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How we beat Airbnb

January 22, 2018

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

The news media have missed the real story of how a community coalition organized, ran campaigns, educated, and eventually forced the giant corporation to quit posting illegal listings.

San Francisco has set another first in the annals of the tech economy: a 50% reduction in the number of Airbnb listings for the City and County. The curious thing about this extraordinary fact — no other city in the world has reduced Airbnb listings at all, let alone by a whopping 50% — is that the center-left labor community coalition that is responsible for it received no mention at all in the media coverage of the astounding reduction in short term rentals. Indeed, the media seems to imply that Airbnb itself, or perhaps the city attorney, is responsible for this dramatic turnaround…

In January, 2016 core coalition members decided to request allies on the Board of Supervisors to draft a standalone ordinance that would include the objectives of Part Four of Prop. F. Supervisor David Campos agreed to sponsor the legislation and in March the first draft was prepared. In the end, ShareBetter SF analysis was correct and the measure passed unanimously…

In October, 2016, ShareBetterSF submitted its second piece of legislation aimed at making the law enforceable… (more)

It wasn’t easy and we were not the first city to fight Airbnb, but, after years of struggle, our city officials finally agreed on a program to protect residents. A steady increase in homeless living on the sidewalks outside their former homes has brought the issue to a head in all the districts.

No one wants to see more tents or desperate people on the streets. Dealing with illegal short term rentals is not going to solve all the problems that are driving people out of their homes, but, it is a good start. Now we can move onto other ways to keep people housed. This subject will be front and center in the race for Mayor. Which candidates will share some fresh ideas on how to keep people housed? Hopefully the media will have time to cover this in the depth it deserves.

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