Sponsored link
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Sponsored link

News + PoliticsHousingRent control measure goes to full board after Safai votes with tenants

Rent control measure goes to full board after Safai votes with tenants

Ronen calls out landlord lies as renters push for repeal of Costa-Hawkins law.


A measure supporting effective rent control goes to the full Board of Supes Tuesday and will almost certainly pass after Sup. Ahsha Safai, who had been silent on the issue, voted in favor at the Rules Committee.

Safai joined Sups. Shamann Walton and Hillary Ronen in sending the measure to the board with a positive recommendation. That means the sponsor, Sup. Dean Preston, has at least six votes. (Sups. Aaron Peskin and Connie Chan, a co-sponsor, are on board).

Sup. Hillary Ronen asks opponents of the measure to ‘be honest.’ Photo by Ebbe Roe Yovino-Smith

Both Sups. Matt Dorsey and Catherine Stefani have spoken against the resolution.

That leaves Sups. Rafael Mandelman, Myrna Melgar, and Joel Engardio. If two of them side with the tenants and against the big landlords, the resolution will get eight votes, and the mayor can’t veto it.

Breed will have to take a stand before the supes vote; Preston is going to ask her position on the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act during Question Time at the start of the meeting.

Testimony at the hearing was overwhelming in support of the resolution and the repeal of the state law that since 1995 has strictly limited the types of rent control laws cities can implement.

It bars, for example, and controls on vacant units, meaning landlords have every incentive to evict long-term tenants so they can raise the rent to market rate. It also exempts any apartments build after 1979, which means the renters in some 100,000 units in the city are not protected.

“Costa-Hawkins exists to drive up rents,” Preston said.

Fred Sherburn-Zimmer, director of the Housing Rights Committee, said that many San Franciscans wouldn’t need subsidized affordable housing if speculators hadn’t evicted them to take advantage of Costa-Hawkins.

Walton said that if the law isn’t repealed, “eventually rent control will go away, and it will out people out on the streets.”

Sup. Catherine Stefani, who spoke against the measure, used the talking points the big landlords and their consultants have developed, arguing that stronger rent control would mean less new housing construction. Stefani also, again using landlord talking points, said that a Republican from Huntington Beach supported the measure as a way to impose strict rent control and thus discourage additional housing in that community.

“What’s going on with the measure irks me to no end,” Ronen said. “The games they play, these fantastical hypotheticals to hide the fact that they hate rent control. It’s sad to see our colleagues play into that. Be honest: You oppose rent control because the real estate industry is giving you a lot of money.”

Safai made a careful statement. He said he supports giving the city the ability to adjust rent control rules (that’s all the repeal would do; it doesn’t force any city or county to pass any type of law). He said he’s not sure he would support controls on new construction, but “that’s a conversation we can have.”

A long line of speakers also supported a City Charter amendment by Sup. Aaron Peskin that would set aside $8.5 million a year for rent subsidies and affordable housing for

extremely low income (“ELI”) households consisting of seniors and disabled adults earning up to 25% of median income and families earning up to 35% of median income … including acutely low-income disabled persons and seniors earning up to 15% of median income.

Peskin has not in the past been a big fan of City Charter set-asides, but in this case, the money is for an extremely vulnerable and underserved population.

Besides, as Ronen pointed out, with the city’s very-strong mayor system, the supes have very limited control over the budget. The year, they found about $60 million in cuts and added that much back to some key programs that Breed hadn’t funded, but that’s about 1 percent of the General Fund.

“Set asides are one of the only ways we can use our budget to protect the most vulnerable,” she said.

That measure, along with several others including a plan to create an inspector general, had enough amendments that they were continued to a special meeting Thursday/11.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
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.


Larry Li remixes Tiananmen Square, firstborn son into painted collage

'Historical sampling' helps Bay-raised artist understand his Chinese immigrant family's place in the greater world.

Arts Forecast: 10+ terrific things to do this weekend

Support Cutting Ball Theatre! Plus: Musclecars, GodzillaFest, Pine Box Boys, Celestial Navigation, Sunny War, Vintage Market...

Screen Grabs: Magical realism rains down from Argentina, Senegal, North Carolina

Three new films transcend storytelling's usual limits. Plus: Macabre 'Oddity' impresses, 'July Rhapsody' delights.

More by this author

The supes vote on an imperfect, but much better, budget …

... plus new affordable housing and a series of City Charter amendments and a celebration of labor. That's The Agenda for July 14-21

Look who’s funding the local Democratic Party

The right-wing tech barons and plutocrats are now the party's biggest donor base.

The Chron creates a ‘scandal’ that doesn’t exist

The endorsement process of the Bernal Heights Democratic Club suddenly becomes an issue. So does the pretty mainstream positions of a D9 canddate.
Sponsored link
Sponsored link

You might also likeRELATED