Sen. Feinstein Calls Out S.F. Tech CEOs for Lack of Civic Engagement

By Scott Shafer : KQED – excerpt

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein thinks too many high-tech company leaders in San Francisco are disengaged from local charitable causes, compared with corporate titans of the past…

“What I see as the downside, to be very candid, is I don’t see tech as very civically involved, and I think they have to be,” Feinstein said. “Like when I was mayor, the CEOs of the big banks — I could go in and ask them to help with any civic cause. Cross my heart. I never got a ‘no.’ Bank of America, Wells (Fargo) — all of them said ‘yes.’ ”…

I don’t understand it, to be honest with you,” Feinstein said. “It’s a much more reserved world, sort of a world apart. I have had occasion to meet with some of the tech leaders, and I guess they’re like any other group of people. There are some that want to be helpful, and there are some that don’t.”

Feinstein proclaimed her strong support for San Francisco’s Proposition C, which would tax the city’s wealthiest companies to raise an estimated $300 million a year to combat homelessness…

“I’m for it, because we have to help,” she said. “We don’t have a choice. When you see someone lying — and I just did — on a hot sidewalk sleeping with nothing. That’s not the United States of America.”

Proposition C, one of the most controversial issues on the local ballot this November, is supported by homeless advocates, San Francisco U.S Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. But it’s opposed by Mayor London Breed and other local officials who say the measure doesn’t include a solid plan on how to spend the money…(more)

Housing Authority seeking HUD’s help to close ‘distressful’ $29.5M shortfall: This looks like a good place for the Prop C funds to start with. One would think the Mayor would welcome such a solution to this problem. No more taxes for the residents, just a slightly higher tax on the corporate windfalls that are looking for places to invest. Let them cover for the housing shortage many feel they are responsible for.



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.


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.

Court says California cities can’t arrest homeless for sleeping outside

By : curbed – excerpt

Boise, Idaho case sets policy for San Francisco

In a case that extends to San Francisco and all California towns, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that cities may not punish the homeless for sleeping outside if they do not have access to shelter elsewhere.

The case, Martin versus the city of Boise, dates to 2009 and went before the appeals court last year. The plaintiffs, six homeless or formerly homeless Boise, Idaho residents, alleged that laws prohibiting them from sleeping outdoors within city limits amounted to cruel and unusual punishment and violated their rights under the Eighth Amendment.

The Ninth Circuit ruling notes, “In 2014, after this litigation began, the ordinances were amended to prohibit their enforcement against any homeless person on public property on any night when no shelter had an available overnight space.”… (more)



Tiny houses for homeless inching their way into SF’s strategy

As with pretty much any possible solution to San Francisco’s stubborn homeless problem, building tiny homes has been talked about for ages…

The plan maker in question is Mohammed Nuru, director of public works. In an interview in his office the other day, he showed me little white plastic boxes, models for his tiny homes. His team is crafting prototypes of the units, each of which would measure about 100 square feet, smaller than a parking space.

He said he’s eyeing plots of land on the Embarcadero and the Great Highway for Navigation Centers — shelters with counselors and services — where the residents would live in tiny houses, though he wouldn’t say where specifically. He wants 80 to 150 tiny homes to be grouped together, with residents sharing communal kitchens and bathrooms and each person having a storage locker…

Nuru, who has ruffled feathers at City Hall before by plunging ahead with his own plans to tackle homelessness, is convinced tiny homes could be a game changer and wants quick action...(more)

Community Workshop Attracts 200 Seeking Solutions to Homelessness

By Joe Eskenazi : sfpublicpress – excerpt

In 20 years of homelessness in San Francisco, Moses Carbins has spent time in most of this city’s shelters. “Some days,” he said, “you wake up invisible. It becomes sort of like a pit. It’s just another day to die.”.

It was lost on no one, however, that Carbins has lived — thanks to “empathy, compassion, a network of friends” — and was on hand to address an audience of more than 200, hanging on his every word, as he spoke on a panel at “Solving Homelessness,” a Jan. 25 community workshop presented by the Public Press.

The symposium was an all-day gathering of advocates, architects, journalists, activists, service providers, innovators, city officials, policymakers and homeless men and women to brainstorm solutions to homelessness… (more)

I attended part of this event and was impressed by the large number of organizations who were represented. I knew quite a few people and recognized many others. Read the article if you care of solving the homeless crisis. Many good ideas are explored here.

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SF family’s RV was their home. Then it got towed.

By Kevin Fagan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Marielle Lowes spent the past five years traveling the nation in buses and recreational vehicles as a dreadlocked hippie, trailing the remnants of the Grateful Dead and hitting Rainbow Nation bohemian gatherings while selling her art. Then, eight months ago, she gave birth to her first child, and she longs to go home to New Orleans “to settle down and be a mom.”

But she’s stuck in San Francisco. The recreational vehicle that she and her boyfriend have lived in for nearly two years and just fixed up to take them to Louisiana was towed by city parking officials more than a week ago — and they can’t get it back…

If Lowes and Wassell can’t pay the fees or get them waived, they will have to leave the RV behind and it will become city property to be sold.

Meanwhile, Compass Connecting Point, the city agency that places homeless parents and their children in shelters, has put the couple and their baby on a waiting list of 50 other families without permanent housing.

“We get this kind of thing several times a year, with a family losing a vehicle that was their home,” said Carla Praglin, agency case management director. “When you lose your car and your valuable documents like ID, it’s an additional trauma, can really set a family back on getting things done.”…(more)

Wasn’t there some sort of effort to drop charges or lower them for people with limited means? This has got to be an argument for that.



Can we actually solve homelessness?

tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The 16th Street BART station is a primary congregation spot for destitute people. Photo by zrants.

Sure — but we have to seriously rethink our housing, economic development, and planning policies. Oh, and raise taxes on the billionaires. Why are we not talking about this?

…I think it’s a good idea for the news media in town to all get together and talk about crucial city problems, and I’m glad Cooper is pushing this and focusing attention on homelessness. So yeah, I’ve said I would be a part.

We’ve talked about what homeless families really face. We’ve talked about the root causes of homelessness. We’ve published stories by people who actually understand the problem, at the street level. We’ve talked about the media’s big problem with homeless coverage.

And now I want to talk about why this problem isn’t going to be “solved,” despite all the media coverage, until we (and this includes the Chron’s editorial page) decide that we are willing to take the only steps that might actually make a difference.

I feel as if the media is doing the same stories and making the same suggestions, over and over – and the problem isn’t getting any better… (more)

It is becoming quite obvious that the fate of the homeless on our streets is effecting our society at large and not just those who are homeless and living on the streets. Our nation has lowered its quality of life to allow the disparity of incomes to divide us into a new class system. The middle class is shrinking as the poverty level rises and no one is winning this game as the extremely wealthy 1 % suck up more than they need. This economic free-for-all cannot continue much longer without a correction of some kind.

It is good to see some solid solutions being suggested that could solve the problem. Now all we need is the political will to do so. The money is the root of it so it must be contained by controlling the money that effects the vulnerable in our society. We cannot allow the disparity of incomes levels to continue to push us apart. Please read the rest of the article and comment on the source.