort of people who’d order that — is a boilerplate script element these days in the Mission. As are ill-timed fires.

Boogaloos, however, has gone off-script. And it looks like this Mission story may yet have a Hollywood ending.

“We’re going to open it again!” crows co-owner Carolyn Blair Brandeis, who co-founded Boogaloos in 1994 with Philip Bellber. While Brandeis had bandied about the notion of relocating the restaurant elsewhere, that won’t be necessary. Boogaloos is slated to reopen in the very same 1927-vintage building on the corner of Valencia and 22nd, a handsome, low-slung structure advertising its long-ago occupants in unsettling terms on the marquee: “Cut-rate druggists.”… (more)