THE AGENDA There is good news every once in a while. The Planning Commission last week rejected, on a 7-0 vote, an application to allow the owners who evicted a 100-year-old woman to convert their building to condos.
The action was expected, and it was a huge victory for tenant activists: The first time this came before the commission, the Planning Department staff recommended approval – in large part because the applicants didn’t acknowledge that they had evicted Canada, and the eviction was never filed with the Rent Board. The planners never checked further.
But after testimony showed that there was in fact an eviction – which would make the building ineligible for conversion – the staff prepared a new report calling for denial.
Commissioner Dennis Richards, who complained at the last hearing about all of the greed and displacement in the city, went a step beyond at the March 8 hearing, attacking the whole idea of Ellis Act speculation:
“People who buy rental buildings knowing they are businesses then Ellis people – they are bad actors,” he said. He told the applicants they were acting in “bad faith – you bought the building knowing people were Ellised.”
Perhaps this will serve as a signal to the serial evictors who are driving seniors out of the city – and it will definitely serve as a reminder to tenant advocates that organizing can make a difference.
State Sen. Scott Wiener is pushing to upzone pretty much all of San Francisco with a bill that would give height and density bonuses to any developer of market-rate housing with any proximity to transit.
But he may get opposition from his home town: Both the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission are considering measures that would put the city on record opposing the bill.
The Land Use and Transportation Committee will consider Monday/12 a resolution by Sups. Aaron Peskin, Hillary Ronen, Norman Yee, and Sandra Lee Fewer opposing the bill.
The Los Angeles City Council is considering a similar bill.
Then on Thursday/15, the Planning Commission will hear a staff report on SB 827. The agenda says the presentation is “informational only,” but it’s likely at least some of the commissioners will want to join supes in opposing the bill.
The Police Commission has already voted to allow cops to carry Tasers — but not right away, and only under the commission’s rules. That’s not good enough for the San Francisco Police Officers Association, which wants to set its own rules for the deadly stun guns.
The POA has already put $100,000 into the measure; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has added $10,000 more, according to filings with the SF Ethics Commission.
But Chief William Scott has announced his opposition to the measures, infuriating the POA. And on Wednesday/14, the commission will vote on opposing the measure, too.
There’s not a lot of money so far in opposition to the measure – but if the chief and the commission, who are not opposed to Tasers just to this measure – oppose it, and the voters get that message, there might be a chance to defeat this thing.
The chief and the commission might also see this as a reason to be tougher on the union during contract negotiations, which are going on right now.
The League of Pissed-Off Voters has compiled one of the best, most detailed questionnaires for the mayor’s race, and you can see the candidate answers, and a chart of their key responses, here.
Among the more interesting responses: Board President London Breed and Angela Alioto are the only candidates that support the POA Taser measure. Breed, Amy Farah Weiss, and Alioto also support renewing the Police Department’s involvement with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which has been linked to some pretty bad racial profiling. [UPDATE: Weiss tells me she clicked that button by mistake and that she opposes SFPD working with JTTF.]
Breed said she doesn’t support increasing the Transportation Sustainability Fee on downtown commercial property.
There’s a lot more. Check it out.