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.

The Hidden Systems at Work Behind Gentrification

By Corin Faife : motherboard – excerpt

The cafes and craft breweries are just pawns in a much bigger game.

“Someone who learned about gentrification solely through newspaper articles might come away believing that gentrification is just the culmination of several hundred thousand people’s individual wills to open coffee shops and cute boutiques, grow mustaches and buy records. But those are the signs of gentrification, not its causes.”

So writes journalist Peter Moskovitz in How To Kill A City, a book on gentrification in America, published this week. It’s a study of four cities—New York, Detroit, San Francisco and New Orleans—that are all in the process of coming to terms with widespread gentrification, which in the case of the latter three has happened at dramatic speed…

“The most surprising takeaway I had [when writing the book] was how unsecretive and how blatant politicians had been in the past with pro-gentrification policy, especially in New Orleans and Detroit,” says Moskovitz. “The economic czar of the Detroit government actually said, ‘please bring on gentrification we need more of it’. It would sound like a conspiracy if it wasn’t laid out in plain English.”…

Part of the aim for the book, Moskovitz says, was to try and steer the conversation around housing in the US towards that which can be found in parts of Europe, where rent control measures and pro-squatting movements are more common. Towards this end, having set up gentrification as a powerful systemic force, the book closes by chronicling various resistance tactics, and outlining policy-based strategies for working towards a less gentrified future.

“I’m optimistic when I meet with activists who’ve been doing this for a long time,” says Moskovitz. “Gentrification might be a new term, but housing inequality has been going on for hundreds of years. People have been coming up up with new and inventive tactics to fight these systems for so long, and that gives me hope that these people know what they’re doing. What remains to be seen is how we can motivate all the people who haven’t started to do that work.”

How To Kill A City is out now published by Nation Books/Perseus/Hachette…(more)

 

Big move, big bucks: SF Department of Public Health plans to relocate

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

The Department of Public Health is considering moving from its headquarters at 101 Grove St., pictured left, to both Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, pictured right, and Laguna Honda.

San Francisco may have found a cure for its seismically unsafe Health Department offices in the Civic Center area: moving.

To that end, the department is considering relocating from its headquarters and other buildings in the Civic Center area at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

The moving day discussions — it would, in fact, take a decade — come as The City is finalizing its 10-year capital plan due out March 1 and as discussions about the move have been ongoing for months among city officials.

The department is currently spread out in nine different buildings — some publicly owned while others are leased — in the Civic Center area, including the department’s main headquarters at The City’s 101 Grove St. public building across the street from City Hall, a building described as seismically unsafe.

The most recent cost estimate of the move is $60 million, which would be borrowed using certificates of participation and paid back over time plus interest.

The move would relocate the department to both the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Laguna Honda campuses. No final decisions have been made about the move, but plans show executive offices moving into ZSFG Building 9 and into vacant wings at Laguna Honda… (more)

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.

 

Why is the mayor cracking down on pot growers?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The mayor wants to make it harder to grow pot indoors in the city’s industrial districts. The proposed resolution, which you can read here, would require a Conditional Use permit for any indoor ag cultivation (and let’s face it, we’re talking almost entirely cannabis here.)

I say interesting because there are a couple of factors going on. I have heard – anecdotally, but still persuasively – that indoor cannabis farms are driving up the price of Production, Distribution, and Repair space, not as intensely as tech offices but still, potentially crowding out other uses.

On the other hand, it’s a thriving industry – not one that requires a huge workforce, but there are people working in the biz and you don’t need a college degree to do it, and it pays, I am told, relatively well. It’s certainly “production.”…(more)

There are many ways to limit artists in the Bay Area for people who don’t like them.

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