Saturday, October 24, 2020
News + Politics What does it mean to be a pro-tenant politician...

What does it mean to be a pro-tenant politician in SF?

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The three worst things that have happened to renters in this city recently, and how to measure the response of elected officials

Protesters note that the Twitter tax break cost the city millions. It also spurred evictions and displacement
Protesters note that the Twitter tax break cost the city millions. It also spurred evictions and displacement

By Tim Redmond

Sup. London Breed was not happy when I wrote that she was weak on tenant issues, and she has a point: She voted for Sup. Jane Kim’s Eviction 2.0 legislation, and she supported the Mission Moratorium, and she’s been with the tenants on some other significant legislation.

She texted me saying my description of her record was inaccurate (and I like to be told when I get something even a little bit wrong), so I corrected the sweeping language which might not have done her credit (I originally wrote that she was “bad” on tenant issues, when in fact her record is more mixed.) But she got me thinking:

What does it mean to be a “pro-tenant” politician in San Francisco today?

There are people who say Mayor Lee is pro-tenant. Lots of others would like that label (in a city where two-thirds of the potential voters are renters, it’s a powerful claim to make). Instead of singling out any individual, Breed or Lee or anyone else, I think it’s worth taking the time to try to define what the term “pro-tenant” means.

Let me start with a pretty radical statement. I think the three worst things that have happened to renters in this town in the past ten years are, in rough order, the Twitter tax break, the city’s failure to regulate Airbnb, and the Google buses.

Then you can add in the influx of market-rate housing with inadequate affordable units.

If you use that lens, you get a different picture of which politicians are pro-tenant.

Oh, and being pro-tenant doesn’t just mean voting the right way now and then – it means endorsing, supporting, and helping in any way possible the candidates and ballot measures that are part of the tenant movement.

The tax break: When Mayor Lee decided to do whatever he could to attract tech firms to San Francisco, he set off a displacement bomb. It was a cataclysmically bad bit of urban planning. You can’t bring thousands of high-paid, mostly young, mostly single workers with a lot of disposable income to a city with a tight housing market and not see rents soar. You can’t attract that many new jobs without first making sure there are places for the new arrivals to live.

Lee talked about bringing the unemployment rate down, but most of the new jobs didn’t go to unemployed San Franciscans. They went to people who moved here from somewhere else to take the jobs. That was the beginning of the worst housing crisis since the Great Earthquake.

Airbnb: For years, San Francisco did nothing at all to regulate this new company that was making bank by encouraging residents to break the law. Short-term rentals were always illegal, but the mayor said that Airbnb was a local company, and his pal Ron Conway is a major investor, so nobody lifted a finger to enforce the existing rules.

In the process, thousands of tenants were evicted as speculators decided that property was more valuable when it was turned into hotel rooms. And thousands and thousands of potential rental units were removed from the market as landlords decided instead to use them for short-term high-return tourist rooms.

Right now, it’s safe to say that more than 5,000 apartments are off the market because of Airbnb and other STR platforms. That’s far more rent-controlled affordable housing lost than the city has been able to build.

Eventually, long after Airbnb had enriched itself and its investors with illegal rentals, then-Sup. David Chiu worked with Airbnb’s lobbyists to craft a set of weak and unenforceable regulations. On the key vote, Sup. David Campos tried to amend the bill to ban Airbnb from posting unregistered, and thus illegal, units. That would have had a dramatic impact, putting thousands of new housing units back on the rental market.

The law, weak as it is, limits STRs to places that are occupied full-time by the host. That is, it’s fine to rent out your spare room, or rent out your house while you’re on vacation, but it’s not fine to buy an entire building, evict all the tenants, and turn the whole thing into hotel rooms. Which is happening all over town.

Those places, which provide Airbnb with much of its revenue, could never get a city registration certificate (because, of course, they are illegal). The Campos amendment went down, 6-5.

The Google buses: Again, for years the tech companies broke the law by providing private luxury shuttles to take workers from San Francisco to the corporate campuses on the Peninsula. The giant coaches parked in Muni stops without permission, but the city had a secret “handshake agreement” with the companies not to give out tickets.

Then the supes agreed to a deal that allowed the private companies to use public bus stops to make it easier for Peninsula cities to outsource their housing problems to San Francisco.

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has found that evictions and rent hikes increase in the blocks near tech-shuttle stops. The tech firms justify the shuttles by saying that workers would otherwise drive – and they might, for a while. But people who value their time (and spend their hours on the wifi-equipped buses working) would find the traffic from SF to the Peninsula intolerable. Many would seek housing closer to work – and the companies would be under pressure to break the no-density politics of places like Cupertino and Menlo Park.

Any new transit system makes nearby housing more desirable. This private one, created with no public input, has had an undeniable impact on rents and has made life more difficult for less-wealthy tenants.

Other major issues:

The defeat of Prop. G, which would have imposed a high tax on speculation and The court ruling that threw out the Campos Ellis Act relocation-fee legislation (which the supes could do nothing about).

And there’s the approval of thousands of new units of market-rate housing, which cause a net deficit in affordable units and create displacement in areas like the Mission.

Then there are endorsements.

If you support politicians – including your colleagues – who vote against tenants, then you aren’t helping the tenant movement.

So if you supported the tax break, and the Google buses, and Airbnb, and you support more market-rate housing without adequate affordable units, and you support other politicians and candidates who took the same positions, it’s hard to argue that you are “pro-tenant.”

Just my take on that label.

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.

92 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, right. If only I lost my rent controlled apartment, i could finally corral my just-getting-by income into buying that 2.6 million home of my dreams!

  2. Googles buses dramatically reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and help improve our quality of life and economy. To oppose mass transit and support folks driving alone in private cars is extremely counterproductive. We should be giving tax credits to any company that supports environmentally friendly commuting, such as Google, Genentech, Facebook, Box, etc.

  3. I think a truly pro-tenant politician would support upzoning wealthy single family areas of SF, so that densification can occur in places that are not minority and poor.

    What a pro-tenant politician would NOT do is take the money of all of these people, many of whom are so-called liberals, preserve their happy status quo, and then pretend to be pro-tenant by virtue of toeing the line set by folks like Redmond.

  4. Can we all make suggestions? If so, the three worst things that have happened to San Francisco renters are:
    1) the failure to build adequate new housing units in San Francisco at all income levels;
    2) the failure of Silicon Valley towns and cities to build housing to accommodate employees of companies located there;
    3) the failure of Bay Area governments to unify transit systems and build robust public transit throughout the entire Bay Area.

    Tim’s list is myopic at best, stupid at worst.

  5. Indeed, hence the disproportionately skyrocketing prices, and the “whining” that you declare is ahistorical and unwarranted.

  6. What parallel universe are these comments of yours coming from, exactly? If this is true, the whole “affordability” crisis is a myth, and a middle-class resident finds it just as easy to deal with the cost of living in SF in 2015 as they did in 1990. What are we all doing here, then?

  7. My point is that many seem to think that rents were reasonable for newcomers in the old days and that is bullshit.

  8. The Ellis Act has also been in existence for quite some time now. I don’t think you’d take a similar attitude towards that as “whining” somehow.

  9. Another painfully obvious fact is that “tenants” don’t have shared interests. A long-term, rent-controlled tenant has a keen interest in maintaining the status quo, but with stronger protections for renters. A recent arrival, finding himself, thanks to a severe and artificial housing shortage, with no option but to pay exorbitant rent for an utterly unremarkable apartment, has a rather keen interest in seeing the supply of housing increased.

    The conflict in San Francisco isn’t tenants vs. landlords, it’s those with good fotune and timing vs those without it.

  10. I hate to point out the obvious, but no one should aspire to only represent one group, such as tenants. If you are a political leader, then you need to look out for the interests of homeowners (include all landlords) also, not just tenants. You should care about the middle class and working class, not just the poor. You should care about long-term residents (almost all homeowners) and natives, not just casual visitors (which renters generally are).

  11. ‘the goose that laid the golden mountain’ – whew, finally poetry.

    Art thou not Orc, who serpent-form’d
    Stands at the gate of Enitharmon to devour her children;
    Blasphemous Demon, Antichrist, hater of Dignities;
    Lover of wild rebellion, and transgresser of Gods Law;
    Why dost thou come to Angels eyes in this terrific form?

    http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/images/america.a.p9.100.jpg

    Source: http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/object.xq?objectid=america.a.illbk.09&java=no

  12. Why don’t you go to a “depressed, jobless regions all over the country” and try your luck there? San Francisco is not that and is not that for a reason. You want to kill the goose that laid the golden mountain in your greed to maximize one single variable in the complicated comprehensive urban planning equations.

  13. Some day, maybe someone will explain how one can simultaneously hold that, 1) only silly simpletons, overly enamored of some abstract lesson they learned in “Econ 101”, would be foolish enough to think the supply/demand ratio has anything to do with the housing crisis, and 2) Airbnb is substantially contributing to the affordability crisis by reducing supply.

  14. Every jurisdiction seeks to add jobs and increase its tax base. The problem here is that we do not allow ourselves to build the homes to meet that demand, preferring instead to ration by price and effectively export our workforce to adjoining suburbs and counties.

    You cannot blame local governments for wanting good-paying jobs. You can blame them for not building homes.

  15. And, of course, how would things be different if the buses didn’t exist?

    1. Some would choose to live in SF anyway, clogging the streets and cooking the planet by driving to work.
    2. Some would live closer, which would…drive up rents and housing costs in other parts of the Bay area. (The housing shortage is, after all, a regional crisis, not a unique one to SF.

  16. I’m not a socialist, but let’s give socialism its due: whatever its flaws, they’re different ones than TR’s vision. He’s just an advocate for one particular class of rentiers. A real socialist would demand housing solutions for the poor and working classes whether they moved here 3 decades or 3 months ago. Tim’s preferred policy is designed to screw over the latter category, to protect the material and aesthetic interests of the former, except perhaps for a few subsidized housing lottery winners.

  17. I wonder what people in depressed, jobless regions all over the country would think of people like you if they paid attention to local conversations. “There’s a lovely place to live with the capacity to allow new jobs–that really important thing you don’t have and badly need–but they want to choose not to do so, because they don’t want people like you living anywhere near them. The punchline, of course, is that they’re the liberal progressives in the housing debate.”

  18. Jobs in the SF/San Mateo metro division have increased in lockstep with those in Santa Clara metro. If Ed Lee is a warlock, he is not a very good one; his discretionary magics seem to have had precisely zero effect.

  19. The point is the incessant whining about people moving here facing high rents is ridiculous because that has always been the case.

  20. It’s as if this blog is finally available to cold warriors who were stuck on a remote island with no outside contact for decades. Please don’t let me distract you from campaigning for Trump.

  21. If they’re shown through means testing to be wealthy tenants living in rent controlled apartments, who gives a fuck how old they are?

  22. Tenants do not pay their landlord’s mortgage. Many landlords do not even have mortgages.

    What tenants do is pay the cost of living in the place they want to live. And no landlord can get a rent that is higher than what a tenant is willing and able ot pay.

  23. Written by someone demonstrably anti-tenant. Funny how tenants who pay their landlord’s mortgage and put his kids through college become, at some point, “squatters.” Typical self-pitying ingrates.

  24. Where does it not?

    I guess that is why people like to have money? And go to work? And take risks? And invest capital?

  25. Yes, because nobody a long time ago paid outlandish rents in San Francisco.

    Oh, that’s right – it was barely affordable for EVERYONE who ever moved here when they moved here.

    Nepotism isn’t a valid reason to change city policy. I’m guessing that if you had elderly relatives in rent controlled units, you’d be singing a different song.

  26. I don’t bash people with jobs (presumably you’re talking about tech workers). But continue on with your delusions about me.

    As you are not clear about the concept of red-baiting and missed the point about everything else in my post, I leave this conversation with you.

    Viva la ignorance.

  27. The worst thing that has happened to renters is that the City has taken discretionary steps to increase the number of jobs here and generate demand for housing.

    It is clear that housing prices continue to rise therefore market signals on high price don’t seem to be crimping demand.

  28. Interesting. They are about 18 mths apart, so there’s that. And the buses don’t sound as dreadful as maligned. Guess about <10% of our new residents take the GooGoo bus – at least once a month, eh?.

  29. And Sangiancomo’s “punishment” was, that in place of his 356 units in the old motel on Market St, he was ‘forced’ to build almost 400 more units that the 1500 the Planning Code allowed – making those extra units “rent controlled” (though only some at 3-digit rents – the rest at 10x that).

    Yes, thank goodness for Progressive ‘justice’.

  30. “Have to leave” or “can’t find”? There are few instances of exorbitant rent hikes. Most likely its rents raised once an occupant leaves (behind a way-low rent from the 80s or 90s). And if the LL didn’t have to contend on that next rent being the only time to raise prices into the foreseeable future, then maybe they wouldn’t have to shoot for the sky at their only opportunity.

    And who’s to say there are no increased costs? Even RE taxes go up 2% a year (higher than rents most yrs). Water? Garbage? New fees & taxes! And maybe you know where I can get a good plumber for $15/hr.

    I think SRO collectives (sorry – not Red-baiting) have a good plan: lease the bldg from the owners, get govmint to subsidize @$1000/ per unit, then take their 33%. Oh wait, those units don’t come with tenant protections! Gone next mth for suspicious behavior. So sad. It was a good idea for other private property though – something our tenant-friendly supes should get behind, eh?

  31. In general, when Tim makes a broad dramatic statement like that without any substantiation he is in full blown fabrication mode.

  32. There’s also that whole causation thing. Do shuttle stops cause high demand areas or do high demand areas cause shuttle stops.

  33. I think the question here is whether you view rent control as a means of providing stability and assistance to people of more modest means, or as an inherent privilege of seniority.

    Means testing would be consistent with the former (though Section 8 type vouchers would be a better approach IMHO). Tim’s made it clear in other articles here, however, that the latter is closer to his take on housing.

  34. Really? Because you seem to take a great delight in bashing people with jobs and bashing people who buy homes in SF. Sounds like you want a purge. I’m calling a spade a spade.

    Also, how is the use of the Cultural Revolution considered red-baiting? Are you saying it didn’t happen? Mao’s/Stalin’s version of “communism” has little to do with Trotsky’s (ala Animal Farm) so trust me, I don’t attack communism at all. I do consider your version of class warfare a clown show.

    PS I guess since the Civil Rights Act was in the 1960s it doesn’t matter?? Mocking history seems to show how little you know of it.

  35. The most ardent NIMBYs in San Francisco are wealthy home owners (particularly those with views) and rent controlled tenants. They’ve got theirs, to hell with everyone else. The free market is far from perfect but when politicians get in the middle of things an impose regulations there are always unintended consequences, some that take perhaps even a generation to manifest.
    Unfortunately these two power blocs, have united to stymie all new construction in San Francisco and have driven this crisis. The biggest burden is carried by new residents both renters and buyers who must pay an exorbitant premium to live here…..that’s a good way to keep the wrong sort of people out. The owners represented by Peskin and company and the rent controlled tenants represented by Campos, Avalos and Kim, don’t really care that some long standing residents are being forced out of San Francisco because of ever increasing rents, even is the odd rent controlled tenant is Ellis Acted out, that’s a small price to pay to keep development at bay.

  36. Means-testing seems eminently sensible to me. Why should someone rich living in a rent-controlled apartment be subsidized while young people like my young cousin who recently moved to the City pays outlandish rents for a 1BR in the Tenderloin?

  37. The most important way to be pro-tenant is to work to abolish rent control and draconian anti-eviction laws. Tens of thousands of homeowners do not rent

    out their space because they are afraid that they will not be able to charge enough rent to meet mortgage payments and because they are afraid they will lose their homes by not being able to evict squatters from their property when they need to do so.

  38. Also.

    “Right now, it’s safe to say that more than 5,000 apartments are off the market because of Airbnb and other STR platforms.”

    What? No. It’s not “safe to say” anything of the sort. The estimates are all over the place—some as low as 350.

  39. Orwellian doublespeak BS.

    About half of SF’s residential units are subject to rent control. That, combined with inadequate supply due to geographical constraints, NIMBYism and city bureaucracy means market rents are way higher than they would be without rent control.

    There are two classes of tenants: an aristocracy who enjoy subsidized rents courtesy of rent control, and an underclass who have to pay severely inflated prices.

    We often hear sob stories about seniors, but seniors as a class are significantly wealthier than the young or people of working age, who are disproportionately likely to fall in the second category.

    The self-proclaimed tenant advocates only represent the first group, while actively and grievously harming the second. The fact they are often allied with NIMBYs just adds further injury. Then again, for patronage politics to work, clients must be dependent on the politician, and the current housing policy or lack thereof achieves this nicely.

  40. “I like to be told when I get something even a little bit wrong”
    “The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has found that evictions and rent hikes increase in the blocks near tech-shuttle stops.”

    This is not the first time I’ve pointed out that their definition of “near tech-shuttle stops” covers most of the city. It is completely useless:

  41. Rich’s point was that those who own their homes are also protected from unscrupulous landlords, and can actually build long-term wealth as well.

    By placing legislative emphasis on renting rather than owning, the structural inequality we now see was made inevitable.

  42. Not splitting hairs, no, but no functioning free market in the world has ever been free of regulation. ‘Free’ describes the freedom to compete, not freedom from taxes, regulation or laws.

    Markets are tools that can make people’s lives better. When (not if) markets fail, they need repair. Some markets will always fail, of course; imagine a market trying to provide a military.

  43. LOL! Rent control make tenants into serfs. And before rent control, when the Sangiacomo family was raising rents on thousands of units every month, sending thugs to apartments when people were one day late in paying, ignoring laws regarding the return of deposits, tenants were emancipated.

  44. Yes, SF made a huge mistake in the late 1970’s when it decided to deify tenants and perpetuate their serf-like status to landlords, rather than encourage the purchase of ownership of homes.

  45. Are you aware of any legal or constitutional support for the notion of a “windfall” tax? On the face of it, it would be appear to be capricious and discriminatory if it treats some businesses differently from others.

    Moreover the city cannot enact any form of income or capital gains tax, and I would imagine that any “windfall tax” would be vulnerable to a legal challenge on that basis.

    More generally I do not believe that more taxation helps create prosperity.

  46. I agree, but I don’t see how a windfall profits tax can be considered ‘free market.’

    Maybe I’m splitting hairs on this one.

  47. Non-market approaches to housing people can work. Non-market approaches do not, however, reduce shortages. The only thing a non-market approach can do then is ration available housing other than by price.

    Market pricing does mean windfall profits during any shortage. Wouldn’t a windfall profits tax be more effective, without requiring a public sector already lacking in vision and planning to design a rationing program?

  48. The mid market tax break helped kick start an economic turn around that saw san Francisco’s unemployment rate fall from over 10% to below 5%. Airbnb is little more than a strawman debate. Progressives would rather point fingers of blame at short term rentals be cause the real boogeymen in this housing crisis are the Sierra Club, the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, SF Beautiful, and the Coalition for SF Neighborhoods…who wants to tangle with that lot??? and the “Google buses” are again just another proxy, distraction from addressing the real problem in SF….chronic under supply. I laugh every time I hear that nonsense about rents going up near stops….there are 200 stops spread across the east and north of San Francisco, lets say about 4 sq miles. EVERYONE LIVES NEAR A STOP. Blaming shuttles for rent hikes is like blaming them for the tide coming in or the sun coming up.

  49. The most pro tenant thing any politician could do is to encourage home ownership. Whenever you don’t own the land you live on you are always at risk of displacement. Home ownership may not be an option for everybody but many renters have a false sense of security due to rent control.

  50. I can see hiker_sf’s best of list:

    1. The Cultural Revolution (nothing wrong with purging the intellectuals and sending them into the countryside, eh?)

  51. It all depends upon you’re sitting. If you’re living in a rent controlled flat in the Mission working for a directionless non-profit, fearing for both your job and your home, then you would probably agree with Tim. However, if you are not a Baby Boomer and pay a lot for housing and are tired of climbing over derelicts (and their crap-literally) and you want the City grow and prosper, then you are in the opposing camp.

  52. My worst list:

    1. The free market approach to housing. Why is it that everyone goes apeshit when a dufus purchases a small pharmaceutical company and raises the price of an essential drug so much that many can’t afford it but when a landlord with no increase costs increases rent so much that middle-class tenants have to leave the city?

    2. Lack of vision and robust urban plan.

    3. Conforming developments and planning to what moneyed interests and NIMBYs want.

  53. I gotta say I am entertained seeing so-called progressives demand that tech companies build housing for their workers – apparently company towns are considered a good thing now.

    Perhaps they should pay their labor force in scrip as well.

  54. Vacancy rates in the South Bay are extremely low, and there actually aren’t enough apartments for all of the several thousand shuttle-using workers in SF to move down there. So even if they _wanted_ to move, reality would throw a monkey wrench into that plan. It’s not happening.

    Tim is just indulging his long-standing fantasy of shoving out all recent arrivals to the city in any way possible.

  55. As a good socialist Redmond isn’t interested in people having the freedom to choose where to live and where to work. Socialists believe in grand, top-down centralized planning where a council of bureaucrats decide where the workers will live. In Redmond’s brave new world, the workers of the world joyfully live in employer-built work camps and spend their evenings in their compounds reading Marxists texts and singing the great anthems of the glorious state.

  56. “Many would seek housing closer to work” – No, probably not. I worked with a LOT of peninsula tech employees from ’97-’10 (and still do, though not as many) and I can tell you that most people in tech with peninsula jobs would do anything to avoid living there, especially if they were under 40 and single.

  57. Yes, it was always a wild speculative premise that building nothing would help existing residents.

    Not Breed’s district so there was no need for her to opine on the initiative either way.

  58. And that assumes Prop I would have been a positive – instead of a negative – for that community. I think there are good arguments to be made on both sides. Unfortunately, IMO, the ‘good’ didn’t rest with the affirmative.

    So, in essence (and Tim would probably deny this), Breed actually did better for tenants in avoiding ‘I’ than in supporting it.

  59. The SFTU would doubtless argue that those TIC units which were given a lottery bypass were already lost to rent control anyway, since they were owner-occupied and unlikely to return to the long-term rental market.

    And in return future lotteries were delayed, and the rules for successful conversion were tightened up, which will benefit existing tenants in buildings vulnerable to conversion.

    The conversions were accelerated but they would have happened anyway. And there will no new conversions for at least a decade. It really was not a win for the vast majority of property owners who were not already n the lottery

  60. Breed did support Campos’s Mission Moratorium legislation last spring. She was, however, silent on Prop I. It’s easy to support something that you know won’t pass. It’s much harder to stick your neck out for something that is crucial to an embattled community.

  61. Anything but hold those paid to represent tenants accountable for their political collapse.

    This is truly Tim’s Правда, the official propaganda organ of the unreconstructed Stalinist housing movement.

  62. So the Twitter Tax Break only lasted a year. Cumulative impact – marginal.

    So AirBnB accounts for 1250 units used STR instead of LTR (assuming they would then be used LTR – unsubstantiated)

    So the Google buses account for 1000 extra workers impacting the rental market – out of 75000 extra residents.

    These issues are the litmus paper for politicians that cleave the divide for the Tenants Movement? Hand them a tissue!

  63. Was the CCHO anti-tenant when it signed onto Eastern Neighborhoods, the Mission’s displacement bomb?

    Was the CCHO anti-tenant when it signed onto Prop C that cut onsite affordable by 20% in exchange for a few million for CCHO per year?

    Was the SFTU anti-tenant when it signed onto the condo conversion giveaway bonanza?

  64. To Tim’s three big items:

    1) The Twitter tax break really wasn’t a tax break it all. It was simply a temporary period when stock options would not attract a local payroll tax. Since SF is the only city that regards at-risk capital gains as “income” in the first place, such a relief was natural, logical and welcome. And since then the payroll tax has been replaced by a receipts tax anyway.

    Moreover, Twitter only had to move a few miles to escape SF taxes anyway. Giving incentives for high-value employers to move to SF or stay in SF is good business. Only Redmond wants to see a lousy local economy.

    2) Airbnb is not the problem. The problem is that the current rent laws deter property owners from offering long-term rentals and so naturally owners look instead to alternative uses. STR’s are more work and hassle, and don’t even pay more. The beauty of them is that they are exempt from rent control and the risk of being stuck with a lifetime tenant.

    3) Google buses. Again, a non issue. Redmond might as well complain that BART drives up SF housing values. For every one SF resident who commutes out of the city every day, five residents of other Bay Area counties commute in. 500,000 SF workers live elsewhere.

    So the suburbs massively subsidize the city by housing our workers. The net effect of commuting makes SF housing much cheaper than it otherwise would do. We owe the burbs; the burbs do not owe us.

    There, Tim, fixed your article for you.

  65. >”Short-term rentals were always illegal, but the mayor said that Airbnb was a local company, and his pal Ron Conway is a major investor, so nobody lifted a finger to enforce the existing rules.”

    This is classic Tim Redmond nonsense (and an example of why progressives in general have a credibility problem).

    Ron Conway isn’t a major investor for every mayor on the planet and very few cities took a hard line on throttling Airbnb. Almost without exception cities took a wait and see stance. Yes, you can point to aggressiveness in New York, Barcelona and perhaps a few others but basically 99.9% of the world’s cities behaved the same way that SF did. Most were probably more passive.

    Also, I love the way that we are back up to 5,000 units lost:

    >”Right now, it’s safe to say that more than 5,000 apartments are off the market because of Airbnb and other STR platforms. That’s far more rent-controlled affordable housing lost than the city has been able to build.”

    The Budget Analyst’s report said that their best estimate was that 1,251 units were short term rented more than 51 nights a year, based on the situation that existed before the Chiu law took effect. They didn’t say how many of those would go back on the market; they certainly didn’t say how many were rent controlled.

    So yes, it’s safe for Tim Redmond to say that 5,000 apartments are off the market, because he has no credibility to worry about; it wouldn’t be safe for most people to say.

  66. The three worst things that have happened to renters in this town in the past forty years are, in rough order, not building places for people to live.

    That’s it. That’s the problem.

    People need places to live. If they’re going to live somewhere, better here than sprawling over even yet more of the delta and the central valley.

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Best Bookstore, Best Bike Store, Best Shoe Store, Best Cannabis Dispensary, more in our 2020 Reader's Poll

Róisín Murphy buffs her disco-house crown on gliding ‘Róisín Machine’

The Irish diva showed us who she was through momentously silly quar performances. Her latest album affirms her mastery of the nocturnal club beat.

The end of Shahid Buttar’s campaign — and the lessons

Shahid Buttar’s campaign against Rep. Nancy Pelosi was always a longshot. He was challenging the person most responsible for challenging Donald Trump, and while...

Wiener tries to look progressive in debate

But that requires a bit of historical revisionism, since his record has always been very moderate on police, housing, and homelessness.

Our Best of the Bay 2020 Readers’ Poll winners are here!

Thousands voted—here are the results of our 45th annual readers' choice awards.

Good Things: Andrew Ashong and Kaidi Tatham bless the studio—plus more new releases to soothe

We rounded up the most relaxing beats in the known new music universe. SunPalace gets a 2020 remix pack, a new sad banger from Mac DeMarco and Benny Sings, more.

Screen Grabs: Borat’s ‘totally sensationalized false account’ and other bombshell releases

Sure, it has Giuliani looking suspect—but is 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' any good? Plus, a new documentary on the grifters leading the alt-right movement, and 'The Guardian of Memory.'

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