EDITORIAL Mayor Ed Lee's love affair with all things tech shouldn't extend to allowing a large company to cheat on local taxes.
It's no secret that Airbnb, the successful startup that allows people to share their apartments as hotel rooms, has failed to collect or pay San Francisco's Transitory Occupancy Tax, which every traditional hotel has to pay. Our stories have shown that the city is losing $1.8 million a year, and that number will only grow as the service becomes more popular.Read more »
EDITORIAL In a stunning victory, tenant advocates have managed to derail a terrible piece of condo-conversion legislation — and replace it with a compromise that actually improves the current situation and could help slow the wave of speculative evictions.
The supervisors need to support the revised version of the bill — and if Mayor Lee wants to have any credibility at all with tenants, he needs to sign it.Read more »
EDITORIAL The new tech companies that are making waves in San Francisco — Airbnb in the short-term rental business and Lyft and Uber in the taxi industry — may describe themselves as innovative and disruptive, and they may be appealing to investors.
But there's a more accurate word that describes their relationship to the city:
The way these companies are luring customers isn't really about high-tech applications or brilliant business models. They've just found a way to get around the rules that everyone else has to obey.Read more »
EDITORIAL The president of the Board of Supervisors does more than bang the gavel at meetings, tell people to put their clothes back on, and run for higher office. It's a powerful position largely because the president makes appointments — to the Planning Commission, the Police Commission — and unilaterally decides who serves on which board committees.Read more »
EDITORIAL You can't build much of anything substantive in San Francisco without doing an environmental impact report. You can't pass significant legislation without doing an economic impact report. But the most important issue facing San Francisco today is largely ignored by those studies — and is only rarely even discussed as part of the city's economic development and planning policies.Read more »
EDITORIAL Over the next two years, tens of thousands of San Franciscans will face the loss of their homes. If the current tech boom is anything like the last one, the impact on the city will be the economic equivalent of a massive earthquake, with displacement transforming entire neighborhoods and low-income tenants, artists, writers, musicians, small merchants, cheap restaurants, and nonprofits getting chucked aside to make way for an influx of wealthier people and the businesses that serve them.Read more »
EDITORIAL San Francisco politics hasn't been this tense in years — and it's not just because of the upcoming election. The battle over Mayor Lee's attempt to oust Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has left bitter divisions at City Hall and in communities all over town. And the mayor is only making things worse.Read more »
EDITORIAL Kay Vasilyeva, a member of the San Francisco Women's Political Caucus, has come forward with the allegation that District Five candidate Julian Davis grabbed her and put his hand down her pants at a political bar crawl in 2006. That was six years ago, but it's still important — and more than the incident itself, the response we've seen from Davis is highly disturbing. He's utterly denying that it ever happened, and retained a lawyer to send Vasilyeva a letter threatening her with legal action if she continues to talk.Read more »
EDITORIAL We know for a fact that on New Year's Eve, 2011, Ross Mirkarimi, the elected but unsworn sheriff of San Francisco, had a physical altercation with his wife that left her with a bruised arm. We know she later complained about that bruise on a video lasting less than a minute. Beyond that, nobody except Mirkarimi and Eliana Lopez knows exactly what happened; there were no witnesses except the couple's three-year-old son, no video taken during the fight, no audio recordings — nothing.Read more »
EDITORIAL Ten years ago, San Francisco voters took a huge step toward decentralizing control of city planning, approving a measure that splits the appointments to the powerful Planning Commission between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors. A year later, a similar change gave the supervisors a role in appointing Police Commission members.Read more »