With housing costs skyrocketing, rent control is on the docket again in Sacramento

By Andrew Khouri : 48hills – excerpt

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Amid California’s housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, including imposing the kind of strict limits that once existed in Santa Monica and West Hollywood but have been barred since the 1990s.

A bill that would do so, introduced last month, marks the most significant move yet in a growing movement to cap skyrocketing rents as California’s economy booms and housing production lags.

Protests over the high cost of housing and aggressive landlord tactics have erupted in Los Angeles and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. And voters in two cities up north passed new limits on rent increases in November, seeing them as a way to stop dramatic hikes that have displaced lower- and middle-income households.

But cities can only go so far in capping rents — something AB 1506 seeks to change.

“The momentum is very much on the side of rent control,” said Dean Preston, executive director of the statewide renters group Tenants Together(more)

The key here is that the repeal throws responsibility back to the local jurisdictions. That is why the slogan is: “Let the Cities Decide”, or let the citizens elect officials that represent their interests and allow them to decide. If you feel the local jurisdictions should decide how to manage rental housing instead of the state, you will want to support AB 1506. Contact your local state reps to let them know how you feel.  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

 

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Real Estate Execs Disrupt Nonprofit Housing

By Toshio Meronek : sfweekly – excerpt

There’s a stealthy way developers get approval to build, build, build.

Hiding behind the scenes of many nonprofit housing organizations are corporate real estate professionals…

Over the past few years, the real estate industry has been cozying up to organizations that exist to help the poorest San Franciscans. It’s not well-known, but many of the nonprofits responsible for housing thousands of low-income San Franciscans and managing millions of dollars in public funding are run by people involved in real estate development, raising the question of whether, for example, an executive from Wells Fargo should be making decisions that affect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

This conflict of interest can be stressful for tenants…

“We have no say,” says Phyllis Bowie, who lives at Midtown Apartments, a 139-unit complex in the Fillmore that’s managed by the city’s largest housing nonprofit, Mercy Housing

But renters do have allies. Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee ensures that residents get heard over the blare of executives, who he believes have an agenda that puts profits first on the priority list, with tenants toward the bottom…

San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation and the YIMBY Party attempted to win enough member votes to take over the board of the local Sierra Club chapter, but failed in their efforts…

MHDC, BRIDGE, and the board of Mercy Housing — which puts out the majority of the city’s affordable housing — signed on to support local state Senator and ex-Sup. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 35, which in practice could fast-track majority market-rate residential projects…

No big surprise: Sierra Club, Causa Justa, and the Housing Action Committee all opposed SB 35…

The 16th Street BART station could be home to what opponents have dubbed the “Monster in the Mission,” a new 10-story complex that would change the entire landscape of the neighborhood. (Only 42 of its 330 units are considered affordable.)…(more)

Good article with a lot of information. Unfortunately, most of the news is bad. If you care, you can still work on campaigns to replace the pro developer supervisors and state reps. The DCCC delegate election proved that people can make a difference if they get out and vote. The word that everyone is avoiding using is the word that most non-partisan groups agree is the problem with the Plan Bay Area and that word is gentrification. Look for someone with a plan to deal with rising property rates. Otherwise they do not have a feasible plan.

 

Housing firebrand Sonja Trauss in race to represent District 6

 By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Sonja Trauss, the love-her-or-hate-her rabble-rouser who helped make San Francisco’s housing shortage a trendy political cause, wants to move into a new home herself — an office at City Hall.

She’s entered the race to replace termed-out District Six Supervisor Jane Kim next year and represent an area that will probably shape housing and land use policy for the rest of the city. Trauss faces tough competition from progressive challenger Matt Haney, but a win would be a major coming-out for the Yes in My Backyard group she co-founded two years ago.

The question is whether Trauss is the right figurehead to get the YIMBYs a board seat. She’s smart and animated, armed with a master’s degree in economics and the simple message that more housing — a lot more, at all price points — will make cities affordable.

But she’s also the subject of a state ethics investigation and the enemy of older progressives, who believe the building boom is decimating San Francisco’s character and are using their considerable power in city politics to strike back at the YIMBYs..(more)

RELATED:

In SF’s District Six race, Haney is in while Angulo is out

In SF’s District Six race, Haney is in while Angulo is out – District Six has gone to progressives in the past five supervisor races, but the electorate has changed as more condos have gone up and more newcomers moved in…

Peskin and Kim have both endorsed Haney. Trauss said Tuesday she welcomes the competition and anticipates a “robust discussion” about the future of the district and San Francisco…(more)

 

Bunk beds, roaches and nerdy geniuses: my year in a Silicon Valley hacker house

By Andrew Frawley : theguardian – excerpt

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)

How One Sunset Couple’s $4,800 Rent Increase Could Shatter Eviction Protections for Thousands of Bay Area Tenants

By Lamar Anderson : modernluxury – excerpt

A case headed to court this fall could have major ramifications for renters.

Outer Sunset tenants Danielle Phillips and Paul Kelly lived in a two-bedroom house (center)—until their landlord more than tripled their rent.

In San Francisco there are two classes of renters: those with rent control and those without. But even renters who live in units without rent control—namely, single-family homes and condos—enjoy some protections from eviction under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. At least, that’s what Outer Sunset residents Danielle Phillips and Paul Kelly thought, until they came home one day and found a rent increase so high that it seemed to be an eviction in disguise. It was February 2016, and the couple had been paying $1,900 to live in a two-bedroom house not far from the beach. Their new landlord, attorney Matthew Dirkes, raised the rent to a whopping $6,700, more than triple their previous rent and far above the $4,600 median asking rent for single-family homes in San Francisco at the time, according to Zillow…

Phillips and Kelly sued, arguing that the drastic rent increase was an attempt to get around San Francisco’s eviction laws. In May the Superior Court of San Francisco sided with the landlord and blocked the tenants’ suit. When the case goes before California’s First District Court of Appeal this fall, a judge will rule for the first time on how strong the eviction protections for single-family homes and condos really are..

S.F. has an unknown number of single-family homes that actually are under rent control because they have an illegal in-law unit on the property. These tenants are safe from big rent increases like the one Phillips and Kelly got…(more)

Should we build lots more housing in San Francisco? Three reasons people disagree

by Julia Galef – excerpt

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)

Monster in the Mission spends $300K on signatures

By Tim Redmond :48hills – excerpt

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Mission activists showed up outside the meeting to voice their opposition and let the public know the meeting is not open to the public or the press. Photo by zrants

Developer pays for ‘grassroots’ effort to build support for a project that many Mission community groups strongly oppose

I was out of town when the latest chapter of the Monster in the Mission fight took place. As Mission Local reports, the developer (Maximus, which also owns Park Merced), tried to hold a meeting with local merchants. It was closed to the press — maybe because the last time Maximus tried to hold a community meeting, it didn’t go so well.

We don’t know how well this one went, either. We do know that Joe Arellano, a spokesperson for the project, told Mission Local that “advocates and staff had been gathering the support of thousands of people who have signed a petition backing the project.”…

The recent event — and the lobbying effort — has been paid for by Mission For All, which is not a nonprofit or a political organization. It’s a Limited Liability Company, chartered in 2016 in California. Documents at the Secretary of State’s Office show its address as the offices of Nielsen, Merksamer, a San Rafael-based law firm that specializes in campaign finance.

Mission For All is entirely owned and funded by Maximus, the documents show… (more)

Business social for new development met with protest

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt

Business owners who arrived at the Mission Language and Vocational School Thursday evening to attend a social event organized by the developer of 1979 Mission St. were met by a group of about 30 chanting protesters who reiterated demands that the site be dedicated to affordable housing.

“No more monster in the Mission,” sang the protesters from the Plaza 16 Coalition, referring to the nickname activists long ago gave the project that promises to bring 331 units to 16th and Mission streets.  At present, 41 of those are slated for affordable housing, with an additional 49 units to be built at a different site later. The developer, Maximus, is also considering setting aside some units for teachers

Reporters were barred from attending the event, and it’s unclear which businesses attended. One nearby business group, the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association, has decided to remain neutral on the project, while Mission Merchant Association President Phil Lesser has voiced his enthusiastic support…

As for the demands of the Plaza 16 coalition, which organized the protest and has long demanded that any development at 16th and Mission be entirely below-market-rate, Arellano said, “We want to talk to the community that is interested in meaningful dialogue. The people here have made their demands clear.”

The Planning Commission is expected to consider the project later this year, though no hearing date has been set…(more)