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News + PoliticsThe Agenda, Oct. 12-Oct. 18: Are we really better...

The Agenda, Oct. 12-Oct. 18: Are we really better off after five years of Ed Lee?

The question that isn’t getting asked in this mayoral race. Plus: Remembering a deadly case of landlord arson from a much earlier era of gentrification in the Mission

Outside the mayoral debate, voters are urged to vote against Mayor Ed Lee
Outside the mayoral debate, voters are urged to vote against Mayor Ed Lee

By Tim Redmond

OCTOBER 12, 2015 – So I wasn’t happy with the only debate that San Francisco voters could see with all of the candidates present. Neither, I think, were most of the candidates.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize why.

Yeah, there were no questions about housing, which is the biggest issue in the city. But more than that, I think the question nobody is asking (including the Chron, which just wrote about Ed Lee’s first term) is the classic political issue:

Are San Franciscans better off than they were five years ago?

Or better put, are the people who lived in San Francisco five years ago better off today?

For the thousands who have been forced to leave the city, some of them dispersed to the winds, cut off from their communities, some of them commuting two hours or more each way to their jobs, the answer is pretty clear: No, they aren’t better off.

For the thousands who have managed to remain, but are much poorer because such a larger percentage of their income is going to rent,the answer is also clear: No, they aren’t better off.

For the nonprofit groups who have been displaced from mid-Market by the tech boom, and now have to pay more rent in a location less suitable for their clients, the answer is clear, too: No, they aren’t better off.

The mayor brags about his jobs policy, and says that when he took office the unemployment rate was above eight percent. Now it’s at around three percent. Hooray.

But there are two factors that were never discussed at the debate when Lee made his pitch. The first is the unproven, but likely reality that one of the reasons the unemployment rate has fallen is that unemployed people have been priced out of SF while tens of thousands of people have moved here from somewhere else to take jobs.

The other is that many of the jobs that have been created (outside of tech) don’t pay enough to allow someone to live here.

Enrico Moretti at Cal says that every tech job creates five more jobs; the mayor likes the sound of that. But most of those five are service-sector jobs. If you were living here five years ago and didn’t have a job, and were and are in a rent-controlled apartment, and you got a job serving the technorati, and you are still here by the grace of God and your landlord, then maybe you are better off. Except that you wake up every night worrying you are going to be evicted next – and that’s already happened to your friends and neighbors.

Oh, and your favorite cheap restaurant or dive bar is gone, and you can’t afford the place that replaced it.

Seriously: If we were able to poll people who lived her five years ago – whether they are still here or not – and asked if they were better off under Ed Lee, I think we’d get a picture of a city that is not doing better, not for all.

In fact, if you take the bottom three quintiles – that is, the lower 60 percent of the population by income – and compare the increased income that has come with the boom with the higher cost of living that’s associated with it – you’ll probably find the majority of those people doing worse.

Longtime homeowners, of course, are doing dandy – the value of their property keeps rising, while their property taxes never go up. But recent homebuyers are facing crippling mortgages (unless they are very rich), and others are completely price out of the market.

I don’t think the mayor fares well in that kind of analysis.

Tom Ammiano notes in this week’s Tim and Tom show that there’s only one – one – high school LGBT studies class in the entire country, and it’s at SF’s School of the Arts. There is no textbook, no high-school-level history of LGBT America. That seems like something the School Board ought to think about; why is LGBT Studies not part of the curriculum at every high school?


Most people in San Francisco don’t remember the Gartland Hotel Fire, but in the early 1980s, when I arrived here, it was still very much a part of local housing politics. The SRO on 16th and Valencia was torched in 1975, in a clear case of arson for profit, and the site was still an empty pit when I first rode the 22 Fillmore past it in 1981.

Now there’s a movie called “The Other Barrio,” loosely based on the fire, which killed 12 people, and a story by SF’s Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia. It opens this week at the Brava Theater.

From the description:

As if ripped from today’s headlines reporting fires, evictions and protests in the streets, “The Other Barrio” follows housing inspector Roberto Morales as he investigates the suspicious circumstances of a fatal fire in a residential hotel in the Mission and finds himself face to face with murder in the streets, corruption at City Hall and the mysterious Sofia Nido, a beautiful but dangerous flame from his past.

With the dramatic SF cityscape as a backdrop and a nod to San Francisco film noirs of the past, The Other Barrio, takes viewers deep into neighborhoods seldom seen on film while addressing timely issues of gentrification and the displacement of low-income communities.

You can see it Friday, October 16th: 7 pm and 9:30 pm; Saturday, October 17th, 7 pm and 9:30 pm; Sunday, October 18th, 3:30 pm and 6 pm, and Thursday, October 22nd, 7:30 pm

You can buy tickets here and watch the trailer here.

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. […] The city spends a lot on homeless services. Here’s why: We have created an enclave for the rich, and driven thousands out of their homes. We are a city of vast wealth. We have captured very little of that wealth for the public sector. Trickle-down economics was a sad, painful, devastating mistake when Ronald Reagan first made it the law of the land, and it’s just as bad in San Francisco today. The tech boom has enriched the few and impoverished the many. […]

  2. Ed I disfavor, your political policies: apparently you have support those not concern about economics progress. Biggest criticism tax exemptions cartels, failure to approve
    needed not defeated housing policies. Charade speak in “riddles” why City Hall is lease to only highest bidders of “gentrified polices enough. Advocates it’s naive whom optimism incomprehensible regarding neglect of public policies note Ed. Refuse address, renters rights victory of 2nd term, eviction going to increase example urban planning. Why are majority for sale “BMR” below market rate” never to late find knowledge yeah many read. I discard this, monologue if making $85,000 to 97,000 considered low income understand able buy “BMR” units. Oppose fair housing displace “Ellis Act” tenants whom ineligible many don’t understand the rulings communities NavyYard,Candle Stick and 5MProject. Going disoriented on lies misinformed “MOHDC” selected those eligible lower income non corporate careers disqualified San Francisco reverted as banking capital Pacific Trade. Ed sold commerce efficiently, Asian trade forget heritage bogus Mr.Lee no plea to be the mayor of gentrification renown allow tax exemptions cartels. Irrelevancy, Ed’s heritage Chinatown a frown around town residents looking down for answer once protected housing. Speculations from developers whom going build corporate offices elated.

    Use permit monies for future housing. Swedish pension funds are guilty how? developers whom can’t get financing show abroad returns abundant Ed,Scott and London resolution to housing crisis? Going happen before 2020 former neighborhoods, Tenderloin,lower Haight,Hunter’s Point,Fillmore and Bay View going
    gentrified approved projects. Lack community associations Scott why commercialization of “district” never to late repeal on the ballots fight back! San Francisco reputed for corporate careers media attacking technology let’s address cartels with power to compete. Whom, Sul America Segura,Porto Seguro S.A,RHB bank,Anadolu Hayat Emekilik,Ping An Insurance,OCBC bank,UOB ltd (Singapore),DBS bank,CPIC insurance,RHB bank,Alleanza S.p.A,ICBC,Unipol Sai,Hua
    Xia bank,Generali Group,China Exim bank,Finmeccanica banco,CITIC,Banco Popolare di Milano and Bank China LTD. Economics growth technology and financial
    markets expansion global trade Bay area immediate returns shareholders whom.
    Anticipated new office towers around San Francisco rally for housing policies Ed!
    Support Ed secondary term “cartels” above equate prominence sold by whom NAIOP!

  3. Choice, if renter as myself you need to decide rental market is defiant how? Landlords,
    can remold your unit forget rent control sold this once incur expensive getting around the laws displacing tenants! “Charade” investor groups buying up older smaller rentals then “The Ellis Act” matter fact going to be 2,800 TIC units soon. Lottery system price neighborhoods, LGBTQ we gotten disrespect from Lee administration whom supported
    affluent and celebrities LGBTQ. Don’t give a damn about are blight and fight might to unit to be triumphant Nov 3, 2015 Castro,Mission,Parkside,Noe Valley and Cole Valley majority TIC” units facing evictions why? Ed saying, going build 30,000 “BMR” units nonsense to appease those naïve formerly middle class didn’t care now it’s problem rental imbalance preference affluent. Notice attitudes, favors those business savvy, advocates considered “antagonist” those saying Ed, heritage you need not associate
    Mayor Lee. Representative of heritage look upon decay gentrified “Chinatown” residents wearing frowns whom seek to displace them LLC,REITS and SIIS since sold foreign realty investments. Advocate fair housing,employment and safe neighborhoods during,
    Lee era, suffer neglected you decide have chance. Make change new era of equality!

  4. So pretty much, Peskin and his other TelHi Dwellers’ views are more important than building housing, so much so that mentioning it is an attack on democratic decision making.

    I think most people agree that we should have land use controls. We can all agree that we don’t want a coal burning power plant next door, people deserve a say on those sorts of things. But we should not impede progress just because some wealthy people living on a hill have eyes that burn on the sight of high rise developments, even if they are halfway across the bay from them.

    Peskin and the like misuse land use and historic preservation for their own selfish and petty needs.

  5. NIMBY means what people say NIMBY mean when they say NIMBY which means in this case isolating the decision making process on land use controls from residents.

  6. He is like the Eye of Sauron, in the Lord of The Rings. Anything that falls under his baleful gaze is at risk of preservation.

  7. You’re saying that NIMBY doesn’t mean what people say it means. Find me a definition where NIMBYism only literally refers to fighting development in your literal backyard?

    Peskin and his fellow TelHi dwellers can see Treasure Island from their windows, they don’t want tall building blocking their views. How is that not NIMBYism?

  8. There are cartels that put barriers up to condition development on them getting paid, CCHO/SFIC and their constituent nonprofits are a case in point.

    But most San Franciscans play no part in that and are excluded a priori as the prejudicial construct of NIMBY dictates that residents don’t know our own good and must be marginalized by authoritarianism to be kept from the democratic process.

  9. Development-blocking residents in SF neighborhoods behave as cartels, protecting their property values at the expense of others’ ability to find a home every day. They should be denigrated at every opportunity.


  10. Three consecutive SFHA housing directors were busted by the FBI for taking bribes to put people in housing. The going price was reported to be $25-50,000. In the meantime, my schizophrenic homeless brother rotted on the streets. Finally after the third one was indicted and 12 years on the list, he got a spot.

    This corruption has real victims.

  11. After The People’s Glorious Revolution, reactionary terms such as NIMBY will be forbidden under penalty of having your tongue cut out.

  12. Developers, their architects, consultants and attorneys have fostered a culture of boosterism where anyone who stands in the way of massive development profits is denigrated with a wide range of insults designed to keep residents as far away from what is supposed to be a democratic process as possible.

    NIMBY is one of these booster propaganda terms that must be cleansed of its utility.

  13. Argument by the waving of the hands, appeals to the obvious, comes up next when you’ve lost the argument and your propaganda is revealed as bankrupt.

  14. Calling people “NIMBY’s” is the equivalent of “so…when did you stop beating your wife?” There is NOTHING wrong with caring about what happens in your own neighborhood. Quite the opposite. This city needs a whole lot MORE people to pay attention to — and care about — what happens in their own neighborhoods.

  15. Mr. Redmond, I would very much like to drive a Ferarri. Do I have the money to buy — or even rent — a Ferarri? No, I do not. Does that mean that the City of San Francisco should enact a policy that will subsidize me to drive a Ferrari because, sadly, I don’t have the money for one and probably never will? Should everyone else in this same situation also be so subsidized? Seriously — I am from here, too. And we are all — as we have many time in the past — feeling the HUGE pressures that occur when you are lucky enough to live in a spot that just about anyone in the world would love to live in . It’s called “supply and demand.” Do I love its effects? No. But I find it utterly stunning and absurd that you — along with a lot of other people who don’t seem to have any contact with reality — seem to think that the city of San Francisco should somehow find a magic money wand that will allow anyone who wants to live here to stay here, no matter how much or little they may be able to pay to do so. Do you really think that businesses will do that, too? I watched major corporations leave this city in the 1980s because the city tried to charge them for all kinds of stuff. Know what they did? Moved to Bishop Ranch in San Ramon. Moved out of state. If you think that companies won’t move to other states (with lower labor costs and the HUGE tax incentives the states offer) then you’re living in a dream. BTW: I’d like to have a unicorn, too — do you expect Mayor Lee to find one of those for me, too — and maybe hand-deliver it with a bow on it’s neck?

  16. Umm…

    Did you fail business school or just inherit property than you thought you were entitled to but forgot that you had to manage an investment?

    You are literally arguing circularly against whatever point you’re trying to make.

    1. Evictions are caused by the rent laws and the way they make the rental business unattractive. You support those rent laws. Therefore you support evictions.

    2. Tenants set rents; not landlords. If you outbid another tenant for a rental then you are displacing him just as much as if you were a landlord evicting him.

    1. There are very few evictions in homes that are not rent controlled. Luckily the percentage of homes that are rent controlled declines every year. So the problem of evictions will naturally decline.

    2. No landlord can set a rent beyond which a tenant is willing to pay. What you are really complaining about is that some people have more money than other people.

    Rental laws = massive property tax break

  17. Let me know when you want to talk about SFHA and corruption and Willie Brown and well to do folks living in SFHA housing who were “friends” with the “right” people.

    When folks in religious orders – nuns and monks – are cussin’ Willie and Amos Brown for their ‘work’ – no wonder the SFHA is a joke.

    When you have to guarantee X percent of African American workers to move forward with any redevelopment project in Bayview or Hunters point – whats up with that?

  18. ugh… really?

    “When all you have left is semantic pedantic nitpicking, readers know that you have conceded the debate.”

    What readers? This a comment chain on someone else’s blog with a very coherent argument.

    “Scrooge McDuck is more persuasive.”

  19. Rebuild Pink Palace!

    Make a Purple Palace and a Green Palace while we’re at it. As long as it’s got a sub zero in every kitchen.

  20. Whenever legislation comes up that might help some of those rent-controlled tenants actually get the same security of ownership that the gray-ponytail activists enjoy (e.g. Prop R in 2002), they’re firmly on the other side.

  21. Nobody literally means someone’s backyard when they refer to NIMBYism. I think you know that already, but this is Wikipedia’s definition anyway.

    NIMBY (an acronym for the phrase “Not In My Back Yard”[1][2]), or Nimby,[3] is a pejorative
    characterization of opposition by residents to a proposal for a new
    development because it is close to them, often with the connotation that
    such residents believe that the developments are needed in society but
    should be further away. Opposing residents themselves are sometimes
    called Nimbies.

  22. If enough people vote for someone OTHER than Ed Lee, he won’t win. Use all three of your votes Sam: 1-2-3, Beat Ed Lee! And the fact you haven’t heard of them means they are honest, hard-working citizens, not professional politicians or lawyers, or worse, lawyers who become politicians.

  23. I do consider myself lucky. The best rent control is your family owning the building you live in.

    A family living here in the 90s could afford to buy a home. It may have been in the less desirable parts of the city, but you could do it. I know a family who did it, they were working class, limited-English speakers who lived in the Tenderloin originally. They were not lucky, but they worked very hard.

  24. The sitch in SF is never going to be fixed. It was expensive before biotech arrived. Consider yourself lucky if you have rent control. I don’t see myself as paying for mistakes of my family – what mistakes did we make? Not everyone accepts the premises continually being pushed re: “NIMBYs” – ‘city didn’t build enough’ ‘affordable housing is needed,’ etc, you know? I was just responding to the very arrogant sentiment ‘You have no excuse…’ – don’t presume I’m on board with the whole progressive agenda because of this.

  25. Sure it is more complicated, but that’s why I also said you and your family.

    Whether we like it or not, we pay for the mistakes of the previous generation.

    Redmond’s children will likely inherit his property in the city, everyone else he wants to pay rent for the rest of their life it seems.

  26. Yes, thank you for that, that’s exactly what I meant.

    I also don’t mean to say that we should of just left it there either. No, we would still have had to have built more homes to meet demand.

    My beef is with people like Tim, who talk about keeping San Franciscans in San Francisco, but has never talked about the only sustainable way of doing that, which is to own your home, just like he and many other progressives do.

  27. Sorry but those are just empty cliches.

    Again, prove that I am better off with more poor people in SF as opposed to less. Show your assumptions and reasoning.

  28. Human cooperation produces wealth. A functioning modern economy is a positive sum game. Not to understand that is worse than just blinkered, parochial grasping: it is wrong.

  29. The phrase “moral universal” is an oxymoron. Morality is inherently a socio-cultural norm, which is why it varies so much across different cultures. (Example: the Eskimos would leave their ageing parents to die in the winter to save themselves).

    We don’t rise or fall together. Our society is competitive and we often judge our success not in absolute terms, but rather relative to others. Which is why some on the left whine about inequality even though America’s poor would be considered well off in most other places.

    You need to develop arguments as to why it is bad for the city’s economy for those least able to afford to be here to remain here. You have not shown the numbers yet that might prove that. Explain how having more poor people in Sf makes me better off.

  30. Helping people in need is a moral universal. The burden of proof lies with the hardhearted miser, not the generous altruist.

    Gentrification and displacement are not the same thing [PDF]. Funding enough public building to mitigate housing shocks could weaken their interrelationship.

    We rise and fall together. There is no value created when people are forced from the place they want to live.

  31. I’m afraid that words like “good”, “right thing to do” and “morally” are just as subjective as “should” They don’t clarify but rather appeal to emotion and bias.

    You might be on safer ground with the alleged economic argument. However the burden of proof is still on you. Generally speaking gentrification and displacement involve people who add less economic value moving away, and being replaced by people who add more economic value

    If the goal is more prosperity and a broader tax base, then logic demands that we should welcome displacement, not oppose it.

  32. We should socialize risk because helping people who need it is the right thing to do, both morally and economically.

    Poverty or backwardness or the lack of industrialization is always and everywhere a social coordination-failure problem. The problem arises because of the enormous costs of creating market and its fundamental pillar—social trust.

    The ‘free’ market is not free. It is a fundamental public good that is extremely costly to create.

    Yi Wen [PDF]

  33. What matters to most people is not the historical accident of your birth but rather the value you add to the city?

    What value is that? Why should we prefer to have you here rather than someone else?

  34. This is U3 to U6. Tim is questioning the composition. I dont understand why he doesnt do the research instead of just guessing based on him predisposition.

  35. Depends on the crime. Some crimes in SF are increasing but others are decreasing. It’s not a universal thing.

    The crimes that matter to most people are violence, robbery and other crimes that can have a massive effect on a resident.

    If those are down where you live, and things like drugs and prostitution are up in other areas where you don’t live or visit, I suspect that many can live with that.

    The US cities with the highest crimes rates in the US are non-gentrified e.g. Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Gary IN, and our very own Oakland. See a pattern there?

  36. Those who demand more community input are usually activists who anticipate that such a system will give them increased influence as they shout everyone else down.

    Real democracy is silent.

  37. Who do you think Lee is vulnerable to? I haven’t heard of any of the other guys. Compare that to last time when Lee ran against Yee, Chiu, Avalos, Herrera, Dufty, Adachi and a bunch of other high profile challengers.

  38. How valid are the fears of tourist stores though? Did anyone have to fight off Disney or a tshirt shop?

    I know those Telegraph Hill Dwellers love themselves some buffet steam tables weighed by the pound (apparently Mama’s said they’d have them too), but Piazza Market ended up one of the least neighborhood serving options possible. Mama’s will have to do tourist business to survive. Note that nobody cared when the Tower Record annex became a tourist centered business. It’s political. If you really want to bring a market to your neighborhood, you go about it proactively in a different way. I wish that happened.

    I’ve just seen you declaring a neighborhood consensus to describe your own positions on controversial topics where there’s no consensus.

    Of course, we’re both passionate, and I think we can agree about as much as we disagree.

  39. “Next, there’s the neighborhood group tendency of thinking if you dream it, you can manifest it. You can imagine a field of dreams or a hardware store or whatever you envision in say Rossi Market, but then can you make an operator magically appear?”

    The context is that many residents were alarmed by the encroaching tourist stores and services and Rossi clearly was something for residents.

    I’m not aware that I use ‘neighbors want’ to represent my own views. Neighbors wanted a library and while I wasn’t opposed, I wondered what purpose satellite libraries – those without extensive archives for research – will serve in society 10 years from now as so much is accessible via the Internet. It is a nice complex and the park is stunningly beautiful.

    But Peskin won two elections, no? So neighbors – those who voted for him anyway – must have supported his actions, including the Pagoda.

    Thanks for the civil discourse.

  40. Gary, First off, you have a tendency of describing your personal positions as what “the neighbors want”….and it’s certainly true of some vocal neighbors, but it’s also a bad habit that a lot of engaged people have picked up, in North Beach and other neighborhoods (Castro, Mission, Noe, etc.) to over value their allies and dismissive dissent, and diversity. It smacks of power grabbing.

    Next, there’s the neighborhood group tendency of thinking if you dream it, you can manifest it. You can imagine a field of dreams or a hardware store or whatever you envision in say Rossi Market, but then can you make an operator magically appear?

    When has it been a good idea to let neighborhood group play overlord? How’d that work out for the Piazza Market that wasn’t a market? Should the space sit empty until the whims are met? I bring that up, because Planning is the reason we don’t have a new salami factory in the Boun Gusto plant, and there’s talk of the building coming down. Yup. But the crackpot neighborhood groups are busy with other self interests, Plazas, and 1980’s mural restoration, and frankly, this isn’t their expertise. Nor should it be. The system you propose is far too open to corruption, and personal favors. These groups are given too much weight. It becomes their identity, and in some cases, careers. They already get advisory roles and abuse it.

    The history of the Pagoda is pretty complex, and goes back to when it was a functional movie theater….and the National Trust for Historic Preservation named it as one of the 10 lost sites for the year it was demolished. Neighborhood groups stopped every proposed project, including preservation, and it’s the birth of the obstructionist tag for Peskin. Eminent domain is a brutish concept though. We can both identify plenty of sites that don’t involve such intrusive policy.

  41. Socializing risk, including risk of housing price shocks, is something we should do. It is dispiriting that San Francisco has had such a deeply incompetent public housing agency, but the real problem is money.

  42. Did you even watch the debate? The housing issue was brought up multiple times. The fallacy of tech industry job markets was also brought into the conversation. I’m confused.

  43. If that’s you, then Tim’s dream of a purely seniority-based housing policy is never going to be friendly to you at all, unfortunately.

  44. First, the only issue with the Pagoda that I’m aware of was that the owner wanted to allow a Rite Aid to move in that would have been totally inappropriate for that site. Now the neighbors want a subway station there, and the owner wants condos, so I’m siding with the neighbors on this one.

    I didn’t mean to imply that the results of each community group’s efforts would be realized. What I envision is that each district presents is plans to another committee such as the Planning Commission or the BOS and they choose which of them is doable and which should be started first.

    There are issues with what I suggested above regarding Bay Street, including what to do with the water treatment plant, the bus yard, etc. Experts can decide if they can be moved or not and that is one reason for the Planning Commission to evaluate each plan and decide.

    Finally, I was on a few community committees that were very contentious. Similarly tasked committees in other states had to install metal detectors at the entrances due to threats.

    And when we paid someone who was a strong facilitator to help us, it made a huge difference. We became more productive and had fewer disagreements – and those we did have didn’t escalate to something ugly. And that is what is needed for any community effort here in SF.

  45. Nooooo. Gary, the worst thing is to empower the local neighborhood based on the voices that are raised the loudest, or to give a Supervisor voted in by district, by small margins, influence over Planning so it would require their favor. Sorry, but that’s Kingmaking right there.

    The Pagoda site in NB is one example how it can go wrong.

    Eminent Domain is a dangerous tool. It’s killed neighborhoods in big cities. Property owners do not get compensated fairly, and personal assets do not stand in the way of the city, they are the city.

    You’re right about needing Urban Planners. Get some retirees out of bed for all I care.

  46. That’s SF in a nutshell. Involving the citizenry further in long term planning is one way to make sure that long term planning never comes to fruition. Look at the Geary BRT; ten years of neighborhood involvement with virtually no progress.

  47. I didn’t write that citizens would lead it. And it is way better than nothing. Please feel free to float another solution.

    What we have now is a patchwork of episodic variances with no thought given to any long-term goal.

  48. Ridiculous. Can you point to any citizen lead plan which didn’t take 3-4x as long as we strive for the mythical common ground and seek to satisfy every single persons personal desires? One of the largest problems in today’s SF is that the citizenry mostly doesn’t want new residents

  49. I too am surprised there hasn’t been more in 48 Hills about the alternative Mayoral candidates; I didn’t even know there were six people running against Lee until I went to the LWV forum. I think Lee is vulnerable, and if the Asian community can be made to understand that THEY are next on the list for rent increases and evictions, there very well could be a new Mayor on election Day. Ranked choice: “1-2-3 (Weiss, Herrera, Schuffman) Evict Ed Lee!”

  50. And you and others bloviate over opposing housing all over the city. A true San Franciscan is NIMC not in my city

  51. https://www.sfdph.org/dph/EH/CEHP/Lead/default.asp

    The violent crime rate in San Francisco is higher than anyone would like to see, but it is roughly half what Oakland has today or San Francisco itself had for decades, until crime rates started dropping in the mid-1990s.

    Law and order is important. Better policing is a big deal, especially for the most vulnerable. Law and order politics, though, generally are ugly and senseless.

  52. Tenants set rents; not landlords.

    No landlord can set a rent beyond which a tenant is willing to pay. What you are really complaining about is that some people have more money than other people.

  53. I think his point is more that if a greater percentage of the people who are currently tenants had instead been helped to buy, then we would have both a more stable population and a less contentious and divisive political environment.

    Net demand would not necessarily. go up. It’s just that more of those people would own their home.

    The big error was the policy from 1979 of encouraging renting rather than buying. The city could instead have offered down payments and loans for tenants to buy their own homes as TIC’s. Maybe fast-track condo conversions.

    Many landlords would prefer to sell to their tenants at a market price than deal with rent control. Everyone would win. But the politicians instead all coveted the tenant voting bloc.

  54. Evictions are caused by the rent laws and the way they make the rental business unattractive. You support those rent laws. Therefore you support evictions.

    There are very few evictions in homes that are not rent controlled. Luckily the percentage of homes that are rent controlled declines every year. So the problem of evictions will naturally decline.

  55. Peskin lives on the mainland, the islands are not in his back yard, they are halfway into San Francisco Bay.

  56. Tim writes: “Seriously: If we were able to poll people who lived her five years ago – whether they are still here or not – and asked if they were better off under Ed Lee, I think we’d get a picture of a city that is not doing better, not for all.”

    Tim, it’s your lucky day. People will be polled next month, and I don’t think you are going to like the answer.

  57. “Are we better off after 30 years of the CCHO and SFIC running the table on ‘progressive’ ‘opposition’ to Willie Brown’s operation?”

    is the question we should be asking.

    Instead we get Tim Redmond doing his best impression of Monty Python’s “Black Knight” and not even bleeding on Ed Lee.

  58. ‘Affordable housing’ is San Franciscans paying for your housing. Not that you are not a San Franciscan, but it’s your neighbors paying your rent for you. This movement will never be sustainable, because that idea isn’t appealing to most. Nobody wants huge government-run apartment complexes, especially with so many failures of the past still staring them in the face.

  59. I get your point, but reality is more complicated. What if you’re a longtime San Franciscan but reached buying age in 2013?

  60. Like rent control, promoting ownership increases demand. Without a matching increase in supply, increased demand makes housing shortages worse, not better.

  61. Tim will never give you the time of day because you do not want to be a NIMBY.

    Realize Tim Redmond prioritizes NIMBY concerns over housing. His vision for SF is a selfishly guarded one that essentially puts a wall up.

    If you could build a 50 story affordable housing building next door to Tim’s house on Bernal Heights, think he would allow it?

  62. Tim, I’m not sure what you mean that no one is asking questions in this Mayor’s race about the impacts of Ed Lee’s policy decisions in reaction to the global financial collapse. As you know, I’ve been researching and discussing that issue over the last 11 months as a Mayoral candidate. And I made a presentation about my analysis two weeks ago at El Rio. I invited you and local media to the presentation. I also recorded it, edited it, put it up on social media, and shared it with local press, including you. You even have a hard copy in DVD form that I gave you. Since you have opted to ignore my contributions as an SF resident and Mayoral candidate once again in your writing, I will offer it up here to voters and others who are interested in my analysis of the policy decisions made by the Lee administration since 2010, as well as solutions for how to move forward. Hopefully it will spark an enthusiastic discussion and lead us toward actions and policies in service to a new way forward for SF and the Bay Area.

    I sincerely don’t understand your disinterest in interviewing (not endorsing, mind you) the Mayoral candidates (all of us) about the key issues facing San Francisco. You seem to be someone who values grassroots democracy and accuracy, so I wonder if you truly believe that nobody in this Mayor’s race is asking the question “Are San Franciscans better off than they were five years ago?” I want to talk about my insights with you, your readers, and all of San Francisco. Can you commit to interviewing (once again, not endorsing) the candidates running for Mayor about these issues? This is one of the most important moments in SF history, and there is a Mayor’s race in progress that can determine the course of our future.

    It is not just enough to critique. We are tasked with finding solutions. And I for one stepped up to that task when I dedicated my life and skill-set to running for Mayor of the city I love. I am not alone. I am part of a grassroots movement. And I ask you to join us.

    Full length presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KazsUpW-5PY
    10 minute edited version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7nQyC6GZgM

    Find your yes, Tim.
    Find your yes, San Francisco.

    Amy Farah Weiss

  63. If you’re really a long time San Franciscan, you have no excuse to not have bought a place to live. San Francisco used to be a place where blue collar workers and immigrants could afford to buy property. That is the only sustainable way to make sure you and your family can afford to stay here.

    Progressives did jack to encourage home ownership, while they themselves bought property. What an amazing example of do as I say, not as I do. Notice Tim does not mention that he is one of those lucky folks who have benefited from owning property. He credits that to tech, but conveniently doesn’t mention his own NIMBY policies that put concerns about shadows over housing. The tech influx did of course contribute, but really this is the chickens coming home to roost, since Progressives had a whole decade to prepare for the future.

    Until progressives get rid of their NIMBY allies, they are doomed to price their own base out of the city.

  64. It could be a lot worse if Aaron Peskin was Mayor instead.

    He would be robbing Peter to pay Paul the attorneys having cocktails at the Battery.

    “the appeal confirms a growing trend of disparate NIMBY groups coming together to back each others projects and scratch each other’s backs. It’s the usual suspects- a reduction in affordable housing, inadequate assessment of seismic issues, too much traffic on the Bay Bridge.Would some bird-watchers please come forward in the comments with a reason why their organization is spending donor’s money on this?”


  65. Not only that, but they stop counting unemployed as part of the overall potential workforce after a while. Numbers are skewed.

  66. “We can build-out the city without having to evict so many people.”


    One way to do this is for everyone, and I mean everyone, to ease up on the usual cultural warfare rhetoric.

    We can also make it easier to convert zoning from something like offices. Residential is still more profitable than commercial for the first time in maybe ever, and there will be lease breaks when the startups crash. There’s incentive to do it. Allow live – work so it’s not a zoning issue.

    Fix Planning, and the DOB.
    I know small time builders forced to reduce units to get approval.

  67. Section 8.1 in the prior General Plan Housing Element stated clearly the “option to buy or rent” in san Francisco in terms of development and %, meaning 50-50. Unfortunately since the Willie Brown and Gavin terms, through Lee we have had more of a 95-5 % split of market rate for sale BMR/AMI units and lacking rental housing. Now that the prices are up as much on rentals as for-sale, the rentals are just as hot, and thus the developers are not restricted due to Costa-Hawkins from building anything resembling affordable housing.
    Since the Banks and Big business (Google/Twitter/Trulia) etc. make big money, and offer little % interest wise in return, we should garner more “back-bone” when negotiating transit TIDF taxes and housing approvals, to mandate the philanthropic idea of what was done in the 1940’s and 1950’s to develop workforce housing. No more 23-29% profit margins, go back to letting them only earn 3%…. or less, than we get what we need, not what the developers feel entitled to. Its for the public’s good….

  68. I arrived home in San Francisco a few weeks ago. My driver from the airport had just got a letter advising her of a 42% rent increase. Upon arriving home, I discovered that all of the tenants in the building next door were evicted. A 10-year tenant in the building across street had just received an OMI eviction notice. Another unit on my block was turned into a full-time tourist rental.

    Those of us who are concerned about displacement and its harmful effects upon those displaced and upon the city, are often called ‘resistant to positive change.”

    We can build-out the city without having to evict so many people.

    San Francisco used to care for the homeless and poor because it was the compassionate thing to do. Under Lee, we care for the homeless because we don’t want to see them.

    San Francisco used to be a hub for the arts and innovation.

    Now, we are becoming a mill for developing different platforms for the flow of information. Someday soon that function will be outsourced to lower-paying countries and content will be valuable, content that will be created by all of the artists, poets, writers and other creative people that we deemed not worthy of living in San Francisco because they don’t have a lot of money.

    Lee’s district 3 appointee, Julie ‘the gaff factory’ Christensen said that rent control is the problem, referred to Chinese renters as the ‘lower class’ and claimed that the “horror stories” – like all of my neighbors being evicted – “have not taken place”. She lives in the Lee/Conway ivory tower and it is clear that she represents Conway’s interests over those of us who live in her district.

    Lee/Conway have been a disaster for the city.

    It is being hinted that on Monday (10/12), Twitter and HP will be laying-off a lot of employees. It will be interesting to see if that bumps the stocks higher or if skittish investors start to pull out of these companies that are unprofitable – including AirBnB which still is not making a profit. Regardless, fasten your seatbelts – we are going to see some challenges very soon.

  69. “The first is the unproven, but likely reality that one of the reasons the unemployment rate has fallen is that unemployed people have been priced out of SF while tens of thousands of people have moved here from somewhere else to take jobs.”
    Tim – This is a interesting question and really should be answerable.
    Might it be worth trying to do the research on this to get the conclusive answer either way, so we wont have to speculate?

  70. If you lived here long enough more likely than not that smaller and smaller part of your income goes towards your rent today than it was 5 years ago.

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