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Through the cracks journalism

The latest catch.

A terrible housing bill looms in Sacramento

May 24, 2016

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Measure that would undermine local affordable-housing rules heads for state Assembly with Gov. Jerry Brown’s support… (more)

The San Francisco Supervisors voted to amend this bill and have so far been ignored. If you oppose this bill go to this weblink and let the state representatives know:


Democrats for sale! Democrats for sale!

May 28, 2016

by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Airbnb funneled more than $32,000 into the otherwise sleepy race for the Democratic County Central Committee, and Wednesday night that same body voted against a measure that would’ve called out Airbnb’s shady shenanigans.

The measure, authored by DCCC (Dee-Triple-Cee) member Meagan Levitan and co-sponsored by democratic heavyweights Sen. Dianne Feinstein and State Sen. Mark Leno, would’ve put the Democrats on record supporting legislation by Supervisor David Campos.

That legislation calls for Airbnb to delist from its website law-breaking homesharers who threaten housing throughout San Francisco.

Deep in the California State Building on Wednesday, the Democrats instead approved a strange, alternate-universe measure that weakened that support.

For funsies, I’ve dubbed this political maneuver the “Tom Hsieh Sway,” in honor of the democratic board member who deftly delivered Airbnb a win…

These DCCC members voted with Airbnb’s interests: Kat Anderson, Joshua Arce, Zoe Dunning, Bill Fazio, Tom Hsieh, Mary Jung, Trevor McNeil, Leah Pimentel, Rebecca Prozan, Alex Rosenthal, Francis Tsang, Scott Wiener and Marjan Philhour.

These DCCC members voted against the gutted, twisted, Airbnb measure: Petra DeJesus, Bevan Dufty, Matt Dorsey, Hene Kelley, Meagan Levitan, Rafael Mandelman, Eric Mar, Dianne Feinstein, Jackie Speier, Mark Leno and Phil Ting. David Chiu abstained... (more)

I have an idea. Why don’t we just charge the short term rental corporations for the time it takes to find their errant clients. They have the option of passing that costs onto their clients if they don’t want to pay it.

Airbnb’s Enormous Success is Bigger Than You Think

May 26, 2016

By : sfweekly – excerpt

In 2009, Airbnb’s second year of existence, the San Francisco-based hotel alternative facilitator boasted 3,000 listings worldwide.

This year, Airbnb offered a staggering 2.3 million housing units to rent for a day, a week, a weekday — which means its inventory grew at a faster clip than the entire hotel industry. As in all hotels, everywhere.

In North America alone last year, Airbnb added 229,000 listings to its stock compared to the hotel industry’s 139,000 new rooms, according to a recent study by 7Park Data, a mobile app data miner, that was featured in the San Francisco Business Times.

And for good measure, consider that the world’s second largest accommodations company is now Hilton — worth 25 percent less than Airbnb, which is currently valued at $25.5 billion.

That’s some serious cheese for an 8-year-old tech company, even if it’s not that surprising. After all, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Uber, and many others are worth ungodly sums of money despite all of them being 10 years old or less.

One reason for Airbnb’s success is undoubtably its wide reach, which means people can save a lot on accommodations versus a hotel booking (check out this chart from annoyingly named travel company Hipmunk). But another big reason, maybe the most important, is that Airbnb’s only hiccups so far are in the political arena, and even those efforts seem too cumbersome to enforce without the help of Airbnb itself. In essence, its growth is unchecked.

It also doesn’t help that Airbnb, being so lucrative, now has gobs of money to use to thwart future efforts to restrict its business model (more)

Supervisors attempt to reduce mayor’s powers with suite of new measures

May 25, 2016

Supervisor Yee needs support to get this on the November ballot.

Grassroots Actions

By Riley McDermid :sfbusiness – excerpt

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have introduced a suite of measures aimed at taking power away from Mayor Ed Lee in five major departments, as the deadline to introduce charter amendments for the November ballot arrived Tuesday.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a charter amendment introduced at the meeting by Supervisor Aaron Peskin would reconfigure how much oversight the mayor has over the Department of Real Estate, Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

In addition, Supervisor Norman Yee introduced a charter amendment that would allow the board to appoint three of the seven board members of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors, while taking away the mayor’s power to appoint all seven.

The mayor’s office immediately pushed back against the measures late Tuesday, saying the moves came as a surprise and weren’t necessary –…

View original post 242 more words

Measure AA is an unfair tax Bay Area voters should reject

May 25, 2016

By Quentin Kopp : sfchronicle – excerpt

Tax, spend and elect is apparently the intent of Measure AA, a special parcel tax placed on the June 7 ballot of the nine Bay Area counties by a hitherto-unknown governmental agency. The ostensible purpose is to spend money extracted from taxpayers to reduce trash, improve water quality, restore fish and wildlife habitat, protect against floods and increase shoreline access.

Measure AA would levy a special parcel tax of $12 per year for 20 years on every parcel in those nine counties in order to receive $25 million annually for 20 years. It would require two-thirds approval by voters cumulatively in the Bay Area counties. We should reject Measure AA.

A parcel tax is the most iniquitous of all property taxes. A property tax is based upon the assessed market value of the owner’s property, including those parcels that haven’t been sold since Proposition 13 was enacted in 1978. Under Measure AA, therefore, every homeowner would pay the same tax as corporate property owners such as Chevron, AT&T, Salesforce, Facebook, Genentech, Oracle and Google.

Of course, the measure is supported by business groups such as the Bay Area Council and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Why not? It’s a regressive tax, levying the same amount on inland residential parcels as on owners of multimillion-dollar business properties on the bay, which are most subject to the promised flooding. And, properties on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay are almost entirely commercial and industrial businesses. Reduction in flood risk will be reflected in lower insurance rates and increased property values for the corporate billionaires.

A tax levied on property owners has been, and should be, proportional to the parcel’s value. That’s common sense, as evident in school bonds and municipal parcel taxes, which are calculated on the assessed value of each property, rather than as a flat tax.

Does any property taxpayer-reader identify the members of the agency that put this measure on the ballot, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority? They are elected officials from the nine Bay Area counties, but they’re not identified in the voter’s handbook, and they surely weren’t elected by voters to this new bureaucracy.

We should instead require taxation based on ability to pay and not a levy that disfavors some inland cottage owner to the benefit of a billionaire’s bay-side high-tech business campus.

Tell this new bureaucracy to start over. Voters should vote no on Measure AA.

Quentin L. Kopp is a retired judge of the San Mateo County Superior Court, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and former state senator representing San Mateo and San Francisco counties… (more)

Here’s one more thing hurting millennial homebuying in San Francisco

May 25, 2016

A recent report by Apartment List found that college-educated millennials with student debt would have to save for 62.4 years to be able to afford a 20% down payment on a house in the San Francisco… (more)

Whoa! Enough with the Tax Increases, Fees and Bonds – What are Our Politicos Smokin’?

May 22, 2016

By Tony Butka : citywatchla – excerpt

EASTSIDER-Looks like the LA City Council has started smokin’ some weed on the assumption that the Marijuana initiative will pass in November. Of course, math was never their forte even without mind altering substances. And as we know, the actual budget process is a closely held secret.

Here’s the Problem: 

For context, we are living in the best of times if you’re an LA City politician. The developers are buying off elected officials at a record rate, housing and hi-rises are popping up all over like the giant popcorn bags at the movie theater (one refill for free), and as housing prices take off like the booster unit on a space shuttle, the city coffers haven’t seen life this good in years and years.

So what are these math majors going to do when the economy tanks again? We all know deep in our hearts that the frothy bubble of LA’s housing market is simply unsustainable. If history is a guide, the Council will stick their collective heads in the sand like ostriches, wringing their hands in helpless angst.

We’ve been here before in Los Angeles with the “great recession” of 2007-08 and it wasn’t pretty. The City Council was impotent and useless in their vain attempts to shift the blame and take fake actions. I see no reason it will be different this time.

Folks will lose jobs; they will discover what these taxes look like, not to mention property tax assessments on an $800,000 home in places like Echo Park, Silverlake, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock and the other chi chi areas. That 3% interest rate on a bank loan isn’t going to do much good to reduce their property tax bills.

And yet the Council can’t even balance this year’s budget! As Jack noted regarding the Mayor’s budget message, “on Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti characterized his $5.6 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year as a ‘strong spending plan that is balanced and responsible, with a record investment of $138 million to tackle the City’s homelessness crisis.’”…

The Takeaway

What I find galling is that all of these increases will definitely not benefit us middle and lower income folks.

Balanced budget? I don’t think so.

Here’s a thought — hold on tight to your money, read the fine print, and don’t believe a word of the massively funded lobbyist campaigns that are going to be launched for the November ballot. AND VOTE! — preferably for Bernie!


Sound familiar? This is LA. A lot of SF. Only their budget is only 5.6 billion. Ours was a lot higher last time I looked. So, you see the problem really is in Sacramento. Even the most progressive, (or is it liberal, far left or reformists?) Democrats who support Bernie oppose the taxes in LA. They have it figured out. So should we. NO NEW TAXES!


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