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

Prop10.jpg

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.

 

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SF residential projects languish as rising costs force developers to cash out

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Just 3 miles separate 2675 Folsom St., a vacant former restaurant equipment warehouse in the Mission District, and 160 Folsom St., a former parking lot near the Transbay Transit Center where a condo tower is under construction.

But in the current economic landscape of the San Francisco’s housing development, the two properties are a world apart.

While the next crop of luxury condo towers like 160 Folsom, which developer Tishman Speyer has branded as Mira, continue to rise in the fast-growing eastern end of South of Market, other approved housing projects across the city, like 2675 Folsom St., are stalled and on the market because of soaring construction costs and fees, developers and other industry sources say.

The growing number of developers seeking to cash out rather than risk losing money on building is fueling concerns that residential production will start to decline even as the Bay Area’s housing crisis worsens… (more)

Some of us have been predicting this for months. It is easier to solve the housing problem once you take the “build more” option off the table. Keep people in their homes by keeping homes affordable if you want to solve the housing problem. Repeal inflationary bills at the root of the income disparity problem. Repeal Prop 6 and Prop 10 in November.

Repealing Prop 6 should lower the cost of all consumables, including food.

Repealing Prop 10 will allow individual cities to deal with rent control issues on a local basis. The voters can enact the control they want in their district.

California Senate passes bill to build more housing at BART stations

By Kate Murphy : mercurynews – excerpt

SACRAMENTO — A state bill to replace surface parking lots with housing at East Bay and San Francisco BART stations passed the California Senate on Thursday, propelling the proposal one step closer to becoming law.

After a passionate debate on the Senate floor, the bill passed 26-13…

Championed by housing, transit and business interests but fought by some cities and others wary of losing local control over land-use decisions, Assembly Bill 2923 would force cities and counties to zone BART property in accordance with an ambitious policy the transit agency adopted in 2016. That policy calls for 20,000 new apartments and town homes — 35 percent of them to be rented at below market rate, system-wide — by 2040.

Perhaps more significantly, the bill would also fast-track the approvals of such developments, a process that has been known to take decades… (more)

REGIONAL POWER: This is an example of state elected officials handing power to non-elected regional officials to override the constitutional authority of elected city and county representatives. This is the picture of the new REGIONAL GOVERNMENT being developed to avoid public scrutiny and review of changes in our communities.

So far as we know, this power is only being use to usurp local zoning and development decisions, however, since much of these decisions were the purview of environmental review and studies, this does not bode well for the environment at a time of great concern over the supply and quality of our water and other essential elements needed to expand these communities. Who is protecting us now?

Will the voters fight back in court and will they reward the elected officials who cut their power by re-electing them to office, or will they start recall proceedings in protest against those elected representatives? If San Francisco Bay Area can pass local regional control laws, so can other other regional groups.

Push to scrap downtown cap meets resistance

by Gennady Sheyner : paloaltoonline – excerpt

Citizens’ initiative would cap new office space at 850,000 square feet between 2015 and 2030

A divisive proposal to eliminate the limit on commercial development in downtown Palo Alto ran into a wall of resistance Wednesday night, when the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission opted not to advance the change.

In a decision that ran counter to wishes of the City Council majority and that overruled the recommendation of planning staff, the commission voted 4-0 to keep in place — at least for the time being — the existing 350,000-square-foot cap on non-residential development in downtown…

The vote followed testimony from about 20 residents, including members of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which favors slow-growth policies and which is spearheading a November initiative that would halve the citywide cap on non-residential growth. Every speaker urged the commission to keep the cap in place. They pointed to downtown’s ongoing parking and traffic problems and argued that taking up the issue at this time — just months before the voters are set to opine on the issue of office growth — is an affront to democracy. ..(more)

We shall see if the citizens of Palo Alto will be allowed to set the commercial growth limits or if their decision is overturned by the courts as Prop M was in San Francisco.

RELATED:
Measure to limit office growth qualifies for November election
A citizens’ initiative that would roughly halve the amount of new office space that Palo Alto would allow to be built between now and 2030 has officially garnered enough signatures to land on the November ballot… (more)

Gimme Shelter podcast: The rent control war

By Matt Levin : calmatters and gimmeshelter (includes audio track from podcast)

One housing issue will overshadow all others this election: Rent control. Matt and Liam discuss why renewed negotiations to remove a controversial rent control initiative from the ballot went nowhere, and what the campaigns will look like this fall. First, Matt proposes a solution to the Los Angeles Clippers’ battles with the California Environmental Quality Act in the Avocado of the Fortnight (3:30). Then a discussion about why negotiations over rent control have been so fruitless (11:23). Debra Carlton, senior vice president of public affairs for the California Apartment Association, stops by the studio to talk about the landlords’ perspective (24:00). And Amy Schur, campaign director for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, calls in to give the tenants’ side (47:30). *… (more)

RELATED – 12 more initiatives on the November ballot:

Propositions on the November 2018 California ballot

by Ben Christopher : calmatters – excerpt

Prop 6: Gas Tax Repeal, Repeal a recent increase in the gas tax and other fuel and car fees and require voter approval for all related taxes in the future.
Prop 10: Repeal Costa-Hawkins, Allow cities to introduce new restrictions on market rents or expand existing rent control policies
Prop 5: Portable Prop 13, Allow older or disabled homeowners to take their lowered property tax base with them when they move.
Prop 8: Dialysis Clinic Profit Pruning, Require companies that operate dialysis clinics to pay back insurers any profits over 15 percent of qualifying business costs.
Prop 1: Affordable Housing Bond, Give the state permission to borrow $4 billion to fund affordable housing construction ($3 billion) and to subsidize home loans for veterans ($1 billion).
Prop 9: Tim Draper’s Three State Solution, Divide California into three new states: “Northern California,” “Southern California,” and “California.”
Prop 2: Mental Health Money for Housing, Give the state permission to borrow $2 billion to fund supportive housing for those suffering with mental illness and to repay the cost of that bond with money set aside for mental health services.
Prop 12: Bigger Cages for Farm Animals, Place new size requirements on the coops and cages used to contain breeding pigs, veal calfs, and egg-laying hens. It would also require all egg-laying hens be raised in specified “cage-free” conditions. These requirements would apply to anyone selling related food products in California, even if the farms are out of state.
Prop 11: Paramedic Break Time, Allow private ambulance services to require their emergency medical service employees to remain on call during meal and rest breaks. Also guarantees technicians additional training and some paid medical health services.
Prop 7: Daylight Savings Time, Would repeal the measure Californians passed back in 1949 creating Daylight Savings Time. The Legislature would then be able to determine how the state sets its time—to eliminate moving clocks backward and forward every spring and fall.
Prop 4: Childrens Hospital Bond, Give the state permission to borrow $1.5 billion to renovations, expansions, and upgrades at hospitals that treat children. Most of the funding is reserved for private non-profit hospitals and hospitals run through one of University of California campuses.
Prop 3: Another Water Bond, Give the state permission to borrow $8.9 billion to fund watershed protection, wastewater projects, groundwater management, as well as upgrades and repairs to traditional water infrastructure, like canals and dams… (more)

Campaign deadlines:
June 19 Deadline for candidates to declare intention to run
June 28 Deadline for ballot initiatives to be certified
August 15 Deadline for political parties to endorse
October 22 Voter registration deadline
October 30 Vote-by-mail request deadline
November 6 HAPPY ELECTION DAY!

As National Park Service regional HQ struggles with soaring Bay Area costs, Sen. Feinstein pushes back on plan to move out of state

By Hannah Norman : bizjournals.- excerpt

The U.S. National Park Service has become the latest casualty of San Francisco’s soaring office rents and housing crisis.

The federal agency plans to uproot its west regional office, which supervises 60 national parks throughout the western United States, from San Francisco’s Financial District for Vancouver, Washington.

“We have struggled with recruitment in San Francisco for years due to the high cost of living,” said Regional Director Stan Austin in a staff memo obtained by KQED. The move could save the agency $1.8 million a year with less money allocated toward paying its staff… (more)

The Park Service is not alone in its fight to attract workers as housing prices rise far faster than compensation. Just last month, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state’s largest power companies, said it will be relocated many of its jobs from San Francisco to Sacramento. This move to decentralize comes after a more than 100-year stint in the city by the bay. The California Association of Realtors recently reported that a household in San Francisco needs to make $333,000 per year to afford a median-priced home of… (more)

How is this not somewhat amusing to those of us who are calling the PUC out for failing to regulate tech buses, Uber, Lyft, and the whole menagerie of “sharing” on-demand transportation systems that is largely responsible for the gentrification they are now fleeing. Does no one else see the irony in this? PUC is leaving the nightmare they created for San Francisco. How is this fair?

2018 mayoral candidate questionnaire: Mark Leno

hoodline – excerpt

Mark Leno interview re: how he anticipates supporting small businesses:

Many small business owners we interview complain about the city’s permitting and approval processes. What are your plans for making it easier for San Franciscans to become entrepreneurs?.

Today, one of the greatest roadblocks to the expansion and success of our small business community is the difficulty many face when working their way through our permitting and approvals processes. No small business owner or prospective entrepreneur should have to hire an expediter to do what city government itself should be doing. Far too often I’ve heard from small business owners who find themselves forced to pay for services that city government should provide. As mayor, I will be looking closely at the many hurdles our small business community faces, including the permit and appeals processes.

Rising commercial rents have driven many small businesses out of business, leaving vibrant corridors with an abundance of vacant storefronts throughout the city. Furthermore, delays and construction costs on transit improvement projects have been a major source of frustration – for residents, merchants and visitors. As a small business owner, I absolutely understand the negative effects merchants in the impact zone are facing.

One of my first priorities will also be to ensure there is a small business voice on the SFMTA, where the lack of small business representation is so clearly hurting our small businesses citywide. One example of this impact can be seen in the ongoing delays of the Geary BRT. Small business owners and prospective business owners along Geary struggle with the uncertainty of the completion of a project which would greatly affect their ability to attract and retain customers amid construction. SFMTA should be working with business owners to ensure important decision-making takes into consideration the impact on merchants and merchant corridors… (more)

Mark Leno promises to shake things up if he is elected Mayor and we anticipate some new faces at City Hall if that happens, as the status quo is obviously not working for the average citizen. The status quo is turning San Francisco into a corporate sports and entertainment arena. Our biggest effort to compete with Time Square for gaudiness is a giant pulsing tower raised to the skies.

Regardless of who is elected Mayor we will have new Commissioners and Board members. Hopefully new SFMTA Board members would consider unwinding the corporatization of our streets that has flourished under our current Board and, if it is Mark Leno, he can use some influence in Sacramento to suggest for changes to the PUC and state legislature. For some time we have been pointing to the PUC and we will continue to point that way until someone gets the message and takes action at the state level to reign in the corporate takeover of our state.