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Explaining SB50 amendment process

April 25, 2019


This happy little graphic makes the amendments easier to understand. However, note the Bill still sucks for most of the State. Our small city was exempted, but we are still working for the good of our region and State to add in rail frequencies of at least every 15 minutes, and to oppose SB 330.

– Lesa Heebner, Citizen, former Mayor and Council member City of Solana Beach 

‘We need to transform housing politics’: Treating homes as commodities has caused crisis, sociology prof says

April 25, 2019

By David Madden : cbc – excerpt (includes audio track)

David Madden, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, spoke at SFU Tuesday

If there’s anything Vancouverites can agree on, it’s that housing prices have spun out of control. But the way to get out of the housing crisis is another question.

David Madden, co-author of the book In Defence of Housing: The Politics of Crisis and a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, says the first step is acknowledging the crisis need not be permanent.

“People tend to talk about the housing problem almost as if it’s the weather … [like] a natural force. But it’s obviously something that’s created by political and economic projects and choices and clearly can be changed,” Madden told host Stephen Quinn on CBC’s The Early Edition.

Madden says the housing crisis has been precipitated by a global movement toward treating housing as a commodity and as an object for speculation. This has hollowed out urban life, raised rents, led to more evictions and created huge increases in homelessness and overcrowding…

No ‘silver bullet’

While he admits there is no “silver bullet” to solve the housing crisis, there are many ideas from around the world that could start reversing the problem.

These include a rent freeze; a pied-à-terre tax where those with secondary homes in the city are taxed at a higher rate; restrictions on speculation; and stronger tenant rights(more)

Controversial Ad Campaign Recalls Race-Based S.F. ‘Urban Renewal’ Programs

April 20, 2019

By Melissa Caen : cbslocal – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-S.F.) is no stranger to controversy but a new advertising campaign against his housing bill is unusually provocative.

San Francisco’s urban renewal programs from the 1940s through the 1970s are blamed for an exodus of black people whose homes were torn down to make room for large development projects…

“I know there are people worried about displacement,” said Wiener. “I’m worried about displacement. We put strong affordability and anti-eviction and anti-displacement protectionsin the bill.”

A development is excluded from the benefits of SB 50 if there were any tenants living in housing on the proposed site in the prior seven years.

A developer is also excluded if there was an Ellis Act eviction at the site in the prior 15 years… (more)

Equity groups have been using the term urban renewal for some time and there are efforts to revive it by creating new funding mechanisms in Sacramento as part of the CASA Compact plan, that was heavily opposed by affordable housing activists. Why do mayors appreciate growth more than the citizens? Do they still believe that growth will pay for growth?

It is a meaningless claim that SB50 contains protections for Ellis Act properties or other former tenant housing because their is no tracking mechanism to prove that an Ellis Act eviction occurred over the last 15 year, or that tenants were previously housed in a property that comes up for demolition within the last 7 years.

The bill would force local communities to establish a tracking system which would create a new financial burden on the cities and counties, who are already over-burdened by the need for extensive new infrastructure required to support a larger population.

The one thing not mentioned in this article is the state overreach issue. That is highly troubling in this time of political discord. Many feel we need to keep the power closer to home and not hand it over to the state of federal government if we want to retain our power as citizens. We want representation by people we know who listen to us, to leaders who dictate from on high.

First 100 days: Governor Gavin Newsom wants California to be ‘a positive alternative to Trump and Trumpism’

April 19, 2019

Airtalk with Larry Mantle : spcc – excerpt (includes audio track)

California Governor Gavin Newsom wants California to be “more than just a resistance state.”

In an interview with KPCC AirTalk host Larry Mantle to mark his first 100 days in office, Governor Newsom said there’s no doubt that the Golden State is “an un-Trump state” but added that he wants California to not just stand tall in its resistance of the Trump administration, but to be “a positive alternative.”…(more)

Newsom Says SB 50 is “Struggling” and Flawed

April 19, 2019


April 18, 2019

Contact: Ileana Wachtel, wachte…, 310-702-4240

Newsom Says SB 50 is “Struggling” and Flawed
Gov. Gavin Newsom today on KPCC criticized controversial Senate Bill 50 by state Sen. Scott Wiener, which would allow luxury apartment towers to march across single-family neighborhoods from working-class East Los Angeles and Van Nuys to affluent Beverly Hills.

SB 50, which would encourage developers to buy up and demolish some 3,000 thriving California neighborhoods, “is struggling,” the governor said. Newsom criticized key aspects of SB 50, which has been widely ridiculed as a “demolition derby” that fails to create affordable housing.

Among other things, Newsom said, “the bill is struggling,” because of its “one size fits all” approach in a state where “communities are different.” He noted that Wiener “had this [problem] last year when he had a similar bill” — the quickly defeated SB 827.

Reaction to Newsom was swift in L.A.’s diverse working-class and middle-class areas, many of which would be doomed by SB 50’s unprecedented concept of tearing down communities where families buy “starter homes” to make way for costly towers.

Robby G. Davis, a board member of Park Mesa Heights Community Council in South L.A., said, “We cannot countenance the passage of Senate Bill 50. It’s a travesty to be announced as providing affordable housing, because what it really does is denigrate the community, and it will destroy the character of the community as it we know it.”

Alejandro Palomino, a leader with Frogtown Residents Opposing Gentrification, who has fought luxury developers trying to take over his Latino working-class community, said, “Hopefully this will help the movement to stop SB 50. It will influence other legislators to oppose it.”

Davis, explaining why Wiener’s idea is fatally flawed, said, “We have seniors walking and children playing on our sidewalks. That is why we chose to live here, that is the legacy we wish to leave behind. We are poster children for a transit-oriented community. The onslaught of developers, coupled with SB 50, will destroy us. There is no way we can survive.”

She said single-family homes replaced by luxury towers consisting of one-bedroom and studio apartments is “not affordable family housing.”

The bill will be voted on April 24 by a state Senate committee. It recently sailed through the Housing Committee, shocking many communities.

Are you in a Scott Wiener demolition zone? See Map link here

New Muni Train Door Trapped Woman’s Hand, Dragged And Injured Her

April 18, 2019

By Joe Kukura : sfist – excerpt

It’s a bad day for the new Muni trains, and not in the normal way, as two separate reports uncover two different major mechanical flaws — one of which has already injured multiple people.

As longtime residents know, the introduction of new, updated equipment or routes in the Muni system often comes in five stages, not unlike the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief; Step One is the initial giddiness we feel when prototypes and renderings are released. Step Two is when we learn of massive cost overruns, and Step Three is the inevitable delay of the new fleet’s rollout. At Step Four, the modern new vehicles finally arrive to great fanfare, and we are now at Step Five with the new Siemens light-rail train cars — the discovery of mechanical flaws that endanger riders and require that cars to be removed from the fleet…

This is totally separate from NBC Bay Area’s report detailing how attached double-trains were essentially detaching themselves from one another. On the very same day of the of the elderly woman incident, couplers connecting the double-trains snapped and trains were separated. The second train was just cold stranded on the tracks! Apparently it was not the first time this has happened, and in an abundance of caution, Muni is no longer running the fancy new trains as double-trains…

This all comes after the Board of Supervisors just approved $62 million to buy more of these very malfunctioning trains. Sup. Aaron Peskin told the Examiner he was “horrified to hear this,” so that $62 million more is in some degree of doubt.

And we here at SFist don’t mind pointing out that we told you that it was a bad idea to roll out this new fleet on a Friday the 13th (more)

Thankfully we still have a free press. Do we need more proof that the system is broken? This is not good news for the those who approved the fast-tracked purchase of the unpopular Siemens cars. Will use the one tool they have to curtail the SFMTA? Will the Board of Supervisors refuse to sign the SFMTA budget?

A public department that ignores the public it serves is not a well-run department. It appears the SFMTA wants speed and they riders want safety and comfort instead. The public demands better. Speed is not the answer.
Who at City hall stop this insanity? Who will admit to a coverup? Will someone finally fall on their sword and take the blame? How will SFMTA’s director and PR czar spin this one?

Will City Hall finally let the public speak for themselves and consider their wisdom? Thanks to everyone who tried to bring reason to the department that has no ears and uses its power and public funds to silence those who do speak out.

TV Ad Slams State Sen. Scott Wiener For Pushing Gentrification

April 16, 2019

tousinghumanright – excerpt (includes link to tv ad)

Housing Is A Human Right gentrification Scott Wiener

A TV advertisement and mailer by Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation slam California State Sen. Scott Wiener for his trickle-down housing, pro-gentrification bill SB 50. The ad and mailer feature renowned writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin, who, in 1963, noted that “urban renewal” in San Francisco means the “removal” of the black community. SB 50 is continuing that inhumane legacy.

Baldwin said: “San Francisco is engaging… in something called urban renewal, which means moving the Negroes out. It means Negro removal…”

Baldwin was sadly prophetic. In San Francisco, the black population has dropped by more than half since 1960. Gentrification has also devastated San Francisco’s Mission District, a longtime home for the Latino community, where more than 8,000 Latino residents have been forced out in the last decade.

“SB 50 does not truly address our housing affordability crisis,” says Housing Is A Human Right Director René Christian Moya. “At its core, Wiener’s bill is trickle-down, luxury housing legislation that will exacerbate existing gentrification crises in the Bay Area and throughout California, but make billions for Big Real Estate.”.

Between 2010 and 2016, Wiener held office as a San Francisco supervisor. Rated the “most moderate, or right-leaning” politician in San Francisco by the San Francisco Public Press and UC Davis, Wiener had a track record that showed him to be “a tool of the landlords, big realtors, and special interests,” according to the San Francisco Tenants Union.… (more)

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