Longtime San Francisco residents unhappy with city, says poll

by : curbed – excerpt

SF-skyline

San Francisco’s view-killing wall on the waterfront seen from the bay is unpopular with many long-term residents – photo by Zrants

The longer you’ve been living in San Francisco, the less likely you are to be happy with it.

That’s one of the lessons from the 2017 San Francisco City Survey released Tuesday, in which those with more than 30 years of San Francisco living under their belts generally gave City Hall a thumbs down.

The controller’s office conducts the survey every two years to measure general satisfaction with public services.

Overall, public opinion seems fairly mellow this time; most of the 2,166 randomly selected phone respondents gave the city either a B or a B- grade on things like public safety, transit, and parks. Libraries got a B+.

The public ranked homelessness as the city’s biggest problem, with 33 percent of responses highlighting it as their top concern… (more)

What is to like about a city that sold its soul for a few buckets of gold. People used to come for art, culture, social equality and other non-material qualities of life because there was no money. The new San Francisco draws get-rich-quick schemers who believe their virtual reality and future vision is more important than anyone or anything else and can’t wait to kick us out of our homes.

 

Scott Wiener’s housing straw man

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

The senator misses the point — and the facts — when he attacks people who don’t think the private market will solve our woes

State Senator Scott Wiener, in a recent blog posting, attacked nameless critics of his efforts to produce more market-rate housing by removing local governments from the approval process if those local areas failed to meet regionally determined “housing needs.” Since all localities in the state currently fail to meet these needs, his legislation would, in effect, deregulate housing development all over California, since most housing regulations exist at the local level…

What Does Work? The voters of San Francisco and the Bay Area have an answer: market controls to keep existing housing within reach and public subsidies to build new housing they and their neighbors can afford. As argued earlier on these pages, the passage of more than $1 billion in bonds and sales taxes to build homes affordable to moderate income earners and people at risk of homelessness or homeless is sound public policy. Moreover, the passage of rent control measures is a rational response to a red hot real estate market. Continued effort to regulate Airbnb and other short term rentals is critical — the 10,000 STR’s in San Francisco just about equals the current vacancy rate for apartments. Imagine what would happen to rents if the vacancy rate were doubled because un-registered Airbnb listings were placed back on the rental market…. (more)

Might it be cheaper and easier to give landlords a reason to stay in the game? What would it take to make being a landlord easier and less stressful? Money is not the only thing that motivates people. Onerous laws and regulations and jumping through hoops gets old real fast, convincing many people to get out of the rental business and just sit on the property. As long as the values are going up, why sell?

The only two ways out of the eviction crisis

By Tim Redmond : discoveryink – excerpt

EvictionFree

Either we treat housing as a tightly regulated utility, or we take it out of the speculative private sector altogether. If there’s another option that works, I don’t know what it is.

We are all talking this week about the eviction of seniors, about how San Francisco has become such a hostile place for long-time residents. We are talking about how so many of the young people who have in the past brought new life to the city (the ones who aren’t rich, anyway) are now talking about leaving – and I think it’s safe to say than much of the current generation of young people looking to make a start in the dynamic US city are going somewhere else. You just can’t afford to come to SF and start life – not without a trust fund or a high-paying job…

The public-utility model

If the state Legislature were willing to go along, we could block a lot of evictions and create effective rent control…

The Costa-Hawkins Act outlaws effective rent control and encourages evictions of long-term tenants. It mandates that cities allow rents to rise to market rate whenever a unit becomes vacant, forbids rent controls on some types of housing, and bans all rent control on buildings constructed after 1995.

Now Tenants Together, a statewide organizing group, is getting a lot of traction on efforts to change the pro-landlord climate in the state Legislature. A Santa Monica legislator has introduce a bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins, and even the California Apartment Association is saying it could pass.

The social housing model

That’s if the state acts, and functional rent regulation becomes part of the picture. There’s one other long-term solution that will transform San Francisco’s housing situation. We could take as much housing as possible out of the private, for-profit sector, permanently…

NoMonster

As long as landlords can make huge profits evicting tenants, we are going to be fighting building by building. If we can regulate the profit out of evictions, we can slow this down. If we can get the private landlords out of the housing picture entirely, we can turn it around.
Otherwise, we are going to be fighting eviction after eviction for the rest of our natural lives. If anyone has a better idea that might actually work, I’m listening…(more)

Slowing the escalation of land values has to be a big part to the solution, however that is accomplished. The State legislature needs to be prodded into doing something soon.

Local activists are eager to make a New Years revolution

By David Talbot : sfchronicle – excerpt

A great cloud of melancholy has settled over Facebook land, or at least over those regions I inhabit. The coming ascension of Donald Trump has deeply darkened the usual year-end winter blues. But you can also feel a kind of strange euphoria in progressive enclaves like the Bay Area — the growing fierceness of soldiers eager for battle.

Of course if this rising passion is to have any real political impact, it has to be directed and disciplined. So I’ve been eagerly reading two new books that are loaded with useful advice about how to build a mass movement and make major change. The first, Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything, is co-written by Becky Bond, an experienced 46-year-old San Francisco activist, who, with co-author Zack Exley, helped mobilize the sprawling volunteer army that came amazingly close to winning the Democratic nomination for a 75-year-old Jewish socialist from Vermont.

The first important lesson that Bond and Exley learned from the Bernie Sanders campaign: demand big changes. In recent years, note the authors, politics has become professionalized, with a “technocratic elite” focusing on small issues and running campaigns according to computer models. But Bernie thought big: He demanded a “revolution” to counter the “corporate oligarchy” that has taken over the country. And he wasn’t afraid to use the word “socialism.”…

Another key lesson from the Sanders campaign: “The revolution will not be staffed.” Because Bernie worried about being stuck with a big campaign debt, his relatively small staff was forced to rely on a growing multitude of volunteers, which proved to be one of the campaign’s great strengths. By leveraging teams of trained volunteers across the country, the Sanders campaign was able to tap into a torrent of human energy and ideas…

The year 2017 is off the election cycle so the political action is likely to move into the streets. That’s why, like Bond herself, I’m also reading “This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the 21st Century,” by writer Mark Engler and his activist brother Paul. The book is a deeply informative history of direct action, from Martin Luther King Jr.’s groundbreaking Birmingham, Ala., campaign in 1963 to Occupy, the Arab Spring and Black Lives Matter…

Stephen Zunes, a University of San Francisco politics professor whose study of nonviolent resistance is cited by the Englers, believes that we’re about to see a tidal wave of such popular action. “I think there’s going to be more street protests and mass arrests than in the 1960s,” he says…

There’s a growing disconnect between the social crisis in San Francisco and the political machine’s inability to deal with it, says Bond. “Where’s Mayor Ed Lee? Where’s the bold vision?” This is the kind of failed leadership that sparks a revolution. “We will see more direct action, more antieviction protests, more occupations, more efforts to build homeless shelters. If the politicians don’t act, the people will.”…(more)

San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Talbot appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email: dtalbot@sfchronicle.com

I think I shall call it “government letdown”. That is the way I feel. The government has let us down. If this is the best system, as they like to claim, we are in trouble. Me thinks there is not a best and if there is, it doesn’t last. Politics is fickle. Thanks to David for letting us know that there is a plan or plans are in the works. We have no where to go but up.

 

For SF homeless, ‘tough love’ concept just doesn’t add up

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A week before Christmas — a time one usually associates with good will toward men, a time of giving — Mayor Ed Lee called for “tough love” on the most destitute San Franciscans. He pitched a fit that the traffic courts dropped warrants for arrest of homeless people for such heinous crimes as sleeping and sitting. Yes, we are talking about traffic court — not exactly a hive of criminal cases.

Before last year, the courts were issuing both arrest warrants and civil assessments for unpaid fines and failures to appear, a practice that can be legally challenged. They landed on civil assessments, sending those unpaid balances to a private collections agency. This year, they dropped a chunk of the backlog because: it costs more to collect on these unpaid fines; they most likely can never be paid back anyway; and the fines burden already impoverished people with back-breaking debt that acts as a barrier to housing admittance. However, people who get tickets today will have civil assessments for unpaid tickets issued…

The Navigation Centers kick people out after 30 days, so they have some turnover space for campers who generate complaints, but that is only temporary relief and not nearly enough at that. The number of units created for homeless people under Mayor Lee took a severe nose dive, and there is very little chance of getting off the streets that way. Under former Mayor Gavin Newsom, both mental health and substance abuse treatment programs were slaughtered wholesale, so exactly what services does that leave?

So the tough part is covered. But what about the love?… (more)

New California housing laws make granny units easier to build

By Kathleen Pender : sfchronicle – excerpt

California homeowners should find it easier and cheaper to build a second unit on their property, or turn an illegal unit into a legal one, thanks to two laws that take effect Jan. 1.

The laws, along with a third that took effect in September, will ease or eliminate the off-street parking requirements and often-enormous utility-hookup fees that homeowners face when they create a second dwelling, often called an in-law or granny unit.

One set of rules will apply if the second unit is created within an existing space — such as a bedroom, basement, attic or garage. Another set will apply if the new unit, whether attached or detached, adds square footage outside or on top of existing structures.

Homeowners will still have to comply with local building codes, find a contractor and arrange financing. Sylvia Krug, who is looking to convert bedrooms in her Novato home into a rental unit, said she interviewed three contractors “and they all have yearlong waiting lists.”…

The laws that take effect Jan. 1 — AB2299 and SB1069 — amend the state law governing second units and rename them “accessory dwelling units.”

About two-thirds of California’s cities and counties have their own second-unit ordinances, but the state law is more permissive than most of them. Jurisdictions that have not adopted or amended a local ordinance that complies with the new state law by Jan. 1 will have to follow the state law until they approve a compliant one.

Under the new law, second units are allowed on any lot with a single-family home, but local ordinances can say where they will or won’t be permitted based on factors such as water and sewer services, traffic flow and public safety… (more)

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OPINION: Some SF ballot measures Donald Trump would love

This November, the nation will face the possibility of electing a ruthless real estate developer whose rhetoric is filled with reactionary outbursts, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia…

Today, four more bad-smelling policies that would make Trump proud are before local voters. In these measures, we face similar attacks against those who are different, who are more vulnerable, and who are poor and working class. And we are also given false solutions that promise to provide more for some by taking away from others.

Props Q and R –criminalizing poverty

Propositions Q and R take the heart of Donald’s hate-filled rhetoric and try to implement it in San Francisco. The mean-spirited Prop Q would confiscate people’s tents. Even its name, “Housing Not Tents,” reeks of deception, as it would provide not a single penny for housing nor require housing for anyone forcibly removed from an encampment, offering only the measly single night in a shelter. San Francisco-style fear mongering is much slicker, but no less obvious…

Props P and U – developer giveaways that divide San Franciscans

Following a similar pattern of divisiveness, Propositions P and U come directly from the SF Realtor’s Association, with a war chest of more than a million dollars paid for by the state and national Realtor’s associations. They are developer and real estate giveaways that Donald would love, and will hurt everyday San Franciscans…

You gotta give ‘em hope, said Harvey…

While we must fight back against those attacks that seek to divide San Franciscans and promote hate and fear, we must also redouble our efforts towards the only solution to the housing crisis: preserve and produce real affordable housing…

  • Prop C, the Housing Preservation Bond, which will provide loans to make safety upgrades to apartments and preserve them for all existing tenants, low-income and middle-income, as permanently affordable housing.
  • Props J & K, a 1/2 cent increase to the sales tax (still below many Bay Area cities) and set-aside to dedicate funding for homeless housing and services and equitable transportation improvements.
  • Prop M, the Sunshine for Housing ordinance, which creates transparency and public oversight for the city’s housing and development decisions.
  • Prop S, which will reinstate hotel tax allocations for cultural arts funding and funds for ending family homelessness.

This November is a chance to prove that San Francisco is still a City for All, no matter what the national mood. Say no to Trumpifying San Francisco, and vote NO on Props P, Q, R, and U… (more)

The amount of money that has gone into soliciting votes through lies and innuendo is staggering. but, most of us decided a long time ago who we trust and that trust does not waver. A small segment of the public may still be staring down the middle trying to figure it out, but we don’t wake up each morning waiting for the next news story to drop. Let’s just plow our way through this mess and make sure we stay on course and carry the June wins through to November 8.

The real battle will start after the election as we try to continue on the course we have been on that will involve hours more time and effort to take back our city from the forces that have been removing our rights and liberties and forcing us to fork out millions of dollars under false pretenses.

The the SFMTA Board that has prioritized experiments with our roads while ignoring the pleas of our most vulnerable citizens, needs to be replaced. But, don’t take my word for it. Listen to the voices of the people who are suffering from those misplaced priorities: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpn4dCBEJyU Watch the video. Like it and share it with your friends and asosciates who may not be aware of what the SFMTA is planning.  Then go to redcaprtmess.org and sign the petition to stop the removal of bus stops.