Shit happened (Oct. 23-29) - Page 2

Tenant proposals and Guardian forum address eviction crisis; Students fight suspensions; Techies to NSA: Stop spying!

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Tenant advocates rally Oct. 24 on the steps of City Hall.
Mike Koozmin/SF Print Media Co.


"The evidence is clear. We are facing not only an eviction crisis but also a crisis associated with the loss of affordable rental housing across the city. Speculative investments in housing has resulted in the loss of thousands affordable apartments through conversions and demolitions. And the trend points to the situation becoming much worse," the coalition wrote in a public statement proposing the reforms.

Evictions have reached their highest level since the height of the last dot-com boom in 1999-2000, with 1,934 evictions filed in San Francisco in fiscal year 2012-13, and the rate has picked up since then. The Sheriff's Department sometimes does three evictions per day, last year carrying out 998 court-ordered evictions, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi told us, arguing for an expansion of city services to the displaced.

At "Housing for Whom?" a community forum the Guardian hosted Oct. 23 in the LGBT Center, panelists and audience members talked about the urgent need to protect and expand affordable housing in the city. They say the current eviction epidemic is being compounded by buyouts, demolitions, and the failure of developers to build below-market-rate units.

"We're bleeding affordable housing units now," Fred Sherburn-Zimmer of Housing Right Committee said last night, noting the steadily declining percentage of housing in the city that is affordable to current city residents since rent control was approved by voters in 1979. "We took out more housing than we've built since then."

Peter Cohen of the Council of Community Housing Organizations actually quantified the problem, citing studies showing that only 15 percent of San Franciscans can afford the rents and home prices of new housing units coming online. He said the housing isn't being built for current city residents: "It's a demand derived from a market calculation."

Cohen said the city's inclusionary housing laws that he helped write more than a decade ago were intended to encourage developers to actually build below-market-rate units in their projects, but almost all of them choose to pay the in-lieu fee instead, letting the city find ways to build the affordable housing and thereby delaying construction by years.

"It was not about writing checks," Cohen said. "It was about building affordable units."

Discussion at the forum began with a debate about the waterfront luxury condo project proposed for 8 Washington St., which either Props. B or C would allow the developer to build. Project opponent Jon Golinger squared off against proponent Tim Colen, who argued that the $11 million that the developer is contributing to the city's affordable housing fund is an acceptable tradeoff.

But Sherburn-Zimmer said the developer should be held to a far higher standard given the obscene profits that he'll be making from waterfront property that includes a city-owned seawall lot. "Public land needs to be used for the public good."

Comments

TIC formations are not a sub-division and they are not a change of use. They are merely a form of ownership subject to State law.

Bierman tried something similar in 2000 and the courts bounced the whole thing.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

force TIC formations to go through the full condo conversion process. That would be ironic now that condo conversions are no longer possible (for probably another 15 years anyway).

This idea takes some of the processes of the condo conversion, e.g. the DBI approvals, and tries to insert them piecemeal into a TIC formation.

Won't work. If two non-married people buy a SFH, they often choose to own it as a TIC. That will look no different on paper from a full-blown TIC. There is no real way for the city to determine from a title document what is happening underneath.

Smacks of desperation to me. The focus instead should bo on offering help to evictees to find a new place.

Posted by anon on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 6:35 am

He has started talking about giving landlords "incentives" not to Ellis.

A smarter option that trying to mess with State law.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

The U.S. not only promotes Neo-liberal values that choose winners and losers, but also who is to be homeless. San Francisco Sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi is spot-on to say that “ … expansion of city services ot the displaced,” is essential. Otherwise, solve the Neo-liberal unfettered market problems.

Posted by Awayneramsey on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

All politicians can do, if anything, is tinker around the edges.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

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