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.

A Day Without a Woman rallies unite thousands in Bay Area and beyond

By Kevin Fagan, Filipa Ioannou and Jenna Lyons : sfgate – excerpt (includes video)

Rallies took place around the Bay Area as part of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s March that spilled millions into the streets in January was no one-off, thousands of women loudly declared Wednesday from one end of the country to the other. It was the beginning of a movement.

From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., they punched home their point with their own bodies, gathering in protests to show what life is like at the workplace without women… (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.

RELATED:
The Oakland fire spurs crackdown on arts spaces

Trump’s sanctuary city threat, shortfalls lead SF to revise budget

By Emily Green : sfchronicle – excerpt

It seems like San Francisco — the center of the nation’s tech boom and the strong economy and tax revenues that come with it — went overnight from being flush to having serious financial constraints.

The combination of a ballot measure to increase the sales tax that failed, threatened federal cuts from President-elect Donald Trump and a projected $5 billion pension shortfall means City Hall officials are now considering actions that would have seemed unthinkable just three weeks ago.

Among them: redirecting new revenue generated by the just-passed soda tax from health programs to homeless services, ending the Twitter tax break that was designed to draw
tech companies to the city, annulling a voter-approved charter amendment to pay for street tree maintenance and not spending the money to make City College free.

“The city is in a strong financial position, and the mayor is committed to remaining
disciplined when it comes to the budget,” said Deirdre Hussey, Mayor Ed Lee’s spokeswoman. “However, the city’s revenue growth is slowing and pension costs have risen in recent years faster than projected. … These things combined make it essential for policy makers to rebalance the budget.”

San Francisco’s current annual budget is $9.6 billion, up from $6.4 billion in 2010. It’s
bigger than the budgets of 13 states, a reflection in part of the city’s strong economy. The
two-year budget passed in July has no cuts to city services, and departments large and
small got more money. It also funds a 4 percent expansion in the city’s workforce, from just under 30,000 to 30,750 workers.

Three main factors have led to the rapid reassessment of the city’s finances… (download shortfall-budget.pdf) for the full story

Of course the Mayor is proving all the points opponents of the ballot proposals made when they claimed the money is going into the general fund and there is no guarantee that any of it will go where the voters are told it will. Health programs and tree maintenance are the first to go, followed soon by free City College. Hope you were not counting on having those potholes fixed any time soon. You may want to adopt one or fix it yourself.

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.