The Agenda, Oct. 19-25: The city’s housing balance, an Uber crime report …

… a School Board member’s role in a sleazy Ed Lee/Julie Christensen event, and why is SF still stuck with Comcast? 

When the city lets its affordable housing mix slip to about 15 percent, you get evictions
When the city lets its affordable housing mix slip to about 15 percent, you get evictions

By Tim Redmond

OCTOBER 19, 2015 — On KQED’s Forum Friday morning, Chuck Nevius from the Chron and Marisa Lagos, who works for KQED, and I were talking about the mayor’s race and the legacy of Ed Lee, and Chuck pointed out that hey: It’s bad now, but San Francisco has always been expensive. He cited a story from BeyondChron that “explodes the myth that the housing crisis is a result of the post-2011 tech invasion” and suggests that people were worried about gentrification as far back as 1981.

That happens to be when I arrived here.

Yeah: We were worried about gentrification back then, particularly in the Haight, where an anarchist gang calling itself the Mindless Thugs was throwing bricks through the windows of yuppie bars and storefronts.

But to compare that era to today is just nuts. The city was indeed expensive – but the difference between the cost of housing and what most working people earned is radically different today, on a level that has never happened in the 30-plus years I’ve been here.

When I started as a reporter at the Bay Guardian in early 1982, I made $200 a week. Seems like nothing – except that my rent was $175 a month for a room in a flat on Hayes St. People were getting evicted as landlords tried to drive tenants out of (newly) rent-controlled apartments – but many of those people were able to find other places to live in the city.

I managed the Bay Guardian, a small business, for years. We were able to pay employees a living wage – that is, enough money to pay rent and have a decent life – and we weren’t paying the big bucks. Even in the 1990s, you could afford to live in San Francisco on a salary of $30,000 a year.

It’s so different now that nobody who doesn’t already have a rent-controlled place or a house he or she bought years ago or a more-than-six-figure job can rent an existing apartment. That is absolutely the result of the tech invasion. Absolutely.

 

I hope everyone who uses Uber, and all of the city officials who allowed the company to operate illegally for so long, take a moment to read this.

Last night, I had dinner with my SFist colleagues. We wanted to sing karaoke after we ate, but The Mint was too busy. At around 10 p.m. we called it a night. By 10:30, my Uber driver had announced that he was going to sexually assault and murder me.

There are bad people in all sorts of jobs, including traditional taxi drivers, but the thing that gets me is that the police are having trouble finding this guy. If he drove a real cab, he would have a license, and the cab company would know who and where he was and in a case like this, would tell the cops right away.

Not only are there issues with background checks (clearly), the Uber system doesn’t seem to help in a situation where someone who allegedly threatened to murder and rape a woman, and who, according to the story by Eve Batey (who is a longtime journalist) sorta stalked her.

Again: If this was a traditional licensed cab company, there would have been a human being answering the phone, and a city agency monitoring the company, and an easy way for both Eve and the police to pursue this complaint.

Not at Uber.

 

The SF Weekly reports that an event involving Sup. Julie Christensen and Mayor Ed Lee at the very least pushed the limits of the city’s campaign laws. I am not surprised – this mayor and his allies have never been all that worried about violating campaign laws, since there appear to be no consequences, particularly if you win.

But there’s an element that hasn’t been fully explored here. Hydra Mendoza, the School Board member who arranged to allow a (public) school building to be used for a campaign event – not generally allowed – happens to work for Ed Lee.

That’s always been a potential conflict. Now it’s a serious one.

 

My Comcast Internet service went down on Saturday. Here’s how you have to get it fixed:

  1. You call Comcast and wait on hold, pushing buttons, until finally a human being comes to the phone. While you are hold, Comcast urges you not to waste the time of the company’s human beings and instead go to Comcast’s web site. You can’t do that, of course, because you have no Internet service. And if you go to a café to get service, you won’t be home to watch the buttons on the modem, which is what the Comcast person is going to ask you to do. Finally, the person tells you your modem is fried and you need a new one.
  1. You go to the Comcast store and wait in line (fortunately not bad Sunday morning; it’s taken more than an hour in the past) to get a new one, and go home and plug it in, then
  2. You have to call Comcast again, and wait on hold again, and push a whole lot of buttons on your phone again, until another human being can “activate” your modem.

Total elapsed time: About four hours, half a working day. The company’s time, represented by a lack of adequate staff, is more valuable than mine.

And for this we pay a fortune.

The Comcast workers are remarkably friendly and competent; they do the best they can, considering that there are about half as many as they need to serve the demand.

But every time this happens to me, I wonder:

What about Chattanooga?

In that part of the world, which we generally do not consider among the most progressive in the US of A, there’s municipal broadband, and it’s way better and faster than what the private companies offer.

Why, in the tech capital that we are, is this not even mentioned once in the mayor’s race?

(BTW: When I have had a problem with water and sewer service, run by the city, I have never waited more than a minute or two for a human being to pick up, at any hour of the day or night. We seem to be able to provide decent public service; why not broadband?)

 

The city’s Housing Balance Report, a critical document that shows how under the Lee administration, the affordable housing situation is getting way worse, will come before the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee Monday/19.

The report, which is part of the committee packet, is scathing: It shows that the net balance of affordable housing in the city is dropping, and that the projects currently in the pipeline are only going to make things worse.

From the Council of Community Housing Organizations:

This report shows that our affordable housing situation is only getting worse – the citywide housing balance of net new affordable housing from 2005-2015 dropped to a new low of 15.2%, down from the previous July report of 16%! Across the City there is a great need to correct an imbalance of low and moderate income housing compared to the rate of market rate housing.

And the future looks even worse, based on the entitlement “pipeline” of projects, the city is slated to produce only 13% affordable housing moving forward. We are far behind the goal of minimum 33% affordable housing for low and moderate income San Franciscans set by the voters in Proposition K last year, and unfortunately only getting worse.

“There are a lot of numbers thrown around these days about housing goals and aspirations of an affordable city for all, but as it is said, ‘torture numbers and they’ll tell you anything,’” commented Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations.  Cohen added, “Here in this Housing Balance Report authored by the Planning Department we have the real story. This is from the City’s own building permit data, and the City’s own planning pipeline data, and the City’s own rent board data. It doesn’t get more truthful than this. 15.2% affordable and dropping! We as a city have a long way to go to climb out of this hole.”

The problem is not just about production – these Housing Balance Report numbers make clear how the loss of protected rental units completely undermines the City’s efforts to build more affordable housing.  The calculated affordable housing balance is actually negative in 8 out of the 11 supervisorial districts! Sara Shortt, the director of Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco reacted to the Report saying: “I don’t think there’s any more compelling evidence than this that makes clear the siege of gentrification in San Francisco.”

 

The committee will also be looking at the transportation fee for new development, which is one of the greatest quiet scandals in the city.

The meeting starts at 1:30, Room 250 City Hall.

 

The SoMa Action Committee, a coalition of community members and legacy organizations, will file its appeals on the proposed 5M Project proposed at 5th and Mission Street Monday/19 at 11am.

From the group’s press release:

The 5M project proposes an illegal spot zoning of over 4 acres located in the heart of SoMa’s diverse working class neighborhood, proposing massive luxury buildings that ignore existing zoning and long range community planning efforts. Developers, Forest City and Hearst Corporation, propose a giant 470 foot high condo tower with 100% market-rate units and two nearly 400 foot high Class A office towers on SoMa’s Youth and Family Special Use District

According to Angelica Cabande, Director of the South of Market Community Action Network, a lead organization in the coalition, the developers and the City are working in tandem to fast track this project and enact special laws to make the development possible. “The level of impact on this working class community will be devastating and irreversible. The community is standing up and saying that new development needs to respect our neighborhood and long time community planning efforts,” Cabande says.

The coalition is appealing the certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the conditional use approvals and the office allocations associated with the project and will oppose several recommendations for approval that were sent by the Planning Commission to the Board of Supervisors. The deficient EIR fails to analyze and fully disclose substantial project impacts relating to cumulatively considerable impacts, massing and height, traffic, pedestrian safety, open space, shade and shadow effects, wind, inconsistency with area plans and policies, and violations of the General Plan. The description of the project is inadequate and incomplete, and was misleading and inconsistent from the start.

The City and the developer have mislead the public by claiming that special approvals are needed to build residential units on the site, but the community has produced drawings that prove otherwise. The community has a plan that is consistent with area plans, provides 670 units of housing with 50% affordable in keeping with the City’s Housing Balance policy, 240,000 square feet of office space, and ground level retail space. The community plan also retains the Dempster and Camelline buildings and has ground level public open space, and provisions for open space at the existing Chronicle building site. This plan respects the Youth and Family Special Use District, the Filipino community, and the existing neighborhood.

 

  • Bob

    You know what’s sleazy? I just saw an ad on Comcast cable for Peskin and Ed Lee. I guess Peskin gets a pass because: Peskin.
    I wonder how much that ad cost Clint Reilly.

    • sffoghorn

      Aaron is playing for keeps. Problem?

      • Bob

        I guess it’s easy to play for keeps when someone else pays your bills.

        • sffoghorn

          Ron Conway.

          • Bob

            Clint Reilly

          • sffoghorn

            Billions are more than millions, ass.

  • Bob

    Also, was the SFBG not on the forefront of opposition to a free municipal broadband when it was proposed several years ago?
    Here’s what happens in SF when ever anyone proposes something new:
    People line up to evaluate the gift horses mouth
    Other people line up to protest the enslavement of horses
    Other people line up to register opposition to speed at which the deal which produced the horse was hammered through with zero citizen feedback
    Other people line up to complain that sufficient notice of the deal was not sent out
    Other people line up to complain that other animals which may be a better fit for the charm of San Francisco were not considered
    Other people line up to offer there personal opinion of what a better deal would look like – including architectural drawings.
    In San Francisco the negotiation is no longer a means to the goal, it is the GD goal.

    • Izsak

      Very funny post. A longtime San Franciscan, you must be.

    • Greg

      That is a very funny post. Apparently Bob thinks everyone here arrived yesterday. What I remember is that Tim editorialized in favor of municipal broadband several years ago, talking about how easy it would have been to put it in while they were tearing up the streets anyway.

      • Bob
        • Greg

          Thanks for digging up the article to support my point. Not only was Tim advocating for free municipal broadband, but Tom Ammiano proposed it years before. It would have been easy and cheap to do while the streets were being torn up anyway. Then along comes a snake in the grass named David Chiu, and he takes the proposal and turns it on its head. Sounds like he wanted to turn it over to a private, for profit, corporation. And Tim rightly criticizes that, because the original idea for free municipal broadband would only be available in some neighborhoods where a lot of people sign up for “premium” service. In other words “free municipal broadband” just wouldn’t be very “free” or very “municipal.”

          • Bob

            The offer was for a private company to provide it for free, and of course Tim was all about reviewing that gift horses mouth.
            It’s amazing how short people’s memories are.
            The streets are constantly being torn up here.

          • GarySFBCN

            Relying upon private businesses benevolence is shitty policy.

            Someday Google is going to be run by Comcast-like people. No, we need to municipalize broadband as well as electricity and gas.

          • Bob

            As you said earlier, like SF has ever successfully solved a problem.

          • Greg

            Read your own link.

    • sffoghorn

      The SFBG editorialized in favor of municipal broadband not giving a franchise to Google to provide advertising subsidized broadband with no privacy guarantees.

      • Bob

        Editorializing in favor of an offer which doesn’t exist and isn’t remotely on the table is not editorializing in favor

        • sffoghorn

          Your trollish distinction is not a difference.

          • Bob

            Neither is your sexually promiscuous misanthropy

          • sffoghorn

            Flailing with the ad hominem again admits that you’ve lost the debate.

      • chasmader

        Yep, thanks to the SFBG and their NIMBY friends, Google gave up on giving SF free wi-fi.

        • sffoghorn

          Yep, thanks to the business model that did not pencil out, Google abandoned its muni wifi program entirely.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Back in the old days, San Francisco welcomed newcomers. Back in the old days, we were pro-immigrant. Now Tim Redmond blames high housing prices on the “tech invasion’, conveniently ignoring his own personal role in creating a housing shortage in San Francisco. Why the hate Tim?

    • sffoghorn

      Tim is too lazy to speculate on real estate.

    • GarySFBCN

      The ‘tech invasion’ is nothing more than a vehicle for moneyed interests to claim ‘housing crisis’ which allows those who invested in low-income neighborhoods to reap the rewards of gentrification.

      Everyone complains that building new buildings in SF is too expensive and cumbersome and yet we see new buildings sprouting all over the city like unwanted mushrooms.

      The high cost of housing is a direct result of Conway’s social engineering. He is trying to change the city’s demographics, in order to rid the city of progressives, by using his influence to only allow luxury housing.

      • Pvt. Hudson

        There really isn’t that much construction going on right now. There are a few dozen large projects, but we’re still only talking 3K-5K units a year. We should be building that much all the time.

        • sffoghorn

          You don’t get out much, do you? And if production actually would lower prices, then who would commit capital in the face of the risk of building units that would sell for less at completion time than at the outset of construction time?

          • Pvt. Hudson
          • Pvt. Hudson

            I never said that production alone will lower prices. With constant demand, increased production at the high end of the market may slow condo prices, but probably not effect gross rents all that much.

            If construction costs remain so astronomically high, and there is a downturn before many are completed, some projects will simply remain holes in the ground until conditions improve. Some completed projects may even hold units off the market as a form of speculation.

            The real problem is that construction costs are so high. It ensures that all that gets built is “luxury.”

          • sffoghorn

            The real problem is that demand is practically infinite so that developers are able to build and sell as much luxury as they can at the top of the market.

          • wcw

            Months supply for luxury is higher, not lower. Demand for luxury is not only not infinite, but lower than for other housing.

            http://my.paragon-re.com/Docs/General/SixtyFortyImages/MSI_Luxury-Homes_vs_Non-Lux.jpg

          • sffoghorn

            Supply is higher and prices are not plummeting. This is supply meeting the most profitable demand.

          • wcw

            The ‘top of the market’ is selling more slowly. Sellers cannot move ‘as much luxury’ as they like. Demand is not practically infinite. Instead, buyers are desperate for lower prices.

            It isn’t easy to get literally everything wrong. Kudos.

          • sffoghorn

            There is plenty of daylight between “luxury” and “top of the market.”

            Please, post a link to another irrelevant image to bolster your boosterism.

          • wcw

            The graphic above literally reads, ‘Luxury Home Sales’.

            It takes real commitment to get it wrong so consistently. Wow.

          • sffoghorn

            It is right in the world where “inventory” means “sales.”

          • folderpete

            “Demand is infinite” – but not at the top end.

            There may be a lot of money out there, but notice that so many purchases are ‘cash’ (thank you QE2?!). And sight unseen! This will sate or end though.

            Where demand is indeed infinite is at the other end. There is, literally, not enuf “affordable” housing that could ever be built. I was appalled to read today about the immigrants who have been here 12 yrs and just landed a 2BR for $400/ (hundred, not thousand). I don’t think their ‘rent’ even covers the water, garbage, & heat – let alone mortgage, taxes, and upkeep. I guess native-born San Franciscans, or veterans will just have to wait some more.

            http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Affordable-housing-eligibility-would-be-expanded-6576701.php

          • sffoghorn

            I find fascinating the contradiction between the overlap of those who support looser immigration controls and those who fight to remedy centuries of racism against black and brown people. How about we take care of those to whom we as a society owe the most tremendous of debts before we invite in immigrants to take jobs that might go to those to whom we owe a debt?

            There’s plenty of daylight between “the top end” and what the wage base will support.

          • folderpete

            Yes, there is that. Funny how immigration laws were changed right at the hight of the Black Power movement and the move for a more equitable civil society.

            Some progress made. A lot left undone. While i do applaud immigrants that come and make something of themselves (as an example to all of us, who are looking for a handout instead of a hand-up) – I don’t like the idea of subsidizing them, And it would have been better to tackle one problem at a time. Though I guess it didn’t look too good for the US to be bombing Asian countries and excluding their migrants simultaneously. Indonesia, as a model, seemed to work well enuf; if we didn’t need another war for another generation.

          • sffoghorn

            So we are left with neither a coherent immigration normalization strategy for folks who are here or a coherent strategy for managing immigration moving forward. And as an added bonus, people screwed for centuries are left to their own devices.

          • wcw

            How does it remedy centuries of racism against people based on the accident of their birth to exclude immigrants based on slightly different accidents of their births elsewhere?

            Bigotry is ugly in every form, but hypocritical bigotry is uglier than most.

          • sffoghorn

            For the same reason why it is prudent to pay down debts before taking on new debt or paying for new stuff in cash. If crimes of this magnitude happened against white people, we’d still be paying down the torts.

          • wcw

            The whole city was very ethnic and multicultural — and many people didn’t consider themselves “white.” They were Italians or Sicilians or Greeks.

            ..There were de facto segregation lines set up — certain people knew that the neighborhoods were going to change — but I quickly found that education in San Francisco was based on class lines. When I went to Presidio Junior High in the lower eighth grade I was doing algebra. When I was moved over to Everett Junior High I was only learning how to add fractions.

            Lee Meyerzove On Growing Up In 1940s San Francisco

          • sffoghorn

            You remedy past injustices by, you know, remedying past injustices. If jobs and housing are scarce, then they go first to pay down debt for past injustices. That would not be profitable, there are no charts for that, so it is outside what you’re being paid to promote.

          • wcw

            Past injustices include centuries of discrimination against immigrants. What makes that particular debt 100% forgivable?

          • sffoghorn

            Centuries of discrimination against folks who had already moved here, not against prospective immigrants. We need to address those past injustices before remedying hypothetical injustices.

            You are so much more concerned about others not here to the extent that you could not give a flying fuck about anyone who is already here.

          • wcw

            Centuries of bigoted, exclusionary policies are not okay when they succeed.

            Go explain here: http://48hills.org/2015/10/20/supes-reject-anti-immigrant-measure/

          • sffoghorn

            Are you suggesting completely open borders?

            You lie when you imply that I think that people should be turned over to the cops and punished solely for immigration status for obvious reasons. You lie because you have no substantive case to put forth.

            But I think that we need to have a discussion about what immigration policies the country adopts moving forward instead of mouthing mindless platitudes that “immigration is good.”

          • wcw

            That was a request to justify completely closed borders.

            Go explain, please. http://48hills.org/2015/10/20/supes-reject-anti-immigrant-measure/ seems like exactly the right place to explain how completely closed borders are the compassionate policy.

          • sffoghorn

            Nonsense, it was a call for a rational immigration policy based on economics and demographics and, most importantly, to remedy America’s legacy of domestic oppression.

            You just want to bring in more immigrants so that we never have to deal with the accrued debt because you hate Americans, you hate blacks and you hate US born latinos. Because of this, you want to ensure that the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow continues unabated, that developers are given a free reign to build in San Francisco for the world.

            Did I mention that you hate San Franciscans and San Francisco too?

          • wcw

            contradiction between.. looser immigration controls and.. [fighting] to remedy centuries of racism

            How do tight borders remedy centuries of oppression?

            Please explain at http://48hills.org/2015/10/20/supes-reject-anti-immigrant-measure/ how exclusionary policy is actually compassionate.

          • sffoghorn

            Oh, noes, competing policy priorities, whatever will wcw do when his brain freezes up at the complexity of balancing it all!

          • wcw

            There is nothing complex about being unable to explain how bigoted, exclusionary immigration policies help people.

            http://48hills.org/2015/10/20/supes-reject-anti-immigrant-measure/ is waiting.

          • sffoghorn

            Since you are not bigoted or exclusionary, you support fully open unrestricted borders?

          • sffoghorn

            I bet you like your immigration best when it trickles down in the form of millionaires with Willie Brown taking his cut:

            http://cironline.org/reports/firm-tied-willie-brown-gets-political-boost-hunters-point-plan-4896

          • wcw

            Refusing to defend a nativist, exclusionary policy on the thread celebrating a welcoming immigration policy is understandable.

            Feckless and cowardly, sure, but understandable.

          • sffoghorn

            Luxury condos for wealthy foreigners are acts of racism to Americans.

          • wcw

            Feckless, cowardly nativism is not the native state of Americans.

            As I went walking I saw a sign there
            And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
            But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
            That side was made for you and me.

          • sffoghorn

            So you do want to abolish all borders and reserve space in affordable housing developments for rich Chinese!

          • wcw

            Tighter borders hurt poor people, not rich people.

            A defender of the oppressed does not decry other ethnic groups, but to a nativist, nothing comes more naturally than racism.

          • sffoghorn

            Racism is the underlying default condition that you want to wish away under some of the same harebrain economic theory that animates your libertarian boosterism that if border controls are eliminated, then the benefits will trickle down to folks already left behind here.

            Nope, you want to still enforce border controls against Latinos down south, legalize those already here as a cheap labor force, and then allow in more Asian immigrants to further depress wages. This is because you detest working Americans and want to continue the neoliberal drive towards wage noramalization by burning down American wages on the altar of “free trade” and “trickle down theory.”

          • wcw

            Substituting ‘Asian’ for ‘Chinese’ doesn’t change the fundamentally racist thrust of the nativist clarion.

            How exactly do tight borders help victims of oppression?

          • sffoghorn

            The issue is much more economic than racist. It is wrong to take out aggressions on the weaker as in Latino immigrants fleeing US foreign policy and seeking resources that have been stolen and patriated to the US. But when it comes to corrupt crony hypercapitalism minting millionaires who then secret their cash into SF real estate, then they are more powerful than we and there is nothing wrong with challenging that economic power. It is not like national origin gives a pass for capitalist oppression.

            But then again, you favor capitalist oppression, especially against existing residents.

          • wcw

            Tightening borders has nothing to do with challenging power, it is the exercise of state power against the powerless. The powerful do not need open or even loose borders; the powerful have laws written for them to provide free passage through tight borders.

            Defending the powerful and the exercise of state power in their service merely ugly. Doing so in the guise of helping the powerless and oppressed is feckless and cowardly.

            Phrases and words that make clear where this position leads include ‘before we invite in immigrants’, ‘based on.. demographics‘, ‘US born’, ‘Americans’, ‘rich Chinese’, ‘Asian immigrants’, ‘Latino immigrants’, and on and on and on.

            These words and phrases oppress.

          • sffoghorn

            Are you suggesting that freshly minted Chinese millionaires seeking safe haven for their capital in San Francisco real estate or South Asian engineers seeking to lower tech wages are powerless?

            You have very strange definitions and semantics that all circle around your utter hatred for San Franciscans.

          • wcw

            Tight borders, especially those based on demographics, have nothing to do with capital flight and even less to do with South Asia. They have everything to do with racism and oppression.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1924

          • sffoghorn

            You are using the tried and true propaganda trope of lumping in similar phenomenon as equivalent in order to pass off the bad with the good as the drug warriors lump cannabis in with heroin as “drugs.”

            You want to leverage sympathies for Latino immigrants with those of wealthy Asian immigrants so as to screw the US housing and labor markets. You do this because you hate Americans and San Franciscans.

            Come on and say it: you want no US border controls at all.

          • wcw

            Ad hominem attacks are so tiresome.

            How would tighter borders help the poor and oppressed? How would immigration policy based on demographics not repeat the 1924 law to ‘preserve the ideal of American homogeneity’?

          • sffoghorn

            Do you support eliminating border controls or not?

          • wcw

            http://48hills.org/2015/10/20/supes-reject-anti-immigrant-measure/ is waiting.

            The first order of business should be to explain what makes people here so much better than people there, and what makes demography the right way to tighten admittance.

          • sffoghorn

            So you do support some border controls. Which means that you want to exclude some while including others. This is because you are a bigot.

            We have just established that you are a prostitute, we are merely quibbling about price and services now.

          • wcw

            Yeah, defending the National Origins Act and Asian Exclusion Act is impossible. Spittle-flecked ad hominem is best.

            Makes sense to hide shameful bigotry here rather than try to defend it at http://48hills.org/2015/10/20/supes-reject-anti-immigrant-measure/

          • sffoghorn

            Who are these they then, Model minority immigrants?

            Sure, if you’re pulling up stakes and moving somewhere to establish a new life then you’re going to be energetic about it.

            If you’ve been raised in a community that has been the target of oppression from slavery to Jim Crow to police murder, been trained that to survive you have to keep a low profile and hope for the best, then you’re coming to the table with a handicap.

            But you like that, you think that the success of the newcomers must come by further insulting those who have generated the capital of the US and kept as second class citizens at best.

          • wcw

            That is an awful lot of words, none of which explains how bigoted, exclusionary immigration policies help people.

          • Bob

            The idea that demand is infinite for this small city with *pitchforks against change* wielding residents is hyperbole.
            Not everyone in the world wants to live here.

          • sffoghorn

            We wield barrels of melted amber to seal the city like Venice.

            Get your mixed metaphors right, troll.

            I thought that San Francisco was the most desired city in the world if not in the solar system, milky way galaxy and the entire universe(s).

          • Bob

            You should know, its an entire chapter from your extremely well worn playbook.

          • sffoghorn

            Yes, it has worked so well that Market Octavia, Eastern Neighborhoods and the Central Corridor plans were wrestled to a standstill in favor of reserving all formerly industrial parcels for amber production plants.

          • Bob

            some small amount of development does not equal the development that would have occurred minus SF’s draconian and onerous development policies

          • sffoghorn

            The capital was not in place to finance your housing fantasies over that time frame.

          • wcw

            California added 1.5 million housing units between 2000 and 2010.

            There was more than enough capital in place.

          • Pvt. Hudson

            Demand is not “practically infinite,” in fact prices and sales have slowed in the last few months beyond the seasonal swing. During peak booms, a lot of speculation can drive an already tight market into absurd price territory, and I support a pied a terre tax (if such a thing is possible under CA law), Ellis Act restrictions (been tried, not getting through the legislature), and strong tenant protections to try to curb it. However, all these things make housing more expensive, and there’s got to be building to make up for it.

            The market will eventually cool off, but we won’t see lower rents without a downturn (bad for those who need lower rents), unless we do what we can to lower construction costs and incentivize building cheaper housing.

          • sffoghorn

            The extent of the cushion between “the top of the market” and “luxury” remains to be seen. Twitter appears to be the outlier, the unicorn whose horn was strapped on. The remaining profitable tech firms and sober start-ups and foreign capital remain in place providing price support.

        • wcw

          There haven’t been even 4,000 new units built per year in any of the past twenty years (see http://www.sf-planning.org/ftp/files/publications_reports/2014_Housing_Inventory.pdf [PDF]). 2014 and 2009 topped out under 3,500.

          • Pvt. Hudson

            It’s a lot of construction relative to SF historically tepid appetite for building, but it’s not like we’re Shanghai…

          • wcw

            3,500 is almost twice the 20-year rate, but it’s still only 0.9%.

            0.9% barely keeps up with organic population growth.

        • Foginacan

          A few dozen large projects is a lot.

      • Fishchum

        What utter bullshit. You really need to take the tin foil hat off, Gary – your obsession with Conway and what you claim he is responsible for is just laughable.

        • GarySFBCN

          It seems as if someone woke up with a hangover. So much for you trying to not be nasty.

          • Fishchum

            So let us get this straight – you really think that there are developers out there just chomping at the bit to build “affordable” housing, but are being stymied by Ron Conway?

            It’s just so laughably absurd.

          • GarySFBCN

            Tin-foil hat, absurd. Having a bad day sweetheart?

          • Fishchum

            No, not at all. In fact, your accusation laying the blame that Conway “only allows luxury housing” for an entire city is giving me fits of laughter.

          • GarySFBCN

            Then you should be thanking me. There’s not enough laughter in the world.

          • Jon Kozone

            Autism is a result of a cold flu vaccine that Ron Conway pushed in the 50’s.

            Bedbugs are genetically modified ladybugs from a company that Conway created 12 years ago.

            Also, the ‘magic bullet’ from the Kennedy assassination? Conway has never accounted for his whereabouts of that day.

            As Tim would say, it sounds really bad.

      • Foginacan

        Lost me with the social engineering to rid the city of Progressives stuff.

        …but the first 2 paragraphs are well articulated, and should be what we’re all discussing. Progressives look especially bad being too blinded to see this.

        • NoeValleyJim

          The only social engineering going on here is the unexpected consequences that Progressives are finally seeing from 40 years of opposing market rate development. They are just shocked, shocked, that this has ended up causing a shortage, which is driving up rents and chasing off their natural constituency. The funny thing is that many of us tried to warn them 15 years ago.

    • sffoghorn

      You don’t need for us to go back into the historical record to revive how the Chinese were “welcomed” into San Francisco in days gone by? How the hippies were warmly embraced by then westside Catholic dominated San Francisco? Or how Dan White expressed his warm welcome to the gays and progressives by murdering Milk and Moscone?

      • NoeValleyJim

        Indeed! 🙂

        • sffoghorn

          Did we forget that San Francisco welcomed transgender people with the SFPD’s clubs at Compton’s?

          This idea that San Francisco is welcoming is mythical. I don’t recall a goddamn welcome wagon catering to my needs when I achieved escape velocity to arrive here. Nothing was built for me and I just barely did not need any “services.”

          • NoeValleyJim

            Same here, I lived in my car and couch surfed for a while until I could afford a place.

          • folderpete

            Yes, the myth is much different than the reality.

            Still, the myth persists. ?

            Ed Lee wants a San Francisco for “everyone”.

    • MKR

      It isn’t possible that one person or one political party would be able to impede long term development in a city. If developers think money is there to be made they will invest by buying land and developing on it. If many businesses locate in an area at the time same demand for housing will go up. You are a very small minded thinker

  • wcw
    • folderpete

      While we don’t see the “affordable” housing build on a graph, its emblematic to see the Evictions visually displayed.

      Just listened to Tim on KQED Forum friday. He said so many people are being displaced. Yet its a fraction of a percentage point – horrible if its you, a statistic (and a minor one) if its not.

      And, of course, we are only talking about the eviction Notices, as the City doesn’t keep data of actual events.

  • sffoghorn

    This report shows that our affordable housing situation is only getting worse – the citywide housing balance of net new affordable housing from 2005-2015 dropped to a new low of 15.2%, down from the previous July report of 16%! Across the City there is a great need to correct an imbalance of low and moderate income housing compared to the rate of market rate housing.

    Perhaps had CCHO not cut crap deals with successive neoliberal mayors for their own narrow private economic interests, political power could have been raised to win elections and elicit different policy outcomes.

    When you both provide services and claim to represent on a political portfolio for decades and the outcomes in that area of policy are only getting worse and worse, in general, you don’t survive at that job, unless you are being paid to provide the illusion of advocacy so that liberals feel like they’re doing something, anything.

  • Greg

    Lots of good stuff in this piece.
    Comcast is beyond evil. They’re almost on par with PG&E. Try Monkeybrains. I can’t get them where I am, but maybe you can.
    Uber… wow. Just wow. I’d never take Uber for many reasons, but this is just beyond the pale.
    The incestuous lovefest between Hydra, clueless Christensen, and the talking mustache on city property… well that’s just to be expected. Fortunately one of them has only 3 weeks left.

    • wcw

      Monkeybrains is the greatest, seconded.

      Those who can’t get MB’s service should consider Sonic, likewise with excellent service, local (Santa Rosa) and rolling out fiber eventually.

      Those who can’t get either, or who need cable instead of DSL, can at least fire Comcast and hire Wave aka Astound. They’re not as good as MB or Sonic, but when your competition is Comcast, even mediocre looks good.

      • GarySFBCN

        I’m on AT&T DSL and Comcast for cable. As I’m about to dump both ATT and Comcast – a few questions: Why is MB better than Sonic? And why is Sonic better than Wave?

        • wcw

          Monkeybrains is faster for less, unless you are in Sebastopol or elsewhere Sonic can deliver fiber. Sonic will replace your landline, though, and cutting that bill can tip the equation.

          Sonic has excellent service. Wave is more like a less-indifferent Comcast: when it works, it’s fine, and they mostly make it work.

    • sffoghorn

      Monkeybrains broadband wifi.

    • GarySFBCN

      What is shocking about Christensen is the incompetency of her campaign.

  • sffoghorn

    The CCHO piece makes it look like the Housing Rights Committee exists at a distance from the CCHO. But a quick look at the CCHO/SFIC IRS form 990 report indicates that Sara Shortt, ED of the Housing Rights [sic] Committee, is on the Board of Directors of the SFIC which is the nonprofit holding company of CCHO.

    The HRC is charged with representing the interests of residents at the SF Housing Authority. If there is another debacle that can compare with the pathetic production of affordable housing relative to market rate, then it is the decrepit conditions in which so many SFHA residents live.

    Let’s remember that it was Peter Cohen who was quoted in the San Francisco Magazine article admitting that he traded metering in 2014 Prop K for a promise by developers to push 2015 Prop A over the line. This traded a broad spectrum affordable housing strategy for a narrow spectrum strategy that just happened to pour more cash into CCHO’s constituent affordable housing developer nonprofits.

    This kind of nonprofit corruption supported by the neoliberals is how popular political aspirations are choked off by putative allies.

    Why do progressive-sounding losers keep on getting paid public dollars by neoliberals to lose?

  • Vince

    Support Municipal Broadband. Does San Bruno have it?

  • MonkeyBrains ISP

    Howdy Tim,

    How about trying a local ISP instead of Comcast? There are several including MonkeyBrains!

    Rudy Rucker
    Partner MonkeyBrains.net