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Despite efforts to protect S.F. tenants, housing crisis persists  
sfgate.com

San Francisco's elected officials have attempted to tackle the housing crisis with gusto since 2013, passing laws that govern condo conversions, the merging of units, the legality of in-laws, tenant harassment and Ellis Act evictions. Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee, which represents tenants, said she doesn't think most of the laws have been around long enough to make a big difference but that some proposals have the potential for larger ripple effects. Shortt believes the measure could severely curb real estate speculation by making it virtually impossible to turn a profit by flipping those properties quickly. While some other laws, such as giving low-income tenants evicted under the Ellis Act priority in city housing, "will make a huge difference for the handful of families," Shortt said she and other tenants advocates hope policies such as the tax proposal will change market behavior by making it less financially attractive to boot tenants out. Janan New, executive director of the San Francisco Apartment Association - which represents property owners - said city leaders are simply vilifying landlords for political reasons and haven't made a real attempt to solve bigger issues including the shortage of housing stock and a lack of enforcement against short-term rental businesses, such as Airbnb, which she believes are taking far more units off the rental market than Ellis Act evictions. City officials say their attempts are having an impact but agree that without constructing significantly more affordable housing - something they have increasingly focused on - and changes to the state Ellis Act, the problems will persist. San Francisco Democratic state Sen. Mark Leno tried, and failed, this year to pass a state law that would have prevented Ellis Act evictions within five years of a building's purchase. "The fundamental problem is a state law issue," said Supervisor David Campos, who was behind the city law that dramatically increased relocation payments to tenants evicted under the Ellis Act. Preserving housing stockChiu has focused more on preserving the housing stock, such as with a 2013 law that allowed tenancy-in-common property owners already on a waiting list to convert their shared buildings into condominiums - but then placed a 10-year moratorium on future conversions. Allows property owners to upgrade or alter an estimated 52,000 existing units that are legal but don't conform to zoning density laws unless there has been an eviction in the past 10 years. Discourages landlords from taking rental units off the market by making it more difficult to merge multiple units into a single-family home, convert housing property to commercial or other use, or demolish a rental. Prohibits a unit from being converted to a condominium for 10 years after the buyout of a disabled or senior tenant or in any building where multiple buyouts occurred. Allows about 2,200 tenancy-in-common unit owners already on a waiting list to convert their TICs to condos if they pay a $20,000 conversion fee, money put toward affordable housing. The measure exempts single-family homes, condos, owner-occupied TICs, new construction, properties being turned into affordable housing and buildings with more than 30 units. Would allow tourist rentals in private homes while requiring a city-run registry, collection of hotel taxes and limitations on rental frequency.
Submitted 20 hours ago by eureka!
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Crowded field a challenge for Oakland mayor, voters  
sfgate.com

A gun-toting Army vet who wants everyone to carry guns. Among the rest, there's a dialysis business executive, a politics professor, two city councilwomen, the city's auditor and a tax preparer. In just 10 weeks, Oakland voters will have to sort through the herd of candidates and rank their favorite three in a field that's the most crowded anyone can remember. At forums, street festivals and house parties across the city, the challengers have tried to stand out and explain - sometimes in as little as 45 seconds - how they hope to control crime or attract business. Peter Liu wrote on his campaign website that he'd fight crime by ordering Oakland's police chief to issue permits to carry concealed guns to any law-abiding person who wants one. Charles Williams has admonished Oakland's youth to "pull your pants up," and Saied Karamooz said that if he were elected, he would lower city flags to half-staff whenever an innocent person was killed in Oakland. The city's economy is booming and the demographics are changing: new, affluent residents are increasingly drawn to Oakland's warm weather, diverse culture and plucky spirit. In 2010, Quan defeated her favored opponent by collecting more second- and third-place votes, which were enough to boost her into first place. [...] whatever the reasons, the sprawling field can be frustrating for voters, said David McCuan, a political science professor at Sonoma State University who studies Oakland politics. Ranked-choice voting means candidates must build a coalition with other candidates and ask voters to support as many as three different candidates, McCuan said. Complicated decisions"Candidates are faced with a difficult way of campaigning under ranked-choice voting because they aren't really running to be first, they are running to be down the ballot and viable," McCuan said.
Submitted 20 hours ago by eureka!
Uber takes turn toward old-school politics  
sfgate.com

Uber bills itself as a leader in tech innovation, but when it came to fighting mandated insurance for its drivers, the ride-share giant turned to good old-fashioned hardball politics. The target: state Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, author of an insurance-company-backed bill to require more comprehensive - and more expensive - liability insurance for ride-share drivers. Besides working the Capitol hard, Uber carpet-bombed mailers in Bonilla's district - as well as the state Senate district where she plans to run next year in the likely event state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, is elected to Congress in November. Thanks to the repair work, Napa can expect "a burst of job creation that will support the local economy," said Gus Faucher, a senior economist for PNC Financial Services Group. Republicans were against the change from the outset, but then the Democratic-friendly California Labor Federation weighed in as well, saying the changes would "create uncertainty and confusion for those engaged in ballot measure campaigns." Billing himself as a new-style politician, Ro Khanna pledged not to take special-interest money in his South Bay congressional campaign against fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda. Khanna donor Ash Chopra recently filed federal papers to form a super PAC, Californians for Innovation, to back the challenger. [...] while Khanna has stuck to his promise not to accept PAC money, he's no longer pressing Honda to join him in signing a "people's pledge" to bar outside donors from the 17th Congressional District race.
Submitted 13 hours ago by eureka!
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The Nooner for September 1st

r readers,

Happy Labor Day. We're still catching our breath from the end-of-session whirlwind. Or, perhaps a light off-shore breeze would be a better analogy. But we hope you all are taking some much-deserved rest and relaxation this holiday. We'll be back tomorrow with a full rundown of the last-minute deals on groundwater regulation, sick leave and other major end-of-session legislation, and start to shift gears to Election Mode. 

In the meantime, enjoy those picnics, barbecues and political kickoff events. 

-The Management

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