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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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UncategorizedWill Airbnb use NRA tactics to block law enforcement?

Will Airbnb use NRA tactics to block law enforcement?

The central issue of Prop. F wasn’t in any of the company’s campaign ads. What happens when that part comes back to the supes? Well, the company’s chief political hack is channeling the NRA

The NRA's members organize to oppose even the most reasonable regulations on guns. Is that the model Airbnb is going to follow?
The NRA’s members organize to oppose even the most reasonable regulations on guns. Is that the model Airbnb is going to follow?

By Tim Redmond

NOVEMBER 5, 2015 – Up against close to $9 million, the Yes on F campaign did pretty well: More than 44 percent of the voters still said they wanted tighter regulations on short-term rentals.

And now, with Aaron Peskin coming back onto the Board of Supervisors, the issue will not be going away. I think Julia Carrie Wong summed up what a lot of us have been saying: Airbnb’s entire campaign was aimed at two parts of the ballot measure (the limit on the number of days a place can be rented and the private right of action – the so-called “neighbors can sue neighbors”) but never even mentioned the real crux of the ballot measure, which was enforcement.

So now maybe, once Peskin is sworn into office, Sup. David Campos, who has pushed this issue over and over, will come back and say: Fine. The voters have spoken. We will drop any mention of decreasing the number of nights someone can rent out a unit, and forget the private right of action. Let’s just talk about the part of the initiative that Airbnb didn’t run a single ad, or put out a single mailer, or make a single statement about:

Enforcing the existing law.

That’s what Prop. F was really about. The measure would have made sure that only units that are legal under the current law, which Airbnb helped write, can be posted on the company’s website.

That would mean, according to the head of the city’s enforcement office, that the majority of current listings would be gone.

The Airbnb lobbyists like the current law. The Airbnb campaign didn’t dispute the current law (in fact, some ads suggested we “give it time to work.”) So what happens if the supes try to make it work?

And how does Airbnb get out of that one?

Actually, we have some signs of what the company might do. Airbnb’s political operative told reporters after the election that he was able to “activize” the users of the service – and compared his outfit to the NRA.

The comparison may be more than hyperbole. The NRA, let us remember, opposes any limits of any kind on the ownership and use of firearms. Even the most reasonable restrictions, aimed at keeping people from buying military-style assault weapons that can be (and are) used in mass killing are shot down by the NRA’s “activized” membership.

So will Airbnb play the same game with reasonable rules aimed at enforcing existing law?

I suspect we shall see in the next few months.

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. “Airbnb’s entire campaign was aimed at two parts of the ballot measure (the limit on the number of days a place can be rented and the private right of action – the so-called “neighbors can sue neighbors”)” These two provisions directly affected Airbnb hosts, not the corporation. That’s why the hosts fought so hard to defeat it.

    Because the ballot measure couldn’t be modified, the good parts (like not allowing unregistered units to be listed on the website) had to be thrown out along with the bad. That’s what happens when zealots take over.

  2. Maybe it was the ads, maybe it wasn’t. But the two points stressed–limiting the number of rental nights, and the private right of action–were precisely those aimed directly at the Airbnb hosts and not at the corporation. And the hosts protected their interests by walking the precincts for the “No” campaign..
    Many Airbnb hosts want to see the law enforced. Those who have taken the trouble to get properly registered don’t like to see unregistered units being listed on the Airbnb website. And some don’t even like Airbnb itself. The ads on the bus stops were truly embarrassing. But hosts also didn’t like being treated like pariahs and being blamed for the housing crisis.
    Prop F had flaws, and because it was a ballot measure that couldn’t be modified it was justly defeated, like any any other poorly conceived ballot measure that may have some good points.

    Both sides were tone-deaf. Let’s hope we can now get past polemics and deal with the real problems.

  3. A record store is a retail space, so no. Like I said, you can’t have a retail space in residential. A showroom however would be a gray area.

    Single bed Massage studios also fall into a gray area, like daycares, or just home offices, where you are in theory allowed to conduct business with a business license.

    In SF, you’re going to encounter medical offices, schools, places of worship, yoga studios, restaurants, art galleries, real estate offices, (just off the top of my head) in residential houses that have been repurposed as commercial. It’s part of the charm of the City. Also consider that many retail spaces beneath residential, were not originally built for retail, they too were repurposed.

    This sort of amateur City Planning game we all tend to play, doesn’t really go on outside of SF, and the truth is, things were probably better when it was a zoning free for all, on a need basis.

  4. Yes, SF has 2 Michelin 3-star restaurants now (vs zero a few years back, and crime is definitely down. The museum scene is significantly improved.

    The arts scene is struggling due to high rents, and is migrating to the East Bay, which is a good thing for Oakland. If you take a holistic view of the Bay Area, that’s probably a good thing overall. The city feels less lively in some other ways – the giant Halloween street party is a distant memory.

    I am not sure diversity has changed significantly. There are fewer Hispanics, to be sure, but far more Indians than before, then again Indian-Americans are not “good” people of color for clientelist politicians. As for African-Americans, they have always been the victims of horrendous neglect (check out the life expectancy in Bayview-Hunter’s Point).

    Muni is still a shambles due to the equipoise of corruption and incompetence. The Housing Authority is still a scandal. Care not Cash has made only modest improvements to the homeless situation. The school district is still a disgrace.

    The City Controller’s office has surveys asking residents to rate city services, going back to 1996. They make for interesting reading, and you can also get the raw data set:

    For the most part, they are trending in the right direction, even if overall the city only gets a B-minus rating. Considering we have a budget the size of Paris or Chicago for much smaller population, San Franciscans are clearly not getting their money’s worth.

  5. I’m not sure what to think. Everyone who worked with him back when reported nothing but terrible experiences. That interview, on the other hand, is gracious and entirely reasonable.

    You never know. Maybe he’ll surprise.

  6. Yeah. I think Airbnb has set the NRA as their model for engagement. They’ll use many of the same scare tactics. The only difference is that Airbnb is not promoting a product that kills people.

  7. Thanks for the hoodline link WCW. The article showed Peskin to be extremely gracious. Certainly not the figure often portrayed in these discussion threads.

  8. That depends on the zoning. Selling stamps by mail is one thing, running a massage studio or record store quite another.

  9. Saying the No on Prop F team underperformed is an understatement. At $8.5 million for 73,556 votes they spent $115 per vote. This was not an efficient campaign and it still left 60,025 voters unpersuaded.

    That said, Airbnb did get to try out a new strategy of minion engagement and lobbying that they plan to roll out throughout the nation. Marching orders will be issued soon.

  10. Well, now I feel old. Topsiders were the boat shoes preppy kids wore in the ’80s with no socks. Sperry sells ’em for $70.

    Those red mocassins are not boat shoes. The internet tells me that Tod’s makes fancier boat shoes that cost $150. In a city with million dollar studios, why focus on mere $150 shoes?

  11. These things are symbols, like your startup hoodie and your shitty
    salesforce shwag backpack. This is you saying “I’m rich bitch!” because you offer the community absolutely nothing else and you’re not apologizing for it, in fact you’re flaunting it. This is millenials with the religion of conspicuous consumption because they think this is how success dresses and evicting, disrupting, and blanching is how they think success acts. Chasing money to accumulate property (Tod shoes, REI equipment, single family housing) while neglecting the community in which you exist is regression. This isn’t new. Buying your personality and status is fairly commonplace (see nouveau riche). Also, a white male dominated industry is as played out and regressive a concept as whatever band played at Oracle Circle Jerk this year.

    Walk down Valencia, Divisadero, or 24th street right now and look at people’s feet. I guarantee you see at least one pair a minute.

  12. Thx for responding with some of the ‘Vision’.

    Yet, even so, Progs can’t help but categorizing, stereotyping and dumping upon others.

    But, I have nothing to fear. (whats a Topsider?)

  13. Healthy SF, one of the precursors to Obamacare; rent control; the country’s highest paid municipal workforces (thanks to Unions); No on prop 8 was organized in SF; the Coalition on Homelessness; SFGH performs gender reassignment surgeries for MediCal patients; Vision Zero and SF Bike Coalition’s influence; and the momentum generated by props F and I (both had huge organizing coalitions against gentrification, unseen for the memorable past about any other issue except maybe the Iraq War).

    The right (comprised nationally and now locally of repub/libertarian/conservative/frat/bro/male/WHITES) feels like they are having their day in the sun, only because they are surrounded constantly by themselves, having now migrated from Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, Michigan etc suburbs, to the Mission, and saturated it. Every-fucking-one of you wears those Tod’s Topsiders, its like a Talbot catalog.

    Silicon Valley is white, male, libertarian, and greedy,. San Francisco is heading that way and everyone banging war drums and screaming “Progress!” and “Victory!” are pathetic.

  14. I can’t see 120 days penciling out vs LT rental. Sure its ‘some’ money. But its not what a LT will get. Consistently. (fingers x’d 🙂 )

    Just figure the 14% TOT and 13% Service Fee that LTs don’t have. Then realize at best an 80% occupancy rate. And just the shear busy-ness of all that turnover. STRs are not a welcoming path to the easy life.

    You are correct that the lower number is a polite way to say F U.

  15. The only dangerous parts of Hayes Valley are the affordable housing projects. Most of the neighborhood is very nice and gentrified.

  16. Agreed. This claim that all the airbnb hosts will move on to shady underground websites to skirt regulation is ridiculous. Firstly, it is AirBnB’s clean “professional” vibe that attracts so much business in the first place – how much activity would the exact same rental get off some platform run out of Bosnia on a website built in 1997 called renthauzuntis.blr? I’m sure all those wonderful Parisians and Mid Westerners wanting to visit San Francisco will be lining up out the door.

    Also, going with such platforms will indicate a clear willingness and intent to break the law on the hosts part – which if/when caught could mean significantly more severe punishments which I doubt many people would want to sign up for.

    Yes, more “legitimate” platforms based offshore might emerge – but as they grow and want to enter the mainstream they will have to make good with the relevant authorities, especially if they want to work with major financial institutions for funding, public listing, etc.If AirBnB were still a tiny little start up they wouldn’t be getting the same level of scrutiny today – but this is what happens when companies mature. The claim that regulating these companies will create a shadow economy instead is a ridiculous rationale that boils down to “well yes it’s wrong, but if they don’t do it someone else will – so let’s not enforce the law on anyone!”.

  17. Scoot seems like the new breed of start-ups that feel invulnerable.

    They’ve left a Scoot on my block for a week. While they got an exemption from RPP (permit parking), they’re supposed to follow all the other parking rules. However, there’a PCO giving out a tix this AM for Street Cleaning. And they are subject to “72 Hour” rules. But, what happens if they don’t pay the tix? Their license is a one-time deal ($18), there’s no renewel – thus no reason to pay the tix, so seems like they figure F-it to tix.

    Plus, they’ve (or the SFMTA) have desigated lots of spots around town

    where you can leave one of these things. No outreach. Just another handshake.

  18. Seems like SF should just duplicate whatever NY State comes up with or work off their experiments to regulate, which are further down the pipeline. They’re dealing with it on a Federal level, and while there are some localized concerns the BOS can address, this issue has been waded down by grandstanding which wouldn’t be happening if the timing and market were different.

  19. Home businesses are 100% legal.

    Perhaps you meant using a home as commercial retail?

    Are you going to crack down on Tupperware parties too?

    I don’t think that’s a good angle. The question is at what point an Air Bnb becomes a Bed and Breakfast, and is governed by the same set of rules.

  20. I’m not an ABnB booster. It does seem like they’re not the best of citizens, though I’ll give them points for ponying up the back taxes that they didn’t exactly owe. FYI, I didn’t have to go thru anything more than a debit card to secure my room. Maybe something else was in play.

  21. Care to inform some of us low-info voters what those lies were? Or do you just throw out accusations. I ask becuz I’m genuinely curious.

  22. Unemployment is much lower and there are a lot more and better job and career activities. Restaurants, cafes, bars, art galleries, museums, and parks have been greatly expanded and improved. Homes have been improved and blight and litter is much lower. Crime is dramatically lower.

  23. The quality of life has gotten much better. Crime is dramatically lower than it was in the 1980’s, for example. There are much better restaurants, bars, art galleries, and amenities. Incomes and the number and quality of jobs have risen and the poverty rate has declined. Bike sharing, ride sharing, bike lanes, and, yes, home sharing have made life and transportation easier in many ways.

  24. Yes, messaging is quite important. Since virtually all San Franciscans are liberal, quite a few folks who are not paying close attention vote for the Reactionary and destructive policies of the ‘progressives’ because they think that progressives are liberal and well-intended. Prop F, which would have driven thousands of working class and middle class San Franciscans out of the City and hurt all of our neighborhoods, is a perfect example. Prop I, which would have dramatically raised rents in the Mission, is another example. The ‘progressives’ do not care at all about the middle class or the working class in San Francisco (as this post indicates).

  25. I complained about Scoot not engaging neighbors, many who were really pissed about 3 scoot scooters that appeared on our block. I have a garage so I’m no affected.

  26. Or, instead of saying No got a quarter more votes than Yes, you could say that Yes received 18% fewer votes than No…because numbers work that way.

    Or we could say there is a 10% difference in the total number of votes.

    Funny how people frame things in line with how they want them to seem, ain’t it?

  27. I’m on the pro AirBnb/anti Campos side but even I think that the platforms should only list people who are registered. A liquor store will only sell me beer if I am of age, a car rental company makes sure that I have a license.

    BUT…the argument against it is that the City hasn’t made it clear that it will be operating on a level playing field. Will craigslist only print listings after the host has showed them the registration? Will European and Asian sites? Will private sites (of which there are many) be shut down?

    Or will this requirement just push more listings underground, harder to track and and far less likely to pay their TOT taxes.

  28. Yeah, it’s always “money won them the election!” when you lose, and “the will of the people” when you win, right?

  29. LOL “far left” – you’re being just as disingenuous as AirBnB’s ad campaign. The problem with ‘big money’ (your term) in elections is that we have so damn many low-information voters who will internalize the deceptive ads that ran ad nauseum.

    To paraphrase George Carlin, think about the average person, then realize half the population is dumber than that.

  30. I am saying that low-information voters were lied to, and they believed the lies. You could call that being stupid.

  31. No, it will drive platforms to comply. After a few years, the unregulated renegade platforms will be used for crappy rentals, prostitution and to sell hot goods. They will be the electronic version of ‘the back alley.’

  32. AirBnB will be regulated and banned in every major city with housing issues. I’m not going to spend time doing searches for you, but at least 3 cities on your list have or will have regulations VERY soon:







    And here is how it is viewed worldwide:

    “His findings follow the pattern in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and other U.S. cities. Forty-four percent of Airbnb’s revenue and 45 percent of guest visits in these 18 cities came from hosts with multiple listings. In certain cities, including Rome, Barcelona, Tokyo, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and others, 60 percent or more of guest visits came from hosts with multiple listings, with London and Berlin showing a 50-50 split.”

    It’s a fucking business and it needs to be aggressively regulated.


  33. They were harmed by clearly illegal use of it. That’s a decent argument for better enforcement. It’s not much of an argument for decreasing the legal limits.

  34. I am fine with the city going after a host. That makes sense

    But going after the platforms will drive the platforms elsewhere

  35. That is a separate issue. If an owner does an Ellis or OMI then does STR’s, existing laws provide remedies for that

    But if a unit is genuinely empty, explain exactly how anyone is harmed by me doing STR’s in it

  36. It is going to be required from all platforms.

    I know – you will just use a Romanian website, but then the city will have to go after you.

  37. So not in the “insignificant” cities of Madrid, Rome, Hong Kong, Cairo, Rio, Chicago, Toronto and 4,000 others?

  38. The legitimate reason why Airbnb opposes a requirement for hosts to be registered is that many hosts will leave Airbnb if that passed, and instead use their rivals who would not be subject to that rule

  39. The money quote: “As CEO Brian Chesky told the audience at the Fortune Global Forum conference Wednesday morning: “You have to be shameless.””

  40. And just because it hasn’t been regulated in a city doesn’t mean they don’t deem it worthy of regulating.

    Govt is slow.

    There will be regulations in a lot more cities which is why Airbnb is creating all these “clubs”

  41. Yeah, it is only being regulated in insignificant cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco – to name a few.

    I don’t care if AirBnB is completely unregulated in Oklahoma City.

  42. Pando’s reporter (who has done some of the most critical reporting on Airbnb) covers the press conference he wasn’t invited to (link is free for 2 days):

    The curious part of yesterday’s press conference – aside the question of what could possibly have happened to Pando’s invitation – is that it didn’t actually announce anything new…

    As Airbnb ramps up its lobbying campaign to combat a growing number of jurisdictions seeking to regulate it, it will doubtless continue to trumpet its willingness to “work with government” along the way. There have been glimpses in San Francisco of what this looks like in practice. The most egregious of these emerged in May when [Joe of] the San Francisco Examiner published the chat logs of the Planning Commissioner who changed her vote at the literal eleventh hour of a hearing, a vote which killed a key provision of proposed regulations for short term rentals.

    The texts revealed a back-and-forth between Commissioner Christine Johnson and the Mayor’s Office, in which a mayoral aide chides Johnson for her initial vote…

    That “#6” provision [which would require Airbnb to only list hosts who register with the city] is a third rail the company won’t touch, because there is no palatable public argument for opposing it. Among all of the No on F campaign materials, the item was never once mentioned. The closest I’ve heard anyone from Airbnb come to addressing it was in that same Planning Commission meeting in April, when Airbnb’s David Owen claimed that Airbnb was technologically incapable of compliance. Unfortunately for Airbnb, Commissioner Dennis Richards formerly worked at Salesforce and called Owen’s bluff. That particular argument hasn’t resurfaced.

    Instead, Airbnb and its well-coordinated host cohort have bloviated at length about preserving the middle class, stimulating small local businesses, and protecting users from municipal government overreach that it has variously compared to North Korea, the Taliban, and the NSA.


  43. Buyer beware is the law of the jungle. In a civilized society we don’t do that for businesses. There need to be regulations to protect the consumer and society at large. And in this case, I don’t even see much upside reward. Home sharing would still exist without parasite companies like AirBnB skimming money from both sides. My non-AirBnb experiences renting private homes have been uniformly better.

  44. I’m even just talking from a practical political perspective. The 120 day was reasonably well justified with the argument “We don’t want short term rentals to be invariably more profitable than long term rentals”. The reduction in the cap is mostly just justified with the argument “Because fuck you, that’s why.”

  45. No, in a civilized society you don’t get the “choice” to go with a scam operator, any more than you get the “choice” to go to an unlicensed surgeon.

  46. A residence isn’t a business. Depending upon zoning, allowing people to open a business in their homes is a privilege, not a right.

  47. Again it is about choice – something you appear to struggle with.

    I can pay full price and get full protection. Or go informal and accept more risk for a better experience.

  48. If the sharing economy can’t follow the rules of civilized society, then the sharing economy needs to go. In the meantime, we need to fight this BS. Put up ballot measure after ballot measure, and sue their asses in court till they either go bankrupt or clean up their act.

  49. You are equating the sharing economy with the old school economy. That is a mistake. The sharing economy is more informal and fuzzy. You don’t expect the same levels of service but the rewards can be greater

  50. I have noticed that those who oppose airbnb ignore the result on F. Had it passed, it would have been the great voice of the people, of course

  51. Interesting, I have done both ST and LT lets on the same unit and I would say that you need to do far more than 120 nights ST to equal the return on LT. And that doesn’t even take into account the extra hassle of ST lets, and of course the taxes.

    The real reason to go ST is control. You don’t risk being stuck with a lifer for decades as you do with LT. And if you decide to sell, you can always do so with vacant possession

  52. In some cases, even then it might be. But this is very different. The analogy does not hold. Other companies screen, they have proper insurance, and they assist with refunds when problems arise.

  53. So your first thought after the voters reject an incremental increase in regulation is “Let’s ban it altogether”?

  54. 120 days was estimated as the point at which it would likely be more profitable than renting long term.

    And trying to lower the cap in the ballot measure was just a little insult to people trying to do it legally. Does anyone really think a minor reduction like that is going to increase long term rental stock enough to justify encoding it in a hard-to-change initiative?

  55. If you join a dating service which hooks you up with a chick and then, later, she steals your wallet, is it the fault of the dating service?

  56. No, AirBnB collects a service fee. If the service is not provided, it should be refunded. They also facilitate the service, so they should facilitate the refund process from the provider, like Expedia and Orbitz have done when I had issues. AirBnB patently refused to do this. I had to turn to PayPal and my credit card company.

    Same with Uber. Uber is a taxi company, whatever they may try to claim. When an accident happens, Uber should pay. Uber is cheaper because they don’t provide the same insurance that other companies provide, they don’t screen their drivers properly, and they aren’t licensed. These kinds of third world practices need to be reigned in.

  57. But people do not do lets for months at a time. It’s mostly week-ends, holidays and high summer. 52 week-ends at 2 days each is 104 days. Add in holidays and it’s maybe 114. 120 is more logical.

    There is no rational basis for 75 or 90

  58. Many businesses are discriminating in terms of the customers they want to treat the best. As a land, I am discriminating in which tenants I choose to take.

  59. 90 days is three months. A quarter of a year. Not arbitrary. Reasonable. More than the 75 days in Prop F.

    But even though it could pass, Lee might veto it. So 120 days is more likely or something closer to it.

  60. Not a great example, frankly. Give me a reason to believe hotels and taxis don’t discriminate in the same way.

  61. Except where is it completely banned.

    And each journey starts with the first step, so San Francisco should be among the first to cap this cancer.

  62. I’d probably agree but I do think that a lot of people benefit from being hosts and would prefer a more flexible and nuanced approach

    Again, where is the hard evidence that home sharing causes any harm?

  63. Nobody’s banning them. Just making them follow the rules. But this is peripheral to the point I was making. I’m just saying that I don’t think all of their users can be marshaled into a political force. If they try to mobilize me, for example, it will have the opposite effect.

  64. The problem is they don’t treat people equally.

    When New Yorker writer Susan Orlean complains on Twitter about her Airbnb, they respond quickly and book her into a hotel.

    For regular people, it isn’t so easy.

  65. Yep. I’m very well traveled, and I almost never have a bad experience, because I research on TripAdvisor before I book and get what I expect. The one time I used AirBnB, I got burned.

  66. I’m not convinced that any harm is done by having no cap, and nobody has ever proven any measurable harm to me

    That said, 182 would make it the same as the CA requirement for non-residency, and that might be more logical.

    Given that Airbnb is more popular for week-ends and holidays, 120 would cover that and makes more sense than an arbitrary 90

  67. What I really said is I think it should be 90 days.

    There are a number of reasons for a cap.

    Under current law, your neighbor can have Airbnb users 365 days a year if they are there (or claim they are).

    90 days is a reasonable limit (120 days is better than no limit).

    90 days provides less incentive for someone who could rent their room to a tenant to rent it to a tourist (again, 120 days is better than no limit).

    And also less incentive to evict people to rent on Airbnb

  68. I agree with you about the decline of Broadway. I used to go to bars there occasionally in my 20’s, but it really wasn’t my scene. Now it seems like it’s filled with a bunch of bridge-and-tunnel wanna be thugs who come into SF to start trouble.

    However, there are a lot of areas that are much better now than 20 years ago, as someone mentioned – Dolores Park, Mission, Hayes Valley were all pretty sketchy – I always had trouble getting my friends to go there and you could forget about dates and girlfriends.

  69. Why is 90 a better number? Show your assumptions and your working

    Or are you really saying that you’d really like the cap to be zero but you know that cannot be achieved?

  70. I disagree that the voters are stupid, as is implied by any assertion that they believe everything they see and hear on TV.

  71. The difference is that airbnb and Uber are mere intermediaries. It is the party selling you the service who should make you whole, and not the person who hooked you up

  72. Let’s just say No on Prop F underperformed:

    It put $8.5 million into the campaign to defeat Prop. F, dramatically outspending the other side. Still, the provisional results — 55 percent of voters (73,556 people) rejected the measure, while 45 percent (60,025) supported it — were closer than many observers had expected, and closer than polls commissioned by Airbnb had projected.


  73. The Mab? We’re going back more than twenty years now.

    Violent crime in North Beach is half again above citywide levels, but citywide, rates are half of 1995. The 2014 UCR has 800 violent crimes per 100,000; 1995 had almost 1,500


  74. Euphemisms are the hallmark of the progressive. Along with all the politically correct nonsense, of course. Fun with words.

  75. But Broadway used to have a diversity of businesses: Strip clubs, real book stores, adult book stores, decent restaurants (Vanessi’s and Joe’s), Finocchio’s, a German bar, the Chi-Chi club, the Mabuhay Gardesn (best punk club in SF), a big discotheque and a gay bathhouse, just to name a few.

  76. Freedom, liberty, choice, competition, low crime, success, affluence, opportunity, mobility.

    You surely must admit that progressives spend a lot of time opposing change. 100 years ago, the left had a vision of how to build a better society. It failed, of course, but at least they were positive, not negative

  77. Well, I never go to Broadway and, with all the strip clubs and party bars, I’d expect some trouble.

    But I think it’s really a subjective thing. Some people liked the old San Fran, while others want an updated and more prosperous version. People see what they want to see, and confirmation bias is a biggie

  78. Please provide the ‘positive vision’ as voiced by the leaders on the right.

    And as you constantly divide people into the groups “successful” and “losers”, its hypocritical of you to complain about others supposedly dividing people into groups.

  79. But in the end Airbnb is just an extra option. Obviously some people wont like the service, and so they won’t use it. That’s fine

    What is not fine is trying to ban the service because you personally don’t like it. What’s wrong with choice and competition?

  80. No, to weaker and not paranoid. There are fights, stabbings and the occasional shooting on Broadway almost every weekend and most residents avoid going there. Back in the day it was fun and safe and diverse as hell. I’ve never been in a fight, but I’ve been inadvertently shoved by guys fighting a few times.

    Also people, especially tourists, are getting mugged, not at night but in the afternoon. Car breakins are common now. So are hot prowls.

    Now that I spend some time away when I’m not working, I have to say that San Franciscans seem on-edge, stressed and in “ready-state” to be unhinged or feel disrespected at the silliest stuff. Life seems stressful here for most.

  81. The local left have two major problems. First they have no positive vision – they are merely obstructionist

    Second, they cannot help but divide everyone into binary groups and then stereotype and judge them. If you are classed as a landlord, realtor, banker, tech worker, cop, executive etc then you are deemed to be the anti-christ

  82. I prefer less crime and blight, and more prosperity and high-end enterprises. Evidently you prefer crime and squalor. Go at it

  83. Maybe you are now physically weaker and more paranoid.

    The Mission is still sketchy but there aren’t the gangs operating in full daylight like there used to be

    Hayes Valley was a drug and hooker cesspool 20 years ago.

    There were hookers on Geary during the day

    It’s way better now

  84. It’s how you define better. Iang (Sam) is salivating at the opportunity to be free of poor people in SF. Here is his vision:

    “Wealthy whites and foreigners in its core, with poorer people and minorities pushed out beyond the circular highway.”

    “The end result, however, is never in question. Come back here in 50 years and SF will be like La Jolla – an affluent enclave of high-achievers surrounded by poorer towns that spew service workers into the city every day.”


  85. I never said that nobody is worse off. Personal situations will vary.

    But the city is in a much better state than it was 20 years ago. There are more opportunities to build wealth and more opportunities to spend wealth.

    And sure, like anywhere, some people will decide they can live better elsewhere. Good luck to them.

  86. Well, okay. I wish you luck in trying to sell people now spending twice as much time commuting so they can pay twice as much rent on the virtues of the SFO upgrades.

  87. Exactly. There would be fewer lets via Airbnb because Airbnb is the focus of the regulations.

    But there would be more listings on other sites, CraigsList, foreign sites and agencies etc

    An analogy is when Amazon started collecting CA sales tax and many of us switched to other out-of-state vendors

  88. Yes, having been in SF for over 20 years, I can state that it is now better in almost every way. Examples:

    Better job market
    More prosperity
    Better restaurants and stores
    Upgraded airport with train links
    Less crime and blight
    More of a winner mentality

  89. Also, the crime rate is still considerably lower. People may not like tech-bro-filled Dolores Park, but lots of people weren’t so fond of shooty-stabby-drug-dealing Dolores Park either.

  90. The job market is very friendly, especially for young people. The early/mid-’90s job markets were awful for young people. Awful job markets have lifelong, negative career effects.

  91. “That said, quality of life is in the eye of the beholder. Leaving aside rents, which uniformly are very bad news, there are a lot of things to like about 2015 SF that weren’t true in, say, 1995.”

    For example?

  92. They have absolutely zero quality control – which makes me wonder what I pay their “service fee” for. Also it is ridiculous for them to count all of their “members” as part of their ridiculous cult that will stand behind them no matter what. Yes, I’ve used AirBnB a few times in the past – so am technically a member. But I’m not blind enough to stand by a corporation that will screw me over gladly any day.

    I once made a reservation through the platform – it looked kinda meh but we were desparate – upon further investigation the place was an absolute dump…little more than a collection of rooms with plastic temporary furniture. I said screw it and cancelled the reservation before we even checked in – I got a refund, except my “service fee” of course…which was a couple of hundred dollars. AirBnB did nothing to help when I pointed out to them how misleading (and probably illegal) the listing was – and even asked if they could transfer my service fee to a new reservation. But they said nope, tough shit – it’s not refundable – we’ll take this service fee and you’ll be charged again if you find another place.

    Screw this company – the concept of people sharing homes, and even listing vacation rentals on there is fine – as long as the listings are following the applicable local laws and regulations of the specific locale.

  93. Sure, experiences vary. But my example illustrates some problems with their whole model, for users as well as owners. You don’t need a retinal scan and DNA sample when you rent a hotel, or even an apartment on Craigslist. I rented an apartment in Hungary on Craigslist -twice actually, and everything went super well, despite not speaking the language. Had I not been able to speak Spanish, the BA fiasco would have been even worse than it was.

    I also rented an apartment on the same Argentina trip in Iguazu Falls, which turned out to be cheaper, better, and far less hassle, despite the fact that the hotel competition is much more expensive than BA. The difference was that the reviews of this apartment were on Tripadvisor, which tends to be fairly accurate, rather than their own (AirBnB) site. And I was able to book the place without having to pass an FBI-level security clearance, and pay, in cash, AFTER my stay.

    And the real problem comes when issues arise. If you’re dealing with a legitimate company, they’ll make you whole in one way or another. But companies like Uber and AirBnB build their entire business model around shirking responsibility when things go wrong.

  94. Quite, the hypocrisy makes it grate that much more.

    That said, quality of life is in the eye of the beholder. Leaving aside rents, which uniformly are very bad news, there are a lot of things to like about 2015 SF that weren’t true in, say, 1995.

  95. No, sorry, misread your post.

    There might be a reduction, simply because people might move to other venues. Also, the enforcement is thru Herrera and Ciscernos, and they don’t strike one as particularly aggressive. But, given enuf funding (and empire- building) for enforcement, who knows?

  96. mutilples, in-laws, and limits on rental times (all-year, as opposed to 75 days). Oh, plus reduction from 90 to 75 days.

    Thats got to comprise a considerable number. Whether its a majority or not … .

    But ABnB seems to feel that any limits on its growth will have negative impact on its IPO projections.

  97. “is there anyone who lives in SF who thinks that the quality if life is better?”

    No, there is not, and that is A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE of what you say earlier:


    I expect right-wingers to show this kind of myopia. Seeing the local “left” cheerfully chime in on Old SF’s collective cry of “I’ve got mine, fuck you” is what is _endlessly_ galling.

  98. The NRA plays politics for keeps. If you’re going to do politics and want to do it successfully playing what appears to be a losing hand, then you do what you’ve got to do to play for keeps and win.

    Plaintive wails from progressives about “The City of St. Francis” and appeals to liberal white guilt and other privilege checking bullshit don’t cut it.

  99. See below: ‘the worst [flaw] probably larding a one-sided attorney fee clause onto the private right of action.’ That is a recipe for a lawsuit in which a successful complaint means a judge awards $500 in damages and $40,000 in legal fees, but a successful defense means nothing.

    People behave when they see high chances of quick, small penalties.. People do not respond to massive, unlikely ones..


  100. I’ve used ABnB – once – and it was … all right I guess. The host promised ‘cable TV’ but only had Netflix and DVDs. Also, was not enamored of the area in Atlanta, though that was primarily my fault.

    OTOH, they were nice, not there, and had some nice dogs. Wasn’t cheap, wasn’t expensive. But it WAS something I could get pretty late in the game. Did beat a hotel out at the airport.

    And I did like the “neighborhood” atmosphere, even if I didn’t care for the neighborhood.

  101. I’m not convinced this will work. All these other groups are organizations that people pay money to join for no other reason than they believe in the cause. Airbnb is just some service that people have used when they need a place to crash.

    Hell, I’ve used AirBnB… once. And I don’t think I’ll ever use it again. We used it in Buenos Aires. First of all, the “security” process they make you go through is onerous and humiliating, and a severe invasion of privacy. It required a fair amount of tech knowledge, they want all your social media passwords, and if you don’t have a social media presence, they require you to actually create a video and and send it to them!!! But the place was very cheap, and very well-reviewed, so we still went for it.

    Actually, I said “fuck this shit,” but two other people in our group work in the tech industry and finally managed to make it happen. When we got there, the electricity kept going out to the point that we were in the dark almost every night, not to mention having to walk up 7 flights of stairs in pitch dark every time we wanted to get in. By the third night I made an executive decision and decided to find a hotel that very night. The owner’s sister was gracious enough to take us there, and offered to return the money for the rest of our stay. I told her with all due respect, that wasn’t nearly enough. I told her I realized it wasn’t their fault, but we paid for a place with air conditioning, elevator, working refrigerator, internet access, and you, know, lights… and we received none of that. If this happened at a hotel, they not only would have refunded our *entire* stay to compensate for ruining our vacation, but probably give us a voucher for a free stay in the future by way of apology.

    So once we got home, it took forever to get our money back. The owner was rather intransigent, and AirBnB, like Uber, washed their hands of any responsibility and said it’s not their problem. We finally got it all back, but only after threatening to go to our credit card and file a dispute for services paid for but not received.

    So please, AirBnB, mobilize me! I’ll be happy to relate my story of what a wonderful business model you have!

  102. Why would the majority of current listings be gone if the current law was enforceable? I didn’t catch that.

  103. I keep hearing people say that (that it was badly written), but there is never any explanation. In what sense do you think it was badly written?

  104. Yes and no. I don’t know if F was “poorly written”, but there were rules, regulations and remedies that shouldn’t have been included and that was easily exploitable by the No on F campaign.

    But your contention that the far left is against everything really does miss the mark and I have to scream (caps) my response:


    Watch a Planning Commission meeting or Board of Appeals meeting and you will see people protesting nonsense regardless of their political philosophy.

    I fault leaders for not developing a vision of what San Francisco could/should look like in 20 years. I fault leaders who allow a wild-west like approach to development and urban planning, with little or no improvements to the infrastructure. I fault leaders for continuing to make things worse – is there anyone who lives in SF who thinks that the quality if life is better? We do have a lot more nice things, but at what cost? Higher crime? MUNI that is in its worst state in decades? Homelessness that seems worse?

  105. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

    The so-called (self-dubbed) Progressives are not “progressive” at all, but rather “reactionary” and backward-looking — clinging to obsolete ideological categories of days long gone.
    “Regressives” as you suggest or “Reactionaries” would be far more accurate monikers in our current era.

    While we’re at it, can we agree to more accurately described what is commonly — and erroneously — referred to as “Affordable Housing”? (Obviously, the vast majority of housing would not be built unless someone could afford to buy or rent it.)

    I would suggest “Subsidized Housing”as a better term.

    Until we properly define and correctly name something, we are unable to truly understand it and address the critical issues surrounding it.

  106. SF’s left (regardless of how far left they are) is very reactionary. Their main policy ideas are all about stopping things – evictions, new homes, tech, Airbnb, tech shuttles, gentrification, new jobs, chain stores and so on.

    I cannot think of a single positive and affirmative idea or vision that the left has in SF, apart from the odd vague cliche like “sanctuary city”.

    They really should be called Regressives. Or even conservatives since heir ambition is for nothing to change.

    And when the only thing they can get excited about is Peskin, you know how far they have fallen from relevance.

  107. I am lost on a name for them, progresive is incorrect. I am left wing and they are more extream than me. Incomparison to main stream america they are far left seems appropriate. The examiner used the term uber left.
    SLA went way beyond being classified as right or left wing

  108. The problem wasn’t just the attorney fee provision (which is almost always a bad idea) but the idea that a third party can sue at all.

    Any problems arising from a STR should be handled by the two parties concerned. Encouraging third parties to try and get a cheap payday or to be mischievous was a truly horrible idea.

  109. Yeah, if Tim is correct and the main issue is enforcement of the existing rules, then no new legislation is needed. The city simply has to fund more people to monitor STR’s.

  110. Leaving aside the needless crack about the ‘far left’ (there is no such thing around here; the SLA is gone, the IWW is a footnote), this is absolutely right.

    For what do local progressives stand? Opposition is fundamentally reactionary.

  111. F was poorly written and that is why it lost. Rather than blame big money and imply voters are not capable of thinking, the far left have to look closely at their message and how they engage with the voters. They need to be for something not against everything.

  112. Tim, you are confusing the short-term letting issue with Airbnb. While Airbnb is the biggest intermediary right now, they are far from the only one. By focusing enforcement only on them, you are letting everyone else through the cracks

    And in fact Airbnb has been a good citizen. They paid the back taxes and collect the tax on new lets. None of the other sites do that, mostly because they are not based in SF and so can give the city the finger.

    If what you suggest is passed, what will happen is that hosts will desert Airbnb and instead use other entities that refuse to report to the city, collect taxes or tolerate the city’s registration requirement.

    It’s amazing how an election can soundly reject your idea on this, and you just totally ignore it and act like that doesn’t matter. Why do you hate the voters?

  113. Tim left something out here.

    Yes, they included the NRA in their analogy but only as one example of how a constituency can be organized into an effective voting block (which is allowed under Jeffersonian democracy). There was nothing about ‘opposing limits of any kind’. They also used the Sierra Club, teachers in the National Education Association and pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign as examples along with the NRA. Tim left that out for some reason.

  114. The narrow loss for F is perfect. F had more than a few flaws, the worst probably larding a one-sided attorney fee clause onto the private right of action. Yep, no fee shifting for a successful defense, complete fee shifting for any slight success.

    Initiatives should almost never pass unless they are perfect; they can only change by further initiative. Now the Board gets to do its job instead. Fingers crossed.

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