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UncategorizedMore artists facing eviction on Market. What was the...

More artists facing eviction on Market. What was the mayor thinking?

Was Ed Lee totally clueless when he decided to give tax breaks for tech companies? Or doesn’t he care if poor people and nonprofits are forced out?

Protesters seek to save artist housing on Market Street
Protesters seek to save artist housing on Market Street

By Tim Redmond

MARCH 27, 2015 – About 100 feet away from the offices of Zendesk, one of the tech companies that moved into Mid-Market to take advantage of a tax break, a landlord is trying to throw 23 artists out of a live-work building.

This is, of course, not a coincidence.

The residents of 1061 Market stood in front of their building yesterday morning to make the point that landlords were happy – thrilled – to rent to artists a few years ago, before mid-Market was “hot.” Now that the tech industry has moved in, the low-income artists have to go.

And every time I go to one of these press events, and see part of the soul of San Francisco displaced, I shake my head and ask:

What was Mayor Ed Lee thinking? Did he really believe that he could give tax breaks to turn this part of town into a tech haven without low-income residents and nonprofits suffering?

Yes: When Lee took office Mid-Market was “rundown.” At one point, the city wanted to turn it into an arts district. The mayor and the supervisors could have placed a tax on vacant buildings to encourage landlords to rent to arts groups, but instead the city gave a tax break to Twitter and other tech companies in the name of “creating jobs” and”revitalizing” the area.

I understand the concern about boarded-up storefronts and what the Redevelopment Agency used to call “blight.” But so much of this city – particularly artists and nonprofits – needs low-rent space, and when you turn that into high-rent space, they get evicted.

This is eminently predictable.

It adds to what I can only describe as the worst example of urban planning I’ve seen in my 32 years in San Francisco.

It’s as if the mayor and his supporters had no clue that attracting tech would drive up property values all over the city – and that there was no way private developers would build enough housing for the middle-class and low-income people getting displaced.

So another day, another eviction, another part of the city threatened in the name of the tech boom.

Jennifer Chen, the landlord, filed an eviction notice acting as if the place were purely commercial space. That’s the same thing happening at 16th and Mission (where another type of development, high-end housing, is already driving up property values).

I couldn’t reach her today.

The landlord installed a security camera -- which makes it hard to believe she didn't know people were living there
The landlord installed a security camera — which makes it hard to believe she didn’t know people were living there

But according to the tenants, she not only knew there were people living there – she hired a contractor to build out the living spaces. “The landlord helped design the space as residential,” Zoe Bender, one of the tenants, told me.

In fact, it would be hard for her to claim she had no idea what was going on: She also installed a security camera to keep an eye on things. It’s still there.

There were two floors of artists living in the place in 2011, when Chen leased it to them. The lower floor has already been evicted, the place has been renovated, and it’s set up to be a tech office.

The lower floor has been cleared out and made ready for a tech-office tenant
The lower floor has been cleared out and made ready for a tech-office tenant

Now we are down to 23. They are painters, writers, dancers, musicians – the kind of people San Francisco used to welcome. They also work in the local service industry, taking lower wage jobs that are necessary if the tech workers are going to be able to get a latte at a café.

Zaria Gunn, one of the founders of the 1061 collective, said that “I am what happens when you do these evictions.” She was one of the artists on the lower floor, and when she was tossed out, “I had no place to live for months.” Now she’s in Oakland.

These land-use situations are tricky: When there was no demand for commercial space in mid-Market, landlords were happy to rent to anyone, even if the space wasn’t exactly zoned residential. But the property was used by tenants who lived there – and they are asking the Rent Board to rule that the place is, in fact, under rent control, and that a just cause is needed for eviction.

That would be a start. But at some point, either the city has to figure out a way to stop these evictions, or there won’t be any artists left.

Joe Bender, a painter, has a studio at 1061 Market. Cheap artist housing used to be common in SF; now it's going away -- because of city policies
Joe Bender, a painter, has a studio at 1061 Market. Cheap artist housing used to be common in SF; now it’s going away — because of city policies

Randy Shaw, the Tenderloin Housing Clinic director who also runs BeyondChron, often asks an important question that ought to be at the heart of national urban-policy debates: Why do poor people have to live in crummy conditions in violence-prone neighborhoods? Isn’t there are way to let low-income people have a decent community to live in, too?

Well, yes – and we are seeing it in parts of the Tenderloin and the Sixth Street corridor, which Shaw is working hard to improve. And good for him.

But the reason you can make that area nicer without as great a threat of displacement is that a huge amount of the housing stock is owned by or leased to nonprofits. Housing has been taken out of the private, speculative market. Nonprofit housing agencies don’t tend to do evictions to jack up the rent. They don’t convert low-cost housing into high-rent office space.

In other words, if you want to have nice neighborhoods for poor people in a city like San Francisco, either the government or nonprofits has to control the housing stock.

In the private market, it’s a very different deal – and most of mid-Market, where the mayor pushed tech companies to come and fight blight, is owned by private landlords. Artists and working-class people have to leave. Because that sad fact is that in San Francisco today, with this immense tech-money-driven pressure, the only place poor people can afford to live is where the richer people don’t want to live or work.

The mayor has convinced the richer people that they want to have offices in mid-Market. The results are no surprise. I’m not sure if he was just clueless, and has no understanding of market pressures on urban housing and office space – or if, like the Redevelopment Agency of the 1960s, this is what City Hall had in mind anyway.

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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104 COMMENTS

  1. Sadly, the optimistic attitude among the residents never on my block well NAIOP,BOMA S.F and S.F planning approve. Gentrifying tactics commercial properties around Mission Bay,Hunter’s Point,Cow Hollow,China Basin,Mission and Dog patch ideal properties preferably if commercial reason. Entangled residential codes due: Ellis act yes going torn down without frowns for market displace housing inquire astute brokers. Not ridiculing there experience sell realty no other Frank Nolan Mr.Broker and Doug Shaw reputed not disputed sellers interest ignored fair housing. You’ll say is there resolution it’s profound “S.F Planning dept whom approve the evictions” whom, Rodney Fong,Rich Hillis,Christine D.Johnson,Cindy Wu and Joh Rahaim provide answers? Tenants former locations space for “O-REITS (class AAA where 140 buildings going) hello these neighborhoods. Unfortunately, commercial lack leverage residential it’s fight dirty tricks of Ed Lee commercial neighborhoods generate billions in revenue for who?

  2. Gary does seem unhealthily obsessed with me. If he knew my real-life identity I might seriously have to think about taking out a restraining order.

    Some people just cannot tolerate reading opinions they disagree with.

  3. No, Leavenworth between McAllister and Turk (both sides) is a public toilet; there is excrement on the sidewalk, and sometimes ON buildings every single day of the year. The other “public toilet” is on Market St. between 7th and Jones in front of the Renoir Hotel. The entrances to the Civic Center subway station are often used as a public toilet. Conversely, the presence of SFPD, U.C. Police, Homeland Security, and various security gaurds has kept U.N. Plaza pretty clean, all things considered.

  4. why do people think capitalism shouldn’t apply to san francisco? we still live in the real world – and in the us for that matter. Displacement is going to happen. Just in the same way that “artists” displaced even more marginalized people when they moved into the neighborhoods originally. The mission was taken over first by hipsters not by tech millionaires.

    Id also like to point out that tech benefits people from all backgrounds not just 1%’er transplants. I work in tech and about half the people I work with are sf/peninsula natives from poor and/or immigrant families. These people are now helping their families and communities with the extra salary they earn. To say all tech people are homogenized white douchebags is just a mediocre justification to scapegoat the industry.

    Additionally, regardless of whether tech companies chose to be in sf or burlingame many of those employees would still live in the city. So are you going to blame the entire bay area regional economy for that? While office space does cause some displacement the true issue is exacerbated rents and that is not directly impacted by where a company chooses to locate but rather where people with those jobs want to live.

  5. Actually, considering the number and diversity of people who “live” there, U.N. Plaza isn’t too bad. Civic Center is a defacto campground, as are several areas in the TL and SOMA. U.N. Plaza is an example that people of various backgrounds, aptitudes, and abilities can get along without killing each other. All people need a place to BE. Landscaping with native trees and plants, public toilets, drinking fountains, benches and tables, and you have an area that can be used by the suits and the dispossessed; maybe even at the same time…..

  6. Saying someone is wrong is not refuting them. That takes an actual argument, and I look forward to heating yours.

  7. Status 3/28/2015 10:28am: MisterEllis posted 32 of 91 comments. Time for him to get his own blog.

  8. Mancy, do you know the meaning of the word “most”? If I had meant “all”, I’d have said it.

    But take a look at the photo at the top of the article. I’ve seen less white crowds at an Iowa Mason gathering

  9. Technically something can be clean and sustainable, yet still do harm. You can drown in hydro and burn in the sun, for instance.

  10. We need to do the same for the Farmers Market at U.N. Plaza. The public should have access to fresh produce 24/7/365. More fresh food for us, more money for them. And then people would be able to see U.N. Plaza as it was designed; a monument to world peace, not a commercial space.

  11. If you are certain about what the markets will do in the future then you could become fabulously wealthy via a few simle bearish bets. I encourage you to do that if you are that certain that we are fiscally doomed.

    And that is the real beauty of the markets. Instead of pointlessly arguing about what will happen, we can put our money where our mouth is, and bet on who is right. Six years ago I bet big that American would recover. You presumably did not. End result? – I have more money.

    If you believe we are going back down, then place your bets. It’s the capitalist thing to do, and anyone can do it.

  12. Again with the statistics. Wages adjusted for inflation haven’t gone up for the past 30 years. And the S&P 500 would be out of business without massive taxpayer subsidies. A speculative bubble and a house of cards is not the same as a thriving economy…which it’s not, by anyone’s definition. 0% interest on my money in the bank? Capitalism is hanging on by the skin of OUR teeth.

  13. If you are arguing for lower taxes and higher stock returns, then indeed you have made some progress.

    Capitalism is doing very well, with the S&P 500 tripling over the last six years. If that is capitalism collapsing, then I’ll take it.

  14. So, you admit there IS a free lunch for the wealthy? Good, now we can make some progress. The first step would be to rein in salaries, bonuses, and expense accounts, and give that money back to shareholders and taxpayers. The next and most equitable solution is the creation of worker self-directed enterprises.

    Again, capitalism is on it’s last legs. Private businesses have proved incapable of of creating safe, affordable, high-quality products for consumers, protecting the environment, or being good “corporate citizens.” Capitalism is socialism for the rich.

  15. Again, corporations are pass-through vehicles. Whether they are good or bad, profitable or not, it’s all down to you and me.

  16. San Francisco doesn’t want us. Its best for the poor and artists etc. to quickly move to Oakland and get a foothold by buying, rather than renting, before its too late. Form cooperatives to buy larger buildings so that it is affordable to more people.

  17. There is no free lunch, unless you are a corporation. Who bailed out Chrysler, Lockheed, and the financial industry? Many corporations would not be profitable at all if not for tax-payer subsidies, sheltering money offshore, and other benefits like free land or infrastructure. If “we” pay for corporate taxes, who pays for those ridiculous corporate salaries and bonuses? No, corporate PROFITS, salaries, and bonuses are paid by you and me.

    There is indeed a “free lunch;” if you are a corporation. They are able to socialize the risk, and privatize the gain.

  18. Chevron owes the entire Bay Area reparations for all the environmental damage they have caused for the past 100 years. Considering most large corporations pay little or no Federal taxes, 2-5% more than corporations are paying now would be a good place to start. They wouldn’t even notice it, and the City would benefit immensely.

  19. Yes, in the old days, ‘the beach’ in Barcelona was a place for industry, not recreation. But again, the 92 Barcelona Olympics are an example of how it can be done. Do you really think that in SF we can do this right? When we do urban renewal by committee, we usually fail or take 40 years (Fillmore/Yerba Buena). When we let non-profit organizations take the lead on urban renewal, we they usually fail. When we let private organization/individuals take the lead, they usually fail (America’s Cup/Golden Gate Bridge 50th anniversary).

    No, while we like to say ‘the city that knows how’ when it comes to development and infrastructure we are ‘the city that gets it right after 3 or 4 attempts after misspending an unGodly amount of money.’

  20. For one thing, it didn’t really have a beach before — the city created 2 miles of beachfront and a modern marina by demolishing industrial buildings on the waterfront before the games.

    The city had become an industrial backwater under the long rule of General Franco, who was perhaps angry at the city’s Catalan population for its resistance during the Spanish Civil War.

    The Olympics represented a significant effort to restructure the city. A report on the economic impact of the Olympics by Ferran Brunet of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona reveals the extent of the investment in infrastructure:

    “[New] roads represented an increase of 15% over those existing in 1986; new sewage systems, 17%, and new green areas and beaches, 78%.”

    Such investment came at a cost — $11.4 billion in 2009 dollars according to one recent study (that’s over 400% over budget).

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-olympic-games-changed-barcelona-forever-2012-7#ixzz3VcpBCPqF

    I believe public transit was expanded at least 20% for the 92 Olympics

  21. Good’transit infrastructure’ pre-dates the 92 Olympics in Barcelona:

    https://youtu.be/VdsHKOlTeMk

    Hosting Olympic games is, at best, a mixed bag, and most often a bust for the hosting city. The 1992 Barcelona and 1984 LA Olympics are exceptions to this. Read more about this here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/after-the-party-what-happens-when-the-olympics-leave-town-901629.html

    It is true that for the 92 Olympics there were about about 650 evictions, displacing 2,500 people and maybe a few hundred more Roma living in the industrial caostal area . And yes there was a bump in prices during the Olympics. But in Barcelona, they spent 83% of all Olympics expenditures on housing (5,000+ new units), roads, new transit to the new neighborhoods, communications, etc. and the rest on sports venues. The Olympics were used as an excuse to get rid of gypsies, squatter, prostitutes, etc. But it also created the Olympic Villiage, one of the most boring neighborhoods in Barcelona.

  22. “The difference is that I post facts and refutations.”

    “A market can be a tourist attraction. A run-down squat for under-achieving artists is most definitely not one.”

    Nice contradicting quotes there MisterEllis… Do yourself a favor and be more careful with your assumptions and haphazard wording.

  23. No, my original comment implied that SF was dependent on these “creative” people – as is the rest of the world, but it is something that makes SF “special.” Also, ask yourself, what has made these communities in SF more desirable? I’ll give you a clue – it is not the reflection of a sudden decrease in affordable housing with live / work artist communities included. People flock to the entire Bay Area as a creative mecca. Not everyone with talent has money to burn.

  24. A lot of people are neither poor nor rich. Where are middle-income people supposed to live? Nonprofit housing does not address the entirety of the problem, which is an *array* of housing for people across the income spectrum. Not just rich people, artists, and low-wage workers.

  25. Ok, let’s talk about Barcelona. How did Barcelona get its great transit infrastructure? It was paid for through by hosting the 92 Olympics and various interest groups in SF have balked at filing a serious hosting bid for future Olympics. So we don’t have that.

    Not surprising, in building the 92 Olympic buildings, the slums across Montjuic were destroyed. So to get that nice transit system, they took government funding and displaced the poor (which would not go over well here in SF). So before using Barcelona as a exemplar, we should also understand it not only had significant financial advantages but also used forced evictions and higher rents to clear out space to beautify the city.

  26. Nah Lieh, your original comment implied that the tech industry was dependent on these “creative” people. My response was simply that, insofar as that is true, they are presumably well paid and so easily able to afford to live here.

    As for those who are less able to afford SF, the good news is that much of the rest of the Bay Area is more affordable. Not every SF worker has to live in SF, and certainly not in a desirable and expensive downtown location.

  27. You are making assumptions now. We all know what that does. Never did I claim such “success”. Having ideas does not equate to success, in a perfect world, maybe. Did you even read where I mentioned a great deal are students? Should they not be able to live in SF while attending college in SF? Also, how much do you know about the tech industry – enough to know that a large portion of their workforce are contractors? This is about much more than just “artists who just happen to be here”; it is a lower to middle, working class crisis.

  28. Nai Lieh, if as you claim many of these artists are successful in tech, then why can’t they afford a better place to live?

  29. The difference is that I post facts and refutations. You post to attack others, as here.

    The simplest way to get no responses is not to post yourself. But when you do post, my working assumption is that readers welcome a refutation.

  30. Well, you don’t know me, and I have a lot of colleagues. I was one of the artists evicted from this building during the previous wipeout of the 2nd floor of 1061. There is no difference. Keep in mind that a great deal of these people are students who came to SF for an education or to continue with such. It would be ideal for these same people to continue to live, work, create, and share within the communities of SF.

  31. FYI Sam, it is not necessary to respond to every one of my posts. I don’t value your opinion at all. I suppose you do provide insight into people like you who lack morals, compassion and empathy but I get plenty of that from press releases from the Republican Party.

  32. One thing Barcelona does well that the Bay Area should seek to emulate is transit. 60% of its population lives within a ten minute walk of a metro station, and one in ten trips is on foot. Density matters.

  33. A market can be a tourist attraction. A run-down squat for under-achieving artists is most definitely not one.

  34. wcw, the reason that the “public power” zealots always get this wrong is because they refuse to accept that nuclear is clean or sustainable, even though it is classified officially as both.

  35. We should look to other cities for ideas. In Barcelona, a popular flea market was on a site that was needed for redevelopment. The city, recognizing the value of economic diversity as well as knowing that the market adds to the city’s rich culture, acquired another site and built a beautiful new pavilion for the flea market. Since its reopening, sales have increased 70% due to the popularity of the new site. It is now attracting tourists and is revitalizing a previously ‘desolate’ area.

    https://youtu.be/2PlhTIakZnI

  36. It was the city who felt entitled to taxes from Twitter and then went into a panic when Twitter said it would take its tax revenues to Brisbane.

    Your bitch is with the city, not with Twitter.

  37. When you have refuted me definitively, I will be the first one to admit it. So far all you have managed is insults.

  38. Jerrold, if you are saying that artists are uneducated, then I feel sure they appreciate that.

    But again, if you choose a vocation that is low-paid, then do you really expect to have the pick of desirable places to live?

  39. Are you no longer serving as Campos’ mouthpiece, Tim? There’s nothing here about “Sup. David Campos is considering drafting legislation . . . ” You usually find a way to bring his lazy ass into these posts and make it seem like he’s actually flexing political muscle at City Hall.

  40. I think you guys should lay off this “reality” thing. You’re only going to upset the vast majority of the commenters here and get banned as ‘trolls’.

  41. How come you fail to mention Twitter’s bloated sense of entitlement, Sam?

    If you want to talk about entitlement, I’ll take you seriously when you’re jumping off point is Ron Conway’s contributions to the Lee campaign.

  42. Ah, just like you believed that the national language was English? And that two-thirds of PG&E’s energy came from sustainable sources?

    What other incorrect things do you believe? Should we just lay them all out here so we can knock them off one by one?

  43. “Most of them are educated whites who chose a profession that they knew was low paid”

    Ahahaha, “educated whites” – you have no way to back up that ludicrous statement

    And I would love to see the a world with no low paid jobs. Stop being so asinine.

    Oh and being driven out of a city is the definition of marginalized

  44. And Bank of America moved to North Carolina 17 years ago, but what’s your point…that “reality” matters? Then what are you doing here?

  45. Tim’s idea is revolutionary. That money shouldn’t ever get you better shit.

    In which case, presumably, nobody would want money because it would become useless. And we could all become artists or activists.

  46. jthomas, you do realize that corporate taxes are all ultimately paid by us, right? It’s not like it’s a free lunch – if they pay we don’t. If that were the case, then there could be no individual taxes, and nobody believes that is realistic.

    No, corporate taxes are paid by you and I either, either through higher prices as customers, through lower wages as employees, or through smaller retirement funds via mutual funds and stocks.

    Repeat after me – this is no free lunch.

  47. I’m claiming that the City has plenty of money now, and that if they taxed corporations like Chevron and B of A and Twitter and whoever owns the Westfield Mall fairly, “we” would have enough money for this to actually be Shangri La.

  48. “nice neighborhoods for poor people”

    I’ve lived in a number of metropolitan US cities and I’d like you to point out solid concrete examples of the above quote so we, the readers, can try to determine what you are actually aiming for. In any city with limited housing growth and a good economy, a nice neighborhood will inevitably become more affluent. Anyway, please point out examples so we can discuss this concretely and not in fantasy land.

  49. “We need those who create buoyant tax revenues for the city a lot more than we need every last artists who just happens to be here.”
    Seriously? Artists work in all areas, including tech. Where do you think most innovation comes from that would allow for “bouyant tax revenues”? Where are these ideas stemming from? Why is San Francisco known for it’s creative, progressive culture? These “artists who just happen to be here” are obviously more a part of SF than you seem to be able to wrap your head around.

  50. I’m not sure I’d characterize artists as “marginalized” Most of them are educated whites who chose a profession that they knew was low paid. A decision like that, made from a position of privilege and choice, is a lot different from the more usual classes of under-privilege, e.g. those with limited options due to race, disability, sickness, age or poverty.

    As for Kim’s votes, her first job is to represent her district, and D6 has a very professional, technical and affluent populace these days. Her votes need to reflect that constituency and those values. What she personally thinks is less important than what her constituents want her to think.

    Likewise, Lee knows the voters regard jobs as a priority, not artist communities.

  51. If we’re defining “right-wing” as supporting legislation that has had a seriously negative impact on low and middle income communities, small businesses and non-profits – as you’re article supports, including the tagline:
    “Was Ed Lee totally clueless when he decided to give tax breaks for tech companies? Or doesn’t he care if poor people and nonprofits are forced out?”

    Then I guess, it would be pretty right wing – or that those who wrote and voted for it were super clueless – which Kim and Mar would be included in that.

    I’m really not trying to be antagonistic here – my intention – as I believe yours is – is to hold our city officials accountable for their votes and decision-making processes that are having an extremely negative impact on marginalized communities and the character of our city. And while I do consider Mar to be progressive – I think that he has become much more thoughtful in his decisions, I do not believe the same of Kim – I’ve found her to be much more of an opportunist in her role as supervisor – that’s not to say that she does’t or hasn’t supported progressive initiatives – she has, though often more of the low-hanging fruit nature. However, when it’s come to the legislation with the greater negative impacts – like the “Twitter” tax breaks, 8 Washington, micro-units, Airbnb – she’s voted in favor of these. So to some degree, really a wild card – which as anyone who has taken psychology 101 knows – intermittent messages are the most dangerous.

  52. You don’t. I think you’re supposed to keep no more than four, but roosters would be perfectly acceptable under the regs.

  53. No, I copied the quote into my comment. You used the possessive pronoun ‘your’ in describing the chickens.

    And what are you blathering about in this?

    “Outside laundry looks messy to my eyes, and would downgrade the look of my black, if it happened, which it does not”

  54. It was sarcasm. My point was that even some left-wingers on the Board supported the Twitter tax break. So how right-wing could it be?

  55. Never said that. I said that keeping animals can be seen as a disturbance by neighbors.

    Outside laundry looks messy to my eyes, and would downgrade the look of my black, if it happened, which it does not

  56. “Ambience, my ass. Did it occur to you that maybe your neighbors don’t want to look at your underwear or listen to your chickens cackling?”

    Don’t respond to the troll who somehow made the leap that the chickens and goats were yours.

    MisterEllis/Sam has anger-management issues and is offended by seeing clothes on a clothesline. He needs to live in a gated community in the suburbs.

  57. jth, I’m not going to be drawn into some grand global debate about socialist economic theory. It is sufficient to note that we the people typically vote for pro-growth policies, even in SF.

    And the unemployment rate has halved since Lee took office, so we know there are many happy people.

    Unless you have some evidence that “many” tech workers are illegals, then that remains mere speculation. We need those who create buoyant tax revenues for the city a lot more than we need every last artists who just happens to be here.

  58. Neighbors two doors down have a half dozen hens. The sound is pleasant; certainly more so than a dog.

    A rooster, now, that might be an issue.

  59. I wasn’t aware that you believe Kim and Mar to be right wingers – at least I don’t think I’ve heard you refer to them as such before – and I guess I’m confused as to why you’re calling them out here as opposed to the other supes who voted for it … I know Kim voted for 8 Washington, the micro-condos, and Airbnb … which I think is pretty much in line with the supes you didn’t mention. However, I’m pretty sure Mar didn’t vote for 8 Washington or Airbnb … but maybe you have other reasons for considering him to be right wing.

  60. Hi Sam.

    Knowledge economy? Hah! I too love my iPad, but there hasn’t been a significant advance in IT since the invention of the email. All these software companies producing products that work slightly differently but do essentially the same thing will eventually be merged or go out of business. I find it interesting that so-called “conservatives” aren’t interested sound fiscal policy; only the endless quest for “profits.” Profits do not create new jobs; they replace living-wage jobs with minimum-wage ones. And the economy is already “crappy;” pick up a WSJ or read The Economist if you don’t believe me. Capitalism has failed. The tech/speculation bubble might give the illusion of prosperity, but true prosperity means ALL classes of people benefit. If this were truly Shangri La, there would be no need for 6000 NGO’s to try and do the work governments are supposed to be doing, if only they had the money. And they would have the money if Corporate America and the Filthy Rich paid their taxes.

  61. Good point, Megan. It passed with a veto-proof majority, so even if Lee had rejected it, it would have passed anyway.

    And well known right-wingers like Kim and Mar voted for it.

    Anyway, the term “tax break” is misleading. It really only gave a break on the payroll tax on stock options – a tax that no other city in the US has anyway. So it merely cancelled out the effect of an illogical tax too far.

  62. “Was Ed Lee totally clueless when he decided to give tax breaks for tech companies? Or doesn’t he care if poor people and nonprofits are forced out?”

    Except he didn’t. Can someone please explain to me how Ed Lee gave the Mid-Market tax breaks?

    Don’t get me wrong – I know Lee absolutely supported the tax breaks; however – the tax breaks was legislation created and voted for by the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Jane Kim wrote and sponsored the legislation and it was passed by the Board – the only dissenting votes were John Avalos, David Campos, and Ross Mirkairimi. I see this credit being given to Lee time and again by Redmond and others and I’m just wondering what it is that I’m missing … http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2011/04/05/board-approves-twittermid-market-tax-break

  63. Ambience, my ass. Did it occur to you that maybe your neighbors don’t want to look at your underwear or listen to your chickens cackling?

  64. I was living on Hampshire Street – Mission District – and hung my clothes on a clothesline also. I also remember some chickens and a goat nearby. Ambience was preferable to the tech conformity of today –

  65. Ed Lee won a landslide election victory based on implementing these policies.

    Are you saying that Lee should have broken his promises to the 60% majority who supported him? And instead should have adopted the anti-growth policies of the man he easily defeated?

  66. marcos, why would you think that tenants would never be evicted by a government housing agency or non-profit?

    The tenants still have to pay their rent and obey their lease, you know?

  67. But the reason you can make that area nicer without as great a threat of displacement is that a huge amount of the housing stock is owned by or leased to nonprofits.
    Housing has been taken out of the private, speculative market.
    Nonprofit housing agencies don’t tend to do evictions to jack up the
    rent. They don’t convert low-cost housing into high-rent office space.

    – MAR-05-2008
    UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC , INC.
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    COOKE, DANNY
    DOES 1 TO 10, INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – APR-19-2006
    UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    LUCKEY, DIANNA
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – FEB-28-2006
    UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    WALZ, ROBERT
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – FEB-28-2006
    UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    JONES, ELAINE
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    RODGERS, DAVID
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    STOVER, BARRY
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    WHITE, STEVE
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    – UNLAWFUL DETAINER – RESIDENTIAL, COMPLAINT FILED BY PLAINTIFF
    TENDERLOIN HOUSING CLINIC INC
    AS TO DEFENDANT
    LUNA, ADELA
    DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE
    SUMMONS ISSUED, JUDICIAL COUNCIL CIVIL CASE COVER SHEET FILED

    et seq….

    Ted Gullicksen used to say that the worst landlords were the government or the nonprofit agencies. The best landlords are cooperatives run democratically by residents.

    Tim is pimping again for his comrades in the the nonprofit affordable housing politburo for whom just working nicely with Ed Lee for more funding is their game plan.

    The racist and classist outcomes of such an approach are more than apparent by this point in time.

  68. “The mayor and the supervisors could have placed a tax on vacant buildings to encourage landlords to rent to arts groups”. Tim, can you elaborate on the specific steps we would need to take to institute a tax for keeping properties empty (and/or connect me someone who could help us move this idea forward)? Are there any other cities/counties that currently have an existing tax of this nature? To my knowledge, property owners actually benefit from a TAX BREAK if their property depreciates in value (which promotes the behavior of blighting). I agree with you that we must properly analyze the root cause of how Mid-Market (and neighborhoods throughout SF) became blighted in the first place and then figure out how to prevent it moving forward.

    In the case of mid-market, we have step back and ask ourselves, “What truly caused the high vacancy rate on Market Street?” In my analysis (as with yours) we have to put more of the onus on the property owners who CHOSE not to lease/sell their properties with the understanding that if they held out for 5, 10, 20 years that they would eventually become more “valuable”. This is a profit-driven motive at the expense of neighborhood culture, economy, and livability. Property owners on Mid-Market (1) weren’t willing to rent out their properties at what the market would bear, (2) did absolutely nothing to improve the situation, and in fact, made the situation worse (benefiting in some cases by a tax deduction for allowing their properties to deteriorate), and then (3) get to benefit by a huge increase in “value” without having added to that value.

    If Ed Lee truly cared about the arts and local artists he also would have seen the value of the Mint Building and fought to keep it as a space for cultural events, artist studios, and potentially even working with a group like Artspace in Minnesota to explore whether we could have added low-income artist housing as well (http://www.artspace.org/our-places). But now I hear that the Mint will be demolished because the city doesn’t recognize it as a valuable asset for arts and culture. And I’ve been fighting to revitalize the Harding Theater in my neighborhood for years now while the property owner tries to wear down the neighbors with blight so he can build his condos rather than revitalizing one of the only remaining neighborhood theaters with a stage and screen. The theater in the Palace of Fine Arts building is also being threatened although dance and theater companies want to keep it as a theater. Where there is a will there is a way.

    If you want to join me in making sure that the Mayor of San Francisco actually supports the arts rather than just giving lip service, help me get on the ballot for the November election. I’m running for Mayor with the Yes-In-My-Back-Yard campaign (yimbyformayor.com). And please consider making a $10-$100 donation so that I can get public financing .. With my “good works” campaigning approach, I pledge to use $50K of my public financing money to hire local artists, videographers, data analysts, makers, and educators to interpret and promote the values and vision of the YIMBY/WEISS for Mayor 2015 campaign.

    Find your YES!

    Amy Farah Weiss
    Founder of Neighbors Developing Divisadero (nddivis.org)
    yimbyformayor.com
    @yimbyformayor

  69. Not many illegals work in Tech. It’s easy for them to get a H1-B visa if they have the skills.

    Affluent people and successful businesses create a lot of service revenues.

    You appear to want a crappier economy just so some under-achievers can linger here a little longer rather than move to Oakland where they would surely be happier and more secure. You should at least accept that people who seek that were soundly out-voted by supporters of Ed Lee’s policies to grow and improve our world-leading knowledge economy.

  70. Wait a minute, Ed Lee is a certified Person of Color, a member of the New Majority of People of Color that is going to usher in a post-oppressive world.

    It is bad enough that Ed Lee’s policies are making artists and tenants at 1061 Market invisible, erasing and silencing them with macroagressions, a pure exercise of privilege, but here he is evicting and displacing Asian tenants in Chinatown itself!

    Ed Lee’s record here is as if David Campos had presided over the clearcutting of working Latino families from and the subsequent bleaching of the Mission, complete with an uncritical cheering section from the left.

  71. So where are the jobs? Most tech work is done by people who may or may not be in this country legally, working for below “market rate wages.” Oh, you mean the servant jobs like cleaning and serving and driving the Uberlords around? Those are also done primarily by immigrants making minimum wage. You know, the “illegal aliens” whose ancestors used to live here. “Jobs” is a buzzword that allows for disastrous public policies to be implemented without opposition, even from ”progressives.” As for a “bloated sense of entitlement,” that would describe anyone who thinks they are better than someone else because they have a little money.

  72. What is Tim Redmond thinking even opening the door to the prospect that the mayor who was funded by the tech titan who said that he was going to take San Francisco back and wipe out the progressives would do anything but that?

    Why do you expect for those who keep punching you in the face over and again, leaving you bloodier and bloodier each time, to stop just because you ask nicely or shame them?

  73. Without building new units, the city is not better for people with less money if a few thousand more units are owned or operated by nonprofits. It is worse.

    There are around 40,000 new tenancies in San Francisco every year. The more units nonprofits take out of the rental market, the fewer units available for new tenancies, the higher the market rent necessary to clear the market. That hurts every actual and potential new tenant in the city, while helping only a favored few.

    Taking housing out of the private market instead of building new housing increases the pressures to evict. Housing by lottery is a devil take the hindmost policy.

    If people need housing, why don’t we figure out how to build it?

  74. What was Ed Lee thinking? Easy question to answer. He was thinking about the voters who elected him because he placed a clear emphasis on jobs, jobs and more jobs.

    It’s almost as if the people want real good-paying jobs over a bunch of bad artists with a bloated sense of entitlement.

  75. Crazy. I remember laundry hanging out of windows as being an essential part of the Chinatown ambience when I lived there (on its periphery) in the early 80s.

  76. I think I know what Lee’s thinking, he’s thinking that a chance to increase much needed city revenue and decrease crime and blight in the mid-Market area is a greater benefit than ensuring that everyone who considers themselves entitled to a great deal on housing in an expensive city can stay there forever.

    Here’s how you win this battle though. Progressives need to join forces with Chevron and the oil companies and the automobile industry in a campaign to restore the glow and luster of suburban living in the minds of the gentry, just like the good old glorious 70’s. The affluent working drones need to be convinced that suburban living with a big car is the height of style and to not complain about the hours of a soul-sucking commute so that those who really belong in city centers, the artists, dropouts, and needy who keep progressive politicians so well employed, which is really the most important thing, can stay there.

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