Steven T. Jones

Boom asks "What's the matter with San Francisco?" and offers insightful answers

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“What’s the matter with San Francisco?” asks the Summer 2014 issue of the Boom: A Journal of California, a quarterly magazine produced by the University of California Press, tapping an amazing array of writers to explore the struggle for the soul of San Francisco that has captured such widespread media attention in the last year.Read more »

City agencies defend their slow response to Airbnb's illegal rentals

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More information has been coming out about how Airbnb is used to convert San Francisco apartments into tourist rentals — including an interesting study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle last weekend — in advance of next month’s hearings on legislation to legalize and regulate short-term rentals.

But questions remain about why the city agencies in charge of regulating such “tourist conversions,” which have long been illegal under city law, have done so little to crack down on the growing practice. For more than two years, we at the Guardian have been publicly highlighting such violations, which have finally caught fire with the public in the last six months. Read more »

Breaking the chains

Rival measures updating SF's formula retail controls stir controversy and debate

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steve@sfbg.com

San Franciscans have always been wary of chain stores, more so than residents of any other major US city, none of which have taken on the ever-expanding national corporations and their homogenizing impact on local communities as strongly as San Francisco.Read more »

Supervisors consider affordable housing half-step

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While the Board of Supervisors today considers placing a measure on the fall ballot that would slow market rate housing projects when affordable housing development drops below 30 percent of total production, it is also slated to quietly approve another item showing San Franciscans actually need more than double that amount of housing.Read more »

Shaw's "housing civil war" is really about influence peddling

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I’m always wary of the BeyondChron stories by Tenderloin power broker Randy Shaw, who uses the website as a propaganda tool for his interests and those of the politicians who he helped get into office, including Mayor Ed Lee and Sup. Jane Kim, as I wrote in last week’s paper.Read more »

Campos wins veto-proof support for closing the city healthcare coverage loophole UPDATED

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Sup. David Campos appears to have finally succeeded in his years-long quest to prevent San Francisco employers from pocketing money the city requires them to use for employee health care costs after winning over two key supervisors to secure a veto-proof majority at today’s [Tues/10] Board of Supervisors meeting.Read more »

Transportation funding faces key test after Mayor Lee flips on VLF increase UPDATED

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Facing a deadline of tomorrow’s [Tues/10] San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting to introduce measures for the November ballot, advocates for addressing the city’s massive long-term transportation funding gap still hope to introduce an increase in the local vehicle license fee, even though the once-supportive Mayor Ed Lee has gotten cold feet.Read more »

Trading favors?

Randy Shaw quietly gets city funds for his Tenderloin Museum from a Mayor's Office he loudly promotes

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Randy Shaw is a Tenderloin power broker who has a cozy relationship with the Mayor's Office, regularly promoting its interests and perspective on his blog, BeyondChron, and through other avenues. In return, Shaw quietly gets tremendous city support — including big infusions of public funds — for his projects and initiatives.Read more »

Chiu mailer highlights Guardian praise, despite our Campos endorsement

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Politics is dirty business, and I should never underestimate the willingness of politicians to turn any editorial praise they receive into an electoral advantage, distorting the context as needed, a lesson that I was reminded of this week.

Several Guardian readers have called me this week to complain about a mailer dropped on voters by the David Chiu for Assembly campaign, which includes long quotes from Chiu’s endorsements by the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area Reporter, as well as positive quotes from the Bay Guardian and San Francisco Examiner.Read more »

Cash backwards

Ten things San Francisco should fund -- and 10 things it shouldn't -- to create a fair, equitable, and forward-thinking city budget

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news@sfbg.com

San Francisco is moving into the heart of city budget season, with the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee holding detailed budget hearings over the next month to modify the $5.9 billion budget that Mayor Ed Lee introduced on May 1. Lee's budget had a $66.7 million shortfall in the General Fund for the coming year, which he needs to close with a revised budget by June 1, as well as a $133.4 million budget hole the following fiscal year.Read more »