Through the cracks journalism
The latest catch.
By Carolyn Said : sfgate – excerpt
Airbnb is making a new effort to play nice with San Francisco, despite a fractious relationship that has heated up in recent months with the vacation-rental company suing its hometown and lawmakers considering new restrictions on rentals in private homes.
The company said it is building into its website a way to automatically bar San Francisco hosts who control multiple listings, sometimes a sign of landlords running illegal hotels. Hosts with legitimate reasons for multiple listings, such as property-management companies, legal hotels or people with two or more rooms to rent in their homes, can request exceptions.
The feature will take effect Nov. 1, but Airbnb said it already has jettisoned hundreds of San Francisco listings since April, when it promised to crack down on illegal commercial operators… (more)
Pressure on SFMTA has already resulted in new Muni Shuttles during rush hour. Keep pushing and keep demanding more.
By Pratima Gupta and Phil Chin :sfchronicle – excerpt
Proposition L holds the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency accountable by encouraging a balanced oversight body. Its board of directors oversees a $1.1 billion budget and directs the policies and projects that determine whether the city sees increased traffic gridlock or streamlined bus transit — or whether another pedestrian is killed.
While the majority of city commissions have seats reserved for neighborhood representation, the SFMTA board members are accountable only to the mayor. Prop. L creates a split-appointment process that finally gives neighborhoods a chance to be represented. It would also allow the Board of Supervisors to amend the SFMTA’s budget with a majority vote.
When a Lowell student was killed on Sloat Boulevard in 2013, the community had been demanding pedestrian safety improvements for years. When the SFMTA moved to shut down lower Stockton Street for designer retail chains…
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by Jeff Spross : theweek – excerpt
The rise of housing costs in America’s big cities has seemed unstoppable. Until now.
Last Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the median monthly rent in Manhattan stalled out, falling 1.2 percent in September to hit $3,396. “It was only the second year-over-year decline since February 2014,” the outlet continued, citing a new study from appraisal firm Miller Samuel, and the brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
That second decline happened in March of this year. It was followed by a peak of 2 percent growth in June, and then rents in the Big Apple slowed again before falling last month. Further signs that the housing market has shifted include the fact that landlords are offering renters more sweeteners, like a month or two free; meanwhile, only 17 percent of all housing sales in Manhattan involved a bidding war this year, down from 31 percent last year.
“The market does not appear to be resuming an upward pattern anytime soon,” Miller Samuel’s president told Bloomberg… (more)
Support Proposition L to reform the SFMTA Board.
Op-ed by Mari Eliza :potreroview – excerpt
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) plan for traffic was to make it disappear. That plan has failed miserably. SFMTA doesn’t appear to have a Plan B, other than to ignore the public and blame us for their failure. It’s time for them to disappear.
Since SFMTA laid the thermoplastic red carpet on Mission Street, residents and merchants from Taraval to Third Street have been protesting plans to expand their failed programs into other neighborhoods. There are allegations that the red thermoplastic carpet was laid on Mission Street without proper approval.
Talk of tearing down the 280 freeway and altering the residential parking permit system is generating more anger, and agreement that SFMTA isn’t the one to solve our transportation problems or manage our streets and parking. There are lawsuits over some of the plans; threats to stop others. This is…
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By SETH FIEGERMAN : local10 – excerpt
Salesforce, the last of the big companies thought to be interested in buying Twitter, said Friday that it has backed out of bidding for the social network.
“In this case, we’ve walked away. It wasn’t the right fit for us,” Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, told the Financial Times.
Chi Hea Cho, a spokeswoman for Salesforce, confirmed Benioff’s remarks, but declined to provide additional comment… (more)
Twitter got the famous tax break. How can they lose?
: potreroveiw – excerpt
Numerous items are caged behind glass doors at the Potrero Center Safeway, dissuading some would-be shoppers from patronizing the store. “My family has stopped shopping there,” commented J.R. Eppler, Potrero Boosters president. “Too many of the items, including infant formula, that we went specifically to Safeway for, are now behind lock and key.”…
Though the store was busy with shoppers, the aisles were clean, well-stocked, easy to navigate and contained fresh-looking goods. However, few store staff was visible outside the registers. About a year ago, the Potrero Center Safeway began locking up select items behind reinforced glass cabinets, including infant formula, soap, moisturizers, cleansers, dental care products, shaving paraphernalia, over-the-counter drugs, and alcoholic beverages. Long stretches of some aisles are behind glass…
According to the security guard, the Potrero Center Safeway doesn’t necessarily experience any more theft than other Safeway outlets in the City. He’d worked at various locations, and found that the issues are largely the same. The major difference is the amount of revenue stores make. The Safeway on Market and Dolores streets generates high revenues, and can justify employing a large staff. With numerous personnel roaming the aisles, there’s no need to have items locked up. In contrast, Potrero Hill’s Safeway brings in less revenue, with fewer staff, creating a need to prevent theft through other means. The reduced staffing also seems to result in longer waits for customers seeking products vulnerable to theft...
Safeway corporate representatives wouldn’t respond to inquiries regarding theft-prevention policies. Potrero Center management declined to share an internal newsletter that addresses security issues at stores…(more)