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UncategorizedProtesters mourn loss of SF neighborhoods as mayor signs...

Protesters mourn loss of SF neighborhoods as mayor signs Airbnb legislation


By Rebecca Bowe

OCTOBER 27, 2014 –Mayor Ed Lee held a press conference in his City Hall office today to mark the signing of legislation regulating short-term rentals – and the sound of chanting could be heard from the other side of closed double doors.

A group of protesters had gathered just outside to create an altar with brightly colored carnations, candles, black-and-white photos of San Francisco landmarks, and signs mourning the loss of neighborhoods and cultural institutions.

Led by Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club President Tom Temprano, the group included representatives from an array of organizations including the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, the California Nurses Association, SEIU Local 1021, the hotel workers’ union, Local 2, the AIDS Housing Alliance, the Latino Democratic Club, and others.

Temprano said the protesters viewed the final Airbnb legislation as a sign of having sold out. “The mayor and [Sup.] David Chiu left $25 million in back taxes owed by AirBnb on the table, at a time when our city has critical services that we need to fund,” Temprano (who writes a column for this publication) said in an interview with 48 Hills.

Deputies guard Mayor Lee's office as Tom Temprano leads a protest
Deputies guard Mayor Lee’s office as Tom Temprano leads a protest

Speaking a short while later to several reporters, he added, “It’s not a coincidence that the mayor and David Chiu are leaving that money on the table,” in reference to campaign contributions from Silicon Valley venture capitalist and Airbnb investor Rob Conway. “Pay-to-play politics in San Francisco is egregious. This legislation is killing our neighborhoods.”

Short-term residential rentals were technically illegal until this legislation was crafted, while unpaid back taxes are estimated to total some $25 million. Sup. David Campos proposed an amendment to collect the unpaid taxes before the Short-Term Residential Rentals Ordinance could take effect when it came up for a vote at the Board of Supervisors. But the amendment was shot down by a 6-5 vote.

“This is the death of a lot of neighborhoods,” said Hene Kelly, who was there on behalf of United Educators of San Francisco. “This is the end for a lot of young people who want to raise their children in San Francisco. If they had at least … taken that amendment, we could have … gotten some housing built. We could have gotten ambulances to get into the neighborhood when they’re needed. But we didn’t do that. We let it go by.”

In a recent op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the proposal to collect unpaid back taxes a “commonsense amendment,” sharply criticizing the Airbnb legislation as a threat to the city’s character. “Those of us who value the residential character of our neighborhoods … will see all of this washed away by a blanket commercialization of our neighborhoods,” wrote Feinstein, who’s not exactly known for her radical sentiments.

Inside the Mayor’s Office at the signing ceremony, meanwhile, the mood was celebratory. Chiu and Lee, surrounded by supporters and members of the board, conveyed the message that a long and arduous process had finally produced a successful result that everyone could be happy with.

“I want to thank everyone behind me, and San Francisco, thank you for sharing,” Chiu said, prompting applause. After describing the variety of organizations he’d worked with to craft the legislation including tenant organizations, landlord representatives, small property owners, labor, and the hotel and tourism community, Chiu said: “I want to take a moment and thank an individual who is not with us today. Ted Gullicksen was one of the very first leaders of the tenants’ community that we worked with over a year and a half ago. He stood with me when we introduced this legislation in April, and I know he is here in spirit.”

But among those gathered on the other side of the door to protest the final outcome of the Airbnb legislation were some close allies of Gullicksen – a highly respected progressive tenant advocate who died Oct. 14. The sound of chanting arose as an Airbnb home sharer was describing how much he’d benefited from the service, but the noise quickly died down.

“We were told that we would have to quiet down,” protester Andy Blue explained a few minutes later. “Or it would be an unlawful assembly. So we have to use our inside voices.”

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. So, are you saying this enhanced level of commercial activity (commercial rentals in neighborhoods) will not draw additional services, so no new (or, taxed-at-current-rate) levies are needed?


    Perhaps Abnb-lets ought to at least contribute to the SF Visitors & Convents Bureau – trying to preen image to the traveling world and bolster business.

    Or, maybe the whole idea of a ‘Hotel Tax’ is wrong to begin with. I mean, what do hotels & tourists draw in services that they don’t make up for in additional Sales Tax and license fees?

    I AM saying that it might be handy – if you’ve got a person that won’t leave, a la the Palm Springs let – to have two burly armed bullies come to your door and deal with the devil. Naw, maybe we can handle it on a fee-per-call basis – like the SFFD and 911 – $2300 per call.

    “Hello – 911, I’ve got two bums sleeping in front of my bldg.” “Yes, we’ll send someone right out in ’bout and hour; will that be Visa or MC? That’ll be $1900 per sleeping bag; extra for dogs, trash clean-up and damage to street trees”. Be thankful it only happens occasionally; preferably to the other fellow.

  2. @Sam
    I’m not sure the level of services offered is a good barometer for tax rate. I’d rather see the taxes proportional to the level of services demanded of the City.

    I.e. – Abnb lets will require services from SFPD – to roust obnoxious or over-stayed ‘visitors’. Extra use of transport is another. SFFD, homeless-tidying, and an ancillary of other services.

    BTW, Randy Shaw has stated the likely scenario for a Lee-Leno tussle in ’15. (… lesser evil, lesser evil …)

  3. I think you think that Leno is much more left-wing than he really is. Add to that that politicians become more moderate once they have power, and I suspect you will be whining as much about Leno in four years as you did about Lee.

    And Newsom, and brown, and Jordan, and . . .

  4. Not all in the establishment are extractive kleptocrats. I guess I’d condition my support of Leno on a pledge by him to dump Steve Kawa.

  5. It seems like Ed Lee’s corrupt administration is circling the drain rapidly. Even Dianne Feinstein and Mark Leno are aghast.

  6. No, you claimed that the city is not democratically run, and I pointed out that the reality is that you simply do not like what a majority of voters want.

    That’s typically a feature of holding extremist opinions.

  7. No, my refutation was that you made a choice to buy a condo knowing that property taxes are due, so you cannot reasonable complain about them.

    Lucky for you, we have Prop 13.

  8. Interesting that you want the guy appointed by Willie Brown and who crunched progressive favorite Britt to be a contender next year.

    Your standards have slipped a long long way. But at least he is gay, right? Then again, so is Wiener.

  9. You’re not exposing contradictions, you’re setting up an arbitrary standard that we can’t tell if you meet, applying it to me and holding me accountable for failing a test that you designed for me to fail in order to claim to have won a cheap point on an internet comment section. That is not civil discourse, it is trolling.

  10. I can successfully refute the claim that you keep the goalposts fixed during a conversation. Once cornered, you simply try to move the goalposts to reframe the conversation so that you’re not cornered.

    That is very uncivil.

  11. It is legitimate to expose contradictions and hypocrisy in the statements of others here.

    We have democracy. You just don’t like the way the voters vote. Too bad.

  12. It looks like Ed Lee is going to be the myspace/twitter mayor:


    For much of Ed Lee’s first term as Mayor of San Francisco, he enjoyed both the popular support of the public and the financial backing of tech tycoons. Last March, a stunning 65 percent of local voters approved of Lee’s handling of the job. Then the Google Bus protests happened, the cost of living kept rising, and evictions hit crisis levels. Within 13 months, Lee’s approval rating sunk by 20 points.

  13. airbnb is not destroying neighborhoods!!! greed is. YES< hosts have been receiving 1099's from Airbnb the past 2 tax years. some artists, are holding on by utilizing airbnb to pay their high rents. living in their living rooms avoiding craigslisters who ripped them off. the 1/2 million insurance requirement is STUPID and will force many more working class people using airbnb to stay in SF OUT. I wanted LEE to veto it, b/c It's against the homeowner not the corporation. focus on Twitter's million dollar tax break, WHY DON't YOU.

  14. Subtract out the “don’t know’s” and Lee’s approval ratings are still above half, which was the point I made.

    And all incumbents suffer a decline when in office.

    Leno is hardly a progressive, so even if were mayor, I don’t think you’d see much change in direction. Although I don’t really know why he would want the job – seems a step backwards to me.

  15. When you see a political change that you don’t like, you do not “jump off the train”. You seize control of the train and steer it along a different track.

    Anyway, corporations and employers are not really things, but aggregations of people for mutual benefit. Why shouldn’t they have influence?

  16. Ed Lie is sinking like a stone.

    (Wednesday, October 29, 2014)


    “Leno also had a 57 percent favorable rating, compared with Lee’s 45 percent, according to the survey of 400 voters by pollster Jim Moore. The poll’s margin of error was five percentage points.”

    (Sunday, September 9, 2012)


    A new citywide poll has the mayor scoring a favorable job-approval rating with 49 percent of voters. But of those, only 9 percent give Lee “excellent” marks, while 40 percent call his performance “pretty good.”
    On the downside, 32 percent say he’s doing “only fair,” and 12 percent rank him as “poor.” Seven percent say they don’t know.

    The new numbers are in sharp contrast to the 60 percent-plus favorable ratings that Lee was racking up in July 2011, when he was still interim mayor and a fresh face to most voters.

  17. The topic of conversation here is protesters holding a funeral for San Francisco after they’ve surrendered to corporate dominance, not the fact that I saw the surrender coming from afar and jumped off of that train before it hurtled over the cliff.

  18. Yes, part of the argument that Airbnb lets should not be taxed as if they were a hotel is because there are many services that hotels offer that Airbnb lets do not.

    I do not offer meals, concierge, bag carrying, turndown and so on.

  19. Wrong, short-term lets add to the city’s GDP and create economic activity, which leads to more taxes being collected.

    You are arguing that if every Airbnb rental business stopped immediately, then somehow the city would collect more taxes. Nonsense.

  20. My point was more that, by doing nothing other than complaining, you are a part of the very problem you decry. You implicitly support the status quo.

  21. It’s not Airbnb’s fault that SF didn’t already have laws in place for short term rentals, like NYC does. Really rich people can’t be bothered with airbnb, they can afford to leave their homes empty. A few shady landlords put entire buildings of rentals on airbnb, hold them up for public criticism, make examples of them and the sleazy eviction landlords in this town rather than getting up in arms about the latest google bus. SF residents use private transit because our public transit sucks. Sleazy landlords take advantage of eviction and rental loopholes because SF doesn’t have a clue what is going on inside most of the buildings in the 7X7. This town is full of filthy residential hotels that are never inspected and rotting “in-law units”. Having laws around how property is rented is a good thing for tenants rights, compared to housing regulation in other big cities SF really is the wild west.

  22. You might GET MONEY IF YOU JOIN THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST AIRBNB: http://bit.ly/1yFRby7. Your name and Airbnb hosts will not be public if you choose to be a non-named plaintiff. It doesn’t affect your settlement or rights. It won’t take much of your time. The sooner you join, the more it’ll strengthen the case (according to the lawyers).

    VOTE FOR DAVID CAMPOS BECAUSE…DUH: Campos voted to have Airbnb to pay back taxes. Chiu voted no. Chiu’s Airbnb law causes tenants to get evicted (http://bit.ly/unfAirbnb).

    WE WON’T VOTE FOR SF SUPERVISOR CHIU, TANG, KIM, COHEN, WEINER & FARRELL: They voted for the Airbnb law, which is literally causing us to get evicted. We thank Campos, Avalos, Mar and Yee for trying to protect tenants.

    MAP ILLEGAL VACATION RENTALS: http://bit.ly/Airbnillegal.
    Airbnb is reporting half their rentals. Help the Anti-Eviction Map get data. They protect your identity, and are looking to track landlords (not renters) who rent on Airbnb instead of to long-term tenants. All SF vacation rentals are illegal unless the owner gets a conditional use permit from the Planning Department.

    GET FUNNY TIPS: http://Facebook.com/ItMightHappenToYou, http://Twitter.com/ItMightHappen2U, http://bit.ly/1rqVMkQ.

  23. As long as we are not collecting the taxes of these companies and there impacts on;

    housing, transit, open-space, infrastructure, etc.

    we will see schools deteriorate, essential workforce housing disappear, open-space go for the biggest bidder, and infrastructure crumble since nobody can afford these big projects.

    the city is losing its control on the very need to control the influx…

    means we become one big tech-dump….

    not a pretty future…SF, thanks to chiu and lee and a few other knuckleheads, who should not be politicians, we all suffer.

  24. You’re drinking again now that Ed Lee’s lost 20% support having spent it to screw the electorate, that’s why you’re going all ad hominem and cranky, aren’t you?

  25. Your rampant incivility via ad hominem attack really detracts from the decorum in this forum. I guess you can’t speak to the issues because you on the issues you fail.

  26. It is not very civil when you change the subject and joust at straw persons to defend your ad hominem attacks.

  27. There is nothing ad hominem about pointing out that idealism and extremism tends to be prevalent in those who never have to take personal responsibility for decisions that affect others.

  28. An understanding of the hypocrisy that underlies the glaring schism between your words and your deeds undermines whatever else you might claim about the issues, and readers should take that into account.

  29. Sorry to hear about your lousy treatment.

    FWIW, I believe SF also has rather onerous treatment for those wanting to start a traditional BnB. That said, AirBnB does away with the “breakfast” part of the service (in most cases) – perhaps some coffee on tap, pop tarts etc, but not full service b’fast – and focuses on just providing the accommodations, which is much easier on the ‘hotelier’.

    How is PDX dealing with the AirBnB situation?

  30. I guess you always try to make it about me when cornered because you don’t want it to be about the issues.

  31. It’s a matter of land, not regulations. There’s not enough room in SF to build a Google campus no matter what the regulations. These “over-zealous bureaucratic control freaks” bent over backwards to get Twitter and Salesforce into SF.

  32. Nobody forces a white male tech worker like you to buy a condo in the Mission and pay property taxes while you deprive a colored family of color of a home in their own community.

    You made that choice yourself.

  33. Luckily it is still possible to make a buck in SF. And if you are wealthy, you are immune from this shit anyway because you can afford the very best lawyers and accountants.

    But at the margin, business are smart to locate themselves just outside cities like SF and PDX, which is why the biggest tech corporations are in San Mateo and Santa Clara county, while Nike is based in Beaverton outside of PDX.

    Why deal with over-zealous bureaucratic control freaks when just a few miles away you can give them the finger?

  34. And yet, marcos, you sit on your ass at your tech job all day long, ever day, telling other people what they should be doing.

    Rather than getting off your lard ass and making a difference yourself.

  35. Unowned democratic residents-only participatory public spaces, subgovernment, where anyone who gets paid by the City is excluded are the answer.

  36. Ed Lee was appointed by a majority of the city’s supervisors, was elected by a majority of those who voted, and has consistently had majority approval ratings in every opinion poll.

    But you think he shouldn’t be mayor just because you personally don’t like people sharing their homes?

  37. First possibility—well, that’s what I was asking, rather civilly. If someone knows, I still hope they’ll let me know here, so that we don’t have to speculate.

    Second possibility—the city has lawyers, and its their call, one way or the other. If they think this won’t stand up in court, let them say so. If they think it’s risky, let them say so. If they think it will stand up in court, let them say so. If we’re dealing with $25m, legal costs are going to be less than that no matter what.

  38. If true, just one more reason to start working Nov 5th to find a candidate or two to rally around to defeat the Mayor Lee next November. No mayor has caused rents to skyrocket, evictions to soar and for every tenant to be fearful of getting an eviction notice than Edwin Lee. The Supervisors who voted to install Mayor Lee can’t be voted out of office soon enough either. Mayor Lee is a one-man eviction and gentrification machine, I’ll give him that, although the tech firms and their highly paid workers are thrilled with him.

    Frankly, I doubt there’s been any decision about how to proceed on the back taxes issue, but I can guarantee there hasn’t been any “agreement” not to prosecute these companies. Airbnb is one of MANY companies that need to comply with the new legislation, but that doesn’t get them or the other tax evaders off the hook for back taxes. My guess is that the City Attorney is waiting for the right time to file a lawsuit against Airbnb and all other short-term rental facilitators to collect the back taxes. During litigation the City Attorney can find out every person who has used Airbnb’s (and other company’s) services and determine which hosts have paid the tax and which haven’t. it will also will be a good start for a database of all previous short-term rental landlords.

    Jose Cisneros’ office is actually responsible for filing the lawsuit suing Airbnb and other short-term rental facilitators since collecting taxes comes under his jurisdiction. If he fails to file a lawsuit to collect these taxes, he should be also targeted for eviction from office. Actually, he probably should be sued or arrested for failure to perform his duties – collecting taxes from unlawful tax cheats like Airbnb and other companies like them is part of his job, even if he mostly supports tax cheats like the tech companies that have made an art form out of evading state, local and federal taxes.

  39. There are really only two possibilities here.

    The first is that a deal was made and you personally don’t happen to know about it. Well, boo freaking hoo. There is no law that says that you have to know about stuff like this, let alone agree with it. There’s lot of stuff I don’t know either. So what?

    The second is that there was no deal, but the city isn’t sure it is on solid legal ground in trying to claim these taxes, and the last thing the city wants is to lose a landmark legal case on this issue. So better to accept Airbnb’s generous offer to start collecting the tax (other intermediaries have not agreed to either collect or pay this tax AFAIK)

    And the city can always chase after the hosts if it really thinks that alienating thousands of voters makes sense.

  40. It’s not obvious to me that no taxes are owed. If a retailer does not charge sales tax from its customers, it is still liable to them.
    The thing is: nobody has officially said that they don’t owe these back taxes. No one has said that they do and that they are waived. As was reported here, even Malia Cohen didn’t know what was going on. So this “highly unlikely” you mention—I don’t care if it’s 99% ‘unlikely’ that they don’t owe taxes. I want it stated explicitly and officially. Otherwise, am I suppose to trust that every deal between politicians and rich businesses is entirely free of corruption and is in the public benefit? Should every deal like this remain secret, no matter the amount of money involved, so the public doesn’t have to worry its pretty little head about it?

  41. Yeah, Portland can be as bad as SF. Cities like those kill themselves by over-regulating and over-taxing any and every form of enterprise, and then they wonder why successful people locate themselves out of town.

    Only a handful of cities around the world try and regulate informal home-sharing. So morally I totally understand why people in those places do this under the radar and off the grid.

  42. It is well known that there were negotiations between the city and Airbnb. And we know that taxes were discussed because Airbnb offered to start collecting them and handing them over.

    But Airbnb does not owe these taxes. Either the hosts or the guests do, so it is highly unlikely that Airbnb would agree to pay taxes with money they never collected.

    So it’s not a great leap of speculation to understand the deal. The taxes are not being paid – how much more explicit than that do you want?

  43. Ppod, what do you mean by “be effective”?

    They allow for people to be hosts, visitors to be guests, and for taxes to be collected. Or do not participate at all if you do not like the idea.

    You have a problem with choice?

  44. If the city waived $25,000,000 or $2,500 in taxes to anybody, I’d like to know about it explicitly. If in the city’s opinion the guests or the hosts rather than AirBnB were liable, I’d like to know that opinion stated explicitly as well. It shouldn’t be up to commenters on blogs to second-guess what our elected public servants are doing with public money.

  45. My apologies, Joejoep. With all the hoopla surrounding AirBNB’s failure to pay taxes, I don’t believe I’ve ever read or heard anything about the hosts. I still don’t think the new regulations will be very effective. And, Sam? Uh, I never said anything about AirBNB or it’s hosts being evil or bad. Do you have a guilty conscience?

  46. Try moving to Portland Oregon and rent your cottage or basement apartment or whatever. Even if it’s beautiful and has 25 five star reviews on vrbo.com, (www.vrbo.com/401575) and it’s thoroughly insured and you’ve collected and paid all lodging taxes since opening – the city will stick it to you. I paid over $4,000. dollars to have the City of Portland even consider my bed & breakfast – then had to notify neighbors, conduct a dozen parking surveys, submit testimony, attend hearings and testify in person. That’s now all moot, because it’s as if it never happened. Plus, I appeared on tv regarding the new air bnb rules and new fees and that really did it. I protested the new rules and fees, asked to be grandfathered in based on being approved in 2011. After I appearing on TV and sharing my story, the City investigated and decided to ruin my business. The City of Portland has determined that the fully furnished stand up loft bedroom in my cottage does not meet standards for being “habitable” because it’s a few inches too low for their permit standards. They informed me last week that it must be used only for storage. I have to remove all furnishings up there, had to cancel reservations, had to change my vrbo listing and modify my website. BUT I will never have to pay the 12.5% lodging taxes again. My beautiful cottage will be a one to three month furnished rental beginning January, 2015. The City of Portland (new headquarters for Air BnB – no surprise) rewards tax paying, law abiding small business entrepreneurs with the royal shaft. We plan to move in less than two years and I can’t wait.

  47. If Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club President Tom Temprano wants the City to get the $25M so badly, why does he ignore the fact that the homeowners who rented out their units are jointly liable for the tax? Why doesn’t he call out these individuals instead of only AirBnB? Possibly b/c collecting these taxes would be wildly unpopular and his organization would come across badly?

  48. Said the duplex owner who favored rights for tenants until she became aware that Prop I was going to affect her. Personally. ??

    The real problem is when the self interested are soley represented.

    Not sure how to get more ‘big picture’ people involved. But that is what we truly need.

  49. “and everyone else is happy, ”
    This is simplistic – not simpler. Perhaps the issue of taxes is resolved. However, there are many other issues that have yet to be addressed, as even DiFi acknowledges.

    I’m surprised that the whole issue of rent controlled renters making money off their ceilinged rents was not mentioned. If a person pays, say $1000 for an apt, and then lets it out on ABnB on weekends and makes $1600, he not only lives rent-free, but also makes a profit prohibited to the person that actually owns that prop and has ultimate responsibiliy and liability for it. Astonishing!

    But even the ABnB model will begin to pail as tourists realize that where they are staying is not ‘really’ San Francisco, that almost everyone else on the street is toting wheeled luggage and speaking with an accent and asking directions in an environment otherwise reminiscent of a ghost town.

    BTW, I will probably make out handsomely. Its just sad that this town is essentially forcing small prop owners to go this route – DIY hoteliers.

  50. Or we could look at it another way. Those who actually work within our political structure have to compromise and forge consensus, which means that they have to temper their ideology with pragmatism and empathy. Nobody in politics gets 100% of that they want.

    But if instead you are, say, a white male condo-owning tech worker, then you have the luxury of staying “pure” and unsullied by the need to work with others and balance differing interests.

    Likewise someone who works only as a writer or commentator, like Tim, also enjoys the luxury of never having to get his hands dirty, and can remain an ideologue.

    But for those who take risks and commit energy to create solutions, no such theoretical niceties exist. If you have to work with those you do not like and who also have power. (And that, BTW, is why I think Campos will fail if he gets to Sac). He is really more like you and Tim, rallying only for his side.

  51. The answer is much simpler. Airbnb were under no obligation to start collecting the taxes. so they had to be offered a sweetener.

    Legalize their business model and a waiver of all past taxes was a good deal for both sides. In the long run, the city will collect more taxes this way, and everyone else is happy, except for a few dozen of the “usual suspect” activists.

  52. It is clearly important to PPod that he believes that anyone who is an Airbnb host is a bad, evil, sinful person.

    Perhaps we should humor his desire.

  53. Cellspace is still open– as InnerMissionSF. There’s a performance of True West there this month. Eventually, though, the building is being torn down for housing.

  54. The very last people we should want being involved in the political process are those with a specific agenda.

    Or those who have a “passion” for a cause, which is code for having a self-interested motive.

  55. @ Marcos –
    The business of Govmint is conducted during “business hours”. Those speaking on “our” behalf typically are employed as “our” advocates (by unions, NPOs, private lobbyists, or as ‘jobs being activists’, etc).

    Your job, as a private citizen of SF, is to vote in our one-party elections. Otherwise, enjoy the theatre and its buffoonery!

  56. David Augustine, Tax Collector, under the elected Jose Cisneros. I believe JC did ask AirBnB etc to pay past-due taxes. I seem to recall the Mayors office stepping in (to ask for delay??).

    Its too bad a compromise payment from AirBnB of half the estimated taxes – or $12.5M – was’t forthcoming from the company. I guess it got sidetracked into other endeavors.

  57. I suspect that Airbnb made it a condition of starting to collect the taxes going forward that the alleged back taxes were waived.

    Such deals are not uncommon.

    The city can still go after the hosts. But it is really the guests who pay a hotel tax and they were not asked to pay at the time, so these taxes have truly been lost.

    So what? Move on.

  58. Who is able to attend these events at 10:30 in the morning, and does the composition of those who can mean that the issue is shifted to tax collection from the more fundamental issue of transforming residential neighborhoods into hospitality zones.

    So the deal here was that the nonprofits, labor and their political enablers, most of whom live nowhere near San Francisco, were willing to trade $25m in taxes, some of which might end up funding their operations, in exchange for the character of San Francisco residential neighborhoods.

    This is why the progressive coalition is in tatters, the professionals who dominate progressive politics because they’re free during the day to operate will screw the voting base in order to keep the crack flowing into their pipes.

  59. This back tax issue is disturbing but it points to a bigger question — in a city as large as this, why don’t we have a dedicated tax collector, someone who’s main responsibility and expertise is in collecting taxes.

    Of course, if you are going to leave tax collecting up to David Chiu and the Mayor then you can expect some weird things to happen.

    Companies like AirBnb wouldn’t be able to thumb their noses at tax laws if we had a Tax Commissioner.

    If we had a full time tax collector responsible for managing situations like this we would be a lot better off.

  60. Well, nobody has formally introduced legislation forcing hosts to pay anything beyond AirBNB’s cut. I’m sure the IRS and the State Franchise Tax Board would love to collect this income tax, but how to document it? I suppose AIrBNB could issue 1099-MISC forms to all these hosts, but I doubt that’s going to happen as this would only scare off potential business. These “overbearing requirements” you speak of are going to be impossible to enforce, even if unhappy renters start reporting home sharing activity. If my landlords (who own a multitude of residential properties) do honestly think I’d be stupid enough to blow them in? As far as income tax revenue to city has been enjoying, I have no idea what you could be talking about. I don’t think AirBNB pays taxes.

  61. I noticed that the Bay Guardian’s Number 1 choice for D8 Supervisor was standing behind Mayor Ed Lee as he signed the legislation. Well, if you’re pissed off, #VotePetrelis!

  62. I saw it mentioned (in the SF Weekly? I don’t remember) that the Mayor instructed the Tax Colector not to go after the Airbnb back taxes. Is that true?

  63. This legislation is more likely to kill home sharing than neighborhoods. Its full of overbearing requirements that most will find difficult or impossible to meet.

    There’s no one stopping the collection of back taxes that the guests who used airbnb in the past supposedly owe. If the city wants to go after them they are welcome to.

    The 14% tax on these rentals is going to really force some homesharers to stop when they don’t get customers. The regulation for amount of insurance is outrageous. The permitting process is also way too cumbersome and fraught with land mines.

    The very income tax revenue the city has been enjoying from airbnb will be cut significantly.

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How did the Housing Authority ignore awful conditions at Plaza East?

Western Addition public housing project has been a disaster -- but a private contractor ran it with very little oversight.
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