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Friday, July 30, 2021

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UncategorizedDuboce Triangle evictor responds to our story

Duboce Triangle evictor responds to our story

Of human rights, fair play, and housing

The house at 53 Walter where a 34-year resident is getting evicted

The man who is in charge of evicting a long-term tenant in Duboce Triangle got back to me after I had already posted my story (although I called him well in advance) and he’s also sent his spin to sfist.

I can’t explain why Ish Harshawat was willing to spend time talking to Chuck Nevius but didn’t have time to talk to me until I had already posted my story. I can tell you that, unlike the tenant, David Brenkus, Harshawat seems to have a lot of media savvy.

But fair is fair, and I will post the statement that he sent me, which responds to the factual questions I had raised, mostly around why he needed to evict his upstairs tenant when his family members were in the Midwest or DC:

In Indian families it is common for multiple generations to live in the same household. In this case, my wife, baby, and I; my parents; and my brother will live in the three units that comprise our home. As my parents near retirement, they are now spending much of their time here in SF, where their newborn granddaughter lives and where they will retire. My mother is currently living in the bottom unit helping out with the baby. My wife, our baby, and I live in the middle unit. My brother will live in the top unit.

My brother Kavi actually lives in San Francisco the majority of the time and has rented an apartment in the City for the past 6.5 years. He plans to end his lease at his current rental and move into the Walter St. unit as soon as he can (pending David vacating the unit). Kavi currently works at the United States Digital Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs trying to help improve the way the VA processes electronic Benefit Claim Appeals. This job is term-limited and considered a 2-year tour of duty. His responsibilities requires him to visit DC on a monthly basis but allows him to remain in San Francisco the remainder of his time.

We were advised that we could not file an OMI as the tenant claimed protected status; we invoked the Ellis as a last resort when he refused our buyout offer.

I would never argue about his desire to have his family all live together, which is a tradition in a lot of cultures. I will not argue about whether his mother actually lives in the lower unit, although Brenkus told me he hasn’t seen her much and that the place seems pretty vacant.

Brenkus also told me that the lower units needed extensive renovations, and that Harshawat had warned him that the whole place was going to be gutted and fixed up. There are no major renovation permits on file with the city for that property, just a bathroom and kitchen remodel for one unit.

If the parents are going to retire in a couple of years, why evict Brenkus now?

Again, whatever. Sfist says that what the Harshawat’s are doing is perfectly legal, and maybe it is. But legal and right are not always the same thing.

When you buy a building in San Francisco with a senior, low-income tenant in it, you have to make a choice. You have to say that (a) because you have more money, the person who has lived there for 34 years has to leave the Bay Area forever, or (b) there’s some human right to seniority in housing that trumps the fact that you are rich enough to force him out.

The family got the building for probably $1 million less than it could sell for today – in part because it was a foreclosure sale, and in part because there were tenants living there. Just as the Anti-eviction Mapping Project argues that nobody should move into a unit cleared by eviction, I could argue that nobody should buy a building with the intent of clearing out a long-term tenant.

And if you do, because you want it for your family (fair enough) you need to make that person whole. Which means you have to pay enough in relocation fees to allow him to stay in the city.

In San Francisco today, that’s a big number. Brenkus would need an additional $3,000 a month minimum to avoid displacement. Sup. David Campos passed legislation to do require that relocation fees cover the difference between a tenant’s existing rent and market rent for two years, but the courts have overturned that.

So let’s go to human responsibility. This is San Francisco, 2015. The eviction crisis is out of control. The horrors of displacement are legend. The normal rules (hey, I own the place, you can just pack up and move somewhere else) don’t apply because there’s no place else to go.

You have money, you buy a place (at a huge bargain) and you feel the need to move your family in. Fine: take some of that windfall and pay the tenant a fair amount.

In this case, let’s say $3,000 a month for five years, which is $180,000. Oh but wait, that’s before taxes. To clear enough to stay here after taxes is more like $250,000. Sounds like a huge amount of money – until you consider that the price of the building was likely $1 million under its current value – and the cost of forcing out a tenant and relocating that person ought to be part of the price you pay for buying an occupied building with long-term renters who also have rights. Among them is the human right to not lose your home just because you aren’t rich.

If you don’t want to pay that kind of relocation money, don’t buy a building with low-income seniors who have been there for 34 years. Not in San Francisco, not today.

I know that the property-rights folks will go nuts over this, but San Francisco is in a crisis that cuts deep to its soul, and we have to start looking at housing as a human right, not a commodity to be traded like Twitter options on the NASDAQ.

So there. I still say Chuck Nevius is wrong.

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. Exactly,

    Studios in the tenderloin are not something luxurious or exclusive no matter how they paint them. They are shit holes in a shitty neighborhood. They went up in price because people with money have nowhere to live and they can afford a bidding war. They are still shit holes in shitty neighborhoods they just cost a lot.

    I doubt that these even qualify as “people with money” most of the shitty is an extension of a google campus, ie. the company is paying your relocation fees rent, feeding you etc. so try competing with that on a normal job.

    Now imagine if a purposely built skyscraper pops up, all these people can move there, leave the shitholes, and sooner or later they will go down in price since no one will be able to afford them, since they have a better place to go.

  2. But the building has been bought, or better said sold. What if the people don’t have a quarter of a million dollars to give to someone?

  3. Some people don’t like to pay full price no matter what their wealth. Some people are always intent on making a profit, even on a residence they haven’t moved into yet.

    There were tens of properties available on the market at their price point. Yet they chose a problematic property where the sales price favorably factored in a tenant situation.

    This type of greedy wealth-multiplying behavior warrants public shaming. The saddest part is that it is just one example amongst thousands, the majority of which get no media attention.

    In this case the greed syndrome is exacerbated because the owners had a chance to negotiate a more generous buyout but apparently decided generosity is really not their thing.

  4. 26 years is a long time to expect your landlord to subsidize your rent. Maybe instead of an Ellis Act you can negotiate a reasonable buyout with your landlord.

  5. While I don’t agree with Tim that its the responsibility of individual landlords to subsidize individual tenants, or vice versa (Price controls are hard to allocate efficiently, and I think a more robust voucher system is better). Likewise, I think its unwise and dangerous to demonize either this family or this tenant as being deserving/undeserving of housing, lest their individual virtues color how we think about these policies.
    However, I’m glad this article clearly delineated the difference between the legal issues and the policy advocacy, and presented quotes from both sides of the transaction. I also want to applaud Tim for going back and adding clarity and greater context to this story, which something CWN did not do, even after he misrepresented the price of the apartment.

  6. I am sorry for your predicament, but did you not consider during the past 26 years that this day would come? Did you not consider setting something aside each month towards getting a place you could call your own?

  7. He may not have been (and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that), but if $350 per month is all you can afford, you’re not making even the minimum required to survive here.

  8. Haha! Wow. Just, wow. It seems strangely ironic that you’re preaching inclusiveness and lecturing the rest of us on humanity when you’re unable to keep a reasonable tone or even remain marginally coherent when explaining your bile-filled point of view. It speaks volumes about you as a parent. I truly pity the child that is under your care.

    All I was saying was that people ought to be responsible for themselves. Should one help their fellow man? Sure. Have I done so? A lot more than you, I am willing to bet. But does this erase an individual’s responsibility to their own person? I don’t think so. But, apparently, you do. Good luck raising that kid.

  9. This is an excellent piece and really spells out the problem. My husband and I and our neighbors have also been fighting an Ellis Act Eviction for two years thanks to the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. We’ve lived in our place for 26 years and the landlord purchased the building with us in it at a significant discount because we were in it. We are not sure where we will go yet and hope to stay in the city, my home for most of my life.

  10. Tim:

    I’ve rented my entire adult life, and am fortunate to live in a San Francisco rent-controlled apartment now. I could get evicted for the same reasons as Mr. Brenkus, and while I hope that doesn’t happen, I accept it’s part of the deal in being a TENANT.

    I agree with you on so much, but in this case, you are just plain wrong!

    You say “The normal rules (hey, I own the place, you can just pack up and move somewhere else) don’t apply because there’s no place else” (for Mr. Brenkus, the tenant) to go.


    Maybe Mr. Brenkus could not find another place in San Francisco, but there are PLENTY of places he could go and find a lovely home…probably for close to the rent he’s paying now.

    There is — plain and simple — NO entitlement to living in San Francisco, whether he’s done it for 35 years or not!

    He’s NOT living a state-run building, he’s living in a PRIVATE PROPERTY owned by SOMEONE ELSE!

    If his rent was $735 a month or less for those 35 years, he was getting an incredibly low-priced deal on an apartment in one of the most desireable areas of one of the most desireable cities.

    He should be grateful he got 35 years at such low rent…in such an amazing area.

    And perhaps he should have socked away some of that extra cash he wasn’t paying toward rent, to buy a small condo or home….here or somewhere else…over those 35 years, then his housing destiny would be in his OWN hands.

    I rent now. Always have. And part of that choice is that I don’t (ultimately) control my housing. It’s part of the tradeoff of renting.

    In your original story on this subject, you said “A tenant does, in fact, have a right to live in a place forever…and can only be evicted for “just cause.”

    That is just not accurate, Tim, and you know it.

    A tenant can be evicted for owner move-in and via the Ellis Act, both entirely legally, and while we can debate whether we think that’s OK, it’s the law.

    A tenant DOES NOT have the right to LIVE IN A PLACE FOREVER!

    And while I am in favor of the proposals for a significantly higher relocation fee paid to tenants evicted via the Ellis Act, your suggestion that it should be somewhere around a quarter MILLION dollars is ridiculous! Ridiculous!

    It is not the responsibility of private property owners — landlords — to ensure that tenants can stay in San Francisco, and Mr. Brenkus will have plenty of choices for housing when he moves from there.

  11. “Another thing – I know plenty of renters who effectively could do what they do, and contribute (or not) to society somewhere else. The chief reason they are still here is the cheap rent. One might say the same for homeowners (low RE tax), and its true.”

    I won’t disagree, but I do need to add that many of us – renters and owners – because we love San Francisco and we would love it regardless of cheap rent/low property taxes.

  12. The case of your mother is exactly what I’m talking about. A partial solution to Prop 13 is relatively easy to do, since it takes nothing out of anyone’s pocket that they’d otherwise miss – sorta like ‘payroll withholding’ for income tax. If you remember, CA used to bill directly for income tax, and it drove taxpayers nuts; imagine having to come up with $1000 or $2000 or more on April 15th!. Once Withholding was introduced in CA protests (against Income Taxes) died down. In fact Withholding gave the US effective ability to extend Income Taxes to the middle class during/after WW2 (before, it was aimed solely at the rich). If you never see it, it’s pain is virtual.

    But this model won’t really work with renters. Inflation is a fact. That its felt much more in RE than, say, food – gas – clothes – automobiles is because those are sourced differently (much more off-shore labor contributes, or new discoveries, of new processes). Land is land, and buildings are buildings. They’re not building more land, and unless there are more buildings being created, the value of each is going to increase, with increased population (demand). (Population and demand are not necessarily the same thing. Example: 1979 San Francisco. The population of SF in 1980 was lower than 1970 – but rents were higher than ever. Thats partly because supply diminished (redevelopement of Fillmore/SOMA), and mostly cuz young people were moving in, taking apts from families with children and pushing up rents with their ability as several wage-earners to pay more than a single wager-with-kids.)

    Means-testing IS tricky. Your standard “affordable” housing providers take a certain % (or amt) from you based on income. If you get a job, rent goes up (most are on govmint assistacne so income rarely goes down, but …). Many people cheat – don’t tell of income. And usually there’s a lag in assessing. But also many people – fearing a rent increase – decide to forgo getting a job and sit on their butts. They’re perfectly capable, at least in some capacity, but chose to do something else. I would suggest that they be ‘taxed’, or means-tested, on what their actual income is, and what they’re capable of earning. For some, it might just be a minimum job in retail whatever (others have skills – like Brenkus – so setting a earning level might be a bit more complicated.) But if we set the rent at “income-plus” and figured if they worked at least a p/t job @ Minimum ($15/hr yet??), that that might encourage them to actually go out and contribute by working. And it would bring in income, that goes for housing to almost pay for what it costs to house them. Simple, yes. Too simple perhaps. But charging market rent is ‘simple’ – as is the current RC scheme (simple-yet-full of complications). At least this ‘means-tested’ method offers the option to stay in SF where market rate effectively doesn’t – and RC does but excludes others from being able to join them.

    RC occupants, like Brenkus are “pocketing the difference in 80s’ rent” NOT in a bank account sense. But – look at Brenkus – he (and one roomie) is occupying a 1400 ft unit AND an addition equal amt of space downstairs. I’ll guarantee you, no “affordable” housing tenant pockets that in their BMR units. They either give up the space (the “difference”), which is used to house other BMR tenants; or they pay the difference (from their new jobs, etc). But plenty of RC units have this old formula going on around town – the ABnB phenom is proof of that. And it prevents other people from being able to live here at a relatively cheap rate.

    Another thing – I know plenty of renters who effectively could do what they do, and contribute (or not) to society somewhere else. The chief reason they are still here is the cheap rent. One might say the same for homeowners (low RE tax), and its true. With the Prop 13 ‘adjustment’ I suggest, they might still stay, but society (govmint, anyway) would profit eventually where is doesn’t now. That dynamic doesn’t really work with renters & RC. So other means are needed to adjust their continued presence and their small contribution, and still allow for the continued needs of society for things like teachers and other workers.

    I realize I speak mostly as a LL. But I also realize I may not always be in the position. We have to find a way to be fair to all parties. And yet instilling the idea of self-support is vital to a vibrant economy and society, IMO.

  13. Thanks for your thoughtful response. Your words ‘speculative nature’ resonated with me as being the real problem. I’m wondering if we should consider a generous cap on profits on all businesses, including rentals? Startups, etc, could be exempt for a few years as well as other businesses if a good case can be made.

    Uncontrolled price increases derived from uncontrolled profits are not good for society and a good example of that is when the nutcase CEO raised the price of a medication by 4000%. Why are we outraged when that CEO raised the price of a medication from $11 per pill to $750 per pill, but we see nothing wrong with a landlord, whose expenses have not risen and was making a profit from $1,000/month rents, raising those rents to $4,000?

    So instead of limiting rents, we’d be limiting how much a landlord can make in profits, as a percent of something. Obviously, owners of newly purchased properties could charge more rent, assuming the market allows for that rent. Truthfully, I don’t know if this would work.

    I see the harmful effects of unreasonable profits everywhere. For example, why is it considered more OK to buy a profitable business that employees thousands of employees – such as Mervyns – and dismantle it because there’s more profit to be made in dismantling the business than keeping it?

    I agree with your solution for prop 13. My mother, who wasn’t a senior at the time, was being taxed out of her home. Her property taxes were rising so much that they went from a small percentage of her mortgage payments to being about the same as her mortgage payments, and that was based upon unrealized gains – her home had a higher value, but she wasn’t able to access that value until she sold.

    Back to rent control, means testing is tricky. What happens when someone’s salary decreases?

    I don’t agree that “Brenkus is effectively pocketing the difference between his 80’s rent ($750/) and current market rent of about $5750.” A quick scan of his bank account will dispel that. I do agree that he had a good deal for many years. Did the previous landlord have issues with this? If not, rent control isn’t at all an issue. The only real issue is that the new owner wants to change the building from a business to a residence, which is allowed by law, and the tenant, who had a great deal for decades, needs to move on.

  14. Americans have a paranoid view of socialism. It’s subjective, many Scandinavian countries such as Denmark have economies which could be classified as socialist and people there are much happier, more prosperous and healthier than Americans

  15. Q: How does building more multimillion dollar condos help lower income folks? A: The people WITH money want somewhere to live. You see, now people with money are buying existing residential buildings, and even (without permit) merging smaller units together to create the space that they want- and they can afford. This displaces existing residents AND reduces the rental housing inventory. If we instead allow developers to build the NEW large/expensive/luxury housing that these wealthy folks want, there will be a reduced need to speculate with existing/older/occupied buildings.

  16. “…(never) delinquent paying rent.”

    Probably cuz it was priced for the 80’s. And that’s part of the problem of RC. One could say almost the same thing about Prop 13. And I’ve always had issue with Prop 13.

    Prop 13 (rolled back and ) kept your taxes at an essentially flat rate and valuation. These days, neighbors could be paying 5x or 10x what you pay – for the same City services! Its never been fair, and its difficult to justify. I understand the reasoning behind Prop 13 – to keep seniors and other low income people from being priced out of their homes thru rapidly increasing taxes on inflated property values. But that could have been handled a different way: the tax rate is set, and the tax is based on the valuation; but what gets collected is limited to, say, 2% increase per year. The remainder of the assessed amt would be placed as a lien on the prop, collected when the owner sold the property. Example: I bought a house in 1975 for $50K; and pay $500/yr in RE tax plus incremental increases (maybe $800/?? by now). Meanwhile the value of the prop has grown to, say, $1000k; the assessed taxes for that value would be $12,000 per year. To someone on Social Security taxes on thats a killer.

    But prop owners can continue to pay the $800-ish they currently pay til they sell, diel, or go to a nursing home. This allows seniors (or anyone, actually) to stay in place – while the govmint eventually collects some big bucks down the road. I’ll let someone else do the math, but just roughly – on a $1M valuation, and yearly $12,000 tx owed (minus their paid $800 = $11,200), you’re looking at a quarter-to-third of a million dollars in past taxes that come due upon sale. The homeowner still walks away with a sizable chunk in inflated valuation. But the local govmint also gets a big chunk; as does CA & US with cap. gains = 25%+) – minus homeowners exemption (still, a big chunk). (I’ll leave out of this discussion the advisabiliy of giving govmint all this extra revenue).

    That is how I feel Prop 13 should have been implemented. And I also think that RC could/should be implemented differently also. Of course, going back retroactively isn’t gonna be possible, in either scenario. And while, even going forward, its possible for govmin to collect a pig payment from a prop owner, to do so from a renter is more problematic.

    The negative about RC is that there is no easy method to capture “capital gains” from renters – except maybe the Ellis Act of OMI. But that goes exclusively to private parties and not to the public treasury or public good. That someone like Brenkus is effectively pocketing the differnece btw his 80’s rent ($750/) and current market rent of abt $5750/? can only be considered “public good” in the widest possible rationalization. And yet, for a renter, its difficult to conceive of a way for govmint to ‘claw back’ the ‘pocketed value’ of that rent – like they can for a prop owner (a lien, taking their money right out of escrow). For a renter one must imagine other ways.

    Maybe it might take a form like ‘means testing’ – but having the extra money go to the govmint with only a small portion to the LL). It might take another form like filling the space with extra roommates; the extra collected rent again going primarily to the govmint (hopefully to build more housing) with a small portion to the prop owner to cover extra costs and maintenance. As an example, Brenkus’s apt includes 2 BRs, LR, DR, office and pantry off the kitchen (not sure if there’s an extra room at the stairs) – PLUS the whole basement. I can see – per the the “Kim 2.0″ legis – being able to fit in possibly 11 adults upstairs and an unknown number down. Brenkus might be able to keep paying his a low amt in rent (though his $375 might have to increase, and he”d have a lot less space). But it would be “affordable” – he could remain in San Francisco; and it would give the chance of lower rent to many others; while also giving the LL a little extra, as an incentive to remain in the property management game (something that is headed the other way at this point).

    In an era of recognition of changing responsibilities and expectations, with LLs thus not making a bundle on the ‘speculative nature’ of inflated real estate, prices and profit must come from the rent base as such. In San Francisco that hasn’t been true – for small props anyway – for several decades. And renters will actually have to pay for the real estate they consume – either in money terms (higher rents) or in terms of space. While some might complain that “the Rich win” under these changes, the fact is that is already the case; but this is not a “winner-take-all” approach – there’s something for everyone; which is something you can’t say is already the case. As such, I hope that both sides could see this as an approach to a way out of the Rent Wars, that only seem to loom larger on our horizon.

  17. Sure like to make matters messy with unsound local ordinances – such as rent control. Rent control is well known, currently and in future years, to distort the housing market.

  18. If they had a reasonable lower bound on their profit at the end that was a positive number, yes, they would. Someone would. Of course, the long delays introduced by unending negotiations and environmental reviews of dubious justification make that much more challenging.

  19. So it is lux. And do you really think that developers and lenders would commit capital were they to know that supply was being added at a rate that would make their product less valuable at sales time than at lending time?

  20. Lux is the only segment that’s viable.

    The trouble is that, at >$1100 sq ft, almost anything new HAS to be Lux. Even a tiny studio goes for >$500k. To purchase that – with Mort/Tx/HOA of $2800 req’s income of >$100,000. Maybe a pair of school teachers could move in, but .. its a studio, fercrissakes. And thats after $100,000 DP.

    There’s almost no point in marketing to the middle class – at least those who don’t have cash to play.

  21. If they were on my side, then there would be accountability. They are on their own side. Our interests happen to coincide in places at times.

  22. Only if you redefine “luxury” as meaning anything that I cannot afford that is large and in a neighborhood I prefer to live in.

  23. I look forward to seeing how this election turns out. I suspect that your sides effort to demonize Tech Workers will not turn out the way you had hoped, but we shall see.

  24. Nothing new. When I moved to SF, ‘the greatest generation’ was paying pennies to the dollar of what I was paying to live here.

    And we didn’t whine about it.

  25. If it will pay your bills go for it. I’m not aware that the tenant in this story was delinquent paying rent.

  26. It figures. More of the same will somehow make things turn out different. BTW, are those the zombie voters or Dems actually going to the polls?

  27. Translation: I’ve been using work time to spout off on the internet.

    Now that no one’s paying me to troll, I’ll be on my way.

    Maybe D’oh Nut Dave is onto something.

  28. Well, my brother, who lived here 35 yrs, retired from a job he hated, and had to sell his house in “Sunnyside” (such a misnomer) cuz he couldn’t afford the RE taxes. Shame too cuz the price of his house has doubled in the last 5 yrs. If only he coulda held on … . You are not alone.

  29. That argument means little in this context.

    Broncos himself will say that he ‘contributed’ – by fixing up the basement. AND he got a Purple Heart for being injured on-the-job. Oh, also the back steps and some other items around the house, iirc.

    Brenkus is not the best example of a ‘do-nothing lay-about’. That said, he could have done much more to insure his own security in retirement.

  30. I’m not sure if thats’ true – that no “affordable” is being built or infrasturcture.

    One thing they could do is make developer completion of BMR units to coincide with completion of MR units. Another is to (the City would have to do this) use the existing in-lieu fees immediately to purchase land.

    The reasoning behind the Moratorium is just more procrastination by the “affordable” housing mafia. How long has it been since this was proposed? Almost as long as what’s being asked for. I find little sincerity in this proposal, and plenty of NIMBY inertia.

  31. The reasoning behind the moratorium is that the market and zoning are only producing luxury housing and are not generating enough affordable and infrastructure.

  32. So if you can’t have a home in an oh-so-character-ful neighborhood then nobody can have a home in an oh-so-character-ful neighborhood?

  33. If we all worked less, then there would be more better jobs for more people.

    Why are you evaluating my comment in terms of right wing trolls?

  34. “If the parents are going to retire in a couple of years, why evict Brenkus now?”

    LOL. LOL. LOL.

    Tim is apparently envisioning a career as a comedy writer.

    This whole cluster-whatever indicates why steps need to be taken to evict Brenkus now – if you are really going to move out a perpetual tenant so you can move your family in, you had damn well better start the process a couple of years in advance.

  35. Really? Because I’d love to fiddle around with cameras and broken wine glasses for the next 30 years of my life. Sure sounds a lot more fun than what I do for a living.

  36. The best outcome here would have been a friendly buyout, but it doesn’t sound like ‘friendly’ was on the table.

    As for what’s right, probably a different world in which the SFHA is competent and has the bandwidth to take anyone who loses a place in an Ellis withdrawal. Or in an even different world, there are no withdrawals and buildings with protected tenants sell for much, much less.

  37. Money talks? Evicting a tenant, even if it’s legal and successful, is costly in money and time, and carries lots of practical risks. No one who is simply looking for a home reasonably chooses to if they have other options – and if you have a large family, there are virtually no options in SF.

    So give people other options.

  38. As in the side that WANTS to end social injustice and the side that DOESN’T? Yeah…sounds right…what’s the debate, now?

  39. You know you can use stupider, right? lol…but I know how important it is to you to APPEAR smarter than you actually are…lots of sociopaths feel that way.

  40. No, but I see that attempting to get you to see your own callousness is totally useless lol…you’d have to give a fuck about someone other than yourself, first…you know, put yourself in someone else’s generic shoes…

  41. So, painted into a corner, you lash out with this? Typical.

    The more you avoid reality, the better chance you’re going to wind up like Mr. Brenkus.

  42. LOL and your response was Nana-nana-boo-boo, get yo’ poor ass outta here! More room for me…weeeeeeee! Whatever, dude…

  43. How am I “walking on them”?? When they announced their plans to move, they volunteered the reason why: Their new situation would be more affordable.

  44. Are these supposed ‘friends’ (who may or may not exist) aware of your callousness regarding their situation? Or are they totally happy to be walked on?

  45. Yep, pretty much. I have plenty of friends who have moved out of their neighborhood, The City, for areas that are more affordable. No one has the “right” to live in San Francisco if they can’t afford it.

  46. AKA: If you can’t afford to live here, move…nobody cares how long you’ve been here, and disregard any of the other bullshit you’re spouting…

  47. If living in San Francisco becomes prohibitively expensive for you, then yes, you may want to consider moving to an area that’s more affordable.

  48. The de facto minimum wage in Austria is 1,200 Euros a month, so two minimum earners would spend over 40% of their gross income on housing in a cheap 1000sf flat.

    That’s a big place in Vienna, though. There are lots of 500sf apartments for below 800 Euros, the magic 30% of gross.

  49. Dude, I’d love to layabout more rather than work two jobs to sustain myself and my 12 year old son…but, I guess that’s my bad for living in a place that’s suddenly not so affordable as it was when I started here…according to the fucktards above, my son and I should just leave. Forget the fact that I’ve spent years building my career and a support system of friends and trusted individuals that are vital to being a single mother here…but, you know, serves me right for not being born into a millionaire family…shame on me, eh?

  50. Thank you…at least ONE person in here doesn’t think the people that can’t afford a million dollar + mortgage are scum-of-the-Earth.

  51. “I think this concept is a bit too sophisticated for your insect brain but give it a go and see if you can’t figure it out.” Just remember, fucker, you started the shit-slinging…who the fuck do you think you work for, fucktard? Ed Lee? Ron Conway? Zuckerberg? Nobody’s paying you to be a shill…curious, though…so the people that can’t afford to pay the mortgage on a million dollar condo should ____…go ahead, punk-ass-whiny-little-shrunken-prick…tell us all about how the rest of us should just leave…

  52. Yeah, just like I’m sure you think of every person of color, ‘lazy’ artist or ‘hippy’ whining about human rights, women that don’t automatically roll over and take it like you think they should, homeless people, children, people that don’t speak English…blah blah blah…whatever, dude.

  53. Pretty funny – a media savvy white person with an elite education trying to extort money from a family of color.

    If the races were reversed, Redmond would be devoting half the article to explaining how racist this is.

  54. “Harshawat was willing to spend time talking to Chuck Nevius but didn’t have time to talk to me.”

    Main reason: Nevius works for ‘the newspaper of record’ in SF. You are a blogger working from home. A very good blogger But there are thousands of you.

  55. “In this case, let’s say $3,000 a month for five years, which is
    $180,000. Oh but wait, that’s before taxes. To clear enough to stay here
    after taxes is more like $250,000.”

    Sir, you have lost your ever loving mind!

  56. Hmm. You sound like the guy that asked me for money to purchase a BART ticket this morning. When I offered to buy him a ticket instead of giving him cash, he called me a Nazi.

  57. It’s simple, really: build more new housing that appeals to those with means and they will no longer (or less frequently, at least) be compelled to compete for currently available housing—like the building Brenkus lives in, for example.

    I think this concept is a bit too sophisticated for your insect brain but give it a go and see if you can’t figure it out.

  58. I think money talks around here and they wouldn’t have spared anyone in ANY of the buildings a second thought…just like they did.

  59. Yeah, funny that Redmond equates being forced from a specific building to being forced from the Bay Area. Hey, if Brenkus can find someone to subsidize him—because it sure sounds like he has no interest in working—then he is absolutely welcome to stay.

  60. I’d fight for that. But the trans-nationals that employ a truly vast number of us would probably just replace us with robots/move to states with more permissive labor laws sooner than planned.

  61. Why do these renters refuse to invest in or contribute to San Francisco while homeowners/ landlords are supporting them and supporting our City? Renters by definition are temporary visitors and do not pay property taxes or improve our neighborhoods.

  62. Replacing this leech Brenkus who refuses to get a job or contribute to the City with a productive family of homeowners would help the neighborhood and the City.

  63. Same way you can begrudge the owners for maximizing their rights under the law.

    The difference is, one is working out of spite, to their own detriment and it’s not humane to support that. If the tenant needs/wants more time in the space before relocating (up to a year), or money for the relocation costs, he could have negotiated it. The law is not on his side beyond when his lease terminates. One would think maximizing the value would be enjoying the rest of his last days *inside* the apartment he loves, not standing outside of it harassing the owners. He loses the moral argument too…which sucks, because he’s the one who will be homeless.

  64. Ok, so … independent of any issues around ethics of eviction, if the Harshawats had their choice of a variety of new homes to buy throughout the neighborhood, do you think they would be _more_, or _less_, likely to choose to buy the one place with a tenant of 30+ years and evict him?

  65. But then there’s that expression; ”what’s legal isn’t always what’s right'”.

    What’a legal? What’s right?

    Is Brenkus the best example?

  66. It occurs to me that this exression “‘what’s legal isn’t always what’s right'” could apply to Brenkus and his attempt to remain under his present tenancy, as it might to the Harshawats attempts to recover possession of their property.

  67. As the media often like to say “it would take a minimum wage worker working four full time jobs to be able to afford the median 2BR apt in … ”

    While minimum wage workers need a place to live, trying to rent a “median” priced anything is a curious comparison.

    At those prices, I can see why some Viennese might find it difficult. Cheap housing for everyone! (?)

  68. “That would happen were there to be a popularly supported effort to limit home ownership”

    Unfortunately, we’ve already had popular, well-supported efforts to limit homeownership that have succeeded. They called it exclusionary zoning, and justified it in the name of “neighborhood character”. And we’re still stuck with it.

  69. That would seem his right in a free society. How can we begrudge him maximizing the value of the rights he has under the law?

  70. I mean, there are already options, like becoming a Section 8, or going into city housing.

    But why is it the public interest for him to live here? How many of us knew or had interest in who this guy was until we read about the situation? This was a situation created by his own choices, even if it was apathy and false sense of security. He’s not a victim. Plenty born in this city who had to leave the city would envy his story. I don’t see him as some remarkable stand out citizen.

  71. For those conceding the legal argument, it’s time to rethink the moral argument too.

    Isn’t there a certain lack of humanity involved with a renter who demands an eviction rather than just moving on?

    The outcome is going to be the same, so how is it right for him to purposely be a thorn in their side and drag this on, publicly?

  72. “But absent popular support there is no point.”

    Exactly. Things will continue to get bad for working people, as automation, under-regulated exotic financial instruments, and globalization, etc. get more prevalent. But it’s got to get reaaally bad before the bankers are against the wall. It’s never gotten to that point in the US before, with our temporarily embarrassed millionaires and all.

  73. …and when those business owners want to change an income property to just their home, they should have that right providing they follow the laws guiding evictions.

  74. I mean, there’s also the Koch Bros, the Waltons, Larry Ellison, Zuckerberg, etc. Or you could attack the NYSE/Dow/NASDAQ with a virus, blow up the Fed, idk, the list is endless!

  75. Point being that violence is already present in the essence of property relations, there would be no introduction of violence were violence be used to challenge property rights. I am not suggesting that, I think that we have to try to make legal change first. The only time that a violent response works is when a majority of the population think that is the right way to go. That would happen were there to be a popularly supported effort to limit home ownership that would require constitutional change. Were such a popular will rejected by the political system, then the door would begin to open for a violent response. But absent popular support there is no point.

  76. I agree with you in principal, but bringing about such a reality is not likely legally or economically possible without violence.

  77. I didn’t say we should roll over, just pick our battles. Fighting to let an old white dude pay extremely low rent forever by making it impossible to move one’s family into property one owns, doesn’t strike me as advancing social justice. If you want to make a statement against capitalism, assassinate James Dimon or something.

  78. And you are very right, not all socialist countries are alike. It would be useful if you explain which countries are good examples and which arent and why that is the case?

  79. The point is to continue to fight, not roll over, not give in. It comes down to self-respect and whether you can live with yourself as a defender of the upper-echelon; a group of individuals that could just as easily replace you with another human being just as quickly as they transfer millions of dollars with the click of a button. I chose to continue to fight and remind you that we’re humans, too…not tools for the trade, not something to wipes one’s ass with…

  80. I’ve got a job and I support a strong, non-corrupt social welfare public function. The workweek should be cut to like 25 hours and we should all layabout much more.

  81. Where did I mention money?

    Average youth unemployment for Greece 1991 – 2007 was 27.3 and the US was 11.6

    Life expectancy in the US is about 80yr, its about 80 in Greece, 81 in Germany, 82 in Swiss, 83 in HK, 85 in Singapore (numbers rounded to whole number). There seems to little correlation o system of government to life expectancy.
    the correlation is high for wealth of the country to life expectancy.

    The questions you are are valid but hard to compare empirically.

    But from what I can see in the data, its hard to see any evidence of socialistic structures showing clear advantages. And again as I mentioned earlier, things are clearly black or white in terms of the Scandi countries. But in the places where it is clearly socialistic policies and govermnment like Greece, Vene, Brazil, Argentina, etc. the data for ‘poeple being better off’ is very very poor.

    Do you have thing you can point to that might support your view?

  82. It’s not that I don’t want it to end, it’s just that suffering and abuse are intrinsically human. You can’t ever completely end war, murder, and poverty, only lessen them. If you believe otherwise, you are a fool. If you think the concept of modern private property, with a thousand years of social, legal, and economic weight behind it, is going anywhere, you are an even bigger fool.

  83. The wrong questions, you say? No, in your opinion, my questions raise answers that are irrelevant to YOU. There’s a giant gap in what you find important in your privileged life, and what the rest of us find important. There’s too wide a difference between us for either one of us to comprehend the other. I help people less fortunate than myself…you delight in oppressing and humiliating those who you don’t find on par with your views or your ‘status’. You do not care about the tenants. After all, they’re only people.

  84. He was offered $80k to move out. Which is a pretty darn generous offer considering he doesn’t own the place. In almost everywhere else in America he would have received 30 or 60 days notice to move with no compensation. Of course in socialist SF a tenant is owed a big cash payout because ummm landlords are rich and evil and stuff.

  85. OF COURSE, it’ll never end lol…why would you want it to? The end of social injustice would annihilate your bottom line! Can’t have that…I mean, what are the comforts of human rights compared to the disaster it would be if you lost your precious money and power?! Social justice in quotations lol…so disrespectful.

  86. You’re asking the wrong questions. The median housing price in SF is $1.2M. Why is this? Why are housing costs so high? Why are speculators and rent seekers able to charge so much?

    Part of the answer is restricting planning and zoning regulations, community opposition to nearly every project, and 100,000 jobs added since 2010. Rents are high because people will pay them.

    What we can actually do, as a city, about this is build more housing for people who want to live here. You’ll never see a $2,000 1BR again, but increasing supply will help prices level off. If we incentivize building cheaper housing by increasing density bonuses, height limits, and simplifying the planning process, while increasing BMR set-asides, we can foster a healthier housing situation. Making it impossible to buy property with existing tenants, or move in to property you own, is not only unconstitutional, but it will hurt more tenants and future tenants than it helps.

  87. Homeowners have the right to their property. Business owners, including owners of rental units, are subject to laws the regulate businesses.

  88. What was the unemployment rate before the capitalist-caused global economic meltdown of 2008?

    In those socialist countries, what’s the life expectancy? How does that compare with ours?

    How do their health outcomes compare to ours?

    How about their time-off from work for vacations, parental leave, etc?

    There’s a lot more to life than money, honey.

  89. Renting is defined by a legal contract, subject to local laws. Every savvy investor researches these things, it’s called due diligence. It’s not what YOU or the OWNER says like it or not.

    There is also a considerable difference between a homeowner and a landlord, with specific sets of different laws applying. Failure in this distinction underlies many misguided arguments here…

    Anyway, good luck with your epic mission – but the kind advice is there are many other places in this country and world which are much more closely aligned with your rentier-rentee stance. Don’t make life too hard for yourself.

  90. Hi Jim – I find Denmark and European countries as a study of social democracies very interesting to think about and research.

    So take a look at this:


    Only the Czech Rep. and Germany have lower employment rates that the US.

    Youth unemployment in Europe as a whole is over 22% and in Switzerland (the least socialist/social democratic/most capitalist) its 8.5% and 7% in Germany. Greece is over 48%.

    This is good measure of people better off as any and the more socialist leaning countries do much more poorly.

    Take another measure called ease of doing business. This can be thought of as a measure capitalism done by the very conservative group like Heritage and the World Bank (imperfect but reasonable IMO).


    4 Scandi countries in the top 10 along with dictatorships like HK and Singapore per WB ranking. These groups love these countries for the ‘economic freedom’ from a capitalistic stand point.

    So things are pretty grey on 2 counts: how socialist are these countries really? and how much better off are the people relatively?

    My 2 cents. Would love a constructive dialogue/feedback.

  91. Oh, no the socialists! Hide the children.

    Another genius posting on 48 Hills. You probably support Trump, Carson or Cruz too.

  92. Well, how did he pay his market rate rent? Food? Etc etc

    Your misdiagnosis misses the fact that in any place which has rampant speculative housing appreciation, people who have been there a long time will always seem like from a different world. A cheaper, more rationale, and sustainable one…

  93. Nope. Most people have jobs. A lucky few of those that have jobs happen to make their living as artists. Others sit around and “make art.” I’m talking about the latter.

  94. Imaginative theories but, no: I just couldn’t be bothered to spend more than 2 seconds thinking of a username when I signed up.

  95. Social injustice will never end; it can only be mitigated. There is no utopia. I’d wager that a 34 year long tenancy @ 550% below market, and nearly 50% of the inflation adjusted market rate for a 2br. in 1981, is not the frontier of the “social justice.”

  96. How many sweeping generalizations can you squeeze into one post? Not all socialist countries are alike, and many of us (Americans) have an excruciating understanding of the the benefits and problems with the concept of socialism as well as has been implemented in many countries.

  97. You just referred to a large portion of the City’s population as ‘layabouts’, which is a typical Teaparty term used to both marginalize and demoralize less fortunate people than yourself. You, sir, lack compassion for your fellow human.

  98. That would have been a pretty good plan for you. You’d probably be happier and more relaxed, and maybe able to offer something to the City you live in besides blind rage at the radical notion that people whose lifestyle choices you disagree with are able to live in such close proximity to an ubermensch like yourself.

  99. Do explain how more multimillion dollar condos will present a place for this elderly artist to move to. Exactly, how does that solve anything for ANY of the non-millionaires in SF? Oh, or do you just not mean those peons in your opinion?

  100. Just a simple point – if such societies worked, wouldn’t most/some/any of them still be around and expanding in acceptance as a system of government?

    I moved to the US from a socialist country and it has been my limited personal observation that Americans have a fairly romanticized view on socialism and its positives (there are positives surely) but dont have an real understanding of the negatives.

  101. Your profile name is ‘sfister’…which I determine one of two things from: 1. You’re a Super-Fister and 2. Your news and opinions are dictated by the SFist, and we already know who’s side they’re on in the battle to end social injustice.

  102. Of course the property rights people will shit a brick…they’re on the side of social injustice making $, which the laws were specifically written to do. To care about one person in an ‘investment’ worth millions…well, that takes a level of humanity they are incapable of. The concept of ‘what’s legal isn’t always what’s right’ is way beyond their understanding.

  103. Kudos to you for demonstrating that these issues are complex and for having some empathy for your tenant.

    And I love your question – it would be great if that question could be asked in a forum that isn’t full of right and left-wing nutcases so we can have a sincere discussion and maybe develop some solutions.

    For example, could the BMR percentages be raised on new developments which choose to fund rather than build BMR housing, in order to create a fund to off-set your potential losses from being a compassionate landlord? And I’m just “thinking out loud” so don’t kill me for floating a problematic idea.

    I guess we would first have to decide that a city with a mix of residents of all economic levels is an objective and maybe figure out what the sweet spot is, percentage wise.

  104. I’ve lived in San Francisco for 15 years. I wish I’d known what an playground for layabouts this city is because I would have revised my entire strategy for adulthood. I would have moved here 5 years earlier, hunkered down in the nicest flat I could find, diddled with wine glasses and cameras for two decades, called myself an “artist,” then planted my flag and claimed ownership of my now-cheap rental. What a sucker I am for buying into the whole steady employment, saving money, and being responsible for my own security game. If only I’d known, I’d surely have followed the Brenkus model of retirement, because I’ll say this: it sounds like a lot more fun than working for a living.

  105. By definition, renting is a temporary arrangement for the life of a lease (normally one year). As long as the homeowners provide one month notice, then they should be able to evict their tenant at any time for any reason. No renter has a right to steal his landlord’s home – ever. San Francisco needs to abolish rent control and fix our laws so that homeowners have a right to their property in all circumstances.

  106. Okay, that’s a fair thesis. If Redmond really believes that, then he ought to relinquish his own property and donate it to Brenkus (or others less fortunate). He owns a single-family home in Bernal Heights. I’d have a lot more respect for his opinions if he lived by example.

  107. If you follow sentiments like Tim’s here to their logical conclusion, he’s really questioning the concept of land/property ownership itself. He admits that you can’t enact his position as law, as it runs afoul of the 5th and 14th amendments, but he still tries to characterize the most basic use of property – occupying it- as immoral. Protection of the rights of others can not be left to the whims of every individual actor’s good conscience; this is why we are a nation of laws. Prescribing behavior beyond those limits, and relying on those prescriptions to guide markets and transactions is extremely foolish. The “benefits” of dismantling our entire concept of ownership, likely do not outweigh the very high cost in bullets to make it so.

  108. $3,000 a month for 5 years? Redmond is out of his fucking mind. Honestly, I thought $80,000 was an extremely generous bone to throw to an aging so-called “artist” who sat on his ass for half of his life thinking that his commitment to some lame photography project entitled him to a comfortable residence in the city of his choice for eternity. Sorry to burst the man’s bubble of delusion but the rest of the world does not function that way. The expectation is generally that, if you want something, there is going to be work involved because—surprise—most things cost money.

    Brenkus got a sweet, sweet deal for well over three decades, during which he had ample time to formulate a plan for retirement. Putting aside $10 per day for 34 years would have netted him over $120,000; more besides if you include the $80,000 he was stupid enough to refuse. That’s in the neighborhood of $200,000 he could have had free and clear had he simply used his head and employed a little foresight. And now, the Harshawats are supposed to compensate for his lack of planning? Fuck that, I say.

    Here’s an idea: since Redmond thinks it’s Brenkus’ inalienable right to reside in San Francisco, how about he make a little room in his lovely Bernal Heights house for him? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  109. a quarter of a million dollars? that is what you deem to be fair? what world are we living in here? 2 judges have already shot down less onerous burdens in situations like this. We can all have our pipe dreams, but it would be nice if we could, sometimes, have real discussions about realistic solutions.
    And I love how someone’s side of the story is “spin.” JFC

  110. Difficult, if you talk to the Viennese who have never tried to rent somewhere else. Effortless, compared to a similarly priced apartment here, to say nothing of a SFHA or BMR spot.

    You can rent a 900-1100sf apartment in a central location for $1,500 without breaking a sweat, $1,100 if you work a little.

  111. This Ivy League, London School of Economics educated tenant who has enjoyed an absurdly low rent for 34 years and who has recently participated in unconscionable harassment against someone whose name is not even on the title is hardly the poster boy for starving artist eviction. Has Mr. Brenkus been subjected to your investigative zeal, I wonder?

  112. He’s quoting Mr. Windsor. The wisdom of quoting hateful words is arguable, but then so is using hateful speech in response.

  113. You forgot the Earthquake, but, pt made.

    Oh, and what about the Dot Com Bomb? Evictions were higher then.

    Hornet’s nest? Call the Exterminators 🙂

  114. Ok, so I have a long-term renter who I don’t want to harm (but would really like to have him move on; issues I won’t go into, but its not ‘greed’ based, ‘k). Since he’s dirt poor, barely making his $700 rent now, he couldn’t afford much (certainly not a mortgage; problably not even HOA-taxes-ins). Even giving them a trailer in Santa Rosa, Cotati or Windsor is going to prove a hardship (compared to SF).

    For one, his monthly will likely go up (see above). Two, he loses the convenience of MUNI and must likely get a car (hundreds per month, even if a gift), And then there’s the whole disruption of health care providers, moving 30 yrs worth of crap, and making new acquaintances. If I literally gave him back every cent he’s ever paid in rent (more than quarter million), it would still not be enuf (and thats structuring the deal so that he doesn’t get soaked in taxes). That said, he has settled into a lifestyle that his cheap rent lead him to believe was sustainable. Rarely employed; and now probably less able to be. Few seeming palatable options. In a word, screwed.

    The question is – who’s responsibility is this, really? Is it mine, to continue to sustain him-n-family (for 50-80 more years)? Is it the City, with all they’ve led folks to believe? Is it his, to be self supporting instead of relying on handouts? I’d include all the activists, but, they just seem like errant children at this point.

  115. San Francisco has gotten itself into a pickle, Ollie. It has, over the last 40 yrs, promised its renters more and more security – with other people money +/or property – and not a stitch of support.

    Was it abt 2 yrs ago that Campos promised 24 mths of rent differential for Ellis ‘victims’? Now Tim and his ilk are asking for … five years worth of rent differntial!? What next? If you are evicted you should have your housing paid – for your … lifetime? (and the lifetimes of your children, their spouses, etc etc).

    Ok. If San Francisco thinks providing lifetime housing is fair, then the City of San Francisco should be willing to put its money where its legal weapons are. Rents have skyrocketed, but so have prop taxes. For many purchasers, their RE tax alone is more, per month, than many renters are paying in rent; and significantly more than the previous owners taxes. But if the amt collected is not enuf, perhaps we should consider a ‘fee’ on renters who are enjoying (way-) below market rents — a form of ‘saving for their future’ that they seem to have forsaken under the euphoria of cheap rents.

  116. “Forced from the Bay Area”???? Brenkus apparently turned down an $80,000 buyout – that’s more than enough for a down payment on a home in the Bay Area, even in San Francisco. But I suppose we’ve come to expect this kind of hyperbole from Redmond.

  117. Absolutely, the exclusionary effect of high rents have been significant.

    Calling it ‘the most rapid pace of displacement in American history’ is inaccurate, though. Papering over this country’s sometimes ugly history doesn’t result in good analysis. These past few hundred years, there have been times and places where people had to deal with much, much worse.

  118. The increase in rental prices in SF has occurred at a faster pace than in any other city in the US. SF Rental prices are the most expensive in the country now.

  119. It depends on what you mean by “socialism” I think. If you count the Social Democracies of Northern Europe, like Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands, I think a strong case can be made that the people there are much better off than we are here in the center of corporate capitalism in the good ole’ U-S-of A. Capitalism has problems with corruption too, amongst other things.

    If you mean places like the old Soviet Union or Venezuela, then yeah.

  120. San Francisco isn’t even experiencing the most rapid pace of displacement in San Francisco history. Japanese internment, urban renewal and family flight to the suburbs were all much more significant.

    It is possible that San Francisco is experiencing the most rapid pace of exclusionary displacement in its history, though. With rents as high as they are, few people who want to move here can. There are probably twenty or forty thousand people who would have moved to the city these last ten years if rents were not so unaffordable.

  121. “It has never worked anywhere” is hard to prove. Maybe it worked in earlier human societies which were less civilized, and of which we have minimal recorded history. We only know about societies which have existed for a few thousand years, a short period of time in the history of homo sapiens. People have been around for approximately 100,000 years, how do you know that there were no socialist societies that worked?

  122. Maybe everyone has demonstrated bad long term planning. Did this tenant really think he was going to be able to rent for $325 per month in a place like San Francisco or Manhattan forever? that’s like buying a brand new luxury car for $1000. Be realistic.

    On the other hand, before you buy a house to move into with an extended family, you should research the neighborhood, the schools, the transportation and weather,and find out who your neighbors are. It doesn’t take much research to find out that San Francisco is experiencing the most rapid pace of displacement in American history and that everyone is pissed off about it. If you buy a house with a long term tenant and try to evict that person you are going to be facing long protracted and expensive litigation, you will have your name in the paper, you could have protestors blocking your moving, and you could be dragged through the mud on the internet forever. Maybe that’s not the way it should be but it is the way it is.

    If you walk into a hornet’s nest don’t be surprised if you get stung.

  123. Yeah that is the subtext here. Progressive anti-growth policies have led to this shortage and now they scream and cry that rents have gone up. What did they think would happen when they blocked the construction of almost all market rate housing for 30 years?

  124. This is one of the best columns Tim Redmond has ever written. I agree with his math 100%, if you are going to be tossed out, you should be paid a fair amount and a fair amount in San Francisco is a pretty penny.

  125. The socialists who hide behind the “progressive” label to obfuscate their true ideology and hate successful people have cause S.F.’s housing problems with their out of control rent-control and no growth strategy. Socialism has never worked anywhere it’s been tried.

  126. I do think the tactics that have been employed by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (whatever) has really poisoned the well. I fully support the Harshwats in whatever they want to do. If Brenkus has told them that he’ll move for more money or that they’ll be so, so sorry if they continue (due to guerrilla protest tactics), then he really ought to call it a day, take his check for $6000, and … move into Tim’s basement.

  127. Creative, but why should they be stuck with a tenant who has been harassing them?

    Doubt Brenkus would be satisfied with that solution anyway when he already feels wronged. Plus it would only take one late rent check before the family would regret their choice.

  128. Ok, two things:

    Brenkus rents the top floor 2BR; and splits it with a roomie. It appears they both pay half. But Brenkus has stated that he also has use of the basement. Each unit is roughly 1400 sq ft per Assessor. I imagine the basement on that level lot corresponds to the bldg envelope; so there’s another 1400′. In effect Brenkus uses 75% of the apt yet charges his roomie – not 25% but 50% of rent. Looks like the roommate needs to be made whole by David.

    Secondly, the Harshwats want the unit to move in family. Brenkus wants to stay in SF with his ‘art’. Why not get Supe Weiner to petition for an ADU Conditional Use in the basement; have Brenkus move downstairs (that should be a relief to aging knees); and set a rent that is comparable to his potential income. Of course, with all the animosity, largely from Brenkus IMO, it may be difficult for the Harshwats to be able to stomach this zombie inhabiting their basement. But if Brenkus can make whole his roommate(s), stop harassing the Harshwats and their child, and be a good neighbor, I can imagine things might have a chance of working out. Long shot. Or they could continue to fight.

  129. James Windsor Susanaw 3 days ago
    Get lost you self hating lesbian hag

    James Windsor Rick 3 days ago
    I could care less what you think and will do everything to make you look like the sick fool you are, you stinking nazi loser.

    James Windsor AJ2 3 days ago
    You are going to hell you ugly creep where you can worship your true god Satan forever. YOU ARE GOING TO HELL YOU SICK FREAK. YOU DIRTY UGLY PIECE OF CRAP.


  130. What do you expect from selfish homeowners who only think of themselves. They dont care about anyone but themselves.

  131. Baby Tim wants a call back on his schedule!! Baby Tim is going to write a mean story on the internet if you don’t make him feel like a real journalist!!
    I shouldn’t be surprised at the lack of maturity exhibited here and by others who count themselves among what passes for the left vanguard in SF.
    Go ahead and drag someone and their family through the muck because he’s doing something completely legal. Go ahead and make up stories about him and his family because you’re afraid that your point of view is becoming increasingly marginalized.

  132. A comfortable life not having to answer to any boss, not having a 40-hour work week, pursuing a personal passion such as photography without worrying about income, that is a rare privilege. Most of the people of this world work or they starve.

  133. And if you granted him another 2-5 years, we’d be having this same discussion in 5 years, and the tenant would still be in denial or hoping he gets to life there forever.

  134. please define your phrasing “Brenkus’ long-running, privileged life of semi-retirement in San Francisco” –

  135. “But legal and right are not always the same thing.”

    The problem with “right” is that it shifts depending on your perspective. Doesn’t seem right to me that this hard-working family can’t live together because they have to subsidize Brenkus’ long-running, privileged life of semi-retirement in San Francisco.

  136. Tim – ‘If the parents are going to retire in a couple of years, why evict Brenkus now?”

    The GPs are moving into the lower unit. The brother wants to move into David’s unit. He recently (after this started) took a job out-of-town, which is temp. Pls, get your facts straight.

    T – “The family got the building for probably $1 million less than it could sell for today”

    Yes and No – they got the bldg 2+ yrs ago; what its worth today is irrelevant.

    T – “And if you do, because you want it for your family (fair enough) you need to make that person whole. Which means you have to pay enough in relocation fees to allow him to stay in the city.”

    I guess we’re gonna differ over this. The Harshwats never made a promise like that. It was the City of SF that made a “promise”, if anyone. Seems to me its the City that should make this person whole.

    How do we do that? Well, since the problem stems from capping rents, the scheme ought to be changed so that people pay at a rent level commensurate with their income (or potential income). If you’re current rent is less than 30% of income (potential), you should have to pay the difference – as “rent” – thru the LL and into a City fund that would be distributed – not only to people who are displaced – but to those whose income (or ability to earn) forces them to pay more than 30%.

    IF you want to talk about fairness and being made whole, lets not stick the solution arbitrarily onto some hapless saps.

  137. Tim, your proposal is that buyers should pay evicted tenants to live somewhere else at market rate for a certain period of time. You say 5 years, Campos said 2.

    How about if they simply wait to evict for the same amount of time? That would achieve exactly the same stated goal: live for X more years in the city.

    Consider then that this family has already waited as long as Campos’s duration.

  138. There’s something else, aside from the details of the case: Nevius has basically framed it as “you see, there are bad tenants, so don’t believe it when next time someone complains about an eviction.”

  139. Most native and long time San Franciscans read “Devius” for laughs. It’s well known he’s on the take from anyone who will get him tickets to sports events and other goodies. If he says something is true, it’s most always false…. just a tool for the big money/city hall folks.

  140. The Tenant is the one who has been all over the media, yet the owners are depicted as media savvy, rather than just defending themselves when the story wouldn’t die? Yikes. Talk about bias.

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